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Opinion

Multiple marriages

A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison - The Philippine Star

One of the safeguards protecting the sanctity of marriage found in our laws is the provision that no judgment annulling a marriage shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment (Art. 88, NCC; Art.48, FC).

This means that the husband and wife in an action for annulment of marriage cannot agree on the nullity or invalidity of their marriage or that the husband and wife against whom the action is brought cannot admit that the petition for annulment is correct and should be granted. This is the law involved in this case of Pablo.

Pablo was a former US veteran who came from a northern province. Sometime in 1927, he and Naty, whom he was courting, appeared before a minister in Malate, Manila, who performed a marriage ceremony and thereafter issued a marriage certificate. It does not, however, appear on the records of the proper government office then that the minister had authority to solemnize their marriage.

After living together for quite some time as husband and wife, Pablo left Naty and went home to his province.

Twenty-five years later, Pablo met and married Rose, a school teacher in his hometown. The marriage was performed by the Justice of the Peace of the said hometown.

When Naty learned about this marriage between Rose and Pablo, she filed a petition to annul it on the ground that she and Pablo have a previous and existing valid marriage as shown by a marriage certificate issued by the minister in Malate.

Pablo and Rose opposed the petition. They questioned the authority of the minister who solemnized Naty’s marriage to Pablo, which does not even appear in the records.

In resolving the petition, Naty and Rose entered into a stipulation of facts, attaching their respective marriage certificates showing their respective marriage to Pablo, and then submitted it to the Court. Can this be done?

Yes. The reason for the rule prohibiting the stipulation of facts in the annulment of marriage is to prevent the parties from securing the annulment of their marriage by collusion.

In this case, the possibility of such collusion is remote because the interest of the two wives are conflicting. Besides, the marriage certificates attached to the stipulation of facts are evidence and cannot be deemed to be stipulation of facts. (Cardenas vs. Cardenas & Rinen, 98 Phl.73)

PABLO

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