[A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.March 4, 2003]
RE: PROPOSED RULE ON DECLARATION OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF VOID
MARRIAGES AND ANNULMENT OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGES
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this
Court dated MAR 4
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC (Re: Proposed rule on declaration of
absolute nullity of void marriages and annulment of voidable marriages.)
Acting on the letter of the Chairman of the Committee on Revision
of the Rules of Court submitting for this Court's consideration and approval
the Proposed Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and
Annulment of Voidable Marriages, the Court Resolved to APPROVE the same.
The Rule shall take effect on March 15, 2003 following its
publication in a newspaper of general circulation not later than March 7, 2003.
March 4, 2003.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Sandoval-Gutierrez,
Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Vitug, J., it is my
understanding that neither Santos nor Molina has been made
irrelevant, let alone necessarily overturned by the new rules.
Panganiban, J., please see
dissenting opinion on rule relating to psychological incapacity.
Ynares-Santiago, J., on leave.
Corona, J., on official leave.
DECLARATION OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY
ANNULMENT OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGES
Section 1. Scope.- This Rule shall govern petitions
for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages and annulment of voidable
marriages under the Family Code of the Philippines.
The Rules of Court shall
SEC. 2. Petition
for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages.-
(a) Who may file.- A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage
may be filed solely by the husband or the wife.(n)
(b) Where to file.- The petition shall be filed in the Family Court.
Imprescriptibility of action or defense.- An action or defense for the
declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage shall not prescribe.
(d) What to
allege.- A petition
under Article 36 of the Family Code shall specifically allege the complete
facts showing that either or both parties were psychologically incapacitated
from complying with the essential marital obligations of marriage at the time
of the celebration of marriage even if such incapacity becomes manifest only
after its celebration.
The complete facts
should allege the physical manifestations, if any, as are indicative of
psychological incapacity at the time of the celebration of the marriage but expert
opinion need not be alleged.
SEC. 3. Petition
for annulment of voidable marriages.-
(a) Who may file.-
The following persons
may file a petition for annulment of voidable marriage based on any of the
grounds under Article 45 of the Family Code and within the period herein
(1) The contracting party
whose parent, or guardian, or person exercising substitute parental authority
did not give his or her consent, within five years after attaining the age of
twenty-one unless, after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely
cohabitated with the other as husband or wife; or the parent, guardian or
person having legal charge of the contracting party, at any time before such
party has reached the age of twenty-one;
(2) The sane spouse who
had no knowledge of the other's insanity; or by any relative, guardian, or
person having legal charge of the insane, at any time before the death of
either party; or by the insane spouse during a lucid interval or after
regaining sanity, provided that the petitioner, after coming to reason, has not
freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
(3) The injured party
whose consent was obtained by fraud, within five years after the discovery of
the fraud, provided that said party, with full knowledge of the facts
constituting the fraud, has not freely cohabited with the other as husband or
(4) The injured party
whose consent was obtained by force, intimidation, or undue influence, within
five years from the time the force, intimidation, or undue influence
disappeared or ceased, provided that the force, intimidation, or undue
influence having disappeared or ceased, said party has not thereafter freely
cohabited with the other as husband or wife;
(5) The injured party
where the other spouse is physically incapable of consummating the marriage
with the other and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable,
within five years after the celebration of marriage; and
(6) The injured party
where the other party wasafflicted
with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be
incurable, within five years after the celebration of marriage.
(b) Where to
file.- The petition
shall be filed in the Family Court.
SEC. 4. Venue.-
The petition shall be filed
in the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the
respondent has been residing for at least six months priorto the date of filing, or in the case of a
non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines, at the
election of the petitioner.
SEC. 5. Contents
and form of petition.- (1)
The petition shall allege the complete facts constituting the cause of
(2) It shall state the
names and ages of the common children of the parties and specify the regime
governing their property relations, as well as the properties involved.
If there is no adequate
provision in a written agreement between the parties, the petitioner may apply
for a provisional order for spousal support, custody and support of common
children, visitation rights, administration of community or conjugal property,
and other matters similarly requiring urgent action.
(3) It must be verified
and accompanied by a certification against forum shopping. The verification and
certification must be signed personally by the petitioner. No petition may be
filed solely by counsel or through an attorney-in-fact.
If the petitioner is in
a foreign country, the verification and certification against forum shopping
shall be authenticated by the duly authorized officer of the Philippine embassy
or legation, consul general, consul or vice-consul or consular agent in said
(4) It shall be filed in
six copies. The petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition on the Office of
the Solicitor General and the Office of the City or Provincial Prosecutor, within
five days from the date of its filing and submit to the court proof of such
service within the same period.
Failure to comply with
any of the preceding requirements may be a ground for immediate dismissal of
SEC. 6. Summons.- The service of summons shall be
governed by Rule 14 of the Rules of Court and by the following rules:
(1) Where the respondent
cannot be located at his given address or his whereabouts are unknown and
cannot be ascertained by diligent inquiry, service of summons may, by leave of
court, be effected upon him by publication once a week for two consecutive
weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines and in such
places as the court may order. In addition, a copy of the summons shall be
served on the respondent at his last known address by registered mail or any
other means the court may deem sufficient.
(2) The summons to be
published shall be contained in an order of the court with the following data:
(a) title of the case; (b) docket number; (c) nature of the petition; (d)
principal grounds of the petition and the reliefs prayed for; and (e) a
directive for the respondent to answer within thirty days from the last issue
SEC. 7. Motion to
dismiss.- No motion to
dismiss the petition shall be allowed except on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction over the subject matter or over the parties; provided, however,
that any other ground that might warrant a dismissal of the case may be raised
as an affirmative defense in an answer.
SEC. 8. Answer.- (1) The respondent shall file his
answer within fifteen days from service of summons, or within thirty days from
the last issue of publication in case of service of summons by publication. The
answer must be verified by the respondent himself and not by counsel or
(2) If the respondent
fails to file an answer, the court shall not declare him or her in default.
(3) Where no answer is
filed or if the answer does not tender an issue, the court shall order the
public prosecutor to investigate whether collusion exists between the parties.
SEC. 9. Investigation
report of public prosecutor.- (1) Within one month after receipt of the court order mentioned in
paragraph (3) of Section 8 above, the public prosecutor shall submit a report
to the court stating whether the parties are in collusion and serve copies
thereof on the parties and their respective counsels, if any.
(2) If the public
prosecutor finds that collusion exists, he shall state the basis thereof in his
report. The parties shall file their respective comments on the finding of
collusion within ten days from receipt of a copy of the report. The court shall
set the report for hearing and if convinced that the parties are in collusion,
it shall dismiss the petition.
(3) If the public prosecutor
reports that no collusion exists, the court shall set the case for pre-trial.
It shall be the duty of the public prosecutor to appear for the State at the
SEC. 10. Social
worker.- The court may
require a social worker to conduct a case study and submit the corresponding
report at least three days before the pre-trial. The court may also require a
case study at any stage of the case whenever necessary.
SEC. 11. Pre-trial.-
mandatory.- A pre-trial
is mandatory. On motion or motu proprio, the court shall set the
pre-trial after the last pleading has been served and filed, or upon receipt of
the report of the public prosecutor that no collusion exists between the
(2) Notice of
pre-trial.- (a) The
notice of pre-trial shall contain:
date of pre-trial conference; and
order directing the parties to file and serve their respective pre-trial briefs
in such manner as shall ensure the receipt thereof by the adverse party at
least three days before the date of pre-trial.
(b) The notice shall be
served separately on the parties and their respective counsels as well as on
the public prosecutor. It shall be their duty to appear personally at the
(c) Notice of pre-trial
shall be sent to the respondent even if he fails to file an answer. In case of
summons by publication and the respondent failed to file his answer, notice of
pre-trial shall be sent to respondent at his last known address.
SEC. 12. Contents
of pre-trial brief.- The
pre-trial brief shall contain the following:
(a) A statement of the
willingness of the parties toenter
into agreements as may be allowed by law, indicating the desired terms thereof;
(b) A concise statement of
their respective claims together with the applicable laws and authorities;
(c) Admitted facts and
proposed stipulations of facts, as well as the disputed factual and legal
(d) All the evidence to be
presented, including expert opinion, if any, briefly stating or describing the
nature and purpose thereof;
(e) The number and names
of the witnesses and their respective affidavits; and
(f) Such other matters as
the court may require.
Failure to file the pre-trial brief or to comply with its
required contents shall have the same effect as failure to appear at the
pre-trial under the succeeding paragraphs.
SEC. 13. Effect of
failure to appear at the pre-trial.- (a) If the petitioner fails to appear personally, the case shall
be dismissed unless his counsel or a duly authorized representative appears in
court and proves a valid excuse for the non-appearance of the petitioner.
(b) If the respondent
has filed his answer but fails to appear, the court shall proceed with the
pre-trial and require the public prosecutor to investigate the non-appearance
of the respondent and submit within fifteen days thereafter a report to the
court stating whether his non-appearance is due to any collusion between the
parties. If there is no collusion, the court shall require the public
prosecutor to intervene for the State during the trial on the merits to prevent
suppression or fabrication of evidence.
SEC. 14.Pre-trial conference.- At the pre-trial conference, the court:
(a) May refer the issues
to a mediator who shall assist the parties in reaching an agreement on matters
not prohibited by law.
The mediator shall render a report within
one month from referral which, for good reasons, the court may extend for a
period not exceeding one month.
(b) In case mediation is
not availed of or where it fails, the court shall proceed with the pre-trial
conference, on which occasion it shall consider the advisability of receiving
expert testimony and such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of
SEC. 15. Pre-trial
order.- (a) The
proceedings in the pre-trial shall be recorded. Upon termination of the
pre-trial, the court shall issue a pre-trial order which shall recite in detail
the matters taken up in the conference, the action taken thereon, the
amendments allowed on the pleadings, and, except as to the ground of
declaration of nullity or annulment, the agreements or admissions made by the
parties on any of the matters considered, including any provisional order that
may be necessary or agreed upon by the parties.
(b) Should the action
proceed to trial, the order shall contain a recital of the following:
undisputed, admitted, and those which need not be proved subject to Section 16
of this Rule;
and legal issues to be litigated;
including objects and documents, that have been marked andwill be presented;
of witnesses who will be presented and their testimonies in the form of
of the presentation of evidence.
(c) The pre-trial order
shall also contain a directive to the public prosecutor to appear for the State
and take steps to prevent collusion between the parties at any stage of the
proceedings and fabrication or suppression of evidence during the trial on the
(d) The parties shall
not be allowed to raise issues or present witnesses and evidence other than
those stated in the pre-trial order. The order shall control the trial of the
case, unless modified by the court to prevent manifest injustice.
(e) The parties shall
have five days from receipt of the pre-trial order to propose corrections or
SEC. 16. Prohibited
compromise.- The court
shall not allow compromise on prohibited matters, such as the following:
(a)The civil status of
(b)The validity of a
marriage or of a legal separation;
(c)Any ground for legal
(e)The jurisdiction of
SEC. 17. Trial.- (1) The presiding judge shall
personally conduct the trial of the case. No delegation of the reception of
evidence to a commissioner shall be allowed except as to matters involving
property relations of the spouses.
(2) The grounds for
declaration of absolute nullity or annulment of marriage must be proved. No
judgment on the pleadings, summary judgment, or confession of judgment shall be
(3) The court may order
the exclusion from the courtroom of all persons, including members of the
press, who do not have a direct interest in the case. Such an order may be made
if the court determines on the record that requiring a party to testify in open
court would not enhance the ascertainment of truth; would cause to the party
psychological harm or inability to effectively communicate due to
embarrassment, fear, or timidity; would violate the right of a party to
privacy; or would be offensive to decency or public morals.
(4) No copy shall be
taken nor any examination or perusal of the records of the case or parts
thereof be made by any person other than a party or counsel of a party, except
by order of the court.
SEC. 18. Memoranda.-
The court may
require the parties and the public prosecutor, in consultation with the Office
of the Solicitor General, to file their respective memoranda in support of
their claims within fifteen days from the date the trial is terminated. It may
require the Office of the Solicitor General to file its own memorandum if the case
is of significant interest to the State. No other pleadings or papers may be
submitted without leave of court. After the lapse of the period herein
provided, the case will be considered submitted for decision, with or without
SEC. 19. Decision.-
(1) If the court renders a
decision granting the petition, it shall declare therein that the decree of
absolute nullity or decree of annulment shall be issued by the court only after
compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code as implemented under the
Rule on Liquidation, Partition and Distribution of Properties.
(2) The parties,
including the Solicitor General and the public prosecutor, shall be served with
copies of the decision personally or by registered mail. If the respondent
summoned by publication failed to appear in the action, the dispositive part of
the decision shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation.
(3) The decision becomes
final upon the expiration of fifteen days from notice to the parties. Entry of
judgment shall be made if no motion for reconsideration or new trial, or appeal
is filed by any of the parties, the public prosecutor, or the Solicitor
(4) Upon the finality of
the decision, the court shall forthwith issue the corresponding decree if the
parties have no properties.
If the parties have
properties, the court shall observe the procedure prescribed in Section 21 of
The entry of judgment
shall be registered in the Civil Registry where the marriage was recorded and
in the Civil Registry where the Family Court granting the petition for
declaration of absolute nullity or annulment of marriage is located.
SEC. 20. Appeal.-
No appeal from
the decision shall be allowed unless the appellant has filed a motion for
reconsideration or new trial within fifteen days from notice of judgment.
(2) Notice of
appeal.- An aggrieved
party or the Solicitor General may appeal from the decision by filing a Notice
of Appeal within fifteen days from notice of denial of the motion for
reconsideration or new trial. The appellant shall serve a copy of the notice of
appeal on the adverse parties.
SEC. 21. Liquidation,
partition and distribution, custody, support of common children and delivery of
their presumptive legitimes.- Upon entry of the judgment granting the petition, or, in case of
appeal, upon receipt of the entry of judgment of the appellate court granting
the petition, the Family Court, on motion of either party, shall proceed with
the liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses,
including custody, support of common children and delivery of their presumptive
legitimes pursuant to Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code unless such matters
had been adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings.
SEC. 22. Issuance
of Decree of Declaration of Absolute Nullity or Annulment of Marriage.- (a) The court shall issue the Decree after:
(1) Registration of the entry of judgment granting the petition
for declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage in the Civil Registry where
the marriage was celebrated and in the Civil Registry of the place where the
Family Court is located;
(2) Registration of the approved partition and distribution of the
properties of the spouses, in the proper Register of Deeds where the real
properties are located; and
(3) The delivery of the children's presumptive legitimes in cash,
property, or sound securities.
(b) The court shall
quote in the Decree the dispositive portion of the judgment entered and attach
to the Decree the approved deed of partition.
Except in the case of
children under Articles 36 and 53 of the Family Code, the court shall order the
Local Civil Registrar to issue an amended birth certificate indicating the new
civil status of the children affected.
SEC. 23. Registration
and publication of the decree; decree as best evidence.- (a) The prevailing party shall cause
the registration of the Decree in the Civil Registry where the marriage was
registered, the Civil Registry of the place where the Family Court is situated,
and in the National Census and Statistics Office. He shall report to the court
compliance with this requirement within thirty days from receipt of the copy of
(b) In case service of
summons was made by publication, the parties shall cause the publication of the
Decree once in a newspaper of general circulation.
(c) The registered
Decree shall be the best evidence to prove the declaration of absolute nullity
or annulment of marriage and shall serve as notice to third persons concerning
the properties of petitioner and respondent as well as the properties or
presumptive legitimes delivered to their common children.
SEC. 24. Effect of
death of a party; duty of the Family Court or Appellate Court.- (a) In case a party dies at any stage
of the proceedings before the entry of judgment, the court shall order the case
closed and terminated, without prejudice to the settlement of the estate in
proper proceedings in the regular courts.
(b) If the party dies
after the entry of judgment of nullity or annulment, the judgment shall be
binding upon the parties and their successors in interest in the settlement of
the estate in the regular courts.
SEC. 25. Effectivity.
- This Rule shall take
effect on March 15, 2003 following its publication in a newspaper of general
circulation not later than March 7, 2003.
Very truly yours,
LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO
Clerk of Court
(Sgd.) MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA
Assistant Clerk of Court