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Tolentino vs Villanueva (1974)

Petitioner: ROMULO TOLENTINO


respondents: HELEN VILLANUEVA and HONORABLE
CORAZON JULIANO AGRAVA, Judge of the Juvenile and
Domestic Relations Court
PONENTE: Justice MAKASIAR
G.R. No. L-23264
March 15, 1974
TOPICS:
FACTS:
Tolentino filed an annulment case against his wife,
Villanueava. The judge issued subpoena in order to
determine whether there is collusion between the parties.
Tolentino refused to present his evidence as it will expose
his evidence. The judge required Tolentino to appear in
court in order to interrogate him for the same purposes;
however, Tolentino did not appear. The court dismissed
the case.
ISSUE: WON the determination whether there is collusion
is essential to the promulgation of annulment case.
RULING: Yes.
Articles 88 and 101 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
expressly prohibit the rendition of a decision in suits for
annulment of marriage and legal separation based on a
stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment and direct
that in case of non-appearance of defendant, the court
shall order the prosecuting attorney to inquire whether or
not collusion between the parties exists, and if none, said
prosecuting attorney shall intervene for the State to
prevent fabrication of evidence for the plaintiff.
Opinion:
I agree with the ruling. Tolentino was given considerable
opportunity to prove his claim but he refused to take this
opportunity. In effect, since the government is protecting the
family as the basic and primary social institution, the court has
no choice but to deny the annulment case instead of rendering
judgment merely on the basis of default of the other party
which may be easily facilitated.