Roque vs. Encarnacion, etc. and Reyes

No. L-6505. August 23, 1954

MAIN TOPIC – Rule 34


Asuncion Roque, due to alleged infidelity of Francisco Reyes, prays for (a) legal separation, (b) legal custody of the children, (c) liquidation of the conjugal property, and (d) alimony and support for the children.  Reyes denied all the allegations and presented a counterclaim alleging that Asuncion was already a married woman when they contracted the marriage and has been squandering money from him. He also filed a motion for summary judgment and submitted the deposition of former husband of the Asuncion in support of the action. Asuncion filed an opposition on the ground that an action for annulment cannot be a ground for summary judgment.

The trial judge granted the motion for summary judgment and rendered a decision declaring the (a) marriage null and void ab initio; (b) awarding the custody of the children to Reyes, and (c) the rights to the conjugal properties by Asuncion is forfeited in favor of their children. Asuncion seeks to annul the judgment on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction to render a summary judgment in the action to annul the marriage, and on the further ground that there were real issues of fact raised in the pleadings, as she believed that her husband was already dead at the time of her marriage to defendant. 


Whether or not the counterclaim which is filed for annulment of marriage be decided by the summary judgment proceeding?


No, the trial court committed an error in annulling the marriage of plaintiff to defendant in a summary judgment proceeding without the formality of a trial. An action to annul a marriage is not an action to “recover upon a claim” or “to obtain a declaratory relief,” and, second, because it is the avowed policy of the State to prohibit annulment of marriages by summary proceedings. The fundamental policy of the State, which is predominantly Catholic and considers marriage as indissoluble (there is no divorce under the Civil Code of the Philippines), is to be cautious and strict in granting annulment of marriage. 


Action For Annulment Of Marriage Cannot Be Decided By Summary Judgment Proceeding.