Civil Law

Orlando Villanueva vs Court of Appeals and Lilia Canalita-Villanueva

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G.R. No. 132955 – 505 SCRA 564 – Civil Law – Persons and Family Relations – Family Code – Grounds for Annulment of Marriage – Article 45; Fraud, Intimidation, Concealment of Pregnancy

In April 1988, Orlando Villanueva married Lilia Canalita before a trial court judge in Puerto Princesa. In November 1992, Orly filed a petition to annul the marriage. He claimed that threats of violence and duress forced him to marry Lilia. He said that he had been receiving phone calls threatening him and that Lilia even hired the service of a certain Ka Celso, a member of the New Peoples Army, to threaten him. Orlando also said he was defrauded by Lilia by claiming that she was pregnant hence he married her but he now raises that he never impregnated Lilia prior to the marriage. Lilia on the other hand denied Orlando’s allegations and she said that Orlando freely cohabited with her after the marriage and she showed 14 letters that shows Orlando’s affection and care towards her.

ISSUE: Whether or not there is duress and fraud attendant in the case at bar.

HELD: The SC ruled that Orlando’s allegation of fraud and intimidation is untenable. On its face, it is obvious that Orly is only seeking to annul his marriage with Lilia so as to have the pending appealed bigamy case [filed against him by Lilia] be dismissed. On the merits of the case, Orlando’s allegation of fear was not concretely established. He was not able to prove that there was a reasonable and well grounded reason for fear to be created in his mind by the alleged intimidation being done against him by Lilia and her party. Orlando is a security guard who is well abreast with self-defense and that the threat he so described done against him is not sufficient enough to vitiate him from freely marrying Lilia. Fraud cannot be raised as a ground as well. His allegation that he never had an erection during their sexual intercourse is incredible and is an outright lie. Also, there is a prolonged inaction on the part of Orlando to attack the marriage. It took him 4 and a half years to file an action which brings merit to Lilia’s contention that Orly freely cohabited with her after the marriage.

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