MINI Q AND A with Lex

Here are some real inquiries I saw from people online, while some are potential exam questions. I'll try to answer them as best as I could. Disclaimer: This is not tantamount to legal advice, the questions are answered for educational purposes only, and aims solely to practice a law student's mastery of the law as well as his reasoning ability. For legal concerns, it is highly recommended that you consult your attorney.

If a couple only got married because the woman was impregnated (they weren’t together officially when it happened) and later on, one of them realized that the marriage was a mistake and she’d like to cohabit with another man, is that grounds for annulment? If the husband and wife have agreed to live in separate homes and the wife decides to live with another, is that acceptable?

The answer is no. The State regards has a high regard for marriage. Article 1 of the Family Code defines marriage as "special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code."

Being an inviolable social institution, and regarded as the basic foundation of the community, it is governed by law and may not be the subject of a stipulation with the exception of property relations. The only valid stipulation would be on fixing the couple's property relations.

The couple's decision to live in separate homes does not change anything. In the eyes of the law, they are still married, assuming that their marriage is valid and absence of any judicial declaration of nullity.

A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:

(1) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife;

(2) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(3) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(4) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or

(6) That either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.

Clearly, the realization that the marriage is a mistake is not a ground for annulment.

What is the Mateo Carino Doctrine?

The Mateo Carino Doctrine is a doctrine that originated from the case of Carino vs. Insular Government of the Philippine Islands, 212 U.S. 449 (1909). The United States Supreme Court through Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes delivered the opinion of “native title” to valid land rights established by testimonies or memories on land that has been held, occupied and utilized in ownership since time immemorial by indigenous populations.

This landmark decision has been used even in arguing cases of land ownership disputes filed by the Indians of Canada, the United States and Maori of New Zealand, in addition to the Philippines.

Today this doctrine is incorporated in Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Property Rights Act, passed in 1997.
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