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PERSONS Code)- PIA

ARTICLE 45-47 (Family

G.R. No. 132955. October 27, 2006.* ORLANDO VILLANUEVA, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and LILIA CANALITAVILLANUEVA, respondents.
THE CASE This petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the January 26, 1998 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 51832, affirming with modification the Decision2 dated January 12, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 172 in Civil Case No. 3997V-92 (a) dismissing petitioners petition for the annulment of his marriage to private respondent and (b) ordering him to pay moral and exemplary damages, attorneys fees and costs. Also assailed is the March 5, 1998 Resolution3 denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. FACTS

In April 1988, Orly married Lilia before a trial court judge in Puerto Princesa. In November 1992, Orly
filed 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 NPA, to threaten him. he now raises that he never impregnated Lilia prior to the marriage

Orly also said he was defrauded by Lilia by claiming that she was pregnant hence he married her but
Lilia on the other hand denied Orlys allegations and she said that Orly freely cohabited with her after the marriage and she showed 14 letters that shows Orlys affection and care towards her. ISSUE Whether or not there is duress and fraud attendant in the case at bar. Whether or not Orlys allegations vitiated consent and lack of cohabitation constitute as sound grounds for annulment? HELD: WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. The January 26, 1998 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 51832 affirming with modification the January 12, 1996 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 172 in Civil Case No. 3997-V-92 dismissing petitioners petition for the annulment of his marriage with private respondent, is AFFIRMED. However, the award of moral and exemplary damages is DELETED for lack of basis. RULING: Lack of cohabitation is, per se, not a ground to annul a marriage. Otherwise, the validity of a marriage will depend upon the will of the spouses who can terminate the marital union by refusing to cohabitate. The failure to cohabit becomes relevant only if it arises as a result of the perpetration of any of the grounds for annulling the marriage, such as lack of parental consent, insanity, fraud, intimidation, or undue influence x x x. Since the appellant failed to justify his failure to cohabit with the appellee on any of those grounds, the validity of his marriage must be upheld.9 The SC ruled that Orlys 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] to be dismissed. On the merits of the case, Orlys 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. Orly 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 Orly to attack the marriage. It took him 4 and a half years to file an action which brings merit to Lilias contention that Orly freely cohabited with her after the marriage.