Concealing STD ground for annulment

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My wife and I got married in February 2011, but she left me in 2013. When we were still living together, we acquired several properties like a motorcycle, a car and a house and lot. The house and lot was under mortgage at the time, but I had to give it up because I learned that she was not paying the mortgage despite the fact that I have been sending her money. I do not know where she used the money.

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Apart from that, I have other reasons to file for annulment against her. One of which is that she infected me with a sexually transmissible disease (STD). She never mentioned anything about it prior to our marriage. It was only four months after our marriage ceremony when I realized that I was afflicted with an STD. I knew it could only come from her, because I never had sexual relations with any person other than her, and even up to now that we have separated. She did not deny having an STD, so I still tried to make our marriage work. Despite this, she left me. She said she does not want to continue our marriage. Now, she is accusing me of having a child with another woman, which is not true. I want to legalize the termination of our marriage first before I entertain the thought of entering into another relationship.

Please advise me. Can I still pursue seeking for the annulment of my marriage?
DB29

Dear DB29,
A marriage remains valid and existing unless and until it is invalidated by the proper court for causes mentioned under our laws. Having a sexually transmissible disease (STD), in itself, is not a ground for nullity of marriage. There are other elements and factors that must be present in order for such circumstance to serve as a valid ground for the annulment of marriage.

For instance, Article 45 (3) in relation to Article 46 (3) of the Family Code of the Philippines states that:

“Art. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage: x x x (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; x x x”

“Art. 46. Any of the following circumstances shall constitute fraud referred to in Number 3 of the preceding Article: x x x (3) Concealment of sexually transmissible disease, regardless of its nature, existing at the time of the marriage; x x x”

Thus, if your wife concealed from you the fact that she had an STD at the time of the celebration of your marriage, you may utilize the same as your basis in seeking for the annulment of your marriage. However, you will lose the right to file the petition if you continued to cohabit with her after having full knowledge of the concealment of such disease.

Another ground for annulment of marriage which deals with having the said disease is mentioned under paragraph 6 of Article 45, Id., which states: “(6) That either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.” Accordingly, you may be able to seek for the annulment of your marriage under this ground if it has been medically established that the condition of your wife as to her disease is serious in nature and there appears to be no cure thereto. It bears stressing that you may only file the petition on the basis of this ground within five years after the celebration of your marriage. (Article 47 (5), Id.)

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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1 Comment

  1. Dear DB29 the situation you have described is not uncommon in Philippines society.

    If you seek an Annulment expect to pay a large upfront legal fee and be prepared for the processing time to reach ed a conclusion which can be 2 to 3 years.

    Do you have any proof that the STD existed before the marriage?

    For an annulment to prosper you will need irrefutable evidence that the STD was present before the marriage.

    Much of this can be largely avoided if you Google http://www.divorceinthephilippines.info