FASTER MARRIAGE ANNULMENTS SOON

Manila, April 25, 2003 -- Marriages gone sour may soon be annulled in lesser time under a newly passed rule by the Supreme Court (SC).

Under the rule, the SC en banc, on the declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages by the SC, said state lawyers' participation are subjected to the discretion of the court hearing the case and may be limited to those involving "public interest."

Solicitor General Alfredo Benipayo earlier claimed the voluminous annulment cases are draining the manpower resources of his office.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) receives an average of 412 annulment cases a week.

From January to September last year, 14,863 nullity of marriage cases were received. The figure does not include petitions filed in court without copies furnished to the OSG. "This will speed up the annulment process," Benipayo said.

Under the new rules, the annulment court may require the parties and the OSG to file its respective memoranda in support of the claims within 15 days from the date the trial is terminated.

The court may also require the OSG to filed its own memorandum if the case is of significant interest to the state.

Moreover, under the new rules, after the lapse of a certain period, the annulment case will be considered submitted for the decision with or without the memorandum by the solicitor general. (Benjamin Pulta, Tribune)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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