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G.R. No. L-23264 March 15, 1974 ROMULO TOLENTINO, petitioner, vs. HELEN VILLANUEVA an HONORA!

LE "ORA#ON $ULIANO AGRAVA, $% &' o( )h' $%*'n+,' an -o.'/)+c R',a)+on/ "o%r), respondents.

Respondent Judge denied the aforesaid motion of Romulo unless he su mits himself for interrogation y the City &iscal to ena le the latter to report whether or not there is collusion etween the parties. Respondent Judge dismissed the complaint in view of the fact that Romulo is not willing to su mit himself for interrogation y the City &iscal pursuant to the provisions of !rticle #$# of the .ew Civil Code. Romulo filed a petition to annul said order and to compel the respondent Judge to receive his evidence.

0ac)/1 Romulo Tolentino filed a suit for annulment of his marriage to Helen Villanueva. However, despite the fact that Helen was served with summons and copy of the complaint, Helen failed to file a responsive pleading, for which reason Romulo filed a motion to declare her in default and to set the date for the presentation of his evidence. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Manila declared Helen in default, ut, pursuant to the provision of !rticles "" and #$# of the Civil Code of the %hilippines, referred the case to the City &iscal for investigation to determine whether collusion e'ists etween the parties. Romulo su mitted to the City &iscal only a copy of his complaint. The fiscal issued a su poena to Romulo(s counsel re)uiring him to ring Romulo with him as well as copies of other documents in connection with the annulment case However, Romulo(s counsel informed the fiscal that he could not comply with the su poena for it will unnecessarily e'pose his evidence. *n a motion, Romulo Tolentino(s counsel prayed to set the date for the reception of his evidence on the ground that the City &iscal had not su mitted a report of his findings despite the lapse of si'ty +,$- days when he su mitted to the City &iscal a copy of the complaint.

I//%'1 /0. the order of the respondent 1udge dismissing the complaint due to the fact that the plaintiff is not willing to su mit himself for interrogation y the City &iscal is valid.

H', 1 2E3, the order of the respondent 1udge is valid. !rticles "" and #$# of the Civil Code of the %hilippines e'pressly prohi it the rendition of a decision in suits for annulment of marriage and legal separation ased on a stipulation of facts or y confession of 1udgment and direct that in case of non2appearance of defendant, the court shall order the prosecuting attorney to in)uire whether or not collusion etween the parties e'ists, and if none, said prosecuting attorney shall intervene for the 3tate to prevent fa rication of evidence for the plaintiff. *nstitutions of marriage and of the family are sacred and therefore are as much the concern of the 3tate as of the spouses. The 3tate and the pu lic have vital interest in the maintenance and preservation of these social institutions against desecration y collusion etween the parties or y fa ricated evidence.

The prohi ition against annulling a marriage ased on the stipulation of facts or y confession of 1udgment or y non2 appearance of the defendant stresses the fact that marriage is more than a mere contract etween the parties4 and for this reason, when the defendant fails to appear, the law en1oins the court to direct the prosecuting officer to intervene for the 3tate in order to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the marital onds.