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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

REGIONAL TRIAL COURT


7TH Judicial Region
City of Cebu
Branch 24

JOY P. GARCIA-KRAMER
Petitioner,
Civil Case No.
-versus- For: Declaration of Nullity of
Marriage
RHODERICK R. KRAMER
Respondent.
x--------------------------------------/

ANSWER

RESPONDENT, through counsel, respectfully states that:

1. Paragraph 1 of the Petition is admitted.

2. Paragraph 2 is denied insofar as Respondent is residing in


California, United States. Attached hereto is a photostatic
copy of Respondent’s passport as Annex “1” and the stamp
of the Immigration Office of the United States, Los Angeles,
California as Annex “1-a.” Respondent departed for the United
States on December 5, 2015. A copy of Respondent’s one-
way airplane ticket is likewise hereto attached as Annex “2”.

3. Paragraph 3 is admitted.

4. Paragraph 4 is admitted.

5. Paragraph 5 is admitted.

6. Paragraph 6 is admitted.

7. Paragraph 7 is denied for lack of knowledge or information


sufficient to form a belief.

8. Paragraph 8 is denied for lack of knowledge or information


sufficient to form a belief.

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9. Paragraph 9 is admitted only insofar as the birth of Clair is
concerned. The other allegations are denied for lack of
knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief. The
allegation of monomania of wealth is a conclusion of fact that
should be stricken out of the Petition.

10. Paragraph 10 is admitted.

11. Paragraph 11 is admitted.

12. Paragraph 12 is admitted only insofar as the birth of


Scarlette is concerned. Other allegations are denied for lack
of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief.

13. Paragraph 13 is denied for lack of knowledge or


information sufficient to form a belief. In fact, even while
Respondent is abroad, he has ardently, generously, and
unceasingly supported the Petitioner and his children.
Attached hereto are January 2017 – June 2017 bank
statements of deposits made by Respondent to Account No.
123456 under the name of the Petitioner as Annexes “3,” “3-
a,” “3-b,” “3-c,” “3-d,” “3-e.”

14. Paragraph 14 is denied for lack of knowledge or


information sufficient to form a belief.

15. Paragraph 15 is admitted only insofar as the birth of Gavin


is concerned. All other matters stated therein are denied for
lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief.

16. Paragraph 16 is denied for lack of knowledge or


information sufficient to form a belief.

17. Paragraph 17 is denied for lack of knowledge or


information sufficient to form a belief.

18. Paragraph 18 is denied for lack of knowledge or


information sufficient to form a belief.

19. Paragraph 19 is denied for lack of knowledge or


information sufficient to form a belief.

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20. Paragraph 20 is denied for lack of knowledge or
information sufficient to form a belief.

21. Paragraph 21 is denied for lack of knowledge or


information sufficient to form a belief.

22. Paragraph 22 is admitted for Respondent was married


twice. Respondent was first married to Sharon Cuneta, then
to the Petitioner.

23. Paragraph 23 is admitted. Respondent married Sharon


Cuneta on June 20, 1998 in Tagbilaran, Bohol before MTC
Judge Lynill Haze Muchamiel. More than two (2) years after
the first marriage, Respondent subsequently married
Petitioner on August 15, 2002 before RTC Judge Bernardo
Salas.

24. Paragraph 24 is admitted insofar as the first marriage is


concerned, but all other allegations are denied for lack of
knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief, the truth
being that the first marriage was not an impediment to the
second marriage because under Art. 41 of the Family Code,
the Respondent is allowed to remarry. Respondent married
Sharon Cuneta on June 20, 1998. Three days after the said
wedding, on June 23, 1998 the latter immediately left for
Queensland, Australia to attend to her ailing mother aboard
Eastwest Pacific Airline GT- 058, Flight 3231. While in transit,
the said airplane suddenly went off radar and went missing.
Despite diligent efforts of locating the airplane, it has never
been found up to this date. More than two (2) years after
Sharon Cuneta went missing, Respondent decided to marry
Petitioner. To be able to do so, Respondent filed before
Branch 7, RTC Region VII on July 15, 2000 a petition for
declaration of presumptive death for the purpose of
remarriage. The petition was granted, and a Declaration of
Presumptive Death was issued by the Court on August 5,
2000. The Declaration of Presumptive Death is hereto
attached as Annex “4”.

25. Paragraph 25 is denied for lack of knowledge or


information sufficient to form a belief.

26. Paragraph 26 is specifically denied. Contrary to Petitioner’s


assertion, Respondent never kept his first marriage a secret

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to the Petitioner. In fact, on the night of their wedding,
Respondent told Petitioner that he was married before to
Sharon Cuneta, but the marriage was cut short because the
latter went missing after boarding an airplane on her way to
Australia. Respondent also explained to the Petitioner that
days before their wedding, he obtained a Judicial Declaration
of Presumptive Death for Sharon Cuneta, so that they could
validly marry. Although surprised at first, Petitioner
nevertheless made it clear that she understood the situation,
and accepted the same.
27. Paragraph 27 is denied because the Respondent does not
smoke, drink, or gamble. There is also no truth to Petitioner’s
assertion that Respondent has been unfaithful to his marriage
vows, the truth being that Respondent has always devoted all
his time and attention to the Petitioner and their common
children. Petitioner’s averments are mere suspicions without
sufficient basis and evidence.
28. Paragraph 28 is denied for lack of knowledge or
information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof.
29. Paragraph 29 is denied for lack of knowledge or
information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof.
30. Paragraph 30 and its accompanying allegations are denied
for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as
to the truth thereof.
31. Paragraph 31 is denied. Respondent denies the findings of
Dr. Vicky Belo M.D that he is a pathological liar, ego-centric, and
suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder are sufficient to
establish his supposed psychological incapacity. At most, these
are mere speculations or hypothetical diagnosis without
sufficient basis since the Respondent never personally met Dr.
Vicky Belo, M.D. The psychological evaluation was conducted in
an indirect manner as the psychologist derived all her
conclusions from the information supplied by Petitioner whose
bias for her cause cannot be doubted. Aside from information
given by Petitioner no other person related to the Respondent
was interviewed by the said psychologist. In the case of Suazo
v. Suazo, G.R. No. 164493, the Court ruled to wit:
“We do not suggest that a personal examination of the party
alleged to be psychologically incapacitated is mandatory;
jurisprudence holds that this type of examination is not a
mandatory requirement. While such examination is desirable,
we recognize that it may not be practical in all instances given

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the oftentimes estranged relations between the parties. For a
determination though of a party’s complete personality profile,
information coming from persons intimately related to him (such
as party’s close relatives and friends) may be helpful. xxxx”
From these perspectives, we conclude that the psychologist,
using meager information coming directly from an interested
party, could not have secured a complete personality profile and
could not have conclusively formed an objective opinion or
diagnosis of Angelito’s psychological condition. While the report
or evaluation may be conclusive with respect to Jocelyn’s
psychological condition, this is not true for Angelito. The
methodology employed simply cannot satisfy the required depth
and comprehensiveness of examination required to evaluate a
party alleged to be suffering from a psychological disorder. In
short, this is not the psychological report that the Court can rely
on as basis for the conclusion that psychological incapacity
exists.”

Based on the foregoing, the psychological assessment


conducted by Dr. Vicky Belo, M.D. has not sufficiently met the
requirements laid down by law. As the report was derived based
only from Petitioner’s testimonials, the same has no credence.
Furthermore, the psychological report failed to establish that
Respondent’s psychological incapacity in this case is
characterized by the following: (a) gravity, (b) juridical
antecedence, and (c) incurability. In Santos v. Court of Appeals,
G.R. No. 112019, the Court opined that:
“xxxx The incapacity must be grave or serious such that the
party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties
required in marriage; it must be rooted in the history of the party
antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may
emerge only after the marriage; and it must be incurable or,
even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means
of the party involved.”

Anent the foregoing, it is clear that Petitioner failed to establish


that Respondent has a psychological disorder incapacitating him
to comply with his essential marital obligations.
32. Paragraph 32 is denied. The respondent denies that he
suffers from any of the psychological disorders alleged by the
Petitioner. Moreover, assuming arguendo that he suffers from
the same, Petitioner failed to establish that the disorder is grave
enough to prevent Respondent from complying with his essential
marital obligations.
33. Paragraph 33 is denied for lack of knowledge or
information sufficient to form a belief.

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34. Paragraph 34 is denied. The marriage between Petitioner
and Respondent is not null and void based on the grounds cited
by the former. On the basis of Art. 35 (4) of the Family Code, the
Respondent and Petitioner’s marriage falls within the exception
provided for by Art. 41 of the same code. Art. 41 of the Family
Code states that:
Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the
subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void,
unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the
prior spouse had been absent for four (4) consecutive years and
the present spouse had a well-founded belief that the absent
spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where
there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the
provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only
two years shall be sufficient.
For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage
under the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must
institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the
declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without
prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.

35. Paragraph 35 is denied for lack of knowledge or


information sufficient to form a belief.
36. Paragraph 35 is denied for lack of knowledge or
information sufficient to form a belief.
37. Paragraph 35 is denied for lack of knowledge or
information sufficient to form a belief.

SPECIAL AND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

Respondent raises the following by way of affirmative defense:

38. That this Honorable Court has no jurisdiction over the


person of the defendant. There was no valid service of
summons made to the Respondent as the Petitioner failed to
comply with the provisions of Sec.6 (1) of AM No. 02-11-10
SC which provides that if the respondent cannot be located at
his given address, service of summons may, by leave of court,
be effected upon him by publication once a week for two
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in
the Philippines and in such places as the court may order. In
addition, a copy of the summons shall be served on the

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respondent at his last known address by registered mail or
any other means the court may deem sufficient.

Respondent is currently residing in California, USA, hence


there was a need of to publish the summons in accordance
with the foregoing rule to validly acquire jurisdiction over the
Respondent. However, the Petitioner failed to allege
compliance with the said rule. The petition does not contain
any allegation that publication of the summons addressed to
Respondent was made by Petitioner in relation to this case.

39. That the Petition should be dismissed for failure of the


Petitioner to comply with the Sec. 5 (4) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-
SC which provides to wit:

(4). It shall be filed in six (6) copies. The petitioner shall serve a
copy of the Petition on the Office of the Solicitor General and
the the Office of the City or Provincial Prosecutor, within five
days from the date of its filing and submit to the court a proof of
such service within the same period.

Failure to comply with any of the preceding requirements may


be a ground for immediate dismissal of the petition.

The petition herein is bereft of any allegation that a copy of


the petition was served to the required offices, and assuming
that the same was complied, Petitioner failed to furnish the
court the proof of such service. Hence, the petition should be
dismissed in line with the said rule.

40. That the petition fails to state a cause of action because


the marriage between Respondent and Petitioner is a valid
bigamous marriage falling under Art. 41 of the Family Code.

41. That a cursory reading of the Petition would show that


Petitioner failed to state a cause of action as the Petition fails
to establish that Respondent has psychological incapacity
which would render him incapable of complying with his
essential marital obligations to the Petitioner. There are no
allegations in the petition that the psychological incapacity of
the respondent, if existing is characterized by gravity, juridical
antecedence, and incurability. The non-complied marital
obligations were not stated in the petition and were not proven
by evidence. In the case of Hernandez v. Court of Appeals,
G.R. No. 126010, the Supreme court ruled that the husband’s
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habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and
abandonment do not by themselves constitute grounds for
finding that he is suffering from psychological incapacity
within the contemplation of the family code. It must be shown
that these acts are manifestations of a disordered personality
which make the private respondent completely unable to
discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.

42. The Respondent thus respectfully prays that the petition be


dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the
Respondent, and for failure to state a cause of action.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the Petition be dismissed


for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the Respondent, and for failure
to state a cause of action. Other reliefs just and equitable are likewise
prayed for.

Cebu City, August 11, 2017

QWERTY LAW FIRM


123 Banilad Rd., Cebu City
Tel. No. 123-4567
Fax No. 987-6543

By:

Joy Ivee O. Ong


Attorney’s Roll No. 78965
PTR No. 123456 – 1/15/16-Cebu City
IBP No. 123456 – 1/16/16-Cebu City
MCLE Compliance No. IV-0010316 – 12/13/16

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VERIFICATION

I, RHODERICK P. KRAMER, of legal age, Filipino, married and


with address at House No. 756, Block 2, Los Angeles, California,
United States of America, under oath, depose and say:

I am the Respondent who caused the preparation and filing of


the Answer. I have read the same and the contents thereof are true
and correct of our personal knowledge and based on authentic
documents.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto affix my signature this 22nd


day of August 2017 in Cebu City, Philippines.

RHODERICK P. KRAMER

Subscribed and sworn before me this 12th day of August 2017


in Cebu City, Philippines. I hereby certify that I have personally
examined the affiant, who exhibited to me his competent evidence of
identity, UMID I.D. No. 12345678 issued in Cebu City, and that I am
satisfied that he voluntarily executed and understood his complaint.

ATTY. CORA TAN


Notary Public for Cebu City
Notarial Commission No. 605
Until December 31, 2017
Banilad, Cebu City 6000
Roll No. 87654
PTR No. 987645 03/23/17 Cebu City
IBP No. 78654 Lifetime Cebu City

Doc. No. 1
Page No. 1
Book No. 1
Series of 2017
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Copy furnished:

Atty. Bea Suan


Atty. Nikki Rose Agero
Atty. Karla Balneg
Counsels for Petitioner
Mabolo, Cebu City

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