“The fiscal said that I colluded with my husband and based on that, my Petition was dismissed.”
Collusion Investigation is a process which is part of the procedure for the Declaration of Nullity or Annulment, where the public prosecutor’s (fiscal) is enjoined by the court to actively participate and conduct an investigation if there is an agreement between the spouses or if they conspired to have the marriage annulled. Article 48 of the Family Code states:
“In all cases of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed.
In the cases referred to in the preceding paragraph, no judgment shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or confession of judgment.”
Usually, the admission of the respondent spouse in this case or a finding of collusion by the prosecutor will be a ground for the dismissal of the case.
The dissolution of a marriage through the process of annulment or the declaration of nullity is based on the grounds provided by law and evidence to substantiate it. It is not based on the will of the parties. Article 1 of the Family Code is instructive:
Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.
Likewise, the Supreme Court has laid down the rules governing the proceeding in declaring a marriage null and void under A.M. 02-11-10-SC, March 4, 2003 (Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages). Section 9 thereof provides:
“Sec. 9. Investigation report of public prosecutor. – (1) Within one month after receipt of the court order mentioned in paragraph (3) of Section 8 above, the public prosecutor shall submit a report to the court stating whether the parties are in collusion and serve copies thereof on the parties and their respective counsels, if any. (2) If the public prosecutor finds that collusion exists, he shall state the basis thereof in his report. The parties shall file their respective comments on the finding of collusion within ten days from receipt of a copy of the report. The court shall set the report for hearing and if convinced that the parties are in collusion, it shall dismiss the petition. (3) If the public prosecutor reports that no collusion exists, the court shall set the case for pre-trial. It shall be the duty of the public prosecutor to appear for the State at the pre-trial.”
Based on the foregoing, the parties may contest the prosecutor’s finding of collusion by filing their comments on the same within the time provided in the guidelines. The filing of a comment is not the guarantee that the fiscal will reverse his findings. His decision will still be based on the grounds and provided by the parties, and this will be entirely based on the facts attendant to the case.
For more information about this topic, you may contact Atty. Joyce Felisa B. Domingo-Dapat at (+63) 917 548 8045.