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Visayan Daily Star Newspaper

DNA test confirms fraud, annulment granted: judge

The Visayan Daily Star, Bacolod City, Philippines, BY CARLA GOMEZ, February 28, 2009

Bacolod Regional Trial Court Judge Ray Alan Drilon has annulled the marriage of a Negrense couple after a DNA test showed that the child borne by the wife was not the biological offspring of the husband who works abroad.

The family court judge ruled that the marriage of the couple, whose names are being withheld by the DAILY STAR on the request of the court, was null and void.

Due to fraud committed by the wife in getting her overseas worker husband to marry her, properties acquired during their marriage are awarded in favor of the husband, the judge said in his decision, a copy of which was furnished the DAILY STAR yesterday.

The judge also declared that since the overseas worker is not the biological, much less the legitimate father of the child of the woman, the Civil Registrar is ordered to change the surname of the child to the mother's maiden name and remove the name of the plaintiff as father of the child.

The complainant said he was working as an electronics engineer in the United Arab Emirates and on his return to the Philippines in 2001, his girlfriend of 10 years with whom he had sex, showed him a pregnancy test result showing that she was pregnant.

On receiving the news he was overjoyed and offered to marry her. Shortly after he went to Saudi Arabia to work, and his wife gave birth to a baby girl in the same year.

The birth of the child only five months after their marriage puzzled him but his wife told him that the baby was born prematurely, so he believed her, the husband said.

But the husband told the court he discovered that the medical records of the child showed that she not delivered prematurely, contrary to what he assumed, but had reached the full term of pregnancy which was about nine months. It means that the child was already four months in her mother's womb, when his wife told him that she was pregnant, which compelled him to marry her, he added.

"The defendant concealed to him the fact that she was pregnant by another man at the time of the marriage…this concealment constitutes fraud, and a legal ground for annulment of marriage," he told the court.

Drilon, in declaring the marriage null and void, said "This is one marriage, which failed because of deceit and concealment by the wife, regarding the paternity of the child, which she delivered after the marriage. There is no question that defendant spouse was impregnated by a man other than her husband, and she made her husband believe that he was the father."

But the strongest and most positive proof, that he is not the father of the child is the result of the DNA testing, administered on the mother, the judge said.

The DNA test result shows that there are no matches that would indicate that he is the father of the child, the judge pointed out.

"The law provides that concealing by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband, constitutes fraud (Article 46, Family Code)," the judge said.

"A marriage may be annulled when the consent of either party was obtained by fraud. Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage she was pregnant by another man, not her husband, constitutes fraud.

The court upholds the cause of the plaintiff, in releasing him from this bond of marriage, tainted by concealment and deceit," the judge added.

*CPG


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