L-12790, 31 August 1960


Joel Jimenez, the petitioner, filed a petition for the annulment of his marriage with Remedios Canizares on the ground that the orifice of her genitals or vagina was too small to allow the penetration of a male organ for copulation. It has existed at the time of the marriage and continues to exist that led him to leave the conjugal home two nights and one day after the marriage. The court summoned and gave a copy to the wife but the latter did not file any answer. The wife was ordered to submit herself to physical examination and to file a medical certificate within 10 days. She was given another 5 days to comply or else it will be deemed lack of interest on her part and therefore rendering judgment in favor of the petitioner.


Whether or not the marriage can be annulled with only the testimony of the husband.


No. In the case at bar, the annulment of the marriage in question was decreed upon the sole testimony of the husband who was expected to give testimony tending or aiming at securing the annulment of his marriage he sought and seeks. Whether the wife is really impotent cannot be deemed to have been satisfactorily established, because from the commencement of the proceedings until the entry of the decree she had abstained from taking part therein. Although her refusal to be examined or failure to appear in court show indifference on her part, yet from such attitude the presumption arising out of the suppression of evidence could not arise or be inferred because women of this country are by nature coy, bashful and shy and would not submit to a physical examination unless compelled to by competent authority. This the Court may do without doing violence to and infringing in this case is not self-incrimination. She is not charged with any offense. She is not being compelled to be a witness against herself.

Impotency being an abnormal condition should not be presumed. The presumption is in favor of potency. The lone testimony of the husband that his wife is physically incapable of sexual intercourse is insufficient to tear asunder the ties that have bound them together as husband and wife.

The decree appealed from is set aside and the case remanded to the lower court for further proceedings in accordance with this decision, without pronouncement as to costs.

* Case digest by Frillin M. Lomosad, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018