Court of Appeals (File photo)

MANILA – The Court of Appeals (CA) has turned down a seaman’s suit seeking to declare his missing wife dead after the court noted half-hearted attempts to look for the woman.

The CA Sixth Division set aside the ruling of the Bacoor City, Cavite Regional Trial Court Branch 19 and dismissed the petition for declaration of presumptive death filed by Randy Oligo.

“Courts cannot uphold the issuance of a declaration of presumptive death for the purpose of remarriage where there appears to be no well-founded belief of the absentee spouse’s death, but only the likelihood that the absentee spouse does not want to be found,” read parts of the 11-page decision dated March 16 and uploaded on the CA website recently.

He also did not report the wife’s disappearance to the police nor did he seek the aid of media or authorities to look for her, the court said.

Oligo married Aylen in June 1997 and they lived in South Cotabato until the man had to work abroad.

While overseas, he heard of rumors that his wife had become a card game gambler and had an affair with a fellow gambler.

They later signed an agreement without courts or lawyers formalizing their separation after which the woman left home. He said they last talked in 2003.

Oligo said he believes that his wife “might be dead since South Cotabato is rocked by violence”.

Seeking to remarry, he sought to have his wife declared presumptively dead, which was granted by the Cavite court  in December 2018.

However, state lawyers opposed the lower court’s ruling and elevated it to the CA.

The CA said the man only “engaged in a passive search where he relied on uncorroborated inquiries from the woman’s parents, in-laws, relatives and common friends”.

The court also noted that he failed to name the particular places he visited while looking for his wife and identify the specific persons he interviewed or talked to in the course of his search. (PNA)