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Judge threatens to dismiss case in defiance of Supreme Court caselaw

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Arresto Menor
I'm in the US, but writing for a friend in the Philippines. When I was there early this year, I arranged for a lawyer to file a case for her for declaration of nullity of marriage.

Very easy case legally - there was never any marriage license, the person who solemnized the marriage had the parties sign a document, they didn't know what it was, but it was a (false) affadavit of having lived together for 5 years prior.  She has documents and witness testimony showing this would not have been possible.  There is caselaw of the Philippines Supreme Court right on point, holding that such is void, without qualification.

Respondent defaulted.  Prosecutor reported no collusion.  So only the pretrial brief and conference, and trial, left to do.

Then the lawyer I had arranged abandoned her. ( long story there, but I won't go into it.)

Then the judge set the pretrial conference.  I have helped her doing legal research and drafting documents for her to approve and file.  She filed a notice that she would continue the case herself, as is her right under Rule 138, Section 34, upheld by the Philippines Supreme Court in Cruz v Mijares, both cited in the notice.

She filed a Pretrial Brief, detailing the documents and witness testimony, and attached the appropriate documents and affidavit.  All according to SC Circular 02-11-10-SC, which makes it easy to understand the steps to follow in such cases.

Yesterday she arrived for the Pretrial Conference and the judge refused to hold the conference and issue the pretrial order.  Instead, the judge told her she must get a lawyer or the judge will dismiss the case.

She told the judge she does not have money to hire a lawyer.  The judge said maybe PAO will represent her (which is not possible, but I don't want to take the time to explain).

The judge said the pretrial conference is "reset" to 3 weeks hence, and if she does not have a lawyer, the case will be dismissed.

The judge did not put any of this in a written order, it was just verbal.

What to do?  Should I contact the Office of the Court Administrator and ask for advice?  Any other ideas?  I know she can just wait until the judge dismisses it, then request reconsideration which the judge will deny, then appeal to the Court of Appeals -  but I would rather avoid all that if possible.

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