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Soli vs.


Erwin Espinosa, 32, and Joselita Salita,

22, were married at the Roman Catholic
Church in Ermita, Manila, on 25 January

Santos vs. CA

A year later, their union turned sour. They

separated in fact in 1988. Subsequently,
Erwin sued for annulment on the ground
of Joselitas psychological incapacity.

Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras

The petition for annulment was filed

before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City on 7 January 1992. Therein it is
alleged that "[s]ometime in 1987,
petitioner came to realize that respondent
was psychologically incapacitated to
comply with the essential marital
obligations of their marriage, which
incapacity existed at the time of the
marriage although the same became
manifest only thereafter."

allegations in the
petition for annulment of
marriage are sufficient

We sustain the view of respondent Court

of Appeals that the Bill of Particulars filed
by private respondent is sufficient to state
a cause of action, and to require more
details from private respondent would be
to ask for information on evidentiary
we have no other recourse but to order
the immediate resumption of the
annulment proceeding which have already
been delayed for more than two years
now, even before it could reach its trial
stage. Whether petitioner is
psychologically incapacitated should be
immediately determined.
The Committee did not give any
examples of psychological incapacity
for fear that the giving of examples
would limit the applicability of the
provision under the principles of
ejusdem generis. Rather, the
Committee would like the judge to
interpret the provision on a case-tocase basis, guided by experience, the
findings of experts and researchers in
psychological disciplines, and by
decisions of church tribunals which,
although not binding on the civil
courts, may be given persuasive effect
since the provision was taken from
Canon Law.

G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995

Ponente: VITUG, J.

It was in Iloilo City where Leouel, who then
held the rank of First Lieutenant in the Philippine
Army, first met Julia.
On 20 September 1986, the two exchanged
vows before MTC Judge Cornelio G. Lazaro of Iloilo
City, followed, shortly thereafter, by a church
The ecstasy, however, did not last long. It
was bound to happen, Leouel averred, because of the
frequent interference by Julia's parents into the young
spouses family affairs.
On 18 May 1988, Julia finally left for the
United States of America to work as a nurse despite
Leouel's pleas to so dissuade her.
Seven months after her departure, or on 01
January 1989, Julia called up Leouel for the first time
by long distance telephone. She promised to return
home upon the expiration of her contract in July 1989.
She never did. When Leouel got a chance to visit the
United States where he underwent a training program,
he desperately tried to locate Julia but all his efforts
were of no avail.
Thus, Leouel filed with the RTC a complaint
for "Voiding of marriage Under Article 36 of the
Family Code".
On 06 November 1991, the court a quo
finally dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. The
CA affirmed the decision of the trial court.
Leouel argues that the failure of Julia to
return home, or at the very least to communicate with
him, for more than five years are circumstances that
clearly show her being psychologically incapacitated
to enter into married life.
Is Leouel and Julias marriage void ab initio
on the ground of Julias psychological incapacity?
"Psychological incapacity" should refer to
no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that
causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic
marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed
and discharged by the parties to the marriage as so
expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code. There is
hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has
been to confine the meaning of "psychological

incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality

disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter intensitivity
or inability to give meaning and significance to the
marriage. This psychological condition must exist at
the time the marriage is celebrated.
The factual settings in the case at bench, in
no measure at all, can come close to the standards
required to decree a nullity of marriage. Undeniably
and understandably, Leouel stands aggrieved, even
desperate, in his present situation. Regrettably, neither
law nor society itself can always provide all the
specific answers to every individual problem.
Tuazon vs. CA

private respondent Maria Victoria Lopez Tuason

filed with the RTC a petition for annulment or
declaration of nullity of her marriage to petitioner
Emilio R. Tuason.


In her complaint, private respondent alleged that

she and petitioner were married on & begot two


at the time of the marriage, petitioner was already

psychologically incapacitated to comply with his
essential marital obligations - resulted in violent
fights between husband and wife, that petitioner
used prohibited drugs, was apprehended by the
authorities and sentenced to a one-year suspended
penalty and has not been rehabilitated; that
petitioner was a womanizer, he left the conjugal
home and cohabited with three women in
succession, that petitioner likewise became a
spendthrift and abused his administration of the
conjugal partnership by alienating some of their
assets and incurring large obligations with banks,
credit card companies and other financial
institutions, without private respondent's consent; t


attempts at reconciliation were made but they all

failed because of petitioner's refusal to reform.

contends that when he failed to

hearings, the trial court should
have ordered the prosecuting
officer to intervene for the state
and inquire as to the reason for
his non-appearance.

Articles 48 and 60 of the

Family Code read as follows:
A grant of annulment of marriage or legal separation
by default is fraught with the danger of collusion. 22
Hence, in all cases for annulment, declaration of
nullity of marriage and legal separation, the
prosecuting attorney or fiscal is ordered to appear on
behalf of the state for the purpose of preventing any
collusion between the parties and to take care that their
evidence is not fabricated or suppressed.
If the defendant spouse fails to answer the complaint,
the court cannot declare him or her in default but
instead, should order the prosecuting attorney to
determine if collusion exists between the parties. 23
The prosecuting attorney or fiscal may oppose the
application for legal separation or annulment through
the presentation of his own evidence, if in his opinion,

In addition to her prayer for annulment of

marriage, private respondent prayed for powers of
administration to save the conjugal properties from
further dissipation.

Petitioner insists that he has

a valid and meritorious defense.
He cites the Family Code which
provides that in actions for
annulment of marriage or legal
officer should intervene for the
state because the law looks with
disfavor upon the haphazard
declaration of annulment of

the proof adduced is dubious and fabricated. 24

Our Constitution is committed to the policy of
strengthening the family as a basic social institution.
25 Our family law is based on the policy that marriage
is not a mere contract, but a social institution in which
the state is vitally interested. The state can find no
stronger anchor than on good, solid and happy
families. The break up of families weakens our social
and moral fabric and, hence, their preservation is not
the concern alone of the family members.
The facts in the case at bar do not call for the strict
application of Articles 48 and 60 of the Family Code.
For one, petitioner was not declared in default by the
trial court for failure to answer. Petitioner filed his
answer to the complaint and contested the cause of

action alleged by private respondent. He actively

participated in the proceedings below by filing several
pleadings and cross-examining the witnesses of
private respondent. It is crystal clear that every stage
of the litigation was characterized by a no-holds
barred contest and not by collusion.
Chi Ming Tsoi vs. CA
G.R. No. 119190, January 16, 1997
Ponente: TORRES, JR., J.
Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras
On May 22, 1988, Chi Ming Tsoi married
the Gina Lao-Tsoi.
After the celebration of their marriage and
wedding reception, they slept together on the same bed
in the same room for the first night of their married
life. It is the version of the Gina, that contrary to her
expectations, that as newlyweds they were supposed to
enjoy making love with each other, there was no
sexual intercourse between them during the first night.
The same thing happened on the second, third and
fourth nights.

the basic end of marriage." Constant non-fulfillment of

this obligation will finally destroy the integrity or
wholeness of the marriage.
In the case at bar, the senseless and
protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the
above marital obligation is equivalent to psychological
Love is useless unless it is shared with
another. An ungiven self is an unfulfilled self. In the
natural order, it is sexual intimacy which brings
spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual intimacy is a
gift and a participation in the mystery of creation. It is
a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and
ensures the continuation of family relations.
This Court, finding the gravity of the failed
relationship in which the parties found themselves
trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and
unconsummated marital obligations grants the petition
for declaration of nullity of marriage.
Republic vs. CA and Molina
G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997
Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras

In an effort to have their honeymoon in a

private place where they can enjoy together during
their first week as husband and wife, they went to
Baguio City. But, they did so together with her mother,
an uncle, his mother and his nephew who were all
invited by the Chi Ming Tsoi. But still, during this
period, there was no sexual intercourse between them,
since Chi Ming Tsoi avoided her by taking a long walk
during siesta time or by just sleeping on a rocking
chair located at the living room.
Ching Ming Tsoi even admitted that since
their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation
on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual contact
between them.
The RTC rendered the marriage between Chi
Ming Tsoi and Gina void ab initio. The Court of
Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
Hence, the instant petition.

Roridel and Reynaldo were married on April
14, 1985.
After a year of marriage, Reynaldo showed
signs of "immaturity and irresponsibility" as a husband
and a father since he preferred to spend more time
with his peers and friends on whom he squandered his
money; that he depended on his parents for aid and
assistance, and was never honest with his wife in
regard to their finances, resulting in frequent quarrels
between them.
In 1987, Reynaldo left Roridel and their
child, and had since then abandoned them.
Roridel filed a petition for declaration of the
nullity of their marriage. The RTC declared the
marriage void. The CA affirmed in toto the RTC's

Is Chi Ming Tsoi and Ginas marriage void
ab initio on the ground of Chi Ming Tsois
psychological incapacity?

Hence, the present recourse.


Ruling: YES

Is Roridel and Reynaldos marriage void ab

initio on the ground of Reynaldos psychological

Prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual

intercourse with his or her spouse is considered a sign
of psychological incapacity.

Ruling: NO

Evidently, one of the essential marital

obligations under the Family Code is "To procreate
children based on the universal principle that
procreation of children through sexual cooperation is

differences" and "conflicting personalities" in no wise
constitutes psychological incapacity.

The following are the guidelines in the

interpretation and application of Art. 36 of the Family
Code for the guidance of the bench and the bar:
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity
of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. xxx;
(2) The root cause of the psychological
incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically
identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently
proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the
decision. xxx;
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be
existing at "the time of the celebration" of the
marriage. xxx;
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to
be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. xxx;
(5) Such illness must be grave enough to
bring about the disability of the party to assume the
essential obligations of marriage.xxx ;
(6) The essential marital obligations must be
those embraced by Articles 68-71 of the Family Code
as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles
220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to
parents and their children.xxx ;
(7) Interpretations given by the National
Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic
Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or
decisive, should be given great respect by our courts.
(8) The trial court must order the
prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General
to appear as counsel for the state. xxx;
Hence, the marriage of Roridel Olaviano to
Reynaldo Molina subsists and remains valid.
Hernandez vs. CA

Lucita and Marcio met in Philippine
Christian University in Dasmarinas
when lucita was Marcios teacher
for two consecutive semesters.
Lucita was 5 years older than
Marcio. They later on became
sweethearts and eventually got
married. They also had a child.
Lucita supported the family as her
supported by his parents. The first
few years of their marriage went
okay. But this eventually changed.
relation with another student who

was also married. When Lucita

discovered this, he asked Lucio to
end it. He promised to but did not
fulfill it and left their conjugal home
and child.
After some time, he returned to
Lucita and she accepted him.
However, his attitude worsened
when he got employed to Reynold
Philippines, Inc. He engaged in
during the latter part of 1986.
As a result, private respondent
contracted gonorrhea and infected
petitioner. Petitioner averred that
on one occasion of a heated
argument, private respondent hit
their eldest child who was then
respondent is not close to any of
their children as he was never
affectionate and hardly spent time
with them. On July 10, 1992,
petitioner filed before the RTC a
petition seeking the annulment of
her marriage to private respondent
on the ground of psychological
incapacity. RTC and CA denied the
petition. Hence, this case.
psychologically incapacitated
fulfill his marital obligations


HELD: The psychological incapacity

of a spouse, as a ground for
declaration of nullity of marriage,
must exist at the time of the
celebration of marriage. More so,
abandonment, gambling and use of
prohibited drugs are not grounds
per se, of psychological incapacity
of a spouse. Certainly, petitionerappellants declaration that at the
was on the borderline between a
responsible person and the happygo-lucky, could not constitute the
contemplation of Article 36 of the
Family Code.

Marcos vs. Marcos

G.R. No. 136490, October 19, 2000
Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras
Brenda and Wilson first met sometime in
1980 when both of them were assigned at the
Malacaang Palace, she as an escort of Imee Marcos
and he as a Presidential Guard of President Ferdinand
Marcos. Through telephone conversations, they
acquainted and eventually became
Thereafter, Wilson and Brenda were married
twice on September 6, 1982, solemnized by Judge
Eriberto H. Espiritu and on May 8, 1983, solemnized
by Rev. Eduardo L. Eleazar, Command Chaplain, at
the Presidential Security Command Chapel in
After the downfall of President Marcos,
Wilson left the military service and engaged in
different business ventures that did not however
prosper. As a wife, Brenda always urged him to look
for work so that their children would see him as a
good provider. Due to his failure to engage in any
gainful employment, they would often quarrel and as a
consequence, he would hit and beat her. He would also
inflict physical harm on their children and was so
severe in the way he chastised them. In 1992, they
were already living separately.
On October 16, 1994, when Brenda saw
Wilson in their house, she was so angry that she
lambasted him. He then turned violent, inflicting
physical harm on her and even on her mother who
came to her aid.
RTC found Wilson to be psychologically
incapacitated and declared Brenda and Wilsons
marriage void ab initio. CA reversed RTCs decision.

Is Wilson required to submit himself to

psychological examination?
Is Wilson and Brendas marriage void
ab initio on the ground of Wilsons
psychological incapacity?



Psychological incapacity, as a ground for

declaring the nullity of a marriage, may be established
by the totality of evidence presented. There is no
requirement that Wilson should be examined by a
physician or a psychologist as a conditio sine qua non
for such declaration.
The guidelines laid down in Republic vs CA
and Molina do not require that a physician examine

the person to be declared psychologically

incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be
"medically or clinically identified." What is important
is the presence of evidence that can adequately
establish the party's psychological condition. For
indeed, if the totality of evidence presented is enough
to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then
actual medical examination of the person concerned
need not be resorted to.


The totality of the evidence presented in the

present case was not enough to sustain a finding that
Wilson was psychologically incapacitated. Although
this Court is sufficiently convinced that Wilson failed
to provide material support to the family and may have
resorted to physical abuse and abandonment, the
totality of his acts does not lead to a conclusion of
psychological incapacity on his part. There is
absolutely no showing that his "defects" were already
present at the inception of the marriage or that they are
Verily, the behavior of respondent can be
attributed to the fact that he had lost his job and was
not gainfully employed for a period of more than six
years. It was during this period that he became
intermittently drunk, failed to give material and moral
support, and even left the family home.
Equally important, there is no evidence
showing that his condition is incurable, especially now
that he is gainfully employed as a taxi driver.
Republic vs. Dagdag

On September 7, 1975, Erlinda
Matias, 16 years old, married
Avelino Parangan Dagdag, 20 years
Independent Church in Cuyapo,
Ecija. The
certificate was issued by the Office
of the Local Civil Registrar of the
Municipality of on October 20,
1988. Erlinda and Avelino begot
two children.
The birth certificates were issued
by the Office of the Local Civil
Registrar of the Municipality of
Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija also on
October 20, 1988. A week after the
wedding, Avelino started leaving
his family without explanation. He
suddenly re-appear for a few
again. During the times when he

was with his family, he indulged in

drinking sprees with friends and
would return home drunk. He would
force his wife to submit to sexual
intercourse and if she refused, he
would inflict physical injuries to her.
In October 1993, he left his family
again and that was the last that
him. Erlinda
imprisoned for some crime, and
that he escaped from jail and
remains at large to-date. In July
1990, Erlinda filed with the RTC of
Olongapo City a petition for judicial
declaration of nullity of marriage on
incapacity. Since Avelino could not
be located, summons was served
by publication in the Olongapo
News, a newspaper of general
circulation. On the date set for
presentation of evidence, only
Erlinda and her counsel appeared.
Erlinda testified and presented her
sister-in-law as her only witness.
The trial court issued an Order
giving the investigating prosecutor
until January 2, 1991 to manifest in
writing whether or not he would
present controverting evidence,
and stating that should he fail to
file said manifestation, the case
would be deemed submitted for
decision. The
investigation and found that there
was no collusion between the

However, he intended to intervene

in the case to avoid fabrication of
evidence. Without waiting for the
declared the marriage of Erlinda
and Avelino void under Article
36. The investigating prosecutor
filed a Motion to Set Aside
Judgment on the ground that the

decision was prematurely rendered

since he was given until January 2,
1991 to manifest whether he was
presenting controverting evidence.
The Office of the Solicitor General
Reconsideration of the decision on
the ground that the same is not in
accordance with the evidence and
the law. Since the trial court denied
the Motion for Reconsideration, the
Solicitor General appealed to the
CA. The CA affirmed the decision of
the trial court holding that Avelino
incapacitated not only because he
failed to perform the duties and
obligations of a married person but
immature and irresponsible, an
Did the CA correctly declare the
marriage as null and void under
Article 36 of the Family Code, on
the ground that the husband
incapacity, as he is emotionally
immature and irresponsible, a
habitual alcoholic, and a fugitive
Whether or not psychological
incapacity exists in a given case
marriage, depends crucially, more
than in any field of law, on the
facts of the case. Each case must
be judged, not on the basis of a
priori assumptions, predilections or
generalizations but according to its
own facts.
annulment of marriage, it is trite to
say that no case is on all fours
with another case. The trial judge
must take pains in examining the
factual milieu and the appellate
court must, as much as possible,

avoid substituting its own judgment

for that of the trial court.
198), the Court laid down the
GUIDELINES in the interpretation of
Article 36 of the Family Code.
Taking into consideration these
guidelines, it is evident that Erlinda
failed to comply with the abovementioned
requirements. Erlinda failed to
comply with guideline number 2
which requires that the root cause
of psychological incapacity must be
medically or clinically proven by
experts, since no psychiatrist or
medical doctor testified as to the
alleged psychological incapacity of
her husband.
Further, the allegation that the
husband is a fugitive from justice
was not sufficiently proven. In fact,
the crime for which he was
arrested was not even alleged. The
likewise not given an opportunity to
present controverting evidence
since the trial courts decision was
prematurely rendered.
Sin vs. Sin

married with Philipp, a Portuguese
citizen in January 1987. Florence
filed in September 1994, a
complaint for the declaration of
nullity of their marriage. Trial
ensued and the parties presented
their respective documentary and
testimonial evidence. In June 1995,
trial court dismissed Florences
petition and throughout its trial, the
State did not participate in the
proceedings. While Fiscal Jabson
filed with the trial court a
1994 stating that he found no

collusion between the parties, he

appearance at certain hearings,
nothing more was heard of him.

ISSUE: Whether the declaration of

nullity may be declared even with
the absence of the participation of
the State in the proceedings.

Article 48 of the Family Code states
that 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. The trial court should
have ordered the prosecuting
attorney or fiscal and the SolicitorGeneral to appear as counsel for
the state. No decision shall be
handed down unless the Solicitor
General issues a certification
briefly stating his reasons for his
agreement or opposition as the
case may be, to the petition. The
records are bereft of an evidence
that the State participated in the
prosecution of the case thus, the
case is remanded for proper trial.
Pesca vs. Pesca
respondent were married and had
four children. Lorna filed a petition
for declaration of nullity of their
psychological incapacity on the
part of her husband. She alleged
that he is emotionally immature
and irresponsible. He was cruel and
violent. He was a habitual drinker.
Whenever she tells him to stop or
at least minimize his drinking, her

husband would hurt her. There was

even a time when she was chased
threatened to kill her in the
presence of their children. The
children also suffered physical
children left the home. Two months
later, they returned upon the
promise of respondent to change.
But he didnt. She was battered
again. Her husband was imprisoned
for 11 days for slight physical
marriage null and void. CA
reversed RTCs ruling. Hence, this

ISSUE: W/N the guidelines for

psychological incapacity in the
case of Republic vs CA & Molina
should be taken in consideration in
deciding in this case.

Leni Choa and Alfonso Choa got

married in 1981. They have 2
children namely Cheryl Lynne and
Albryan. In 1993, Alfonso filed an
annulment of his marriage to Leni.
Afterwards, he filed an amended
complaint for the declaration of
nullity of their marriage based on
psychological incapacity. The case
went to trial and the trial court
further held that Alfonso presented
quantum evidence that Leni needs
to controvert for the dismissal of
the case.

Alfonso claimed that Leni charged

him with perjury, concubinage and
deportation which shows latters
psychological incapacity because
according to him it clearly showed
that his wife not only wanted him
behind bars but also to banish
outside the country.

HELD: Yes. In the Molina case,

guidelines were laid down by the
SC before a case would fall under
the category of psychological
incapacity to declare a marriage
null and void. This decision has
force and effect of a law. These
guidelines are mandatory in nature.
Petition denied.

The "doctrine of stare decisis,"

ordained in Article 8 of the Civil
Code, expresses
decisions applying or interpreting
the law shall form part of the legal
system of the Philippines. The rule
follows the settled legal maxim
obtinet that the interpretation
placed upon the written law by a
competent court has the force of
Choa vs. Choa

Whether or not Alfonso Chua

presented quantum evidence for
the declaration of nullity of his
marriage with Leni on the ground of
psychological incapacity.
The court held that documents
presented by Alfonso during the
trial of the case do not in any way
show the alleged psychological
incapacity of his wife.
evidence was insufficient and
shows grave abuse of discretion
bordering on absurdity. Alfonso
testified and complained about
three aspects of Lenis personality
namely lack of attention to
children, immaturity, and lack of an
intention of procreative sexuality
and none of these three, singly or
psychological incapacity.

Psychological incapacity must be

characterized by gravity, juridical
antecedence, and incurability. It
must be more than just a difficulty,
a refusal or a neglect in the
performance of marital obligations.
A mere showing of irreconcilable
personalities does not constitute
psychological incapacity.

two children by Ibrahim. David accepted her back and

even considered the two illegitimate children as his
own. However, on December 9, 1995, Sharon
abandoned David to join Ibrahim in Jordan with their
two children.

evidence from other witnesses
failed to identify and prove root
cause of the alleged psychological
incapacity. It just established that
the spouses had an incompatibility
or a defect that could possibly be
The totality of
completely insufficient to sustain a
finding of psychological incapacity
more so without any medical,

Ruling: NO

Dedel vs. CA

Tenebro vs. CA

G.R. No. 151867, January 29, 2004

G.R. No. 150758, February 18, 2004



Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras

Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras



David B. Dedel met respondent Sharon L.

Corpuz Dedel while he was working in the advertising
business of his father. The acquaintance led to
courtship and romantic relations, culminating in a civil
wedding on September 28, 1966. This was followed
by a church wedding on May 20, 1967.

Veronico Tenebro, contracted marriage with

Leticia Ancajas on April 10, 1990. Tenebro and
Ancajas lived together continuously and without
interruption until the latter part of 1991, when Tenebro
informed Ancajas that he had been previously married
to a certain Hilda Villareyes on November 10, 1986.
Tenebro showed Ancajas a photocopy of a marriage
contract between him and Villareyes. Invoking this
previous marriage, he left the conjugal dwelling which
he shared with Ancajas, stating that he was going to
cohabit with Villareyes.

David avers that during the marriage, Sharon

turned out to be an irresponsible and immature wife
and mother. She had extra-marital affairs with several
Sharon was even confined in the Manila
Medical City for treatment by Dr. Lourdes Lapuz, a
clinical psychiatrist. David alleged that despite the
treatment, Sharon did not stop her illicit relationship
with the Jordanian national named Mustafa Ibrahim,
whom she married and with whom she had two
children. However, when Mustafa Ibrahim left the
country, Sharon returned to Davud bringing along her

David filed on April 1, 1997 a petition

seeking the declaration of nullity of his marriage on
the ground of psychological incapacity.
Is Sharon and Davids marriage void ab
initio on the ground of Sharons psychological

Sharons sexual infidelity or perversion and

abandonment do not by themselves constitute
psychological incapacity within the contemplation of
the Family Code. Neither could her emotional
immaturity and irresponsibility be equated with
psychological incapacity. It must be shown that these
acts are manifestations of a disordered personality
which make respondent completely unable to
discharge the essential obligations of the marital state,
not merely due to her youth, immaturity or sexual
At best, the circumstances relied upon by
petitioner are grounds for legal separation under
Article 55 of the Family Code.

On January 25, 1993, Tenebro contracted yet

another marriage, this one with a certain Nilda
Villegas. When Ancajas learned of this third marriage,
she verified from Villareyes whether the latter was
indeed married to Tenebro. In a handwritten letter,
Villareyes confirmed that Tenebro was indeed her

Ancajas thereafter filed a complaint for

bigamy against petitioner.
Tenebro, however, opposed saying that (a)
his marriage with Villareyes was void on the ground of
the lack of a marriage ceremony while (2) that with
Ancajas was declared void on the ground of
psychological incapacity.
The RTC found Tenebro guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of bigamy. The Court of
Appeals affirmed RTCs decision.
Can Tenebro invoke the nullity of his
previous marriages as a defense for the crime of
Ruling: NO
As to his marriage with Villareyes, sufficient
evidence was presented to show its validity and
As to his marriage with Ancajas, the
subsequent judicial declaration of nullity of marriage
on the ground of psychological incapacity does not
retroact to the date of the celebration of the marriage
insofar as the Philippines penal laws are concerned.
As such, an individual who contracts a
second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence
of a valid marriage is criminally liable for bigamy,
notwithstanding the subsequent declaration that the
second marriage is void ab initio on the ground of
psychological incapacity.
Although the judicial declaration of the
nullity of a marriage on the ground of psychological
incapacity retroacts to the date of the celebration of the
marriage insofar as the vinculum between the spouses
is concerned, it is significant to note that said marriage
is not without legal effects.
Among these effects is that children
conceived or born before the judgment of absolute
nullity of the marriage shall be considered legitimate.
There is therefore a recognition written into the law
itself that such a marriage, although void ab initio,
may still produce legal consequences. Among these
legal consequences is incurring criminal liability for
Republic vs. Hamano
G.R. No. 149498, May 20, 2004
Ponente: CORONA, J.
Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras
In October 1986, Lolita and Toshio started a
common-law relationship in Japan.

On January 14, 1988, while in the

Philippines, she and Toshio were married by Judge
Isauro M. Balderia. One month after their marriage,
Toshio returned to Japan and promised to return by
Christmas to celebrate the holidays with his family.
After sending money to respondent for two months,
Toshio stopped giving financial support. She wrote
him several times but he never responded. Sometime
in 1991, Lolita learned from her friends that Toshio
visited the Philippines but he did not bother to see her
and their child.
On June 17, 1996, Lolita Quintero-Hamano
filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of her
marriage to her husband Toshio Hamano, a Japanese
national, on the ground of psychological incapacity.
RTC rendered the marriage between Toshio
and Lolita null and void. The CA affirmed the RTCs


Does abandonment and insensitivity to ones

psychological incapacity?
Does it make a difference that the spouse
alleged to be psychologically incapacitated
is a foreigner?



We find that the totality of evidence

presented fell short of proving that Toshio was
psychologically incapacitated to assume his marital
responsibilities. Toshios act of abandonment was
doubtlessly irresponsible but it was never alleged nor
proven to be due to some kind of psychological
illness. After respondent testified on how Toshio
abandoned his family, no other evidence was
presented showing that his behavior was caused by a
psychological disorder. Although, as a rule, there was
no need for an actual medical examination, it would
have greatly helped respondents case had she
presented evidence that medically or clinically
identified his illness. This could have been done
through an expert witness. This respondent did not do.
As we ruled in Molina, it is not enough to
prove that a spouse failed to meet his responsibility
and duty as a married person; it is essential that he
must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to
some psychological, not physical, illness.


In proving psychological incapacity, we find

no distinction between an alien spouse and a Filipino
spouse. We cannot be lenient in the application of the
rules merely because the spouse alleged to be
psychologically incapacitated happens to be a foreign
national. The medical and clinical rules to determine
psychological incapacity were formulated on the basis
of studies of human behavior in general. Hence, the
norms used for determining psychological incapacity
should apply to any person regardless of nationality.
Antonio vs. Reyes
G.R. No. 155800, March 10, 2006
Ponente: TINGA, J.
Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras
Statistics never lie, but lovers often do,
quipped a sage.
Leonilo Antonio and Marie Ivonne Reyes
met in August 1989. Barely a year after their first
meeting, they got married before a minister of the
Gospel at the Manila City Hall, and through a
subsequent church wedding at the Sta. Rosa de Lima
Parish on 6 December 1990. Out of their union, a child
was born on 19 April 1991, who sadly died five (5)
months later.
On 8 March 1993, Leonilo filed a petition to
have his marriage to Marie Ivonne declared null and
void on the ground of psychological incapacity.
Leonilo claimed that Marie Ivonne
persistently lied about herself, the people around her,
her occupation, income, educational attainment and
other events or things, to wit:
(1) She concealed the fact that she
previously gave birth to an illegitimate son, and
instead introduced the boy as the adopted child of her
(2) She fabricated a story that her brother-inlaw attempted to rape and kill her;
(3) She misrepresented herself as a
psychiatrist to her obstetrician and told some of her
friends that she graduated with a degree in
(4) She claimed to be a singer or a free-lance
voice talent affiliated with Blackgold Recording
Company (Blackgold);
(5) She invented friends named Babes
Santos and Via Marquez, and under those names, sent
lengthy letters to petitioner claiming to be from
Blackgold and touting her as the "number one
moneymaker" in the commercial industry worth P2
million. Leonilo later found out that Marie Ivonne
herself wrote those letters;

(6) She altered her payslip to make it appear

that she earned a higher income; and
(7) She exhibited jealousies over him to the
extent of calling up his officemates to monitor his
The RTC rendered the marriage between
Leonilo and Marie Ivonne as null and void ab initio.
The CA, however, reversed the RTCs judgment.
Is Marie Ivonnes propensity to lie about
almost everything tantamount to psychological
Ruling: YES
We find that the present case sufficiently
satisfies the guidelines in Molina.
Marie Ivonne practically lived in a world of
make believe making her therefore not in a position to
give meaning and significance to her marriage with
As correctly concluded by the psychiatrist
presented by Leonilo, such repeated lying is abnormal
and pathological and amounts to psychological
Ferraris vs. Ferraris
G.R. No. 162368, July 17, 2006
Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras
Ma. Armida Perez-Ferraris (Amy) was
married to Brix Ferraris (Brix).
During their relatively short marriage, Amy
was happy and contented with her life in the company
of Brix. In fact, by Amy's own reckoning, Brix was a
responsible and loving husband.
Their problems, however, began when Amy
started doubting Brix's fidelity. They started fighting
about the calls from women that Brix allegedly
received. Brix, since then, allegedly failed to perform
his so-called marital obligations.
Amy thereafter filed a petition for the
declaration of nullity of her marriage with Brix on the
ground of psychological incapacity. She alleged that
Brix was violent whenever he experiences epileptic
attacks and that he was not faithful to her.
On February 20, 2001, the RTC rendered a
decision denying the petition. The CA affirmed RTCs

Does infidelity and violent tendencies during

epileptic attacks tantamount to psychological
Ruling: NO
The term "psychological incapacity" to be a
ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of
the Family Code, refers to a serious psychological
illness afflicting a party even before the celebration of
the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent
as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and
responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about
to assume. There is no doubt that the intendment of the
law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological
incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality
disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage.
Amy's evidence showed that Brix's alleged
failure to perform his so-called marital obligations was
not at all a manifestation of some deep-seated, grave,
permanent and incurable psychological malady. To be
sure, the couple's relationship before the marriage and
even during their brief union (for well about a year or
so) was not all bad.
We find Brix's alleged mixed personality
disorder, the "leaving-the-house" attitude whenever
they quarreled, the violent tendencies during epileptic
attacks, the sexual infidelity, the abandonment and
lack of support, and his preference to spend more time
with his band mates than his family, are not rooted on
some debilitating psychological condition but a mere
refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential
obligations of marriage.
While petitioner's marriage with the
respondent failed and appears to be without hope of
reconciliation, the remedy however is not always to
have it declared void ab initio on the ground of
psychological incapacity. An unsatisfactory marriage,
however, is not a null and void marriage.

elope. At first, he refused, bickering that he was

young and jobless. Her persistence, however, made
him relent. Thus, they left Manila and sailed to Cebu
that month; he, providing their travel money and she,
purchasing the boat ticket.
However, Edwards P80,000.00 lasted for
only a month. And they could not find a job. In April
1996, they decided to go back to Manila. Rowena
proceeded to her uncles house and Edward to his
parents home. As his family was abroad, and Rowena
kept on telephoning him, threatening him that she
would commit suicide, Edward agreed to stay with
Rowena at her uncles place.
On April 23, 1996, Rowenas uncle brought
the two to a court to get married. He was then 25
years old, and she, 20. The two then continued to stay
at her uncles place where Edward was treated like a
prisonerhe was not allowed to go out
unaccompanied. Her uncle also showed Edward his
guns and warned the latter not to leave Rowena.
Rowena suggested that Edward should get his
inheritance so that they could live on their own.
Edward talked to his father about this, but the
patriarch got mad, told Edward that he would be
disinherited, and insisted that Edward must go home.
After a month, Edward escaped from the
house of Rowenas uncle, and stayed with his parents.
His family then hid him from Rowena.
In June 1996, Edward was able to talk to
Rowena. Unmoved by his persistence that they should
live with his parents, she said that it was better for
them to live separate lives. They then parted ways.
After almost four years, Edward filed a
petition for the declaration of the nullity of their
The RTC declared the marriage between
Edward and Rowena null and void. The CA reversed
the RTCs decision.

Ngo-Te vs. Yu-Te

G.R. No. 16179, February 13, 2009
Ponente: NACHURA, J.
Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras
Edward Kenneth Ngo Te first got a glimpse
of respondent Rowena Ong Gutierrez Yu-Te in a
gathering organized by the Filipino-Chinese
association in their college. Sharing similar angst
towards their families, the two understood one another
and developed a certain degree of closeness towards
each other.
In March 1996, or around three months after
their first meeting, Rowena asked Edward that they

Is the marriage between Rowena and

Edward void ab initio on the ground of their
psychological incapacity?
Ruling: YES
The parties whirlwind relationship lasted
more or less six (6) months. They met in January
1996, eloped in March, exchanged marital vows in
May, and parted ways in June. The psychologist who
provided expert testimony found both parties
psychologically incapacitated. Edwards behavioral
pattern falls under the classification of dependent
personality disorder, and Rowenas, that of the
narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder.
Indeed, Edward, who is afflicted with
dependent personality disorder, cannot assume the
essential marital obligations of living together,
observing love, respect and fidelity and rendering help
and support, for he is unable to make everyday

decisions without advice from others, allows others to

make most of his important decisions, tends to agree
with people even when he believes they are wrong,
has difficulty doing things on his own, volunteers to
do things that are demeaning in order to get approval
from other people, feels uncomfortable or helpless
when alone and is often preoccupied with fears of
being abandoned. As clearly shown in this case,
petitioner followed everything dictated to him by the
persons around him. He is insecure, weak and gullible,
has no sense of his identity as a person, has no
cohesive self to speak of, and has no goals and clear
direction in life.
Although on a different plane, the same may
also be said of Rowena. Her being afflicted with
antisocial personality disorder makes her unable to
assume the essential marital obligations. This finding
takes into account her disregard for the rights of
others, her abuse, mistreatment and control of others
without remorse, her tendency to blame others, and
her intolerance of the conventional behavioral
limitations imposed by society. Moreover, as shown in
this case, Rowena is impulsive and domineering; she
had no qualms in manipulating petitioner with her
threats of blackmail and of committing suicide.
Both parties being afflicted with grave,
severe and incurable psychological incapacity, the
precipitous marriage which they contracted on April
23, 1996 is thus, declared null and void.

Republic vs. CA and De Quintos

G.R. No. 159594, November 12, 2012
Ponente: BERSAMIN, J.
Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras
Eduardo and Catalina were married on
March 16, 1977.
On April 6, 1998, Eduardo filed a petition
for the declaration of nullity of their marriage citing
Catalinas psychological incapacity.

Eduardo presented the results of the neuropsychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Annabelle L.
Reyes, a psychiatrist.
Based on the tests she administered on
Catalina, Dr. Reyes opined that Catalina exhibited
traits of Borderline Personality Disorder.
The RTC granted Eduardos petition. The
CA affirmed the RTCs decision.
Is the marriage between Eduardo and
Catalina null and void on the ground of Catalinas
psychological incapacity?
Ruling: NO
Psychological incapacity contemplates an
incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to
assume basic marital obligations; not merely the
difficulty, refusal, or neglect in the performance of
marital obligations or ill will.
Firstly, Catalinas supposed behavior were
not even established. Eduardo presented no other
witnesses to corroborate his allegations.
Secondly, the results of the neuropsychological evaluation by Dr. Reyes were ostensibly
vague about the root cause and gravity of Catalinas
alleged psychological incapacity.
Thirdly, we have said that the expert
evidence presented in cases of declaration of nullity of
marriage based on psychological incapacity
presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the
parties by the psychologist or expert. However, Dr.
Reyes had only one interview with Catalina, and did
not personally seek out and meet with other persons,
aside from Eduardo.
Fourthly, the only fact established here,
which Catalina admitted, was her abandonment of the
conjugal home to live with another man. Yet,
abandonment and sexual infidelity are not valid
grounds for the declaration of nullity of marriage.
Mendoza vs. Republic

Catalina did not interpose any objection to

the petition, but prayed to be given her share in the
conjugal house and lot.

G.R. No. 157649, November 12, 2012

Eduardo testified that Catalina always left

their house without his consent; that she engaged in
petty arguments with him; that she constantly refused
to give in to his sexual needs; that she spent most of
her time gossiping with neighbors instead of doing the
household chores and caring for their adopted
daughter; that she squandered by gambling all his
remittances as an overseas worker in Qatar since 1993;
and that she abandoned the conjugal home in 1997 to
live with Bobbie Castro, her paramour.

Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras

Ponente: BERSAMIN, J.

Arabelle and Dominic had been next-door
neighbors in the appartelle they were renting while
they were still in college.
After a month of courtship, they became
intimate and their intimacy ultimately led to her
pregnancy. They got married on her eighth month of

Dominic remained jobless and dependent

upon his father for support until he finished his college
Arabelle took on various jobs to meet the
familys needs. She shouldered all of the familys
In September 1994, she discovered his illicit
communication between them became rare until they
started to sleep in separate rooms.
In November 1995, Dominic gave her a
Daihatsu Charade car as a birthday present. He asked
her to issue two blank checks that he claimed would
be for the cars insurance coverage. She soon found
out, however, that the checks were paid for his
personal needs. Worse, she also found out that he did
not pay for the car itself, forcing her to rely on her
father-in-law to pay part of the cost of the car, leaving
her to bear the balance of P120,000.00.
To make matters worse, Dominic was fired
from his employment after he ran away with
P164,000.00 belonging to his employer. He was
convicted with violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22
and estafa. Arabelle also discovered that he had also
swindled many clients.
On October 15, 1997, Arabelle asked
Dominic for "time and space to think things over." A
month later, she refused his attempt at reconciliation,
causing him to threaten to commit suicide. At that, she
and her family immediately went to live in another
place concealed from him.
Arabelle then filed in the RTC her petition
for the declaration of the nullity of her marriage with
Dominic based on his psychological incapacity.
RTC ruled that the marriage between
Arabelle and Dominic is void ab initio. The CA
reversed RTCs decision.
Is the marriage between Arabelle and
Dominic void ab initio on the ground of psychological
Ruling: NO
The ill-feelings that Arabelle harbored
towards Dominic, which she admitted during her
consultation with Dr. Samson, furnished the basis to
doubt the findings of her expert witness. Dr. Samson,
herself, conceded that there was the need for her to
resort to other people in order to verify the facts
derived from Arabelle about Dominics psychological
profile considering the ill-feelings she harbored
towards him. It turned out, however, that the only
people she interviewed about Dominic were those
whom Arabelle herself referred.
In fine, the failure to examine and interview
Dominic himself naturally cast serious doubt on Dr.
Samsons findings.

In light of the foregoing, even if the expert

opinions of psychologists are not conditions sine qua
non in the granting of petitions for declaration of
nullity of marriage, the actual medical examination of
the allegedly psychologically incapacitated spouse
can be dispensed with only if the totality of evidence
presented was enough to support a finding of his
psychological incapacity.
Republic vs. Encelan
G.R. No. 170022, January 9, 2013
Ponente: BRION, J.
Contributor: Alona Suzell B. Ruyeras
On August 25, 1979, Cesar married Lolita.
To support his family, Cesar went to work
in Saudi Arabia.
While still in Saudi Arabia, Cesar learned
that Lolita had been having an illicit affair with Alvin
Perez. Lolita allegedly left the conjugal home with her
children and lived with Alvin.
Since then, Cesar and Lolita had been
On June 16, 1995, Cesar filed with the RTC
a petition against Lolita for the declaration of the
nullity of his marriage based on Lolitas psychological
Lolita denied that she had an affair with
Alvin; she contended that Alvin used to be an
associate in her promotions business. She insisted that
she is not psychologically incapacitated and that she
left their home because of irreconcilable differences
with her mother-in-law.
evaluation report prepared by Dr. Fareda Fatima
Flores who found that Lolita was "not suffering from
any form of major psychiatric illness," but had been
"unable to provide the expectations expected of her for
a good and lasting marital relationship"; also, her
"transferring from one job to the other depicts some
interpersonal problems with co-workers".
RTC declared Cesars marriage to Lolita
void. The CA originally set aside the RTCs verdict but
later on affirmed the RTCs decision.
Is Cesar and Lolitas marriage void ab initio
on the ground of Lolitas psychological incapacity?
Ruling: NO
In interpreting Article 36 of the Family
Code, we have repeatedly stressed that psychological
incapacity contemplates "downright incapacity or
inability to take cognizance of and to assume the basic

marital obligations"; not merely the refusal, neglect or

difficulty, much less ill will, on the part of the errant
Sexual infidelity and abandonment of the
conjugal dwelling, even if true, do not necessarily
constitute psychological incapacity; these are simply
grounds for legal separation. To constitute
psychological incapacity, it must be shown that the
unfaithfulness and abandonment are manifestations of
a disordered personality that completely prevented the
erring spouse from discharging the essential marital

Dr. Flores psychological evaluation report

on Lolita, in fact, established that Lolita did not suffer
from any major psychiatric illness. Dr. Flores
observation on Lolitas interpersonal problems with
co-workers cannot simply be equated with a wifes
psychological fitness as a spouse. Workplace
obligations and responsibilities are poles apart from
their marital counterparts.