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G.R. No.

104818 September 17, 1993 And with respect to the right of the second wife, this Court observed that although
the second marriage can be presumed to be void ab initio as it was celebrated
while the first marriage was still subsisting, still there is need for judicial
ROBERTO DOMINGO, petitioner,
declaration of its nullity. (37 SCRA 316, 326)
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and DELIA SOLEDAD AVERA represented by her Attorney-in-Fact MOISES R. AVERA, respondents.
The above ruling which is of later vintage deviated from the previous rulings of the
Supreme Court in the aforecited cases of Aragon and Mendoza.
Jose P.O. Aliling IV for petitioner.

Finally, the contention of respondent movant that petitioner has no property in his
De Guzman, Meneses & Associates for private respondent.
possession is an issue that may be determined only after trial on the merits.1

A motion for reconsideration was filed stressing the erroneous application of Vda. de Consuegra v. GSIS2 and the absence of
ROMERO, J.:
justiciable controversy as to the nullity of the marriage. On September 11, 1991, Judge Austria denied the motion for
reconsideration and gave petitioner fifteen (15) days from receipt within which to file his answer.
The instant petition seeks the reversal of respondent court's ruling finding no grave abuse of discretion in the lower court's
order denying petitioner's motion to dismiss the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage and separation of property.
Instead of filing the required answer, petitioner filed a special civil action of certiorari and mandamus on the ground that the
lower court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in denying the motion to dismiss.
On May 29, 1991, private respondent Delia Soledad A. Domingo filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig entitled
"Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Separation of Property" against petitioner Roberto Domingo. The petition which was
On February 7, 1992, the Court of Appeals3 dismissed the petition. It explained that the case of Yap v. CA4 cited by petitioner
docketed as Special Proceedings No. 1989-J alleged among others that: they were married on November 29, 1976 at the YMCA
and that of Consuegra v. GSIS relied upon by the lower court do not have relevance in the case at bar, there being no identity
Youth Center Bldg., as evidenced by a Marriage Contract Registry No. 1277K-76 with Marriage License No. 4999036 issued at
of facts because these cases dealt with the successional rights of the second wife while the instant case prays for separation of
Carmona, Cavite; unknown to her, he had a previous marriage with one Emerlina dela Paz on April 25, 1969 which marriage is
property corollary with the declaration of nullity of marriage. It observed that the separation and subsequent distribution of
valid and still existing; she came to know of the prior marriage only sometime in 1983 when Emerlina dela Paz sued them for
the properties acquired during the union can be had only upon proper determination of the status of the marital relationship
bigamy; from January 23 1979 up to the present, she has been working in Saudi Arabia and she used to come to the Philippines
between said parties, whether or not the validity of the first marriage is denied by petitioner. Furthermore, in order to avoid
only when she would avail of the one-month annual vacation leave granted by her foreign employer since 1983 up to the
duplication and multiplicity of suits, the declaration of nullity of marriage may be invoked in this proceeding together with the
present, he has been unemployed and completely dependent upon her for support and subsistence; out of her personal
partition and distribution of the properties involved. Citing Articles 48, 50 and 52 of the Family Code, it held that private
earnings, she purchased real and personal properties with a total amount of approximately P350,000.00, which are under the
respondent's prayer for declaration of absolute nullity of their marriage may be raised together with other incidents of their
possession and administration of Roberto; sometime in June 1989, while on her one-month vacation, she discovered that he
marriage such as the separation of their properties. Lastly, it noted that since the Court has jurisdiction, the alleged error in
was cohabiting with another woman; she further discovered that he had been disposing of some of her properties without her
refusing to grant the motion to dismiss is merely one of law for which the remedy ordinarily would have been to file an answer,
knowledge or consent; she confronted him about this and thereafter appointed her brother Moises R. Avera as her attorney-
proceed with the trial and in case of an adverse decision, reiterate the issue on appeal. The motion for reconsideration was
in-fact to take care of her properties; he failed and refused to turn over the possession and administration of said properties to
subsequently denied for lack of merit.5
her brother/attorney-in-fact; and he is not authorized to administer and possess the same on account of the nullity of their
marriage. The petition prayed that a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction be issued enjoining
Roberto from exercising any act of administration and ownership over said properties; their marriage be declared null and void
and of no force and effect; and Delia Soledad be declared the sole and exclusive owner of all properties acquired at the time of
their void marriage and such properties be placed under the proper management and administration of the attorney-in-fact.
Hence, this petition.

Petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the petition stated no cause of action. The marriage being void ab
The two basic issues confronting the Court in the instant case are the following.
initio, the petition for the declaration of its nullity is, therefore, superfluous and unnecessary. It added that private respondent
has no property which is in his possession.
First, whether or not a petition for judicial declaration of a void marriage is necessary. If in the affirmative, whether the same
should be filed only for purposes of remarriage.
On August 20, 1991, Judge Maria Alicia M. Austria issued an Order denying the motion to dismiss for lack of merit. She
explained:
Second, whether or not SP No. 1989-J is the proper remedy of private respondent to recover certain real and personal
properties allegedly belonging to her exclusively.
Movant argues that a second marriage contracted after a first marriage by a man with another woman is
illegal and void (citing the case of Yap v. Court of Appeals, 145 SCRA 229) and no judicial decree is
necessary to establish the invalidity of a void marriage (citing the cases of People v. Aragon, 100 Phil. Petitioner, invoking the ruling in People v. Aragon6 and People v. Mendoza,7 contends that SP. No. 1989-J for Declaration of
1033; People v. Mendoza, 95 Phil. 845). Indeed, under the Yap case there is no dispute that the second Nullity of Marriage and Separation of Property filed by private respondent must be dismissed for being unnecessary and
marriage contracted by respondent with herein petitioner after a first marriage with another woman is superfluous. Furthermore, under his own interpretation of Article 40 of the Family Code, he submits that a petition for
illegal and void. However, as to whether or not the second marriage should first be judicially declared a declaration of absolute nullity of marriage is required only for purposes of remarriage. Since the petition in SP No. 1989-J
nullity is not an issue in said case. In the case of Vda. de Consuegra v. GSIS, the Supreme Court ruled in contains no allegation of private respondent's intention to remarry, said petition should therefore, be dismissed.
explicit terms, thus:
On the other hand, private respondent insists on the necessity of a judicial declaration of the nullity of their marriage, not for The absolute nullity of a marriage may be invoked only on the basis of a final
purposes of remarriage, but in order to provide a basis for the separation and distribution of the properties acquired during judgment declaring the marriage void, except as provided in Article 41.
coverture.
Justice Caguioa remarked that the above provision should include not only void but also voidable
There is no question that the marriage of petitioner and private respondent celebrated while the former's previous marriage marriages. He then suggested that the above provision be modified as follows:
with one Emerlina de la Paz was still subsisting, is bigamous. As such, it is from the beginning.8 Petitioner himself does not
dispute the absolute nullity of their marriage.9
The validity of a marriage may be invoked only . . .

The cases of People v. Aragon and People v. Mendoza relied upon by petitioner are cases where the Court had earlier ruled
Justice Reyes (J.B.L. Reyes), however, proposed that they say:
that no judicial decree is necessary to establish the invalidity of a void, bigamous marriage. It is noteworthy to observe that
Justice Alex Reyes, however, dissented on these occasions stating that:
The validity or invalidity of a marriage may be invoked
only . . .
Though the logician may say that where the former marriage was void there would be nothing to
dissolve, still it is not for the spouses to judge whether that marriage was void or not. That judgment is
reserved to the courts. . . . 10 On the other hand, Justice Puno suggested that they say:

This dissenting opinion was adopted as the majority position in subsequent cases involving the same issue. Thus, in Gomez v. The invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only . . .
Lipana, 11 the Court abandoned its earlier ruling in the Aragon and Mendoza cases. In reversing the lower court's order
forfeiting the husband's share of the disputed property acquired during the second marriage, the Court stated that "if the Justice Caguioa explained that his idea is that one cannot determine for himself whether or not his
nullity, or annulment of the marriage is the basis for the application of Article 1417, there is need for a judicial declaration marriage is valid and that a court action is needed. Justice Puno accordingly proposed that the provision
thereof, which of course contemplates an action for that purpose." be modified to read:

Citing Gomez v. Lipana, the Court subsequently held in Vda. de Consuegra v. Government Service Insurance System, that The invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only on the basis of a final judgment
"although the second marriage can be presumed to be void ab initio as it was celebrated while the first marriage was still annulling the marriage or declaring the marriage void, except as provided in Article
subsisting, still there is need for judicial declaration of such nullity." 41.

In Tolentino v. Paras,12 however, the Court turned around and applied the Aragon and Mendoza ruling once again. In granting Justice Caguioa remarked that in annulment, there is no question. Justice Puno, however, pointed out
the prayer of the first wife asking for a declaration as the lawful surviving spouse and the correction of the death certificate of that, even if it is a judgment of annulment, they still have to produce the judgment.
her deceased husband, it explained that "(t)he second marriage that he contracted with private respondent during the lifetime
of his first spouse is null and void from the beginning and of no force and effect. No judicial decree is necessary to establish the
invalidity of a void marriage." Justice Caguioa suggested that they say:

However, in the more recent case of Wiegel v. Sempio-Diy 13 the Court reverted to the Consuegra case and held that there was The invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only on the basis of a final judgment
"no need of introducing evidence about the existing prior marriage of her first husband at the time they married each other, declaring the marriage invalid, except as provided in Article 41.
for then such a marriage though void still needs according to this Court a judicial declaration of such fact and for all legal
intents and purposes she would still be regarded as a married woman at the time she contracted her marriage with respondent Justice Puno raised the question: When a marriage is declared invalid, does it include the annulment of a
Karl Heinz Wiegel." marriage and the declaration that the marriage is void? Justice Caguioa replied in the affirmative. Dean
Gupit added that in some judgments, even if the marriage is annulled, it is declared void. Justice Puno
Came the Family Code which settled once and for all the conflicting jurisprudence on the matter. A declaration of the absolute suggested that this matter be made clear in the provision.
nullity of a marriage is now explicitly required either as a cause of action or a ground for defense. 14 Where the absolute nullity
of a previous marriage is sought to be invoked for purposes of contracting a second marriage, the sole basis acceptable in law Prof. Baviera remarked that the original idea in the provision is to require first a judicial declaration of a
for said projected marriage be free from legal infirmity is a final judgment declaring the previous marriage void. 15 void marriage and not annullable marriages, with which the other members concurred. Judge Diy added
that annullable marriages are presumed valid until a direct action is filed to annul it, which the other
The Family Law Revision Committee and the Civil Code Revision Committee 16 which drafted what is now the Family Code of members affirmed. Justice Puno remarked that if this is so, then the phrase "absolute nullity" can stand
the Philippines took the position that parties to a marriage should not be allowed to assume that their marriage is void even if since it might result in confusion if they change the phrase to "invalidity" if what they are referring to in
such be the fact but must first secure a judicial declaration of the nullity of their marriage before they can be allowed to marry the provision is the declaration that the marriage is void.
again. This is borne out by the following minutes of the 152nd Joint Meeting of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees
where the present Article 40, then Art. 39, was discussed. Prof. Bautista commented that they will be doing away with collateral defense as well as collateral
attack. Justice Caguioa explained that the idea in the provision is that there should be a final judgment
B. Article 39. declaring the marriage void and a party should not declare for himself whether or not the marriage is
void, while the other members affirmed. Justice Caguioa added that they are, therefore, trying to avoid a
collateral attack on that point. Prof. Bautista stated that there are actions which are brought on the
assumption that the marriage is valid. He then asked: Are they depriving one of the right to raise the
defense that he has no liability because the basis of the liability is void? Prof. Bautista added that they As regards the necessity for a judicial declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, petitioner submits that the same can be
cannot say that there will be no judgment on the validity or invalidity of the marriage because it will be maintained only if it is for the purpose of remarriage. Failure to allege this purpose, according to petitioner's theory, will
taken up in the same proceeding. It will not be a unilateral declaration that, it is a void marriage. Justice warrant dismissal of the same.
Caguioa saw the point of Prof. Bautista and suggested that they limit the provision to remarriage. He
then proposed that Article 39 be reworded as follows:

The absolute nullity of a marriage for purposes of remarriage may be invoked only
Article 40 of the Family Code provides:
on the basis of final judgment . . .

Art. 40. The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the
Justice Puno suggested that the above be modified as follows:
basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. (n)

The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of


Crucial to the proper interpretation of Article 40 is the position in the provision of the word "solely." As it is placed, the same
establishing the validity of a subsequent marriage only on the basis of a final
shows that it is meant to qualify "final judgment declaring such previous marriage void." Realizing the need for careful
judgment declaring such previous marriage void, except as provided in Article 41.
craftsmanship in conveying the precise intent of the Committee members, the provision in question, as it finally emerged, did
not state "The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked solely for purposes of remarriage . . .," in which case
Justice Puno later modified the above as follows: "solely" would clearly qualify the phrase "for purposes of remarriage." Had the phraseology been such, the interpretation of
petitioner would have been correct and, that is, that the absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked solely for
purposes of remarriage, thus rendering irrelevant the clause "on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous
For the purpose of establishing the validity of a subsequent marriage, the absolute
marriage void."
nullity of a previous marriage may only be invoked on the basis of a final judgment
declaring such nullity, except as provided in Article 41.
That Article 40 as finally formulated included the significant clause denotes that such final judgment declaring the previous
marriage void need not be obtained only for purposes of remarriage. Undoubtedly, one can conceive of other instances where
Justice Caguioa commented that the above provision is too broad and will not solve the objection of
a party might well invoke the absolute nullity of a previous marriage for purposes other than remarriage, such as in case of an
Prof. Bautista. He proposed that they say:
action for liquidation, partition, distribution and separation of property between the erstwhile spouses, as well as an action for
the custody and support of their common children and the delivery of the latters' presumptive legitimes. In such cases,
For the purpose of entering into a subsequent marriage, the absolute nullity of a evidence needs must be adduced, testimonial or documentary, to prove the existence of grounds rendering such a previous
previous marriage may only be invoked on the basis of a final judgment declaring marriage an absolute nullity. These need not be limited solely to an earlier final judgment of a court declaring such previous
such nullity, except as provided in Article 41. marriage void. Hence, in the instance where a party who has previously contracted a marriage which remains subsisting desires
to enter into another marriage which is legally unassailable, he is required by law to prove that the previous one was an
Justice Caguioa explained that the idea in the above provision is that if one enters into a subsequent absolute nullity. But this he may do on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void.
marriage without obtaining a final judgment declaring the nullity of a previous marriage, said subsequent
marriage is void ab initio. This leads us to the question: Why the distinction? In other words, for purposes of remarriage, why should the only legally
acceptable basis for declaring a previous marriage an absolute nullity be a final judgment declaring such previous marriage
After further deliberation, Justice Puno suggested that they go back to the original wording of the void? Whereas, for purposes other than remarriage, other evidence is acceptable?
provision as follows:
Marriage, a sacrosanct institution, declared by the Constitution as an "inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the
The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of family;" as such, it "shall be protected by the State."20 In more explicit terms, the Family Code characterizes it as "a special
remarriage only on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of
void, except as provided in Article 41. 17 conjugal, and family life." 21 So crucial are marriage and the family to the stability and peace of the nation that their "nature,
consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation . . ." 22 As a matter of policy, therefore, the
nullification of a marriage for the purpose of contracting another cannot be accomplished merely on the basis of the
In fact, the requirement for a declaration of absolute nullity of a marriage is also for the protection of the spouse who, perception of both parties or of one that their union is so defective with respect to the essential requisites of a contract of
believing that his or her marriage is illegal and void, marries again. With the judicial declaration of the nullity of his or her first marriage as to render it void ipso jure and with no legal effect and nothing more. Were this so, this inviolable social
marriage, the person who marries again cannot be charged with bigamy. 18 institution would be reduced to a mockery and would rest on very shaky foundations indeed. And the grounds for nullifying
marriage would be as diverse and far-ranging as human ingenuity and fancy could conceive. For such a social significant
Just over a year ago, the Court made the pronouncement that there is a necessity for a declaration of absolute nullity of a prior institution, an official state pronouncement through the courts, and nothing less, will satisfy the exacting norms of society. Not
subsisting marriage before contracting another in the recent case of Terre v. Terre. 19 The Court, in turning down the defense only would such an open and public declaration by the courts definitively confirm the nullity of the contract of marriage, but
of respondent Terre who was charged with grossly immoral conduct consisting of contracting a second marriage and living with the same would be easily verifiable through records accessible to everyone.
another woman other than complainant while his prior marriage with the latter remained subsisting, said that "for purposes of
determining whether a person is legally free to contract a second marriage, a judicial declaration that the first marriage was That the law seeks to ensure that a prior marriage is no impediment to a second sought to be contracted by one of the parties
null and void ab initio is essential." may be gleaned from new information required in the Family Code to be included in the application for a marriage license, viz,
"If previously married, how, when and where the previous marriage was dissolved and annulled." 23
Reverting to the case before us, petitioner's interpretation of Art. 40 of the Family Code is, undoubtedly, quite restrictive. Thus, couple's properties. Accordingly, the respondent court committed no reversible error in finding that the lower court
his position that private respondent's failure to state in the petition that the same is filed to enable her to remarry will result in committed no grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner's motion to dismiss SP No. 1989-J.
the dismissal of SP No. 1989-J is untenable. His misconstruction of Art. 40 resulting from the misplaced emphasis on the term
"solely" was in fact anticipated by the members of the Committee.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of respondent Court dated February 7, 1992 and the
Resolution dated March 20, 1992 are AFFIRMED.
Dean Gupit commented the word "only" may be misconstrued to refer to "for purposes of remarriage."
Judge Diy stated that "only" refers to "final judgment." Justice Puno suggested that they say "on the basis
SO ORDERED.
only of a final judgment." Prof. Baviera suggested that they use the legal term "solely" instead of "only,"
which the Committee approved. 24 (Emphasis supplied)
Bidin and Melo, JJ., concur.
Pursuing his previous argument that the declaration for absolute nullity of marriage is unnecessary, petitioner suggests that
private respondent should have filed an ordinary civil action for the recovery of the properties alleged to have been acquired Feliciano, J., is on leave.
during their union. In such an eventuality, the lower court would not be acting as a mere special court but would be clothed
with jurisdiction to rule on the issues of possession and ownership. In addition, he pointed out that there is actually nothing to
separate or partition as the petition admits that all the properties were acquired with private respondent's money.

Separate Opinions
The Court of Appeals disregarded this argument and concluded that "the prayer for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage
may be raised together with the other incident of their marriage such as the separation of their properties."
VITUG, J., concurring:

When a marriage is declared void ab initio, the law states that the final judgment therein shall provide for "the liquidation,
partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, the custody and support of the common children, and the delivery I concur with the opinion so well expressed by Mme. Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero. I should like, however, to put in a modest
of their presumptive legitimes, unless such matters had been adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings." 25 Other specific observation.
effects flowing therefrom, in proper cases, are the following:
Void marriages are inexistent from the very beginning and, I believe, no judicial decree is required to establish their nullity,
Art. 43. xxx xxx xxx except in the following instances:

(2) The absolute community of property or the conjugal partnership, as the case may be, shall be (a) For purposes of remarriage pursuant to the provision of Article 40 of the Family Code; viz.:
dissolved and liquidated, but if either spouse contracted said marriage in bad faith, his or her share of
the net profits of the community property or conjugal partnership property shall be forfeited in favor of The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis
the common children or, if there are none, the children of the guilty spouse by a previous marriage or, in solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. (n)
default of children, the innocent spouse;
(b) A marriage celebrated prior to the effectivity of the Family Code in case a party thereto was psychologically incapacitated to
(3) Donations by reason of marriage shall remain valid, except that if the donee contracted the marriage comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage (Article 36, Family Code), where an action or defense for the
in bad faith, such donations made to said donee are revoked by operation of law; declaration of nullity prescribes ten (10) years after the Family Code took effect (Article 39, Family Code); otherwise, the
marriage is deemed unaffected by the Family Code.
(4) The innocent spouse may revoke the designation of the other spouse who acted in bad faith as a
beneficiary in any insurance policy, even if such designation be stipulated as irrevocable; and A void marriage, even without its being judicially declared a nullity, albeit the preferability for, and justiciability (fully discussed
in the majority opinion) of, such a declaration, will not give it the status or the consequences of a valid marriage, saving only
(5) The spouse who contracted the subsequent marriage in bad faith shall be disqualified to inherit from specific instances where certain effects of a valid marriage can still flow from the void marriage. Examples of these cases are
the innocent spouse by testate and intestate succession. (n) children of void marriages under Article 36 (due to psychological incapacity) and Article 53, in relation to Article 52 (due to
failure of partition, delivery of presumptive legitimes of children and recording thereof following the annulment or declaration
of nullity a prior marriage), conceived or born before the judicial declaration of nullity of such void marriages, who the law
Art. 44. If both spouses of the subsequent marriage acted in bad faith, said marriage shall be void ab deems as legitimate (Article 54, Family Code).
initio and all donations by reason of marriage and testamentary disposition made by one in favor of the
other are revoked by operation of law. (n) 26
In most, if not in all, other cases, a void marriage is to be considered extant per se. Neither the conjugal, partnership of gain
under the old regime nor the absolute community of property under the new Code (absent a marriage settlement), will apply;
Based on the foregoing provisions, private respondent's ultimate prayer for separation of property will simply be one of the instead, their property relations shall be governed by the co-ownership rules under either Article 147 or Article 148 of the
necessary consequences of the judicial declaration of absolute nullity of their marriage. Thus, petitioner's suggestion that in Family Code. I must hasten to add as a personal view, however, that the exceptional effects on children of a void marriage
order for their properties to be separated, an ordinary civil action has to be instituted for that purpose is baseless. The Family because of the psychological incapacity of a party thereto should have been extended to cover even the personal and property
Code has clearly provided the effects of the declaration of nullity of marriage, one of which is the separation of property relations of the spouses. Unlike the other cases of void marriages where the grounds therefor may be established by hard facts
according to the regime of property relations governing them. It stands to reason that the lower court before whom the issue and with little uncertainty, the term "psychological incapacity" is so relative and unsettling that until a judicial declaration of
of nullity of a first marriage is brought is likewise clothed with jurisdiction to decide the incidental questions regarding the nullity is made its interim effects can long and literally hang on the balance not only insofar as the spouses themselves are
concerned but also as regards third persons with whom the spouses deal.
# Separate Opinions 6 100 Phil. 1033 (1957).

VITUG, J., concurring: 7 95 Phil. 845 (1954).

I concur with the opinion so well expressed by Mme. Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero. I should like, however, to put in a modest 8 CIVIL CODE, art. 80, par. 4; FAMILY CODE, arts. 35, par. 4 and 41.
observation.
9 Rollo, pp. 102 and 106.
Void marriages are inexistent from the very beginning and, I believe, no judicial decree is required to establish their nullity,
except in the following instances:
10 See: Note 6 at p. 1036; Note 7 at p. 848.

(a) For purposes of remarriage pursuant to the provision of Article 40 of the Family Code; viz.:
11 L-23214, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA 615, 620-621.

The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis
12 L-43905, May 30, 1983, 122 SCRA 525.
solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. (n)

13 G.R. No. 53703, August 19, 1986, 143 SCRA 499.


(b) A marriage celebrated prior to the effectivity of the Family Code in case a party thereto was psychologically incapacitated to
comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage (Article 36, Family Code), where an action or defense for the
declaration of nullity prescribes ten (10) years after the Family Code took effect (Article 39, Family Code); otherwise, the 14 FAMILY CODE, art. 39.
marriage is deemed unaffected by the Family Code.
15 Id., art. 40. See also: arts. 11, 13, 42, 44, 48, 50, 52, 54, 86, 99, 147, 148.
A void marriage, even without its being judicially declared a nullity, albeit the preferability for, and justiciability (fully discussed
in the majority opinion) of, such a declaration, will not give it the status or the consequences of a valid marriage, saving only 16 The Family Law Revision Committee of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) prepared the draft
specific instances where certain effects of a valid marriage can still flow from the void marriage. Examples of these cases are of the revision of Book I of the Civil Code of the Philippines. After more than four years, the draft was
children of void marriages under Article 36 (due to psychological incapacity) and Article 53, in relation to Article 52 (due to turned over to the Civil Code Revision Committee of the UP Law Center which reviewed and revised the
failure of partition, delivery of presumptive legitimes of children and recording thereof following the annulment or declaration same for more than three years.
of nullity a prior marriage), conceived or born before the judicial declaration of nullity of such void marriages, who the law
deems as legitimate (Article 54, Family Code).
17 August 23, 1986, pp. 4-7.

In most, if not in all, other cases, a void marriage is to be considered extant per se. Neither the conjugal, partnership of gain
under the old regime nor the absolute community of property under the new Code (absent a marriage settlement), will apply; 18 J. A.V. SEMPIO-DIY, HANDBOOK OF THE FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, 46 (1988).
instead, their property relations shall be governed by the co-ownership rules under either Article 147 or Article 148 of the
Family Code. I must hasten to add as a personal view, however, that the exceptional effects on children of a void marriage 19 Adm. Case No. 2349, July 3, 1992, 211 SCRA 6, 11.
because of the psychological incapacity of a party thereto should have been extended to cover even the personal and property
relations of the spouses. Unlike the other cases of void marriages where the grounds therefor may be established by hard facts
and with little uncertainty, the term "psychological incapacity" is so relative and unsettling that until a judicial declaration of 20 CONST., art. XV, sec. 2.
nullity is made its interim effects can long and literally hang on the balance not only insofar as the spouses themselves are
concerned but also as regards third persons with whom the spouses deal. 21 FAMILY CODE, art. 1.

# Footnotes 22 Id.

1 Annex "C", Rollo, pp. 28-29. 23 Id., art. 11.

2 L-28093, January 30, 1971, 37 SCRA 315. 24 See: Note 17, at p. 7.

3 Annex "J", Rollo, pp. 62-67, Justice Jorge S. Imperial, ponente and Justices Luis A. Javellana and Serafin 25 Art. 50 (2).
V.C. Guingona, concurring.
26 In relation to Art. 50 (1) The effects provided for in paragraphs (2), (3), (4) and (5) of Article 43 and
4 L-40003, October 28, 1986, 145 SCRA 229. in Article 44 shall also apply in proper cases to marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled by
final judgment under Articles 40 and 45.
5 Annex "M", Rollo, p. 80.
G.R. No. 106429 June 13, 1994 discovery provided by the Rules of Court
(Rules 24 to 28).
JOSELITA SALITA, petitioner,
vs. Whether Espinosas averments in his bill of particulars constitute psychological incapacity in the
HON. DELILAH MAGTOLIS, in her capacity as Judge of the RTC, Quezon City, Br. 107, and ERWIN ESPINOSA, respondents. contemplation of the Family Code is a question that may be resolved in a motion to dismiss or after trial
on the merits of the case, not in a motion for bill of particulars. And certainly, that matter cannot be
resolved in the present petition. 5
Alfredo F. Tadiar for petitioner.

Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari filed by Joselita Salita questioning the Resolution of the Court of Appeals
Yolanda, Quisumbing-Javellana & Associates for private respondent.
denying due course to her petition.

BELLOSILLO, J.:
Petitioner insists that the allegations in the Bill of Particulars constitute a legal conclusion, not an averment of facts, and fail to
point out the specific essential marital obligations she allegedly was not able to perform, and thus render the Bill of Particulars
Erwin Espinosa, 32, and Joselita Salita, 22, were married at the Roman Catholic Church in Ermita, Manila, on 25 January 1986. A insufficient if not irrelevant to her husbands cause of action. She rationalizes that her insistence on the specification of her
year later, their union turned sour. They separated in fact in 1988. Subsequently, Erwin sued for annulment on the ground of particular conduct or behavior with the corresponding circumstances of time, place and person does not call for information
Joselitas psychological incapacity. on evidentiary matters because without these details she cannot adequately and intelligently prepare her answer to the
petition.
The issue before us however is not the scope nor even the interpretation of Art. 36 of the Family Code. 1 Rather, the issue is
the sufficiency of the allegations in the petition for annulment of marriage and the subsequent bill of particulars filed in Private respondent on the other hand believes that his allegations in the Bill of Particulars constitute the ultimate facts which
amplification of the petition. the Rules of Court requires at this point. He defines ultimate facts as

The petition for annulment was filed before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City on 7 January 1992. Therein it is alleged that . . . important and substantial facts which either directly form the basis of the primary right and duty, or
"[s]ometime in 1987, petitioner came to realize that respondent was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential which directly make upon the wrongful acts or omissions of the defendant. The term does not refer to
marital obligations of their marriage, which incapacity existed at the time of the marriage although the same became manifest the details of probative matter or particulars of evidence by which these material elements are to be
only thereafter." 2 Dissatisfied with the allegation in the petition, Joselita moved for a bill of particulars which the trial court established. It refers to principal, determinate facts upon the existence of which the entire cause of
granted. 3 Subsequently, in his Bill of Particulars, Edwin specified that action rests. 6

. . . at the time of their marriage, respondent (Joselita Salita) was psychologically incapacitated to comply Ultimate facts are conclusions drawn from intermediate and evidentiary facts, or allegations of mixed
with the essential marital obligations of their marriage in that she was unable to understand and accept law and fact; they are conclusions from reflection and natural reasoning on evidentiary fact. The ultimate
the demands made by his profession that of a newly qualified Doctor of Medicine upon petitioners facts which are to be pleaded are the issuable, constitutive, or traversible facts essential to the
time and efforts so that she frequently complained of his lack of attention to her even to her mother, statement of the cause of action; the facts which the evidence on the trial will prove, and not the
whose intervention caused petitioner to lose his job. evidence which will be required to prove the existence of those facts . . . 7

Still Joselita was not contented with the Bill of Particulars. She argued that the "assertion (in the Bill of Particulars) is a Private respondent further argues that "[c]onclusions of law and evidentiary matters need not be stated in the complaint. The
statement of legal conclusion made by petitioners counsel and not an averment of ultimate facts, as required by the Rules of rules of pleading limit the statement of the cause of action only to such operative facts as would give rise to the right of action
Court, from which such a conclusion may properly be inferred . . . ." 4 But finding the questioned Bill of Particulars adequate, of the plaintiff to obtain relief against the wrongdoer. The details of probative matter or particulars of evidence, statements of
the trial court issued an order upholding its sufficiency and directing Joselita to file her responsive pleading. law, inferences and arguments need not be stated." 8

Joselita was not convinced. She filed a petition for certiorari with us. However, we referred her petition to the Court of Appeals In a nutshell, the ultimate question is whether the Bill of Particulars submitted by herein respondent is of sufficient
for resolution. definiteness or particularity as to enable herein petitioner to properly prepare her responsive pleading or for trial.

On 21 July 1992, the Court of Appeals denied due course to her petition thus A complaint only needs to state the "ultimate facts constituting the plaintiffs cause or causes of action." 9 Ultimate facts has
been defined as "those facts which the expected evidence will support." 10 As stated by private respondent, "[t]he term does
In the case under consideration, Espinosa has amplified Salitas alleged psychological incapacity in his bill not refer to the details of probative matter or particulars of evidence by which these material elements are to be established."
of particulars . . . It refers to "the facts which the evidence on the trial will prove, and not the evidence which will be required to prove the
existence of those facts." And a motion for bill of particulars will not be granted if the complaint, while not very definite,
nonetheless already states a sufficient cause of action. 11 A motion for bill of particulars may not call for matters which should
In our view, the aforesaid specification more than satisfies the Rules requirement that a complaint must form part of the proof of the complaint upon trial. Such information may be obtained by other means. 12
allege the ultimate facts constituting a plaintiffs cause of action. To require more details thereof, to
insist on a specification of Salitas particular conduct or behavior with the corresponding circumstances
of time, place and person indicating her alleged psychological incapacity would be to ask for information We sustain the view of respondent Court of Appeals that the Bill of Particulars filed by private respondent is sufficient to state
on evidentiary matters. To obtain evidentiary details, Salita may avail herself of the different modes of a cause of action, and to require more details from private respondent would be to ask for information on evidentiary matters.
Indeed, petitioner has already been adequately apprised of private respondents cause of action against her thus
. . . . (she) was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of their Cruz, Davide, Jr., Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur.
marriage in that she was unable to understand and accept the demands made by his profession that
of a newly qualified Doctor of Medicine upon petitioners time and efforts so that she frequently # Footnotes
complained of his lack of attention to her even to her mother, whose intervention caused petitioner to
lose his job.
1 Art. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if
On the basis of the aforequoted allegations, it is evident that petitioner can already prepare her responsive pleading or for
such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization (As amended by E.O. 227).
trial. Private respondent has already alleged that "she (petitioner) was unable to understand and accept the demands made by
his profession . . . upon his time and efforts . . . " Certainly, she can respond to this. To demand for more details would indeed
be asking for information on evidentiary facts facts necessary to prove essential or ultimate facts. 13 For sure, the additional 2 Petition for Annulment of Marriage filed by Erwin Espinosa, par. 3; Rollo, p. 20.
facts called for by petitioner regarding her particular acts or omissions would be evidentiary, and to obtain evidentiary matters
is not the function of a motion for bill of particulars. 14 3 Order issued by Judge Delilah Magtolis, Regional Trial Court, Br. 107, Quezon City; Rollo, p. 26.

We distinguish the instant case from Tantuico, Jr. v. Republic 15 where we said 4 Opposition to the Supposed Bill of Particulars Submitted by Petitioner, p. 2, par. 6; Rollo, p. 30.

Furthermore, the particulars prayed for such as names of persons, names of corporations, dates, 5 Resolution penned by Associate Justice Alfredo L. Benipayo, concurred in by Associate Justices Fidel P.
amounts involved, a specification of property for identification purposes, the particular transactions Purisima and Quirino D. Abad Santos, Jr., of the Ninth Division.
involving withdrawals and disbursements, and a statement of other material facts as would support the
conclusions and inferences in the complaint, are not evidentiary in nature. On the contrary, those
particulars are material facts that should be clearly and definitely averred in the complaint in order that 6 Francisco, The Revised Rules of Court in the Philippines, Vol. I, p. 435.
the defendant may, in fairness, be informed of the claims made against him to the end that he may be
prepared to meet the issues at the trial. 7 Id., citing 71 C.J.S. 34.

The aforementioned pronouncement cannot apply to the instant case. That ruling involves alleged "misappropriation and theft 8 Memorandum for Private Respondent, p. 10; Rollo, p. 197.
of public funds, plunder of the nations wealth, extortion, blackmail, bribery, embezzlement, and other acts of corruption,
betrayal of public trust and brazen abuse of power." The respondents therein pray for reconveyance, reversion, accounting,
restitution and damages. There, the alleged illicit acts should be fully documented. The instant case, on the other hand, 9 Sec. 3, Rule 6, Rules of Court.
concerns marital relationship. It would be unreasonable, if not unfeeling, to document each and every circumstance of marital
disagreement. True, the complaining spouse will have to prove his case, but that will not come until trial begins. 10 Blacks Law Dictionary, Fourth Ed., citing McDuffie v. California Tehama Land Corporation, 138 Cal.
App. 245, 32 P.2d 385, 386.
Consequently, 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 11 Paras, Rules of Court Annotated, Vol. I, Second Ed., 1989, p. 320.
psychologically incapacitated should be immediately determined. There is no point in unreasonably delaying the resolution of
the petition and prolonging the agony of the wedded couple who after coming out from a storm still have the right to a
12 Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 1979 Ed., Vol. 1, p. 397, citing
renewed blissful life either alone or in the company of each other.
W.J. Dillmer Transfer Co. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and
Helpers of America, 8 Fed, Rules Service,
A word on Art. 36 of the Family Code. 16 We do not see the need to define or limit the scope of the provision. Not in this case, p. 163, US Dist. Ct., W.D. Pa., 6 October 1944.
at least. For, we are not called upon to do so, the actual controversy being the sufficiency of the bill of particulars. To interpret
the provision at this juncture would be to give an obiter dictum which is ill-timed. Besides, it appears that petitioner in her
13 Blacks Law Dictionary, Fourth Ed., citing People ex rel. Hudson & M.R. Co. v. Sexton, Supp., 44 N.Y.
memorandum has demonstrated a good grasp of what Art. 36 actually covers. Suffice it to say that Mme. Justice Sempio-Diy,
S.2d 884, 885.
formerly of the Court of Appeals and a member of the Civil Code Revision Committee that drafted the Family code, explains

14 Paras, See Note 11, citing Graffius v. Weather-Seal Inc., 9 Fed. Rules Service 12e, 231, Case No. 13.
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 principle of ejusdem generis. Rather, the
Committee would like the judge to interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, 15 G.R. No. 89114, 2 December 1991, 204 SCRA 428.
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 16 See Note. 1.
taken from Canon Law. 17

17 Sempio-Diy, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, 1988, p. 37.


WHEREFORE, there being no reversible error, the instant petition is DENIED and the questioned Resolution of respondent
Court of Appeals dated 21 July 1992 is AFFIRMED.

G.R. No. 112019 January 4, 1995


SO ORDERED.
LEOUEL SANTOS, petitioner, The petition should be denied not only because of its non-compliance with Circular 28-91, which requires a certification of non-
vs. shopping, but also for its lack of merit.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND JULIA ROSARIO BEDIA-SANTOS, respondents.
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. In his own words, Leouel
VITUG, J.: asserts:

Concededly a highly, if not indeed the most likely, controversial provision introduced by the Family Code is Article 36 (as . . . (T)here is no leave, there is no affection for (him) because respondent Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos
amended by E.O. No. 227 dated 17 July 1987), which declares: failed all these years to communicate with the petitioner. A wife who does not care to inform her
husband about her whereabouts for a period of five years, more or less, is psychologically incapacitated.
Art. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if The family Code did not define the term "psychological incapacity." The deliberations during the sessions of the Family Code
such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. Revision Committee, which has drafted the Code, can, however, provide an insight on the import of the provision.

The present petition for review on certiorari, at the instance of Leouel Santos ("Leouel"), brings into fore the above Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:
provision which is now invoked by him. Undaunted by the decisions of the court a quo1 and the Court of Appeal,2
Leouel persists in beseeching its application in his attempt to have his marriage with herein private respondent,
xxx xxx xxx
Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos ("Julia"), declared a nullity.

Art. 36. . . .
It was in Iloilo City where Leouel, who then held the rank of First Lieutenant in the Philippine Army, first met Julia. The meeting
later proved to be an eventful day for Leouel and Julia. On 20 September 1986, the two exchanged vows before Municipal Trial
Court Judge Cornelio G. Lazaro of Iloilo City, followed, shortly thereafter, by a church wedding. Leouel and Julia lived with the (7) Those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was wanting in the
latter's parents at the J. Bedia Compound, La Paz, Iloilo City. On 18 July 1987, Julia gave birth to a baby boy, and he was sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage or was
christened Leouel Santos, Jr. The ecstasy, however, did not last long. It was bound to happen, Leouel averred, because of the psychologically or mentally incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack
frequent interference by Julia's parents into the young spouses family affairs. Occasionally, the couple would also start a of incapacity is made manifest after the celebration.
"quarrel" over a number of other things, like when and where the couple should start living independently from Julia's parents
or whenever Julia would express resentment on Leouel's spending a few days with his own parents. On subparagraph (7), which as lifted from the Canon Law, Justice (Jose B.L.) Reyes suggested that they
say "wanting in sufficient use," but Justice (Eduardo) Caguioa preferred to say "wanting in the sufficient
On 18 May 1988, Julia finally left for the United Sates of America to work as a nurse despite Leouel's pleas to so dissuade her. use." On the other hand, Justice Reyes proposed that they say "wanting in sufficient reason." Justice
Seven months after her departure, or on 01 January 1989, Julia called up Leouel for the first time by long distance telephone. Caguioa, however, pointed out that the idea is that one is not lacking in judgment but that he is lacking
She promised to return home upon the expiration of her contract in July 1989. She never did. When Leouel got a chance to visit in the exercise of judgment. He added that lack of judgment would make the marriage voidable. Judge
the United States, where he underwent a training program under the auspices of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from 01 (Alicia Sempio-) Diy remarked that lack of judgment is more serious than insufficient use of judgment
April up to 25 August 1990, he desperately tried to locate, or to somehow get in touch with, Julia but all his efforts were of no and yet the latter would make the marriage null and void and the former only voidable. Justice Caguioa
avail. suggested that subparagraph (7) be modified to read:

Having failed to get Julia to somehow come home, Leouel filed with the regional trial Court of Negros Oriental, Branch 30, a "That contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
complaint for "Voiding of marriage Under Article 36 of the Family Code" (docketed, Civil Case No. 9814). Summons was served psychologically incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if
by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in Negros Oriental. such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the celebration."

On 31 May 1991, respondent Julia, in her answer (through counsel), opposed the complaint and denied its allegations, Justice Caguioa explained that the phrase "was wanting in sufficient use of reason of judgment to
claiming, in main, that it was the petitioner who had, in fact, been irresponsible and incompetent. understand the essential nature of marriage" refers to defects in the mental faculties vitiating consent,
which is not the idea in subparagraph (7), but lack of appreciation of one's marital obligations.
A possible collusion between the parties to obtain a decree of nullity of their marriage was ruled out by the Office of the
Provincial Prosecutor (in its report to the court). Judge Diy raised the question: Since "insanity" is also a psychological or mental incapacity, why is
"insanity" only a ground for annulment and not for declaration or nullity? In reply, Justice Caguioa
explained that in insanity, there is the appearance of consent, which is the reason why it is a ground for
On 25 October 1991, after pre-trial conferences had repeatedly been set, albeit unsuccessfully, by the court, Julia ultimately
voidable marriages, while subparagraph (7) does not refer to consent but to the very essence of marital
filed a manifestation, stating that she would neither appear nor submit evidence.
obligations.

On 06 November 1991, the court a quo finally dismissed the complaint for lack of merit.3
Prof. (Araceli) Baviera suggested that, in subparagraph (7), the word "mentally" be deleted, with which
Justice Caguioa concurred. Judge Diy, however, prefers to retain the word "mentally."
Leouel appealed to the Court of Appeal. The latter affirmed the decision of the trial court.4
Justice Caguioa remarked that subparagraph (7) refers to psychological impotence. Justice (Ricardo) incapacity is still a kind of vice of consent and that it should not be classified as a voidable marriage
Puno stated that sometimes a person may be psychologically impotent with one but not with another. which is incapable of convalidation; it should be convalidated but there should be no prescription. In
Justice (Leonor Ines-) Luciano said that it is called selective impotency. other words, as long as the defect has not been cured, there is always a right to annul the marriage and
if the defect has been really cured, it should be a defense in the action for annulment so that when the
action for annulment is instituted, the issue can be raised that actually, although one might have been
Dean (Fortunato) Gupit stated that the confusion lies in the fact that in inserting the Canon Law
psychologically incapacitated, at the time the action is brought, it is no longer true that he has no
annulment in the Family Code, the Committee used a language which describes a ground for voidable
concept of the consequence of marriage.
marriages under the Civil Code. Justice Caguioa added that in Canon Law, there are voidable marriages
under the Canon Law, there are no voidable marriages Dean Gupit said that this is precisely the reason
why they should make a distinction. Prof. (Esteban) Bautista raised the question: Will not cohabitation be a defense? In response, Justice
Puno stated that even the bearing of children and cohabitation should not be a sign that psychological
incapacity has been cured.
Justice Puno remarked that in Canon Law, the defects in marriage cannot be cured.

Prof. Romero opined that psychological incapacity is still insanity of a lesser degree. Justice Luciano
Justice Reyes pointed out that the problem is: Why is "insanity" a ground for void ab initio marriages? In
suggested that they invite a psychiatrist, who is the expert on this matter. Justice Caguioa, however,
reply, Justice Caguioa explained that insanity is curable and there are lucid intervals, while psychological
reiterated that psychological incapacity is not a defect in the mind but in the understanding of the
incapacity is not.
consequences of marriage, and therefore, a psychiatrist will not be a help.

On another point, Justice Puno suggested that the phrase "even if such lack or incapacity is made
Prof. Bautista stated that, in the same manner that there is a lucid interval in insanity, there are also
manifest" be modified to read "even if such lack or incapacity becomes manifest."
momentary periods when there is an understanding of the consequences of marriage. Justice Reyes and
Dean Gupit remarked that the ground of psychological incapacity will not apply if the marriage was
Justice Reyes remarked that in insanity, at the time of the marriage, it is not apparent. contracted at the time when there is understanding of the consequences of marriage.5

Justice Caguioa stated that there are two interpretations of the phrase "psychological or mentally xxx xxx xxx
incapacitated" in the first one, there is vitiation of consent because one does not know all the
consequences of the marriages, and if he had known these completely, he might not have consented to
Judge Diy proposed that they include physical incapacity to copulate among the grounds for void
the marriage.
marriages. Justice Reyes commented that in some instances the impotence that in some instances the
impotence is only temporary and only with respect to a particular person. Judge Diy stated that they can
xxx xxx xxx specify that it is incurable. Justice Caguioa remarked that the term "incurable" has a different meaning in
law and in medicine. Judge Diy stated that "psychological incapacity" can also be cured. Justice Caguioa,
Prof. Bautista stated that he is in favor of making psychological incapacity a ground for voidable however, pointed out that "psychological incapacity" is incurable.
marriages since otherwise it will encourage one who really understood the consequences of marriage to
claim that he did not and to make excuses for invalidating the marriage by acting as if he did not Justice Puno observed that under the present draft provision, it is enough to show that at the time of the
understand the obligations of marriage. Dean Gupit added that it is a loose way of providing for divorce. celebration of the marriage, one was psychologically incapacitated so that later on if already he can
comply with the essential marital obligations, the marriage is still void ab initio. Justice Caguioa explained
xxx xxx xxx that since in divorce, the psychological incapacity may occur after the marriage, in void marriages, it has
to be at the time of the celebration of marriage. He, however, stressed that the idea in the provision is
that at the time of the celebration of the marriage, one is psychologically incapacitated to comply with
Justice Caguioa explained that his point is that in the case of incapacity by reason of defects in the the essential marital obligations, which incapacity continues and later becomes manifest.
mental faculties, which is less than insanity, there is a defect in consent and, therefore, it is clear that it
should be a ground for voidable marriage because there is the appearance of consent and it is capable of
convalidation for the simple reason that there are lucid intervals and there are cases when the insanity is Justice Puno and Judge Diy, however, pointed out that it is possible that after the marriage, one's
curable. He emphasized that psychological incapacity does not refer to mental faculties and has nothing psychological incapacity become manifest but later on he is cured. Justice Reyes and Justice Caguioa
to do with consent; it refers to obligations attendant to marriage. opined that the remedy in this case is to allow him to remarry.6

xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

On psychological incapacity, Prof. (Flerida Ruth P.) Romero inquired if they do not consider it as going to Justice Puno formulated the next Article as follows:
the very essence of consent. She asked if they are really removing it from consent. In reply, Justice
Caguioa explained that, ultimately, consent in general is effected but he stressed that his point is that it Art. 37. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration,
is not principally a vitiation of consent since there is a valid consent. He objected to the lumping together was psychologically incapacitated, to comply with the essential obligations of
of the validity of the marriage celebration and the obligations attendant to marriage, which are marriage shall likewise be void from the beginning even if such incapacity becomes
completely different from each other, because they require a different capacity, which is eighteen years manifest after its solemnization.
of age, for marriage but in contract, it is different. Justice Puno, however, felt that psychological
Justice Caguioa suggested that "even if" be substituted with "although." On the other hand, Prof. Justice Caguioa suggested that they put in the prescriptive period of ten years within which the action for
Bautista proposed that the clause "although such incapacity becomes manifest after its solemnization" declaration of nullity of the marriage should be filed in court. The Committee approved the suggestion.7
be deleted since it may encourage one to create the manifestation of psychological incapacity. Justice
Caguioa pointed out that, as in other provisions, they cannot argue on the basis of abuse.
It could well be that, in sum, the Family Code Revision Committee in ultimately deciding to adopt the provision with less
specificity than expected, has in fact, so designed the law as to allow some resiliency in its application. Mme. Justice Alicia V.
Judge Diy suggested that they also include mental and physical incapacities, which are lesser in degree Sempio-Diy, a member of the Code Committee, has been quoted by Mr. Justice Josue N. Bellosillo in Salita vs. Hon. Magtolis
than psychological incapacity. Justice Caguioa explained that mental and physical incapacities are vices of (G.R. No. 106429, 13 June 1994); thus:8
consent while psychological incapacity is not a species of vice or consent.
The Committee did not give any examples of psychological incapacity for fear that the giving of examples
Dean Gupit read what Bishop Cruz said on the matter in the minutes of their February 9, 1984 meeting: would limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. Rather, the
Committee would like the judge to interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience,
the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals
"On the third ground, Bishop Cruz indicated that the phrase "psychological or
which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision was
mental impotence" is an invention of some churchmen who are moralists but not
taken from Canon Law.
canonists, that is why it is considered a weak phrase. He said that the Code of
Canon Law would rather express it as "psychological or mental incapacity to
discharge . . ." A part of the provision is similar to Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law,9 which reads:

Justice Caguioa remarked that they deleted the word "mental" precisely to distinguish it from vice of Canon 1095. They are incapable of contracting marriage:
consent. He explained that "psychological incapacity" refers to lack of understanding of the essential
obligations of marriage.
1. who lack sufficient use of reason;

Justice Puno reminded the members that, at the last meeting, they have decided not to go into the
2. who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of judgment concerning essentila matrimonial rights and
classification of "psychological incapacity" because there was a lot of debate on it and that this is
duties, to be given and accepted mutually;
precisely the reason why they classified it as a special case.

3. who for causes of psychological nature are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage.
At this point, Justice Puno, remarked that, since there having been annulments of marriages arising from
(Emphasis supplied.)
psychological incapacity, Civil Law should not reconcile with Canon Law because it is a new ground even
under Canon Law.
Accordingly, although neither decisive nor even perhaps all that persuasive for having no juridical or secular effect, the
jurisprudence under Canon Law prevailing at the time of the code's enactment, nevertheless, cannot be dismissed as
Prof. Romero raised the question: With this common provision in Civil Law and in Canon Law, are they
impertinent for its value as an aid, at least, to the interpretation or construction of the codal provision.
going to have a provision in the Family Code to the effect that marriages annulled or declared void by the
church on the ground of psychological incapacity is automatically annulled in Civil Law? The other
members replied negatively. One author, Ladislas Orsy, S.J., in his treaties, 10 giving an account on how the third paragraph of Canon 1095 has been framed,
states:
Justice Puno and Prof. Romero inquired if Article 37 should be retroactive or prospective in application.
The history of the drafting of this canon does not leave any doubt that the legislator intended, indeed, to
broaden the rule. A strict and narrow norm was proposed first:
Justice Diy opined that she was for its retroactivity because it is their answer to the problem of church
annulments of marriages, which are still valid under the Civil Law. On the other hand, Justice Reyes and
Justice Puno were concerned about the avalanche of cases. Those who cannot assume the essential obligations of marriage because of a grave
psycho-sexual anomaly (ob gravem anomaliam psychosexualem) are unable to
contract marriage (cf. SCH/1975, canon 297, a new canon, novus);
Dean Gupit suggested that they put the issue to a vote, which the Committee approved.

then a broader one followed:


The members voted as follows:

. . . because of a grave psychological anomaly (ob gravem anomaliam psychicam) . . . (cf. SCH/1980,
(1) Justice Reyes, Justice Puno and Prof. Romero were for prospectivity.
canon 1049);

(2) Justice Caguioa, Judge Diy, Dean Gupit, Prof. Bautista and Director Eufemio were for retroactivity.
then the same wording was retained in the text submitted to the pope (cf. SCH/1982, canon 1095, 3);

(3) Prof. Baviera abstained.


finally, a new version was promulgated:
because of causes of a psychological nature (ob causas naturae psychiae). voidable pursuant to Article 46, Family Code. If drug addiction, habitual alcholism, lesbianism or homosexuality should occur
only during the marriage, they become mere grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code. These provisions
of the Code, however, do not necessarily preclude the possibility of these various circumstances being themselves, depending
So the progress was from psycho-sexual to psychological anomaly, then the term anomaly was
on the degree and severity of the disorder, indicia of psychological incapacity.
altogether eliminated. it would be, however, incorrect to draw the conclusion that the cause of the
incapacity need not be some kind of psychological disorder; after all, normal and healthy person should
be able to assume the ordinary obligations of marriage. Until further statutory and jurisprudential parameters are established, every circumstance that may have some bearing on the
degree, extent, and other conditions of that incapacity must, in every case, be carefully examined and evaluated so that no
precipitate and indiscriminate nullity is peremptorily decreed. The well-considered opinions of psychiatrists, psychologists, and
Fr. Orsy concedes that the term "psychological incapacity" defies any precise definition since psychological causes can be of an
persons with expertise in psychological disciplines might be helpful or even desirable.
infinite variety.

Marriage is not an adventure but a lifetime commitment. We should continue to be reminded that innate in our society, then
In a book, entitled "Canons and Commentaries on Marriage," written by Ignatius Gramunt, Javier Hervada and LeRoy Wauck,
enshrined in our Civil Code, and even now still indelible in Article 1 of the Family Code, is that
the following explanation appears:

Art. 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man a woman entered into in
This incapacity consists of the following: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of
accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family
marriage. Some psychosexual disorders and other disorders of personality can be the psychic cause of
and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and
this defect, which is here described in legal terms. This particular type of incapacity consists of a real
not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the
inability to render what is due by the contract. This could be compared to the incapacity of a farmer to
marriage within the limits provided by this Code. (Emphasis supplied.)
enter a binding contract to deliver the crops which he cannot possibly reap; (b) this inability to commit
oneself must refer to the essential obligations of marriage: the conjugal act, the community of life and
love, the rendering of mutual help, the procreation and education of offspring; (c) the inability must be Our Constitution is no less emphatic:
tantamount to a psychological abnormality. The mere difficulty of assuming these obligations, which
could be overcome by normal effort, obviously does not constitute incapacity. The canon contemplates a
Sec. 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall
true psychological disorder which incapacitates a person from giving what is due (cf. John Paul II, Address
strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development.
to R. Rota, Feb. 5, 1987). However, if the marriage is to be declared invalid under this incapacity, it must
be proved not only that the person is afflicted by a psychological defect, but that the defect did in fact
deprive the person, at the moment of giving consent, of the ability to assume the essential duties of Sec. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected
marriage and consequently of the possibility of being bound by these duties. by the State. (Article XV, 1987 Constitution).

Justice Sempio-Diy 11 cites with approval the work of Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan The above provisions express so well and so distinctly the basic nucleus of our laws on marriage and the family, and they are
Marriage Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila (Branch 1), who opines that psychological incapacity must be doubt the tenets we still hold on to.
characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. The incapacity must be grave or serious such that the
party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage; it must be rooted in the history of the party 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
antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and it must be incurable or, marriage. Undeniably and understandably, Leouel stands aggrieved, even desperate, in his present situation. Regrettably,
even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved. neither law nor society itself can always provide all the specific answers to every individual problem.

It should be obvious, looking at all the foregoing disquisitions, including, and most importantly, the deliberations of the Family WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
Code Revision Committee itself, that the use of the phrase "psychological incapacity" under Article 36 of the Code has not been
meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as, likewise mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities, extremely
low intelligence, immaturity, and like circumstances (cited in Fr. Artemio Baluma's "Void and Voidable Marriages in the Family SO ORDERED.
Code and their Parallels in Canon Law," quoting from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder by the American
Psychiatric Association; Edward Hudson's "Handbook II for Marriage Nullity Cases"). Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be Narvasa, C.J., Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
taken and construed independently of, but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts in our law on marriage. Thus
correlated, "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 Feliciano, J., is on leave.
marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe
love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. 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 pschologic condition must exist at the
time the marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand, an inability of the spouse to have
sexual relations with the other. This conclusion is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which considers children
conceived prior to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void marriage to be "legitimate."

The other forms of psychoses, if existing at the inception of marriage, like the state of a party being of unsound mind or Separate Opinions
concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism, merely renders the marriage contract
In the present case, it is apparent that private respondent Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos has no intention of cohabiting with
petitioner, her husband, or maintaining contact with him. In fact, her acts eloquently show that she does not want her husband
to know of her whereabouts and neither has she any intention of living and cohabiting with him.
PADILLA, J., dissenting:

To me there appears to be, on the part of private respondent, an unmistakeable indication of psychological incapacity to
It is difficult to dissent from a well-written and studied opinion as Mr. Justice Vitug's ponencia. But, after an extended
comply with her essential marital obligations, although these indications were made manifest after the celebration of the
reflection on the facts of this case, I cannot see my way clear into holding, as the majority do, that there is no ground for the
marriage.
declaration of nullity of the marriage between petitioner and private respondent.

It would be a great injustice, I believe, to petitioner for this Court to give a much too restrictive interpretation of the law and
To my mind, it is clear that private respondent has been shown to be psychologically incapacitated to comply with at least one
compel the petitioner to continue to be married to a wife who for purposes of fulfilling her marital duties has, for all practical
essential marital obligation, i.e. that of living and cohabiting with her husband, herein petitioner. On the other hand, it has not
purposes, ceased to exist.
been shown that petitioner does not deserve to live and cohabit with his wife, herein private respondent.

Besides, there are public policy considerations involved in the ruling the Court makes today. Is it not, in effect directly or
There appears to be no disagreement that the term "psychological incapacity" defies precision in definition. But, as used in
indirectly, facilitating the transformation of petitioner into a "habitual tryster" or one forced to maintain illicit relations with
Article 36 of the Family Code as a ground for the declaration of nullity of a marriage, the intent of the framers of the Code is
another woman or women with emerging problems of illegitimate children, simply because he is denied by private respondent,
evidently to expand and liberalize the grounds for nullifying a marriage, as well pointed out by Madam Justice Flerida Ruth P.
his wife, the companionship and conjugal love which he has sought from her and to which he is legally entitled?
Romero in her separate opinion in this case.

I do not go as far as to suggest that Art. 36 of the Family Code is a sanction for absolute divorce but I submit that we should not
While it is true that the board term "psychological incapacity" can open the doors to abuse by couples who may wish to have
constrict it to non-recognition of its evident purpose and thus deny to one like petitioner, an opportunity to turn a new leaf in
an easy way out of their marriage, there are, however, enough safeguards against this contingency, among which, is the
his life by declaring his marriage a nullity by reason of his wife's psychological incapacity to perform an essential marital
intervention by the State, through the public prosecutor, to guard against collusion between the parties and/or fabrication of
obligation.
evidence.

I therefore vote to GRANT the petition and to DECLARE the marriage between petitioner Leouel Santos and private respondent
In their case at bench, it has been abundantly established that private respondent Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos exhibits specific
Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos VOID on the basis of Article 36 of the Family Code.
behavior which, to my mind, shows that she is psychologically incapacitated to fulfill her essential marital obligations, to writ:

ROMERO, J., concurring:


a. It took her seven (7) months after she left for the United States to call up her husband.

I agree under the circumstances of the case, petitioner is not entitled to have his marriage declared a nullity on the ground of
b. Julia promised to return home after her job contract expired in July 1989, but she never did and
psychological incapacity of private respondent.
neither is there any showing that she informed her husband (herein petitioner) of her whereabouts in
the U.S.A.
However, as a member of both the Family Law Revision Committee of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Civil Code
Revision Committee of the UP Law Center, I wish to add some observations. The letter1 dated April 15, 1985 of then Judge
c. When petitioner went to the United States on a mission for the Philippine Army, he exerted efforts to
Alicia V. Sempio-Diy written in behalf of the Family Law and Civil Code Revision Committee to then Assemblywoman Mercedes
"touch base" with Julia; there were no similar efforts on the part of Julia; there were no similar efforts on
Cojuangco-Teodoro traced the background of the inclusion of the present Article 36 in the Family Code.
the part of Julia to do the same.

During its early meetings, the Family Law Committee had thought of including a chapter on absolute
d. When petitioner filed this suit, more than five (5) years had elapsed, without Julia indicating her plans
divorce in the draft of a new Family Code (Book I of the Civil Code) that it had been tasked by the IBP and
to rejoin the petitioner or her whereabouts.
the UP Law Center to prepare. In fact, some members of the Committee were in favor of a no-fault
divorce between the spouses after a number of years of separation, legal or de-facto. Justice J.B.L. Reyes
e. When petitioner filed this case in the trial court, Julia, in her answer, claimed that it is the former who was then requested to prepare a proposal for an action for dissolution of marriage and the effects
has been irresponsible and incompetent. thereof based on two grounds: (a) five continuous years of separation between the spouses, with or
without a judicial decree of legal separation, and (b) whenever a married person would have obtained a
f. During the trial, Julia waived her right to appear and submit evidence. decree of absolute divorce in another country. Actually, such a proposal is one for absolute divorce but
called by another name. Later, even the Civil Code Revision Committee took time to discuss the proposal
of Justice Reyes on this matter.
A spouse's obligation to live and cohabit with his/her partner in marriage is a basic ground rule in marriage, unless there are
overpowering compelling reasons such as, for instance, an incurable contagious disease on the part of a spouse or cruelty of
one partner, bordering on insanity. There may also be instances when, for economic and practical reasons, husband and wife Subsequently, however, when the Civil Code Revision Committee and Family Law Committee started
have to live separately, but the marital bond between the spouses always remains. Mutual love and respect for each other holding joint meetings on the preparation of the draft of the New Family Code, they agreed and
would, in such cases, compel the absent spouse to at least have regular contracts with the other to inform the latter of his/her formulated the definition of marriage as
condition and whereabouts.
"a special contract of permanent partnership between a man and a woman
entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family
life. It is an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents Clearly, by incorporating what is now Article 36 into the Family Code, the Revision Committee referred to above intended to
are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage add another ground to those already listed in the Civil Code as grounds for nullifying a marriage, thus expanding or liberalizing
settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits the same. Inherent in the inclusion of the provision on psychological incapacity was the understanding that every petition for
provided by law." declaration of nullity based on it should be treated on a case-to-case basis; hence, the absence of a definition and an
enumeration of what constitutes psychological incapacity. Moreover, the Committee feared that the giving of examples would
limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. But the law requires that the same be existing at
With the above definition, and considering the Christian traditional concept of marriage of the Filipino
the time of marriage although it be manifested later.
people as a permanent, inviolable, indissoluble social institution upon which the family and society are
founded, and also realizing the strong opposition that any provision on absolute divorce would
encounter from the Catholic Church and the Catholic sector of our citizenry to whom the great majority Admittedly, the provision on psychological incapacity, just like any other provision of law, is open to abuse. To prevent this,
of our people belong, the two Committees in their joint meetings did not pursue the idea of absolute "the court shall take order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take steps to
divorce and instead opted for an action for judicial declaration of invalidity of marriage based on grounds prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed."2 Moreover, the judge,
available in the Canon Law. It was thought that such an action would not only be an acceptable in interpreting the provision on a case-to-case basis, must be guided by "experience, the findings of experts and researchers in
alternative to divorce but would also solve the nagging problem of church annulments of marriages on psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given
grounds not recognized by the civil law of the State. Justice Reyes was thus requested to again prepare a persuasive effect since the provisions was taken from Canon Law."3
draft of provisions on such action for celebration of invalidity of marriage. Still later, to avoid the
overlapping of provisions on void marriages as found in the present Civil Code and those proposed by
The constitutional and statutory provisions on the family4 will remain the lodestar which our society will hope to achieve
Justice Reyes on judicial declaration of invalidity of marriage on grounds similar to the Canon Law, the
ultimately. Therefore, the inclusion of Article 36 is not to be taken as an abandonment of the ideal which we all cherish. If at
two Committees now working as a Joint Committee in the preparation of a New Family Code decided to
all, it is a recognition of the reality that some marriages, by reason of the incapacity of one of the contracting parties, fall short
consolidate the present provisions on void marriages with the proposals of Justice Reyes. The result was
of this ideal; thus, the parties are constrained to find a way of putting an end to their union through some legally-accepted
the inclusion of an additional kind of void marriage in the enumeration of void marriages in the present
means.
Civil Code, to wit:

Any criticism directed at the way that judges have interpreted the provision since its enactment as to render it easier for
"(7) Those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration,
unhappily-married couples to separate is addressed, not to the wisdom of the lawmakers but to the manner by which some
was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the
members of the Bench have implemented the provision. These are not interchangeable, each being separate and distinct from
essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to
the other.
discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack of incapacity is made
manifest after the celebration."

as well as the following implementing provisions:


Separate Opinions
"Art. 32. The absolute nullity of a marriage may be invoked or pleaded only on the
basis of a final judgment declaring the marriage void, without prejudice to the PADILLA, J., dissenting:
provision of Article 34."
It is difficult to dissent from a well-written and studied opinion as Mr. Justice Vitug's ponencia. But, after an extended
"Art. 33. The action or defense for the declaration of the absolute nullity of a reflection on the facts of this case, I cannot see my way clear into holding, as the majority do, that there is no ground for the
marriage shall not prescribe." declaration of nullity of the marriage between petitioner and private respondent.

xxx xxx xxx To my mind, it is clear that private respondent has been shown to be psychologically incapacitated to comply with at least one
essential marital obligation, i.e. that of living and cohabiting with her husband, herein petitioner. On the other hand, it has not
been shown that petitioner does not deserve to live and cohabit with his wife, herein private respondent.
It is believed that many hopelessly broken marriages in our country today may already dissolved or
annulled on the grounds proposed by the Joint Committee on declaration of nullity as well as annulment
of marriages, thus rendering an absolute divorce law unnecessary. In fact, during a conference with There appears to be no disagreement that the term "psychological incapacity" defies precision in definition. But, as used in
Father Gerald Healy of the Ateneo University as well as another meeting with Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Article 36 of the Family Code as a ground for the declaration of nullity of a marriage, the intent of the framers of the Code is
the Archdiocese of Pampanga, the Joint Committee was informed that since Vatican II, the Catholic evidently to expand and liberalize the grounds for nullifying a marriage, as well pointed out by Madam Justice Flerida Ruth P.
Church has been declaring marriages null and void on the ground of "lack of due discretion" for causes Romero in her separate opinion in this case.
that, in other jurisdictions, would be clear grounds for divorce, like teen-age or premature marriages;
marriage to a man who, because of some personality disorder or disturbance, cannot support a family; While it is true that the board term "psychological incapacity" can open the doors to abuse by couples who may wish to have
the foolish or ridiculous choice of a spouse by an otherwise perfectly normal person; marriage to a an easy way out of their marriage, there are, however, enough safeguards against this contingency, among which, is the
woman who refuses to cohabit with her husband or who refuses to have children. Bishop Cruz also intervention by the State, through the public prosecutor, to guard against collusion between the parties and/or fabrication of
informed the Committee that they have found out in tribunal work that a lot of machismo among evidence.
husbands are manifestations of their sociopathic personality anomaly, like inflicting physical violence
upon their wives, constitutional indolence or laziness, drug dependence or addiction, and psychological
anomaly. . . . (Emphasis supplied) In their case at bench, it has been abundantly established that private respondent Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos exhibits specific
behavior which, to my mind, shows that she is psychologically incapacitated to fulfill her essential marital obligations, to writ:
a. It took her seven (7) months after she left for the United States to call up her husband. I agree under the circumstances of the case, petitioner is not entitled to have his marriage declared a nullity on the ground of
psychological incapacity of private respondent.
b. Julia promised to return home after her job contract expired in July 1989, but she never did and
neither is there any showing that she informed her husband (herein petitioner) of her whereabouts in However, as a member of both the Family Law Revision Committee of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Civil Code
the U.S.A. Revision Committee of the UP Law Center, I wish to add some observations. The letter1 dated April 15, 1985 of then Judge
Alicia V. Sempio-Diy written in behalf of the Family Law and Civil Code Revision Committee to then Assemblywoman Mercedes
Cojuangco-Teodoro traced the background of the inclusion of the present Article 36 in the Family Code.
c. When petitioner went to the United States on a mission for the Philippine Army, he exerted efforts to
"touch base" with Julia; there were no similar efforts on the part of Julia; there were no similar efforts on
the part of Julia to do the same. During its early meetings, the Family Law Committee had thought of including a chapter on absolute
divorce in the draft of a new Family Code (Book I of the Civil Code) that it had been tasked by the IBP and
the UP Law Center to prepare. In fact, some members of the Committee were in favor of a no-fault
d. When petitioner filed this suit, more than five (5) years had elapsed, without Julia indicating her plans
divorce between the spouses after a number of years of separation, legal or de-facto. Justice J.B.L. Reyes
to rejoin the petitioner or her whereabouts.
was then requested to prepare a proposal for an action for dissolution of marriage and the effects
thereof based on two grounds: (a) five continuous years of separation between the spouses, with or
e. When petitioner filed this case in the trial court, Julia, in her answer, claimed that it is the former who without a judicial decree of legal separation, and (b) whenever a married person would have obtained a
has been irresponsible and incompetent. decree of absolute divorce in another country. Actually, such a proposal is one for absolute divorce but
called by another name. Later, even the Civil Code Revision Committee took time to discuss the proposal
f. During the trial, Julia waived her right to appear and submit evidence. of Justice Reyes on this matter.

A spouse's obligation to live and cohabit with his/her partner in marriage is a basic ground rule in marriage, unless there are Subsequently, however, when the Civil Code Revision Committee and Family Law Committee started
overpowering compelling reasons such as, for instance, an incurable contagious disease on the part of a spouse or cruelty of holding joint meetings on the preparation of the draft of the New Family Code, they agreed and
one partner, bordering on insanity. There may also be instances when, for economic and practical reasons, husband and wife formulated the definition of marriage as
have to live separately, but the marital bond between the spouses always remains. Mutual love and respect for each other
would, in such cases, compel the absent spouse to at least have regular contracts with the other to inform the latter of his/her "a special contract of permanent partnership between a man and a woman
condition and whereabouts. entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family
life. It is an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents
In the present case, it is apparent that private respondent Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos has no intention of cohabiting with are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage
petitioner, her husband, or maintaining contact with him. In fact, her acts eloquently show that she does not want her husband settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits
to know of her whereabouts and neither has she any intention of living and cohabiting with him. provided by law."

To me there appears to be, on the part of private respondent, an unmistakeable indication of psychological incapacity to With the above definition, and considering the Christian traditional concept of marriage of the Filipino
comply with her essential marital obligations, although these indications were made manifest after the celebration of the people as a permanent, inviolable, indissoluble social institution upon which the family and society are
marriage. founded, and also realizing the strong opposition that any provision on absolute divorce would
encounter from the Catholic Church and the Catholic sector of our citizenry to whom the great majority
of our people belong, the two Committees in their joint meetings did not pursue the idea of absolute
It would be a great injustice, I believe, to petitioner for this Court to give a much too restrictive interpretation of the law and divorce and instead opted for an action for judicial declaration of invalidity of marriage based on grounds
compel the petitioner to continue to be married to a wife who for purposes of fulfilling her marital duties has, for all practical available in the Canon Law. It was thought that such an action would not only be an acceptable
purposes, ceased to exist. alternative to divorce but would also solve the nagging problem of church annulments of marriages on
grounds not recognized by the civil law of the State. Justice Reyes was thus requested to again prepare a
Besides, there are public policy considerations involved in the ruling the Court makes today. Is it not, in effect directly or draft of provisions on such action for celebration of invalidity of marriage. Still later, to avoid the
indirectly, facilitating the transformation of petitioner into a "habitual tryster" or one forced to maintain illicit relations with overlapping of provisions on void marriages as found in the present Civil Code and those proposed by
another woman or women with emerging problems of illegitimate children, simply because he is denied by private respondent, Justice Reyes on judicial declaration of invalidity of marriage on grounds similar to the Canon Law, the
his wife, the companionship and conjugal love which he has sought from her and to which he is legally entitled? two Committees now working as a Joint Committee in the preparation of a New Family Code decided to
consolidate the present provisions on void marriages with the proposals of Justice Reyes. The result was
the inclusion of an additional kind of void marriage in the enumeration of void marriages in the present
I do not go as far as to suggest that Art. 36 of the Family Code is a sanction for absolute divorce but I submit that we should not Civil Code, to wit:
constrict it to non-recognition of its evident purpose and thus deny to one like petitioner, an opportunity to turn a new leaf in
his life by declaring his marriage a nullity by reason of his wife's psychological incapacity to perform an essential marital
obligation. "(7) Those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration,
was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the
essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to
I therefore vote to GRANT the petition and to DECLARE the marriage between petitioner Leouel Santos and private respondent discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack of incapacity is made
Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos VOID on the basis of Article 36 of the Family Code. manifest after the celebration."

ROMERO, J., concurring: as well as the following implementing provisions:


"Art. 32. The absolute nullity of a marriage may be invoked or pleaded only on the Footnotes
basis of a final judgment declaring the marriage void, without prejudice to the
provision of Article 34."
1 Per Judge Enrique Garovillo.

"Art. 33. The action or defense for the declaration of the absolute nullity of a
2 Penned by Justice Jainal Rasul, concurred in by Justice Pedro Ramirez and Ramon Mabutas, Jr.
marriage shall not prescribe."

3 Rollo, 37-42.
xxx xxx xxx

4 Rollo, 13-18.
It is believed that many hopelessly broken marriages in our country today may already dissolved or
annulled on the grounds proposed by the Joint Committee on declaration of nullity as well as annulment
of marriages, thus rendering an absolute divorce law unnecessary. In fact, during a conference with 5 Deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee, July 26, 1986.
Father Gerald Healy of the Ateneo University as well as another meeting with Archbishop Oscar Cruz of
the Archdiocese of Pampanga, the Joint Committee was informed that since Vatican II, the Catholic 6 Deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee, August 2, 1986.
Church has been declaring marriages null and void on the ground of "lack of due discretion" for causes
that, in other jurisdictions, would be clear grounds for divorce, like teen-age or premature marriages;
marriage to a man who, because of some personality disorder or disturbance, cannot support a family; 7 Deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee, August 9, 1986.
the foolish or ridiculous choice of a spouse by an otherwise perfectly normal person; marriage to a
woman who refuses to cohabit with her husband or who refuses to have children. Bishop Cruz also 8 In her "Handbook on the Family Code."
informed the Committee that they have found out in tribunal work that a lot of machismo among
husbands are manifestations of their sociopathic personality anomaly, like inflicting physical violence
upon their wives, constitutional indolence or laziness, drug dependence or addiction, and psychological 9 Marriage in Canon Law, Delaware: Michael Glazier, Inc., 1986, 129-130.
anomaly. . . . (Emphasis supplied)
C 1095 Sunt incapaces matrimonii contrahendi:
Clearly, by incorporating what is now Article 36 into the Family Code, the Revision Committee referred to above intended to
add another ground to those already listed in the Civil Code as grounds for nullifying a marriage, thus expanding or liberalizing 1. qui sufficiente rationis usu carent;
the same. Inherent in the inclusion of the provision on psychological incapacity was the understanding that every petition for
declaration of nullity based on it should be treated on a case-to-case basis; hence, the absence of a definition and an
2. qui laborant gravi defectu discretionis iudicii circa iura et official matrimonialia essentialia mutuo
enumeration of what constitutes psychological incapacity. Moreover, the Committee feared that the giving of examples would
tradenda et acceptanda;
limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. But the law requires that the same be existing at
the time of marriage although it be manifested later.
3. qui ob causas naturae psychicae obligationes matrimonii essentiales assumere non valent.
Admittedly, the provision on psychological incapacity, just like any other provision of law, is open to abuse. To prevent this,
"the court shall take order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take steps to 10 Ibid., 131-132.
prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed."2 Moreover, the judge,
in interpreting the provision on a case-to-case basis, must be guided by "experience, the findings of experts and researchers in 11 Handbook on the Family Code, First Edition, 1988.
psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given
persuasive effect since the provisions was taken from Canon Law."3
ROMERO, J., concurring:

The constitutional and statutory provisions on the family4 will remain the lodestar which our society will hope to achieve
ultimately. Therefore, the inclusion of Article 36 is not to be taken as an abandonment of the ideal which we all cherish. If at 1 Written pursuant to the request of Assemblywoman Mercedes Cojuangco-Teodoro during the March
all, it is a recognition of the reality that some marriages, by reason of the incapacity of one of the contracting parties, fall short 23, 1985 joint meeting of the Family Law and Civil Code Revision Committee at the UP Law Center for
of this ideal; thus, the parties are constrained to find a way of putting an end to their union through some legally-accepted comments on P.B. 3149 (Pacificador Bill) on Divorce, P.B. No. 1986 (Monfort and Collantes Bill) on
means. Recognition of Church Annulments of Marriages, P.B. No. 2347 (Sitoy Bill) on Additional Grounds for
Annulment of Marriage and Legal Separation and P.B. 1350 (Kalaw Bill) on Equal Rights of Filipino
Women which were pending before her Sub-Committee.
Any criticism directed at the way that judges have interpreted the provision since its enactment as to render it easier for
unhappily-married couples to separate is addressed, not to the wisdom of the lawmakers but to the manner by which some
members of the Bench have implemented the provision. These are not interchangeable, each being separate and distinct from 2 FAMILY CODE, Art. 48.
the other.
3 J.A. v. SEMPIO-DIY, HANDBOOK OF THE FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, 37 (1988).

4 As quoted in the majority opinion.


FIRST DIVISION WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, this Honorable Court finds for the plaintiff and judgment is hereby
rendered:
G.R. No. 159594 : November 12, 2012
1. Declaring the marriage between Eduardo C. de Quintos and Catalina delos Santos de Quintos, a nullity under Article 36 of
the Family Code, as amended.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS (NINTH DIVISION), AND EDUARDO C. DE
QUINTOS, .JR., Respondents.
2. Ordering the Municipal Civil Registrar of Lingayen,Pangasinan to cancel the marriage of the parties from the Civil Register of
Lingayen, Pangasinan in accordance with this decision.
DECISION

SO ORDERED.12rll
BERSAMIN, J.:

The RTC ruled that Catalinas infidelity, her spending more time with friends rather than with her family, and her incessant
The State appeals the decision promulgated on July 30, 2003,1rll whereby the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the
gambling constituted psychological incapacity that affected her duty to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. It
declaration by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 38, in Lingayen, Pangasinan of the nullity of the marriage between respondent
held that considering that the matter of determining whether a party was psychologically incapacitated was best left to experts
Eduardo De Quintos, Jr. (Eduardo) and Catalina Delos Santos-De Quintos (Catalina) based on the latter's psychological
like Dr. Reyes, the results of the neuro-psychiatric evaluation by Dr. Reyes was the best evidence of Catalinas psychological
incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code.
incapacity.13rll

We find the State's appeal to be meritorious. Hence, we uphold once again the validity of a marriage on the ground that the
Ruling of the CA
alleged psychological incapacity was not sufficiently established.

On appeal, the State raised the lone error that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary


Antecedents

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THE PARTIES MARRIAGE NULL AND VOID, DEFENDANT CATALINA DELOS SANTOS-DE
Eduardo and Catalina were married on March 16, 1977 in civil rites solemnized by the Municipal Mayor of Lingayen,
QUINTOS PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY NOT HAVING BEEN PROVEN TO EXIST.
Pangasinan.2rll The couple was not blessed with a child due to Catalinas hysterectomy following her second
miscarriage.3rll
On July 30, 2003, the CA promulgated its decision affirming the judgment of the RTC. The CA concluded that Eduardo proved
Catalinas psychological incapacity, observing that the results of the neuro-psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Reyes
On April 6, 1998, Eduardo filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of their marriage,4rll citing Catalinas psychological
showed that Catalina had been "mentally or physically ill to the extent that she could not have known her marital obligations;"
incapacity to comply with her essential marital obligations. Catalina did not interpose any objection to the petition, but prayed
and that Catalinas psychological incapacity had been medically identified, sufficiently proven, duly alleged in the complaint and
to be given her share in the conjugal house and lot located in Bacabac, Bugallon, Pangasinan.5rll After conducting an
clearly explained by the trial court.
investigation, the public prosecutor determined that there was no collusion between Eduardo and Catalina.6rll

Issue
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 In this appeal, the State, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), urges that the CA gravely erred because:
overseas worker in Qatar since 1993; and that she abandoned the conjugal home in 1997 to live with Bobbie Castro, her
paramour.7rll
I

Eduardo presented the results of the neuro-psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Annabelle L. Reyes, a psychiatrist. Based
THERE IS NO SHOWING THAT CATALINAS ALLEGED PERSONALITY TRAITS ARE CONSTITUTIVE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY
on the tests she administered on Catalina,8rll Dr. Reyes opined that Catalina exhibited traits of Borderline Personality
EXISTING AT THE TIME OF MARRIAGE CELEBRATION; NOR ARE THEY OF THE NATURE CONTEMPLATED BY ARTICLE 36 OF THE
Disorder that was no longer treatable. Dr. Reyes found that Catalinas disorder was mainly characterized by her immaturity that
FAMILY CODE.
rendered her psychologically incapacitated to meet her marital obligations.9rll

II
Catalina did not appear during trial but submitted her Answer/Manifestation,10rll whereby she admitted her psychological
incapacity, but denied leaving the conjugal home without Eduardos consent and flirting with different men. She insisted that
she had only one live-in partner; and that she would not give up her share in the conjugal residence because she intended to MARITAL UNFAITHFULNESS OF THE [sic] CATALINA WAS NOT SHOWN TO BE A SYMPTOM OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY.
live there or to receive her share should the residence be sold.11rll
III
Ruling of the RTC
ABANDONMENT OF ONES FAMILY IS ONLY A GROUND FOR LEGAL SEPARATION.
The RTC granted the petition on August 9, 2000, decreeing:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
IV
GAMBLING HABIT OF CATALINA NOT LIKEWISE ESTABLISHED TO BE A SYMPTOM OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY. xxx

V (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. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the
incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. x x x.
THE NEUROPSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION AND TESTIMONY OF DR. ANNABELLE REYES FAILED TO ESTABLISH THE CAUSE OF
CATALINAS INCAPACITY AND PROVE THAT IT EXISTED AT THE INCEPTION OF MARRIAGE, IS GRAVE AND INCURABLE. 14rll
xxx
The OSG argues that the findings and conclusions of the RTC and the CA did not conform to the guidelines laid down by the
Court in Republic v. Court of Appeals, (Molina);15rll and that Catalinas refusal to do household chores, and her failure to (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the celebration" of the marriage. x x x.
take care of her husband and their adopted daughter were not "defects" of a psychological nature warranting the declaration
of nullity of their marriage, but mere indications of her difficulty, refusal or neglect to perform her marital obligations.
xxx

The OSG further argues that Catalinas infidelity, gambling habits and abandonment of the conjugal home were not grounds
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. x x x.
under Article 36 of the Family Code; that there was no proof that her infidelity and gambling had occurred prior to the
marriage, while her abandonment would only be a ground for legal separation under Article 55(10) of the Family Code; that
the neuro-psychiatric evaluation by Dr. Reyes did not sufficiently establish Catalinas psychological incapacity; that Dr. Reyes xxx
was not shown to have exerted effort to look into Catalinas past life, attitudes, habits and character as to be able to explain her
alleged psychological incapacity; that there was not even a finding of the root cause of her alleged psychological incapacity; (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage.
and that there appeared to be a collusion between the parties inasmuch as Eduardo admitted during the trial that he had given Thus, "mild characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be accepted as root causes.
P50,000.00 to Catalina in exchange for her non-appearance in the trial. x x x.

The OSG postulated that Catalinas unsupportive in-laws and Eduardos overseas deployment that had required him to be away xxx
most of the time created the strain in the couples relationship and forced her to seek her friends emotional support and
company; and that her ambivalent attitude towards their adopted daughter was attributable to her inability to bear children of
her own. (6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 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. Such non-complied
marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.
Issue

(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not
The issue is whether there was sufficient evidence warranting the declaration of the nullity of Catalinas marriage to Eduardo controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts. x x x.
based on her psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code.

xxx
Ruling

(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. x x
We grant the petition for review. x.19rll

Psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code contemplates an incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and The foregoing pronouncements in Santos and Molina have remained as the precedential guides in deciding cases grounded on
to assume basic marital obligations, and is not merely the difficulty, refusal, or neglect in the performance of marital the psychological incapacity of a spouse. But the Court has declared the existence or absence of the psychological incapacity
obligations or ill will. It consists of: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage; (b) the inability must based strictly on the facts of each case and not on a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations.20rll Indeed, the
refer to the essential obligations of marriage, that is, the conjugal act, the community of life and love, the rendering of mutual incapacity should be established by the totality of evidence presented during trial,21rll making it incumbent upon the
help, and the procreation and education of offspring; and (c) the inability must be tantamount to a psychological abnormality. petitioner to sufficiently prove the existence of the psychological incapacity.22rll
Proving that a spouse failed to meet his or her responsibility and duty as a married person is not enough; it is essential that he
or she must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to some psychological illness.16rll
Eduardo defends the rulings of the RTC and the CA, insisting that they thereby explained the gravity and severity of Catalinas
psychological incapacity that had existed even prior to the celebration of their marriage.23rll
In Santos v. Court of Appeals,17rll we decreed that psychological incapacity should refer to a mental incapacity that causes a
party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants such as those enumerated in Article 68 of the Family Code and must
be characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability. In an effort to settle the confusion that may arise in deciding We are not convinced. Both lower courts did not exact a compliance with the requirement of sufficiently explaining the gravity,
cases involving nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity, we then laid down the following guidelines in the root cause and incurability of Catalinas purported psychological incapacity. Rather, they were liberal in their appreciation of
later ruling in Molina,18rll viz: the scanty evidence that Eduardo submitted to establish the incapacity.

(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of To start with, Catalinas supposed behavior (i.e., her frequent gossiping with neighbors, leaving the house without Eduardos
the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. x x x. consent, refusal to do the household chores and to take care of their adopted daughter, and gambling), were not even
established. Eduardo presented no other witnesses to corroborate his allegations on such behavior. At best, his testimony was But Dr. Reyes had only one interview with Catalina, and did not personally seek out and meet with other persons, aside from
self-serving and would have no serious value as evidence upon such a serious matter that was submitted to a court of law. Eduardo, who could have shed light on and established the conduct of the spouses before and during the marriage. For that
reason, Dr. Reyes report lacked depth and objectivity, a weakness that removed the necessary support for the conclusion that
the RTC and the CA reached about Catalinas psychological incapacity to perform her marital duties.
Secondly, both lower courts noticeably relied heavily on the results of the neuro-psychological evaluation by Dr. Reyes despite
the paucity of factual foundation to support the claim of Catalinas psychological incapacity. In particular, they relied on the
following portion of the report of Dr. Reyes, to wit:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Under the circumstances, the report and court testimony by Dr. Reyes did not present the gravity and incurability of Catalinas
psychological incapacity. There was, to start with, no evidence showing the root cause of her alleged borderline personality
disorder and that such disorder had existed prior to her marriage. We have repeatedly pronounced that the root cause of the
REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
psychological incapacity must be identified as a psychological illness, with its incapacitating nature fully explained and
established by the totality of the evidence presented during trial.29rll
Catalina is exhibiting traits of a borderline personality. This is characterized, mainly by immaturity in several aspects of the
personality. One aspect is in the area of personal relationships, where a person cannot really come up with what is expected in
What we can gather from the scant evidence that Eduardo adduced was Catalinas immaturity and apparent refusal to perform
a relationship that involves commitments. They are generally in and out of relationships, as they do not have the patience to
her marital obligations. However, her immaturity alone did not constitute psychological incapacity.30rll To rule that such
sustain this [sic] ties. Their behavior is like that of a child who has to be attended to as they might end up doing things which
immaturity amounted to psychological incapacity, it must be shown that the immature acts were manifestations of a
are often regrettable. These people however usually do not feel remorse for their wrongdoings. They do not seem to learn
disordered personality that made the spouse completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state,
from their mistakes, and they have the habit of repeating these mistakes to the detriment of their own lives and that of their
which inability was merely due to her youth or immaturity.31rll
families. Owing to these characteristics, people with these pattern of traits cannot be expected to have lasting and successful
relationships as required in marriage. It is expected that even with future relationships, things will not work out.
Fourthly, we held in Suazo v. Suazo32rll that there must be proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor that effectively
incapacitated the respondent spouse from complying with the basic marital obligations, viz:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Families of these people usually reveal that parents relationship are not also that ideal. If this be the background of the
developing child, it is likely that his or her relationships would also end up as such.
It is not enough that the respondent, alleged to be psychologically incapacitated, had difficulty in complying with his marital
obligations, or was unwilling to perform these obligations. Proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor an adverse integral
xxx
element in the respondents personality structure that effectively incapacitated him from complying with his essential marital
obligations must be shown. Mere difficulty, refusal or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will on the part of
With all these collateral information being considered and a longitudinal history of defendant made, it is being concluded that the spouse is different from incapacity rooted in some debilitating psychological condition or illness; irreconcilable differences,
she was not able to come up with the minimum expected of her as a wife. Her behavior and attitude before and after the sexual infidelity or perversion, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility and the like, do not by themselves warrant a finding
marriage is highly indicative of a very immature and childish person, rendering her psychologically incapacitated to live up and of psychological incapacity under Article 36, as the same may only be due to a persons refusal or unwillingness to assume the
meet the responsibilities required in a commitment like marriage. Catalina miserably failed to fulfill her role as wife and essential obligations of marriage.
mother, rendering her incapacitated to comply with her duties inherent in marriage. In the same vein, it cannot be expected
that this attitude and behavior of defendant will still change because her traits have developed through the years and already
The only fact established here, which Catalina even admitted in her Answer, was her abandonment of the conjugal home to
ingrained within her.24rll
live with another man. Yet, abandonment was not one of the grounds for the nullity of marriage under the Family Code. It did
not also constitute psychological incapacity, it being instead a ground for legal separation under Article 55(10) of the Family
Yet, the report was ostensibly vague about the root cause, gravity and incurability of Catalinas supposed psychological Code. On the other hand, her sexual infidelity was not a valid ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family
incapacity. Nor was the testimony given in court by Dr. Reyes a source of vital information that the report missed out on. Aside Code, considering that there should be a showing that such marital infidelity was a manifestation of a disordered personality
from rendering a brief and general description of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, both the report and court that made her completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of marriage.33rll Needless to state, Eduardo did not
testimony of Dr. Reyes tendered no explanation on the root cause that could have brought about such behavior on the part of adduce such evidence, rendering even his claim of her infidelity bereft of factual and legal basis.
Catalina. They did not specify which of Catalinas various acts or omissions typified the conduct of a person with borderline
personality, and did not also discuss the gravity of her behavior that translated to her inability to perform her basic marital
Lastly, we do not concur with the assertion by the OSG that Eduardo colluded with Catalina. The assertion was based on his
duties. Dr. Reyes only established that Catalina was childish and immature, and that her childishness and immaturity could no
admission during trial that he had paid her the amount of P50,000.00 as her share in the conjugal home in order to convince
longer be treated due to her having already reached an age "beyond maturity."25rll
her not to oppose his petition or to bring any action on her part,34rll to wit:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Thirdly, we have said that the expert evidence presented in cases of declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY FISCAL MUERONG
incapacity presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert to make a conclusive
diagnosis of a grave, severe and incurable presence of psychological incapacity.26rll We have explained this need in Lim v.
Sta. Cruz-Lim,27rll stating:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Q Mr. de Quintos, also during the first part of the hearing, your wife, the herein defendant, Catalina delos Santos-de Quintos,
has been religiously attending the hearing, but lately, I noticed that she is no longer attending and represented by counsel, did
you talk to your wife?
The expert opinion of a psychiatrist arrived at after a maximum of seven (7) hours of interview, and unsupported by separate
psychological tests, cannot tie the hands of the trial court and prevent it from making its own factual finding on what
happened in this case. The probative force of the testimony of an expert does not lie in a mere statement of his theory or A No, sir.
opinion, but rather in the assistance that he can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for his criterion
and the reasons upon which the logic of his conclusion is founded.28rll
Q And you find it more convenient that it would be better for both of you, if, she will not attend the hearing of this case you
filed against her, is it not?
A No, sir. I did not. In fine, given the insufficiency of the evidence proving the psychological incapacity of Catalina, we cannot but resolve in favor
of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.36rll
Q But, am I correct, Mr. de Quintos, that you and your wife had an agreement regarding this case?
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for review on certiorari; SET ASIDE the decision the Court of Appeals promulgated on July
30, 2003; and DISMISS the petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage filed under Article 36 of the Family Code for lack of
A None, sir.
merit.

Q And you were telling me something about an agreement that you will pay her an amount of P50,000.00, please tell us, what
Costs to be paid by the respondent.rllbrr
is that agreement that you have to pay her P50,000.00?

SO ORDERED.
A Regarding our conjugal properties, sir.

Endnotes:
Q Why, do you have conjugal properties that you both or acquired at the time of your marriage?

A Yes, sir. 1rll


Rollo, pp. 51-57; penned by Associate Justice B.A. Adefuin-Dela Cruz (retired), with Associate Justices Perlita J. Tria
Tirona (retired) and Hakim S. Abdulwahid, concurring.
Q And why did you agree that you have to give her P50,000.00?
2rll Exhibit "A", Exhibit Folder, p. 1.
A It is because we bought a lot and constructed a house thereat, that is why I agreed, sir.
3rll Exhibit Folder, p. 2.
Q Is it not a fact, Mr. witness, that your wife does not oppose this petition for declaration of marriage which you filed against
her? 4rll Records, pp. 2-4.

A She does not opposed [sic], sir. 5


rll Id. at 10-11.

Q As a matter of fact, the only thing that she is concern [sic] about this case is the division of your conjugal properties? 6
rll Id. at 14-15.

A Yes, sir. 7rll TSN dated December 7, 1998, pp. 4-5.

Q That is why you also agreed to give her P50,000.00 as her share of your conjugal properties, so that she will not pursue 8
rll Dr. Reyes administered the following tests, namely:- Purdue Non Verbal Test, Draw-A-Person Test, House-Tree-Person
whatever she wanted to pursue with regards to the case you filed against her, is that correct?
Test, Sacks Sentence Completion Test, and Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test (see Exhibit "B", Exhibit Folder, p. 5).

A Yes, sir. 9
rll TSN dated January 18, 1999, pp. 3-4.

Q And you already gave her that amount of P50,000.00, Mr. witness? 10rll Records, pp. 10-11.

A Yes, sir. 11
rll Id. at 10-11.

Q And because she has already gotten her share of P50,000.00 that is the reason why she is no longer around here? 12rll Id. at 68.

A Yes sir, it could be.35rll 13rll Id. at 66-67.

Verily, the payment to Catalina could not be a manifest sign of a collusion between her and Eduardo. To recall, she did not 14rll Rollo, pp. 22-23.
interpose her objection to the petition to the point of conceding her psychological incapacity, but she nonetheless made it
clear enough that she was unwilling to forego her share in the conjugal house. The probability that Eduardo willingly gave her
the amount of P50,000.00 as her share in the conjugal asset out of his recognition of her unquestionable legal entitlement to 15rll G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997, 268 SCRA 198.
such share was very high, so that whether or not he did so also to encourage her to stick to her previously announced stance of
not opposing the petition for nullity of the marriage should by no means be of any consequence in determining the issue of 16rll Yambao v. Republic, G.R. No. 184063, January 24, 2011, 640 SCRA 355, 367.
collusion between the spouses.
17rll G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20.

18rll Supra note 15.

19rll Id. at 209-213.

20rll Republic v. Dagdag, G.R. No. 109975, February 9, 2001, 351 SCRA 425, 431.

21rll Bier v. Bier, G.R. No. 173294, February 27, 2008, 547 SCRA 123, 132.

22rll Antonio v. Reyes, G.R. No. 155800, March 10, 2006, 484 SCRA 353, 376.

23rll Rollo, p. 62.

24
rll Exhibit Folder, pp. 4, 6.

25rll TSN dated January 18, 1999, p. 7.

26
rll Marable v. Marable, G.R. No. 178741, January 17, 2011, 639 SCRA 557, 567; Suazo v.Suazo, G.R. No. 164493, March 12,
2010, 615 SCRA 154, 176.

27rll G.R. No. 176464, February 4, 2010, 611 SCRA 569.

28rll Id. at 585.

29
rll Ligeralde v. Patalinghug, G.R. No. 168796, April 15, 2010, 618 SCRA 315, 321-322.

30rll
Republic v. Galang, G.R. No. 168335, June 6, 2011, 650 SCRA 524, 540; Navarro, Jr. v. Cecilio-Navarro, G.R. No. 162049,
April 13, 2007, 521 SCRA 121, 130.

31rll Dedel v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 151867, January 29, 2004, 421 SCRA 461, 466.

32
rll Supra note 26, at 174-175.

33
rll Villalon v. Villalon, G.R. No. 167206, November 18, 2005, 475 SCRA 572, 582.

34
rll TSN dated December 14, 1998.

35rll Id. at 3-4.

36rll Alcazar v. Alcazar, G.R. No. 174451, October 13, 2009, 603 SCRA 604, 620.
G.R. No. 119190 January 16, 1997 prescribed medications for her husband which was also kept confidential. No treatment was given to her. For her
husband, he was asked by the doctor to return but he never did.
CHI MING TSOI, petitioner,
vs. The plaintiff claims, that the defendant is impotent, a closet homosexual as he did not show his penis. She said, that
COURT OF APPEALS and GINA LAO-TSOI, respondents. she had observed the defendant using an eyebrow pencil and sometimes the cleansing cream of his mother. And
that, according to her, the defendant married her, a Filipino citizen, to acquire or maintain his residency status here
in the country and to publicly maintain the appearance of a normal man.
TORRES, JR., J.:
The plaintiff is not willing to reconcile with her husband.
Man has not invented a reliable compass by which to steer a marriage in its journey over troubled waters. Laws are seemingly
inadequate. Over time, much reliance has been placed in the works of the unseen hand of Him who created all things. On the other hand, it is the claim of the defendant that if their marriage shall be annulled by reason of psychological
incapacity, the fault lies with his wife.
Who is to blame when a marriage fails?
But, he said that he does not want his marriage with his wife annulled for several reasons, viz: (1) that he loves her
very much; (2) that he has no defect on his part and he is physically and psychologically capable; and, (3) since the
This case was originally commenced by a distraught wife against her uncaring husband in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
relationship is still very young and if there is any differences between the two of them, it can still be reconciled and
City (Branch 89) which decreed the annulment of the marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity. Petitioner appealed
that, according to him, if either one of them has some incapabilities, there is no certainty that this will not be cured.
the decision of the trial court to respondent Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No. 42758) which affirmed the Trial Court's decision
He further claims, that if there is any defect, it can be cured by the intervention of medical technology or science.
November 29, 1994 and correspondingly denied the motion for reconsideration in a resolution dated February 14, 1995.

The defendant admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation on March 15, 1989, there
The statement of the case and of the facts made by the trial court and reproduced by the Court of Appeals1 its decision are as
was no sexual contact between them. But, the reason for this, according to the defendant, was that everytime he
follows:
wants to have sexual intercourse with his wife, she always avoided him and whenever he caresses her private parts,
she always removed his hands. The defendant claims, that he forced his wife to have sex with him only once but he
From the evidence adduced, the following acts were preponderantly established: did not continue because she was shaking and she did not like it. So he stopped.

Sometime on May 22, 1988, the plaintiff married the defendant at the Manila Cathedral, . . . Intramuros Manila, as There are two (2) reasons, according to the defendant , why the plaintiff filed this case against him, and these are:
evidenced by their Marriage Contract. (Exh. "A") (1) that she is afraid that she will be forced to return the pieces of jewelry of his mother, and, (2) that her husband,
the defendant, will consummate their marriage.
After the celebration of their marriage and wedding reception at the South Villa, Makati, they went and proceeded
to the house of defendant's mother. The defendant insisted that their marriage will remain valid because they are still very young and there is still a
chance to overcome their differences.
There, they slept together on the same bed in the same room for the first night of their married life.
The defendant submitted himself to a physical examination. His penis was examined by Dr. Sergio Alteza, Jr., for the
It is the version of the plaintiff, that contrary to her expectations, that as newlyweds they were supposed to enjoy purpose of finding out whether he is impotent . As a result thereof, Dr. Alteza submitted his Doctor's Medical
making love, or having sexual intercourse, with each other, the defendant just went to bed, slept on one side Report. (Exh. "2"). It is stated there, that there is no evidence of impotency (Exh. "2-B"), and he is capable of
thereof, then turned his back and went to sleep . There was no sexual intercourse between them during the first erection. (Exh. "2-C")
night. The same thing happened on the second, third and fourth nights.
The doctor said, that he asked the defendant to masturbate to find out whether or not he has an erection and he
In an effort to have their honeymoon in a private place where they can enjoy together during their first week as found out that from the original size of two (2) inches, or five (5) centimeters, the penis of the defendant
husband and wife, they went to Baguio City. But, they did so together with her mother, an uncle, his mother and his lengthened by one (1) inch and one centimeter. Dr. Alteza said, that the defendant had only a soft erection which is
nephew. They were all invited by the defendant to join them. [T]hey stayed in Baguio City for four (4) days. But, why his penis is not in its full length. But, still is capable of further erection, in that with his soft erection, the
during this period, there was no sexual intercourse between them, since the defendant avoided her by taking a long defendant is capable of having sexual intercourse with a woman.
walk during siesta time or by just sleeping on a rocking chair located at the living room. They slept together in the
same room and on the same bed since May 22, 1988 until March 15, 1989. But during this period, there was no In open Court, the Trial Prosecutor manifested that there is no collusion between the parties and that the evidence
attempt of sexual intercourse between them. [S]he claims, that she did not: even see her husband's private parts is not fabricated."2
nor did he see hers.
After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
Because of this, they submitted themselves for medical examinations to Dr. Eufemio Macalalag, a urologist at the
Chinese General Hospital, on January 20, 1989.
ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered declaring as VOID the marriage entered into by the plaintiff with the
defendant on May 22, 1988 at the Manila Cathedral, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Intramuros, Manila,
The results of their physical examinations were that she is healthy, normal and still a virgin, while that of her
husband's examination was kept confidential up to this time. While no medicine was prescribed for her, the doctor
before the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Melencio de Vera. Without costs. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Local Civil The foregoing provision pertains to a judgment on the pleadings. What said provision seeks to prevent is annulment of
Registrar of Quezon City. Let another copy be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. marriage without trial. The assailed decision was not based on such a judgment on the pleadings. When private respondent
testified under oath before the trial court and was cross-examined by oath before the trial court and was cross-examined by
the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in form of a testimony. After such evidence was presented, it be came
SO ORDERED.
incumbent upon petitioner to present his side. He admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation
on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual intercourse between them.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
To prevent collusion between the parties is the reason why, as stated by the petitioner, the Civil Code provides that no
Hence, the instant petition. judgment annulling a marriage shall be promulgated upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment (Arts. 88 and
101[par. 2]) and the Rules of Court prohibit such annulment without trial (Sec. 1, Rule 19).
Petitioner alleges that the respondent Court of Appeals erred:
The case has reached this Court because petitioner does not want their marriage to be annulled. This only shows that there is
I no collusion between the parties. When petitioner admitted that he and his wife (private respondent) have never had sexual
contact with each other, he must have been only telling the truth. We are reproducing the relevant portion of the challenged
resolution denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration, penned with magisterial lucidity by Associate Justice Minerva
in affirming the conclusions of the lower court that there was no sexual intercourse between the parties without Gonzaga-Reyes, viz:
making any findings of fact.

The judgment of the trial court which was affirmed by this Court is not based on a stipulation of facts. The issue of
II whether or not the appellant is psychologically incapacitated to discharge a basic marital obligation was resolved
upon a review of both the documentary and testimonial evidence on record. Appellant admitted that he did not
in holding that the refusal of private respondent to have sexual communion with petitioner is a psychological have sexual relations with his wife after almost ten months of cohabitation, and it appears that he is not suffering
incapacity inasmuch as proof thereof is totally absent. from any physical disability. Such abnormal reluctance or unwillingness to consummate his marriage is strongly
indicative of a serious personality disorder which to the mind of this Court clearly demonstrates an 'utter
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage' within the meaning of Article 36 of the
III Family Code (See Santos vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995).4

in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private respondent to have sex with each other Petitioner further contends that respondent court erred in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the
constitutes psychological incapacity of both. private respondent to have sex with each other constitutes psychological incapacity of both. He points out as error the failure
of the trial court to make "a categorical finding about the alleged psychological incapacity and an in-depth analysis of the
IV reasons for such refusal which may not be necessarily due to physchological disorders" because there might have been other
reasons, i.e., physical disorders, such as aches, pains or other discomforts, why private respondent would not want to
have sexual intercourse from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989, in a short span of 10 months.
in affirming the annulment of the marriage between the parties decreed by the lower court without fully satisfying
itself that there was no collusion between them.
First, it must be stated that neither the trial court nor the respondent court made a finding on who between petitioner and
private respondent refuses to have sexual contact with the other. The fact remains, however, that there has never been coitus
We find the petition to be bereft of merit.
between them. At any rate, since the action to declare the marriage void may be filed by either party, i.e., even the
psychologically incapacitated, the question of who refuses to have sex with the other becomes immaterial.
Petitioner contends that being the plaintiff in Civil Case No. Q-89-3141, private respondent has the burden of proving the
allegations in her complaint; that since there was no independent evidence to prove the alleged non-coitus between the
Petitioner claims that there is no independent evidence on record to show that any of the parties is suffering from
parties, there remains no other basis for the court's conclusion except the admission of petitioner; that public policy should aid
phychological incapacity. Petitioner also claims that he wanted to have sex with private respondent; that the reason for private
acts intended to validate marriage and should retard acts intended to invalidate them; that the conclusion drawn by the trial
respondent's refusal may not be psychological but physical disorder as stated above.
court on the admissions and confessions of the parties in their pleadings and in the course of the trial is misplaced since it
could have been a product of collusion; and that in actions for annulment of marriage, the material facts alleged in the
complaint shall always be proved.3 We do not agree. Assuming it to be so, petitioner could have discussed with private respondent or asked her what is ailing her,
and why she balks and avoids him everytime he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. He never did. At least, there is
nothing in the record to show that he had tried to find out or discover what the problem with his wife could be. What he
Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court reads:
presented in evidence is his doctor's Medical Report that there is no evidence of his impotency and he is capable of erection.5
Since it is petitioner's claim that the reason is not psychological but perhaps physical disorder on the part of private
Section 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits the material respondent, it became incumbent upon him to prove such a claim.
allegations of the adverse party's pleading, the court may, on motion of that party, direct judgment on such
pleading. But in actions for annulment of marriage or for legal separation the material facts alleged in the complaint
If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential marriage obligations, and
shall always be proved.
the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals attribute the causes to psychological incapacity
than to stubborn refusal. Senseless and protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Thus, the
prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse is considered a sign of psychological Regalado, Romero, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
incapacity.6
Footnotes
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 the basic end of marriage." Constant non- fulfillment of this
1 Thirteenth Division: Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes, J., ponente, Eduardo G. Montenegro and Antonio P.
obligation will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage. In the case at bar, the senseless and protracted refusal
Solano, JJ., concurring.
of one of the parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is equivalent to psychological incapacity.

2 Rollo, pp. 20-24.


As aptly stated by the respondent court,

3 Ibid.
An examination of the evidence convinces Us that the husband's plea that the wife did not want carnal intercourse
with him does not inspire belief. Since he was not physically impotent, but he refrained from sexual intercourse
during the entire time (from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989) that he occupied the same bed with his wife, purely 4 Rollo, p. 34.
out of symphaty for her feelings, he deserves to be doubted for not having asserted his right seven though she
balked (Tompkins vs. Tompkins, 111 Atl. 599, cited in I Paras, Civil Code, at p. 330). Besides, if it were true that it is 5 Exhs. "2", "2-B" and "2-C".
the wife was suffering from incapacity, the fact that defendant did not go to court and seek the declaration of
nullity weakens his claim. This case was instituted by the wife whose normal expectations of her marriage were
frustrated by her husband's inadequacy. Considering the innate modesty of the Filipino woman, it is hard to believe 6 Psychological Incapacity, G.T. Veloso, p. 20, cited in The Family Code of the Philippines Annotated,
that she would expose her private life to public scrutiny and fabricate testimony against her husband if it were not Pineda, 1989 ed., p. 51.
necessary to put her life in order and put to rest her marital status.
7 Decision, pp. 11-12; Rollo, pp. 30-31.
We are not impressed by defendant's claim that what the evidence proved is the unwillingness or lack of intention
to perform the sexual act, which is not phychological incapacity, and which can be achieved "through proper
motivation." After almost ten months of cohabitation, the admission that the husband is reluctant or unwilling to
perform the sexual act with his wife whom he professes to love very dearly, and who has not posed any
insurmountable resistance to his alleged approaches, is indicative of a hopeless situation, and of a serious
personality disorder that constitutes psychological incapacity to discharge the basic marital covenants within the
contemplation of the Family Code.7

While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity
(Art. 68, Family Code), the sanction therefor is actually the "spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and wife and not
any legal mandate or court order" (Cuaderno vs. Cuaderno 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared with another.
Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say "I could not have cared less." This is so because
an ungiven self is an unfulfilled self. The egoist has nothing but himself. 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.

It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private respondent. That is a shared feeling which
between husband and wife must be experienced not only by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual SECOND DIVISION
communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each other's feelings at a time it is needed by the [G.R. No. 126010. December 8, 1999]
other can go a long way in deepening the marital relationship. Marriage is definitely not for children but for two consenting LUCITA ESTRELLA HERNANDEZ, petitioner vs. COURT OF APPEALS and MARIO C. HERNANDEZ, respondents.
adults who view the relationship with love amor gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing commitment to DECISION
compromise, conscious of its value as a sublime social institution. MENDOZA, J.:

This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties found themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decisioni[1] of the Court of Appeals, dated January 30, 1996, affirming the
vows and unconsummated marital obligations, can do no less but sustain the studied judgment of respondent appellate court. decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Tagaytay City, dated April 10, 1993, which dismissed the petition for annulment
of marriage filed by petitioner.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING PREMISES , the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated November 29, 1994 is hereby
AFFIRMED in all respects and the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. Petitioner Lucita Estrella Hernandez and private respondent Mario C. Hernandez were married at the Silang Catholic Parish
Church in Silang, Cavite on January 1, 1981 (Exh. A).ii[2] Three children were born to them, namely, Maie, who was born on
SO ORDERED. May 3, 1982 (Exh. B),iii[3] Lyra, born on May 22, 1985 (Exh. C),iv[4] and Marian, born on June 15, 1989 (Exh. D).v[5]
On July 10, 1992, petitioner filed before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Tagaytay City, a petition seeking the annulment of According to petitioner, private respondent engaged in extreme promiscuous conduct during the latter part of 1986. As a
her marriage to private respondent on the ground of psychological incapacity of the latter. She alleged that from the time of result, private respondent contracted gonorrhea and infected petitioner. They both received treatment at the Zapote Medical
their marriage up to the time of the filing of the suit, private respondent failed to perform his obligation to support the family Specialists Center in Zapote, Bacoor, Cavite from October 22, 1986 until March 13, 1987 (Exhs. G & H).xii[12]
and contribute to the management of the household, devoting most of his time engaging in drinking sprees with his friends.
She further claimed that private respondent, after they were married, cohabited with another woman with whom he had an
Petitioner averred that on one occasion of a heated argument, private respondent hit their eldest child who was then barely a
illegitimate child, while having affairs with different women, and that, because of his promiscuity, private respondent
year old. Private respondent is not close to any of their children as he was never affectionate and hardly spent time with them.
endangered her health by infecting her with a sexually transmissible disease (STD). She averred that private respondent was
irresponsible, immature and unprepared for the duties of a married life. Petitioner prayed that for having abandoned the
family, private respondent be ordered to give support to their three children in the total amount of P9,000.00 every month; On July 17, 1979, petitioner entered into a contract to sell (Exh. J)xiii[13] with F & C Realty Corporation whereby she agreed to
that she be awarded the custody of their children; and that she be adjudged as the sole owner of a parcel of land located at buy from the latter a parcel of land at the Don Gregorio Heights Subdivision I in Bo. Bucal, Dasmarias, Cavite and placed a
Don Gregorio Subdivision I in Bo. Bucal, Dasmarias, Cavite, purchased during the marriage, as well as the jeep which private partial payment of P31,330.00. On May 26, 1987, after full payment of the amount of P51,067.10, inclusive of interests from
respondent took with him when he left the conjugal home on June 12, 1992.vi[6] monthly installments, a deed of absolute sale (Exh. K)xiv[14] was executed in her favor and TCT No. T-221529 (Exh. M)xv[15]
was duly issued.
On October 8, 1992, because of private respondents failure to file his answer, the trial court issued an order directing the
assistant provincial prosecutor to conduct an investigation to determine if there was collusion between the parties.vii[7] Only According to petitioner, on August 1, 1992, she sent a handwritten letterxvi[16] to private respondent expressing her
petitioner appeared at the investigation on November 5, 1992. Nevertheless, the prosecutor found no evidence of collusion frustration over the fact that her efforts to save their marriage proved futile. In her letter, petitioner also stated that she was
and recommended that the case be set for trial.viii[8] allowing him to sell their owner-type jeepneyxvii[17] and to divide the proceeds of the sale between the two of them.
Petitioner also told private respondent of her intention to file a petition for the annulment of their marriage.
Based on the evidence presented by the petitioner, the facts are as follows:ix[9]
It does not appear that private respondent ever replied to petitioners letter. By this time, he had already abandoned petitioner
and their children. In October 1992, petitioner learned that private respondent left for the Middle East. Since then, private
Petitioner and private respondent met in 1977 at the Philippine Christian University in Dasmarias, Cavite. Petitioner, who is five
respondents whereabouts had been unknown.
years older than private respondent, was then in her first year of teaching zoology and botany. Private respondent, a college
freshman, was her student for two consecutive semesters. They became sweethearts in February 1979 when she was no
longer private respondents teacher. On January 1, 1981, they were married. Ester Alfaro, petitioners childhood friend and co-teacher at the Philippine Christian University, testified during the hearing on
the petition for annulment. She said that sometime in June 1979, petitioner introduced private respondent to her (Alfaro) as
the formers sweetheart. Alfaro said she was not impressed with private respondent who was her student in accounting. She
Private respondent continued his studies for two more years. His parents paid for his tuition fees, while petitioner provided his
observed private respondent to be fun-loving, spending most of his time with campus friends. In November 1980, when
allowances and other financial needs. The family income came from petitioners salary as a faculty member of the Philippine
petitioner asked Alfaro to be one of the secondary sponsors at her forthcoming wedding, Alfaro wanted to dissuade petitioner
Christian University. Petitioner augmented her earnings by selling Tupperware products, as well as engaging in the buy-and-sell
from going through with the wedding because she thought private respondent was not ready for married life as he was then
of coffee, rice and polvoron.
unemployed. True enough, although the couple appeared happy during the early part of their marriage, it was not long
thereafter that private respondent started drinking with his friends and going home late at night. Alfaro corroborated
From 1983 up to 1986, as private respondent could not find a stable job, it was agreed that he would help petitioner in her petitioners claim that private respondent was a habitual drunkard who carried on relationships with different women and
businesses by delivering orders to customers. However, because her husband was a spendthrift and had other women, continued hanging out with his friends. She also confirmed that petitioner was once hospitalized because she was beaten up by
petitioners business suffered. Private respondent often had smoking and drinking sprees with his friends and betted on fighting private respondent. After the first year of petitioners marriage, Alfaro tried to talk to private respondent, but the latter
cocks. In 1982, after the birth of their first child, petitioner discovered two love letters written by a certain Realita Villena to accused her of meddling with their marital life. Alfaro said that private respondent was not close to his children and that he
private respondent. She knew Villena as a married student whose husband was working in Saudi Arabia. When petitioner had abandoned petitioner.xviii[18]
confronted private respondent, he admitted having an extra-marital affair with Villena. Petitioner then pleaded with Villena to
end her relationship with private respondent. For his part, private respondent said he would end the affairs, but he did not
On April 10, 1993, the trial court rendered a decisionxix[19] dismissing the petition for annulment of marriage filed by
keep his promise. Instead, he left the conjugal home and abandoned petitioner and their child. When private respondent came
petitioner. The pertinent portion of the decision reads:xx[20]
back, however, petitioner accepted him, despite private respondents infidelity in the hope of saving their marriage.

The Court can underscore the fact that the circumstances mentioned by the petitioner in support of her claim that respondent
Upon the recommendation of a family friend, private respondent was able to get a job at Reynolds Philippines, Inc. in San
was psychologically incapacitated to marry her are among the grounds cited by the law as valid reasons for the grant of legal
Agustin, Dasmarias, Cavite in 1986. However, private respondent was employed only until March 31, 1991, because he availed
separation (Article 55 of the Family Code) - not as grounds for a declaration of nullity of marriages or annulment thereof. Thus,
himself of the early retirement plan offered by the company. He received P53,000.00 in retirement pay, but instead of
Article 55 of the same code reads as follows:
spending the amount for the needs of the family, private respondent spent the money on himself and consumed the entire
amount within four months of his retirement.
Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:
While private respondent worked at Reynolds Philippines, Inc., his smoking, drinking, gambling and womanizing became worse.
Petitioner discovered that private respondent carried on relationships with different women. He had relations with a certain (1) Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the
Edna who worked at Yazaki; Angie, who was an operator of a billiard hall; Tess, a Japayuki; Myrna Macatangay, a secretary at petitioner;
the Road Master Drivers School in Bayan, Dasmarias, Cavite, with whom he cohabited for quite a while; and, Ruth Oliva, by
whom he had a daughter named Margie P. Oliva, born on September 15, 1989 (Exh. E).x[10] When petitioner confronted ....
private respondent about his relationship with Tess, he beat her up, as a result of which she was confined at the De la Salle
University Medical Center in Dasmarias, Cavite on July 4-5, 1990 because of cerebral concussion (Exh. F).xi[11]
(5) Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;
.... III. IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT DENYING THE AWARD OF PERMANENT CUSTODY OF THE CHILDREN TO
PETITIONER.
(8) Sexual infidelity or perversion;
IV. IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT DENYING THE PRAYER FOR ISSUANCE OF AN ORDER REQUIRING PRIVATE
RESPONDENT TO GIVE SUPPORT TO THE THREE CHILDREN IN THE AMOUNT OF P3,000.00 PER CHILD.
....

V. IN NOT DECLARING THE REAL PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY PETITIONER AS HER EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY.
(10) Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.

The issue in this case is whether or not the marriage of petitioner and private respondent should be annulled on the ground of
....
private respondents psychological incapacity.

If indeed Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, which mentions psychological incapacity as a ground for the
Petitioner alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that petitioner failed to show that private respondents
declaration of the nullity of a marriage, has intended to include the above-stated circumstances as constitutive of such
psychological incapacity existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage. She argues that the fact that the acts of
incapacity, then the same would not have been enumerated as grounds for legal separation.
incapacity of private respondent became manifest only after the celebration of their marriage should not be a bar to the
annulment of their marriage.
In the same manner, this Court is not disposed to grant relief in favor of the petitioner under Article 46, paragraph (3) of the
Family Code of the Philippines, as there is no dispute that the gonorrhea transmitted to the petitioner by respondent occurred
Art. 36 of the Family Code states:
sometime in 1986, or five (5) years after petitioners marriage with respondent was celebrated in 1981. The provisions of Article
46, paragraph (3) of the same law should be taken in conjunction with Article 45, paragraph (3) of the same code, and a careful
reading of the two (2) provisions of the law would require the existence of this ground (fraud) at the time of the celebration of A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
the marriage. Hence, the annulment of petitioners marriage with the respondent on this ground, as alleged and proved in the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
instant case, cannot be legally accepted by the Court. solemnization.xxiii[23]

Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which, on January 30, 1996, rendered its decision affirming the decision of the trial In Santos v. Court of Appeals,xxiv[24] we held:
court. Citing the ruling in Santos v. Court of Appeals,xxi[21] the Court of Appeals held:xxii[22]
Psychological incapacity should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly
It is clear in the above law and jurisprudence that the psychological incapacity of a spouse, as a ground for declaration of nullity incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage
of marriage, must exist at the time of the celebration of marriage. More so, chronic sexual infidelity, abandonment, gambling which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect
and use of prohibited drugs are not grounds per se, of psychological incapacity of a spouse. and fidelity and render help and support. 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
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychological condition must exist at the time
We agree with the Solicitor General that petitioner-appellant failed to prove that her respondent-husband was psychologically
the marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand, an inability of the spouse to have sexual
incapacitated at the time of the celebration of the marriage. Certainly, petitioner-appellants declaration that at the time of
relations with the other. This conclusion is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which considers children conceived prior
their marriage her respondent-husbands character was on the borderline between a responsible person and the happy-go-
to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void marriage to be legitimate.
lucky, could not constitute the psychological incapacity in contemplation of Article 36 of the Family Code. In fact, petitioner-
appellant herself ascribed said attitude to her respondent-husbands youth and very good looks, who was admittedly several
years younger than petitioner-appellant who, herself, happened to be the college professor of her respondent-husband. The other forms of psychoses, if existing at the inception of marriage, like the state of a party being of unsound mind or
Petitioner-appellant even described her respondent-husband not as a problem student but a normal one (p. 24, tsn, Dec. 8, concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism, merely renders the marriage contract
1992). voidable pursuant to Article 46, Family Code. If drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality should occur
only during the marriage, they become mere grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code. These provisions
of the Code, however, do not necessarily preclude the possibility of these various circumstances being themselves, depending
The acts and attitudes complained of by petitioner-appellant happened after the marriage and there is no proof that the same
on the degree and severity of the disorder, indicia of psychological incapacity.
have already existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage to constitute the psychological incapacity under Article 36
of the Family Code.
Until further statutory and jurisprudential parameters are established, every circumstance that may have some bearing on the
degree, extent, and other conditions of that incapacity must, in every case, be carefully examined and evaluated so that no
Hence, this petition. Petitioner contends that the respondent Court of Appeals erred
precipitate and indiscriminate nullity is peremptorily decreed. The well-considered opinions of psychiatrists, psychologists, and
persons with expertise in psychological disciplines might be helpful or even desirable.
I. IN FINDING THAT THE PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT TO COMPLY WITH HIS ESSENTIAL
MARITAL OBLIGATIONS DID NOT EXIST FROM THE TIME OF THE CELEBRATION OF THE MARRIAGE.
In the instant case, other than her self-serving declarations, petitioner failed to establish the fact that at the time they were
married, private respondent was suffering from a psychological defect which in fact deprived him of the ability to assume the
II. IN RULING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT WAS NOT PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO COMPLY WITH HIS ESSENTIAL essential duties of marriage and its concomitant responsibilities. As the Court of Appeals pointed out, no evidence was
MARITAL OBLIGATIONS. presented to show that private respondent was not cognizant of the basic marital obligations. It was not sufficiently proved
that private respondent was really incapable of fulfilling his duties due to some incapacity of a psychological nature, and not
merely physical. Petitioner says that at the outset of their marriage, private respondent showed lack of drive to work for his
family. Private respondents parents and petitioner supported him through college. After his schooling, although he eventually
found a job, he availed himself of the early retirement plan offered by his employer and spent the entire amount he received
viii[8] Id., p. 25.
on himself. For a greater part of their marital life, private respondent was out of job and did not have the initiative to look for
another. He indulged in vices and engaged in philandering, and later abandoned his family. Petitioner concludes that private ix[9] TSN, pp. 6-56, Nov. 13, 1992; pp. 3-31, Dec. 8, 1992.
respondents condition is incurable, causing the disintegration of their union and defeating the very objectives of marriage. x[10] RTC Records, p. 37.
xi[11] Id., p. 38.
xii[12] Id., pp. 39-40a.
However, private respondents alleged habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and abandonment do not by
themselves constitute grounds for finding that he is suffering from a psychological incapacity within the contemplation of the xiii[13] Id., pp. 41-43.
Family Code. It must be shown that these acts are manifestations of a disordered personality which make private respondent xiv[14] Id., pp. 44-45.
completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state, and not merely due to private respondents youth xv[15] Id., p. 47.
and self-conscious feeling of being handsome, as the appellate court held. As pointed out in Republic of the Philippines v. Court xvi[16] Id., pp. 49-51.
of Appeals:xxv[25] xvii[17]17 Id., p. 48.
xviii[18] TSN, pp. 32-68, Dec. 8, 1992.
The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) xix[19] Per Acting Presiding Judge Eleuterio F. Guerrero.
sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the xx[20] RTC Records, pp. 58-59.
incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence xxi[21] 310 Phil. 22 (1995).
must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or physically ill to such an extent that the person could xxii[22] Rollo, pp. 44-46.
not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Although
xxiii[23] As amended by E.O. No. 227 dated July 17, 1987.
no example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of
ejusdem generis (citing Salita v. Magtolis, supra) nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and xxiv[24] Supra, at 40-41.
its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. xxv[25] 335 Phil. 664, 676-680 (1997).
xxvi[26] See Art. II, 12; Art. XV, 1-2.
xxvii[27] Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, supra.
Moreover, expert testimony should have been presented to establish the precise cause of private respondents psychological
incapacity, if any, in order to show that it existed at the inception of the marriage. The burden of proof to show the nullity of xxviii[28] Tuason v. Court of Appeals, 326 Phil. 169 (1996).
the marriage rests upon petitioner. The Court is mindful of the policy of the 1987 Constitution to protect and strengthen the
family as the basic autonomous social institution and marriage as the foundation of the family.xxvi[26] Thus, any doubt should
be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage.xxvii[27]

We, therefore, find no reason to reverse the ruling of respondent Court of Appeals whose conclusions, affirming the trial
courts finding with regard to the non-existence of private respondents psychological incapacity at the time of the marriage, are
entitled to great weight and even finality.xxviii[28] Only where it is shown that such findings are whimsical, capricious, and
arbitrary can these be overturned.

The conclusion we have reached makes it unnecessary for us to pass upon petitioners contentions on the issue of permanent
custody of children, the amount for their respective support, and the declaration of exclusive ownership of petitioner over the
real property. These matters may more appropriately be litigated in a separate proceeding for legal separation, dissolution of
property regime, and/or custody of children which petitioner may bring.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo (Chairman), Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur

i[1] Per Justice Lourdes K. Tayao-Jaguros and concurred in by Justices Jorge S. Imperial (Chairman) and B.A.
Adefuin-De la Cruz.
ii[2] RTC Records, p. 7.
iii[3] Id., p. 8.
iv[4] Id., p. 9.
v[5] Id., p. 10.
vi[6] Petition, RTC Records, pp. 1-4.
vii[7] RTC Records, p. 24.
"They first met sometime in 1980 when both of them were assigned at the Malacaang Palace, she as an escort of Imee Marcos
[G.R. No. 136490. October 19, 2000] and he as a Presidential Guard of President Ferdinand Marcos. Through telephone conversations, they became acquainted and
eventually became sweethearts.
BRENDA B. MARCOS, petitioner, vs. WILSON G. MARCOS, respondent.
"After their marriage on September 6, 1982, they resided at No. 1702 Daisy Street, Hulo Bliss, Mandaluyong, a housing unit
DECISION which she acquired from the Bliss Development Corporation when she was still single.

PANGANIBAN, J.: "After the downfall of President Marcos, he left the military service in 1987 and then engaged in different business ventures
that did not however prosper. As a wife, she always urged him to look for work so that their children would see him, instead of
her, as the head of the family and a good provider. Due to his failure to engage in any gainful employment, they would often
Psychological incapacity, as a ground for declaring the nullity of a marriage, may be established by the totality of evidence quarrel and as a consequence, he would hit and beat her. He would even force her to have sex with him despite her weariness.
presented. There is no requirement, however, that the respondent should be examined by a physician or a psychologist as a He would also inflict physical harm on their children for a slight mistake and was so severe in the way he chastised them. Thus,
conditio sine qua non for such declaration. for several times during their cohabitation, he would leave their house. In 1992, they were already living separately.

The Case
"All the while, she was engrossed in the business of selling "magic uling" and chickens. While she was still in the military, she
would first make deliveries early in the morning before going to Malacaang. When she was discharged from the military
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the July 24, 1998 Decisionxxviii[1] service, she concentrated on her business. Then, she became a supplier in the Armed Forces of the Philippines until she was
of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 55588, which disposed as follows: able to put up a trading and construction company, NS Ness Trading and Construction Development Corporation.

"WHEREFORE, the contested decision is set aside and the marriage between the parties is hereby declared valid."xxviii[2] "The 'straw that broke the camel's back' took place on October 16, 1994, when they had a bitter quarrel. As they were already
living separately, she did not want him to stay in their house anymore. On that day, when she saw him 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
Also challenged by petitioner is the December 3, 1998 CA Resolution denying her Motion for Reconsideration.
her aid. The following day, October 17, 1994, she and their children left the house and sought refuge in her sister's house.

Earlier, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) had ruled thus:


"On October 19, 1994, she submitted herself [to] medical examination at the Mandaluyong Medical Center where her injuries
were diagnosed as contusions (Exh. G, Records, 153).
"WHEREFORE, the marriage between petitioner Brenda B. Marcos and respondent Wilson G. Marcos, solemnized on
September 6, 1982 in Pasig City is declared null and void ab initio pursuant to Art. 36 of the Family Code. The conjugal
"Sometime in August 1995, she together with her two sisters and driver, went to him at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong to look
properties, if any, is dissolved [sic] in accordance with Articles 126 and 129 of the same Code in relation to Articles 50, 51 and
for their missing child, Niko. Upon seeing them, he got mad. After knowing the reason for their unexpected presence, he ran
52 relative to the delivery of the legitime of [the] parties' children. In the best interest and welfare of the minor children, their
after them with a samurai and even [beat] her driver.
custody is granted to petitioner subject to the visitation rights of respondent.

"At the time of the filing of this case, she and their children were renting a house in Camella, Paraaque, while the appellant was
"Upon finality of this Decision, furnish copy each to the Office of the Civil Registrar of Pasig City where the marriage was
residing at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong.
solemnized, the National Census and Statistics Office, Manila and the Register of Deeds of Mandaluyong City for their
appropriate action consistent with this Decision.
"In the case study conducted by Social Worker Sonia C. Millan, the children described their father as cruel and physically
abusive to them (Exh. UU, Records, pp. 85-100).
"SO ORDERED."

The Facts
"The appellee submitted herself to psychologist Natividad A. Dayan, Ph.D., for psychological evaluation (Exh. YY, Records, pp.
207-216), while the appellant on the other hand, did not.

The facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows:


"The court a quo found the appellant to be psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations mainly because of
his failure to find work to support his family and his violent attitude towards appellee and their children, x x x."xxviii[3]
"It was established during the trial that the parties were married twice: (1) on September 6, 1982 which was solemnized by
Judge Eriberto H. Espiritu at the Municipal Court of Pasig (Exh. A); and (2) on May 8, 1983 which was solemnized by Rev. Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Eduardo L. Eleazar, Command Chaplain, at the Presidential Security Command Chapel in Malacaang Park, Manila (Exh. A-1).
Out of their marriage, five (5) children were born (Exhs. B, C, D, E and F).
Reversing the RTC, the CA held that psychological incapacity had not been established by the totality of the evidence
presented. It ratiocinated in this wise:
"Appellant Wilson G. Marcos joined the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1973. Later on, he was transferred to the
Presidential Security Command in Malacaang during the Marcos Regime. Appellee Brenda B. Marcos, on the other hand, joined
the Women's Auxilliary Corps under the Philippine Air Force in 1978. After the Edsa Revolution, both of them sought a "Essential in a petition for annulment is the allegation of the root cause of the spouse's psychological incapacity which should
discharge from the military service. also be medically or clinically identified, sufficiently proven by experts and clearly explained in the decision. The incapacity
must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage and shown to be medically or clinically permanent Article on the Family, recognizing it 'as the foundation of the nation.' It decrees marriage as legally 'inviolable,' thereby
or incurable. It must also be grave enough to bring about the disability of the parties to assume the essential obligations of protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be 'protected' by the state.
marriage as set forth in Articles 68 to 71 and Articles 220 to 225 of the Family Code and such non-complied marital obligations
must similarly be alleged in the petition, established by evidence and explained in the decision.
xxx xxx xxx

"In the case before us, the appellant was not subjected to any psychological or psychiatric evaluation. The psychological
2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the
findings about the appellant by psychiatrist Natividad Dayan were based only on the interviews conducted with the appellee.
complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires
Expert evidence by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists is essential if only to prove that the parties were or any one
that the incapacity must be psychological - not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The
of them was mentally or psychically ill to be truly incognitive of the marital obligations he or she was assuming, or as would
evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the
make him or her x x x unable to assume them. In fact, he offered testimonial evidence to show that he [was] not
person could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption
psychologically incapacitated. The root cause of his supposed incapacity was not alleged in the petition, nor medically or
thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under
clinically identified as a psychological illness or sufficiently proven by an expert. Similarly, there is no evidence at all that would
the principle of ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its
show that the appellant was suffering from an incapacity which [was] psychological or mental - not physical to the extent that
incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
he could not have known the obligations he was assuming: that the incapacity [was] grave, ha[d] preceded the marriage and
[was] incurable."xxviii[4]
3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at 'the time of the celebration' of the marriage. The evidence must
show that the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their 'I do's.' The manifestation of the illness need not be
Hence, this Petition.xxviii[5]
perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or prior thereto.

Issues
4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be
absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex.
In her Memorandum,xxviii[6] petitioner presents for this Court's consideration the following issues: Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related
to marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing
illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them but not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise
"I. Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals could set aside the findings by the Regional Trial Court of
his/her own children as an essential obligation of marriage.
psychological incapacity of a respondent in a Petition for declaration of nullity of marriage simply because the respondent did
not subject himself to psychological evaluation.
5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of
marriage. Thus, 'mild characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as
II. Whether or not the totality of evidence presented and the demeanor of all the witnesses should be the basis of the
root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will.
determination of the merits of the Petition."xxviii[7]
In other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality
structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential
The Court's Ruling
to marriage.

We agree with petitioner that the personal medical or psychological examination of respondent is not a requirement for a 6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the
declaration of psychological incapacity. Nevertheless, the totality of the evidence she presented does not show such husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such non-
incapacity. complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.

Preliminary Issue: Need for Personal Medical Examination


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.
Petitioner contends that the testimonies and the results of various tests that were submitted to determine respondent's
psychological incapacity to perform the obligations of marriage should not have been brushed aside by the Court of Appeals, xxx xxx xxx
simply because respondent had not taken those tests himself. Petitioner adds that the CA should have realized that under the
circumstances, she had no choice but to rely on other sources of information in order to determine the psychological capacity
(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the
of respondent, who had refused to submit himself to such tests.
state. No decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in the decision,
briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General,
In Republic v. CA and Molina,xxviii[8] the guidelines governing the application and the interpretation of psychological along with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case
incapacity referred to in Article 36 of the Family Codexxviii[9] were laid down by this Court as follows: is deemed submitted for resolution of the court. The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor
vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095."xxviii[10]
"1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of
the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that both our The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court in Santos v. Court of Appeals:xxviii[11]
Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire "psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability." The foregoing
guidelines 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 xxviii[1] Penned by Justice Bernardo LL Salas with the concurrence of Justices Fermin A. Martin Jr. (Division chairman) and
psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to. Candido V. Rivera (member).
xxviii[2] CA Decision, pp. 12-13; rollo, pp. 38-39.
Main Issue: Totality of Evidence Presented xxviii[3] CA Decision, pp. 5-7; rollo, pp. 31-33.
xxviii[4] CA Decision, pp. 10-11; rollo, pp. 36-37.
xxviii[5] This case was deemed submitted for resolution on February 24, 2000, upon receipt by this Court of respondent's
The main question, then, is whether the totality of the evidence presented in the present case -- including the testimonies of Memorandum, which was signed by Atty. Virgilio V. Macaraig. Petitioner's Memorandum, signed by Atty. Rita Linda V. Jimeno,
petitioner, the common children, petitioner's sister and the social worker -- was enough to sustain a finding that respondent had been filed earlier on November 5, 1999.
was psychologically incapacitated. xxviii[6] Rollo, p. 70; original in upper case.
xxviii[7] Memorandum for petitioner, p. 6; rollo, p. 70.
We rule in the negative. Although this Court is sufficiently convinced that respondent failed to provide material support to the xxviii[8] 268 SCRA 198, February 13, 1997, per Panganiban, J.
family and may have resorted to physical abuse and abandonment, the totality of his acts does not lead to a conclusion of xxviii[9] "Article 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated
psychological incapacity on his part. There is absolutely no showing that his "defects" were already present at the inception of to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest
the marriage or that they are incurable. only after its solemnization.
"The action for declaration of nullity of the marriage under this Article shall prescribe in ten years after its celebration."
xxviii[10] Supra, pp. 209-213.
Verily, the behavior of respondent can be attributed to the fact that he had lost his job and was not gainfully employed for a xxviii[11] 240 SCRA 20, 34, January 4, 1995, per Vitug, J.
period of more than six years. It was during this period that he became intermittently drunk, failed to give material and moral xxviii[12] "Article 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:
support, and even left the family home. (1) Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the
petitioner;
Thus, his alleged psychological illness was traced only to said period and not to the inception of the marriage. Equally (2) Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation;
important, there is no evidence showing that his condition is incurable, especially now that he is gainfully employed as a taxi (3) Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in
driver. prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement;
(4) Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned;
(5) Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;
Article 36 of the Family Code, we stress, is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the (6) Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent;
causes therefor manifest themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even before the celebration of (7) Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad;
the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the (8) Sexual infidelity or perversion;
matrimonial bond one is about to assume. These marital obligations are those provided under Articles 68 to 71, 220, 221 and (9) Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; or
225 of the Family Code. (10) Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.
For purposes of this Article, the term 'child' shall include a child by nature or by adoption."
Neither is Article 36 to be equated with legal separation, in which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity
but on physical violence, moral pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual
infidelity, abandonment and the like.xxviii[12] At best, the evidence presented by petitioner refers only to grounds for legal
separation, not for declaring a marriage void.

Because Article 36 has been abused as a convenient divorce law, this Court laid down the procedural requirements for its
invocation in Molina. Petitioner, however, has not faithfully observed them.

In sum, this Court cannot declare the dissolution of the marriage for failure of petitioner to show that the alleged psychological
incapacity is characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability; and for her failure to observe the guidelines
outlined in Molina.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and assailed Decision AFFIRMED, except that portion requiring personal medical
examination as a conditio sine qua non to a finding of psychological incapacity. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Melo, (Chairman), Vitug, Purisima, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 136921 April 17, 2001 On 11 January 1995, respondent belatedly filed, without leave of court, an answer, and the same, although filed late, was
admitted by the court. In his answer, respondent admitted the fact of his marriage with petitioner and the birth of their
children. He also confirmed the veracity of Annex "A" of the complaint which listed the conjugal property. Respondent
LORNA GUILLEN PESCA, petitioner vehemently denied, however, the allegation that he was psychologically incapacitated.
vs.
ZOSIMO A PESCA, respondent.
On 15 November 1995, following hearings conducted by it, the trial court rendered its decision declaring the marriage between
petitioner and respondent to be null and void ab initio on the basis of psychological incapacity on the part of respondent and
VITUG, J.: ordered the liquidation of the conjugal partnership.

Submitted for review is the decision of the Court of Appeals, promulgated on 27 May 1998, in C.A. G.R. CV. No. 52374, Respondent appealed the above decision to the Court of Appeals, contending that the trial court erred, particularly, in holding
reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court ("RTC") of Caloocan City, Branch 130, which has declared the marriage that there was legal basis to declare the marriage null and void and in denying his motion to reopen the case.
between petitioner and respondent to be null and void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of
respondent.
The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court and declared the marriage between petitioner and respondent
valid and subsisting. The appellate court said:
Petitioner Lorna G. Pesca and respondent Zosimo A. Pesca first met sometime in 1975 while on board an inter-island vessel
bound for Bacolod City. After a whirlwind courtship, they got married on 03 March 1975. Initially, the young couple did not live
together as petitioner was still a student in college and respondent, a seaman, had to leave the country on board an ocean- "Definitely the appellee has not established the following: That the appellant showed signs of mental incapacity as
going vessel barely a month after the marriage. Six months later, the young couple established their residence in Quezon City would cause him to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenant, as so provided for in Article 68 of the Family
until they were able to build their own house in Caloocan City where they finally resided. It was blissful marriage for the couple Code; that the incapacity is grave, has preceded the marriage and is incurable; that his incapacity to meet his
during the two months of the year that they could stay together - when respondent was on vacation. The union begot four marital responsibility is because of a psychological, not physical illness; that the root cause of the incapacity has
been identified medically or clinically, and has been proven by an expert; and that the incapacity is permanent and
children, 19-year old Ruhem, 17-year old Rez, 11-year old Ryan, and 9-year old Richie.
incurable in nature.

It started in 1988, petitioner said, when she noticed that respondent surprisingly showed signs of "psychological incapacity" to
perform his marital covenant. His "true color" of being an emotionally immature and irresponsible husband became apparent. "The burden of proof to show the nullity of marriage lies in the plaintiff and any doubt should be resolved in favor
He was cruel and violent. He was a habitual drinker, staying with friends daily from 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon until 1:00 of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity."1
o'clock in the morning. When cautioned to stop or, to at least, minimize his drinking, respondent would beat, slap and kick her.
At one time, he chased petitioner with a loaded shotgun and threatened to kill her in the presence of the children. The children Petitioner, in her plea to this Court, would have the decision of the Court of Appeals reversed on the thesis that the doctrine
themselves were not spared from physical violence. enunciated in Santos vs. Court of Appeals,2 promulgated on 14 January 1995, as well as the guidelines set out in Republic vs.
Court of Appeals and Molina,3 promulgated on 13 February 1997, should have no retroactive application and, on the
assumption that the Molina ruling could be applied retroactively, the guidelines therein outlined should be taken to be merely
Finally, on 19 November 1992, petitioner and her children left the conjugal abode to live in the house of her sister in Quezon
City as they could no longer bear his violent ways. Two months later, petitioner decided to forgive respondent, and she advisory and not mandatory in nature. In any case, petitioner argues, the application of the Santos and Molina dicta should
returned home to give him a chance to change. But, to her dismay, things did not so turn out as expected. Indeed, matters warrant only a remand of the case to the trial court for further proceedings and not its dismissal.
became worse.
Be that as it may, respondent submits, the appellate court did not err in its assailed decision for there is absolutely no evidence
that has been shown to prove psychological incapacity on his part as the term has been so defined in Santos.
On the morning of 22 March 1994, about eight o'clock, respondent assaulted petitioner for about half an hour in the presence
of the children. She was battered black and blue. She submitted herself to medical examination at the Quezon City General
Hospital, which diagnosed her injuries as contusions and abrasions. Petitioner filed a complaint with the barangay authorities, Indeed, there is no merit in the petition.
and a case was filed against respondent for slight physical injuries. He was convicted by the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Caloocan City and sentenced to eleven days of imprisonment.
The term "psychological incapacity," as a ground for the declaration of nullity of a marriage under Article 36 of the Family
Code, has been explained by the Court, in Santos and reiterated in Molina. The Court, in Santos, concluded:
This time, petitioner and her children left the conjugal home for good and stayed with her sister. Eventually, they decided to
rent an apartment. Petitioner sued respondent before the Regional Trial Court for the declaration of nullity of their marriage
"It should be obvious, looking at all the foregoing disquisitions, including, and most importantly, the deliberations of
invoking psychological incapacity. Petitioner likewise sought the custody of her minor children and prayed for support
the Family Code Revision Committee itself, that the use of the phrase 'psychological incapacity' under Article 36 of
pendente lite .
the Code has not been meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as, likewise mentioned by some
ecclesiastical authorities, extremely low intelligence, immaturity, and like circumstances (cited in Fr. Artemio
Summons, together with a copy of the complaint, was served on respondent on 25 April 1994 by personal service by the Balumad's 'Void and Voidable Marriages in the Family Code and their Parallels in Canon Law,' quoting form the
sheriff. As respondent failed to file an answer or to enter his appearance within the reglementary period, the trial court Diagnostic Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorder by the American Psychiatric Association; Edward Hudson's
ordered the city prosecutor to look into a possible collusion between the parties. Prosecutor Rosa C. Reyes, on 03 August 1994, 'Handbook II for Marriage Nullity Cases'). Article 36 of the Family. Code cannot be taken and construed
submitted her report to the effect that she found no evidence to establish that there was collusion between the parties. independently of, but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts in our law on marriage. Thus correlated,
1wphi1.nt '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 which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live
together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that the 6 See Section 2, Article XV, 1987 Constitution.
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. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated."

The- "doctrine of stare decisis," ordained in Article 8 of the Civil Code, expresses that judicial decisions applying or interpreting
the law shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines. The rule follows the settled legal maxim - "legis interpretado legis
vim obtinet" - that the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has the force of law.3 The
interpretation or construction placed by the courts establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent of the law. The latter as
so interpreted and construed would thus constitute a part of that law as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only when a
prior ruling of this Court finds itself later overruled, and a different view is adopted, that the new doctrine may have to be
applied prospectively in favor of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith in accordance
therewith5 under the familiar rule of "lex prospicit, non respicit."

The phrase "psychological incapacity ," borrowed from Canon law, is an entirely novel provision in our statute books, and, until
the relatively recent enactment of the Family Code, the concept has escaped jurisprudential attention. It is in Santos when, for
the first time, the Court has given life to the term. Molina, that followed, has additionally provided procedural guidelines to
assist the courts and the parties in trying cases for annulment of marriages grounded on psychological incapacity. Molina has
strengthened, not overturned, Santos.

At all events, petitioner has utterly failed, both in her allegations in the complaint and in her evidence, to make out a case of
psychological incapacity on the part of respondent, let alone at the time of solemnization of the contract, so as to warrant a
declaration of nullity of the marriage. Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, invoked by her, cannot be equated with
psychological incapacity.

The Court reiterates its reminder that marriage is an inviolable social institution and the foundation of the family6 that the
State cherishes and protects. While the Court commisserates with petitioner in her unhappy marital relationship with
respondent, totally terminating that relationship, however, may not necessarily be the fitting denouement to it. In these cases,
the law has not quite given up, neither should we.

WHEREFORE, the herein petition is DENIED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Vitug, J.C.; Melo, J.A.R; Panganiban, A.V.; Gonzaga-Reyes, M.P.; Sandoval-Gutierez, A., Concur.

Footnotes:

1 Rollo. pp. 42-43

2 240 SCRA 20.

3 268 SCRA 198.

4 People vs. Jabinal, 55 SCRA 607

5Unciano Paramedical College, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 221 SCRA 285; Tanada vs. Guingona, 235 SCRA 507;
Columbia Pictures, Inc., vs. Court of Appeals, 261 SCRA 144.
G.R. NO. 158896 October 27, 2004 capacity of the parties; and that he endured and suffered through his turbulent and
loveless marriage to her for twenty-two (22) years.
JUANITA CARATING-SIAYNGCO, petitioner,
vs. In her Answer, petitioner Juanita alleged that respondent Manuel is still living with
MANUEL SIAYNGCO, respondent. her at their conjugal home in Malolos, Bulacan; that he invented malicious stories
against her so that he could be free to marry his paramour; that she is a loving wife
DECISION and mother; that it was respondent Manuel who was remiss in his marital and family
obligations; that she supported respondent Manuel in all his endeavors despite his
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: philandering; that she was raised in a real happy family and had a happy childhood
contrary to what was stated in the complaint.
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision1 of the Court of Appeals
promulgated on 01 July 2003, reversing the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court In the pre-trial order,3 the parties only stipulated on the following:
(RTC), Branch 102, Quezon City, dated 31 January 2001, which dismissed the
petition for declaration of nullity of marriage filed by respondent herein Judge 1. That they were married on 27 June 1973;
Manuel Siayngco ("respondent Manuel").
2. That they have one son who is already 20 years old.
Petitioner Juanita Carating-Siayngco ("Petitioner Juanita") and respondent Manuel
were married at civil rites on 27 June 1973 and before the Catholic Church on 11 Trial on the merits ensued thereafter. Respondent Manuel first took the witness stand
August 1973. After discovering that they could not have a child of their own, the and elaborated on the allegations in his petition. He testified that his parents never
couple decided to adopt a baby boy in 1977, who they named Jeremy. approved of his marriage as they still harbored hope that he would return to the
seminary.4 The early years of their marriage were difficult years as they had a hard
On 25 September 1997, or after twenty-four (24) years of married life together, time being accepted as husband and wife by his parents and it was at this period that
respondent Manuel filed for the declaration of its nullity on the ground of his wife started exhibiting signs of being irritable and temperamental5 to him and his
psychological incapacity of petitioner Juanita. He alleged that all throughout their parents.6 She was also obsessive about cleanliness which became the common source
marriage, his wife exhibited an over domineering and selfish attitude towards him of their quarrels.7 He, however, characterized their union as happy during that period
which was exacerbated by her extremely volatile and bellicose nature; that she of time in 1979 when they moved to Malolos as they were engrossed in furnishing
incessantly complained about almost everything and anyone connected with him like their new house.8 In 1981, when he became busy with law school and with various
his elderly parents, the staff in his office and anything not of her liking like the community organizations, it was then that he felt that he and his wife started to drift
physical arrangement, tables, chairs, wastebaskets in his office and with other trivial apart.9 He then narrated incidents during their marriage that were greatly
matters; that she showed no respect or regard at all for the prestige and high position embarrassing and/or distressing to him, e.g., when his wife quarreled with an elderly
of his office as judge of the Municipal Trial Court; that she would yell and scream at neighbor;10 when she would visit him in his office and remark that the curtains were
him and throw objects around the house within the hearing of their neighbors; that she already dirty or when she kicked a trash can across the room or when she threw a
cared even less about his professional advancement as she did not even give him ballpen from his table;11 when she caused his office drawer to be forcibly opened
moral support and encouragement; that her psychological incapacity arose before while he was away;12 when she confronted a female tenant of theirs and accused the
marriage, rooted in her deep-seated resentment and vindictiveness for what she tenant of having an affair with him;13 and other incidents reported to him which
perceived as lack of love and appreciation from her own parents since childhood and would show her jealous nature. Money matters continued to be a source of bitter
that such incapacity is permanent and incurable and, even if treatment could be quarrels.14 Respondent Manuel could not forget that he was not able to celebrate his
attempted, it will involve time and expense beyond the emotional and physical appointment as judge in 1995 as his wife did not approve it, ostensibly for lack of
money, but she was very generous when it came to celebrations of their parish
priest.15 Respondent Manuel then denied that he was a womanizer16 or that he had a felt or imagined inadequacies, he became callused to the detrimental effects of
mistress.17 Lastly, respondent Manuel testified as to their conjugal properties and his unfaithfulness and his failure to prioritize the marriage. Both spouses, who
obligations.18 display narcissistic psychological repertoire (along with their other
maladaptive traits), failed to adequately empathize (or to be responsive and
Next, LUCENA TAN, respondent Manuels Clerk of Court, testified that petitioner sensitive) to each others needs and feelings. The matrimonial plot is not
Juanita seldom went to respondent Manuels office.19 But when she was there, she conducive to a healthy and a progressive marriage. Manuel and Juanita have
would call witness to complain about the curtains and the cleanliness of the office.20 shown their psychologically [sic] incapacity to satisfactorily comply with the
One time, witness remembered petitioner Juanita rummaging through respondent fundamental duties of marriage. The clashing of their patterns of maladaptive
Manuels drawer looking for his address book while the latter was in Subic attending traits, which warrant the diagnosis of personality disorder not otherwise
a conference.21 When petitioner Juanita could not open a locked drawer she called specified (PDNOS, with code 301.9 as per DSM IV criteria) will bring about
witness, telling the latter that she was looking for the telephone number of more emotional mishaps and psychopathology. These rigid sets of traits which
respondents hotel room in Subic. A process server was requested by petitioner were in existence before the marriage will tend to be pervasive and
Juanita to call for a locksmith in the town proper. When the locksmith arrived, impervious to recovery.25
petitioner Juanita ordered him to open the locked drawer. On another occasion,
particularly in August of 1998, witness testified that she heard petitioner Juanita In her defense, petitioner Juanita denied respondent Manuels allegations. She
remark to respondent Manuel "sino bang batang bibinyagan na yan? Baka anak mo insisted that they were a normal couple who had their own share of fights; that they
yan sa labas?"22 were happily married until respondent Manuel started having extra-marital affairs26
which he had admitted to her.27 Petitioner Juanita professed that she would wish to
As his third witness, respondent Manuel presented DR. VALENTINA GARCIA preserve her marriage and that she truly loved her husband.28 She stated further that
whose professional qualifications as a psychiatrist were admitted by petitioner she has continuously supported respondent Manuel, waiting up for him while he was
Juanita.23 From her psychiatric evaluation,24 Dr. Garcia concluded: in law school to serve him food and drinks. Even when he already filed the present
case, she would still attend to his needs.29 She remembered that after the pre-trial,
To sum up, Manuel de Jesus Siayngco and Juanita Victoria Carating-Siayngco while they were in the hallway, respondent Manuel implored her to give him a chance
contributed to the marital collapse. There is a partner relational problem which to have a new family.30
affected their capacity to sustain the marital bond with love, support and
understanding. DR. EDUARDO MAABA, whose expertise as a psychiatrist was admitted by
respondent Manuel,31 testified that he conducted a psychiatric evaluation on petitioner
The partner relational problem (coded V61/10 in the Fourth Edition of the Juanita, the results of which were embodied in his report. Said report stated in part:
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM IV) is
secondary to the psychopathology of both spouses. Manuel and Juanita had Based on the clinical interviews and the results of the psychological tests,
engaged themselves in a defective communication pattern which is respondent Juanita Victoria Carating-Siayngco, was found to be a mature,
characteristically negative and deformed. This affected their competence to conservative, religious and highly intelligent woman who possess [sic] more
maintain the love and respect that they should give to each other. than enough psychological potentials for a mutually satisfying long term
heterosexual relationship. Superego is strong and she is respectful of
Marriage requires a sustained level of adaptation from both partners who are traditional institutions of society like the institution of marriage. She was also
expected to use healthy strategies to solve their disputes and differences. found to be a loving, nurturing and self-sacrificing woman who is capable of
Whereas Juanita would be derogatory, critical, argumentative, depressive and enduring severe environmental stress in her social milieu. Finally, she is
obsessive-compulsive, Manuel makes use of avoidance and suppression. In reality-oriented and therefore capable of rendering fair and sound decision.
his effort to satisfy the self and to boost his masculine ego to cover up for his
In summary, the psychiatric evaluation found the respondent to be psychologically incapacitated and on the case of Chi Ming Tsoi v. Court of
psychologically capacitated to comply with the basic and essential obligations Appeals.39 Thus:
of marriage.32
The report clearly explained the root cause of the alleged psychological
CRISPINA SEVILLA, a friend of the spouses Siayngco since 1992 described the incapacity of plaintiff Manuel and defendant Juanita. It appears that there is
Siayngcos as the ideal couple, sweet to each other.33 The couple would religiously empathy between plaintiff and defendant. That is a shared feeling which
attend prayer meetings in the community.34 Both were likewise leaders in their between husband and wife must be experienced not only by having
community.35 Witness then stated that she would often go to the house of the couple spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual communion. Marital
and, as late as March 2000, she still saw respondent Manuel there.36 union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each others feelings at a
time it is needed by the other can go a long way in deepening the marital
On 31 January 2001, the trial court denied respondent Manuels petition for relationship. Marriage is definitely not for children but for two consenting
declaration of nullity of his marriage to petitioner Juanita holding in part that: adults who view the relationship with love "amore gignit amorem", sacrifice
and a continuing commitment to compromise conscious of its value as a
The asserted psychological incapacity of the defendant is not preponderantly sublime social institution (Chi Ming Tsoi vs. Court of Appeals, 266 SCRA
supported in evidence. The couple [was] happily married and after four years 324).
of marital bliss [was] blest with a son. Their life together continued years
thereafter in peace and prosperity. This court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties
found themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated
The psychiatric finding that defendant has been critical, depressed and marital obligations, can do no less, but reverse and set aside the decision of
obsessive doubtless arose later in the parties relationship sometime in the the lower court. Plaintiff Manuel is entitled to have his marriage declared a
early 90s when the defendant-wife started receiving letters that the plaintiff is nullity on the ground of psychological incapacity, not only of defendant but
playing footsy. also of himself.40

xxx xxx xxx Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred

The present state of our laws on marriage does not favor knee-jerk responses I. IN ITS FINDINGS THAT PETITIONER JUANITA IS
to slight stabs of the Pavlovian hammer on marital relations. A wife, as in the PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED
instant case, may have succumbed, due to her jealousy, to the constant
delivery of irritating curtain lectures to her husband. But, as our laws now II. IN ITS FINDINGS OF FACT THAT PETITIONER AND RESPONDENT
stand, the dissolution of the marriage is not the remedy in such cases. In SEPARATED ON MARCH 1997, THE TRUTH IS THAT THEY ARE
contrast to some countries, our laws do not look at a marital partner as a mere STILL LIVING TOGETHER AS HUSBAND AND WIFE AT THE TIME
refrigerator in the Kitchen even if he or she sometimes may sound like a OF THE FILING OF THE PETITION UP TO THE PRESENT
firetruck.37
III. WHEN IT DID NOT FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES LAID DOWN BY
A motion for reconsideration was filed but was denied in an order dated 04 May THE SUPREME COURT IN THE CASE OF REPUBLIC V. MOLINA
2001.38
IV. IN DECLARING THE MARRIAGE OF HEREIN PETITIONER AND
On 01 July 2003, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTC decision, relying mainly on RESPONDENT NULL AND VOID ON GROUND OF PSYCHOLOGICAL
the psychiatric evaluation of Dr. Garcia finding both Manuel and Juanita INCAPACITY UNDER ARTICLE 36 OF THE FAMILY CODE
The Courts Ruling Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It
decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution
Our pronouncement in Republic v. Dagdag41 is apropos. There, we held that whether at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected"
or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling for the declaration of the by the state. The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and
nullity of the marriage depends crucially on the facts of the case. Each case must be the family and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.
closely scrutinized and judged according to its own facts as there can be no case that
is on "all fours" with another. This, the Court of Appeals did not heed. (2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: a) medically or
clinically identified, b) alleged in the complaint, c) sufficiently proven by
The Court of Appeals perfunctorily applied our ruling in Chi Ming Tsoi despite a experts and d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code
clear divergence in its factual milieu with the case at bar. In Chi Ming Tsoi, the requires that the incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its
couple involved therein, despite sharing the same bed from the time of their wedding manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must
night on 22 May 1988 until their separation on 15 March 1989, never had coitus. The convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or physically
perplexed wife filed the petition for the declaration of the nullity of her marriage on ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he
the ground of psychological incapacity of her husband. We sustained the wife for the was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption
reason that an essential marital obligation under the Family Code is procreation such thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given here so as not
that "the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the above to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem
marital obligation is equivalent to psychological incapacity." generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological
illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be
On the other hand, sexual intimacy for procreation is a non-issue herein. Rather, we given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
have here a case of a husband who is constantly embarrassed by his wifes outbursts
and overbearing ways, who finds his wifes obsession with cleanliness and the tight (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the "time of the
reign on his wallet "irritants" and who is wounded by her lack of support and respect celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was
for his person and his position as a Judge. In our book, however, these inadequacies existing when the parties exchanged their "I dos." The manifestation of the
of petitioner Juanita which led respondent Manuel to file a case against her do not illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have
amount to psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations. attached at such moment, or prior thereto.

It was in Santos v. Court of Appeals42 where we declared that "psychological (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically
incapacity" under Article 36 of the Family Code is not meant to comprehend all permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative
possible cases of psychoses. It should refer, rather, to no less than a mental (not only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone
physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the
covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to
marriage. Psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical marriage like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a
antecedence, and (c) incurability.43 In Republic v. Court of Appeals44 we expounded: pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and
prescribing medicine to cure them but may not be psychologically capacitated
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of marriage belongs to the to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and marriage.
continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is
rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party
of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological
peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be She talked about her spouse, "My husband is kind, a good provider, cool,
accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or intelligent but a liar, masamang magalit at gastador. In spite of what he has
inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, done to me, I take care of him whenever he is sick. He is having extra marital
there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse affairs because he wants to have a child. I believe that our biggest problem is
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the not having a child. It is his obsession to have a child with his girl now. He
person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations started his relationship with this girl in 1994. I even saw them together in the
essential to marriage. car. I think that it was the girl who encouraged him to file the petition." She
feels that the problems in the relationship is [sic] "paulit-ulit," but, that she
(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up still is willing to pursue it.
to 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. x x x. Overall, she feels that he is a good spouse and that he is not really
Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, psychologically incapacitated. He apparently told her, "You and Jeremy
proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision. should give me a chance to have a new family." She answered and said, "Ikaw
tinuruan mo akong to fight for my right. Ipaglalaban ko ang marriage natin."48
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of
the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, What emerges from the psychological report of Dr. Garcia as well as from the
should be given great respect by our courts.45 testimonies of the parties and their witnesses is that the only essential marital
obligation which respondent Manuel was not able to fulfill, if any, is the obligation of
With the foregoing pronouncements as compass, we now resolve the issue of whether fidelity.49 Sexual infidelity, per se, however, does not constitute psychological
or not the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of incapacity within the contemplation of the Family Code.50 It must be shown that
psychological incapacity against petitioner Juanita and/or respondent Manuel. respondent Manuels unfaithfulness is a manifestation of a disordered personality
which makes him completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the
A. RE: PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY OF RESPONDENT MANUEL marital state51 and not merely due to his ardent wish to have a child of his own flesh
and blood. In herein case, respondent Manuel has admitted that: "I had [extra-marital]
We reiterate that the state has a high stake in the preservation of marriage rooted in its affairs because I wanted to have a child at that particular point."52
recognition of the sanctity of married life and its mission to protect and strengthen the
family as a basic autonomous social institution.46 With this cardinal state policy in B. RE: PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY OF PETITIONER JUANITA
mind, we held in Republic v. Court of Appeals47 that the burden of proof to show the
nullity of marriage belongs to the plaintiff (respondent Manuel herein). Any doubt As aforementioned, the presumption is always in favor of the validity of marriage.
should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio. In the case at bar, respondent Manuel failed to
against its dissolution and nullity. prove that his wifes lack of respect for him, her jealousies and obsession with
cleanliness, her outbursts and her controlling nature (especially with respect to his
In herein case, the Court of Appeals committed reversible error in holding that salary), and her inability to endear herself to his parents are grave psychological
respondent Manuel is psychologically incapacitated. The psychological report of Dr. maladies that paralyze her from complying with the essential obligations of marriage.
Garcia, which is respondent Manuels own evidence, contains candid admissions of Neither is there any showing that these "defects" were already present at the inception
petitioner Juanita, the person in the best position to gauge whether or not her husband of the marriage or that they are incurable.53 In fact, Dr. Maaba, whose expertise as a
fulfilled the essential marital obligations of marriage: psychiatrist was admitted by respondent Manuel, reported that petitioner was
psychologically capacitated to comply with the basic and essential obligations of
marriage.54
The psychological report of respondent Manuels witness, Dr. Garcia, on the other SO ORDERED.
hand, does not help his case any. Nothing in there supports the doctors conclusion
that petitioner Juanita is psychologically incapacitated. On the contrary, the report Puno, Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., and Tinga, JJ., concur.
clearly shows that the root cause of petitioner Juanitas behavior is traceable not
from the inception of their marriage as required by law but from her experiences Footnotes
during the marriage, e.g., her in-laws disapproval of her as they wanted their son to
enter the priesthood,55 her husbands philandering, admitted no less by him,56 and her 1
Per Justice Eugenio S. Labitoria (Chairman) and concurred in by Justices
inability to conceive.57 Dr. Garcias report paints a story of a husband and wife who Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and Regalado E. Maambong.
grew professionally during the marriage, who pursued their individual dreams to the
hilt, becoming busier and busier, ultimately sacrificing intimacy and togetherness as a 2
Penned by Judge Jaime N. Salazar, Jr.
couple. This was confirmed by respondent Manuel himself during his direct
examination.58 3
RTC Record, p. 36.

Thus, from the totality of the evidence adduced by both parties, we have been allowed 4
TSN, 07 October 1998, p. 10.
a window into the Siayngcoss life and have perceived therefrom a simple case of a
married couple drifting apart, becoming strangers to each other, with the husband 5
Id. at 13.
consequently falling out of love and wanting a way out.
6
Id. at 13-14.
An unsatisfactory marriage, however, is not a null and void marriage. Mere showing
of "irreconcilable differences" and "conflicting personalities" in no wise constitutes 7
Id. at 16-17.
psychological incapacity.59 As we stated in Marcos v. Marcos:60
8
Id. at 19.
Article 36 of the Family Code, we stress, is not to be confused with a divorce
law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefore manifests 9
Id. at 20-22.
themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even
before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so 10
Id. at 23.
permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of
the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. 11
Id. at 28-29.

We are not downplaying the frustration and misery respondent Manuel might 12
Id. at 34.
be experiencing in being shackled, so to speak, to a marriage that is no longer
working. Regrettably, there are situations like this one, where neither law nor 13
Id. at 30.
society can provide the specific answers to every individual problem.61
14
Id. at 27-28.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is hereby GRANTED. The Decision dated
01 July 2003 of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The 15
Id. at 33.
Decision dated 31 January 2001 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch
102 is reinstated and given full force and effect. No costs. 16
Id. at 30.
17 37
Id. at 37. RTC Records, pp. 205-206.
18 38
Id. at 43-44. Id. at 209.
19 39
TSN, 27 January 1999, p. 3. G.R. No. 119190, 16 January 1997, 266 SCRA 324.
20 40
TSN, 25 November 1998, p. 15. Rollo, p. 43.
21 41
Id. at 9-13. G.R. No. 109975, 09 February 2001, 351 SCRA 425.
22 42
Id. at 14. G.R. No. 112019, 04 January 1995, 240 SCRA 20.
23 43
TSN, 10 May 1999, p. 5. Id.; Marcos v. Marcos, G.R. No. 136490, 19 October 2000, 343 SCRA 755.
24 44
Exh. "M" for petitioner Manuel, respondent herein. G.R. No. 108763, 13 February 1997, 268 SCRA 198.
25 45
Records, pp. 114-115. At pp. 209-212. The above pronouncements have been modified by the
provisions of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity
26
TSN, 29 March 2000, pp. 5-6. of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages which took effect
on 15 March 2003, particularly Section 2(d) thereof which provides:
27
Id. at 7.
(d) What to allege. A petition under Article 36 of the Family Code
28
Id. at 11. shall specifically allege the complete facts showing that either or both
parties were psychologically incapacitated from complying with the
29 essential marital obligations of marriage at the time of the celebration
Id. at 12.
of marriage even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
30 celebration.
Id. at 22.
31 The complete facts should allege the physical manifestations, if
TSN, 21 June 2000, p. 5.
any, as are indicative of psychological incapacity at the time of
32 the celebration of the marriage but expert opinion need not be
Records, p. 169.
alleged.
33
TSN, 14 July 2000, p. 4.
Previously, the Committee on Revision of the Rules of Court
34 submitted the "Rules on Annulment of Voidable Marriages and
Ibid.
Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages, Legal
35 Separation and Provisional Orders and its Rationale"
Ibid.
enunciated among other things, that:
36
Id. at 6.
3. Attachment of expert opinion to petitions for declaration of absolute Q: And what was the marriage like during this time when you were
nullity of marriage under Article 36 is dispensed with. Instead, the attending law school?
court shall determine the advisability of expert testimony during the
pre-trial conference. A: I started feeling that we somehow begun (sic) drifting apart because
I was developing a new field of interest in the legal profession. I was
xxx xxx xxx occupied with leading various community organization (sic) including
homeowners association. Maybe that was when we started drifting
12. The certification of the Solicitor General required in the Molina apart. (TSN, 07 October 1998, at 22)
case is dispensed with to avoid delay.
59
Republic v. Court of Appeals, supra, note 44 at 207.
46
Sec. 12, Art. II, Constitution.
60
Supra, note 43 at 765.
47
Supra, note 43.
61
Dedel v. Court of Appeals, supra, note 50, citing Santos v. Court of
48
Dr. Garcias psychological report, Exh. "M" (RTC Record at 110). Appeals, supra, note 42, at 36.
49
See Art. 68, Family Code.
50
Santos v. Court of Appeals, supra, note 42; Hernandez v. Court of Appeals,
G.R. No. 126010, 08 December 1999, 320 SCRA 76; Dedel v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 151867, 29 January 2004.
51
Ibid.
52
Supra, note 46 at 111.
53
Marcos v. Marcos, supra, note 43 at 764.
54
RTC Record at 169.
55
Supra, note 46 at 102-103.
56
Id. at 111.
57
Id. at 110.
58
Q: Did your wife agree to your going to law school?

A: I did not encounter any objection from her.


G.R. No. 149498 May 20, 2004 days to file his answer. Because Toshio failed to file a responsive pleading after the
lapse of 60 days from publication, respondent filed a motion dated November 5, 1996
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, to refer the case to the prosecutor for investigation. The trial court granted the motion
vs. on November 7, 1996.
LOLITA QUINTERO-HAMANO, respondent.
On November 20, 1996, prosecutor Rolando I. Gonzales filed a report finding that no
DECISION collusion existed between the parties. He prayed that the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor be allowed to intervene to ensure that the evidence submitted was not
CORONA, J.: fabricated. On February 13, 1997, the trial court granted respondents motion to
present her evidence ex parte. She then testified on how Toshio abandoned his
Before us is a petition for review of the decision1 dated August 20, 2001 of the Court family. She thereafter offered documentary evidence to support her testimony.
of Appeals2 affirming the decision3 dated August 28, 1997 of the Regional Trial
Court of Rizal, Branch 72, declaring as null and void the marriage contracted between On August 28, 1997, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of
herein respondent Lolita M. Quintero-Hamano and her husband Toshio Hamano. which read:

On June 17, 1996, respondent Lolita Quintero-Hamano filed a complaint for WHEREFORE, premises considered, the marriage between petitioner Lolita
declaration of nullity of her marriage to her husband Toshio Hamano, a Japanese M. Quintero-Hamano and Toshio Hamano, is hereby declared NULL and
national, on the ground of psychological incapacity. VOID.

Respondent alleged that in October 1986, she and Toshio started a common-law The Civil Register of Bacoor, Cavite and the National Statistics Office are
relationship in Japan. They later lived in the Philippines for a month. Thereafter, ordered to make proper entries into the records of the afore-named parties
Toshio went back to Japan and stayed there for half of 1987. On November 16, 1987, pursuant to this judgment of the Court.
she gave birth to their child.
SO ORDERED.4
On January 14, 1988, she and Toshio were married by Judge Isauro M. Balderia of
the Municipal Trial Court of Bacoor, Cavite. Unknown to respondent, Toshio was In declaring the nullity of the marriage on the ground of Toshios psychological
psychologically incapacitated to assume his marital responsibilities, which incapacity incapacity, the trial court held that:
became manifest only after the marriage. One month after their marriage, Toshio
returned to Japan and promised to return by Christmas to celebrate the holidays with It is clear from the records of the case that respondent spouses failed to fulfill
his family. After sending money to respondent for two months, Toshio stopped giving his obligations as husband of the petitioner and father to his daughter.
financial support. She wrote him several times but he never responded. Sometime in Respondent remained irresponsible and unconcerned over the needs and
1991, respondent learned from her friends that Toshio visited the Philippines but he welfare of his family. Such indifference, to the mind of the Court, is a clear
did not bother to see her and their child. manifestation of insensitivity and lack of respect for his wife and child which
characterizes a very immature person. Certainly, such behavior could be
The summons issued to Toshio remained unserved because he was no longer residing traced to respondents mental incapacity and disability of entering into marital
at his given address. Consequently, on July 8, 1996, respondent filed an ex parte life.5
motion for leave to effect service of summons by publication. The trial court granted
the motion on July 12, 1996. In August 1996, the summons, accompanied by a copy
of the petition, was published in a newspaper of general circulation giving Toshio 15
The Office of the Solicitor General, representing herein petitioner Republic of the The Court of Appeals erred in holding that respondent was able to prove the
Philippines, appealed to the Court of Appeals but the same was denied in a decision psychological incapacity of Toshio Hamano to perform his marital
dated August 28, 1997, the dispositive portion of which read: obligations, despite respondents failure to comply with the guidelines laid
down in the Molina case.10
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, and pursuant to applicable law and
jurisprudence on the matter and evidence on hand, judgment is hereby According to petitioner, mere abandonment by Toshio of his family and his
rendered denying the instant appeal. The decision of the court a quo is insensitivity to them did not automatically constitute psychological incapacity. His
AFFIRMED. No costs. behavior merely indicated simple inadequacy in the personality of a spouse falling
short of reasonable expectations. Respondent failed to prove any severe and incurable
SO ORDERED.6 personality disorder on the part of Toshio, in accordance with the guidelines set in
Molina.
The appellate court found that Toshio left respondent and their daughter a month after
the celebration of the marriage, and returned to Japan with the promise to support his The Office of the Public Attorney, representing respondent, reiterated the ruling of
family and take steps to make them Japanese citizens. But except for two months, he the courts a quo and sought the denial of the instant petition.
never sent any support to nor communicated with them despite the letters respondent
sent. He even visited the Philippines but he did not bother to see them. Respondent, We rule in favor of petitioner.
on the other hand, exerted all efforts to contact Toshio, to no avail.
The Court is mindful of the policy of the 1987 Constitution to protect and strengthen
The appellate court thus concluded that respondent was psychologically incapacitated the family as the basic autonomous social institution and marriage as the foundation
to perform his marital obligations to his family, and to "observe mutual love, respect of the family.11 Thus, any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the
and fidelity, and render mutual help and support" pursuant to Article 68 of the Family marriage.12
Code of the Philippines. The appellate court rhetorically asked:
Respondent seeks to annul her marriage with Toshio on the ground of psychological
But what is there to preserve when the other spouse is an unwilling party to incapacity. Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides that:
the cohesion and creation of a family as a social inviolable institution? Why
should petitioner be made to suffer in a marriage where the other spouse is not Art. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
around and worse, left them without even helping them cope up with family psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
life and assist in the upbringing of their daughter as required under Articles 68 marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after
to 71 of the Family Code?7 its solemnization.

The appellate court emphasized that this case could not be equated with Republic vs. In Molina, we came up with the following guidelines in the interpretation and
Court of Appeals and Molina8 and Santos vs. Court of Appeals.9 In those cases, the application of Article 36 for the guidance of the bench and the bar:
spouses were Filipinos while this case involved a "mixed marriage," the husband
being a Japanese national. (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and
Hence, this appeal by petitioner Republic based on this lone assignment of error: continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is
rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity
I of marriage and unity of the family. x x x
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations
or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven essential to marriage.
by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the
Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological - not physical, (6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up
although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles
must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children.
psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition,
obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.
assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given
here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of (7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of
ejusdem generis (Salita vs. Magtolis, 233 SCRA 100, June 13, 1994), the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive,
nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and should be given great respect by our courts. x x x
its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by
qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the
Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall be
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be
celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or
existing when the parties exchanged their "I dos." The manifestation of the opposition, as the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor-General, along
illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such certification
attached at such moment, or prior thereto. within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed submitted for
resolution of the court. The Solicitor-General shall discharge the equivalent
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095.13 (emphasis
permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative supplied)
only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone
of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court
assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to in Santos: "psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity (b) juridical
marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a antecedence and (c) incurability."14 The foregoing guidelines do not require that a
pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and physician examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact,
prescribing medicine to cure them but may not be psychologically capacitated the root cause may be "medically or clinically identified." What is important is the
to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological
marriage. 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
(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party concerned need not be resorted to.15
to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological
peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be We now proceed to determine whether respondent successfully proved Toshios
accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or psychological incapacity to fulfill his marital responsibilities.
inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words,
there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse Petitioner showed that Toshio failed to meet his duty to live with, care for and support
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the his family. He abandoned them a month after his marriage to respondent. Respondent
sent him several letters but he never replied. He made a trip to the Philippines but did WHEREFORE, the petition for review is hereby GRANTED. The decision dated
not care at all to see his family. August 28, 1997 of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

We find that the totality of evidence presented fell short of proving that Toshio was SO ORDERED.
psychologically incapacitated to assume his marital responsibilities. Toshios act of
abandonment was doubtlessly irresponsible but it was never alleged nor proven to be Vitug, Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.
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 Footnotes
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 * Acting Chief Justice
presented evidence that medically or clinically identified his illness. This could have
been done through an expert witness. This respondent did not do. 1
Penned by Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, and concurred in by Associate
Justices Cancio C. Garcia and Hilarion Aquino; Rollo, pp. 24-31.
We must remember that abandonment is also a ground for legal separation.16 There
was no showing that the case at bar was not just an instance of abandonment in the 2
Second Division.
context of legal separation. We cannot presume psychological defect from the mere
fact that Toshio abandoned his family immediately after the celebration of the 3
Penned by Judge Rogelio Angeles; Rollo, pp. 32-33.
marriage. 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 4
Rollo, p. 33.
to be incapable of doing so due to some psychological, not physical, illness.17 There
was no proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse 5
Rollo, p. 52.
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates a person
from accepting and complying with the obligations essential to marriage.18 6
Rollo, p. 30.

According to the appellate court, the requirements in Molina and Santos do not apply 7
Rollo, p. 29.
here because the present case involves a "mixed marriage," the husband being a
Japanese national. We disagree. In proving psychological incapacity, we find no 8
268 SCRA 198 [1997].
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 9
240 SCRA 20 [1995].
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 10
Rollo, p. 14.
behavior in general. Hence, the norms used for determining psychological incapacity
should apply to any person regardless of nationality. 11
Article II, Section 12; and, Article XV, Sections 1 & 2 of the 1987
Philippine Constitution.
In Pesca vs. Pesca,19 this Court declared that marriage is an inviolable social
institution that the State cherishes and protects. While we commiserate with 12
Republic of the Philippines vs. Dagdag, 351 SCRA 425 [2001] citing
respondent, terminating her marriage to her husband may not necessarily be the Republic of the Philippines vs. Hernandez, 320 SCRA 76 [1999].
fitting denouement.
13
Supra, Note 8, pp. 209-212.
14
Supra, Note 9, p. 33.
15
Marcos vs. Marcos, 343 SCRA 755, 764 [2000].
16
Article 55 (10) of the Family Code of the Philippines provides that:

Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the
following grounds:

xxx xxx xxx

(10) Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without


justifiable cause for more than one year.
17
Supra Note 8, p. 210.
18
Ibid., pp. 211-212.
19
356 SCRA 588, 594 [2001].
G.R. No. 161793 February 13, 2009 However, Edwards 80,000.00 lasted for only a month. Their pension house
accommodation and daily sustenance fast depleted it. And they could not find a job.
EDWARD KENNETH NGO TE, Petitioner, In April 1996, they decided to go back to Manila. Rowena proceeded to her uncles
vs. house and Edward to his parents home. As his family was abroad, and Rowena kept
ROWENA ONG GUTIERREZ YU-TE, Respondent, on telephoning him, threatening him that she would commit suicide, Edward agreed
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Oppositor. to stay with Rowena at her uncles place.5

DECISION On April 23, 1996, Rowenas uncle brought the two to a court to get married. He was
then 25 years old, and she, 20.6 The two then continued to stay at her uncles place
NACHURA, J.: 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
Far from novel is the issue involved in this petition. Psychological incapacity, since leave Rowena.7 At one point, Edward was able to call home and talk to his brother
its incorporation in our laws, has become a clichd subject of discussion in our who suggested that they should stay at their parents home and live with them.
jurisprudence. The Court treats this case, however, with much ado, it having realized Edward relayed this to Rowena who, however, suggested that he should get his
that current jurisprudential doctrine has unnecessarily imposed a perspective by inheritance so that they could live on their own. Edward talked to his father about
which psychological incapacity should be viewed, totally inconsistent with the way this, but the patriarch got mad, told Edward that he would be disinherited, and
the concept was formulatedfree in form and devoid of any definition. insisted that Edward must go home.8

For the resolution of the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of After a month, Edward escaped from the house of Rowenas uncle, and stayed with
the Rules of Court assailing the August 5, 2003 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals his parents. His family then hid him from Rowena and her family whenever they
(CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 71867. The petition further assails the January 19, 2004 telephoned to ask for him.9
Resolution2 denying the motion for the reconsideration of the challenged decision.
In June 1996, Edward was able to talk to Rowena. Unmoved by his persistence that
The relevant facts and proceedings follow. they should live with his parents, she said that it was better for them to live separate
lives. They then parted ways.10
Petitioner 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 After almost four years, or on January 18, 2000, Edward filed a petition before the
college. Edward was then initially attracted to Rowenas close friend; but, as the latter Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 106, for the annulment of his
already had a boyfriend, the young man decided to court Rowena. That was in marriage to Rowena on the basis of the latters psychological incapacity. This was
January 1996, when petitioner was a sophomore student and respondent, a freshman.3 docketed as Civil Case No. Q-00-39720.11

Sharing similar angst towards their families, the two understood one another and As Rowena did not file an answer, the trial court, on July 11, 2000, ordered the Office
developed a certain degree of closeness towards each other. In March 1996, or around of the City Prosecutor (OCP) of Quezon City to investigate whether there was
three months after their first meeting, Rowena asked Edward that they elope. At first, collusion between the parties.12 In the meantime, on July 27, 2000, the Office of the
he refused, bickering that he was young and jobless. Her persistence, however, made Solicitor General (OSG) entered its appearance and deputized the OCP to appear on
him relent. Thus, they left Manila and sailed to Cebu that month; he, providing their its behalf and assist it in the scheduled hearings.13
travel money and she, purchasing the boat ticket.4
On August 23, 2000, the OCP submitted an investigation report stating that it could because petitioner is rich. In the last week of March 1996, respondent seriously
not determine if there was collusion between the parties; thus, it recommended trial brought the idea of eloping and she already bought tickets for the boat going to Cebu.
on the merits.14 Petitioner reluctantly agreed to the idea and so they eloped to Cebu. The parties are
supposed to stay at the house of a friend of respondent, but they were not able to
The clinical psychologist who examined petitioner found both parties psychologically locate her, so petitioner was compelled to rent an apartment. The parties tried to look
incapacitated, and made the following findings and conclusions: for a job but could not find any so it was suggested by respondent that they should go
back and seek help from petitioners parents. When the parties arrived at the house of
BACKGROUND DATA & BRIEF MARITAL HISTORY: petitioner, all of his whole family was all out of the country so respondent decided to
go back to her home for the meantime while petitioner stayed behind at their home.
EDWARD KENNETH NGO TE is a [29-year-old] Filipino male adult born and After a few days of separation, respondent called petitioner by phone and said she
baptized Born Again Christian at Manila. He finished two years in college at AMA wanted to talk to him. Petitioner responded immediately and when he arrived at their
Computer College last 1994 and is currently unemployed. He is married to and house, respondent confronted petitioner as to why he appeared to be cold, respondent
separated from ROWENA GUTIERREZ YU-TE. He presented himself at my office acted irrationally and even threatened to commit suicide. Petitioner got scared so he
for a psychological evaluation in relation to his petition for Nullification of Marriage went home again. Respondent would call by phone every now and then and became
against the latter by the grounds of psychological incapacity. He is now residing at angry as petitioner does not know what to do. Respondent went to the extent of
181 P. Tuazon Street, Quezon City. threatening to file a case against petitioner and scandalize his family in the
newspaper. Petitioner asked her how he would be able to make amends and at this
Petitioner got himself three siblings who are now in business and one deceased sister. point in time[,] respondent brought the idea of marriage. Petitioner[,] out of
Both his parents are also in the business world by whom he [considers] as generous, frustration in life[,] agreed to her to pacify her. And so on April 23, 1996,
hospitable, and patient. This said virtues are said to be handed to each of the family respondents uncle brought the parties to Valenzuela[,] and on that very same day[,]
member. He generally considers himself to be quiet and simple. He clearly petitioner was made to sign the Marriage Contract before the Judge. Petitioner
remembers himself to be afraid of meeting people. After 1994, he tried his luck in actually never applied for any Marriage License.
being a Sales Executive of Mansfield International Incorporated. And because of job
incompetence, as well as being quiet and loner, he did not stay long in the job until Respondent decided that they should stay first at their house until after arrival of the
1996. His interest lie[s] on becoming a full servant of God by being a priest or a parents of petitioner. But when the parents of petitioner arrived, respondent refused to
pastor. He [is] said to isolate himself from his friends even during his childhood days allow petitioner to go home. Petitioner was threatened in so many ways with her
as he only loves to read the Bible and hear its message. uncle showing to him many guns. Respondent even threatened that if he should
persist in going home, they will commission their military friends to harm his family.
Respondent is said to come from a fine family despite having a lazy father and a Respondent even made petitioner sign a declaration that if he should perish, the
disobedient wife. She is said to have not finish[ed] her collegiate degree and shared authorities should look for him at his parents[ ]and relatives[ ]houses. Sometime in
intimate sexual moments with her boyfriend prior to that with petitioner. June of 1996, petitioner was able to escape and he went home. He told his parents
about his predicament and they forgave him and supported him by giving him
In January of 1996, respondent showed her kindness to petitioner and this became the military escort. Petitioner, however, did not inform them that he signed a marriage
foundation of their intimate relationship. After a month of dating, petitioner contract with respondent. When they knew about it[,] petitioner was referred for
mentioned to respondent that he is having problems with his family. Respondent counseling. Petitioner[,] after the counseling[,] tried to contact respondent. Petitioner
surprisingly retorted that she also hates her family and that she actually wanted to get offered her to live instead to[sic] the home of petitioners parents while they are still
out of their lives. From that [time on], respondent had insisted to petitioner that they studying. Respondent refused the idea and claimed that she would only live with him
should elope and live together. Petitioner hesitated because he is not prepared as they if they will have a separate home of their own and be away from his parents. She also
are both young and inexperienced, but she insisted that they would somehow manage intimated to petitioner that he should already get his share of whatever he would
inherit from his parents so they can start a new life. Respondent demanded these not uninteresting to commit himself to a relationship especially to that of respondent, as
knowing [that] the petitioner already settled his differences with his own family. aggravated by her dangerously aggressive moves. As he is more of the reserved and
When respondent refused to live with petitioner where he chose for them to stay, timid type of person, as he prefer to be religiously attached and spend a solemn time
petitioner decided to tell her to stop harassing the home of his parents. He told her alone.
already that he was disinherited and since he also does not have a job, he would not
be able to support her. After knowing that petitioner does not have any money ROWENA GUTIERREZ YU-TE, the respondent, is said to be of the aggressive-
anymore, respondent stopped tormenting petitioner and informed petitioner that they rebellious type of woman. She is seen to be somewhat exploitative in her [plight] for
should live separate lives. a life of wealth and glamour. She is seen to take move on marriage as she thought that
her marriage with petitioner will bring her good fortune because he is part of a rich
The said relationship between Edward and Rowena is said to be undoubtedly in the family. In order to have her dreams realized, she used force and threats knowing that
wreck and weakly-founded. The break-up was caused by both parties[] unreadiness [her] husband is somehow weak-willed. Upon the realization that there is really no
to commitment and their young age. He was still in the state of finding his fate and chance for wealth, she gladly finds her way out of the relationship.
fighting boredom, while she was still egocentrically involved with herself.
REMARKS:
TESTS ADMINISTERED:
Before going to marriage, one should really get to know himself and marry himself
Revised Beta Examination before submitting to marital vows. Marriage should not be taken out of intuition as it
is profoundly a serious institution solemnized by religious and law. In the case
Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test presented by petitioner and respondent[,] (sic) it is evidently clear that both parties
have impulsively taken marriage for granted as they are still unaware of their own
Draw A Person Test selves. He is extremely introvert to the point of weakening their relationship by his
weak behavioral disposition. She, on the other hand[,] is extremely exploitative and
Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test aggressive so as to be unlawful, insincere and undoubtedly uncaring in her strides
toward convenience. It is apparent that she is suffering the grave, severe, and
Sachs Sentence Completion Test incurable presence of Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder that started
since childhood and only manifested during marriage. Both parties display
MMPI psychological incapacities that made marriage a big mistake for them to take.15

TEST RESULTS & EVALUATION: The trial court, on July 30, 2001, rendered its Decision16 declaring the marriage of the
parties null and void on the ground that both parties were psychologically
Both petitioner and respondent are dubbed to be emotionally immature and recklessly incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations.17 The Republic,
impulsive upon swearing to their marital vows as each of them was motivated by represented by the OSG, timely filed its notice of appeal.18
different notions on marriage.
On review, the appellate court, in the assailed August 5, 2003 Decision19 in CA-G.R.
Edward Kenneth Ngo Te, the petitioner in this case[,] is said to be still unsure and CV No. 71867, reversed and set aside the trial courts ruling.20 It ruled that petitioner
unready so as to commit himself to marriage. He is still founded to be on the search failed to prove the psychological incapacity of respondent. The clinical psychologist
of what he wants in life. He is absconded as an introvert as he is not really sociable did not personally examine respondent, and relied only on the information provided
and displays a lack of interest in social interactions and mingling with other by petitioner. Further, the psychological incapacity was not shown to be attended by
individuals. He is seen too akin to this kind of lifestyle that he finds it boring and gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability. In sum, the evidence adduced fell
short of the requirements stated in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina21 needed Article 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration,
for the declaration of nullity of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.22 was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
The CA faulted the lower court for rendering the decision without the required marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after
certification of the OSG briefly stating therein the OSGs reasons for its agreement its solemnization.
with or opposition to, as the case may be, the petition.23 The CA later denied
petitioners motion for reconsideration in the likewise assailed January 19, 2004 As borne out by the deliberations of the Civil Code Revision Committee that drafted
Resolution.24 the Family Code, Article 36 was based on grounds available in the Canon Law. Thus,
Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero elucidated in her separate opinion in Santos v. Court
Dissatisfied, petitioner filed before this Court the instant petition for review on of Appeals:33
certiorari. On June 15, 2005, the Court gave due course to the petition and required
the parties to submit their respective memoranda.25 However, as a member of both the Family Law Revision Committee of the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines and the Civil Code Revision Commission of the UP Law
In his memorandum,26 petitioner argues that the CA erred in substituting its own Center, I wish to add some observations. The letter dated April 15, 1985 of then
judgment for that of the trial court. He posits that the RTC declared the marriage Judge Alicia V. Sempio-Diy written in behalf of the Family Law and Civil Code
void, not only because of respondents psychological incapacity, but rather due to Revision Committee to then Assemblywoman Mercedes Cojuangco-Teodoro traced
both parties psychological incapacity. Petitioner also points out that there is no the background of the inclusion of the present Article 36 in the Family Code.
requirement for the psychologist to personally examine respondent. Further, he avers
that the OSG is bound by the actions of the OCP because the latter represented it "During its early meetings, the Family Law Committee had thought of including a
during the trial; and it had been furnished copies of all the pleadings, the trial court chapter on absolute divorce in the draft of a new Family Code (Book I of the Civil
orders and notices.27 Code) that it had been tasked by the IBP and the UP Law Center to prepare. In fact,
some members of the Committee were in favor of a no-fault divorce between the
For its part, the OSG contends in its memorandum,28 that the annulment petition filed spouses after a number of years of separation, legal or de facto. Justice J.B.L. Reyes
before the RTC contains no statement of the essential marital obligations that the was then requested to prepare a proposal for an action for dissolution of marriage and
parties failed to comply with. The root cause of the psychological incapacity was the effects thereof based on two grounds: (a) five continuous years of separation
likewise not alleged in the petition; neither was it medically or clinically identified. between the spouses, with or without a judicial decree of legal separation, and (b)
The purported incapacity of both parties was not shown to be medically or clinically whenever a married person would have obtained a decree of absolute divorce in
permanent or incurable. And the clinical psychologist did not personally examine the another country. Actually, such a proposal is one for absolute divorce but called by
respondent. Thus, the OSG concludes that the requirements in Molina29 were not another name. Later, even the Civil Code Revision Committee took time to discuss
satisfied.30 the proposal of Justice Reyes on this matter.

The Court now resolves the singular issue of whether, based on Article 36 of the Subsequently, however, when the Civil Code Revision Committee and Family Law
Family Code, the marriage between the parties is null and void.31 Committee started holding joint meetings on the preparation of the draft of the New
Family Code, they agreed and formulated the definition of marriage as
I.
a special contract of permanent partnership between a man and a woman entered into
We begin by examining the provision, tracing its origin and charting the development in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is an
of jurisprudence interpreting it. inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed
by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the
Article 36 of the Family Code32 provides: property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by law.
With the above definition, and considering the Christian traditional concept of declaration of nullity as well as annulment of marriages, thus rendering an absolute
marriage of the Filipino people as a permanent, inviolable, indissoluble social divorce law unnecessary. In fact, during a conference with Father Gerald Healy of the
institution upon which the family and society are founded, and also realizing the Ateneo University, as well as another meeting with Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the
strong opposition that any provision on absolute divorce would encounter from the Archdiocese of Pampanga, the Joint Committee was informed that since Vatican II,
Catholic Church and the Catholic sector of our citizenry to whom the great majority the Catholic Church has been declaring marriages null and void on the ground of
of our people belong, the two Committees in their joint meetings did not pursue the "lack of due discretion" for causes that, in other jurisdictions, would be clear grounds
idea of absolute divorce and, instead, opted for an action for judicial declaration of for divorce, like teen-age or premature marriages; marriage to a man who, because of
invalidity of marriage based on grounds available in the Canon Law. It was thought some personality disorder or disturbance, cannot support a family; the foolish or
that such an action would not only be an acceptable alternative to divorce but would ridiculous choice of a spouse by an otherwise perfectly normal person; marriage to a
also solve the nagging problem of church annulments of marriages on grounds not woman who refuses to cohabit with her husband or who refuses to have children.
recognized by the civil law of the State. Justice Reyes was, thus, requested to again Bishop Cruz also informed the Committee that they have found out in tribunal work
prepare a draft of provisions on such action for celebration of invalidity of marriage. that a lot of machismo among husbands are manifestations of their sociopathic
Still later, to avoid the overlapping of provisions on void marriages as found in the personality anomaly, like inflicting physical violence upon their wives, constitutional
present Civil Code and those proposed by Justice Reyes on judicial declaration of indolence or laziness, drug dependence or addiction, and psychosexual anomaly.34
invalidity of marriage on grounds similar to the Canon Law, the two Committees now
working as a Joint Committee in the preparation of a New Family Code decided to In her separate opinion in Molina,35 she expounded:
consolidate the present provisions on void marriages with the proposals of Justice
Reyes. The result was the inclusion of an additional kind of void marriage in the At the Committee meeting of July 26, 1986, the draft provision read:
enumeration of void marriages in the present Civil Code, to wit:
"(7) Those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
(7) those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature
wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to discharge the
of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the
essential marital obligations, even if such lack or incapacity is made manifest after the celebration."
celebration.
The twists and turns which the ensuing discussion took finally produced the following
as well as the following implementing provisions: revised provision even before the session was over:

Art. 32. The absolute nullity of a marriage may be invoked or pleaded only on the "(7) That contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
basis of a final judgment declaring the marriage void, without prejudice to the psychologically incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if
provision of Article 34. such lack or incapacity becomes manifest after the celebration."

Art. 33. The action or defense for the declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage Noticeably, the immediately preceding formulation above has dropped any reference
shall not prescribe. to "wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential
nature of marriage" and to "mentally incapacitated." It was explained that these
xxxxxxxxx phrases refer to "defects in the mental faculties vitiating consent, which is not the idea
. . . but lack of appreciation of one's marital obligation." There being a defect in
It is believed that many hopelessly broken marriages in our country today may consent, "it is clear that it should be a ground for voidable marriage because there is
already be dissolved or annulled on the grounds proposed by the Joint Committee on the appearance of consent and it is capable of convalidation for the simple reason that
there are lucid intervals and there are cases when the insanity is curable . . . The ground of psychological incapacity was subsumed under "special cases and
Psychological incapacity does not refer to mental faculties and has nothing to do with special situations," hence, its special treatment in Art. 36 in the Family Code as
consent; it refers to obligations attendant to marriage." finally enacted.

My own position as a member of the Committee then was that psychological Nowhere in the Civil Code provisions on Marriage is there a ground for avoiding or
incapacity is, in a sense, insanity of a lesser degree. annulling marriages that even comes close to being psychological in nature.

As to the proposal of Justice Caguioa to use the term "psychological or mental Where consent is vitiated due to circumstances existing at the time of the marriage,
impotence," Archbishop Oscar Cruz opined in the earlier February 9, 1984 session such marriage which stands valid until annulled is capable of ratification or
that this term "is an invention of some churchmen who are moralists but not convalidation.
canonists, that is why it is considered a weak phrase." He said that the Code of Canon
Law would rather express it as "psychological or mental incapacity to discharge . . ." On the other hand, for reasons of public policy or lack of essential requisites, some
Justice Ricardo C. Puno opined that sometimes a person may be psychologically marriages are void from the beginning.
impotent with one but not with another.
With the revision of Book I of the Civil Code, particularly the provisions on
One of the guidelines enumerated in the majority opinion for the interpretation and Marriage, the drafters, now open to fresh winds of change in keeping with the more
application of Art. 36 is: "Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or permissive mores and practices of the time, took a leaf from the relatively liberal
clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative provisions of Canon Law.
only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the
same sex." Canon 1095 which states, inter alia, that the following persons are incapable of
contracting marriage: "3. (those) who, because of causes of a psychological nature,
The Committee, through Prof. Araceli T. Barrera, considered the inclusion of the are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage" provided the model for
phrase "and is incurable" but Prof. Esteban B. Bautista commented that this would what is now Art. 36 of the Family Code: "A marriage contracted by any party who, at
give rise to the question of how they will determine curability and Justice Caguioa the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
agreed that it would be more problematic. Yet, the possibility that one may be cured essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such
after the psychological incapacity becomes manifest after the marriage was not ruled incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization."
out by Justice Puno and Justice Alice Sempio-Diy. Justice Caguioa suggested that the
remedy was to allow the afflicted spouse to remarry. It bears stressing that unlike in Civil Law, Canon Law recognizes only two types of
marriages with respect to their validity: valid and void. Civil Law, however,
For clarity, the Committee classified the bases for determining void marriages, viz.: recognizes an intermediate state, the voidable or annullable marriages. When the
Ecclesiastical Tribunal "annuls" a marriage, it actually declares the marriage null and
1. lack of one or more of the essential requisites of marriage as contract; void, i.e., it never really existed in the first place, for a valid sacramental marriage can
never be dissolved. Hence, a properly performed and consummated marriage between
2. reasons of public policy; two living Roman Catholics can only be nullified by the formal annulment process
which entails a full tribunal procedure with a Court selection and a formal hearing.
3. special cases and special situations.
Such so-called church "annulments" are not recognized by Civil Law as severing the
marriage ties as to capacitate the parties to enter lawfully into another marriage. The
grounds for nullifying civil marriage, not being congruent with those laid down by
Canon Law, the former being more strict, quite a number of married couples have the provision on a case-to-case basis; guided by experience, the findings of experts
found themselves in limbofreed from the marriage bonds in the eyes of the and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals
Catholic Church but yet unable to contract a valid civil marriage under state laws. which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since
Heedless of civil law sanctions, some persons contract new marriages or enter into the provision itself was taken from the Canon Law.37 The law is then so designed as
live-in relationships. to allow some resiliency in its application.38

It was precisely to provide a satisfactory solution to such anomalous situations that Yet, as held in Santos,39 the phrase "psychological incapacity" is not meant to
the Civil Law Revision Committee decided to engraft the Canon Law concept of comprehend all possible cases of psychoses. It refers to no less than a mental (not
psychological incapacity into the Family Codeand classified the same as a ground physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly noncognitive of the basic marital
for declaring marriages void ab initio or totally inexistent from the beginning. covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the
marriage which, as expressed by Article 6840 of the Family Code, include their
A brief historical note on the Old Canon Law (1917). This Old Code, while it did not mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity; and render help
provide directly for psychological incapacity, in effect, recognized the same indirectly and support. The intendment of the law has been to confine it to the most serious of
from a combination of three old canons: "Canon #1081 required persons to be cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or
capable according to law in order to give valid consent; Canon #1082 required that inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.41 This interpretation is, in
persons be at least not ignorant of the major elements required in marriage; and fact, consistent with that in Canon Law, thus:
Canon #1087 (the force and fear category) required that internal and external freedom
be present in order for consent to be valid. This line of interpretation produced two 3.5.3.1. The Meaning of Incapacity to Assume. A sharp conceptual distinction must
distinct but related grounds for annulment called lack of due discretion and lack of be made between the second and third paragraphs of C.1095, namely between the
due competence. Lack of due discretion means that the person did not have the grave lack of discretionary judgment and the incapacity to assume the essential
ability to give valid consent at the time of the wedding and, therefore, the union is obligation. Mario Pompedda, a rotal judge, explains the difference by an ordinary, if
invalid. Lack of due competence means that the person was incapable of carrying out somewhat banal, example. Jose wishes to sell a house to Carmela, and on the
the obligations of the promise he or she made during the wedding ceremony." assumption that they are capable according to positive law to enter such contract,
there remains the object of the contract, viz, the house. The house is located in a
Favorable annulment decisions by the Roman Rota in the 1950s and 1960s involving different locality, and prior to the conclusion of the contract, the house was gutted
sexual disorders such as homosexuality and nymphomania laid the foundation for a down by fire unbeknown to both of them. This is the hypothesis contemplated by the
broader approach to the kind of proof necessary for psychological grounds for third paragraph of the canon. The third paragraph does not deal with the
annulment. The Rota had reasoned for the first time in several cases that the capacity psychological process of giving consent because it has been established a priori that
to give valid consent at the time of marriage was probably not present in persons who both have such a capacity to give consent, and they both know well the object of their
had displayed such problems shortly after the marriage. The nature of this change was consent [the house and its particulars]. Rather, C.1095.3 deals with the object of the
nothing short of revolutionary. Once the Rota itself had demonstrated a cautious consent/contract which does not exist. The contract is invalid because it lacks its
willingness to use this kind of hindsight, the way was paved for what came after formal object. The consent as a psychological act is both valid and sufficient. The
1970. Diocesan Tribunals began to accept proof of serious psychological problems psychological act, however, is directed towards an object which is not available.
that manifested themselves shortly after the ceremony as proof of an inability to give Urbano Navarrete summarizes this distinction: the third paragraph deals not with the
valid consent at the time of the ceremony.36 positing of consent but with positing the object of consent. The person may be
capable of positing a free act of consent, but he is not capable of fulfilling the
Interestingly, the Committee did not give any examples of psychological incapacity responsibilities he assumes as a result of the consent he elicits.
for fear that by so doing, it might limit the applicability of the provision under the
principle of ejusdem generis. The Committee desired that the courts should interpret
Since the address of Pius XII to the auditors of the Roman Rota in 1941 regarding hyperaesthetic can understand perfectly and evaluate quite maturely what marriage is
psychic incapacity with respect to marriage arising from pathological conditions, and what it implies; his consent would be juridically ineffective for this one reason
there has been an increasing trend to understand as ground of nullity different from that he cannot posit the object of consent, the exclusive jus in corpus to be exercised
others, the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage, especially the in a normal way and with usually regularity. It would seem more correct to say that
incapacity which arises from sexual anomalies. Nymphomania is a sample which the consent may indeed be free, but is juridically ineffective because the party is
ecclesiastical jurisprudence has studied under this rubric. consenting to an object that he cannot deliver. The house he is selling was gutted
down by fire.
The problem as treated can be summarized, thus: do sexual anomalies always and in
every case imply a grave psychopathological condition which affects the higher 3.5.3.2. Incapacity as an Autonomous Ground. Sabattani seems to have seen his way
faculties of intellect, discernment, and freedom; or are there sexual anomalies that are more clearly through this tangled mess, proposing as he did a clear conceptual
purely so that is to say, they arise from certain physiological dysfunction of the distinction between the inability to give consent on the one hand, and the inability to
hormonal system, and they affect the sexual condition, leaving intact the higher fulfill the object of consent, on the other. It is his opinion that nymphomaniacs
faculties however, so that these persons are still capable of free human acts. The usually understand the meaning of marriage, and they are usually able to evaluate its
evidence from the empirical sciences is abundant that there are certain anomalies of a implications. They would have no difficulty with positing a free and intelligent
sexual nature which may impel a person towards sexual activities which are not consent. However, such persons, capable as they are of eliciting an intelligent and
normal, either with respect to its frequency [nymphomania, satyriasis] or to the nature free consent, experience difficulty in another sphere: delivering the object of the
of the activity itself [sadism, masochism, homosexuality]. However, these anomalies consent. Anne, another rotal judge, had likewise treated the difference between the
notwithstanding, it is altogether possible that the higher faculties remain intact such act of consenting and the act of positing the object of consent from the point of view
that a person so afflicted continues to have an adequate understanding of what of a person afflicted with nymphomania. According to him, such an affliction usually
marriage is and of the gravity of its responsibilities. In fact, he can choose marriage leaves the process of knowing and understanding and evaluating intact. What it
freely. The question though is whether such a person can assume those affects is the object of consent: the delivering of the goods.
responsibilities which he cannot fulfill, although he may be able to understand them.
In this latter hypothesis, the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage 3.5.3.3 Incapacity as Incapacity to Posit the Object of Consent. From the selected
issues from the incapacity to posit the object of consent, rather than the incapacity to rotal jurisprudence cited, supra, it is possible to see a certain progress towards a
posit consent itself. consensus doctrine that the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage
(that is to say, the formal object of consent) can coexist in the same person with the
Ecclesiastical jurisprudence has been hesitant, if not actually confused, in this regard. ability to make a free decision, an intelligent judgment, and a mature evaluation and
The initial steps taken by church courts were not too clear whether this incapacity is weighing of things. The decision coram Sabattani concerning a nymphomaniac
incapacity to posit consent or incapacity to posit the object of consent. A case c. affirmed that such a spouse can have difficulty not only with regard to the moment of
Pinna, for example, arrives at the conclusion that the intellect, under such an consent but also, and especially, with regard to the matrimonium in facto esse. The
irresistible impulse, is prevented from properly deliberating and its judgment lacks decision concludes that a person in such a condition is incapable of assuming the
freedom. This line of reasoning supposes that the intellect, at the moment of consent, conjugal obligation of fidelity, although she may have no difficulty in understanding
is under the influence of this irresistible compulsion, with the inevitable conclusion what the obligations of marriage are, nor in the weighing and evaluating of those
that such a decision, made as it was under these circumstances, lacks the necessary same obligations.
freedom. It would be incontrovertible that a decision made under duress, such as this
irresistible impulse, would not be a free act. But this is precisely the question: is it, as Prior to the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law in 1983, it was not unusual to
a matter of fact, true that the intellect is always and continuously under such an refer to this ground as moral impotence or psychic impotence, or similar expressions
irresistible compulsion? It would seem entirely possible, and certainly more to express a specific incapacity rooted in some anomalies and disorders in the
reasonable, to think that there are certain cases in which one who is sexually personality. These anomalies leave intact the faculties of the will and the intellect. It
is qualified as moral or psychic, obviously to distinguish it from the impotence that especially at matrimonium in facto esse. In [the] decision of 19 Dec. 1985,
constitutes the impediment dealt with by C.1084. Nonetheless, the anomalies render Stankiewicz collocated the incapacity of the respondent to assume the essential
the subject incapable of binding himself in a valid matrimonial pact, to the extent that obligations of marriage in the psychic constitution of the person, precisely on the
the anomaly renders that person incapable of fulfilling the essential obligations. basis of his irresponsibility as regards money and his apathy as regards the rights of
According to the principle affirmed by the long tradition of moral theology: nemo ad others that he had violated. Interpersonal relationships are invariably disturbed in the
impossibile tenetur. presence of this personality disorder. A lack of empathy (inability to recognize and
experience how others feel) is common. A sense of entitlement, unreasonable
xxxx expectation, especially favorable treatment, is usually present. Likewise common is
interpersonal exploitativeness, in which others are taken advantage of in order to
3.5.3.5 Indications of Incapacity. There is incapacity when either or both of the achieve ones ends.
contractants are not capable of initiating or maintaining this consortium. One
immediately thinks of those cases where one of the parties is so self-centered [e.g., a Authors have made listings of obligations considered as essential matrimonial
narcissistic personality] that he does not even know how to begin a union with the obligations. One of them is the right to the communio vitae. This and their
other, let alone how to maintain and sustain such a relationship. A second incapacity corresponding obligations are basically centered around the good of the spouses and
could be due to the fact that the spouses are incapable of beginning or maintaining a of the children. Serious psychic anomalies, which do not have to be necessarily
heterosexual consortium, which goes to the very substance of matrimony. Another incurable, may give rise to the incapacity to assume any, or several, or even all of
incapacity could arise when a spouse is unable to concretize the good of himself or of these rights. There are some cases in which interpersonal relationship is impossible.
the other party. The canon speaks, not of the bonum partium, but of the bonum Some characteristic features of inability for interpersonal relationships in marriage
conjugum. A spouse who is capable only of realizing or contributing to the good of include affective immaturity, narcissism, and antisocial traits.
the other party qua persona rather than qua conjunx would be deemed incapable of
contracting marriage. Such would be the case of a person who may be quite capable Marriage and Homosexuality. Until 1967, it was not very clear under what rubric
of procuring the economic good and the financial security of the other, but not homosexuality was understood to be invalidating of marriage that is to say, is
capable of realizing the bonum conjugale of the other. These are general strokes and homosexuality invalidating because of the inability to evaluate the responsibilities of
this is not the place for detained and individual description. marriage, or because of the inability to fulfill its obligations. Progressively, however,
rotal jurisprudence began to understand it as incapacity to assume the obligations of
A rotal decision c. Pinto resolved a petition where the concrete circumstances of the marriage so that by 1978, Parisella was able to consider, with charity, homosexuality
case concerns a person diagnosed to be suffering from serious sociopathy. He as an autonomous ground of nullity. This is to say that a person so afflicted is said to
concluded that while the respondent may have understood, on the level of the be unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage. In this same rotal decision,
intellect, the essential obligations of marriage, he was not capable of assuming them the object of matrimonial consent is understood to refer not only to the jus in corpus
because of his "constitutional immorality." but also the consortium totius vitae. The third paragraph of C.1095 [incapacity to
assume the essential obligations of marriage] certainly seems to be the more adequate
Stankiewicz clarifies that the maturity and capacity of the person as regards the juridical structure to account for the complex phenomenon that homosexuality is. The
fulfillment of responsibilities is determined not only at the moment of decision but homosexual is not necessarily impotent because, except in very few exceptional
also and especially during the moment of execution of decision. And when this is cases, such a person is usually capable of full sexual relations with the spouse.
applied to constitution of the marital consent, it means that the actual fulfillment of Neither is it a mental infirmity, and a person so afflicted does not necessarily suffer
the essential obligations of marriage is a pertinent consideration that must be factored from a grave lack of due discretion because this sexual anomaly does not by itself
into the question of whether a person was in a position to assume the obligations of affect the critical, volitive, and intellectual faculties. Rather, the homosexual person is
marriage in the first place. When one speaks of the inability of the party to assume unable to assume the responsibilities of marriage because he is unable to fulfill this
and fulfill the obligations, one is not looking at matrimonium in fieri, but also and
object of the matrimonial contract. In other words, the invalidity lies, not so much in From their submissions and the Court's own deliberations, the following guidelines in
the defect of consent, as in the defect of the object of consent. the interpretation and application of Art. 36 of the Family Code are hereby handed
down for the guidance of the bench and the bar:
3.5.3.6 Causes of Incapacity. A last point that needs to be addressed is the source of
incapacity specified by the canon: causes of a psychological nature. Pompedda (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the
proffers the opinion that the clause is a reference to the personality of the contractant. plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and
In other words, there must be a reference to the psychic part of the person. It is only continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is
when there is something in the psyche or in the psychic constitution of the person rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity
which impedes his capacity that one can then affirm that the person is incapable of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire
according to the hypothesis contemplated by C.1095.3. A person is judged incapable Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It
in this juridical sense only to the extent that he is found to have something rooted in decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution
his psychic constitution which impedes the assumption of these obligations. A bad at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected"
habit deeply engrained in ones consciousness would not seem to qualify to be a by the state.
source of this invalidating incapacity. The difference being that there seems to be
some freedom, however remote, in the development of the habit, while one accepts as The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family
given ones psychic constitution. It would seem then that the law insists that the and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.
source of the incapacity must be one which is not the fruit of some degree of
freedom.42 (2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or
clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by
Conscious of the laws intention that it is the courts, on a case-to-case basis, that experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family
should determine whether a party to a marriage is psychologically incapacitated, the Code requires that the incapacity must be psychologicalnot physical,
Court, in sustaining the lower courts judgment of annulment in Tuason v. Court of although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence
Appeals,43 ruled that the findings of the trial court are final and binding on the must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or
appellate courts.44 psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the
obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid
Again, upholding the trial courts findings and declaring that its decision was not a assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given
judgment on the pleadings, the Court, in Tsoi v. Court of Appeals,45 explained that here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of
when private respondent testified under oath before the lower court and was cross- ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a
examined by the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in the form of psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert
testimony. Importantly, the Court, aware of parallel decisions of Catholic marriage evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
tribunals, ruled that the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill
the marital obligation of procreating children is equivalent to psychological (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the
incapacity. celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was
existing when the parties exchanged their "I do's." The manifestation of the
The resiliency with which the concept should be applied and the case-to-case basis by illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have
which the provision should be interpreted, as so intended by its framers, had, attached at such moment, or prior thereto.
somehow, been rendered ineffectual by the imposition of a set of strict standards in
Molina,46 thus: (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically
permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative
only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone evidencewhat is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed
of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the civilly void.
assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to
marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a This is one instance where, in view of the evident source and purpose of the
pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and Family Code provision, contemporaneous religious interpretation is to be
prescribing medicine to cure them but may not be psychologically capacitated given persuasive effect. Here, the State and the Churchwhile remaining
to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of independent, separate and apart from each othershall walk together in
marriage. synodal cadence towards the same goal of protecting and cherishing marriage
and the family as the inviolable base of the nation.
(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party
to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characterological (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the
peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall be
accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be
inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or
there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse opposition, as the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such certification
person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed submitted for
essential to marriage. resolution of the court. The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent
function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095.47
(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up
to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles Noteworthy is that in Molina, while the majority of the Courts membership
220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. concurred in the ponencia of then Associate Justice (later Chief Justice) Artemio V.
Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, Panganiban, three justices concurred "in the result" and another threeincluding, as
proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision. aforesaid, Justice Romerotook pains to compose their individual separate opinions.
Then Justice Teodoro R. Padilla even emphasized that "each case must be judged, not
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of on the basis of a priori assumptions, predelictions or generalizations, but according to
the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, its own facts. In the field of psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment of
should be given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was marriage, it is trite to say that no case is on all fours with another case. The trial
taken by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New judge must take pains in examining the factual milieu and the appellate court must, as
Code of Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 and which provides: much as possible, avoid substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court."48

"The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable Predictably, however, in resolving subsequent cases,49 the Court has applied the
to assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological aforesaid standards, without too much regard for the laws clear intention that each
nature." case is to be treated differently, as "courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-
case basis; guided by experience, the findings of experts and researchers in
Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals."
harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people, it stands to
reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should be In hindsight, it may have been inappropriate for the Court to impose a rigid set of
given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. Ideally subject to our law on rules, as the one in Molina, in resolving all cases of psychological incapacity.
Understandably, the Court was then alarmed by the deluge of petitions for the Lest it be misunderstood, we are not suggesting the abandonment of Molina in this
dissolution of marital bonds, and was sensitive to the OSGs exaggeration of Article case. We simply declare that, as aptly stated by Justice Dante O. Tinga in Antonio v.
36 as the "most liberal divorce procedure in the world."50 The unintended Reyes,55 there is need to emphasize other perspectives as well which should govern
consequences of Molina, however, has taken its toll on people who have to live with the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. At the risk of
deviant behavior, moral insanity and sociopathic personality anomaly, which, like being redundant, we reiterate once more the principle that each case must be judged,
termites, consume little by little the very foundation of their families, our basic social not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according
institutions. Far from what was intended by the Court, Molina has become a strait- to its own facts. And, to repeat for emphasis, courts should interpret the provision on
jacket, forcing all sizes to fit into and be bound by it. Wittingly or unwittingly, the a case-to-case basis; guided by experience, the findings of experts and researchers in
Court, in conveniently applying Molina, has allowed diagnosed sociopaths, psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals.
schizophrenics, nymphomaniacs, narcissists and the like, to continuously debase and
pervert the sanctity of marriage. Ironically, the Roman Rota has annulled marriages II.
on account of the personality disorders of the said individuals.51
We now examine the instant case.
The Court need not worry about the possible abuse of the remedy provided by Article
36, for there are ample safeguards against this contingency, among which is the The parties whirlwind relationship lasted more or less six (6) months. They met in
intervention by the State, through the public prosecutor, to guard against collusion January 1996, eloped in March, exchanged marital vows in May, and parted ways in
between the parties and/or fabrication of evidence.52 The Court should rather be June. The psychologist who provided expert testimony found both parties
alarmed by the rising number of cases involving marital abuse, child abuse, domestic psychologically incapacitated. Petitioners behavioral pattern falls under the
violence and incestuous rape. classification of dependent personality disorder, and respondents, that of the
narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder.56
In dissolving marital bonds on account of either partys psychological incapacity, the
Court is not demolishing the foundation of families, but it is actually protecting the By the very nature of Article 36, courts, despite having the primary task and burden
sanctity of marriage, because it refuses to allow a person afflicted with a of decision-making, must not discount but, instead, must consider as decisive
psychological disorder, who cannot comply with or assume the essential marital evidence the expert opinion on the psychological and mental temperaments of the
obligations, from remaining in that sacred bond. It may be stressed that the infliction parties.57
of physical violence, constitutional indolence or laziness, drug dependence or
addiction, and psychosexual anomaly are manifestations of a sociopathic personality Justice Romero explained this in Molina, as follows:
anomaly.53 Let it be noted that in Article 36, there is no marriage to speak of in the
first place, as the same is void from the very beginning.54 To indulge in imagery, the Furthermore, and equally significant, the professional opinion of a psychological
declaration of nullity under Article 36 will simply provide a decent burial to a expert became increasingly important in such cases. Data about the person's entire
stillborn marriage. life, both before and after the ceremony, were presented to these experts and they
were asked to give professional opinions about a party's mental capacity at the time of
The prospect of a possible remarriage by the freed spouses should not pose too much the wedding. These opinions were rarely challenged and tended to be accepted as
of a concern for the Court. First and foremost, because it is none of its business. And decisive evidence of lack of valid consent.
second, because the judicial declaration of psychological incapacity operates as a
warning or a lesson learned. On one hand, the normal spouse would have become The Church took pains to point out that its new openness in this area did not amount
vigilant, and never again marry a person with a personality disorder. On the other to the addition of new grounds for annulment, but rather was an accommodation by
hand, a would-be spouse of the psychologically incapacitated runs the risk of the the Church to the advances made in psychology during the past decades. There was
latters disorder recurring in their marriage.
now the expertise to provide the all-important connecting link between a marriage "At stake is a type of constitutional impairment precluding conjugal communion even
breakdown and premarital causes. with the best intentions of the parties. Among the psychic factors possibly giving rise
to his or her inability to fulfill marital obligations are the following: (1) antisocial
During the 1970s, the Church broadened its whole idea of marriage from that of a personality with its fundamental lack of loyalty to persons or sense of moral values;
legal contract to that of a covenant. The result of this was that it could no longer be (2) hyperesthesia, where the individual has no real freedom of sexual choice; (3) the
assumed in annulment cases that a person who could intellectually understand the inadequate personality where personal responses consistently fall short of reasonable
concept of marriage could necessarily give valid consent to marry. The ability to both expectations.
grasp and assume the real obligations of a mature, lifelong commitment are now
considered a necessary prerequisite to valid matrimonial consent. xxxx

Rotal decisions continued applying the concept of incipient psychological incapacity, The psychological grounds are the best approach for anyone who doubts whether he
"not only to sexual anomalies but to all kinds of personality disorders that or she has a case for an annulment on any other terms. A situation that does not fit
incapacitate a spouse or both spouses from assuming or carrying out the essential into any of the more traditional categories often fits very easily into the psychological
obligations of marriage. For marriage . . . is not merely cohabitation or the right of the category.
spouses to each other's body for heterosexual acts, but is, in its totality the right to the
community of the whole of life; i.e., the right to a developing lifelong relationship. As new as the psychological grounds are, experts are already detecting a shift in their
Rotal decisions since 1973 have refined the meaning of psychological or psychic use. Whereas originally the emphasis was on the parties' inability to exercise proper
capacity for marriage as presupposing the development of an adult personality; as judgment at the time of the marriage (lack of due discretion), recent cases seem to be
meaning the capacity of the spouses to give themselves to each other and to accept concentrating on the parties' incapacity to assume or carry out their responsibilities
the other as a distinct person; that the spouses must be other oriented since the and obligations as promised (lack of due competence). An advantage to using the
obligations of marriage are rooted in a self-giving love; and that the spouses must ground of lack of due competence is that at the time the marriage was entered into
have the capacity for interpersonal relationship because marriage is more than just a civil divorce and breakup of the family almost always is proof of someone's failure to
physical reality but involves a true intertwining of personalities. The fulfillment of the carry out marital responsibilities as promised at the time the marriage was entered
obligations of marriage depends, according to Church decisions, on the strength of into."581avvphi1
this interpersonal relationship. A serious incapacity for interpersonal sharing and
support is held to impair the relationship and consequently, the ability to fulfill the Hernandez v. Court of Appeals59 emphasizes the importance of presenting expert
essential marital obligations. The marital capacity of one spouse is not considered in testimony to establish the precise cause of a partys psychological incapacity, and to
isolation but in reference to the fundamental relationship to the other spouse. show that it existed at the inception of the marriage. And as Marcos v. Marcos60
asserts, there is no requirement that the person to be declared psychologically
Fr. Green, in an article in Catholic Mind, lists six elements necessary to the mature incapacitated be personally examined by a physician, if the totality of evidence
marital relationship: presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity.61 Verily, the
evidence must show a link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest
"The courts consider the following elements crucial to the marital commitment: (1) a psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself.
permanent and faithful commitment to the marriage partner; (2) openness to children
and partner; (3) stability; (4) emotional maturity; (5) financial responsibility; (6) an This is not to mention, but we mention nevertheless for emphasis, that the
ability to cope with the ordinary stresses and strains of marriage, etc." presentation of expert proof presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the
parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis of a grave, severe and
Fr. Green goes on to speak about some of the psychological conditions that might incurable presence of psychological incapacity.62 Parenthetically, the Court, at this
lead to the failure of a marriage: point, finds it fitting to suggest the inclusion in the Rule on Declaration of Absolute
Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages,63 an option for the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3d ed., rev.) are derived from his oral, anal
trial judge to refer the case to a court-appointed psychologist/expert for an and phallic character types. Demanding and dependent behavior (dependent and
independent assessment and evaluation of the psychological state of the parties. This passive-aggressive) was thought to derive from fixation at the oral stage.
will assist the courts, who are no experts in the field of psychology, to arrive at an Characteristics of obsessionality, rigidity and emotional aloofness were thought to
intelligent and judicious determination of the case. The rule, however, does not derive from fixation at the anal stage; fixation at the phallic stage was thought to lead
dispense with the parties prerogative to present their own expert witnesses. to shallowness and an inability to engage in intimate relationships.lawphil.net
However, later researchers have found little evidence that early childhood events or
Going back, in the case at bench, the psychological assessment, which we consider as fixation at certain stages of development lead to specific personality patterns.
adequate, produced the findings that both parties are afflicted with personality
disordersto repeat, dependent personality disorder for petitioner, and narcissistic Genetic Factors Researchers have found that there may be a genetic factor involved in
and antisocial personality disorder for respondent. We note that The Encyclopedia of the etiology of antisocial and borderline personality disorders; there is less evidence
Mental Health discusses personality disorders as follows of inheritance of other personality disorders. Some family, adoption and twin studies
suggest that schizotypal personality may be related to genetic factors.
A group of disorders involving behaviors or traits that are characteristic of a persons
recent and long-term functioning. Patterns of perceiving and thinking are not usually Neurobiologic Theories In individuals who have borderline personality, researchers
limited to isolated episodes but are deeply ingrained, inflexible, maladaptive and have found that low cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA)
severe enough to cause the individual mental stress or anxieties or to interfere with negatively correlated with measures of aggression and a past history of suicide
interpersonal relationships and normal functioning. Personality disorders are often attempts. Schizotypal personality has been associated with low platelet monoamine
recognizable by adolescence or earlier, continue through adulthood and become less oxidase (MAO) activity and impaired smooth pursuit eye movement.
obvious in middle or old age. An individual may have more than one personality
disorder at a time. Brain Wave Activity Abnormalities in electroencephalograph (EEG) have been
reported in antisocial personality for many years; slow wave is the most widely
The common factor among individuals who have personality disorders, despite a reported abnormality. A study of borderline patients reported that 38 percent had at
variety of character traits, is the way in which the disorder leads to pervasive least marginal EEG abnormalities, compared with 19 percent in a control group.
problems in social and occupational adjustment. Some individuals with personality
disorders are perceived by others as overdramatic, paranoid, obnoxious or even Types of Disorders According to the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic
criminal, without an awareness of their behaviors. Such qualities may lead to trouble and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3d ed., rev., 1987), or DSM-III-R,
getting along with other people, as well as difficulties in other areas of life and often a personality disorders are categorized into three major clusters:
tendency to blame others for their problems. Other individuals with personality
disorders are not unpleasant or difficult to work with but tend to be lonely, isolated or Cluster A: Paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders. Individuals who
dependent. Such traits can lead to interpersonal difficulties, reduced self-esteem and have these disorders often appear to have odd or eccentric habits and traits.
dissatisfaction with life.
Cluster B: Antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders.
Causes of Personality Disorders Different mental health viewpoints propose a variety Individuals who have these disorders often appear overly emotional, erratic and
of causes of personality disorders. These include Freudian, genetic factors, dramatic.
neurobiologic theories and brain wave activity.
Cluster C: Avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive and passive-aggressive
Freudian Sigmund Freud believed that fixation at certain stages of development led to personality disorders. Individuals who have these disorders often appear anxious or
certain personality types. Thus, some disorders as described in the Diagnostic and fearful.
The DSM-III-R also lists another category, "personality disorder not otherwise According to the classification system used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
specified," that can be used for other specific personality disorders or for mixed of Mental Disorders (3d ed., rev. 1987), anti-social personality disorder is one of the
conditions that do not qualify as any of the specific personality disorders. four "dramatic" personality disorders, the others being borderline, histrionic and
narcissistic.66
Individuals with diagnosable personality disorders usually have long-term concerns,
and thus therapy may be long-term.64 The seriousness of the diagnosis and the gravity of the disorders considered, the
Court, in this case, finds as decisive the psychological evaluation made by the expert
Dependent personality disorder is characterized in the following manner witness; and, thus, rules that the marriage of the parties is null and void on ground of
both parties psychological incapacity. We further consider that the trial court, which
A personality disorder characterized by a pattern of dependent and submissive had a first-hand view of the witnesses deportment, arrived at the same conclusion.
behavior. Such individuals usually lack self-esteem and frequently belittle their
capabilities; they fear criticism and are easily hurt by others comments. At times they Indeed, petitioner, who is afflicted with dependent personality disorder, cannot
actually bring about dominance by others through a quest for overprotection. 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
Dependent personality disorder usually begins in early adulthood. Individuals who decisions without advice from others, allows others to make most of his important
have this disorder may be unable to make everyday decisions without advice or decisions (such as where to live), tends to agree with people even when he believes
reassurance from others, may allow others to make most of their important decisions they are wrong, has difficulty doing things on his own, volunteers to do things that
(such as where to live), tend to agree with people even when they believe they are are demeaning in order to get approval from other people, feels uncomfortable or
wrong, have difficulty starting projects or doing things on their own, volunteer to do helpless when alone and is often preoccupied with fears of being abandoned.67 As
things that are demeaning in order to get approval from other people, feel clearly shown in this case, petitioner followed everything dictated to him by the
uncomfortable or helpless when alone and are often preoccupied with fears of being persons around him. He is insecure, weak and gullible, has no sense of his identity as
abandoned.65 and antisocial personality disorder described, as follows a person, has no cohesive self to speak of, and has no goals and clear direction in life.

Characteristics include a consistent pattern of behavior that is intolerant of the Although on a different plane, the same may also be said of the respondent. Her being
conventional behavioral limitations imposed by a society, an inability to sustain a job afflicted with antisocial personality disorder makes her unable to assume the essential
over a period of years, disregard for the rights of others (either through exploitiveness marital obligations. This finding takes into account her disregard for the rights of
or criminal behavior), frequent physical fights and, quite commonly, child or spouse others, her abuse, mistreatment and control of others without remorse, her tendency to
abuse without remorse and a tendency to blame others. There is often a faade of blame others, and her intolerance of the conventional behavioral limitations imposed
charm and even sophistication that masks disregard, lack of remorse for mistreatment by society.68 Moreover, as shown in this case, respondent is impulsive and
of others and the need to control others. domineering; she had no qualms in manipulating petitioner with her threats of
blackmail and of committing suicide.
Although characteristics of this disorder describe criminals, they also may befit some
individuals who are prominent in business or politics whose habits of self- Both parties being afflicted with grave, severe and incurable psychological
centeredness and disregard for the rights of others may be hidden prior to a public incapacity, the precipitous marriage which they contracted on April 23, 1996 is thus,
scandal. declared null and void.

During the 19th century, this type of personality disorder was referred to as moral WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review on certiorari is
insanity. The term described immoral, guiltless behavior that was not accompanied by GRANTED. The August 5, 2003 Decision and the January 19, 2004 Resolution of the
impairments in reasoning.lawphil.net
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 71867 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and
the Decision, dated July 30, 2001, REINSTATED.
Footnotes
SO ORDERED.
1
Penned by Associate Justice Remedios Salazar-Fernando, with Associate
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA Justices Delilah Vidallon-Magtolis and Edgardo F. Sundiam, concurring;
Associate Justice rollo, pp. 23-36.

WE CONCUR: 2
Id. at 38-39.

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO 3
TSN, September 12, 2000, p. 2.
Associate Justice
Chairperson 4
Id.
5
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO Id. at 2-3.
Associate Justice Associate Justice
6
Records, p. 8.
7
DIOSDADO M. PERALTA TSN, September 12, 2000, pp. 3-4.
Associate Justice
8
Id.
ATTESTATION
9
Id.
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before
10
the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. Id. at 4.
11
CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO Records, p. 1.
Associate Justice
12
Chairperson, Third Division Id. at 24.
13
CERTIFICATION Id. at 36-37.
14
Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the Constitution, and the Division Id. at 39.
Chairperson's Attestation, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above
15
Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of Id. at 48-55.
the opinion of the Court.
16
Id. at 61-66.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice 17
The dispositive portion of the RTCs July 30, 2001 Decision reads:
25
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the marriage Rollo, p. 79.
between plaintiff EDWARD KENNETH NGO TE and defendant
26
ROWENA ONG GUTIERREZ UY-TE, officiated by Honorable Judge Id. at 95-104.
Evelyn Corpus-Cabochan, of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 82,
27
Valenzuela, Metro Manila, on April 23, 1996, NULL AND VOID, ab Id. at 100-102.
initio, on the ground of the couples psychological incapacity under
Article 36 of the Family Code; and dissolving their property regime in 28
Id. at 82-93.
accordance with law, if there is any.
29
Supra note 21.
Let copy of this Decision be furnished the City Civil Registry of
Valenzuela City where the marriage took place and City Civil Registry 30
Rollo, pp. 86-92.
of Quezon City where this decision originated for proper recording.
31
Supra note 22.
SO ORDERED. (Id. at 66.)
32
Id.
18
Records, pp. 67-68.
33
G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20.
19
Supra note 1.
34
Id. at 38-41. (Italics supplied.)
20
The dispositive portion of the CAs August 5, 2003 Decision reads:
35
Supra note 21.
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the assailed decision
dated July 30, 2001 of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital 36
Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina, supra note 21, at 681-685.
Judicial Region, Branch 106, Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-00-
39720, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one is 37
Salita v. Magtolis, G.R. No. 106429, June 13, 1994, 233 SCRA 100, 107-
entered declaring the marriage between petitioner-appellee Edward 108, quoting Sempio-Dy, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines,
Kenneth Ngo Te and respondent Rowena Ong Gutierrez Yu-Te 1998, p. 37.
VALID and SUBSISTING. The petition is ordered DISMISSED.
38
Santos v. Court of Appeals, supra note 33, at 31.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 35.)
39
Id.
21
335 Phil. 664 (1997).
40
Article 68 of the Family Code provides in full:
22
Executive Order No. 209, entitled "The Family Code of the Philippines,"
enacted on July 6, 1987. Art. 68. The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe
mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.
23
Rollo, pp. 28-35.
41
Santos v. Court of Appeals, supra note 33, at 34.
24
Supra note 2.
42 51
Dacanay, Canon Law on Marriage: Introductory Notes and Comments, Ng, Apruebo & Lepiten, Legal and Clinical Bases of Psychological
2000 ed., pp. 110-119. Incapacity, 2006 ed., pp. 14-16, cites the following:
43
326 Phil. 169 (1996). "Canon 1095, 3 concerning psychological incapacity pointed out cases
of various psychological disorders from the Roman Rota as
44
Id. at 182. enumerated below (Fr. Bacareza, 1999).
45
334 Phil. 294, 300-304 (1997). "6.1. From the 1917 Code of the Second Vatican Council
46
Supra note 21. 1. Coram Teodori in Italy on January 19, 1940 on Nymphomania.
47
Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina, supra note 21, at 676-680. 2. Coram Heard on June 5, 1941 on Nymphomania.
48
Id. at 680. 3. Coram Heard in Quebec on January 30, 1954 on Lethargic
Encephalitis.
49
See Republic of the Philippines v. Lynnette Cabantug-Baguio, G.R. No.
171042, June 30, 2008; Nilda V. Navales v. Reynaldo Navales, G.R. No. 4. Coram Mattioli in Quebec, Canada on November 6, 1956 on
167523, June 27, 2008; Lester Benjamin S. Halili v. Chona M. Santos-Halili, General Paralysis.
et al., G.R. No. 165424, April 16, 2008; Bier v. Bier, G.R. No. 173294,
February 27, 2008, 547 SCRA 123; Paras v. Paras, G.R. No. 147824, August 5. Coram Sabbatani in Naples, Italy on June 21, 1957 on
2, 2007, 529 SCRA 81; Navarro, Jr. v. Cecilio-Navarro, G.R. No. 162049, Nymphomania.
April 13, 2007, 521 SCRA 121; Republic v. Tanyag-San Jose, G.R. No.
168328, February 28, 2007, 517 SCRA 123; Zamora v. Court of Appeals, 6. Coram Mattioli in Rome on November 28, 1957 on Schizophrenia.
G.R. No. 141917, February 7, 2007, 515 SCRA 19; Perez-Ferraris v. Ferraris,
G.R. No. 162368, July 17, 2006, 495 SCRA 396; Republic v. Cuison-Melgar, 7. Coram Lefebvre on December 19, 1959 on Nymphomania.
G.R. No. 139676, March 31, 2006, 486 SCRA 177; Antonio v. Reyes, G.R.
No. 155800, March 10, 2006, 484 SCRA 353; Villalon v. Villalon, G.R. No. 8. Coram De Jorio on December 19, 1961 on Schizophrenia.
167206, November 18, 2005, 475 SCRA 572; Republic v. Iyoy, G.R. No.
152577, September 21, 2005, 470 SCRA 508; Carating-Siayngco, G.R. No. "6.2 From the Second Vatican Council to the Promulgation of the
158896, October 27, 2004, 441 SCRA 422; Republic v. Quintero-Hamano, 1983 Code
G.R. No. 149498, May 20, 2004, 428 SCRA 735; Ancheta v. Ancheta, 468
Phil. 900 (2004); Barcelona v. Court of Appeals, 458 Phil. 626 (2003); Choa 9. Coram Monsigneur Charles Lefebre on the following:
v. Choa, 441 Phil. 175 (2002); Pesca v. Pesca, 408 Phil. 713 (2001); Republic
v. Dagdag, G.R. No. 109975, February 9, 2001, 351 SCRA 425; Marcos v. a. Homosexuality,
Marcos, 397 Phil. 840 (2000); Hernandez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
126010, December 8, 1999, 320 SCRA 76. b. Hypersexuality-Nymphomania,
50
See Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina, supra note 21, at 668. c. Hypersexuality-Satyriasis, and
d. Affective Immaturity and Passive Dependent Personality. f. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality (May 23, 1980)

10. Coram Monsigneur Lucien Anne on February 25, 1969 on g. Frigidity (July 28, 1981)
Lesbianism.
h. Affective Immaturity (January 15, 1977)
11. Coram De Jorio on April 30, 1969 on Maturity of Judgment.
15. Coram Ewers on the following:
12. Coram Jose Maria Pinto Gomez on the following:
a. Affective Immaturity (January 15, 1977)
a. Serious Paranoid Schizophrenia (November 26, 1969),
b. Sexual Neurosis (April 4, 1981)
b. Anti-Social Personality Disorder (March 18, 1971),
16. Coram Pariscella on the following:
c. Vaginismus or Psychic impotence; Frigidity (July 15, 1977)
a. Obsessive-Compulsive Neurosis (February 23, 1978)
d. Neurasthenic Psychopath (April 20, 1979)
b. Homosexuality (June 11, 1978)
e. Sexual Disorder (December 3, 1982)
17. Coram Fiore (May 27, 1981)
13. Coram Bruno on the following:
18. Coram Agustoni (March 23, 1982)
a. Hypersexuality-Nymphomania (December 15, 1972)
"6.3. After the Promulgation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law
b. Sexual Neurosis (March 27, 1981)
19. Rotal Case No. 41:c. Colagiovanni on March 3, 1983 on
c. Psychoneurosis (December 17, 1982) Homosexuality

14. Coram Jose Maria Serrano Ruiz on the following: 20. Rotal Case No. 42 c. Huot on July 18, 1983 on Alcoholism and
Immature Personality.
a. Hypersexuality-Satyriasis (April 5, 1973)
21. Rotal Case No. 43: c. Giannechini on July 19, 1983 on
b. Lack of Interpersonal Integration (April 15, 1973) Homosexuality.

c. Immature Personality (July 9, 1976) 22. Rotal Case No. 45: c. Colagiovanni on November 22, 1983 about
an ex-priest who was a "liar, cheat and swindler" (Anti-Social
d. Psychic Immaturity (November 18, 1977) Personality)

e. Depressive Neurosis (July 12, 1978) 23. Rotal Case No. 46: c. Stankiewiez on November 24, 1983 on
Homosexuality.
60
24. Rotal Case No. 47: c. Egan on March 29, 1984 on Hysterical Supra note 49, at 850; see also Republic v. Quintero-Hemano, supra note
Personality. 49, at 742; Republic v. Iyoy, supra note 49, at 526; Zamora v. Court of
Appeals, supra note 49, at 27; Paras v. Paras, supra note 49, at 96-97.
25. Rotal Case No. 48: c. Di Felice on June 9, 1984 on Psychic
61
Immaturity. The Court, however, by saying

26. Rotal Case No. 49: c. Pinto on May 30, 1986 on Alcoholism and [T]he assessment of petitioner by Dr. Gauzon was based merely on
Gambling. descriptions communicated to him by respondent. The doctor never
conducted any psychological examination of her. Neither did he ever
27. Rotal Case No. 50: c. Giannecchini on December 20, 1988 on claim to have done so. In fact, his Professional Opinion began with the
Hypersexuality-Nymphomania. statement "[I]f what Alfonso Choa said about his wife Leni is true, x x
x"
52
Justice Padillas Dissenting Opinion, Santos v. Court of Appeals, supra note
33, at 36-37; Ancheta v. Ancheta, supra note 49, at 917. xxxx
53
Supra note 34. Obviously, Dr. Guanzon had no personal knowledge of the facts he
testified to, as these had merely been relayed to him by respondent.
54
See Article 36 of the Family Code; see also Justice Carpios Dissenting The former was working on pure suppositions and secondhand
Opinion, Tenebro v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 150758, February 18, 2004, information fed to him by one side. Consequently, his testimony can
423 SCRA 272, 299. be dismissed as unscientific and unreliable.
55
Supra note 49, at 370. Dr. Guanzon tried to save his credibility by asserting that he was able
to assess petitioners character, not only through the descriptions given
56
Records, pp. 54-55; TSN, November 7, 2000, pp. 5-6. by respondent, but also through the formers at least fifteen hours of
study of the voluminous transcript of records of this case. Even if it
57 took the good doctor a whole day or a whole week to examine the
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, D.D., of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan,
explains in Marriage Tribunal Ministry, 1992 ed., that "[s]tandard practice records of this case, we still find his assessment of petitioners
shows the marked advisability of Expert intervention in Marriage Cases psychological state sorely insufficient and methodologically flawed.
accused of nullity on the ground of defective matrimonial consent on account
of natural incapacity by reason of any factor causative of lack of sufficient use in Choa v. Choa (Supra note 49, at 190-191), in effect, required the
of reason, grave lack of due discretion and inability to assume essential personal examination of the person to be declared psychologically
obligationsalthough the law categorically mandates said intervention only incapacitated.
in the case of impotence and downright mental disorder x x x." (p. 106).
62
Psychologists of the Psychological Extension Evaluation Research Services
58 (PEERS) enumerate the segments of the psychological evaluation report for
Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina, supra note 21, at 685-688.
psychological incapacity as follows:
59
Supra note 49, at 88; see also Republic v. Quintero-Hemano, supra note 49,
at 743. Identifying Data: Personal Information
Referral Question: Data coming from informants and significant Integration of Test Results with Life History: Presenting a clinical
others (psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, parents, brothers, picture of the client as a total person against the background of his
sisters, relatives, friends, etc.). marital discords and life circumstances. Hypotheses posed through
Test Administered (Dates): List by name the referral question and generated and integrated via test results
Background Information: and other reliable information.
Summary, Conclusion, Diagnosis, Prognosis:
Current Life Situation: Presenting complaint (personal and marital
conflict), history of problem, and consequences in clients life. Summary: Emphasis should be on conciseness and accuracy so that the
reader can quickly find the essential information and overall
Life History Information: Childhood development, educational history, impression.
vocational history, medical history, sexual and marital history,
personal goals. Conclusion: Integrating the material (data) into a more smoothly stated
conceptualization of the clients personality and problem areas as
Behavior Observations: Description of client, relationship with regards root causes and characteristics as ground for nullity of
examiner, and test related behaviors. marriage.

Interpretation of Test Results: Diagnosis: Diagnostic impression is evolved form the data obtained,
formed impression of personality disorders, and classified mental
Intellectual Functioning: Wechsler tests, Stanford-Binet, etc. Obtained disorders based on the criteria and multi axial system of the DSM IV.
IQ scores and specific strengths and deficits.
Prognosis: Predicting the behavior based on the data obtained that are
Cognitive Functioning: Rorschach, TAT, MMPI, etc. Perception of relevant to the current functioning of the client, albeit under ideal
reality or perceptual efficiency, conceptual organization, psychological conditions.
needs, conflicts, preoccupations, suspiciousness, hallucinations, or
delusions. Recommendation: Providing a careful specific recommendation is
based on the referral sources and obtained data in dealing with a
Emotional Functioning (MMPI, Rorschach, etc.): Liability of particular client that may be ameliorative, remedial, or unique
emotions, impulse control, predominant concerns like aggression, treatment/intervention approaches. As to psychological incapacity,
anxiety, depression, guilt, dependency, and hostility. specific recommendation on the nullity of marriage based on Article
36 of the Family Code and expertise and clinical judgment of the
Relationship Patterns (MMPI, Rorschach, TAT, etc.): Problem areas in Clinical Psychologist should be given emphasis. (Ng, Apruebo &
work or school, friendships, intimate relationships, difficulties such as Lepiten, Legal and Clinical Bases of Psychological Incapacity, supra
immaturity, irresponsibility, cooperativeness, sociability, introversion, note 51, at 179-181.)
impulsivity, aggression, dangerousness to self or others. 63
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, effective March 15, 2003.
Defenses and compensations: Evidence of any strength, any coping 64
mechanisms, or any useful compensation that might be helping the Kahn and Fawcett, The Encyclopedia of Mental Health, 1993 ed., pp. 291-
client maintain himself/herself. 292. See Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart, Roy, Psychology, 7th ed., 2006,
pp. 613-614, defining personality disorders as "long-standing, inflexible ways
of behaving that are not so much severe mental disorders as dysfunctional
styles of living. These disorders affect all areas of functioning and, beginning
in childhood or adolescence, create problems for those who display them and
for others. Some psychologists view personality disorders as interpersonal
strategies or as extreme, rigid, and maladaptive expressions of personality
traits." (Citations omitted.)
65
Id. at 131.
66
Id. at 50-51.
67
Supra note 65.
68
Supra note 66.
G.R. No. 166562 March 31, 2009 On October 21, 1993, after being married for more than 18 years to petitioner and
while their youngest child was only two years old, Carmen filed a verified petition
BENJAMIN G. TING, Petitioner, before the RTC of Cebu City praying for the declaration of nullity of their marriage
vs. based on Article 36 of the Family Code. She claimed that Benjamin suffered from
CARMEN M. VELEZ-TING, Respondent. psychological incapacity even at the time of the celebration of their marriage, which,
however, only became manifest thereafter. 13
DECISION
In her complaint, Carmen stated that prior to their marriage, she was already aware
NACHURA, J.: that Benjamin used to drink and gamble occasionally with his friends.14 But after they
were married, petitioner continued to drink regularly and would go home at about
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the November 17, midnight or sometimes in the wee hours of the morning drunk and violent. He would
2003 Amended Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA), and its December 13, 2004 confront and insult respondent, physically assault her and force her to have sex with
Resolution2 in CA-G.R. CV No. 59903. The appellate court, in its assailed decision him. There were also instances when Benjamin used his gun and shot the gate of their
and resolution, affirmed the January 9, 1998 Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court house.15 Because of his drinking habit, Benjamins job as anesthesiologist was
(RTC), Branch 23, Cebu City, declaring the marriage between petitioner and affected to the point that he often had to refuse to answer the call of his fellow doctors
respondent null and void ab initio pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code.4 and to pass the task to other anesthesiologists. Some surgeons even stopped calling
him for his services because they perceived petitioner to be unreliable. Respondent
The facts follow. tried to talk to her husband about the latters drinking problem, but Benjamin refused
to acknowledge the same.16
Petitioner Benjamin Ting (Benjamin) and respondent Carmen Velez-Ting (Carmen)
first met in 1972 while they were classmates in medical school.5 They fell in love, Carmen also complained that petitioner deliberately refused to give financial support
and they were wed on July 26, 1975 in Cebu City when respondent was already to their family and would even get angry at her whenever she asked for money for
pregnant with their first child. their children. Instead of providing support, Benjamin would spend his money on
drinking and gambling and would even buy expensive equipment for his hobby.17 He
At first, they resided at Benjamins family home in Maguikay, Mandaue City.6 When rarely stayed home18 and even neglected his obligation to his children.19
their second child was born, the couple decided to move to Carmens family home in
Cebu City.7 In September 1975, Benjamin passed the medical board examinations8 Aside from this, Benjamin also engaged in compulsive gambling.20 He would gamble
and thereafter proceeded to take a residency program to become a surgeon but shifted two or three times a week and would borrow from his friends, brothers, or from loan
to anesthesiology after two years. By 1979, Benjamin completed the preceptorship sharks whenever he had no money. Sometimes, Benjamin would pawn his wifes own
program for the said field9 and, in 1980, he began working for Velez Hospital, owned jewelry to finance his gambling.21 There was also an instance when the spouses had
by Carmens family, as member of its active staff,10 while Carmen worked as the to sell their family car and even a portion of the lot Benjamin inherited from his father
hospitals Treasurer.11 just to be able to pay off his gambling debts.22 Benjamin only stopped going to the
casinos in 1986 after he was banned therefrom for having caused trouble, an act
The couple begot six (6) children, namely Dennis, born on December 9, 1975; James which he said he purposely committed so that he would be banned from the gambling
Louis, born on August 25, 1977; Agnes Irene, born on April 5, 1981; Charles establishments.23
Laurence, born on July 21, 1986; Myles Vincent, born on July 19, 1988; and Marie
Corinne, born on June 16, 1991.12 In sum, Carmens allegations of Benjamins psychological incapacity consisted of the
following manifestations:
1. Benjamins alcoholism, which adversely affected his family relationship that Benjamins compulsive drinking, compulsive gambling and physical abuse of
and his profession; respondent are clear indications that petitioner suffers from a personality disorder.32

2. Benjamins violent nature brought about by his excessive and regular To refute Dr. Oates opinion, petitioner presented Dr. Renato D. Obra, a psychiatrist
drinking; and a consultant at the Department of Psychiatry in Don Vicente Sotto Memorial
Medical Center, as his expert witness.33 Dr. Obra evaluated Benjamins psychological
3. His compulsive gambling habit, as a result of which Benjamin found it behavior based on the transcript of stenographic notes, as well as the psychiatric
necessary to sell the family car twice and the property he inherited from his evaluation report prepared by Dr. A.J.L. Pentz, a psychiatrist from the University of
father in order to pay off his debts, because he no longer had money to pay the Pretoria in South Africa, and his (Dr. Obras) interview with Benjamins brothers.34
same; and Contrary to Dr. Oates findings, Dr. Obra observed that there is nothing wrong with
petitioners personality, considering the latters good relationship with his fellow
4. Benjamins irresponsibility and immaturity as shown by his failure and doctors and his good track record as anesthesiologist.35
refusal to give regular financial support to his family.24
On January 9, 1998, the lower court rendered its Decision36 declaring the marriage
In his answer, Benjamin denied being psychologically incapacitated. He maintained between petitioner and respondent null and void. The RTC gave credence to Dr.
that he is a respectable person, as his peers would confirm. He said that he is an active Oates findings and the admissions made by Benjamin in the course of his
member of social and athletic clubs and would drink and gamble only for social deposition, and found him to be psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
reasons and for leisure. He also denied being a violent person, except when provoked essential obligations of marriage. Specifically, the trial court found Benjamin an
by circumstances.25 As for his alleged failure to support his family financially, excessive drinker, a compulsive gambler, someone who prefers his extra-curricular
Benjamin claimed that it was Carmen herself who would collect his professional fees activities to his family, and a person with violent tendencies, which character traits
from Velez Hospital when he was still serving there as practicing anesthesiologist.26 find root in a personality defect existing even before his marriage to Carmen. The
In his testimony, Benjamin also insisted that he gave his family financial support decretal portion of the decision reads:
within his means whenever he could and would only get angry at respondent for
lavishly spending his hard-earned money on unnecessary things.27 He also pointed out WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring
that it was he who often comforted and took care of their children, while Carmen the marriage between plaintiff and defendant null and void ab initio pursuant to Art.
played mahjong with her friends twice a week.28 36 of the Family Code. x x x

During the trial, Carmens testimony regarding Benjamins drinking and gambling xxxx
habits and violent behavior was corroborated by Susana Wasawas, who served as
nanny to the spouses children from 1987 to 1992.29 Wasawas stated that she SO ORDERED.37
personally witnessed instances when Benjamin maltreated Carmen even in front of
their children.30 Aggrieved, petitioner appealed to the CA. On October 19, 2000, the CA rendered a
Decision38 reversing the trial courts ruling. It faulted the trial courts finding, stating
Carmen also presented as witness Dr. Pureza Trinidad-Oate, a psychiatrist.31 Instead that no proof was adduced to support the conclusion that Benjamin was
of the usual personal interview, however, Dr. Oates evaluation of Benjamin was psychologically incapacitated at the time he married Carmen since Dr. Oates
limited to the transcript of stenographic notes taken during Benjamins deposition conclusion was based only on theories and not on established fact,39 contrary to the
because the latter had already gone to work as an anesthesiologist in a hospital in guidelines set forth in Santos v. Court of Appeals40 and in Rep. of the Phils. v. Court
South Africa. After reading the transcript of stenographic notes, Dr. Oate concluded of Appeals and Molina.41
Because of this, Carmen filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the Molina issues,50 necessary for two simple reasons: economy and stability. In our jurisdiction,
guidelines should not be applied to this case since the Molina decision was the principle is entrenched in Article 8 of the Civil Code.51
promulgated only on February 13, 1997, or more than five years after she had filed
her petition with the RTC.42 She claimed that the Molina ruling could not be made to This doctrine of adherence to precedents or stare decisis was applied by the English
apply retroactively, as it would run counter to the principle of stare decisis. Initially, courts and was later adopted by the United States. Associate Justice (now Chief
the CA denied the motion for reconsideration for having been filed beyond the Justice) Reynato S. Punos discussion on the historical development of this legal
prescribed period. Respondent thereafter filed a manifestation explaining compliance principle in his dissenting opinion in Lambino v. Commission on Elections52 is
with the prescriptive period but the same was likewise denied for lack of merit. enlightening:
Undaunted, respondent filed a petition for certiorari43 with this Court. In a
Resolution44 dated March 5, 2003, this Court granted the petition and directed the CA The latin phrase stare decisis et non quieta movere means "stand by the thing and do
to resolve Carmens motion for reconsideration.45 On review, the CA decided to not disturb the calm." The doctrine started with the English Courts. Blackstone
reconsider its previous ruling. Thus, on November 17, 2003, it issued an Amended observed that at the beginning of the 18th century, "it is an established rule to abide
Decision46 reversing its first ruling and sustaining the trial courts decision.47 by former precedents where the same points come again in litigation." As the rule
evolved, early limits to its application were recognized: (1) it would not be followed
A motion for reconsideration was filed, this time by Benjamin, but the same was if it were "plainly unreasonable"; (2) where courts of equal authority developed
denied by the CA in its December 13, 2004 Resolution.48 conflicting decisions; and, (3) the binding force of the decision was the "actual
principle or principles necessary for the decision; not the words or reasoning used to
Hence, this petition. reach the decision."

For our resolution are the following issues: The doctrine migrated to the United States. It was recognized by the framers of the
U.S. Constitution. According to Hamilton, "strict rules and precedents" are necessary
I. Whether the CA violated the rule on stare decisis when it refused to follow to prevent "arbitrary discretion in the courts." Madison agreed but stressed that "x x x
the guidelines set forth under the Santos and Molina cases; once the precedent ventures into the realm of altering or repealing the law, it should
be rejected." Prof. Consovoy well noted that Hamilton and Madison "disagree about
II. Whether the CA correctly ruled that the requirement of proof of the countervailing policy considerations that would allow a judge to abandon a
psychological incapacity for the declaration of absolute nullity of marriage precedent." He added that their ideas "reveal a deep internal conflict between the
based on Article 36 of the Family Code has been liberalized; and concreteness required by the rule of law and the flexibility demanded in error
correction. It is this internal conflict that the Supreme Court has attempted to deal
III. Whether the CAs decision declaring the marriage between petitioner and with for over two centuries."
respondent null and void [is] in accordance with law and jurisprudence.
Indeed, two centuries of American case law will confirm Prof. Consovoy's
We find merit in the petition. observation although stare decisis developed its own life in the United States. Two
strains of stare decisis have been isolated by legal scholars. The first, known as
I. On the issue of stare decisis. vertical stare decisis deals with the duty of lower courts to apply the decisions of the
higher courts to cases involving the same facts. The second, known as horizontal stare
The principle of stare decisis enjoins adherence by lower courts to doctrinal rules decisis requires that high courts must follow its own precedents. Prof. Consovoy
established by this Court in its final decisions. It is based on the principle that once a correctly observes that vertical stare decisis has been viewed as an obligation, while
question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deemed settled and horizontal stare decisis, has been viewed as a policy, imposing choice but not a
closed to further argument.49 Basically, it is a bar to any attempt to relitigate the same
command. Indeed, stare decisis is not one of the precepts set in stone in our straitjacketed by the stare decisis rule in order to promote public welfare. In La
Constitution. Bugal-B'laan Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos, we reversed our original ruling that
certain provisions of the Mining Law are unconstitutional. Similarly, in Secretary of
It is also instructive to distinguish the two kinds of horizontal stare decisis Justice v. Lantion, we overturned our first ruling and held, on motion for
constitutional stare decisis and statutory stare decisis. Constitutional stare decisis reconsideration, that a private respondent is bereft of the right to notice and hearing
involves judicial interpretations of the Constitution while statutory stare decisis during the evaluation stage of the extradition process.
involves interpretations of statutes. The distinction is important for courts enjoy more
flexibility in refusing to apply stare decisis in constitutional litigations. Justice An examination of decisions on stare decisis in major countries will show that courts
Brandeis' view on the binding effect of the doctrine in constitutional litigations still are agreed on the factors that should be considered before overturning prior rulings.
holds sway today. In soothing prose, Brandeis stated: "Stare decisis is not . . . a These are workability, reliance, intervening developments in the law and changes in
universal and inexorable command. The rule of stare decisis is not inflexible. fact. In addition, courts put in the balance the following determinants: closeness of
Whether it shall be followed or departed from, is a question entirely within the the voting, age of the prior decision and its merits.
discretion of the court, which is again called upon to consider a question once
decided." In the same vein, the venerable Justice Frankfurter opined: "the ultimate The leading case in deciding whether a court should follow the stare decisis rule in
touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what we have said constitutional litigations is Planned Parenthood v. Casey. It established a 4-pronged
about it." In contrast, the application of stare decisis on judicial interpretation of test. The court should (1) determine whether the rule has proved to be intolerable
statutes is more inflexible. As Justice Stevens explains: "after a statute has been simply in defying practical workability; (2) consider whether the rule is subject to a
construed, either by this Court or by a consistent course of decision by other federal kind of reliance that would lend a special hardship to the consequences of overruling
judges and agencies, it acquires a meaning that should be as clear as if the judicial and add inequity to the cost of repudiation; (3) determine whether related principles
gloss had been drafted by the Congress itself." This stance reflects both respect for of law have so far developed as to have the old rule no more than a remnant of an
Congress' role and the need to preserve the courts' limited resources. abandoned doctrine; and, (4) find out whether facts have so changed or come to be
seen differently, as to have robbed the old rule of significant application or
In general, courts follow the stare decisis rule for an ensemble of reasons, viz.: (1) it justification.53
legitimizes judicial institutions; (2) it promotes judicial economy; and, (3) it allows
for predictability. Contrariwise, courts refuse to be bound by the stare decisis rule To be forthright, respondents argument that the doctrinal guidelines prescribed in
where (1) its application perpetuates illegitimate and unconstitutional holdings; (2) it Santos and Molina should not be applied retroactively for being contrary to the
cannot accommodate changing social and political understandings; (3) it leaves the principle of stare decisis is no longer new. The same argument was also raised but
power to overturn bad constitutional law solely in the hands of Congress; and, (4) was struck down in Pesca v. Pesca,54 and again in Antonio v. Reyes.55 In these cases,
activist judges can dictate the policy for future courts while judges that respect stare we explained that the interpretation or construction of a law by courts constitutes a
decisis are stuck agreeing with them. part of the law as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only when a prior ruling of
this Court is overruled, and a different view is adopted, that the new doctrine may
In its 200-year history, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to follow the stare decisis have to be applied prospectively in favor of parties who have relied on the old
rule and reversed its decisions in 192 cases. The most famous of these reversals is doctrine and have acted in good faith, in accordance therewith under the familiar rule
Brown v. Board of Education which junked Plessy v. Ferguson's "separate but equal of "lex prospicit, non respicit."
doctrine." Plessy upheld as constitutional a state law requirement that races be
segregated on public transportation. In Brown, the U.S. Supreme Court, unanimously II. On liberalizing the required proof for the declaration of nullity of marriage under
held that "separate . . . is inherently unequal." Thus, by freeing itself from the Article 36.
shackles of stare decisis, the U.S. Supreme Court freed the colored Americans from
the chains of inequality. In the Philippine setting, this Court has likewise refused to be Now, petitioner wants to know if we have abandoned the Molina doctrine.
We have not. To require the petitioner to allege in the petition the particular root cause of the
psychological incapacity and to attach thereto the verified written report of an
In Edward Kenneth Ngo Te v. Rowena Ong Gutierrez Yu-Te,56 we declared that, in accredited psychologist or psychiatrist have proved to be too expensive for the
hindsight, it may have been inappropriate for the Court to impose a rigid set of rules, parties. They adversely affect access to justice o poor litigants. It is also a fact that
as the one in Molina, in resolving all cases of psychological incapacity. We said that there are provinces where these experts are not available. Thus, the Committee
instead of serving as a guideline, Molina unintentionally became a straightjacket, deemed it necessary to relax this stringent requirement enunciated in the Molina
forcing all cases involving psychological incapacity to fit into and be bound by it, Case. The need for the examination of a party or parties by a psychiatrist or clinical
which is not only contrary to the intention of the law but unrealistic as well because, psychologist and the presentation of psychiatric experts shall now be determined by
with respect to psychological incapacity, no case can be considered as on "all fours" the court during the pre-trial conference.60
with another.57
But where, as in this case, the parties had the full opportunity to present professional
By the very nature of cases involving the application of Article 36, it is logical and and expert opinions of psychiatrists tracing the root cause, gravity and incurability of
understandable to give weight to the expert opinions furnished by psychologists a partys alleged psychological incapacity, then such expert opinion should be
regarding the psychological temperament of parties in order to determine the root presented and, accordingly, be weighed by the court in deciding whether to grant a
cause, juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability of the psychological incapacity. petition for nullity of marriage.
However, such opinions, while highly advisable, are not conditions sine qua non in
granting petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage.58 At best, courts must treat III. On petitioners psychological incapacity.
such opinions as decisive but not indispensable evidence in determining the merits of
a given case. In fact, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a Coming now to the main issue, we find the totality of evidence adduced by
finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical or psychological examination respondent insufficient to prove that petitioner is psychologically unfit to discharge
of the person concerned need not be resorted to.59 The trial court, as in any other the duties expected of him as a husband, and more particularly, that he suffered from
given case presented before it, must always base its decision not solely on the expert such psychological incapacity as of the date of the marriage eighteen (18) years ago.
opinions furnished by the parties but also on the totality of evidence adduced in the Accordingly, we reverse the trial courts and the appellate courts rulings declaring
course of the proceedings. the marriage between petitioner and respondent null and void ab initio.

It was for this reason that we found it necessary to emphasize in Ngo Te that each The intendment of the law has been to confine the application of Article 36 to the
case involving the application of Article 36 must be treated distinctly and judged not most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter
on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.61 The
its own attendant facts. Courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, psychological illness that must have afflicted a party at the inception of the marriage
guided by experience, the findings of experts and researchers in psychological should be a malady so grave and permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the
disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals. duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she is about to
assume.621avvphi1.zw+
Far from abandoning Molina, we simply suggested the relaxation of the stringent
requirements set forth therein, cognizant of the explanation given by the Committee In this case, respondent failed to prove that petitioners "defects" were present at the
on the Revision of the Rules on the rationale of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute time of the celebration of their marriage. She merely cited that prior to their marriage,
Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11- she already knew that petitioner would occasionally drink and gamble with his
10-SC), viz.: friends; but such statement, by itself, is insufficient to prove any pre-existing
psychological defect on the part of her husband. Neither did the evidence adduced
prove such "defects" to be incurable.
The evaluation of the two psychiatrists should have been the decisive evidence in CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
determining whether to declare the marriage between the parties null and void. Sadly, Associate Justice
however, we are not convinced that the opinions provided by these experts Chairperson
strengthened respondents allegation of psychological incapacity. The two experts
provided diametrically contradicting psychological evaluations: Dr. Oate testified CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES* MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
that petitioners behavior is a positive indication of a personality disorder,63 while Dr. Associate Justice Associate Justice
Obra maintained that there is nothing wrong with petitioners personality. Moreover,
there appears to be greater weight in Dr. Obras opinion because, aside from
analyzing the transcript of Benjamins deposition similar to what Dr. Oate did, Dr. DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Obra also took into consideration the psychological evaluation report furnished by Associate Justice
another psychiatrist in South Africa who personally examined Benjamin, as well as
his (Dr. Obras) personal interview with Benjamins brothers.64 Logically, therefore, ATTESTATION
the balance tilts in favor of Dr. Obras findings.
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before
Lest it be misunderstood, we are not condoning petitioners drinking and gambling the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
problems, or his violent outbursts against his wife. There is no valid excuse to justify
such a behavior. Petitioner must remember that he owes love, respect, and fidelity to CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
his spouse as much as the latter owes the same to him. Unfortunately, this court finds Associate Justice
respondents testimony, as well as the totality of evidence presented by the Chairperson, Third Division
respondent, to be too inadequate to declare him psychologically unfit pursuant to
Article 36. CERTIFICATION
It should be remembered that the presumption is always in favor of the validity of Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division
marriage. Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio.65 In this case, the presumption has not Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had
been amply rebutted and must, perforce, prevail. been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion
of the Courts Division.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review on certiorari is
GRANTED. The November 17, 2003 Amended Decision and the December 13, 2004 REYNATO S. PUNO
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 59903 are accordingly Chief Justice
REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.
Footnotes
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice
* Additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez
per Special Order No. 602 dated March 20, 2009.
WE CONCUR:
1 17
Penned by Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes, with Associate Justices Id.
Rodrigo V. Cosico and Sergio L. Pestao, concurring; rollo, pp. 78-89.
18
Id. at 40.
2
Rollo, pp. 110-111.
19
Id. at 44.
3
Id. at 35-45.
20
Id. at 40.
4
Art. 36 of the Family Code provides in full:
21
Id.
Article 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
22
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the Id. at 36.
essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if
23
such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. [as Id. at 40.
amended by Executive Order No. 227 dated July 17, 1987]
24
Id. at 48-49.
5
TSN, December 7, 1994, morning, p. 4.
25
Id. at 42, 49.
6
Id. at 12.
26
Id. at 49.
7
Id. at 17.
27
TSN, December 7, 1994, morning, pp. 23-25.
8
Id. at 14; Exhibit "3."
28
Id. at 26.
9
Id. at 13, 15.
29
TSN, August 31, 1995, pp. 5-26.
10
Id. at 21-23.
30
Id. at 7-9.
11
Id. at 10.
31
Rollo, p. 38.
12
Rollo, p. 48.
32
Id. at 39.
13
Id. at 35.
33
Id. at 41.
14
TSN, January 6, 1995, pp. 3, 8-9.
34
Id. at 54-55.
15
Rollo, p. 36.
35
Id. at 42.
16
Id. at 37.
36
Id. at 35-45.
37
Id. at 45. from the beginning under Article 36, Family Code (as amended by
E.O. No. 227 dated 17 July 1987).
38
Id. at 47-65.
Consequently, the Decision of this Court promulgated on October 19,
39
Id. at 64. 2000 is hereby SET ASIDE and a new one rendered AFFIRMING the
appealed Decision of the Court a quo.
40
G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20.
SO ORDERED. (Id. at 88-89.)
41
335 Phil. 664 (1997).
48
Rollo, pp. 110-111.
42
Rollo, pp. 80-81.
49
De Mesa v. Pepsi Cola Products Phils., Inc., G.R. Nos. 153063-70, August
43
Docketed as G.R. No. 150479. 19, 2005, 467 SCRA 433, 440.
44 50
CA rollo, pp. 199-202. Id. at 438.
45 51
Rollo, pp. 78-79. Art. 8 of the Civil Code provides in full:
46
Supra note 1. Article 8. Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the
Constitution shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines.
47
Pertinent portion of the CAs Amended Decision dated November 17, 2003
52
reads: G.R. Nos. 174153 and 174299, October 25, 2006, 505 SCRA 160.
53
The foregoing considered and taking a cue on the adoption x x x of the Id. at 308-312. (Citations and emphasis omitted.)
Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court of the new "Rule On
54
Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of 408 Phil. 713 (2001).
Voidable Marriages" (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) which took effect on
55
March 15, 2003, this Court hereby RECONSIDERS itself and G.R. No. 155800, March 10, 2006, 484 SCRA 353.
GRANTS the motion for reconsideration filed by the herein petitioner-
56
appellee on November 29, 2000. Consequently, respondent-appellants G.R. No. 161793, February 13, 2009.
appeal is hereby DISMISSED and the DECISION of the court below
57
declaring the marriage between CARMEN M. VELEZ-TING and Supra note 41, at 680.
BENJAMIN G. TING null and void ab initio under Article 36 of the
Family Code of the Philippines is hereby AFFIRMED. 58
Marcos v. Marcos, 397 Phil. 840 (2000).

WHEREFORE, in view thereof, we can not do any less but sustain the 59
Id. at 850.
decision dated 29 August 2002 of the court below in Civil Case No.
CEB-14826 declaring the marriage between petitioner-appellee
Carmen Velez-Ting and respondent-appellant Benjamin G. Ting void
60
Rationale for the New Rules as submitted by the Committee on the
Revision of Rules to the Supreme Court, November 11, 2002, p. 3, as cited in
Sta. Maria, Jr., Court Procedures in Family Law Cases, 2007 ed., pp. 10-11.
61
Supra note 40, at 34.
62
Marcos v. Marcos, supra note 58, at 850-851.
63
Rollo, p. 39.
64
Id. at 54-55.
G.R. No. 180668 May 26, 2009 and continually failed to adapt himself to married life and perform the essential
responsibilities and duties of a husband.
MARIETA C. AZCUETA Petitioner,
vs. Petitioner complained that Rodolfo never bothered to look for a job and instead
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE COURT OF APPEALS, always asked his mother for financial assistance. When they were married it was
Respondents. Rodolfos mother who found them a room near the Azcueta home and it was also his
mother who paid the monthly rental.
DECISION
Petitioner also testified that she constantly encouraged her husband to find
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: employment. She even bought him a newspaper every Sunday but Rodolfo told her
that he was too old and most jobs have an age limit and that he had no clothes to wear
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to job interviews. To inspire him, petitioner bought him new clothes and a pair of
assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 86162 dated shoes and even gave him money. Sometime later, her husband told petitioner that he
August 31, 2007,1 and its Resolution dated November 20, 2007.2 already found a job and petitioner was overjoyed. However, some weeks after,
petitioner was informed that her husband had been seen at the house of his parents
Petitioner Marietta C. Azcueta and Rodolfo Azcueta met in 1993. Less than two when he was supposed to be at work. Petitioner discovered that her husband didnt
months after their first meeting, they got married on July 24, 1993 at St. Anthony of actually get a job and the money he gave her (which was supposedly his salary) came
Padua Church, Antipolo City. At the time of their marriage, petitioner was 23 years from his mother. When she confronted him about the matter, Rodolfo allegedly cried
old while respondent was 28. They separated in 1997 after four years of marriage. like a child and told her that he pretended to have a job so that petitioner would stop
They have no children. nagging him about applying for a job. He also told her that his parents can support
their needs. Petitioner claimed that Rodolfo was so dependent on his mother and that
On March 2, 2002, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Antipolo all his decisions and attitudes in life should be in conformity with those of his mother.
City, Branch 72, a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage under
Article 36 of the Family Code, docketed as Civil Case No. 02-6428. Apart from the foregoing, petitioner complained that every time Rodolfo would get
drunk he became physically violent towards her. Their sexual relationship was also
Meanwhile, respondent failed to appear and file an answer despite service of unsatisfactory. They only had sex once a month and petitioner never enjoyed it. When
summons upon him. Because of this, the trial court directed the City Prosecutor to they discussed this problem, Rodolfo would always say that sex was sacred and it
conduct an investigation whether there was collusion between the parties. In a report should not be enjoyed nor abused. He did not even want to have a child yet because
dated August 16, 2002, Prosecutor Wilfredo G. Oca found that there was no collusion he claimed he was not ready. Additionally, when petitioner requested that they move
between the parties. to another place and rent a small room rather than live near his parents, Rodolfo did
not agree. Because of this, she was forced to leave their residence and see if he will
On August 21, 2002, the Office of the Solicitor General entered its appearance for the follow her. But he did not.
Republic of the Philippines and submitted a written authority for the City Prosecutor
to appear in the case on the States behalf under the supervision and control of the During the trial of the case, petitioner presented Rodolfos first cousin, Florida de
Solicitor General. Ramos, as a witness. In 1993, Ramos, the niece of Rodolfos father, was living with
Rodolfos family. She corroborated petitioners testimony that Rodolfo was indeed
In her petition and during her testimony, petitioner claimed that her husband Rodolfo not gainfully employed when he married petitioner and he merely relied on the
was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of allowance given by his mother. This witness also confirmed that it was respondents
marriage. According to petitioner, Rodolfo was emotionally immature, irresponsible mother who was paying the rentals for the room where the couple lived. She also
testified that at one time, she saw respondent going to his mothers house in business The respondent is suffering from dependent personality disorder and therefore cannot
attire. She learned later that Rodolfo told petitioner that he has a job but in truth he make his own decision and cannot carry on his responsibilities as a husband. The
had none. She also stated that respondent was still residing at the house of his mother marital obligations to live together, observe mutual love, respect, support was not
and not living together with petitioner. fulfilled by the respondent.

Petitioner likewise presented Dr. Cecilia Villegas, a psychiatrist. Dr. Villegas testified Considering the totality of evidence of the petitioner clearly show that respondent
that after examining petitioner for her psychological evaluation, she found petitioner failed to comply with his marital obligations.
to be mature, independent, very responsible, focused and has direction and ambition
in life. She also observed that petitioner works hard for what she wanted and Thus the marriage between petitioner and respondent should be declared null and
therefore, she was not psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties and void on the account of respondents severe and incurable psychological incapacity.
responsibilities of marriage. Dr. Villegas added that based on the information
gathered from petitioner, she found that Rodolfo showed that he was psychologically xxx xxx xxx
incapacitated to perform his marital duties and responsibilities. Dr. Villegas
concluded that he was suffering from Dependent Personality Disorder associated with Wherefore premises considered, the marriage between Marietta Azcueta and Rodolfo
severe inadequacy related to masculine strivings. B. Azcuata is hereby declared null and void abinitio pursuant to Article 36 fo the
Family Code.
She explained that persons suffering from Dependent Personality Disorder were those
whose response to ordinary way of life was ineffectual and inept, characterized by The National Statistics Office and the Local Civil Registrar of Antipolo City are
loss of self-confidence, constant self-doubt, inability to make his own decisions and ordered to make proper entries into the records of the parties pursuant to judgment of
dependency on other people. She added that the root cause of this psychological the court.
problem was a cross-identification with the mother who was the dominant figure in
the family considering that respondents father was a seaman and always out of the Let copies of this decision be furnished the Public Prosecutor and the Solicitor
house. She stated that this problem began during the early stages in his life but General.
manifested only after the celebration of his marriage. According to Dr. Villegas, this
kind of problem was also severe because he will not be able to make and to carry on SO ORDERED.3
the responsibilities expected of a married person. It was incurable because it started in
early development and therefore deeply ingrained into his personality. On July 19, 2005, the RTC rendered an Amended Decision4 to correct the first name
of Rodolfo which was erroneously typewritten as "Gerardo" in the caption of the
Based on petitioners evidence, the RTC rendered a Decision dated October 25, 2004, original Decision.
declaring the marriage between petitioner and Rodolfo as null and void ab initio, thus:
The Solicitor General appealed the RTC Decision objecting that (a) the psychiatric
With the preponderant evidence presented by the petitioner, the court finds that report of Dr. Villegas was based solely on the information provided by petitioner and
respondent totally failed in his commitments and obligations as a husband. was not based on an examination of Rodolfo; and (b) there was no showing that the
Respondents emotional immaturity and irresponsibility is grave and he has no alleged psychological defects were present at the inception of marriage or that such
showing of improvement. He failed likewise to have sexual intercourse with the wife defects were grave, permanent and incurable.
because it is a result of the unconscious guilt felling of having sexual relationship
since he could not distinguish between the mother and the wife and therefore sex Resolving the appeal, the CA reversed the RTC and essentially ruled that petitioner
relationship will not be satisfactory as expected. failed to sufficiently prove the psychological incapacity of Rodolfo or that his alleged
psychological disorder existed prior to the marriage and was grave and incurable. In xxx xxx xxx
setting aside the factual findings of the RTC, the CA reasoned that:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the appealed decision dated July 19,
The evidence on record failed to demonstrate that respondents alleged 2005 fo the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Antipolo City, Branch 72 in Civil Case
irresponsibility and over-dependence on his mother is symptomatic of psychological No. 02-6428 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The marriage berween petitioner-
incapacity as above explained. appellee Marietta C. Azcueta and respondent Rodolfo B. Azcueta remains VALID.5
(emphasis ours)
xxx xxx xxx
The basic issue to be resolved in the instant case is whether or not the totality of the
Also worthy of note is petitioner-appellees failure to prove that respondents evidence presented is adequate to sustain a finding that Rodolfo is psychologically
supposed psychological malady existed even before the marriage. Records however incapacitated to comply with his essential marital obligations.
show that the parties were living in harmony in the first few years of their marriage
and were living on their own in a rented apartment. That respondent often times asks The Office of the Solicitor General, in its Comment, submits that the appellate court
his mother for financial support may be brought about by his feeling of correctly ruled that the "totality of evidence presented by petitioner" failed to prove
embarrassment that he cannot contribute at all to the family coffers, considering that her spouses psychological incapacity pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code and
it was his wife who is working for the family. Petitioner-appellee likewise stated that settled jurisprudence.
respondent does not like to have a child on the pretense that respondent is not yet
ready to have one. However this is not at all a manifestation of irresponsibility. On We grant the petition.
the contrary, respondent has shown that he has a full grasp of reality and completely
understands the implication of having a child especially that he is unemployed. The Prefatorily, it bears stressing that it is the policy of our Constitution to protect and
only problem besetting the union is respondents alleged irresponsibility and strengthen the family as the basic autonomous social institution and marriage as the
unwillingness to leave her (sic) mother, which was not proven in this case to be foundation of the family.6 Our family law is based on the policy that marriage is not a
psychological-rooted. 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
The behavior displayed by respondent was caused only by his youth and emotional families weakens our social and moral fabric and, hence, their preservation is not the
immaturity which by themselves, do not constitute psychological incapacity (Deldel concern alone of the family members.7
vs. Court of Appeals, 421 SCRA 461, 466 [2004]). At all events, petitioner-appellee
has utterly failed, both in her allegations in the complaint and in her evidence, to Thus, the Court laid down in Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals and
make out a case of psychological incapacity on the part of respondent, let alone at the Molina8 stringent guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the
time of solemnization of the contract, so immaturity and irresponsibility, invoked by Family Code, to wit:
her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity (Pesca vs. Pesca, 356 SCRA
588, 594 [2001]). As held by the Supreme Court: (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and
Psychological incapacity must be more than just a difficulty, refusal or neglect in the continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is
performance of some marital obligations, it is essential that they must be shown to be rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity
incapable of doing so, due to some psychological illness existing at the time of the of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire
celebration of the marriage. (Navarro, Jr. vs. Cecilio-Navarro, G.R. No. 162049, April Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It
13, 2007). decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution
at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected" (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party
by the state. to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological
peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or
and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity. inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words,
there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the
or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations
by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the essential to marriage.
Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological - not physical,
although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence (6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up
must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles
psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children.
obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition,
assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.
here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of
ejusdem generis (Salita v. Magtolis, 233 SCRA 100, 108), nevertheless such (7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of
root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive,
nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified should be given great respect by our courts. x x x.9 (Emphasis supplied)
psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
In Santos v. Court of Appeals,10 the Court declared that psychological incapacity must
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability.11 It
celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was should refer to "no less than a mental, not physical, incapacity that causes a party to
existing when the parties exchanged their "I dos." The manifestation of the be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be
illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage."12 The intendment of the law
attached at such moment, or prior thereto. has been to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious
cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.13
permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative
only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone However, in more recent jurisprudence, we have observed that notwithstanding the
of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the guidelines laid down in Molina, there is a need to emphasize other perspectives as
assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to well which should govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under
marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a Article 36.14 Each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions,
pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and predilections or generalizations but according to its own facts. In regard to
prescribing medicine to cure them but may not be psychologically capacitated psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment of marriage, it is trite to say that
to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of no case is on "all fours" with another case. The trial judge must take pains in
marriage. examining the factual milieu and the appellate court must, as much as possible, avoid
substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court.15 With the advent of Te v.
Te,16 the Court encourages a reexamination of jurisprudential trends on the
interpretation of Article 36 although there has been no major deviation or paradigm even attempt to find employment; that from the choice of the family abode to the
shift from the Molina doctrine. couples daily sustenance, Rodolfo relied on his mother; and that the couples
inadequate sexual relations and Rodolfos refusal to have a child stemmed from a
After a thorough review of the records of the case, we find that there was sufficient psychological condition linked to his relationship to his mother.1avvphi1
compliance with Molina to warrant the annulment of the parties marriage under
Article 36. These manifestations of incapacity to comply or assume his marital obligations were
linked to medical or clinical causes by an expert witness with more than forty years
First, petitioner successfully discharged her burden to prove the psychological experience from the field of psychology in general and psychological incapacity, in
incapacity of her husband. particular. In a portion of her psychiatric evaluation, Dr. Villegas elucidated the
psychodynamics of the case of petitioner and Rodolfo, thus:
The Solicitor General, in discrediting Dr. Villegas psychiatric report, highlights the
lack of personal examination of Rodolfo by said doctor and the doctors reliance on Marietta is the eldest of 5 siblings, whose parents has very limited education. Being
petitioners version of events. In Marcos v. Marcos,17 it was held that there is no the eldest, she is expected to be the role model of younger siblings. In so doing, she
requirement that the defendant/respondent spouse should be personally examined by a has been restricted and physically punished, in order to tow the line. But on the other
physician or psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of hand, she developed growing resentments towards her father and promised herself
marriage based on psychological incapacity. What matters is whether the totality of that with the first opportunity, shell get out of the family. When Rodolfo came along,
evidence presented is adequate to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity. they were married 1 months after they met, without really knowing anything about
him. Her obsession to leave her family was her primary reason at that time and she
It should be noted that, apart from her interview with the psychologist, petitioner did not exercise good judgment in her decision making in marriage. During their 4
testified in court on the facts upon which the psychiatric report was based. When a years marital relationship, she came to realize that Rodolfo cannot be responsible in
witness testified under oath before the lower court and was cross-examined, she his duties and responsibilities, in terms of loving, caring, protection, financial support
thereby presented evidence in the form of testimony.18 Significantly, petitioners and sex.
narration of facts was corroborated in material points by the testimony of a close
relative of Rodolfo. Dr. Villegas likewise testified in court to elaborate on her report On the other hand, Rodolfo is the 3rd among 5 boys. The father, who was perceived
and fully explain the link between the manifestations of Rodolfos psychological to be weak, and his two elder brothers were all working as seaman. Rodolfo who was
incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. It is a settled principle of civil always available to his mothers needs, became an easy prey, easily engulfed into her
procedure that the conclusions of the trial court regarding the credibility of witnesses system. The relationship became symbiotic, that led to a prolonged and abnormal
are entitled to great respect from the appellate courts because the trial court had an dependence to his mother. The mother, being the stronger and dominant parent, is a
opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses while giving testimony which may convenient role model, but the reversal of roles became confusing that led to
indicate their candor or lack thereof.19 Since the trial court itself accepted the veracity ambivalence of his identity and grave dependency. Apparently, all the boys were
of petitioners factual premises, there is no cause to dispute the conclusion of hooked up to his complexities, producing so much doubts in their capabilities in a
psychological incapacity drawn therefrom by petitioners expert witness.20 heterosexual setting. Specifically, Rodolfo tried, but failed. His inhibitions in a sexual
relationship, is referable to an unconscious guilt feelings of defying the mothers love.
Second, the root cause of Rodolfos psychological incapacity has been medically or At this point, he has difficulty in delineating between the wife and the mother, so that
clinically identified, alleged in the petition, sufficiently proven by expert testimony, his continuous relationship with his wife produces considerable anxiety, which he is
and clearly explained in the trial courts decision. unable to handle, and crippled him psychologically.

The petition alleged that from the beginning of their marriage, Rodolfo was not Based on the above clinical data, family background and outcome of their marriage, it
gainfully employed and, despite pleas from petitioner, he could not be persuaded to is the opinion of the examiner, that Mrs. Marietta Cruz-Azcueta is mature,
independent and responsible and is psychologically capacitated to perform the duties Q: In laymans language, Madame Witness, can you please explain to us what
and obligations of marriage. Due to her numerous personal problems she has do you mean by Dependent Personality Disorder?
difficulty in handling her considerable anxiety, at present. There are strong clinical
evidences that Mr. Rodolfo Azcueta is suffering from a Dependent Personality A: Dependent Personality Disorder are (sic) those persons in which their
Disorder associated with severe inadequacy that renders him psychologically response to ordinary way of life are ineffectual and inept characterized by loss
incapacitated to perform the duties and responsibilities of marriage. of self confidence, always in doubt with himself and inability to make his own
decision, quite dependent on other people, and in this case, on his mother,
The root cause of the above clinical condition is due to a strong and prolonged maam.
dependence with a parent of the opposite sex, to a period when it becomes no longer
appropriate. This situation crippled his psychological functioning related to sex, self Q: And do you consider this, Madame Witness, as a psychological problem of
confidence, independence, responsibility and maturity. It existed prior to marriage, respondent, Rodolfo Azcueta?
but became manifest only after the celebration due to marital stresses and demands. It
is considered as permanent and incurable in nature, because it started early in his life A: Very much, maam.
and therefore became so deeply ingrained into his personality structure. It is severe or
grave in degree, because it hampered and interfered with his normal functioning Q: Why?
related to heterosexual adjustment.21
A: Because it will always interfered, hampered and disrupt his duties and
These findings were reiterated and further explained by Dr. Villegas during her responsibilities as a husband and as a father, maam.
testimony, the relevant portion of which we quote below:
Q: And can you please tell us, Madame Witness, what is the root cause of this
xxx xxx xxx psychological problem?

Q: Now, Madame Witness, after examining the petitioner, what was your A: The root cause of this psychological problem is a cross identification with
psychological evaluation? the mother who is the dominant figure in the family, the mother has the last
say and the authority in the family while the father was a seaman and always
A: Ive found the petitioner in this case, Mrs. Marietta Azcueta as matured, out of the house, and if present is very shy, quiet and he himself has been very
independent, very responsible, focused, she has direction and ambition in life submissive and passive to the authority of the wife, maam.
and she work hard for what she wanted, maam, and therefore, I concluded
that she is psychologically capacitated to perform the duties and Q: And can you please tell us, Madame Witness, under what circumstance this
responsibilities of the marriage, maam. kind of psychological problem manifested?

Q: How about the respondent, Madame Witness, what was your psychological A: This manifested starting his personality development and therefore, during
evaluation with regards to the respondent? his early stages in life, maam.

A: Based on my interview, Ive found out that the husband Mr. Rodolfo Q: So, you mean to say, Madame Witness, this kind of problem existed to
Azcueta is psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties and Rodolfo Azcueta, the respondent in this case, before the celebration of the
responsibilities of marriage suffering from a psychiatric classification as marriage?
Dependent Personality Disorder associated with severe inadequacy related to
masculine strivings, maam. A: Yes, maam.
Q: And it became manifested only after the celebration of the marriage? and of course, to function on (sic) the sexual duties of a husband to the wife,
but in this case, early in their marriage, they had only according to the wife,
A: Yes, maam. experienced once sexual relationship every month and this is due to the fact
that because husband was so closely attached to the mother, it is a result of the
Q: And can you please tell us the reason why it became manifested with unconscious guilt feeling of the husband in defying the mothers love when
thethat the manifestation came too late? they will be having heterosexual relationship and therefore, at that point, he
will not be able to distinguish between the mother and the wife and therefore,
A: The manifestation came too late because the history of Mr. Rodolfo sex relationship will not be satisfactory according to expectation, maam.22
Azcueta was very mild, no stresses, no demand on his life, at 24 years old
despite the fact that he already finished college degree of Computer Science, In Te v. Te, we held that "[b]y the very nature of Article 36, courts, despite having the
there is no demand on himself at least to establish his own, and the mother primary task and burden of decision-making, must not discount but, instead, must
always would make the decision for him, maam. consider as decisive evidence the expert opinion on the psychological and mental
temperaments of the parties."23
Q: Okay, Madame Witness, is this kind of psychological problem severe?
Based on the totality of the evidence, the trial court clearly explained the basis for its
A: Yes maam. decision, which we reproduce here for emphasis:

Q: Why do you consider this psychological problem severe, Madame With the preponderant evidence presented by the petitioner, the court finds that
Witness? respondent totally failed in his commitments and obligations as a husband.
Respondents emotional immaturity and irresponsibility is grave and he has no
A: Because he will not be able to make and to carry on the responsibility that showing of improvement. He failed likewise to have sexual intercourse with the wife
is expected of a married person, maam. because it is a result of the unconscious guilt felling of having sexual relationship
since he could not distinguish between the mother and the wife and therefore sex
Q: Is it incurable, Madame Witness? relationship will not be satisfactory as expected.

A: It is incurable because it started early in development and therefore it The respondent is suffering from dependent personality disorder and therefore cannot
became so deeply ingrained into his personality, and therefore, it cannot be make his own decision and cannot carry on his responsibilities as a husband. The
changed nor cured at this stage, maam. marital obligations to live together, observe mutual love, respect, support was not
fulfilled by the respondent.
Q: So, you mean to say, Madame Witness, that it is Permanent?
Considering the totality of evidence of the petitioner clearly show that respondent
A: It is permanent in nature, sir. failed to comply with his marital obligations.

Q: And last question as an expert witness, what is the effect of the Thus the marriage between petitioner and respondent should be declared null and
psychological problem as far as the marriage relationship of Rodolfo Azcueta void on the account of respondents severe and incurable psychological incapacity.
is concerned?
Third, Rodolfos psychological incapacity was established to have clearly existed at
A: The effect of this will really be a turbulent marriage relationship because the time of and even before the celebration of marriage. Contrary to the CAs finding
standard expectation is, the husband has to work, to feed, to protect, to love, that the parties lived harmoniously and independently in the first few years of
marriage, witnesses were united in testifying that from inception of the marriage, a person, has no cohesive self to speak of, and has no goals and clear direction in
Rodolfos irresponsibility, overdependence on his mother and abnormal sexual life.24
reticence were already evident. To be sure, these manifestations of Rodolfos
dependent personality disorder must have existed even prior to the marriage being Of course, this is not to say that anyone diagnosed with dependent personality
rooted in his early development and a by product of his upbringing and family life. disorder is automatically deemed psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
obligations of marriage. We realize that psychology is by no means an exact science
Fourth, Rodolfos psychological incapacity has been shown to be sufficiently grave, and the medical cases of patients, even though suffering from the same disorder, may
so as to render him unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage. be different in their symptoms or manifestations and in the degree of severity. It is the
duty of the court in its evaluation of the facts, as guided by expert opinion, to
The Court is wary of the CAs bases for overturning factual findings of the trial court carefully scrutinize the type of disorder and the gravity of the same before declaring
on this point. The CAs reasoning that Rodolfos requests for financial assistance the nullity of a marriage under Article 36.
from his mother might have been due to his embarrassment for failing to contribute to
the family coffers and that his motive for not wanting a child was his "responsible" Fifth, Rodolfo is evidently unable to comply with the essential marital obligations
realization that he should not have a child since he is unemployed are all purely embodied in Articles 68 to 71 of the Family Code.25 As noted by the trial court, as a
speculative. There is no evidence on record to support these views. Again, we must result of Rodolfos dependent personality disorder, he cannot make his own decisions
point out that appellate courts should not substitute their discretion with that of the and cannot fulfill his responsibilities as a husband. Rodolfo plainly failed to fulfill the
trial court or the expert witnesses, save only in instance where the findings of the trial marital obligations to live together, observe mutual love, respect, support under
court or the experts are contradicted by evidence. Article 68. Indeed, one who is unable to support himself, much less a wife; one who
cannot independently make decisions regarding even the most basic and ordinary
We likewise cannot agree with the CA that Rodolfos irresponsibility and matters that spouses face everyday; one who cannot contribute to the material,
overdependence on his mother can be attributed to his immaturity or youth. We physical and emotional well-being of his spouse is psychologically incapacitated to
cannot overlook the fact that at the time of his marriage to petitioner, he was nearly comply with the marital obligations within the meaning of Article 36.
29 years old or the fact that the expert testimony has identified a grave clinical or
medical cause for his abnormal behavior. Sixth, the incurability of Rodolfos condition which has been deeply ingrained in his
system since his early years was supported by evidence and duly explained by the
In Te, the Court has had the occasion to expound on the nature of a dependent expert witness.
personality disorder and how one afflicted with such a disorder would be
incapacitated from complying with marital obligations, to wit: At this point, the Court is not unmindful of the sometimes peculiar predicament it
finds itself in those instances when it is tasked to interpret static statutes formulated in
Indeed, petitioner, who is afflicted with dependent personality disorder, cannot a particular point in time and apply them to situations and people in a society in flux.
assume the essential marital obligations of living together, observing love, respect With respect to the concept of psychological incapacity, courts must take into account
and fidelity and rendering help and support, for he is unable to make everyday not only developments in science and medicine but also changing social and cultural
decisions without advice from others, allows others to make most of his important mores, including the blurring of traditional gender roles. In this day and age, women
decisions (such as where to live), tends to agree with people even when he believes have taken on increasingly important roles in the financial and material support of
they are wrong, has difficulty doing things on his own, volunteers to do things that their families. This, however, does not change the ideal that the family should be an
are demeaning in order to get approval from other people, feels uncomfortable or "autonomous" social institution, wherein the spouses cooperate and are equally
helpless when alone and is often preoccupied with fears of being abandoned. As responsible for the support and well-being of the family. In the case at bar, the
clearly shown in this case, petitioner followed everything dictated to him by the spouses from the outset failed to form themselves into a family, a cohesive unit based
persons around him. He is insecure, weak and gullible, has no sense of his identity as
on mutual love, respect and support, due to the failure of one to perform the essential
duties of marriage. LUCAS P. BERASMIN
Associate Justice
This brings to mind the following pronouncement in Te:
CERTIFICATION
In dissolving marital bonds on account of either partys psychological incapacity, the
Court is not demolishing the foundation of families, but it is actually protecting the Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the
sanctity of marriage, because it refuses to allow a person afflicted with a conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was
psychological disorder, who cannot comply with or assume the essential marital assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
obligations, from remaining in that sacred bond. It may be stressed that the infliction
of physical violence, constitutional indolence or laziness, drug dependence or REYNATO S. PUNO
addiction, and psychosexual anomaly are manifestations of a sociopathic personality Chief Justice
anomaly. Let it be noted that in Article 36, there is no marriage to speak of in the first
place, as the same is void from the very beginning. To indulge in imagery, the
declaration of nullity under Article 36 will simply provide a decent burial to a
stillborn marriage.26 (emphasis ours) Footnotes

In all, we agree with the trial court that the declaration of nullity of the parties 1
Penned by Associate Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr. and concurred in by
marriage pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code is proper under the premises. Associate Justices Jose L. Sabio, Jr. and Myrna Dimaranan Vidal; rollo, pp.
37-50.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Amended Decision dated July 19,
2005 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 72, Antipolo City in Civil Case No. 02- 2
Id. at 36.
6428 is REINSTATED.
3
CA Records pp. 36-37.
SO ORDERED.
4
Id. at p. 41.
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
Associate Justice 5
Rollo, pp. 45-49.

WE CONCUR: 6
Section 12 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides:

REYNATO S. PUNO SEC. 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall
Chief Justice protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social
Chairperson institution. x x x

ANTONIO T. CARPIO RENATO C. CORONA Sections 1 and 2 of Article XV of the 1987 Constitution state:
Associate Justice Associate Justice
21
SECTION 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the Rollo, pp. 63-64.
foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity
22
and actively promote its total development. TSN dated February 26, 2004, at pp. 13-20.
23
SEC. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation Supra note 16.
of the family and shall be protected by the State.
24
Id.
7
Ancheta v. Ancheta, G.R. No. 145370, March 4, 2004, 424 SCRA 725, 740;
25
Tuason v. Court of Appeals, 326 Phil. 169, 180-181 (1996). ART. 68. The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual
love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.
8
G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997, 268 SCRA 198.
ART. 69. The husband and wife shall fix the family domicile. In case
9
Id. at 209-213. of disagreement, the court shall decide.
10
310 Phil. 21 (1995). The court may exempt one spouse from living with the other if the
latter should live abroad or there are other valid and compelling
11
Id. at 39. reasons for the exemption. However, such exemption shall not apply if
the same is not compatible with the solidarity of the family.
12
Id. at 40.
ART. 70. The spouses are jointly responsible for the support of the
13
Id. family. The expenses for such support and other conjugal obligations
shall be paid from the community property and, in the absence thereof,
14
Antonio v. Reyes, G.R. No. 155800, March 10, 2006, 484 SCRA 353, 370. from the income or fruits of their separate properties. In case [of]
insufficiency or absence of said income or fruits, such obligations shall
15 be satisfied from their separate properties.
Republic of the Philippines v. Dagdag, G.R. No. 109975, February 9, 2001,
351 SCRA 425, 431.
ART. 71. The management of the household shall be the right and duty
16 of both spouses. The expenses for such management shall be paid in
G.R. No. 161793, February 13, 2009.
accordance with the provisions of Article 70.
17
397 Phil. 840 (2000).
26
Supra note 16.
18
Tsoi v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 119190, January 16, 1997, 266 SCRA
324, 330.
19
Limketkai Sons Milling, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 321 Phil. 105, 126
(1995), citing Serrano v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 45125, April 22,
1991,196 SCRA 107, 110.
20
Supra note 14.
G.R. No. 170925 October 26, 2009 1992, Rodolfo abandoned their conjugal home to live with Besina. Aurora claimed
custody of the children.
RODOLFO A. ASPILLAGA, Petitioner,
vs. During trial, expert witness Dr. Eduardo Maaba explained his psychiatric evaluation
AURORA A. ASPILLAGA, Respondent. of the parties as well as his recommendation that the petition be granted. In this
report, he stated,
DECISION
"x x x x
QUISUMBING, J.:
Psychiatric evaluation of petitioner, Rodolfo Aspillaga, showed that he is an
1
This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision dated September 9, 2005 intelligent adult male, who is egoistic and harbors an inner sense of inadequacy,
and the Resolution2 dated December 20, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. helplessness and anxiety in losing agility. He, however, projects himself as dominant
CV No. 68179, entitled "Rodolfo A. Aspillaga v. Aurora A. Aspillaga." person, to cover his deep-seated insecurity and inadequacy. He tends to be suspicious
and blames others for his mistakes. He claims for adulation, reassurance and attention
The facts culled from the records are as follows: from other people. These can be traced from an unhealthy familial relationship during
the early maturational development specifically in the form of a domineering and
Rodolfo Aspillaga met Aurora Apon sometime in 1977 while they were students at protective maternal image.
the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy and Lyceum of the Philippines,
respectively. Rodolfo courted her and five months later, they became sweethearts. Self-esteem was fragile.
Thereafter, Aurora left for Japan to study Japanese culture, literature and language.
Despite the distance, Rodolfo and Aurora maintained communication. Psychiatric evaluation of respondent, Aurora Apon Aspillaga, showed history of
traumatic childhood experiences. Her parents separated when she was about one
In 1980, after Aurora returned to the Philippines, she and Rodolfo got married. They month old and was made to believe that she was the youngest daughter of her
begot two children, but Rodolfo claimed their marriage was "tumultuous." He disciplinarian grandfather. Her surrogate sister maltreated her and imposed harsh
described Aurora as domineering and frequently humiliated him even in front of his corporal punishment for her slightest mistakes. She felt devastated when she
friends. He complained that Aurora was a spendthrift as she overspent the family accidentally discovered that shed been an orphan adopted by her grandfather.
budget and made crucial family decisions without consulting him. Rodolfo added that Attempted incestuous desire by an uncle was reported.
Aurora was tactless, suspicious, given to nagging and jealousy as evidenced by the
latters filing against him a criminal case (concubinage) and an administrative case. Psychological test results collaborated the clinical findings of sensitivity to criticism.
He left the conjugal home, and filed on March 7, 1995, a petition for annulment of Tendency for self dramatization and attention getting behavior. Lapses in judgment
marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of Aurora. He averred and shallow heterosexual relationship was projected. Sign of immaturity and desire to
that Aurora failed to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. regress to a lower level of development were likewise projected. Self-esteem was also
low. Deep-seated sense of dejection, loneliness and emptiness hamper her objectivity.
Aurora, for her part, alleged that sometime in 1991, Rodolfo gave her a plane ticket to
Japan to enable her to assume her teaching position in a university for a period of In summary, both petitioner and respondent harbor psychological handicaps which
three months. In August 1991, upon her return to Manila, she discovered that while could be traced from unhealthy maturational development. Both had strict,
she was in Japan, Rodolfo brought into their conjugal home her cousin, Lecita Rose domineering, disciplinarian role models. However, respondents mistrust, shallow
A. Besina, as his concubine. Aurora alleged that Rodolfos cohabitation with her heterosexual relationships resulted in incapacitation in her ability to comply with the
cousin led to the disintegration of their marriage and their eventual separation. In May obligation of marriage.
It is recommended that the petition to annul their marriage be granted, on the grounds about an incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Indeed, Dr.
existing psychological incapacitation of both petitioner and respondent, which will Maaba was able to establish the parties personality disorder; however, he failed to
hamper their capacity to comply with their marital obligations. Dissolution of the link the parties psychological disorders to his conclusion that they are
marital bond will offer both of them, peace of mind." 3 psychologically incapacitated to perform their obligations as husband and wife. We
cannot see how their personality disorder would render them unaware of the essential
On May 31, 2000,4 the Regional Trial Court (RTC) found the parties psychologically marital obligations or to be incognitive of the basic marital covenants that
incapacitated to enter into marriage. concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to a marriage. The fact
that these psychological conditions will hamper (as Dr. Maaba puts it) their
On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in its Decision dated September 9, 2005, reversed performance of their marital obligations does not mean that they suffer from
and set aside the RTC decision and declared the marriage of Rodolfo and Aurora psychological incapacity as contemplated under Article 36 of the Family Code. Mere
Aspillaga valid. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but the motion was also difficulty is not synonymous to incapacity. Moreover, there is no evidence to prove
denied in a Resolution dated December 20, 2005. that each partys condition is so grave or is of such nature as to render said party
incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage. There is likewise
Hence, this petition raising the sole issue: no evidence that the claimed incapacity is incurable and permanent.

[WHETHER THE APPELLATE COURT] CORRECTLY APPLIED THE Petitioner had the burden of proving the nullity of his marriage with respondent,8 but
DEFINITION OF "PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY" TO THE failed to discharge it.
PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS OF THE PARTIES DURING THE
CELEBRATION OF THEIR MARRIAGE.5 It must be stressed that psychological incapacity must be more than just a "difficulty,"
"refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of some marital obligations.9 The intention
Simply stated, the issue before us is whether the marriage is void on the ground of the of the law is to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious
parties psychological incapacity. cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or
inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.10
The petition must fail.
Noteworthy, as aptly pointed out by the appellate court, Rodolfo and Aurora initially
6 had a blissful marital union for several years. They married in 1982, and later
As early as 1995, in Santos v. Court of Appeals, we categorically said that:
affirmed the ceremony in church rites in 1983, showing love and contentment with
Psychological incapacity required by Art. 36 must be characterized by (a) one another after a year of marriage. The letter of petitioner dated April 1, 1990
gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. The incapacity must be addressed to respondent revealed the harmonious relationship of the couple continued
grave or serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary during their marriage for about eight years from the time they married each other.
duties required in marriage; it must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the From this, it can be inferred that they were able to faithfully comply with their
marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and obligations to each other and to their children. Aurora was shown to have taken care
it must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of her children and remained faithful to her husband while he was away. She even
of the party involved.7 (Emphasis supplied.) joined sales activities to augment the family income. She appeared to be a very
capable woman who traveled a lot and pursued studies here and abroad. It was only
In the instant case, while the psychological examination conducted on respondent when Rodolfos acts of infidelity were discovered that the marriage started to fail.
found her to be mistrustful, to possess low self-esteem, given to having shallow
heterosexual relationships and immature, Dr. Maaba failed to reveal that these As to Rodolfos allegation that Aurora was a spendthrift, the same likewise fails to
personality traits or psychological conditions were grave or serious enough to bring convince. While disagreements on money matters would, no doubt, affect the other
aspects of ones marriage as to make the wedlock unsatisfactory, this is not a ground WE CONCUR:
to declare a marriage null and void.11 In the present case, petitioners disagreement
with his wifes handling of the familys finances can hardly be considered as a ANTONIO T. CARPIO*
manifestation of the kind of psychological incapacity contemplated under Article 36 Associate Justice
of the Family Code. In fact, the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that
disagreements regarding money matters is a common, and even normal, occurrence CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES ARTURO D. BRION
between husbands and wives.12 Associate Justice Associate Justice

At this juncture while this Court is convinced that indeed both parties were both
found to have psychological disorders, nevertheless, there is nothing in the records ROBERTO A. ABAD
showing that these disorders are sufficient to declare the marriage void due to Associate Justice
psychological incapacity. We must emphasize that said disorders do not manifest that
both parties are truly incapacitated to perform the basic marital covenants. Moreover, ATTESTATION
there is nothing that shows incurability of these disorders. Even assuming their acts
violate the covenants of marriage, such acts do not show an irreparably hopeless state I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation
of psychological incapacity which will prevent them from undertaking the basic before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
obligations of marriage in the future. At the most, the psychiatric evaluation of the
parties proved only incompatibility and irreconcilable differences, which cannot be LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
equated with psychological incapacity as understood juristically. Associate Justice
Chairperson
As this Court has repeatedly declared, Article 36 of the Family Code is not to be
confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes thereof CERTIFICATION
manifest themselves. Article 36 refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a
party even before the celebration of the marriage. The malady must be so grave and Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division
so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the Chairpersons Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had
matrimonial bond one is about to assume.131avvph!1 been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion
of the Courts Division.
As regards respondents claim for support, we find no basis to award the same as it
was not passed upon by the trial court in view of the agreement of the parties on the REYNATO S. PUNO
issue presented for resolution, which agreement, however, was not put into writing. Chief Justice
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed
Decision dated September 9, 2005 and Resolution dated December 20, 2005 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 68179 are AFFIRMED.
Footnotes
SO ORDERED.
* Additional member per Special Order No. 757.
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
1
Rollo, pp. 17-25. Penned by Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe,
with Associate Justices Elvi John S. Asuncion and Lucas P. Bersamin (now a
member of this Court) concurring.
2
Id. at 27.
3
Id. at 19-20.
4
Id. at 6-7.
5
Id. at 7.
6
G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20.
7
Id. at 33-34. Bier v. Bier, G.R. No. 173294, February 27, 2008, 547 SCRA
123, 130.
8
Antonio v. Reyes, G.R. No. 155800, March 10, 2006, 484 SCRA 353, 376,
citing Republic v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997, 268
SCRA 198, 209.
9
Republic v. Court of Appeals, supra at 207.
10
Tongol v. Tongol, G.R. No. 157610, October 19, 2007, 537 SCRA 135, 142.
11
Id. at 151.
12
Id.
13
Paras v. Paras, G.R. No. 147824, August 2, 2007, 529 SCRA 81, 106-107.
SECOND DIVISION Jeanice alleged that Jordan had a tendency to lie about his whereabouts and had the
habit of hanging out and spending a great deal of time with his friends. Since Jordan
G.R. No. 166579 February 18, 2010 worked in their family business, Jordan would allegedly just stay home, tinker with
the Play Station, and ask Jeanice to lie to his brothers about his whereabouts. Jeanice
JORDAN CHAN PAZ, Petitioner, further alleged that Jordan was heavily dependent on and attached to his mother.
vs. After giving birth to their son, Jeanice noticed that Jordan resented their son and spent
JEANICE PAVON PAZ, Respondent. more time with his friends rather than help her take care of their son. Jordan also
demanded from his mother a steady supply of milk and diapers for their son.
DECISION
At the early stage of their marriage, Jeanice said they had petty fights but that the
CARPIO, J.: quarrels turned for the worse and Jordan became increasingly violent toward her. At
one point, Jordan threatened to hurt her with a pair of scissors. Jeanice also alleged
The Case that on 22 February 1999, Jordan subjected her to verbal lashing and insults and
threatened to hit her with a golf club. Jeanice added that Jordan has not provided any
This is a petition for review1 of the 9 August 20042 and 26 November 20043 financial support or visited their son since she left their conjugal home.
Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 80473. In its 9 August 2004
Resolution, the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioner Jordan Chan Pazs (Jordan) Psychologist Cristina R. Gates (Gates) testified that Jordan was afflicted with
appeal of the 13 May 2003 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, "Borderline Personality Disorder as manifested in his impulsive behavior,
Branch 69 (trial court), which granted respondent Jeanice Pavon Pazs (Jeanice) delinquency and instability."5 Gates concluded that Jordans psychological maladies
petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. In its 26 November 2004 Resolution, antedate their marriage and are rooted in his family background. Gates added that
the Court of Appeals denied Jordans motion for reconsideration. with no indication of reformation, Jordans personality disorder appears to be grave
and incorrigible.
The Facts
Jordan denied Jeanices allegations. Jordan asserted that Jeanice exaggerated her
Jordan and Jeanice met sometime in November 1996. Jeanice was only 19 years old statements against him. Jordan said that Jeanice has her own personal insecurities and
while Jordan was 27 years old. In January 1997, they became a couple and, on 10 that her actions showed her lack of maturity, childishness and emotional inability to
May 1997, they were formally engaged. They had their civil wedding on 3 July 1997, cope with the struggles and challenges of maintaining a married life.
and their church wedding on 21 September 1997. They have one son, Evan Gaubert,
who was born on 12 February 1998. After a big fight, Jeanice left their conjugal home Jordan also objected to the psychological report offered by Jeanice. Jordan pointed
on 23 February 1999. out that he was not subjected to any interview or psychological tests by Gates. Jordan
argued that Gates conclusions were mere speculations, conjectures and suppositions
On 15 September 1999, Jeanice filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage from the information supplied by Jeanice. Jordan alleged that it was patently one-
against Jordan. Jeanice alleged that Jordan was psychologically incapable of sided and is not admissible in evidence as it was based on hearsay statements of
assuming the essential obligations of marriage. According to Jeanice, Jordans Jeanice which were obviously self-serving. Jordan said he wants Jeanice back and
psychological incapacity was manifested by his uncontrollable tendency to be self- prayed for the dismissal of the petition.
preoccupied and self-indulgent, as well as his predisposition to become violent and
abusive whenever his whims and caprices were not satisfied. The Ruling of the Trial Court
On 13 May 2003, the trial court granted Jeanices petition. The trial court declared (1) Pre-condition. No appeal from the decision shall be allowed unless the appellant
that Jordans psychological incapacity, which was specifically identified as has filed a motion for reconsideration or new trial within fifteen days from notice of
"Borderline Personality Disorder," deprived him of the capacity to fully understand judgment.
his responsibilities under the marital bond. The trial court found that Jordan was
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage, On 9 August 2004, the Court of Appeals dismissed Jordans appeal. According to the
particularly Articles 686 and 707 of the Family Code. The trial court also declared that Court of Appeals, the rules state in mandatory and categorical terms that the filing of
Jordans psychological incapacity, being rooted in his family background, antedates a motion for reconsideration or new trial is a pre-condition before an appeal from the
the marriage and that without any sign of reformation, found the same to be grave and decision is allowed. The Court of Appeals added that when the law is clear and
incurable. unambiguous, it admits no room for interpretation but merely for application.

The dispositve portion of the trial courts 13 May 2003 Decision reads: Jordan filed a motion for reconsideration. In its 26 November 2004 Resolution, the
Court of Appeals dismissed the motion.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the
marriage between petitioner Jeanice Pavon Paz and respondent Jordan Chan Paz Hence, this petition.
celebrated on July 3, 1997 and September 21, 1997 as null and void ab initio on the
ground of psychological incapacity on the part of respondent pursuant to Article 36 of In a minute Resolution dated 22 June 2005, we denied Jordans petition for failure to
the Family Code with all the effects provided by law. The couples absolute sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error in the
community of properties [sic] shall be dissolved in the manner herein provided. And challenged resolutions as to warrant the exercise by this Court of its discretionary
the custody over Evan shall remain with the petitioner, without regard to visitation appellate jurisdiction.12
rights of the respondent as the father of the child. Furthermore, the parties are jointly
responsible for the support of their minor child Evan Guabert Pavon Paz. On 18 August 2005, Jordan filed a motion for reconsideration. While Jordan admits
that he failed to file a motion for reconsideration of the trial courts 13 May 2003
Let copies of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrars of Quezon City and Decision, Jordan submits that Section 20 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC should not have
Pasig City respectively as well as the National Statistics Office (NSO, CRP, Legal been strictly applied against him because it took effect only on 15 March 2003, or less
Department) EDSA, Quezon City. than two months prior to the rendition of the trial courts 13 May 2003 Decision.
Moreover, Jordan enjoins the Court to decide the case on the merits so as to preserve
SO ORDERED.8 the sanctity of marriage as enshrined in the Constitution.

On 6 June 2003, Jordan filed a Notice of Appeal.9 The trial court promptly approved Jeanice also filed an Opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration on 1 September
Jordans appeal. 2005.13

On 10 February 2004, Jeanice filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal with the Court of In a minute Resolution dated 19 September 2005, we granted Jordans motion for
Appeals.10 In her motion, Jeanice sought the immediate dismissal of Jordans appeal reconsideration and reinstated the petition.14
on the ground that Jordan failed to comply with Section 20 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-
SC11 which provides: Jeanice filed a motion for reconsideration. In a minute Resolution dated 5 June 2006,
we denied Jeanices motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.15
Sec. 20. Appeal.
On 7 August 2006, Jeanice filed a second motion for reconsideration.
In a minute Resolution dated 20 September 2006, we denied Jeanices second motion (c) Incurability It must be incurable, or even if it were otherwise, the cure
for reconsideration for lack of merit and reminded Jeanice that a second motion for would be beyond the means of the party involved.20
reconsideration is a prohibited pleading.16
In granting Jeanices petition, the trial court gave credence to the testimony of Gates
The Issue to support its conclusion that Jordan was psychologically incapacitated to comply
with the essential marital obligations. Gates declared that Jordan was suffering from
The only issue left to be resolved is whether Jordan is psychologically incapacitated "Borderline Personality Disorder" as manifested by his being a "mamas boy" and
to comply with the essential marital obligations. that such was "grave and incurable," "rooted in his family background, [and]
antedates the marriage."
The Ruling of this Court
Although there is no requirement that a party to be declared psychologically
The petition has merit. incapacitated should be personally examined by a physician or a psychologist, there
is nevertheless a need to prove the psychological incapacity through independent
Jeanice Failed to Prove Jordans Psychological Incapacity evidence adduced by the person alleging said disorder.21

Jeanices petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article 36 of Correspondingly, the presentation of expert proof presupposes a thorough and in-
the Family Code which provides: depth assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive
diagnosis of a grave, severe and incurable presence of psychological incapacity.22
A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of In this case, the Court notes that the report and testimony of Gates on Jordans
marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after psychological incapacity were based exclusively on her interviews with Jeanice and
its solemnization. the transcript of stenographic notes of Jeanices testimony before the trial court.23
Gates only diagnosed Jordan from the statements of Jeanice, whose bias in favor of
In Santos v. Court of Appeals,17 the Court first declared that psychological incapacity her cause cannot be doubted. Gates did not actually hear, see and evaluate Jordan.
must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) judicial antecedence; and (c) incurability. It Gates testified:
must be confined "to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to Q- As a last question Madam witness. So all in all your conclusions here on
the marriage."18 page 1 to page 5 of your Report are all based on the statement and perception
of the petitioner (Jeanice) on the respondent (Jordan)?
In Dimayuga-Laurena v. Court of Appeals,19 the Court explained:
A- Yes Mam.24
(a) Gravity It must be grave and serious such that the party would be
incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in a marriage; Consequently, Gates report and testimony were hearsay evidence since she had no
personal knowledge of the alleged facts she was testifying on.25 Gates testimony
(b) Judicial Antecedence It must be rooted in the history of the party should have thus been dismissed for being unscientific and unreliable.26
antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only
after the marriage; and Moreover, contrary to the ruling of the trial court, Jordans alleged psychological
incapacity was not shown to be so grave and so permanent as to deprive him of the
awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond. At best,
Jeanices allegations showed that Jordan was irresponsible, insensitive, or In Republic v. Cabantug-Baguio,32 we said:
emotionally immature. The incidents cited by Jeanice do not show that Jordan
suffered from grave psychological maladies that paralyzed Jordan from complying The Constitution sets out a policy of protecting and strengthening the family as the
with the essential obligations of marriage. basic social institution and marriage as the foundation of the family. Marriage, as an
inviolable institution protected by the State, cannot be dissolved at the whim of the
What the law requires to render a marriage void on the ground of psychological parties. In petitions for the declaration of nullity of marriage, the burden of proof to
incapacity is downright incapacity, not refusal or neglect or difficulty, much less ill show the nullity of marriage lies on the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in
will.27 The mere showing of "irreconcilable differences" and "conflicting favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and
personalities" does not constitute psychological incapacity.28 nullity.33

In Perez-Ferraris v. Ferraris,29 we said: WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the 9 August 2004 and
26 November 2004 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals. We REVERSE the 13 May
As all people may have certain quirks and idiosyncrasies, or isolated characteristics 2003 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 69. The marriage of
associated with certain personality disorders, there is hardly a doubt that the Jeanice Pavon Paz to Jordan Chan Paz subsists and remains valid.
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 SO ORDERED.
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to marriage.30
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Furthermore, Gates did not particularly describe the "pattern of behavior" which Associate Justice
showed that Jordan indeed suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. Gates also
failed to explain how such a personality disorder made Jordan psychologically WE CONCUR:
incapacitated to perform his obligations as a husband.
ARTURO D. BRION
Likewise, Jeanice was not able to establish with certainty that Jordans alleged Associate Justice
psychological incapacity was medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Gates
testimony on the matter was vague and inconclusive. Gates testified: MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice Associate Justice
Q - Now is this disorder curable?

A - If its continuing to the present therefore its persevererative behavior. JOSE P. PEREZ
Then the possibility of countering the same might be nil.31 Associate Justice
Gates did not adequately explain how she came to the conclusion that Jordans ATTESTATION
condition was incurable.
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation
In sum, the totality of the evidence presented by Jeanice failed to show that Jordan before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations
and that such incapacity was grave, incurable, and existing at the time of the
solemnization of their marriage.1avvphi1
ANTONIO T. CARPIO from the income or fruits of their separate properties. In case of
Associate Justice insufficiency or absence of said income or fruits, such obligation shall
Chairperson be satisfied from their separate properties.
8
CERTIFICATION Rollo, pp. 103-114.
9
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Id. at 115.
Chairpersons Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had
10
been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion Id. at 117-121.
of the Courts Division.
11
Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment
REYNATO S. PUNO of Voidable Marriages which took effect on 15 March 2003.
Chief Justice
12
Rollo, p. 171.
13
In a minute Resolution dated 9 November 2005, the Court resolved to "note
Footnotes without action" Jeanices Opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration.

1 14
Under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Rollo, p. 182.

2 15
Rollo, pp. 35-38. Penned by Associate Justice Danilo B. Pine, with Id. at 317.
Associate Justices Jose L. Sabio, Jr. and Noel G. Tijam, concurring.
16
Id. at 330. See Section 2, Rule 52 in relation to Section 4, Rule 56 of the
3 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.
Id. at 40-41.
4 17
Id. at 103-114. Penned by Judge Lorifel Lacap Pahimna. 310 Phil. 21 (1995).

5 18
Records, p. 123. Id. at 40.

6 19
Article 68 of the Family Code provides: G.R. No. 159220, 22 September 2008, 566 SCRA 154.
20
ART. 68. The husband and wife are obligated to live together, observe Id. at 162.
mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.
21
Bier v. Bier, G.R. No. 173294, 27 February 2008, 547 SCRA 123; Republic
7 v. Tanyag-San Jose,
Article 70 of the Family Code provides:

ART. 70. The spouses are jointly responsible for the support of the G.R. No. 168328, 28 February 2007, 517 SCRA 123.
family. The expenses for such support and other conjugal obligations
22
shall be paid from the community property and, in the absence thereof, Ngo Te v. Yu-Te, G.R. No. 161793, 13 February 2009, 579 SCRA 193.
23
TSN, 15 November 2000, pp. 9-11, 21-24.
24
Id. at 52.
25
Padilla-Rumbaua v. Rumbaua, G.R. No. 166738, 14 August 2009; Bier v.
Bier, supra note 21.
26
Najera v. Najera, G.R. No. 164817, 3 July 2009, 591 SCRA 541; Bier v.
Bier, supra note 21.
27
Republic v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 108763, 13 February 1997, 268
SCRA 198.
28
Id.
29
G.R. No. 162368, 17 July 2006, 495 SCRA 396.
30
Id. at 401.
31
TSN, 15 November 2000, p. 18.
32
G.R. No. 171042, 30 June 2008, 556 SCRA 711.
33
Id. at 727.
SECOND DIVISION amended. She claimed that Angelito was psychologically incapacitated to comply
with the essential obligations of marriage. In addition to the above historical narrative
G.R. No. 164493 March 10, 2010 of their relationship, she alleged in her complaint:

JOCELYN M. SUAZO, Petitioner, xxxx


vs.
ANGELITO SUAZO and REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. 8. That from the time of their marriage up to their separation in July 1987, their
relationship had been marred with bitter quarrels which caused unbearable physical
DECISION and emotional pains on the part of the plaintiff because defendant inflicted physical
injuries upon her every time they had a troublesome encounter;
BRION, J.:
9. That the main reason for their quarrel was always the refusal of the defendant to
We resolve the appeal filed by petitioner Jocelyn Suazo (Jocelyn) from the July 14, work or his indolence and his excessive drinking which makes him psychologically
2004 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA)1 in CA-G.R. CV No. 62443, which incapacitated to perform his marital obligations making life unbearably bitter and
reversed the January 29, 1999 judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch intolerable to the plaintiff causing their separation in fact in July 1987;
119, Pasay City in Civil Case No. 97-1282.2 The reversed RTC decision nullified
Jocelyns marriage with respondent Angelito Suazo (Angelito) on the ground of 10. That such psychological incapacity of the defendant started from the time of their
psychological incapacity. marriage and became very apparent as time went and proves to be continuous,
permanent and incurable;
THE FACTS
xxxx
Jocelyn and Angelito were 16 years old when they first met in June 1985; they were
residents of Laguna at that time. After months of courtship, Jocelyn went to Manila Angelito did not answer the petition/complaint. Neither did he submit himself to a
with Angelito and some friends. Having been gone for three days, their parents psychological examination with psychologist Nedy Tayag (who was presumably
sought Jocelyn and Angelito and after finding them, brought them back to Bian, hired by Jocelyn).
Laguna. Soon thereafter, Jocelyn and Angelitos marriage was arranged and they
were married on March 3, 1986 in a ceremony officiated by the Mayor of Bian. The case proceeded to trial on the merits after the trial court found that no collusion
existed between the parties. Jocelyn, her aunt Maryjane Serrano, and the psychologist
Without any means to support themselves, Jocelyn and Angelito lived with Angelitos testified at the trial.
parents after their marriage. They had by this time stopped schooling. Jocelyn took
odd jobs and worked for Angelitos relatives as household help. Angelito, on the In her testimony, Jocelyn essentially repeated the allegations in her petition, including
other hand, refused to work and was most of the time drunk. Jocelyn urged Angelito the alleged incidents of physical beating she received from Angelito. On cross-
to find work and violent quarrels often resulted because of Jocelyns efforts. examination, she remained firm on these declarations but significantly declared that
Angelito had not treated her violently before they were married.
Jocelyn left Angelito sometime in July 1987. Angelito thereafter found another
woman with whom he has since lived. They now have children. Asst. Sol. Gen. Kim Briguera:

Ten years after their separation, or on October 8, 1997, Jocelyn filed with the RTC a Q. Can you describe your relationship with the respondent before you got
petition for declaration of nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, as married?
A. He always go (sic) to our house to court me. of having blissful relationship. His general behavior fulfill(s) the diagnostic
criteria for a person suffering from Anti Social Personality Disorder. Such
Q. Since you cited violence, after celebration of marriage, will you describe disorder is serious and severe and it interferred (sic) in his capacity to provide
his behavioural (sic) pattern before you got married? love, caring, concern and responsibility to his family. The disorder is chronic
and long-standing in proportion and appear(s) incurable. The disorder was
A. He show (sic) kindness, he always come (sic) to the house. present at the time of the wedding and became manifest thereafter due to
stresses and pressure of married life. He apparently grew up in a dysfunctional
Q. So you cannot say his behavioral pattern composing of violent nature family. Could you explain what does chronic mean?
before you got married (sic), is there any signs (sic) of violence?
A. Chronic is a clinical language which means incurable it has been there long
A. None maam (sic), because we were not sweethearts. before he entered marriage apparently, it came during early developmental
(sic) Basic trust was not develop (sic).
Q. Even to other people?
Q. And this long standing proportion (sic).
3
A. He also quarrel (sic).
A. That no amount of psychological behavioral help to cure such because
Maryjane Serrano corroborated parts of Jocelyns testimony. psychological disorder are not detrimental to men but to others particularly
and this (sic) because the person who have this kind of disorder do not know
When the psychologist took the witness stand, she declared: that they have this kind of disorder.

Q. What about the respondent, did you also make clinical interpretation of his Q. So in other words, permanent?
behavior?
A. Permanent and incurable.
A. Apparently, the behavior and actuation of the respondent during the time of
the marriage the respondent is suffering from anti-social personality Disorder Q. You also said that this psychological disorder is present during the
this is a serious and severe apparently incurable (sic). This disorder is chronic wedding or at the time of the wedding or became manifest thereafter?
and long-standing before the marriage.
A. Yes, maam."
Q. And you based your interpretation on the report given by the petitioner?
xxxx
A. Based on the psychological examination wherein there is no pattern of
lying when I examined her, the petitioner was found to be very responsive, Court:
coherent, relevant to marital relationship with respondent.
Q. Is there a clinical findings (sic)?
Q. And the last page of Exhibit "E" which is your report there is a statement
rather on the last page, last paragraph which state: It is the clinical opinion of A. That is the clinical findings. Personality Disorder labeled on Anti-Social
the undersigned that marriage between the two, had already hit bottom rock Personality Disorder (sic).
(sic) even before the actual celebration of marriage. Respondent(s) immature,
irresponsible and callous emotionality practically harbors (sic) the possibility Q. How was shown during the marriage (sic)?
A. The physical abuses on the petitioner also correlated without any Q. How was the petitioner tortured?
employment exploitative and silent (sic) on the part of the respondent is
clearly Anti-Social Disorder. A. She was able to counter-act by the time she was separated by the
respondent (sic).
Q. Do the respondent know that he has that kind of psychological disorder
(sic)? Court:

A. Usually a person suffering that psychological disorder will not admit that Q. Do you mean to tell us that Anti-Social disorder is incurable?
they are suffering that kind of disorder (sic).
A. Yes, sir.
Court:
Court:
Q. So because of this Anti-Social Disorder the petitioner suffers a lot (sic)?
Q. Why did you know?
A. Yes, because the petitioner is a victim of hardships of marital relation to
the respondent (sic). A. Anti-Social disorder is incurable again because the person itself, the
respondent is not aware that this kind of personality affect the other party
Court: (sic).

Q. Was the Anti-Social Personality Disorder also shown to the parents (sic)? Court:

A. Yes, according to the petitioner, respondent never give due respect more Q. This Anti-Social behavior is naturally affected the petitioner (sic)?
often than not he even shouted at them for no apparent reason (sic).
A. They do not have children because more often than not the respondent is
Court: under the influence of alcohol, they do not have peaceful harmonious
relationship during the less than one year and one thing what is significant,
Q. Did you say Anti-Social Disorder incurable (sic)? respondent allowed wife to work as housemaid instead of he who should
provide and the petitioner never receive and enjoy her earning for the five
A. Yes, sir. months that she work and it is also the petitioner who took sustainance of the
vices. (sic)
Court:
Q. And because of that Anti-Social disorder he had not shown love to the
Q. Is there a physical violence (sic)? petitioner?

A. Actually, I could see the petitioner is tortured mentally of the respondent A. From the very start the respondent has no emotion to sustain the marital
(sic). relationship but what he need is to sustain his vices thru the petitioner (sic).

Court: Court:
Q. What are the vices? effect of such sensitiveness; in order to remain in goodstead (sic) with her immediate
environment.
A. Alcohol and gambling.
She is pictured as a hard-working man (sic) who looks forward for a better future in
Court: spite of difficulties she had gone through in the past. She is fully aware of external
realities of life that she set simple life goals which is (sic) commensurate with her
Q. And this affected psychological incapacity to perform marital obligation? capabilities and limitations. However, she needs to prioritize her interest in order to
direct her energy toward specific goals. Her tolerance for frustration appears to be at
A. Not only that up to this time from my clinical analysis of Anti-Social par with her coping mechanism that she is able to discharge negative trends
Personality Disorder, he is good for nothing person.4 appropriately.

The psychologist also identified the Psychological Report she prepared. The Report REMARKS :
pertinently states:5
[Already cited in full in the psychologists testimony quoted above]6
Report on the psychological condition of JOCELYN M. SUAZO, a petitioner for
"Nullity of Marriage" versus ANGELITO D. SUAZO The Office of the Solicitor General representing the Republic of the Philippines
strongly opposed the petition for declaration of nullity of the marriage. Through a
GENERAL DATA Certification filed with the RTC, it argued that the psychologist failed to examine and
test Angelito; thus, what she said about him was purely hearsay.
[This pertains to Jocelyns]
THE RTC RULING
BRIEF MARITAL HISTORY
The RTC annulled the marriage under the following reasoning:
xxxx
While there is no particular instance setforth (sic) in the law that a person may be
Husband is Angelito D. Suazo, 28 years old reached 3rd year high school, a part time considered as psychologically incapacitated, there as (sic) some admitted grounds that
tricycle driver, eldest among 4 siblings. Father is a machine operator, described to be would render a person to be unfit to comply with his marital obligation, such as
an alcoholic, womanizer and a heavy gambler. While mother is a sales agent. It was a "immaturity, i.e., lack of an effective sense of rational judgment and responsibility,
common knowledge within their vicinity that she was also involved in an illicit otherwise peculiar to infants (like refusal of the husband to support the family or
relationship. Familial relationship was described to be stormy, chaotic whose excessive dependence on parents or peer group approval) and habitual alcoholism, or
bickering and squabbles were part and parcel of their day to day living. the condition by which a person lives for the next drink and the next drinks" (The
Family Code of the Phils, Alicia Sempio-Diy, p.39, 1988 ed.)
TEST RESULTS AND EVALUATION
The evidence presented by the petitioner and the testimony of the petitioner and Dr.
Projective data reveal an introvert person whose impulse life is adequately suppressed Tayag, points (sic) to one thing that the petitioner failed to establish a harmonious
so much so that it does not create inner tension and anxiety. She is fully equipped in family life with the respondent. On the contrary, the respondent has not shown love
terms of drives and motivation particularly in uplifting not, only her socio-emotional and respect to the petitioner manifested by the formers being irresponsible,
image but was as her morale. She may be sensitive yet capable of containing the immature, jobless, gambler, drunkard and worst of all a wife beater. The petitioner,
unable to bear any longer the misbehavior and attitude of the respondent, decided, reminder of her husband who made here a slave and a punching bag during the short
after one year and four months of messy days, to leave the respondent. span of her marriage with him. The law on annulment should be liberally construed in
favor of an innocent suffering petitioner otherwise said law will be an instrument to
In this regard, the petitioner was able to prove that right from the start of her married protect persons with mental illness like the serious anti-social behavior of herein
life with the respondent, she already suffered from maltreatment, due to physical respondent.8
injuries inflicted upon her and that she was the one who worked as a housemaid of a
relative of her husband to sustain the latters niece (sic) and because they were living THE CA RULING
with her husbands family, she was obliged to do the household chores an
indication that she is a battered wife coupled with the fact that she served as a servant The Republic appealed the RTC decision to the CA. The CA reversed the RTC
in his (sic) husbands family. decision, ruling that:

This situation that the petitioner had underwent may be attributed to the fact that at True, as stated in Marcos vs Marcos 343 SCRA 755, the guidelines set in Santos vs
the time of their marriage, she and her husband are still young and was forced only to Court of Appeals and Republic vs Court of Appeals do not require that a physician
said marriage by her relatives. The petitioner and the respondent had never developed personally examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. The
the feeling of love and respect, instead, the respondent blamed the petitioners family Supreme Court adopted the totality of evidence approach which allows the fact of
for said early marriage and not to his own liking. psychological incapacity to be drawn from evidence that medically or clinically
identify the root causes of the illness. If the totality of the evidence is enough to
Applying the principles and the requisites of psychological incapacity enunciated by sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the
this Court in Santos v. Court of Appeals,7 the RTC concluded: person concerned need not be resorted to. Applied in Marcos, however, the aggregate
testimony of the aggrieved spouse, children, relatives and the social worker were not
The above findings of the psychologist [referring to the psychologist testimony found to be sufficient to prove psychological incapacity, in the absence of any
quoted above] would only tend to show that the respondent was, indeed, suffering evaluation of the respondent himself, the person whose mental and psychological
from psychological incapacity which is not only grave but also incurable. capacity was in question.

Likewise, applying the principles set forth in the case of Republic vs. Court of In the case at bench, there is much scarcer evidence to hold that the respondent was
Appeals and Molina, 268 SCRA 198, wherein the Supreme Court held that: psychologically incapable of entering into the marriage state, that is, to assume the
essential duties of marriage due to an underlying psychological illness. Only the wife
x x x x [At this point, the RTC cited the pertinent Molina ruling] gave first-hand testimony on the behavior of the husband, and it is inconclusive. As
observed by the Court in Marcos, the respondent may have failed to provide material
The Court is satisfied that the evidence presented and the testimony of the petitioner support to the family and has resorted to physical abuse, but it is still necessary to
and Dr. Familiar (sic) [the psychologist who testified in this case was Nedy Tayag, show that they were manifestations of a deeper psychological malaise that was
not a Dr. Familiar] attesting that there is psychological incapacity on the part of the clinically or medically identified. The theory of the psychologist that the respondent
respondent to comply with the essential marital obligations has been sufficiently and was suffering from an anti-social personality syndrome at the time of the marriage
clearly proven and, therefore, petitioner is entitled to the relief prayed for. was not the product of any adequate medical or clinical investigation. The evidence
that she got from the petitioner, anecdotal at best, could equally show that the
A claim that the marriage is valid as there is no psychological incapacity of the behavior of the respondent was due simply to causes like immaturity or
respondent is a speculation and conjecture and without moral certainty. This will irresponsibility which are not equivalent to psychological incapacity, Pesca vs Pesca
enhanced (sic) a greater tragedy as the battered wife/petitioner will still be using the 356 SCRA 588, or the failure or refusal to work could have been the result of
surname of the respondent, although they are now separated, and a grim and sad rebelliousness on the part of one who felt that he had been forced into a loveless
marriage. In any event, the respondent was not under a permanent compulsion (2) who suffer from grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning essential
because he had later on shown his ability to engage in productive work and more matrimonial rights and duties which are to be mutually given and accepted;
stable relationships with another. The element of permanence or incurability that is
one of the defining characteristic of psychological incapacity is not present. (3) who are not capable of assuming the essential obligations of matrimony
due to causes of a psychic nature."
There is no doubt that for the short period that they were under the same roof, the
married life of the petitioner with the respondent was an unhappy one. But the The decision of the RTC, Jocelyn claims, intelligently conforms to these criteria. The
marriage cannot for this reason be extinguished. As the Supreme Court intimates in RTC, being clothed with discretionary functions, applied its finding of psychological
Pesca, our strict handling of Article 36 will be a reminder of the inviolability of the incapacity based on existing jurisprudence and the law itself which gave lower court
marriage institution in our country and the foundation of the family that the law seeks magistrates enough latitude to define what constitutes psychological incapacity. On
to protect. The concept of psychological incapacity is not to be a mantra to legalize the contrary, she further claims, the OSG relied on generalities without being specific
what in reality are convenient excuses of parties to separate and divorce. on why it is opposed to the dissolution of a marriage that actually exists only in name.

THE PETITION Simply stated, we face the issue of whether there is basis to nullify Jocelyns
marriage with Angelito under Article 36 of the Family Code.
Jocelyn now comes to us via the present petition to challenge and seek the reversal of
the CA ruling based on the following arguments: THE COURTS RULING

1. The Court of Appeals went beyond what the law says, as it totally We find the petition devoid of merit. The CA committed no reversible error of law in
disregarded the legal basis of the RTC in declaring the marriage null and void setting aside the RTC decision, as no basis exists to declare Jocelyns marriage with
Tuason v. Tuason (256 SCRA 158; to be accurate, should be Tuason v. Angelito a nullity under Article 36 of the Family Code and its related jurisprudence.
Court of Appeals) holds that "the finding of the Trial Court as to the existence
or non-existence of petitioners psychological incapacity at the time of the The Law, Molina and Te
marriage is final and binding on us (the Supreme Court); petitioner has not
sufficiently shown that the trial courts factual findings and evaluation of the Article 36 of the Family Code provides that a marriage contracted by any party who,
testimonies of private respondents witnesses vis--vis petitioners defenses at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
are clearly and manifestly erroneous"; essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such
incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.
2. Article 36 of the Family Code did not define psychological incapacity; this
omission was intentional to give the courts a wider discretion to interpret the A unique feature of this law is its intended open-ended application, as it merely
term without being shackled by statutory parameters. Article 36 though was introduced an abstract concept psychological incapacity that disables compliance
taken from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law, which gives three with the contractual obligations of marriage without any concrete definition or, at
conditions that would make a person unable to contract marriage from mental the very least, an illustrative example. We must therefore apply the law based on how
incapacity as follows: the concept of psychological incapacity was shaped and developed in jurisprudence.

"1095. They are incapable of contracting marriage: Santos v. Court of Appeals9 declared that psychological incapacity must be
characterized by (a) gravity; (b) juridical antecedence; and (c) incurability. It should
(1) who lack the sufficient use of reason; 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." It must be confined to "the most serious (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically
cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative
inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage."10 only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone
of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the
The Court laid down more definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to
of the law in Republic v. Court of Appeals11 (Molina) as follows: marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. x x x

(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological
continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be
rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or
of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words,
Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse
decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the
at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected" person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations
by the state. essential to marriage.

The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family (6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up
and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity. to 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.
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition,
clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.
experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family
Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological - not physical, (7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of
although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive,
must convince the court that the parties or one of them was mentally or should be given great respect by our courts x x x
psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the
obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the
assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall be
here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be
ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or
psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert opposition, as the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along
evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such certification
within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed submitted for
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the resolution of the court. The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent
celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095.12
existing when the parties exchanged their "I do's." The manifestation of the
illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have Molina, subsequent jurisprudence holds, merely expounded on the basic requirements
attached at such moment, or prior thereto. of Santos.13
A later case, Marcos v. Marcos,14 further clarified that there is no requirement that the All cases involving the application of Article 36 of the Family Code that came to
defendant/respondent spouse should be personally examined by a physician or us were invariably decided based on the principles in the cited cases. This was the
psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage state of law and jurisprudence on Article 36 when the Court decided Te v. Yu-Te17
based on psychological incapacity. Accordingly, it is no longer necessary to introduce (Te) which revisited the Molina guidelines.
expert opinion in a petition under Article 36 of the Family Code if the totality of
evidence shows that psychological incapacity exists and its gravity, juridical Te begins with the observation that the Committee that drafted the Family Code did
antecedence, and incurability can be duly established.15 not give any examples of psychological incapacity for fear that by so doing, it would
limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis; that the
Pesca v. Pesca16 clarifies that the Molina guidelines apply even to cases then already Committee desired that the courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case
pending, under the reasoning that the courts interpretation or construction establishes basis, guided by experience, by the findings of experts and researchers in
the contemporaneous legislative intent of the law; the latter as so interpreted and psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals that, although not
construed would thus constitute a part of that law as of the date the statute is enacted. binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision itself
It is only when a prior ruling of this Court finds itself later overruled, and a different was taken from the Canon Law.18 Te thus assumes it a basic premise that the law is so
view is adopted, that the new doctrine may have to be applied prospectively in favor designed to allow some resiliency in its application.19
of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith in
accordance therewith under the familiar rule of "lex prospicit, non respicit." Te then sustained Santos doctrinal value, saying that its interpretation is consistent
with that of the Canon Law.
On March 15, 2003, the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages
and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 08-11-10 SC, Rules) promulgated Going back to its basic premise, Te said:
by the Court took effect. Section 2(d) of the Rules pertinently provides:
Conscious of the laws intention that it is the courts, on a case-to-case basis, that
(d) What to allege. A petition under Article 36 of the Family Code shall specifically should determine whether a party to a marriage is psychologically incapacitated, the
allege the complete facts showing that either or both parties were psychologically Court, in sustaining the lower courts judgment of annulment in Tuason v. Court of
incapacitated from complying with the essential marital obligations of marriage at the Appeals, ruled that the findings of the trial court are final and binding on the appellate
time of the celebration of marriage even if such incapacity becomes manifest only courts.
after its celebration.
Again, upholding the trial courts findings and declaring that its decision was not a
The complete facts should allege the physical manifestations, if any, as are indicative judgment on the pleadings, the Court, in Tsoi v. Court of Appeals, explained that
of psychological incapacity at the time of the celebration of the marriage but expert when private respondent testified under oath before the lower court and was cross-
opinion need not be alleged. examined by the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in the form of
testimony. Importantly, the Court, aware of parallel decisions of Catholic marriage
Section 12(d) of the Rules requires a pre-trial brief containing all the evidence tribunals, ruled that the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill
presented, including expert opinion, if any, briefly stating or describing the nature and the marital obligation of procreating children is equivalent to psychological
purpose of these pieces of evidence. Section 14(b) requires the court to consider incapacity.
during the pre-trial conference the advisability of receiving expert testimony and such
other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the petition. Under Section 17 of With this as backdrop, Te launched an attack on Molina. It said that the resiliency
the Rules, the grounds for the declaration of the absolute nullity or annulment of with which the concept should be applied and the case-to-case basis by which the
marriage must be proved. provision should be interpreted, as so intended by its framers, had, somehow, been
rendered ineffectual by the imposition of a set of strict standards in Molina. Molina,
to Te, has become a strait-jacket, forcing all sizes to fit into and be bound by it; evidence the expert opinion on the psychological and mental temperaments of the
wittingly or unwittingly, the Court, in conveniently applying Molina, has allowed parties.
diagnosed sociopaths, schizophrenics, nymphomaniacs, narcissists and the like, to
continuously debase and pervert the sanctity of marriage. xxxx

Te then enunciated the principle that each case must be judged, not on the basis of a Hernandez v. Court of Appeals emphasizes the importance of presenting expert
priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations, but according to its own facts. testimony to establish the precise cause of a partys psychological incapacity, and to
Courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, show that it existed at the inception of the marriage. And as Marcos v. Marcos asserts,
the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions there is no requirement that the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated
of church tribunals. be personally examined by a physician, if the totality of evidence presented is enough
to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity. Verily, the evidence must show a
As a final note though, Te expressly stated that it is not suggesting the abandonment link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and
of Molina, but that, following Antonio v. Reyes, it merely looked at other the psychological disorder itself.
perspectives that should also govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of
nullity under Article 36. The subsequent Ting v. Velez-Ting20 follows Tes lead when This is not to mention, but we mention nevertheless for emphasis, that the
it reiterated that Te did not abandon Molina; far from abandoning Molina, it simply presentation of expert proof presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the
suggested the relaxation of its stringent requirements, cognizant of the explanation parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis of a grave, severe and
given by the Committee on the Revision of the Rules on the rationale of the Rule on incurable presence of psychological incapacity.23 [Underscoring supplied]
Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable
Marriages:21 This evidentiary approach is repeated in Ting v. Velez-Ting.24

To require the petitioner to allege in the petition the particular root cause of the Under this evolutionary development, as shown by the current string of cases on
psychological incapacity and to attach thereto the verified written report of an Article 36 of the Family Code, what should not be lost on us is the intention of the
accredited psychologist or psychiatrist have proved to be too expensive for the law to confine the application of Article 36 to the most serious cases of personality
parties. They adversely affect access to justice of poor litigants. It is also a fact that disorders, clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning
there are provinces where these experts are not available. Thus, the Committee and significance to the marriage; that the psychological illness that must have
deemed it necessary to relax this stringent requirement enunciated in the Molina afflicted a party at the inception of the marriage should be a malady so grave and
Case. The need for the examination of a party or parties by a psychiatrist or clinical permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the
psychologist and the presentation of psychiatric experts shall now be determined by matrimonial bond he or she is about to assume.25 It is not enough that the respondent,
the court during the pre-trial conference. alleged to be psychologically incapacitated, had difficulty in complying with his
marital obligations, or was unwilling to perform these obligations. Proof of a natal or
Te, therefore, instead of substantially departing from Molina,22 merely stands for a supervening disabling factor an adverse integral element in the respondents
more flexible approach in considering petitions for declaration of nullity of marriages personality structure that effectively incapacitated him from complying with his
based on psychological incapacity. It is also noteworthy for its evidentiary approach essential marital obligations must be shown.26 Mere difficulty, refusal or neglect in
in these cases, which it expounded on as follows: the performance of marital obligations or ill will on the part of the spouse is different
from incapacity rooted in some debilitating psychological condition or illness;
By the very nature of Article 36, courts, despite having the primary task and burden irreconcilable differences, sexual infidelity or perversion, emotional immaturity and
of decision-making, must not discount but, instead, must consider as decisive irresponsibility and the like, do not by themselves warrant a finding of psychological
incapacity under Article 36, as the same may only be due to a persons refusal or as the partys close relatives and friends) may be helpful. This is an approach in the
unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage.27 application of Article 36 that allows flexibility, at the same time that it avoids, if not
totally obliterate, the credibility gaps spawned by supposedly expert opinion based
If all these sound familiar, they do, for they are but iterations of Santos juridical entirely on doubtful sources of information.
antecedence, gravity and incurability requisites. This is proof of Santos continuing
doctrinal validity. From these perspectives, we conclude that the psych`ologist, using meager
information coming from a directly interested party, could not have secured a
The Present Case complete personality profile and could not have conclusively formed an objective
opinion or diagnosis of Angelitos psychological condition. While the report or
As the CA did, we find Jocelyns evidence insufficient to establish Angelitos evaluation may be conclusive with respect to Jocelyns psychological condition, this
psychological incapacity to perform essential marital obligations. We so conclude is not true for Angelitos. The methodology employed simply cannot satisfy the
based on our own examination of the evidence on record, which we were compelled required depth and comprehensiveness of examination required to evaluate a party
to undertake because of the differences in the trial court and the appellate courts alleged to be suffering from a psychological disorder. In short, this is not the
appreciation and evaluation of Jocelyns presented evidence. psychological report that the Court can rely on as basis for the conclusion that
psychological incapacity exists.1avvphi1
a. The Expert Opinion Evidence
Other than this credibility or reliability gap, both the psychologists report and
Both the psychologists testimony and the psychological report did not conclusively testimony simply provided a general description of Angelitos purported anti-social
show the root cause, gravity and incurability of Angelitos alleged psychological personality disorder, supported by the characterization of this disorder as chronic,
condition. grave and incurable. The psychologist was conspicuously silent, however, on the
bases for her conclusion or the particulars that gave rise to the characterization she
We first note a critical factor in appreciating or evaluating the expert opinion gave. These particulars are simply not in the Report, and neither can they be found in
evidence the psychologists testimony and the psychological evaluation report her testimony.
that Jocelyn presented. Based on her declarations in open court, the psychologist
evaluated Angelitos psychological condition only in an indirect manner she For instance, the psychologist testified that Angelitos personality disorder is chronic
derived all her conclusions from information coming from Jocelyn whose bias for her or incurable; Angelito has long been afflicted with the disorder prior to his marriage
cause cannot of course be doubted. Given the source of the information upon which with Jocelyn or even during his early developmental stage, as basic trust was not
the psychologist heavily relied upon, the court must evaluate the evidentiary worth of developed. However, she did not support this declaration with any factual basis. In
the opinion with due care and with the application of the more rigid and stringent set her Report, she based her conclusion on the presumption that Angelito apparently
of standards outlined above, i.e., that there must be a thorough and in-depth grew up in a dysfunctional family. Quite noticeable, though, is the psychologists
assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis of a own equivocation on this point she was not firm in her conclusion for she herself
psychological incapacity that is grave, severe and incurable. may have realized that it was simply conjectural. The veracity, too, of this finding is
highly suspect, for it was based entirely on Jocelyns assumed knowledge of
In saying this, we do not suggest that a personal examination of the party alleged to Angelitos family background and upbringing.
be psychologically incapacitated is mandatory; jurisprudence holds that this type of
examination is not a mandatory requirement. While such examination is desirable, we Additionally, the psychologist merely generalized on the questions of why and to
recognize that it may not be practical in all instances given the oftentimes estranged what extent was Angelitos personality disorder grave and incurable, and on the
relations between the parties. For a determination though of a partys complete effects of the disorder on Angelitos awareness of and his capability to undertake the
personality profile, information coming from persons intimately related to him (such duties and responsibilities of marriage.
The psychologist therefore failed to provide the answers to the more important received from Angelito were true, this evidence does not satisfy the requirement of
concerns or requisites of psychological incapacity, all of which are critical to the Article 36 and its related jurisprudence, specifically the Santos requisites.
success of Jocelyns cause.
On the whole, the CA correctly reversed the RTC judgment, whose factual bases we
b. Jocelyns Testimony now find to be clearly and manifestly erroneous. Our ruling in Tuason recognizing the
finality of the factual findings of the trial court in Article 36 cases (which is Jocelyns
The inadequacy and/or lack of probative value of the psychological report and the main anchor in her present appeal with us) does not therefore apply in this case. We
psychologists testimony impel us to proceed to the evaluation of Jocelyns find that, on the contrary, the CA correctly applied Article 36 and its related
testimony, to find out whether she provided the court with sufficient facts to support a jurisprudence to the facts and the evidence of the present case.
finding of Angelitos psychological incapacity.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the petition for lack of merit. We
Unfortunately, we find Jocelyns testimony to be insufficient. Jocelyn merely testified AFFIRM the appealed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 62443.
on Angelitos habitual drunkenness, gambling, refusal to seek employment and the Costs against the petitioner.
physical beatings she received from him all of which occurred after the marriage.
Significantly, she declared in her testimony that Angelito showed no signs of violent SO ORDERED.
behavior, assuming this to be indicative of a personality disorder, during the courtship
stage or at the earliest stages of her relationship with him. She testified on the alleged ARTURO D. BRION
physical beatings after the marriage, not before or at the time of the celebration of the Associate Justice
marriage. She did not clarify when these beatings exactly took place whether it was
near or at the time of celebration of the marriage or months or years after. This is a WE CONCUR:
clear evidentiary gap that materially affects her cause, as the law and its related
jurisprudence require that the psychological incapacity must exist at the time of the ANTONIO T. CARPIO
celebration of the marriage. Associate Justice
Chairperson
Habitual drunkenness, gambling and refusal to find a job, while indicative of
psychological incapacity, do not, by themselves, show psychological incapacity. All MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO ROBERTO A. ABAD
these simply indicate difficulty, neglect or mere refusal to perform marital obligations Associate Justice Associate Justice
that, as the cited jurisprudence holds, cannot be considered to be constitutive of
psychological incapacity in the absence of proof that these are manifestations of an
incapacity rooted in some debilitating psychological condition or illness. JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
Associate Justice
The physical violence allegedly inflicted on Jocelyn deserves a different treatment.
While we may concede that physical violence on women indicates abnormal ATTESTATION
behavioral or personality patterns, such violence, standing alone, does not constitute
psychological incapacity. Jurisprudence holds that there must be evidence showing a I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation
link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
the psychological disorder itself. The evidence of this nexus is irretrievably lost in the
present case under our finding that the opinion of the psychologist cannot be relied
upon. Even assuming, therefore, that Jocelyns account of the physical beatings she
ANTONIO T. CARPIO characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability. See citation at
Associate Justice note 9.
Chairperson
8
Parenthetical notes supplied.
CERTIFICATION
9
310 Phil 21 (1995).
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division
Chairpersons Attestation, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above 10
Id. at 39-40.
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer
of the opinion of the Courts Division. 11
335 Phil. 664 (1997).
12
REYNATO S. PUNO Id. at 676-680.
Chief Justice
13
See Marcos v. Marcos, 397 Phil. 840, 850 (2000).
14
Id.
Footnotes
15
Id. at 850.
1
Penned by Associate Justice Mario L. Guaria III, and concurred in by
16
Associate Justice Marina L. Buzon and Associate Justice Santiago Javier 408 Phil. 713, 720 (2001).
Raada (both retired).
17
G.R. No. 161793, February 13, 2009, 579 SCRA 193.
2
Penned by Judge Pedro de Leon Gutierrez.
18
Id. at 213.
3
TSN, March 31, 1998, pp. 16-17.
19
Id.
4
TSN, July 16, 1998, pp. 15-22.
20
G.R. No. 166562, March 31, 2009.
5
Record, pp. 36-39.
21
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.
6
Parenthetical notes supplied.
22
A step that Te, a Third Division case, could not have legally undertaken
7 because the Molina ruling is an En Banc ruling, in light of Article VIII,
The RTC enumerated the requisites as follows: (1) that psychological
incapacity refers to no less than a mental not physical incapacity; (2) that the Section 4(3) of the Constitution.
law intended psychological incapacity to be confined to the most serious cases
23
of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or Supra note 16, pp. 231-232.
inability to give meaning and significance to marriage; and (3) that the
24
psychological condition must exist at the time of the marriage and must be Supra note 19.
25
See So v. Valera, G.R. No. 150677, June 5, 2009, and Padilla-Rumbaua v.
Rumbaua, G.R. No. 166738, August 14, 2009.
26
Id., Padilla-Rumbaua v. Rumbaua.
27
Navales v. Navales, G.R. No. 167523, June 27, 2008, 556 SCRA 272, 288-
289.
FIRST DIVISION Sometime in 1985, Jose was appointed as the Battalion Commander of the Security
Escort Group. He and Bona, along with Ramona, were given living quarters at Fort
G.R. No. 167459 January 26, 2011 Bonifacio, Makati City where they resided with their military aides.

JOSE REYNALDO B. OCHOSA, Petitioner, In 1987, Jose was charged with rebellion for his alleged participation in the failed
vs. coup detat. He was incarcerated in Camp Crame.
BONA J. ALANO and REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
It appears that Bona was an unfaithful spouse. Even at the onset of their marriage
DECISION when Jose was assigned in various parts of the country, she had illicit relations with
other men. Bona apparently did not change her ways when they lived together at Fort
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: Bonifacio; she entertained male visitors in her bedroom whenever Jose was out of
their living quarters. On one occasion, Bona was caught by Demetrio Bajet y Lita, a
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking security aide, having sex with Joses driver, Corporal Gagarin. Rumors of Bonas
to set aside the Decision1 dated October 11, 2004 as well as the Resolution2 dated sexual infidelity circulated in the military community. When Jose could no longer
March 10, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 65120, which reversed bear these rumors, he got a military pass from his jail warden and confronted Bona.
and set aside the Decision3 dated January 11, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court of
Makati City, Branch 140 in Civil Case No. 97-2903. In the said January 11, 1999 During their confrontation, Bona admitted her relationship with Corporal Gagarin
Decision, the trial court granted petitioner Jose Reynaldo Ochosas (Jose) petition for who also made a similar admission to Jose. Jose drove Bona away from their living
the declaration of nullity of marriage between him and private respondent Bona J. quarters. Bona left with Ramona and went to Basilan.
Alano (Bona).
In 1994, Ramona left Bona and came to live with Jose. It is Jose who is currently
The relevant facts of this case, as outlined by the Court of Appeals, are as follows: supporting the needs of Ramona.

It appears that Jose met Bona in August 1973 when he was a young lieutenant in the Jose filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, docketed as Civil Case
AFP while the latter was a seventeen-year-old first year college drop-out. They had a No. 97-2903 with the RTC of Makati City, Branch 140, seeking to nullify his
whirlwind romance that culminated into sexual intimacy and eventual marriage on 27 marriage to Bona on the ground of the latters psychological incapacity to fulfill the
October 1973 before the Honorable Judge Cesar S. Principe in Basilan. The couple essential obligations of marriage.
did not acquire any property. Neither did they incur any debts. Their union produced
no offspring. In 1976, however, they found an abandoned and neglected one-year-old Summons with a copy of the petition and its annexes were duly served upon Bona
baby girl whom they later registered as their daughter, naming her Ramona Celeste who failed to file any responsive pleading during the reglementary period.
Alano Ochosa.
Pursuant to the order of the trial court, the Public Prosecutor conducted an
During their marriage, Jose was often assigned to various parts of the Philippine investigation to determine whether there was collusion between the parties. Said
archipelago as an officer in the AFP. Bona did not cohabit with him in his posts, prosecutor submitted a report that she issued a subpoena to both parties but only Jose
preferring to stay in her hometown of Basilan. Neither did Bona visit him in his areas appeared; hence, it can not be reasonably determined whether or not there was
of assignment, except in one (1) occasion when Bona stayed with him for four (4) collusion between them.
days.
Trial on the merits of the case ensued. Petitioner along with his two military aides, Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended, provides as follows:
Gertrudes Himpayan Padernal and Demetrio Bajet y Lita, testified about respondents
marital infidelity during the marriage. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
The fourth and final witness was Elizabeth E. Rondain, a psychiatrist, who testified marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after
that after conducting several tests, she reached the conclusion that respondent was its solemnization.
suffering from histrionic personality disorder which she described as follows:
Such a ground to be invalidative (sic) of marriage, the degree of incapacity must
"Her personality is that she has an excessive emotion and attention seeking exhibit GRAVITY, ANTECEDENCE and INCURABILITY.
behavior.1wphi1 So therefore they dont develop sympathy in feelings and they have
difficulty in maintaining emotional intimacy. In the case of Mr. Ochosa he has been a From the evidence presented, the Court finds that the psychological incapacity of the
military man. It is his duty to be transferred in different areas in the Philippines. And respondent exhibited GRAVITY, ANTECEDENCE and INCURABILITY.
while he is being transferred from one place to another because of his assignments as
a military man, Mrs. Bona Alano refused to follow him in all his assignments. There It is grave because the respondent did not carry out the normal and ordinary duties of
were only few occasions in which she followed him. And during those times that they marriage and family shouldered by any average couple existing under everyday
were not living together, because of the assignments of Mr. Ochosa she developed circumstances of life and work. The gravity was manifested in respondents infidelity
extra marital affair with other man of which she denied in the beginning but in the as testified to by the petitioner and his witnesses.
latter part of their relationship she admitted it to Mr. Ochosa that she had relationship
with respondents driver. I believe with this extra marital affair that is her way of The psychological incapacity of the respondent could be traced back to respondents
seeking attention and seeking emotions from other person and not from the husband. history as testified to by the expert witness when she said that respondents bad
And of course, this is not fulfilling the basic responsibility in a marriage." experience during her childhood resulted in her difficulty in achieving emotional
intimacy, hence, her continuous illicit relations with several men before and during
According to Rondain, respondents psychological disorder was traceable to her the marriage.
family history, having for a father a gambler and a womanizer and a mother who was
a battered wife. There was no possibility of a cure since respondent does not have an Considering that persons suffering from this kind of personality disorder have no
insight of what is happening to her and refused to acknowledge the reality. insight of their condition, they will not submit to treatment at all. As in the case at
bar, respondents psychological incapacity clinically identified as Histrionic
With the conclusion of the witnesses testimonies, petitioner formally offered his Personality Disorder will remain incurable.4 (Emphasis supplied.)
evidence and rested his case.
Thus, the dispositive portion of the trial court Decision dated January 11, 1999 read:
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) submitted its opposition to the petition on
the ground that "the factual settings in the case at bench, in no measure at all, can WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered DECLARING the
come close to the standards required to decree a nullity of marriage (Santos v. CA, marriage of JOSE REYNALDO B. OCHOSA and BONA J. ALANO on October 27,
240 SCRA 20 [1995])." 1973 at Basilan City VOID AB INITIO on ground of psychological incapacity of the
respondent under Article 36 of the Family Code as amended with all the effects and
In a Decision dated 11 January 1999, the trial court granted the petition and consequences provided for by all applicable provisions of existing pertinent laws.
nullified the parties marriage on the following findings, viz:
After this Decision becomes final, let copies thereof be sent to the Local Civil
xxxx Registrar of Basilan City who is directed to cancel the said marriage from its Civil
Registry, and the Local Civil Registrar of Makati City for its information and the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations
guidance.5 may emerge only after marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were
otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) appealed the said ruling to the Court of
Appeals which sided with the OSGs contention that the trial court erred in granting Soon after, incorporating the three basic requirements of psychological incapacity as
the petition despite Joses abject failure to discharge the burden of proving the alleged mandated in Santos, we laid down in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina8 the
psychological incapacity of his wife, Bona, to comply with the essential marital following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family
obligations. Code:

Thus, the Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the trial court Decision in its (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the
assailed Decision dated October 11, 2004, the dispositive portion of which states: plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and
continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is
WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED, the appealed Decision dated 11 January rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity
1999 in Civil Case No. 97-2903 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire
Branch 140, is accordingly REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and another is entered Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It
DISMISSING the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.6 decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution
at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected"
Jose filed a Motion for Reconsideration but this was denied by the Court of Appeals by the state.
for lack of merit in its assailed Resolution dated March 10, 2005.
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the
Hence, this Petition. family and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.

The only issue before this Court is whether or not Bona should be deemed (2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by
experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family
The petition is without merit. Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological not physical,
although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence
The petition for declaration of nullity of marriage which Jose filed in the trial court must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or
hinges on Article 36 of the Family Code, to wit: physically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the
obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid
A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of
marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a
its solemnization. psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert
evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
In the landmark case of Santos v. Court of Appeals,7 we observed that psychological
incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the
incurability. The incapacity must be grave or serious such that the party would be celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was
incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage; it must be rooted in existing when the parties exchanged their "I dos." The manifestation of the
illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to
attached at such moment, or prior thereto. harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people, it
stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically weight should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. Ideally
permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative subject to our law on evidence what is decreed as canonically
only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone invalid should also be decreed civilly void.
of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the
assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to This is one instance where, in view of the evident source and purpose
marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a of the Family Code provision, contemporaneous religious
pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and interpretation is to be given persuasive effect. Here, the State and the
prescribing medicine to cure them but may not be psychologically capacitated Church while remaining independent, separate and apart from each
to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of other shall walk together in synodal cadence towards the same goal
marriage. of protecting and cherishing marriage and the family as the inviolable
base of the nation.
(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party
to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the
peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outburst" cannot be Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall be
accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be
inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or
there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse opposition, as the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such certification
person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed submitted for
essential to marriage. resolution of the court. The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent
function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095.9 (Citations
(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Article 68 up omitted.)
to 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. In Marcos v. Marcos,10 we previously held that the foregoing guidelines do not
Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically
proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision. 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 partys
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of psychological condition. For, indeed, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to
the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the
should be given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was person concerned need not be resorted to.
taken by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New
Code of Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 and which provides: It is also established in jurisprudence that from these requirements arise the concept
that Article 36 of the Family Code does not really dissolve a marriage; it simply
"The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are recognizes that there never was any marriage in the first place because the affliction
unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of already then existing was so grave and permanent as to deprive the afflicted party of
psychological nature."
awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she was to abandoned Jose. However, we cannot apply the same conviction to Joses thesis that
assume or had assumed.11 the totality of Bonas acts constituted psychological incapacity as determined by
Article 36 of the Family Code. There is inadequate credible evidence that her
A little over a decade since the promulgation of the Molina guidelines, we made a "defects" were already present at the inception of, or prior to, the marriage. In other
critical assessment of the same in Ngo Te v. Yu-Te,12 to wit: words, her alleged psychological incapacity did not satisfy the jurisprudential
requisite of "juridical antecedence."
In hindsight, it may have been inappropriate for the Court to impose a rigid set of
rules, as the one in Molina, in resolving all cases of psychological incapacity. With regard to Bonas sexual promiscuity prior to her marriage to Jose, we have only
Understandably, the Court was then alarmed by the deluge of petitions for the the uncorroborated testimony of Jose made in open court to support this allegation.
dissolution of marital bonds, and was sensitive to the OSGs exaggeration of Article To quote the pertinent portion of the transcript:
36 as the "most liberal divorce procedure in the world." The unintended consequences
of Molina, however, has taken its toll on people who have to live with deviant Q: So, what was the reason why you have broken with your wife after several years -
behavior, moral insanity and sociopathic personality anomaly, which, like termites,
consume little by little the very foundation of their families, our basic social A: Well, I finally broke up with my wife because I can no longer bear the torture
institutions. Far from what was intended by the Court, Molina has become a strait- because of the gossips that she had an affair with other men, and finally, when I have
jacket, forcing all sizes to fit into and be bound by it. Wittingly or unwittingly, the a chance to confront her she admitted that she had an affair with other men.
Court, in conveniently applying Molina, has allowed diagnosed sociopaths,
schizophrenics, nymphomaniacs, narcissists and the like, to continuously debase and Q: With other men. And, of course this her life with other men of course before the
pervert the sanctity of marriage. Ironically, the Roman Rota has annulled marriages marriage you have already known
on account of the personality disorders of the said individuals.13
A: Yes, your honor.
However, our critique did not mean that we had declared an abandonment of the
Molina doctrine. On the contrary, we simply declared and, thus, clarified in the same Q: So, that this gossips because you said that you thought that this affair would go
Te case that there is a need to emphasize other perspectives as well which should to end after your marriage?
govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36.
Furthermore, we reiterated in the same case the principle that each case must be A: Yes, I was thinking about that.
judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but
according to its own facts. And, to repeat for emphasis, courts should interpret the Q: So, that after several years she will not change so thats why you cant bear it
provision on a case-to-case basis; guided by experience, the findings of experts and anymore?
researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals.14
A: Yes, maam.20
In the case at bar, the trial court granted the petition for the declaration of nullity of
marriage on the basis of Dr. Elizabeth Rondains testimony15 and her psychiatric Dr. Rondains testimony and psychiatric evaluation report do not provide evidentiary
evaluation report16 as well as the individual testimonies of Jose17 and his military support to cure the doubtful veracity of Joses one-sided assertion. Even if we take
aides - Mrs. Gertrudes Himpayan Padernal18 and Corporal Demetrio Bajet.19 into account the psychiatrists conclusion that Bona harbors a Histrionic Personality
Disorder that existed prior to her marriage with Jose and this mental condition
We are sufficiently convinced, after a careful perusal of the evidence presented in this purportedly made her helplessly prone to promiscuity and sexual infidelity, the same
case, that Bona had been, on several occasions with several other men, sexually cannot be taken as credible proof of antecedence since the method by which such an
disloyal to her spouse, Jose. Likewise, we are persuaded that Bona had indeed
inference was reached leaves much to be desired in terms of meeting the standard of A: I also interviewed (sic) the transcript of stenographic notes of the testimonies of
evidence required in determining psychological incapacity. other witnesses, maam.

The psychiatrists findings on Bonas personality profile did not emanate from a xxxx
personal interview with the subject herself as admitted by Dr. Rondain in court, as
follows: Q: Was there also a psychological test conducted on the respondent?

Q: How about, you mentioned that the petitioner came for psychological test, how A: Yes, your honor.
about the respondent, did she come for interview and test?
Q: It was on the basis of the psychological test in which you based your evaluation
A: No, maam. report?

Q: Did you try to take her for such? A: It was based on the psychological test conducted and clinical interview with the
other witnesses, your Honor.22
A: Yes, maam.
Verily, Dr. Rondain evaluated Bonas psychological condition indirectly from the
Q: And what did she tell you, did she come for an interview? information gathered solely from Jose and his witnesses. This factual circumstance
evokes the possibility that the information fed to the psychiatrist is tainted with bias
A: There was no response, maam.21 for Joses cause, in the absence of sufficient corroboration.

As a consequence thereof, Dr. Rondain merely relied on her interview with Jose and Even if we give the benefit of the doubt to the testimonies at issue since the trial court
his witness, Mrs. Padernal, as well as the court record of the testimonies of other judge had found them to be credible enough after personally witnessing Jose and the
witnesses, to wit: witnesses testify in court, we cannot lower the evidentiary benchmark with regard to
information on Bonas pre-marital history which is crucial to the issue of antecedence
Q: And you said you did interviews. Who did the interview? in this case because we have only the word of Jose to rely on. In fact, Bonas
dysfunctional family portrait which brought about her Histrionic Personality Disorder
A: I interviewed Mr. Ochosa and their witness Padernal, maam. as painted by Dr. Rondain was based solely on the assumed truthful knowledge of
Jose, the spouse who has the most to gain if his wife is found to be indeed
Q: When you say Padernal are you referring to Gertrudes Himpayan Padernal who psychologically incapacitated. No other witness testified to Bonas family history or
testified in this court? her behavior prior to or at the beginning of the marriage. Both Mrs. Padernal and
Corporal Bajet came to know Bona only during their employment in petitioners
A: Yes, maam. household during the marriage. It is undisputed that Jose and Bona were married in
1973 while Mrs. Padernal and Corporal Bajet started to live with petitioners family
xxxx only in 1980 and 1986, respectively.

Q: Other than the interviews what else did you do in order to evaluate members of the We have previously held that, in employing a rigid and stringent level of evidentiary
parties? scrutiny to cases like this, we do not suggest that a personal examination of the party
alleged to be psychologically incapacitated is mandatory; jurisprudence holds that this
type of examination is not a mandatory requirement. While such examination is
desirable, we recognize that it may not be practical in all instances given the Q: And, of course she would come to your place every now and then because it is not
oftentimes estranged relations between the parties. For a determination though of a very far
partys complete personality profile, information coming from persons with personal
knowledge of the juridical antecedents may be helpful. This is an approach in the A: No, maam, once in a while only.
application of Article 36 that allows flexibility, at the same time that it avoids, if not
totally obliterate, the credibility gaps spawned by supposedly expert opinion based Q: Did you not go home to your conjugal home?
entirely on doubtful sources of information.23
A: I have a chanced also to go home because we were allowed to at least three (3)
However, we have also ruled in past decisions that to make conclusions and days every other month.
generalizations on a spouses psychological condition based on the information fed
by only one side, similar to what we have pointed out in the case at bar, is, to the Q: So, if you start from the marriage up to 1988 so that is 16 years you were supposed
Courts mind, not different from admitting hearsay evidence as proof of the to have been living together?
truthfulness of the content of such evidence.24
A: No, actually in 19 middle of 1987 because in 1987 I was in x x x.25
Anent the accusation that, even at the inception of their marriage, Bona did not wish
to be with Jose as a further manifestation of her psychological incapacity, we need GERTRUDES PADERNALS TESTIMONY:
only to look at the testimonial records of Jose and his witnesses to be convinced
otherwise, to wit: Q: Now, do you know when they lived together as husband and wife?

JOSE OCHOSAS TESTIMONY: A: 1979.

Q: How long did you stay with your wife? Q: And you said that you have known the petitioner and the respondent in this case
because in fact, you lived with them together in the same quarters. Does the quarters
A: We were married in 1973 and we separated in 1988 but in all those years there have different rooms?
were only few occasions that we were staying together because most of the time Im
in the field. A: Yes, maam.

Q: Now, you said most of the time you were in the field, did you not your wife Q: But very near each other?
come with you in any of your assignments?
A: Yes, maam.
A: Never, but sometimes she really visited me and stayed for one (1) day and then
Q: You know them because of the proximity of the quarters?
Q: And, where did your wife stayed when she leaves you?
A: Yes, maam.
A: She was staying with her mother in Basilan.
Q: It was only during this 1980 to 1983, three (3) years that you lived together that
Q: Where were you assigned most of the time? you have a chance to be with the spouses?

A: I was assigned in Davao, Zamboanga, Cotabato, Basilan. xxxx


A: Since 1980 to 1983 we lived together in the same house. Q: But the matter of the work or assignment of the petitioner, he was assigned in
different Provinces or Barangays in the Philippines?
xxxx
A: Yes, maam.
Q: Now, Madam Witness, after 1983, where did you reside together with your
husband? Q: Now, when the wife or the respondent in this case did not go with the husband in
different places of his assignment did you ask her why what was the reason why she
A: In Cagayan de Oro and in 1986 we came back to Manila, in Fort Bonifacio. did not like to go those places?

Q: You mean, in the same house where petitioner and the respondent lived together? A: She just did not want to. The wife did not go with him because by transferring
from one place to another, she just dont want to go, she just wanted to stay in Basilan
A: Yes. Maam. where her hometown is, maam.

Q: How long did you live in the house where the petitioner and the respondent stay? Q: Did the petitioner herein tell you why the respondent dont want to go with him?

A: Twelve years now since 1983 to 1995. A: Yes, I asked, the answer of the petitioner was she simply did not want to go with
him because she did not want him to be appointed to far away places.
Q: Where was the petitioner working at that time, from 1982 to 1995?
Q: And would it be that since she did not like to go with the husband in some far
A: He is a soldier, a Colonel. away different assignments she also assumed that the assignments were in this war
regions they were always fighting considering the place in Basilan they were in
Q: Do you know where he was assigned during this time? fighting atmosphere?

A: Yes, maam, G-3. A: It is possible but he was transferred to Manila and she also refused to stay in
Manila, maam.
Q: May we know where this G-3 is?
Q: When was that that she refused to come to Manila?
A: Fort Bonifacio, maam.
A: I think, sometime in 1983, maam. She did not follow immediately. She stayed
Q: What about the wife, where does she stay? with him only for four (4) months, maam.

A: At Fort Bonifacio, in their house.26 Q: Now, do you know if the petitioner and the respondent were living together as
husband and wife for this period of time during the relationship?
DR. ELIZABETH E. RONDAINS TESTIMONY:
A: Yes, maam. After their marriage I believe their relationship was good for a few
Q: Now, they got married in 1973, am I correct? months until he was transferred to Julu. I believe during that time when they were
together the husband was giving an attention to her. The husband was always there
A: Yes, maam. and when the husband transferred to Basilan, the attention was not there anymore,
maam.27
It is apparent from the above-cited testimonies that Bona, contrary to Joses assertion, RENATO C. CORONA
had no manifest desire to abandon Jose at the beginning of their marriage and was, in Chief Justice
fact, living with him for the most part of their relationship from 1973 up to the time Chairperson
when Jose drove her away from their conjugal home in 1988. On the contrary, the
record shows that it was Jose who was constantly away from Bona by reason of his PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
military duties and his later incarceration. A reasonable explanation for Bonas Associate Justice Associate Justice
refusal to accompany Jose in his military assignments in other parts of Mindanao may
be simply that those locations were known conflict areas in the seventies. Any doubt
as to Bonas desire to live with Jose would later be erased by the fact that Bona lived JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
with Jose in their conjugal home in Fort Bonifacio during the following decade. Associate Justice
In view of the foregoing, the badges of Bonas alleged psychological incapacity, i.e., CERTIFICATION
her sexual infidelity and abandonment, can only be convincingly traced to the period
of time after her marriage to Jose and not to the inception of the said marriage. Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions
in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned
We have stressed time and again that Article 36 of the Family Code is not to be to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefore
manifest themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even RENATO C. CORONA
before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to Chief Justice
deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond
one is about to assume. These marital obligations are those provided under Articles
68 to 71, 220, 221 and 225 of the Family Code.28
Footnotes
While we are not insensitive to petitioners suffering in view of the truly appalling
and shocking behavior of his wife, still, we are bound by judicial precedents 1
Rollo, pp. 28-39; penned by Associate Justice Rebecca de Guia-Salvador
regarding the evidentiary requirements in psychological incapacity cases that must be
with Associate Justices Portia Alio-Hormachuelos and Aurora Santiago-
applied to the present case.
Lagman, concurring.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of 2
Id. at 41.
Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.
3
Id. at 42-46.
SO ORDERED.
4
Id. at 28-33.
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
Associate Justice 5
Id. at 46.
WE CONCUR: 6
Id. at 39.
7 26
310 Phil. 21, 39 (1995). TSN, July 1, 1998, pp. 7-10.
8 27
335 Phil. 664 (1997). TSN, September 14, 1998, pp. 13-15.
9 28
Id. at 676-680. Marcos v. Marcos, supra note 10 at 857
10
397 Phil. 840, 850 (2000).
11
Toring v. Toring, G.R. No. 165321, August 3, 2010.
12
G.R. No. 161793, February 13, 2009, 579 SCRA 193.
13
Id. at 224-225.
14
Id. at 228.
15
TSN, September 14, 1998.
16
Records, pp. 70-74.
17
TSN, March 3, 1998.
18
TSN, July 1, 1998.
19
TSN, August 21, 1998.
20
TSN, March 3, 1998, p. 8.
21
TSN, September 14, 1998, p. 8.
22
Id. at 6-17.
23
Suazo v. Suazo, G.R. No. 164493, March 12, 2010.
24
Padilla-Rumbaua v. Rumbaua, G.R. No. 166738, August 14, 2009, 596
SCRA 157, 181.
25
TSN, March 3, 1998, pp. 9-10.
SECOND DIVISION Superior Court of California on 25 May 2001. Petitioner also learned that on 5
October 2001, respondent married a certain Manuel V. Alcantara.
G.R. No. 178044 January 19, 2011
On 30 April 2002, the Office of the Las Pias prosecutor found that there were no
ALAIN M. DIO , Petitioner, indicative facts of collusion between the parties and the case was set for trial on the
vs. merits.
MA. CARIDAD L. DIO, Respondent.
Dr. Nedy L. Tayag (Dr. Tayag), a clinical psychologist, submitted a psychological
DECISION report establishing that respondent was suffering from Narcissistic Personality
Disorder which was deeply ingrained in her system since her early formative years.
CARPIO, J.: Dr. Tayag found that respondents disorder was long-lasting and by nature, incurable.

The Case In its 18 October 2006 Decision, the trial court granted the petition on the ground that
respondent was psychologically incapacited to comply with the essential marital
Before the Court is a petition for review1 assailing the 18 October 2006 Decision2 and obligations at the time of the celebration of the marriage.
the 12 March 2007 Order3 of the Regional Trial Court of Las Pias City, Branch 254
(trial court) in Civil Case No. LP-01-0149. The Decision of the Trial Court

The Antecedent Facts The trial court ruled that based on the evidence presented, petitioner was able to
establish respondents psychological incapacity. The trial court ruled that even
Alain M. Dio (petitioner) and Ma. Caridad L. Dio (respondent) were childhood without Dr. Tayags psychological report, the allegations in the complaint,
friends and sweethearts. They started living together in 1984 until they decided to substantiated in the witness stand, clearly made out a case of psychological incapacity
separate in 1994. In 1996, petitioner and respondent decided to live together again. against respondent. The trial court found that respondent committed acts which hurt
On 14 January 1998, they were married before Mayor Vergel Aguilar of Las Pias and embarrassed petitioner and the rest of the family, and that respondent failed to
City. observe mutual love, respect and fidelity required of her under Article 68 of the
Family Code. The trial court also ruled that respondent abandoned petitioner when
On 30 May 2001, petitioner filed an action for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage she obtained a divorce abroad and married another man.
against respondent, citing psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family
Code. Petitioner alleged that respondent failed in her marital obligation to give love The dispositive portion of the trial courts decision reads:
and support to him, and had abandoned her responsibility to the family, choosing
instead to go on shopping sprees and gallivanting with her friends that depleted the WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered:
family assets. Petitioner further alleged that respondent was not faithful, and would at
times become violent and hurt him. 1. Declaring the marriage between plaintiff ALAIN M. DIO and defendant
MA. CARIDAD L. DIO on January 14, 1998, and all its effects under the
Extrajudicial service of summons was effected upon respondent who, at the time of law, as NULL and VOID from the beginning; and
the filing of the petition, was already living in the United States of America. Despite
receipt of the summons, respondent did not file an answer to the petition within the 2. Dissolving the regime of absolute community of property.
reglementary period. Petitioner later learned that respondent filed a petition for
divorce/dissolution of her marriage with petitioner, which was granted by the
A DECREE OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF MARRIAGE shall only be issued upon The Ruling of this Court
compliance with Article[s] 50 and 51 of the Family Code.
The petition has merit.
Let copies of this Decision be furnished the parties, the Office of the Solicitor
General, Office of the City Prosecutor, Las Pias City and the Office of the Local Petitioner assails the ruling of the trial court ordering that a decree of absolute nullity
Civil Registrar of Las Pias City, for their information and guidance. of marriage shall only be issued after liquidation, partition, and distribution of the
parties properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. Petitioner argues that
SO ORDERED.4 Section 19(1) of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Null Marriages and
Annulment of Voidable Marriages6 (the Rule) does not apply to Article 147 of the
Petitioner filed a motion for partial reconsideration questioning the dissolution of the Family Code.
absolute community of property and the ruling that the decree of annulment shall only
be issued upon compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code. We agree with petitioner.

In its 12 March 2007 Order, the trial court partially granted the motion and modified The Court has ruled in Valdes v. RTC, Branch 102, Quezon City that in a void
its 18 October 2006 Decision as follows: marriage, regardless of its cause, the property relations of the parties during the
period of cohabitation is governed either by Article 147 or Article 148 of the Family
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered: Code.7 Article 147 of the Family Code applies to union of parties who are legally
capacitated and not barred by any impediment to contract marriage, but whose
1) Declaring the marriage between plaintiff ALAIN M. DIO and defendant marriage is nonetheless void,8 such as petitioner and respondent in the case before the
MA. CARIDAD L. DIO on January 14, 1998, and all its effects under the Court.
law, as NULL and VOID from the beginning; and
Article 147 of the Family Code provides:
2) Dissolving the regime of absolute community of property.
Article 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live
A DECREE OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF MARRIAGE shall be issued after exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or
liquidation, partition and distribution of the parties properties under Article 147 of under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal
the Family Code. shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall
be governed by the rules on co-ownership.
Let copies of this Order be furnished the parties, the Office of the Solicitor General,
the Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Pias City and the Local Civil Registrar of In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while they lived together
Las Pias City, for their information and guidance.5 shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry, and
shall be owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this Article, a party who did
Hence, the petition before this Court. not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to
have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the formers efforts consisted in
The Issue the care and maintenance of the family and of the household.

The sole issue in this case is whether the trial court erred when it ordered that a Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the
decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall only be issued after liquidation, partition, property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common, without the consent of
and distribution of the parties properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. the other, until after the termination of their cohabitation.
When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith, the share of the party children, and the delivery of their presumptive legitimes, unless such matters had
in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. been adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings.
In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their
descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving descendants. All creditors of the spouses as well as of the absolute community of the conjugal
In the absence of descendants, such share shall belong to the innocent party. In all partnership shall be notified of the proceedings for liquidation.
cases, the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the cohabitation.
In the partition, the conjugal dwelling and the lot on which it is situated, shall be
For Article 147 of the Family Code to apply, the following elements must be present: adjudicated in accordance with the provisions of Articles 102 and 129.

1. The man and the woman must be capacitated to marry each other; Article 51. In said partition, the value of the presumptive legitimes of all common
children, computed as of the date of the final judgment of the trial court, shall be
2. They live exclusively with each other as husband and wife; and delivered in cash, property or sound securities, unless the parties, by mutual
agreement judicially approved, had already provided for such matters.
3. Their union is without the benefit of marriage, or their marriage is void.9
The children of their guardian, or the trustee of their property, may ask for the
All these elements are present in this case and there is no question that Article 147 of enforcement of the judgment.
the Family Code applies to the property relations between petitioner and respondent.
The delivery of the presumptive legitimes herein prescribed shall in no way prejudice
We agree with petitioner that the trial court erred in ordering that a decree of absolute the ultimate successional rights of the children accruing upon the death of either or
nullity of marriage shall be issued only after liquidation, partition and distribution of both of the parents; but the value of the properties already received under the decree
the parties properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. The ruling has no basis of annulment or absolute nullity shall be considered as advances on their legitime.
because Section 19(1) of the Rule does not apply to cases governed under Articles
147 and 148 of the Family Code. Section 19(1) of the Rule provides: It is clear from Article 50 of the Family Code that Section 19(1) of the Rule applies
only to marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled by final judgment
Sec. 19. Decision. - (1) If the court renders a decision granting the petition, it shall under Articles 40 and 45 of the Family Code. In short, Article 50 of the Family
declare therein that the decree of absolute nullity or decree of annulment shall be Code does not apply to marriages which are declared void ab initio under Article 36
issued by the court only after compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code of the Family Code, which should be declared void without waiting for the liquidation
as implemented under the Rule on Liquidation, Partition and Distribution of of the properties of the parties.
Properties.
Article 40 of the Family Code contemplates a situation where a second or bigamous
The pertinent provisions of the Family Code cited in Section 19(1) of the Rule are: marriage was contracted.1avvphil Under Article 40, "[t]he absolute nullity of a
previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a
Article 50. The effects provided for in paragraphs (2), (3), (4) and (5) of Article 43 final judgment declaring such previous marriage void." Thus we ruled:
and in Article 44 shall also apply in proper cases to marriages which are declared
void ab initio or annulled by final judgment under Articles 40 and 45.10 x x x where the absolute nullity of a previous marriage is sought to be invoked for
purposes of contracting a second marriage, the sole basis acceptable in law, for said
The final judgment in such cases shall provide for the liquidation, partition and projected marriage to be free from legal infirmity, is a final judgment declaring a
distribution of the properties of the spouses, the custody and support of the common previous marriage void.11
Article 45 of the Family Code, on the other hand, refers to voidable marriages, DIOSDADO M. PERALTA ROBERTO A. ABAD
meaning, marriages which are valid until they are set aside by final judgment of a Associate Justice Associate Justice
competent court in an action for annulment.12 In both instances under Articles 40 and
45, the marriages are governed either by absolute community of property13 or
conjugal partnership of gains14 unless the parties agree to a complete separation of JOSE C. MENDOZA
property in a marriage settlement entered into before the marriage. Since the property Associate Justice
relations of the parties is governed by absolute community of property or conjugal
partnership of gains, there is a need to liquidate, partition and distribute the properties ATTESTATION
before a decree of annulment could be issued. That is not the case for annulment of
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code because the marriage is governed by I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation
the ordinary rules on co-ownership. before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
In this case, petitioners marriage to respondent was declared void under Article 3615 ANTONIO T. CARPIO
of the Family Code and not under Article 40 or 45. Thus, what governs the Associate Justice
liquidation of properties owned in common by petitioner and respondent are the rules Chairperson
on co-ownership. In Valdes, the Court ruled that the property relations of parties in a
void marriage during the period of cohabitation is governed either by Article 147 or CERTIFICATION
Article 148 of the Family Code.16 The rules on co-ownership apply and the properties
of the spouses should be liquidated in accordance with the Civil Code provisions on Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division
co-ownership. Under Article 496 of the Civil Code, "[p]artition may be made by Chairpersons Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had
agreement between the parties or by judicial proceedings. x x x." It is not necessary to been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion
liquidate the properties of the spouses in the same proceeding for declaration of of the Courts Division.
nullity of marriage.
RENATO C. CORONA
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of the trial court with the Chief Justice
MODIFICATION that the decree of absolute nullity of the marriage shall be issued
upon finality of the trial courts decision without waiting for the liquidation, partition,
and distribution of the parties properties under Article 147 of the Family Code.
Footnotes
SO ORDERED.
1
Under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice 2
Rollo, pp. 28-34. Penned by Presiding Judge Gloria Butay Aglugub.
WE CONCUR: 3
Id. at 45-46.
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA 4
Id. at 34.
Associate Justice
5
Id. at 46. Article 40. The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for
purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such
6
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, effective 15 March 2003. previous marriage void.
7
328 Phil. 1289 (1996). Article 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes,
existing at the time of the marriage:
8
Mercado-Fehr v. Bruno Fehr, 460 Phil. 445 (2003).
(1) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage
9
Id. annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and
the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents,
10 guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party,
Article 43. The termination of the subsequent marriage referred to in the
preceding Article shall produce the following effects: in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party
freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and
(1) The children of the subsequent marriage conceived prior to its wife;
termination shall be considered legitimate and their custody and
support in case of dispute shall be decided by the court in a proper (2) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after
proceeding; coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(2) The absolute community of property or the conjugal partnership, as (3) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such
the case may be, shall be dissolved and liquidated, but if either spouse party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the
contracted said marriage in bad faith, his or her share of the net profits fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
of the community property or conjugal partnership property shall be
forfeited in favor of the common children or, if there are none, the (4) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation
children of the guilty spouse by a previous marriage or in default of or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased,
children, the innocent spouse; such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and
wife;
(3) Donations by reason of marriage shall remain valid, except that if
the donee contracted the marriage in bad faith, such donations made to (5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the
said donee are revoked by operation of law; marriage with the other and such incapacity continues and appears to
be incurable; or
(4) The innocent spouse may revoke the designation of the other
spouse who acted in bad faith as a beneficiary in any insurance policy, (6) That either party was afflicted with a sexually transmissible disease
even if such designation be stipulated as irrevocable; and found to be serious and appears to be incurable.
11
(5) The spouse who contracted the subsequent marriage in bad faith Nicdao Cario v. Yee Cario, 403 Phil. 861 (2001).
shall be disqualified to inherit from the innocent spouse by testate and
12
intestate succession. Suntay v. Cojuangco-Suntay, 360 Phil. 932 (1998).
13
Article 88 of the Family Code.
14
Article 105 of the Family Code.
15
Article 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential
marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity
becomes manifest only after its solemnization.
16
Supra note 7.
SECOND DIVISION accidental pregnancy.11 At the time of their marriage, he was 21 years old, while
Natividad was 18 years of age. He had no stable job and merely worked in the
G.R. No. 171557 February 12, 2014 gambling cockpits as "kristo" and "bangkero sa hantak." When he decided to join and
train with the army,12 Natividad left their conjugal home and sold their house without
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, his consent.13 Thereafter, Natividad moved to Dipolog City where she lived with a
vs. certain Engineer Terez (Terez), and bore him a child named Julie Ann Terez.14 After
RODOLFO O. DE GRACIA, Respondent. cohabiting with Terez, Natividad contracted a second marriage on January 11, 1991
with another man named Antonio Mondarez and has lived since then with the latter in
DECISION Cagayan de Oro City.15 From the time Natividad abandoned them in 1972, Rodolfo
was left to take care of Ma. Reynilda and Ma. Rizza16 and he exerted earnest efforts
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: to save their marriage which, however, proved futile because of Natividads
psychological incapacity that appeared to be incurable.17
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari1 are the Decision2 dated June 2,
2005 and Resolution3 dated February 3, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA- For her part, Natividad failed to file her answer, as well as appear during trial, despite
G.R. CV No. 69103 which affirmed the Decision4 dated October 17, 2000 of the service of summons.18 Nonetheless, she informed the court that she submitted herself
Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga del Norte, Branch 11 (RTC) in Civil Case No. S- for psychiatric examination to Dr. Cheryl T. Zalsos (Dr. Zalsos) in response to
665 declaring the marriage of respondent Rodolfo O. De Gracia (Rodolfo) and Rodolfos claims.19 Rodolfo also underwent the same examination.20
Natividad N. Rosalem (Natividad) void on the ground of psychological incapacity
pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines5 (Family Code). In her two-page psychiatric evaluation report,21 Dr. Zalsos stated that both Rodolfo
and Natividad were psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital
The Facts obligations, finding that both parties suffered from "utter emotional immaturity
[which] is unusual and unacceptable behavior considered [as] deviant from persons
Rodolfo and Natividad were married on February 15, 1969 at the Parish of St. who abide by established norms of conduct."22 As for Natividad, Dr. Zalsos also
Vincent Ferrer in Salug, Zamboanga del Norte.6 They lived in Dapaon, Sindangan, observed that she lacked the willful cooperation of being a wife and a mother to her
Zamboanga del Norte and have two (2) children, namely, Ma. Reynilda R. De Gracia two daughters. Similarly, Rodolfo failed to perform his obligations as a husband,
(Ma. Reynilda) and Ma. Rizza R. De Gracia (Ma. Rizza), who were born on August adding too that he sired a son with another woman. Further, Dr. Zalsos noted that the
20, 1969 and January 15, 1972, respectively.7 mental condition of both parties already existed at the time of the celebration of
marriage, although it only manifested after. Based on the foregoing, Dr. Zalsos
On December 28, 1998, Rodolfo filed a verified complaint for declaration of nullity concluded that the "couples union was bereft of the mind, will and heart for the
of marriage (complaint) before the RTC, docketed as Civil Case No. S-665, alleging obligations of marriage."23
that Natividad was psychologically incapacitated to comply with her essential marital
obligations. In compliance with the Order8 dated January 5, 1999 of the RTC, the On February 10, 1999, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), representing
public prosecutor conducted an investigation to determine if collusion exists between petitioner Republic of the Philippines (Republic), filed an opposition24 to the
Rodolfo and Natividad and found that there was none.9 Trial on the merits then complaint, contending that the acts committed by Natividad did not demonstrate
ensued. psychological incapacity as contemplated by law, but are mere grounds for legal
separation under the Family Code.25
In support of his complaint, Rodolfo testified, among others, that he first met
Natividad when they were students at the Barangay High School of Sindangan,10 and The RTC Ruling
he was forced to marry her barely three (3) months into their courtship in light of her
In a Decision26 dated October 17, 2000, the RTC declared the marriage between incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants
Rodolfo and Natividad void on the ground of psychological incapacity. It relied on that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage
the findings and testimony of Dr. Zalsos, holding that Natividads emotional which, as so expressed in Article 6833 of the Family Code, among others,34 include
immaturity exhibited a behavioral pattern which in psychiatry constitutes a form of their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render
personality disorder that existed at the time of the parties marriage but manifested help and support. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to
only thereafter. It likewise concurred with Dr. Zalsoss observation that Natividads confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious cases of
condition is incurable since it is deeply rooted within the make-up of her personality. personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give
Accordingly, it concluded that Natividad could not have known, much more meaning and significance to the marriage.35 In Santos v. CA36 (Santos), the Court
comprehend the marital obligations she was assuming, or, knowing them, could not first declared that psychological incapacity must be characterized by: (a) gravity (i.e.,
have given a valid assumption thereof.27 it must be grave and serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the
ordinary duties required in a marriage); (b) juridical antecedence (i.e., it must be
The Republic appealed to the CA, averring that there was no showing that rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt
Natividads personality traits constituted psychological incapacity as envisaged under manifestations may emerge only after the marriage); and (c) incurability (i.e., it must
Article 36 of the Family Code, and that the testimony of the expert witness was not be incurable, or even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the
conclusive upon the court.28 party involved).37 The Court laid down more definitive guidelines in the
interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code in Republic of the
The CA Ruling Phils. v. CA,38 whose salient points are footnoted hereunder.39 These guidelines
incorporate the basic requirements that the Court established in Santos.40
In a Decision29 dated June 2, 2005, the CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC, finding
that while Natividads emotional immaturity, irresponsibility and promiscuity by Keeping with these principles, the Court, in Dedel v. CA,41 held that therein
themselves do not necessarily equate to psychological incapacity, "their degree or respondents emotional immaturity and irresponsibility could not be equated with
severity, as duly testified to by Dr. Zalsos, has sufficiently established a case of psychological incapacity as it was not shown that these acts are manifestations of a
psychological disorder so profound as to render [Natividad] incapacitated to perform disordered personality which make her completely unable to discharge the essential
her essential marital obligations."30 marital obligations of the marital state, not merely due to her youth, immaturity or
sexual promiscuity.42 In the same light, the Court, in the case of Pesca v. Pesca43
The Republic moved for reconsideration which was, however, denied in a (Pesca), ruled against a declaration of nullity, as petitioner therein "utterly failed, both
Resolution31 dated February 3, 2006, hence, the instant petition. in her allegations in the complaint and in her evidence, to make out a case of
psychological incapacity on the part of respondent, let alone at the time of
The Issue Before the Court solemnization of the contract, so as to warrant a declaration of nullity of the
marriage," significantly noting that the "[e]motional immaturity and irresponsibility,
The primordial issue in this case is whether or not the CA erred in sustaining the invoked by her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity." In Pesca, the Court
RTCs finding of psychological incapacity. upheld the appellate courts finding that the petitioner therein had not established that
her husband "showed signs of mental incapacity as would cause him to be truly
The Ruling of the Court incognitive of the basic marital covenant, as so provided for in Article 68 of the
Family Code; that the incapacity is grave, has preceded the marriage and is incurable;
The petition is meritorious. that his incapacity to meet his marital responsibility is because of a psychological, not
physical illness; that the root cause of the incapacity has been identified medically or
"Psychological incapacity," as a ground to nullify a marriage under Article 3632 of clinically, and has been proven by an expert; and that the incapacity is permanent and
the Family Code, should refer to no less than a mental not merely physical incurable in nature."44
The Court maintains a similar view in this case.1wphi1 Based on the evidence 69103 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the complaint for declaration
presented, there exists insufficient factual or legal basis to conclude that Natividads of nullity of marriage filed under Article 36 of the Family Code is DISMISSED.
emotional immaturity, irresponsibility, or even sexual promiscuity, can be equated
with psychological incapacity. SO ORDERED.

The RTC, as affirmed by the CA, heavily relied on the psychiatric evaluation report ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
of Dr. Zalsos which does not, however, explain in reasonable detail how Natividads Associate Justice
condition could be characterized as grave, deeply-rooted, and incurable within the
parameters of psychological incapacity jurisprudence. Aside from failing to disclose WE CONCUR:
the types of psychological tests which she administered on Natividad, Dr. Zalsos
failed to identify in her report the root cause of Natividad's condition and to show that ANTONIO T. CARPIO
it existed at the time of the parties' marriage. Neither was the gravity or seriousness of Associate Justice
Natividad's behavior in relation to her failure to perform the essential marital Chairperson
obligations sufficiently described in Dr. Zalsos's report. Further, the finding contained
therein on the incurability of Natividad's condition remains unsupported by any ARTURO D. BRION MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
factual or scientific basis and, hence, appears to be drawn out as a bare conclusion Associate Justice Associate Justice
and even self-serving. In the same vein, Dr. Zalsos's testimony during trial, which is
essentially a reiteration of her report, also fails to convince the Court of her
conclusion that Natividad was psychologically incapacitated. Verily, although expert JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
opm10ns furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological temperament of Associate Justice
parties are usually given considerable weight by the courts, the existence of
psychological incapacity must still be proven by independent evidence.45 After ATTESTATION
poring over the records, the Court, however, does not find any such evidence
sufficient enough to uphold the court a quo's nullity declaration. To the Court's mind, I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation
Natividad's refusal to live with Rodolfo and to assume her duties as wife and mother before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.
as well as her emotional immaturity, irresponsibility and infidelity do not rise to the
level of psychological incapacity that would justify the nullification of the parties' ANTONIO T. CARPIO
marriage. Indeed, to be declared clinically or medically incurable is one thing; to Associate Justice
refuse or be reluctant to perform one's duties is another. To hark back to what has Chairperson, Second Division
been earlier discussed, psychological incapacity refers only to the most serious cases
of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to CERTIFICATION
give meaning and significance to the marriage.46 In the final analysis, the Court does
not perceive a disorder of this nature to exist in the present case. Thus, for these Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division
reasons, coupled too with the recognition that marriage is an inviolable social Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had
institution and the foundation of the family,47 the instant petition is hereby granted. been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion
of the Court's Division.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated June 2, 2005 and
Resolution dated February 3, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice
18 Id. at 19-20.

Footnotes 19 Id. at 28.

1 Rollo, pp. 28-52. 20 See rollo, p. 94.

2 Id. at 55-68. Penned by Associate Justice Romulo V. Borja, with Associate 21 Records, pp. 37-38.
Justices Rodrigo F. Lim, Jr. and Normandie B. Pizarro concurring.
22 Id. at 38.
3 Id. at 70-72.
23 Id.
4 Id. at 87-100. Penned by Judge Wilfredo G. Ochotorena.
24 Id. at 9-14.
5 Executive Order No. 209, as amended, entitled "THE FAMILY CODE OF
THE PHILIPPINES." 25 See Article 55 of the Family Code.

6 Records, p. 4. 26 Rollo, pp. 87-100.

7 See rollo, p. 56. 27 Id. at 96.

8 Records, p. 7. 28 CA Rollo, p. 27.

9 Id. at 8-A. 29 Rollo, pp. 55-68.

10 Id. at 83. 30 Id. at 67.

11 Id. at 83-84. 31 Id. at 70-72.

12 Id. at 84. 32 Art. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential
13 Id. at 85. marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity
becomes manifest only after its solemnization.
14 Id. at 89.
33 Art. 68. The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual
15 Id. at 45. love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.

16 Id. 34 Also includes those provided under Articles 68 to 71 of the Family Code as
regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same
17 Id. at 89-90.
code in regard to parents and their children. (See Guideline 6 in Rep. of the explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and
Phils. v. CA, 335 Phil. 664, 678 [1997].) clinical psychologists.

35 Santos v. CA, G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20, 40 (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the
(1995). celebration" of the marriage.

36 Id. at 39. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when the parties
exchanged their "I dos." The manifestation of the illness need not be
37 Dimayuga-Laurena v. CA, 587 Phil. 597, 607-608 (2008). perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at
such moment, or prior thereto.
38 Supra note 34.
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically
39 (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and relative only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely
continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is against everyone of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must
rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily
of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire to those not related to marriage, like the exercise of a profession or
Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It employment in a job. x x x
decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution
at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected" (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of
by the state. the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild
characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family outbursts" cannot be accepted as root causes. The illness must be
and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity. shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or
difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element
medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person
sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations
decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity essential to marriage.
must be psychological - not physical, although its manifestations
and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince the (6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by
court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically ill to Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and
such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard
was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid to parents and their children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s)
assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in
given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the the text of the decision.
principle of ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root cause must be
identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully (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. x x
x

xxxx

(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the
Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall
be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification,
which will be quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his reasons
for his agreement or opposition, as the case may be, to the petition.
The Solicitor General, along with the prosecuting attorney, shall
submit to the court such certification within fifteen (15) days from the
date the case is deemed submitted for resolution of the court. The
Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent function of the
defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095. (Id. at 276-280.)

40 Republic v. Galang, G.R. No. 168335, June 6, 2011, 650 SCRA 524, 535-
537.

41 466 Phil. 226 (2004).

42 Id. at 233.

43 408 Phil. 713 (2001).

44 Id. at 718.

45 See Mendoza v. Republic, G.R. No. 157649, November 12, 2012, 685
SCRA 16, 25-32.

46 Republic v. Galang, supra note 40, at 535.

47 See Section 2, Article XV of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.


SPECIAL FIRST DIVISION a mother and a wife. Respondent refuted petitioners allegations that she played four
to five times a week. She maintained it was only two to three times a week and
G.R. No. 166357 January 14, 2015 always with the permission of her husband and without abandoning her children at
home. The children corroborated this, saying that they were with their mother when
VALERIO E. KALAW, Petitioner, she played mahjong in their relatives home. Petitioner did not present any proof,
vs. other than his own testimony, that the mahjong sessions were so frequent that
MA. ELENA FERNANDEZ, Respondent. respondent neglected her family. While he intimated that two of his sons repeated the
second grade, he was not able to link this episode to respondents mahjong-playing.
RESOLUTION The least that could have been done was to prove the frequency of respondents
mahjong-playing during the years when these two children were in second grade.
BERSAMIN, J.: This was not done. Thus, while there is no dispute that respondent played mahjong,
its alleged debilitating frequency and adverse effect on the children were not proven.
In our decision promulgated on September 19, 2011,1 the Court dismissed the
complaint for declaration of nullity of the marriage of the parties upon the following Also unproven was petitioners claim about respondents alleged constant visits to the
ratiocination, to wit: beauty parlor, going out with friends, and obsessive need for attention from other
men. No proof whatsoever was presented to prove her visits to beauty salons orher
The petition has no merit. The CA committed no reversible error in setting aside the frequent partying with friends. Petitioner presented Mario (an alleged companion of
trial court's Decision for lack of legal and factual basis. respondent during these nights-out) in order to prove that respondent had affairs with
other men, but Mario only testified that respondent appeared to be dating other men.
xxxx Even assuming arguendothat petitioner was able to prove that respondent had an
extramarital affair with another man, that one instance of sexual infidelity cannot, by
In the case at bar, petitioner failed to prove that his wife (respondent) suffers from itself, be equated with obsessive need for attention from other men. Sexual infidelity
psychological incapacity. He presented the testimonies of two supposed expert per seis a ground for legal separation, but it does not necessarily constitute
witnesses who concluded that respondent is psychologically incapacitated, but the psychological incapacity.
conclusions of these witnesses were premised on the alleged acts or behavior of
respondent which had not been sufficiently proven. Petitioners experts heavily relied Given the insufficiency of evidence that respondent actually engaged in the behaviors
on petitioners allegations of respondents constant mahjong sessions, visits to the described as constitutive of NPD, there is no basis for concluding that she was indeed
beauty parlor, going out with friends, adultery, and neglect of their children. psychologically incapacitated. Indeed, the totality of the evidence points to the
Petitioners experts opined that respondents alleged habits, when performed opposite conclusion. A fair assessment of the facts would show that respondent was
constantly to the detriment of quality and quantity of time devoted to her duties as not totally remiss and incapable of appreciating and performing her marital and
mother and wife, constitute a psychological incapacity in the form of NPD. parental duties. Not once did the children state that they were neglected by their
mother. On the contrary, they narrated that she took care of them, was around when
But petitioners allegations, which served as the bases or underlying premises of the they were sick, and cooked the food they like. It appears that respondent made real
conclusions of his experts, were not actually proven. In fact, respondent presented efforts tosee and take care of her children despite her estrangement from their father.
contrary evidence refuting these allegations of the petitioner. There was no testimony whatsoever that shows abandonment and neglect of familial
duties. While petitioner cites the fact that his two sons, Rio and Miggy, both failed the
For instance, petitioner alleged that respondent constantly played mahjong and second elementary level despite having tutors, there is nothing to link their academic
neglected their children as a result. Respondent admittedly played mahjong, but it was short comings to Malyns actions.
not proven that she engaged in mahjong so frequently that she neglected her duties as
After poring over the records of the case, the Court finds no factual basis for the Illustrative of the "less specificity than expected" has been the omission by the
conclusion of psychological incapacity. There is no error in the CAs reversal of the Family Code Revision Committee to give any examples of psychological incapacity
trial courts ruling that there was psychological incapacity. The trial courts Decision that would have limited the applicability of the provision conformably with the
merely summarized the allegations, testimonies, and evidence of the respective principle of ejusdem generis, because the Committee desired that the courts should
parties, but it did not actually assess the veracity of these allegations, the credibility of interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, the findings of
the witnesses, and the weight of the evidence. The trial court did not make factual experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and the decisions of church
findings which can serve as bases for its legal conclusionof psychological incapacity. tribunals that had persuasive effect by virtue of the provision itself having been taken
from the Canon Law.5
What transpired between the parties is acrimony and, perhaps, infidelity, which may
have constrained them from dedicating the best of themselves to each other and to On the other hand, as the Court has observed in Santos v. Court of Appeals,6 the
their children. There may be grounds for legal separation, but certainly not deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee and the relevant materials on
psychological incapacity that voids a marriage. psychological incapacity as a ground for the nullity of marriage have rendered it
obvious that the term psychological incapacity as used in Article 36 of the Family
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals Code"has not been meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as,
May 27, 2004 Decision and its December 15, 2004 Resolution in CA-G.R. CV No. likewise mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities, extremely low intelligence,
64240 are AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.2 immaturity, and like circumstances," and could not be taken and construed
independently of "but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts in our law on
In his Motion for Reconsideration,3 the petitioner implores the Court to take a marriage." Thus correlated:-
thorough second look into what constitutes psychological incapacity; to uphold the
findings of the trial court as supported by the testimonies of three expert witnesses; x x x "psychological incapacity" should refer to no less than a mental (not physical)
and consequently to find that the respondent, if not both parties, were psychologically incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants
incapacitated to perform their respective essential marital obligation. that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage
which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual
Upon an assiduous review of the records, we resolve to grant the petitioners Motion obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and
for Reconsideration. support. 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
I disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning
and significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the
Psychological incapacity as a ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand, an
the Family Code refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even prior inability of the spouse to have sexual relations with the other. This conclusion is
to the celebration of the marriage that is permanent as to deprive the party of the implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which considers children conceived
awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she was prior to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void marriage to be "legitimate."7
about to assume. Although the Family Code has not defined the term psychological
incapacity, the Court has usually looked up its meaning by reviewing the In time, in Republic v. Court of Appeals,8 the Court set some guidelines for the
deliberations of the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee that had drafted interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code, as follows:
the Family Code in order to gain an insight on the provision. It appeared that the
members of the Family Code Revision Committee were not unanimous on the (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the
meaning, and in the end they decided to adopt the provision "with less specificity than plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and
expected" in order to have the law "allow some resiliency in its application."4 continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is
rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of
of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire marriage.
Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the fo