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Krohn v.

CA

Facts : Ma. Paz Fernandez Khron and Edgar Khroan Jr. were married on June 14, 1964.
This union brought 3 kids but also a host of problems. By 1971, the marriage was in a
stormy state and Ma. Paz Fernandez underwent psychological testing in order to ease
the marital strain. However, by 1973, these efforts proved to be futile for they had
separated in fact. By 1975, Edgar had obtained a copy of the confidential psychiatric
report on Ma. Paz that was prepared by Drs. Cornelio Banaag and Baltazar Reyes.By
1978, Edgar had obtained a decree of “conclusion” from the Tribunal Metropolitanum
Matrimonale in Manila nullifying his church marriage with Ma. Paz on the ground of
psychological incapacity, among his evidence used was the psych report. By 1982, the
CFI (Court of First Instance) granted the voluntary dissolution of marriage and by 1990,
Edgar had filed for the annulment of marriage with the RTC (Regional Trial Court). Edgar
was to use as evidence the confidential psychiatric report, Ma. Paz and her counsel had
opposed to this and stated that this would clearly violate the physician-patient
confidentiality rule thus infringing on the privileged communication between them. The
RTC sustained Edgar’s evidence and allowed it to be used, Ma. Paz on the other hand
moved to dismiss the evidence. This was denied and the issue to use the evidence was
brought up to the CA (Court of Appeals) where it was also denied and brought up to now
the SC (Supreme Court). Ma. Paz argues that to allow her husband to use a confidential
psychiatric report would defeat the safeguards that prohibit doctors that have sensitive
information on clients from testifying for the court. Her counsel continues that this would
set a bad precedent and allow a circumvention of the law and utterly defeating the
purpose of privileged communication between patient and doctor.

Issue : Whether or not a husband can use a confidential psychiatric report of his wife as
evidence in a nullity proceeding not withstanding Rule 130, Sec 24, Par. C.

Held : Yes.

The law is clear that what is prohibited is a doctor from testifying and divulging any
sensitive information obtained in the doctor-patient relationship. The law does not strictly
forbid the use of reports written on the outcome of the treatment, especially when said
report was not opposed in the first place.

The Supreme Court elucidated the requirements for claiming privileged communication
as laid down in Lim v. Court of Appeals. The four being the following;

1. the privilege is claimed in a civil case;

2. the person against whom the privilege is claimed is one duly authorized to
practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics;

3. such person acquired the information while he was attending to the patient in his
professional capacity;

4. the information was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity


The Court explains that is the husband who is filing the report and not the doctor,
thus clearly not being under the list of persons not allowed to testify. Secondly, the
husband’s act of using the report prepared the doctor is not a circumvention of the
rules in any way, in fact, the court explains that the husband’s testimony would not
have the force and effect as it would have had the doctor delivered the report.

Furthermore, Ma. Paz and counsel failed to attack the evidence as hearsay which
proved fatal for their cause. They merely raised the issue of privileged
communication but in their failure to attack the testimony for being hearsay, the
same was allowed to be introduced as evidence.