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G.R. No.

119190 January 16, 1997


CHI MING TSOI, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and GINA LAOTSOI, respondents.

TORRES, JR., J.:


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.
Who is to blame when a marriage fails?
This case was originally commenced by a distraught
wife against her uncaring husband in the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 89) which
decreed the annulment of the marriage on the
ground of psychological incapacity. Petitioner
appealed the decision of the trial court to respondent
Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No. 42758) which
affirmed the Trial Court's decision November 29,
1994 and correspondingly denied the motion for
reconsideration in a resolution dated February 14,
1995.
The statement of the case and of the facts made by
the trial court and reproduced by the Court of
Appeals 1 its decision are as follows:
From the evidence adduced, the following acts were
preponderantly established:

on one side thereof, then turned his back and went to


sleep . There was no sexual intercourse between
them during the first night. The same thing happened
on the second, third and fourth nights.
In an effort to have their honeymoon in a private
place where they can enjoy together during their first
week as husband and wife, they went to Baguio City.
But, they did so together with her mother, an uncle,
his mother and his nephew. They were all invited by
the defendant to join them. They stayed in Baguio
City for four (4) days. But, during this period, there
was no sexual intercourse between them, since the
defendant avoided her by taking a long 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 attempt of sexual intercourse
between them. [S]he claims, that she did not: even
see her husband's private parts nor did he see hers.
Because of this, they submitted themselves for
medical examinations to Dr. Eufemio Macalalag, a
urologist at the Chinese General Hospital, on January
20, 1989.
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 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.

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 plaintiff claims, that the defendant is impotent,


a closet homosexual as he did not show his penis.
She said, that 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.

There, they slept together on the same bed in the


same room for the first night of their married life.

The plaintiff is not willing to reconcile with her


husband.

It is the version of the plaintiff, that contrary to her


expectations, that as newlyweds they were supposed
to enjoy making love, or having sexual intercourse,
with each other, the defendant just went to bed, slept

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.

Sometime on May 22, 1988, the plaintiff married the


defendant at the Manila Cathedral, . . . Intramuros
Manila, as evidenced by their Marriage Contract.
(Exh. "A")

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
relationship is still very young and if there is any
differences between the two of them, it can still be
reconciled and that, according to him, if either one
of them has some incapabilities, there is no
certainty that this will not be cured. He further
claims, that if there is any defect, it can be cured by
the intervention of medical technology or science.
The defendant admitted that since their marriage on
May 22, 1988, until their separation on March 15,
1989, there was no sexual contact between them.
But, the reason for this, according to the defendant,
was that everytime he 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 did not continue because she was
shaking and she did not like it. So he stopped.
There are two (2) reasons, according to the
defendant , why the plaintiff filed this case against
him, and these are: (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.
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.
The defendant submitted himself to a physical
examination. His penis was examined by Dr. Sergio
Alteza, Jr., for the purpose of finding out whether he
is impotent . As a result thereof, Dr. Alteza
submitted his Doctor's Medical Report. (Exh. "2"). It
is stated there, that there is no evidence of
impotency (Exh. "2-B"), and he is capable of
erection. (Exh. "2-C")
The doctor said, that he asked the defendant to
masturbate to find out whether or not he has an
erection and he found out that from the original size
of two (2) inches, or five (5) centimeters, the penis of
the defendant lengthened by one (1) inch and one
centimeter. Dr. Alteza said, that the defendant had

only a soft erection which is why his penis is not in its


full length. But, still is capable of further erection, in
that with his soft erection, the defendant is capable of
having sexual intercourse with a woman.
In open Court, the Trial Prosecutor manifested that
there is no collusion between the parties and that the
evidence is not fabricated." 2
After trial, the court rendered judgment, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
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, before the Rt. Rev.
Msgr. Melencio de Vera. Without costs. Let a copy of
this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of
Quezon City. Let another copy be furnished the Local
Civil Registrar of Manila.
SO ORDERED.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial
court's decision.
Hence, the instant petition.
Petitioner alleges that the respondent Court of
Appeals erred:
I
in affirming the conclusions of the lower court that
there was no sexual intercourse between the parties
without making any findings of fact.
II
in holding that the refusal of private respondent to
have sexual communion with petitioner is a
psychological incapacity inasmuch as proof thereof is
totally absent.
III
in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner
and the private respondent to have sex with each other
constitutes psychological incapacity of both.
IV
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.
We find the petition to be bereft of merit.
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 parties,
there remains no other basis for the court's
conclusion except the admission of petitioner; that
public policy should aid acts intended to validate
marriage and should retard acts intended to
invalidate them; that the conclusion drawn by the
trial 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
Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court reads:
Section 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an
answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits
the material 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 shall always be
proved.
The foregoing provision pertains to a judgment on
the pleadings. What said provision seeks to prevent is
annulment of 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 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.
To prevent collusion between the parties is the
reason why, as stated by the petitioner, the Civil Code
provides that no 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).
The case has reached this Court because petitioner
does not want their marriage to be annulled. This
only shows that there is 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
Gonzaga-Reyes, viz:
The judgment of the trial court which was affirmed
by this Court is not based on a stipulation of facts.
The issue of 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 have
sexual relations with his wife after almost ten
months of cohabitation, and it appears that he is
not suffering 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 Family Code (See Santos vs. Court
of Appeals, G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995). 4
Petitioner further contends that respondent court
erred in holding that the alleged refusal of both the
petitioner and the 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 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.

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 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 claims that there is no independent
evidence on record to show that any of the parties is
suffering from phychological incapacity. Petitioner
also claims that he wanted to have sex with private
respondent; that the reason for private respondent's
refusal may not be psychological but physical
disorder as stated above.
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 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 respondent, it became incumbent
upon him to prove such a claim.
If a spouse, although physically capable but simply
refuses to perform his or her essential marriage
obligations, and 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 incapacity. 6
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
obligation will finally destroy the integrity or

wholeness of the marriage. In the case at bar, the


senseless and protracted refusal of one of the
parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is
equivalent to psychological incapacity.
As aptly stated by the respondent court,
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 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 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
that she would expose her private life to public
scrutiny and fabricate testimony against her husband
if it were not necessary to put her life in order and put
to rest her marital status.
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 communion.
Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive
interest in each other's feelings at a time it is needed
by the other can go a long way in deepening the
marital relationship. Marriage is definitely not for
children but for two consenting adults who view the
relationship with love amor gignit amorem, respect,
sacrifice and a continuing commitment to
compromise, conscious of its value as a sublime social
institution.
This Court, finding the gravity of the failed
relationship in which the parties found themselves
trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and
unconsummated marital obligations, can do no less
but sustain the studied judgment of respondent
appellate court.
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.

ORLANDO G. TONGOL,
157610
Petitioner,
Present:

G.R. NO.

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
Chairperson,
- versus AUSTRIAMARTINEZ,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
NACHURA, and
REYES, JJ.
FILIPINAS M. TONGOL,
Promulgated:
Respondent.
October 19, 2007
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -----------x

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Assailed in the present Petition for Review


on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is the
Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated
September 25, 2002 in CA-G.R. CV No. 66245, and its
Resolution of March 19, 2003, denying petitioner's
motion for reconsideration.
The CA Decision affirmed, in toto, the Decision of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 149,
which dismissed the petition for declaration of
nullity of marriage filed by herein petitioner
Orlando Tongol.

The facts of the case are as follows:

SO ORDERED.
Orlando G. Tongol (Orlando) and Filipinas
M. Tongol (Filipinas) were married on August 27,
1967. Out of their union, they begot four children,
namely: Crisanto, born in 1968; Olivia, born in 1969;
Frederick, born in 1971, and; Ma. Cecilia, born in 1972.

On May 13, 1994, Orlando and Filipinas filed a


petition for dissolution of their conjugal
partnership of gains, which was granted in a
Judgment issued by the RTC of Makati City, Branch
143 on April 24, 1995.

On August 19, 1996, Orlando filed before the


RTC of Makati City a verified petition for the
declaration of nullity of his marriage with Filipinas
on the ground that the latter is psychologically
incapacitated to comply with her essential marital
obligations.

In his Petition, Orlando contended that he and


Filipinas got married over the objection of the latter's
family; their marriage was not a happy one because
of her parents' continued interference and attempt
to break up their union; greatly influenced by her
parents, Filipinas, even at the early stages of their
marriage, already treated Orlando with contempt and
without the love and respect due him as her husband;
when Orlando started a junk shop business, Filipinas
ridiculed him instead of giving him encouragement;
later on, his business became successful and he was
able to embark upon another business venture; he
put up a pharmaceutical company which also became
profitable; Filipinas then became interested and
began to interfere in the operation of the business;
however, because of her bad attitude, the employees
were aloof; she also resented the fact that her
husband got along well with the employees; as a
result, she quarreled with her husband causing the
latter embarrassment; she even suspected that the
income of the business was being given to her
husband's relatives; their continued fighting
persisted and affected their children; efforts at
reconciliation proved futile because their differences
had become irreconcilable and their marriage
impossible; in 1990, Orlando decided to live
separately from Filipinas; in 1994, the spouses filed a
petition for dissolution of their property
relationship; and the petition was granted in 1995.

In her Answer with Counter-Petition, Filipinas


admitted that efforts at reconciliation have been
fruitless and that their marriage is a failure.

However, she claims that their marriage failed


because it is Orlando who is psychologically
incapacitated to fulfill his obligations as a married
man.

Evidence for Orlando consisted of his own


testimony, that of his sister, Angelina Tongol,
and of Annaliza Guevara, an employee in the
pharmaceutical company owned by the
spouses Tongol.
Orlando also presented Dr. Cecilia Villegas, a
psychiatrist who conducted a psychological
examination of both parties. Orlando submitted
documents evidencing their marriage, the birth of
their four children, the RTC decision granting the
petition for dissolution of their conjugal partnership
of gains, and the written evaluation of Dr. Villegas
regarding the spouses' psychological examination.
On the other hand, record shows that evidence for
Filipinas only consisted of her own testimony.

On June 30, 1999, the RTC of Makati City,


Branch 149, rendered a Decision dismissing the
petition.

On appeal, the CA affirmed, in toto, the Decision


of the RTC.

Hence, herein petition raising the following


issues:

1.

WHETHER OR NOT THE EVIDENCE SUPPORTS


THE FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT AND THE
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS THAT DRA.
CECILIA VILLEGAS FAILED TO STATE WHETHER OR
NOT RESPONDENT'S INADEQUATE PERSONALITY
DISORDER WAS GRAVE, PERMANENT AND
INCURABLE (par. 12, p. 3, Annex A, hereof).

2. WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, THE COURT OF


APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE APPEAL (p.
7, ibid.).

3. WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, THE COURT OF


APPEALS ERRED IN DENYING THE MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION (Annex B, hereof).[2]

The basic issue to be resolved in the instant


case is whether or not the totality of the evidence
presented in the present case is enough to sustain a
finding that herein respondent is psychologically
incapacitated to comply with her essential marital
obligations.

In Santos v. Court of Appeals,[3] the term


psychological incapacity was defined as:

[N]o 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 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 psychologiccondition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated. x x x[4]

Psychological incapacity must be characterized by:

although the overt manifestations may emerge only


after the marriage; and
(c) Incurability It must be incurable or, even if it
were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means
of the party involved.[5]

While the CA has already extensively quoted


the ruling in Republic of the Philippines v. Court of
Appeals and Molina, wherein the guidelines in the
interpretation and application of Article 36[7] of the
Family Code was laid down, this Court finds it
significant to reproduce the same quoted portion, to
wit:

(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 Constitution and our laws cherish the
validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our
Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family,
recognizing it as the foundation of the nation. It
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 by the state.

The Family Code echoes this constitutional


edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes
their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.

(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.

(a) Gravity It must be grave or serious such that the


party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary
duties required in a marriage;

Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the


incapacity must be psychological - not physical,
although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be
physical.

(b) Juridical Antecedence It must be rooted in the


history of the party antedating the marriage,

The evidence must convince the court that the


parties, or one of them, was mentally or 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 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 ejusdem generis,
nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a
psychological illness and its incapacitating nature
fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by
qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

(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 perceivable
at such time, but the illness itself must have attached
at such moment, or prior thereto.

(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. 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. x x x

(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 root causes. The illness must be shown as
downright incapacity or 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 integral element in the personality
structure that effectively incapacitates the person
from really accepting and thereby complying with the
obligations essential to marriage.

(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.

(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

(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.[8]

Under the Rule on Declaration of Absolute


Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment
of Voidable Marriages, which took effect on March
15, 2003, the foregoing guidelines have been
modified. Section 2(d) of the said Rule provides:

SEC. 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of


void marriages.-

xxxx

(d) What to allege.- A petition under Article 36 of


the Family Code shall specifically allege the complete
facts showing that either or both parties were
psychologically incapacitated from complying with the
essential marital obligations of marriage at the time of
the celebration of marriage even if such incapacity
becomes manifest only after its celebration.

The complete facts should allege the physical


manifestations, if any, as are indicative of
psychological incapacity at the time of the
celebration of the marriage but expert opinion need
not be alleged.

The new Rule dispensed with the certification


from the Solicitor General, stating therein his reasons
for his agreement or opposition to the petition.
Attachment of expert opinions to the petition is also
dispensed with.

In the instant case, the RTC and the CA gave


credence to the conclusion of the examining
psychiatrist, Dr. Villegas, that respondent is
suffering from Inadequate Personality Disorder.
However, both courts ruled that the behavior
exhibited by respondent does not amount to
psychological incapacity as contemplated under
Article 36 of the Family Code.

This Court finds no cogent reason to depart


from the assessment of the RTC and the CA for the
following reasons:

First, petitioner relies heavily on the findings


of Dr. Villegas who made the following written
evaluation regarding respondent's psychological
makeup:
xxxx

On the other hand, Mrs. Filipinas MendozaTongol belonged to a matriarchal family where the
mother assumed a more active and dominant role.
She was left to the care of her aunt and developed
a basic feeling of rejection.

The only college graduate among 7 children her


operating intellectual ability is low-average. Sudden
change overwhelmed her. When seized by an
impulse, she is likely to give way, even minor
pressures upset her and when this happens,
emotional control could not be relied upon.

In marriage when her husband shows good


relationship with their employees, especially with
females, she became (sic) suspicious, jealous, and
threatened, and this is related to her basic feelings
of rejection in early life. She coped (sic) up with her
uncomfortable feelings by exhibiting temper
tantrums, irritability and dominance, a replica of her
mother's attitude, but to the distaste of her husband.

At present she is depressed, though hostile, and


now living in the expectation of further rejection.
Additionally, she is threatened by a neurological
illness (tremor of the hands) for which she is
consulting a neurologist.

Based on the above findings, it is the opinion of


the undersigned that Mr. Orlando Tongol is
suffering from some depressive features, which
seems to be a recent development as a result of
marital problems.
On the other hand, Mrs. Tongol is suffering from an
Inadequate Personality Disorder, with hysterical
coloring, which renders her psychologically
incapacitated to perform the duties and
responsibilities of marriage. She is unable to cope
with the sudden work and environmental shifts,
that overwhelmed her, due to insufficient
psychological inner resources.[10]

obligations of marriage, Dr. Villegas expounded as


follows:
In her testimony, Dr. Villegas explained
respondent's personality disorder in this wise:

ATTY. RENDOR -

ATTY. VILLAREAL -

xxxx

xxxx

QHow about Mrs. Tongol, what are your


findings?

QWhat exactly do you mean [by] inadequate


personality disorder?

AInadequate personality disorder means, there


are not times that in
all aspects of her life, she
could not function in the way that she feels or she is
confident. She has always been very much in
doubt
of her own capabilities, Sir.

Q-

AMrs. Tongol is a college graduate and she


finished commerce. Basically, she has a feeling of
rejection from the start of her development and this
was carried on into her adult life. When
the
husband started having some good
relationship with his employees, then she started to
get jealous and she would embarrass him in front of
their employees and insulted him
and would go
into
tantrums and this was very much
resented
by Mr. Tongol, Sir.

What about hysterical coloring?


ATTY. RENDOR -

AHysterical coloring means, there is always an


exaggeration of her
psychological reactions to
any stresses, Sir.

Q-

Exaggeration in what aspect?

AExaggeration in any emotional reactions or


situations like if she would be seeing the husband
talking to some employees then, she is suddenly
irritable and would present some tantrums. In
short,
she cannot control her emotion at the
moment of stresses circulations, Sir.[11]

When asked how such personality disorder


affects respondent's capacity to assume the essential

QIn your expert opinion, Doctor, can you tell us


the reason why Mrs. Tongol acted in such a way?

ABecause of her basic rejection at that time, Sir.


She was afraid that
Mr. Tongol was already
rejecting her as a wife and being attracted
to
other people, but it is the way of how
Mrs. Tongol reacted to
her own feelings of
rejection, Sir.

xxxx

QWhat made you say that because of


inadequate personality
disorder,
Mrs. Tongol rendered her psychological

(sic) incapacitated to perform the duties and


responsibilities of the marriage. What is your basis
in saying that?

AShe belongs to a very matriarchal family. The


mother was very dominant. She always gets what
she wanted in the house. In short, she was the
authority in the house and during her growing
up stage, she was given up to the aunt, for the aunt
to take care of her.
She only came back to the
family when she was already a sort of an early
teenager. With this, there has always been a feeling
of rejection during her personality development.
Besides, she feels that she is one of those not favor
(sic) by the mother during her growing up stage,
Sir.

QBased on your examination of the spouses,


what do you
recommend as far as the marriage
is concerned, considering that this is a petition for
the annulment of marriage?

AI could recommend that they have their


marriage annulled because
it will only be
sufferings from (sic) both of them because on
the
part of Mrs. Tongol, it is one that is more or
less permanent and
Mr. Tongol is also
suffering from some depression, Sir.[12]

The Court can only gather from the foregoing


explanations of Dr. Villegas that as a
child, Filipinas had always felt rejected, especially by
her mother; that she never got rid of those feelings of
rejection even when she became an adult and got
married; that her fits of jealousy and temper
tantrums, every time she sees her husband having a
good interaction with their employees, are ways of
coping up with her feelings of rejection. However, Dr.
Villegas failed to link respondent's personality
disorder to her conclusion that respondent is
psychologically incapacitated to perform her
obligations as wife and mother.

The Court cannot see how respondent's personality


disorder which, according to Dr. Villegas, is
inextricably linked to her feelings of rejection,
would render her unaware of the essential marital
obligations, or to borrow the terms used
in Santos, to be truly incognitive of the basic marital
covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and
discharged by the parties to the marriage.
What has been established in the instant case is
that, by reason of her feelings of inadequacy and
rejection, respondent not only encounters a lot of
difficulty but even refuses to assume some of her
obligations towards her husband, such as respect,
help and support for him. However, this Court
has ruled that psychological incapacity must be
more than just a difficulty, a refusal or a
neglect in the performance of some marital
obligations.[13] As held in Santos:

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 psychologic condition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated.[14]

Second, Dr. Villegas also failed to fully and


satisfactorily explain if the personality disorder of
respondent is grave enough to bring about her
disability to assume the essential obligations of
marriage. Petitioner contends that respondent's
exaggerated reactions to normal situations, her
unreasonable feelings of rejection brought about by
her dysfunctional upbringing, are all indications of the
gravity of her psychological condition.
Even granting that respondent's psychological
disorder is serious, the fact remains that there is no
evidence to prove that such condition is of such
nature as to render respondent incapable of
carrying out the ordinary duties required in
marriage.

Third, there is no evidence that such


incapacity is incurable. Neither in her written
evaluation nor in her testimony did Dr. Villegas
categorically and conclusively characterize
respondent's inadequate personality disorder as
permanent or incurable. Dr. Villegas was not sure of
the permanence or incurability of respondent's
illness as shown by her following statement:

I could recommend that they have their marriage


annulled because
it will only be sufferings from
(sic) both of them because on the part of Mrs. Tongol,
it is one that is more or less permanent and
Mr. Tongol is also suffering from some depression,
Sir.[15] (Emphasis supplied)

Fourth, the psychological incapacity


considered under Article 36 of the Family Code is
not meant to comprehend all possible cases of
psychoses.The fourth guideline in Molina requires
that the psychological incapacity as understood
under Article 36 of the Family Code 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.
In the present case, the testimonies of both petitioner
and respondent as well as the other witnesses
regarding the spouses' differences and
misunderstanding basically revolve around and are
limited to their disagreement regarding the
management of their business. In fact, respondent
herself, in her Memorandum submitted to the trial
court, claimed that their quarrels arose solely from
their disagreement on how to run their business.
This is confirmed by the testimony of petitioner's
sister who lived with the spouses for a considerable
period of time.[18] However, a mere showing of
irreconcilable differences and conflicting
personalities in no wise constitutes psychological
incapacity.[19]

In addition, it is true that the marital obligations


of a husband and wife enumerated under the Family

Code include the mutual responsibility of the spouses


to manage the household and provide support for the
family, which means that compliance with this
obligation necessarily entails the management of the
income and expenses of the household. While
disagreements on money matters would, no doubt,
affect the other aspects of one's marriage as to make
the wedlock unsatisfactory, this is not a sufficient
ground to declare a marriage null and void.
In the present case, respondent's disagreement
with her husband's handling of the family's
business and finances and her propensity to start a
fight with petitioner spouse regarding these
matters can hardly be considered as a
manifestation of the kind of psychological
incapacity contemplated under Article 36 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
between husbands and wives.

Fifth, marital obligation includes not only a


spouse's obligation to the other spouse but also
one's obligation toward their children. In the
present case, no evidence was presented to show that
respondent had been remiss in performing her
obligations toward their children as enumerated in
Article 220 of the Family Code.[20]

It is settled that 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 therefor manifest
themselves.[21] It refers to a serious psychological
illness afflicting a party even before the celebration of
marriage.[22] It is a malady so grave and so permanent
as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and
responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about
to assume.[23]
In the instant case, the Court finds no error in the
findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the CA, that the
aversive behavior of petitioner and respondent
towards each other is a mere indication of
incompatibility brought about by their different
family backgrounds as well as their attitudes, which
developed after their marriage.

In sum, it is not disputed that respondent is


suffering from a psychological disorder. However,
the totality of the evidence presented in the
present case does not show that her personality
disorder is of the kind contemplated by Article 36
of the Family Code as well as jurisprudence as to
render her psychologically incapacitated
or incapable of complying with the essential
obligations of marriage.

It remains settled that the State has a high stake


in the preservation of marriage rooted in its
recognition of the sanctity of married life and its
mission to protect and strengthen the family as a
basic autonomous social institution.[24] Hence, any
doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and
continuation of the marriage and against its
dissolution and nullity.[25]

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The


September 25, 2002 Decision and March 19, 2003
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
66245 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

such incapacity becomes manifest only after its


solemnization.
The present petition for review on certiorari, at the
instance of Leouel Santos ("Leouel"), brings into fore
the above provision which is now invoked by him.
Undaunted by the decisions of the court a quo 1 and
the Court of Appeal, 2 Leouel persists in beseeching
its application in his attempt to have his marriage
with herein private respondent, Julia Rosario BediaSantos ("Julia"), declared a nullity.
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 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 christened
Leouel Santos, Jr. The ecstasy, however, did not last
long. It was bound to happen, Leouel averred,
because of the frequent interference by Julia's
parents into the young spouses family affairs.
Occasionally, the couple would also start a "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.

G.R. No. 112019 January 4, 1995

Concededly a highly, if not indeed the most likely,


controversial provision introduced by the Family
Code is Article 36 (as amended by E.O. No. 227 dated
17 July 1987), which declares:

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. Seven months after her departure,
or on 01 January 1989, Julia called up Leouel for the
first time by long distance telephone. She promised
to return home upon the expiration of her contract in
July 1989. She never did. When Leouel got a chance
to visit the United States, where he underwent a
training program under the auspices of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines from 01 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 avail.

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

Having failed to get Julia to somehow come home,


Leouel filed with the regional trial Court of Negros
Oriental, Branch 30, a complaint for "Voiding of
marriage Under Article 36 of the Family Code"

LEOUEL SANTOS, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND
JULIA ROSARIO BEDIA-SANTOS, respondents.

VITUG, J.:

(docketed, Civil Case No. 9814). Summons was


served by publication in a newspaper of general
circulation in Negros Oriental.

xxx xxx xxx

On 31 May 1991, respondent Julia, in her answer


(through counsel), opposed the complaint and denied
its allegations, claiming, in main, that it was the
petitioner who had, in fact, been irresponsible and
incompetent.

(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
discharge the essential marital obligations, even if
such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the
celebration.

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).
On 25 October 1991, after pre-trial conferences had
repeatedly been set, albeit unsuccessfully, by the
court, Julia ultimately filed a manifestation, stating
that she would neither appear nor submit evidence.
On 06 November 1991, the court a quo finally
dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. 3
Leouel appealed to the Court of Appeal. The latter
affirmed the decision of the trial court. 4
The petition should be denied not only because of its
non-compliance with Circular 28-91, which requires a
certification of non-shopping, but also for its lack of
merit.
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 asserts:
. . . (T)here is no leave, there is no affection for (him)
because respondent Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos 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.
The family Code did not define the term
"psychological incapacity." The deliberations during
the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee,
which has drafted the Code, can, however, provide an
insight on the import of the provision.
Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from
the beginning:

Art. 36. . . .

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
use." On the other hand, Justice Reyes proposed that
they say "wanting in sufficient reason." Justice
Caguioa, however, pointed out that the idea is that
one is not lacking in judgment but that he is lacking in
the exercise of judgment. He added that lack of
judgment would make the marriage voidable. Judge
(Alicia Sempio-) Diy remarked that lack of judgment
is more serious than insufficient use of judgment and
yet the latter would make the marriage null and void
and the former only voidable. Justice Caguioa
suggested that subparagraph (7) be modified to read:
"That contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to
discharge the essential marital obligations, even if
such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the
celebration."
Justice Caguioa explained that the phrase "was
wanting in sufficient use of reason of judgment to
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.
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 voidable marriages,
while subparagraph (7) does not refer to consent but
to the very essence of marital obligations.

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."

claim that he did not and to make excuses for


invalidating the marriage by acting as if he did not
understand the obligations of marriage. Dean Gupit
added that it is a loose way of providing for divorce.

Justice Caguioa remarked that subparagraph (7)


refers to psychological impotence. Justice (Ricardo)
Puno stated that sometimes a person may be
psychologically impotent with one but not with
another. Justice (Leonor Ines-) Luciano said that it is
called selective impotency.

xxx xxx xxx

Dean (Fortunato) Gupit stated that the confusion lies


in the fact that in inserting the Canon Law annulment
in the Family Code, the Committee used a language
which describes a ground for voidable 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.
Justice Puno remarked that in Canon Law, the defects
in marriage cannot be cured.
Justice Reyes pointed out that the problem is: Why is
"insanity" a ground for void ab initio marriages? In
reply, Justice Caguioa explained that insanity is
curable and there are lucid intervals, while
psychological incapacity is not.
On another point, Justice Puno suggested that the
phrase "even if such lack or incapacity is made
manifest" be modified to read "even if such lack or
incapacity becomes manifest."
Justice Reyes remarked that in insanity, at the time of
the marriage, it is not apparent.
Justice Caguioa stated that there are two
interpretations of the phrase "psychological or
mentally 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 the marriage.
xxx xxx xxx
Prof. Bautista stated that he is in favor of making
psychological incapacity a ground for voidable
marriages since otherwise it will encourage one who
really understood the consequences of marriage to

Justice Caguioa explained that his point is that in the


case of incapacity by reason of defects in the 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
curable. He emphasized that psychological incapacity
does not refer to mental faculties and has nothing to
do with consent; it refers to obligations attendant to
marriage.
xxx xxx xxx
On psychological incapacity, Prof. (Flerida Ruth P.)
Romero inquired if they do not consider it as going to
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 is not principally a vitiation of consent since
there is a valid consent. He objected to the lumping
together of the validity of the marriage celebration
and the obligations attendant to marriage, which are
completely different from each other, because they
require a different capacity, which is eighteen years of
age, for marriage but in contract, it is different.
Justice Puno, however, felt that psychological
incapacity is still a kind of vice of consent and that it
should not be classified as a voidable marriage which
is incapable of convalidation; it should be
convalidated but there should be no prescription. In
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
psychologically incapacitated, at the time the action
is brought, it is no longer true that he has no concept
of the consequence of marriage.

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.
Prof. Romero opined that psychological incapacity is
still insanity of a lesser degree. Justice Luciano
suggested that they invite a psychiatrist, who is the
expert on this matter. Justice Caguioa, however,
reiterated that psychological incapacity is not a
defect in the mind but in the understanding of the
consequences of marriage, and therefore, a
psychiatrist will not be a help.
Prof. Bautista stated that, in the same manner that
there is a lucid interval in insanity, there are also
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 contracted at the time when there is
understanding of the consequences of marriage. 5
xxx xxx xxx
Judge Diy proposed that they include physical
incapacity to copulate among the grounds for void
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
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, however, pointed out that "psychological
incapacity" is incurable.
Justice Puno observed that under the present draft
provision, it is enough to show that at the time of the
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 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 the

essential marital obligations, which incapacity


continues and later becomes manifest.
Justice Puno and Judge Diy, however, pointed out
that it is possible that after the marriage, one's
psychological incapacity become manifest but later
on he is cured. Justice Reyes and Justice Caguioa
opined that the remedy in this case is to allow him to
remarry. 6
xxx xxx xxx
Justice Puno formulated the next Article as follows:
Art. 37. A marriage contracted by any party who, at
the time of the celebration, was psychologically
incapacitated, to comply with the essential
obligations of marriage shall likewise be void from
the beginning even if such incapacity becomes
manifest after its solemnization.
Justice Caguioa suggested that "even if" be
substituted with "although." On the other hand, Prof.
Bautista proposed that the clause "although such
incapacity becomes manifest after its solemnization"
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.
Judge Diy suggested that they also include mental
and physical incapacities, which are lesser in degree
than psychological incapacity. Justice Caguioa
explained that mental and physical incapacities are
vices of consent while psychological incapacity is not
a species of vice or consent.
Dean Gupit read what Bishop Cruz said on the matter
in the minutes of their February 9, 1984 meeting:
"On the third ground, Bishop Cruz indicated that the
phrase "psychological or mental impotence" is an
invention of some churchmen who are moralists but
not 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 . . ."
Justice Caguioa remarked that they deleted the word
"mental" precisely to distinguish it from vice of
consent. He explained that "psychological incapacity"
refers to lack of understanding of the essential
obligations of marriage.

Justice Puno reminded the members that, at the last


meeting, they have decided not to go into the
classification of "psychological incapacity" because
there was a lot of debate on it and that this is
precisely the reason why they classified it as a special
case.

fact, so designed the law as to allow some resiliency


in its application. Mme. Justice Alicia V. Sempio-Diy,
a member of the Code Committee, has been quoted
by Mr. Justice Josue N. Bellosillo in Salita
vs. Hon. Magtolis (G.R. No. 106429, 13 June 1994);
thus: 8

At this point, Justice Puno, remarked that, since there


having been annulments of marriages arising from
psychological incapacity, Civil Law should not
reconcile with Canon Law because it is a new ground
even under Canon Law.

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, the findings of experts and researchers in
psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church
tribunals which, although not binding on the civil
courts, may be given persuasive effect since the
provision was taken from Canon Law.

Prof. Romero raised the question: With this common


provision in Civil Law and in Canon Law, are they
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.
Justice Puno and Prof. Romero inquired if Article 37
should be retroactive or prospective in application.
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.
Dean Gupit suggested that they put the issue to a
vote, which the Committee approved.
The members voted as follows:
(1) Justice Reyes, Justice Puno and Prof. Romero were
for prospectivity.
(2) Justice Caguioa, Judge Diy, Dean Gupit, Prof.
Bautista and Director Eufemio were for retroactivity.
(3) Prof. Baviera abstained.
Justice Caguioa suggested that they put in the
prescriptive period of ten years within which the
action for declaration of nullity of the marriage
should be filed in court. The Committee approved the
suggestion. 7
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

A part of the provision is similar to Canon 1095 of the


New Code of Canon Law, 9 which reads:
Canon 1095. They are incapable of contracting
marriage:
1. who lack sufficient use of reason;
2. who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of
judgment concerning essentila matrimonial rights
and duties, to be given and accepted mutually;
3. who for causes of psychological nature are unable to
assume the essential obligations of marriage.
(Emphasis supplied.)
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 impertinent for
its value as an aid, at least, to the interpretation or
construction of the codal provision.
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:
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:

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);
then a broader one followed:
. . . because of a grave psychological anomaly (ob
gravem anomaliam psychicam) . . . (cf.SCH/1980,
canon 1049);
then the same wording was retained in the text
submitted to the pope (cf. SCH/1982, canon 1095, 3);
finally, a new version was promulgated:
because of causes of a psychological nature (ob
causas naturae psychiae).
So the progress was from psycho-sexual to
psychological anomaly, then the term anomaly was
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.
Fr. Orsy concedes that the term "psychological
incapacity" defies any precise definition since
psychological causes can be of an infinite variety.
In a book, entitled "Canons and Commentaries on
Marriage," written by Ignatius Gramunt, Javier
Hervada and LeRoy Wauck, the following explanation
appears:
This incapacity consists of the following: (a) a
true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of
marriage. Some psychosexual disorders and other
disorders of personality can be the psychic cause of
this defect, which is here described in legal terms.
This particular type of incapacity consists of a
real inability to render what is due by the contract. This
could be compared to the incapacity of a farmer to
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
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 true
psychological disorder which incapacitates a person
from giving what is due (cf. John Paul II, Address 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 marriage and consequently of the possibility of
being bound by these duties.
Justice Sempio-Diy 11 cites with approval the work of
Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former Presiding Judge of the
Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Catholic
Archdiocese of Manila (Branch 1), who opines that
psychological incapacity must be 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 antedating the marriage,
although the overt manifestations may emerge only
after the marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if
it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the
means of the party involved.
It should be obvious, looking at all the foregoing
disquisitions, including, and most importantly, the
deliberations of the Family 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 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 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 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 concealment of drug addiction,
habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism,
merely renders the marriage
contract 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 on the degree and severity of
the disorder, indicia of psychological incapacity.
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 persons with
expertise in psychological disciplines might be helpful
or even desirable.
Marriage is not an adventure but a lifetime
commitment. We should continue to be reminded
that innate in our society, then enshrined in our Civil
Code, and even now still indelible in Article 1 of the
Family Code, is that

Art. 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent


union between a man a woman entered into in
accordance with law for the establishment of
conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the
family and an inviolable social institution whose
nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by
law and not subject to stipulation, except that
marriage settlements may fix the property relations
during the marriage within the limits provided by this
Code. (Emphasis supplied.)
Our Constitution is no less emphatic:
Sec. 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the
foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall
strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total
development.
Sec. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is
the foundation of the family and shall be protected by
the State. (Article XV, 1987 Constitution).
The above provisions express so well and so distinctly
the basic nucleus of our laws on marriage and the
family, and they are doubt the tenets we still hold on
to.
The factual settings in the case at bench, in no
measure at all, can come close to the standards
required to decree a nullity of marriage. Undeniably
and understandably, Leouel stands aggrieved, even
desperate, in his present situation. Regrettably,
neither law nor society itself can always provide all
the specific answers to every individual problem.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero,
Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno Kapunan and Mendoza,
JJ., concur.
Feliciano, J., is on leave.

G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,
vs.

COURT OF APPEALS and RORIDEL OLAVIANO


MOLINA, respondents.
161793
PANGANIBAN, J.:
The Family Code of the Philippines provides an
entirely new ground (in addition to those
enumerated in the Civil Code) to assail the validity
of a marriage, namely, "psychological incapacity."
Since the Code's effectivity, our courts have been
swamped with various petitions to declare
marriages void based on this ground. Although this
Court had interpreted the meaning of
psychological incapacity in the recent case
ofSantos vs. Court of Appeals, still many judges and
lawyers find difficulty in applying said novel
provision in specific cases. In the present case and
in the context of the herein assailed Decision of the
Court of Appeals, the Solicitor General has labelled
exaggerated to be sure but nonetheless
expressive of his frustration Article 36 as the
"most liberal divorce procedure in the world."
Hence, this Court in addition to resolving the
present case, finds the need to lay down specific
guidelines in the interpretation and application of
Article 36 of the Family Code.
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under
Rule 45 challenging the January 25, 1993
Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals 2 in CA-G.R. CV
No. 34858 affirming in toto the May 14, 1991
decision of the Regional Trial Court of La
Trinidad, 3 Benguet, which declared the marriage of
respondent Roridel Olaviano Molina to Reynaldo
Molina void ab initio, on the ground of
"psychological incapacity" under Article 36 of the
Family Code.
The Facts
This case was commenced on August 16, 1990 with
the filing by respondent Roridel O. Molina of a
verified petition for declaration of nullity of her
marriage to Reynaldo Molina. Essentially, the
petition alleged that Roridel and Reynaldo were
married on April 14, 1985 at the San Agustin
Church 4 in Manila; that a son, Andre O. Molina was
born; that after a year of marriage, Reynaldo
showed signs of "immaturity and irresponsibility"
as a husband and a father since he preferred to

spend more time with his peers and friends on


whom he squandered his money; that he depended
on his parents for aid and assistance, and was never
honest with his wife in regard to their finances,
resulting in frequent quarrels between them; that
sometime in February 1986, Reynaldo was relieved
of his job in Manila, and since then Roridel had
been the sole breadwinner of the family; that in
October 1986 the couple had a very intense
quarrel, as a result of which their relationship was
estranged; that in March 1987, Roridel resigned
from her job in Manila and went to live with her
parents in Baguio City; that a few weeks later,
Reynaldo left Roridel and their child, and had since
then abandoned them; that Reynaldo had thus
shown that he was psychologically incapable of
complying with essential marital obligations and
was a highly immature and habitually quarrel some
individual who thought of himself as a king to be
served; and that it would be to the couple's best
interest to have their marriage declared null and
void in order to free them from what appeared to
be an incompatible marriage from the start.
In his Answer filed on August 28, 1989, Reynaldo
admitted that he and Roridel could no longer live
together as husband and wife, but contended that
their misunderstandings and frequent quarrels
were due to (1) Roridel's strange behavior of
insisting on maintaining her group of friends even
after their marriage; (2) Roridel's refusal to perform
some of her marital duties such as cooking meals;
and (3) Roridel's failure to run the household and
handle their finances.
During the pre-trial on October 17, 1990, the
following were stipulated:
1. That the parties herein were legally married on
April 14, 1985 at the Church of St. Augustine,
Manila;
2. That out of their marriage, a child named Albert
Andre Olaviano Molina was born on July 29, 1986;
3. That the parties are separated-in-fact for more
than three years;
4. That petitioner is not asking support for her and
her child;
5. That the respondent is not asking for damages;

6. That the common child of the parties is in the


custody of the petitioner wife.

objectives of marriage, then there is enough reason


to leave the spouses to their individual fates.

Evidence for herein respondent wife consisted of


her own testimony and that of her friends
Rosemarie Ventura and Maria Leonora Padilla as
well as of Ruth G. Lalas, a social worker, and of Dr.
Teresita Hidalgo-Sison, a psychiatrist of the Baguio
General Hospital and Medical Center. She also
submitted documents marked as Exhibits "A" to "E1." Reynaldo did not present any evidence as he
appeared only during the pre-trial conference.

In the case at bar, We find that the trial judge


committed no indiscretion in analyzing and
deciding the instant case, as it did, hence, We find
no cogent reason to disturb the findings and
conclusions thus made.

On May 14, 1991, the trial court rendered judgment


declaring the marriage void. The appeal of
petitioner was denied by the Court of Appeals
which affirmed in toto the RTC's decision. Hence,
the present recourse.
The Issue
In his petition, the Solicitor General insists that
"the Court of Appeals made an erroneous and
incorrect interpretation of the phrase
'psychological incapacity' (as provided under Art.
36 of the Family Code) and made an incorrect
application thereof to the facts of the case," adding
that the appealed Decision tended "to establish in
effect the most liberal divorce procedure in the
world which is anathema to our culture."
In denying the Solicitor General's appeal, the
respondent Court relied 5 heavily on the trial court's
findings "that the marriage between the parties
broke up because of their opposing and conflicting
personalities." Then, it added it sown opinion that
"the Civil Code Revision Committee (hereinafter
referred to as Committee) intended to liberalize the
application of our civil laws on personal and family
rights. . . ." It concluded that:
As ground for annulment of marriage, We view
psychologically incapacity as a broad range of
mental and behavioral conduct on the part of one
spouse indicative of how he or she regards the
marital union, his or her personal relationship with
the other spouse, as well as his or her conduct in
the long haul for the attainment of the principal
objectives of marriage. If said conduct, observed
and considered as a whole, tends to cause the
union to self-destruct because it defeats the very

Respondent, in her Memorandum, adopts these


discussions of the Court of Appeals.
The petitioner, on the other hand, argues that
"opposing and conflicting personalities" is not
equivalent to psychological incapacity, explaining
that such ground "is not simply the neglect by the
parties to the marriage of their responsibilities and
duties, but a defect in their psychological nature
which renders them incapable of performing such
marital responsibilities and duties."
The Court's Ruling
The petition is meritorious.
In Leouel Santos vs. Court of Appeals 6 this Court,
speaking thru Mr. Justice Jose C. Vitug, ruled that
"psychological incapacity should refer to no less
than a mental (nor physical) incapacity . . . and that
(t)here 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 psychologic
condition must exist at the time the marriage is
celebrated." Citing Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former
presiding judge of the Metropolitan Marriage
Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of
Manila, 7 Justice Vitug wrote that "the
psychological incapacity must be characterized by
(a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c)
incurability."
On the other hand, in the present case, there is no
clear showing to us that the psychological defect
spoken of is an incapacity. It appears to us to be
more of a "difficulty," if not outright "refusal" or
"neglect" in the performance of some marital
obligations. Mere showing of "irreconciliable
differences" and "conflicting personalities" in no
wise constitutes psychological incapacity. It is not

enough to prove that the parties failed to meet


their responsibilities and duties as married persons;
it is essential that they must be shown to
beincapable of doing so, due to some psychological
(nor physical) illness.
The evidence adduced by respondent merely
showed that she and her husband could nor get
along with each other. There had been no showing
of the gravity of the problem; neither its juridical
antecedence nor its incurability. The expert
testimony of Dr. Sison showed no incurable
psychiatric disorder but only incompatibility, not
psychological incapacity. Dr. Sison testified: 8
COURT
Q It is therefore the recommendation of the
psychiatrist based on your findings that it is better
for the Court to annul (sic) the marriage?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q There is no hope for the marriage?
A There is no hope, the man is also living with
another woman.
Q Is it also the stand of the psychiatrist that the
parties are psychologically unfit for each other but
they are psychologically fit with other parties?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q Neither are they psychologically unfit for their
professions?
A Yes, Your Honor.
The Court has no more questions.
In the case of Reynaldo, there is no showing that
his alleged personality traits were constitutive of
psychological incapacity existing at the time of
marriage celebration. While some effort was made
to prove that there was a failure to fulfill prenuptial impressions of "thoughtfulness and
gentleness" on Reynaldo's part of being
"conservative, homely and intelligent" on the part
of Roridel, such failure of expectation is nor
indicative of antecedent psychological incapacity.
If at all, it merely shows love's temporary blindness
to the faults and blemishes of the beloved.

During its deliberations, the Court decided to go


beyond merely ruling on the facts of this case vis-avisexisting law and jurisprudence. In view of the
novelty of Art. 36 of the Family Code and the
difficulty experienced by many trial courts
interpreting and applying it, the Court decided to
invite two amici curiae, namely, the Most Reverend
Oscar V. Cruz, 9 Vicar Judicial (Presiding Judge) of
the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the
Catholic Church in the Philippines, and Justice
Ricardo C. Puno, 10 a member of the Family Code
Revision Committee. The Court takes this occasion
to thank these friends of the Court for their
informative and interesting discussions during the
oral argument on December 3, 1996, which they
followed up with written memoranda.
From their submissions and the Court's own
deliberations, the following guidelines in the
interpretation and application of Art. 36 of the
Family Code are hereby handed down for the
guidance of the bench and the bar:
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the
marriage belongs to the plaintiff. 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 Constitution and our laws cherish the
validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus,
our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the
Family, 11 recognizing it "as the foundation of the
nation." It 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" by the state.
The Family Code 12 echoes this constitutional edict
on marriage and the family and emphasizes
the permanence, inviolability and solidarity
(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. The evidence must convince the court
that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or
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 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 ofejusdem generis, 13 nevertheless such
root cause must be identified as a psychological
illness and its incapacitating nature explained.
Expert evidence may be given qualified psychiatrist
and clinical psychologists.
(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 perceivable
at such time, but the illness itself must have
attached at such moment, or prior thereto.
(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.
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 may not be
psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and
raise his/her own children as an essential obligation
of marriage.
(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 root causes. The illness must be shown
as downright incapacity or inability, nor 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 integral element in
the personality structure that effectively
incapacitates the person from really accepting and
thereby complying with the obligations essential to
marriage.

(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 noncomplied marital obligation(s) must also be stated
in the petition, proven by evidence and included in
the text of the decision.
(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. It is
clear that Article 36 was 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:
The following are incapable of contracting
marriage: Those who are unable to assume the
essential obligations of marriage due to causes of
psychological nature. 14
Since the purpose of including such provision in our
Family Code is to 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 given to decision of
such appellate tribunal. Ideally subject to our law
on evidence what is decreed as canonically
invalid should also be decreed civilly void.
This is one instance where, in view of the evident
source and purpose of the Family Code provision,
contemporaneous religious interpretation is to be
given persuasive effect. Here, the State and the
Church while remaining independent, separate
and apart from each other shall walk together in
synodal cadence towards the same goal of
protecting and cherishing marriage and the family
as the inviolable base of the nation.
(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 he
handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a
certification, which will be quoted in the decision,
briefly staring 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
vinculicontemplated under Canon 1095.
In the instant case and applying Leouel Santos, we
have already ruled to grant the petition. Such
ruling becomes even more cogent with the use of
the foregoing guidelines.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The
assailed Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
marriage of Roridel Olaviano to Reynaldo Molina
subsists and remains valid.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno
Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr., and Torres, Jr., JJ.,
concur.
Regalado, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concurs in the
result.

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., concuring opinion:


I concur in the result of the decision penned by Mr.
Justice Panganiban but only because of the
peculiar facts of the case. As to whether or not the
psychological incapacity exists in a given case
calling for annulment of a marriage, depends
crucially, more than in any field of the law, on the
facts of the case. InLeouel Santos v. Court of
Appeals and Julia Rosario-Bedia Santos, G.R. No.
112019, 4 January 1995, 240 SCRA 20-36, I
maintained, and I still maintain, that there was
psychological incapacity on the part of the wife to
discharge the duties of a wife in a valid marriage.
The facts of the present case, after an indepth
study, do not support a similar conclusion.
Obviously, each case must be judged, not on the
basis of a prioriassumptions, predilections or
generalizations but according to its own facts. In

the field of psychological incapacity as a ground for


annulment of marriage, it is trite to say that no
case is on "all fours" with another case. The trial
judge must take pains in examining the actual
millieu and the appellate court must, as much as
possible, avoid substituting its own judgment for
that of the trial court.
ROMERO, J., separate opinion:
The majority opinion, overturning that of the Court
of Appeals which affirmed the Regional Trial Court
ruling. upheld petitioner Solicitor General's
position that "opposing and conflicting
personalities" is not equivalent to psychological
incapacity, for the latter "is not simply
the neglect by the parties to the marriage of their
responsibilities and duties, but a defect in their
Psychological nature which renders them incapable
of performing such marital responsibilities and
duties.
In the present case, the alleged personality traits of
Reynaldo, the husband, did not constitute so much
"psychological incapacity" as a "difficulty," if not
outright "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance
of some marital obligations. "It is not enough to
prove that the parties failed to meet their
responsibilities and duties as married persons; it is
essential that they must be shown to
be incapable of doing so, due to some
psychological (not physical) illness."
I would add that neither should the incapacity be
the result of mental illness. For if it were due to
insanity or defects in the mental faculties short of
insanity, there is a resultant defect of vice of
consent, thus rendering the marriage annulable
under Art. 45 of the Family Code.
That the intent of the members of the U.P. Law
Center's Civil Code Revision Committee was to
excludemental inability to understand the essential
nature of marriage and focus strictly on
psychological incapacity is demonstrated in the
way the provision in question underwent revisions.
At the Committee meeting of July 26, 1986, the
draft provision read:
(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
discharge the essential marital obligations, even if
such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the
celebration.
The twists and turns which the ensuing discussion
took finally produced the following revised
provision even before the session was over:
(7) That contracted by any party who, at the time
of the celebration, was psychologically
incapacitated to discharge the essential marital
obligations, even if such lack or incapacity becomes
manifest after the celebration.
Noticeably, the immediately preceding formulation
above has dropped any reference to "wanting in
the sufficient use of reason or judgment to
understand the essential nature or marriage" and
to "mentally incapacitated." It was explained that
these 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 consent, "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 sanity is curable. . . . Psychological
incapacity does not refer to mental faculties and
has nothing to do with consent; it refers to
obligations attendant to
marriage." 1
My own position as a member of the Committee
then was that psychological incapacity is, in a
sense, insanity of a lesser degree.
As to the proposal of Justice Caguioa to use the
term "psychological or mental impotence,"
Archbishop Oscar Cruz opined in he earlier
February 9, 1984 session that this term "is an
invention of some churchmen who are moralists
but not 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. . . ." Justice Ricardo C.
Puno opined that sometimes a person may be

psychologically impotent with one but not with


another.
One of the guidelines enumerated in the majority
opinion for the interpretation and application of
Art. 36 is: "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."
The Committee, through Prof. Araceli T. Barrera,
considered the inclusion of the phrase" and is
incurable" but Prof. Esteban B. Bautista
commented that this would give rise to the
question of how they will determine curability and
Justice Caguioa agreed that it would be more
problematic. Yet the possibility that one may be
cured after the psychological incapacity becomes
manifest after the marriage was not ruled out by
Justice Puno and Justice Alice Sempio-Diy. Justice
Caguioa suggested that the remedy was to allow
the afflicted spouse to remarry.
For clarity, the Committee classified the bases for
determining void marriages, viz:
1. lack of one or more of the essential requisites of
marriage as contract;
2. reasons of public policy;
3. special cases and special situations.
The ground of psychological incapacity was
subsumed under "special cases and special
situations," hence its special treatment in Art. 36 in
the Family Code as finally enacted.
Nowhere in the Civil Code provisions on Marriage is
there a ground for avoiding or annulling marriages
that even comes close to being psychological in
nature.
Where consent is vitiated due to circumstances
existing at the time of the marriage, such marriage
which stands valid until annulled is capable of
ratification or convalidation.
On the other hand, for reasons of public policy or
lack of essential requisites, some marriages are
void from the beginning.

With the revision of Book I of the Civil Code,


particularly the provisions on Marriage, the
drafters, now open to fresh winds of change in
keeping with the more permissive mores and
practices of the time, took a leaf from the relatively
liberal provisions of Canon Law.
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, are unable to assume the
essential obligations of marriage" provided the
model for what is now Art. 36 of the Family Code:
"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.
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, recognizes an intermediate state, the
voidable or annullable marriages. When the
Ecclesiastical Tribunal "annuls" a marriage, it
actually declares the marriage null and 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 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.
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 found
themselves in limbo freed from the marriage
bonds in the eyes of the Catholic Church but yet
unable to contract a valid civil marriage under state
laws. Heedless of civil law sanctions, some persons
contract new marriages or enter into live-in
relationships.
It was precisely to provide a satisfactory solution to
such anomalous situations that the Civil Law

Revision Committee decided to engraft the Canon


Law concept of psychological incapacity into the
Family Code and classified the same as a ground
for declaring marriages void ab initio or totally in
existent from the beginning.
A brief historical note on the Old Canon Law (1917).
This Old Code, while it did not provide directly for
psychological incapacity, in effect recognized the
same indirectly from a combination of three old
canons: "Canon #1081 required persons to 'be
capable according to law' in order to give valid
consent; Canon #1082 required that persons 'be at
least not ignorant' of the major elements required
in marriage; and 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 distinct
but related grounds for annulment, called 'lack of
due discretion' and 'lack of due competence.' Lack of
due discretion means that the person did not have
the ability to give valid consent at the time of the
wedding and therefore the union is invalid. Lack of
due competence means that the person
was incapable of carrying out the obligations of the
promise he or she made during the wedding
ceremony.
"Favorable annulment decisions by the Roman
Rota in the 1950s and 1960s involving sexual
disorders such as homosexuality and nymphomania
laid the foundation for a broader approach to the
kind of proof necessary for psychological grounds for
annulment. The Rota had reasoned for the first
time in several cases that the capacity to give valid
consent at the time of marriage was probably not
present in persons who had displayed such
problems shortly after the marriage. The nature of
this change was nothing short of revolutionary.
Once the Rota itself had demonstrated a cautious
willingness to use this kind of hindsight, the way
was paved for what came after 1970. Diocesan
Tribunals began to accept proof of serious
psychological problems that manifested themselves
shortly after the ceremony as proof of an inability to
give valid consent at the time of the ceremony.
Furthermore, and equally significant, the
professional opinion of a psychological expert
became increasingly important in such cases. Data
about the person's entire 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 at the time of the wedding. These
opinions were rarely challenged and tended to be
accepted as decisive evidence of lack of valid
consent.
The Church took pains to point out that its new
openness in this area did not amount to the
addition of new grounds for annulment, but rather
was an accommodation by the Church to
the advances made in psychology during the past
decades. There was now the expertise to provide the
all-important connecting link between a marriage
breakdown and premarital causes.
During the 1970s, the Church broadened its whole
idea of marriage from that of a legal contract to
that of a covenant. The result of this was that it
could no longer be assumed in annulment cases that
a person who could intellectually understand the
concept of marriage could necessarily give valid
consent to marry. The ability to both grasp and
assume the real obligations of a mature, lifelong
commitment are now considered a necessary
prerequisite to valid matrimonial consent. 2
Rotal decisions continued applying the concept of
incipient psychological incapacity, "not only to
sexual anomalies but to all kinds of personality
disorders that incapacitate a spouse or both
spouses from assuming or carrying out the
essential obligations of marriage. For marriage . . .
is not merely cohabitation or the right of the
spouses to each others' 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. Rotal decisions since 1973 have
refined the meaning of psychological or psychic
capacity for marriage as presupposing the
development of an adult personality; as meaning
the capacity of the spouses to give themselves to
each other and to accept the other as a distinct
person; that the spouses must be 'other oriented'
since the obligations of marriage are rooted in a selfgiving love; and that the spouses must have the
capacity for interpersonal relationship because
marriage is more than just a physical reality but
involves a true intertwining of personalities. The
fulfillment of the obligations of marriage depends.
according to Church decisions, on the strength of

this interpersonal relationship. A serious incapacity


for interpersonal sharing and support is held to
impair the relationship and consequently, the
ability to fulfill the essential marital
obligations. The marital capacity of one spouse is
not considered in isolation but in reference to the
fundamental relationship to the other spouse. 3
Fr. Green, in an article in Catholic Mind, lists six
elements necessary to the mature marital
relationship:
The courts consider the following elements crucial
to the marital commitment: (1) a permanent and
faithful commitment to the marriage partner; (2)
openness to children and partner; (3) stability; (4)
emotional maturity; (5) financial responsibility; (6)
an ability to cope with the ordinary stresses and
strains of marriage, etc.
Fr. Green goes on to speak about some of the
psychological conditions that might lead to the
failure of a marriage:
At stake is a type of constitutional impairment
precluding conjugal communion even 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 personality with its fundamental lack of
loyalty to persons or sense of moral values; (2)
hyperesthesia, where the individual has no real
freedom of sexual choice; (3) the inadequate
personality where personal responses consistently
fallshort of reasonable expectations.
xxx xxx xxx
The psychological grounds are the best approach
for anyone who doubts whether he or she has a
case for an annulment on any other terms. A
situation that does not fit into any of the more
traditional categories often fits very easily into the
psychological category.
As new as the psychological grounds are, experts
are already detecting a shift in their use. Whereas
originally the emphasis was on the parties' inability
to exercise proper judgment at the time of the
marriage (lack of due discretion), recent cases seem
to be concentrating on the parties' to assume or
carry out their responsibilities an obligations as

promised (lack of due competence). An advantage


to using the ground of lack of due competence is
that the at the time the marriage was entered
into civil divorce and breakup of the family almost is
of someone's failure out marital responsibilities as
promised at the time the marriage was entered
into. 4
In the instant case, "opposing and conflicting
personalities" of the spouses were not considered
equivalent to psychological incapacity. As well
in Santos v. Court of Appeals cited in the ponencia,
the Court held that the failure of the wife to return
home from the U.S. or to communicate with her
husband for more then five years is not proof of her
psychological incapacity as to render the marriage
a nullity. 5 Therefore, Art. 36 is inapplicable and the
marriages remain valid and subsisting.
However in the recent case of Chi Ming Tsoi v. Court
of Appeals, 6 this Court upheld both the Regional
Trial Court and the Court of Appeals in declaring
the presence of psychological incapacity on the
part of the husband. Said petitioner husband, after
ten (10) months' sleeping with his wife never had
coitus with her, a fact he did not deny but he
alleged that it was due to the physical disorder of
his wife which, however, he failed to prove.
Goaded by the indifference and stubborn refusal of
her husband to fulfill a basic marital obligation
described as "to procreate children based on the
universal principle that procreation of children
through sexual cooperation is the basic end of
marriage," the wife brought the action in the lower
court to declare the marriage null.
The Court, quoting Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former
Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Marriage
Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila
(Branch I) on Psychological incapacity concluded:
If a spouse, although physically capable but simply
refuses to perform his or her essential marriage
obligations, and 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 incapacity.

We declared:
This Court, finding the gravity of the failed
relationship in which the parties found themselves
trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and
unconsummated marital obligations, can do no less
but sustain the studied judgment of respondent
appellate court.
1 concur with the majority opinion that the herein
marriage remains valid and subsisting absent
psychological incapacity (under Art. 36 of the
Family Code) on the part of either or both of the
spouses.

VITUG, J., concurring:


I fully concur with my esteemed 'colleague Mr.
Justice Artemio V. Panganiban in his ponencia, and
I find to be most helpful the guidelines that he
prepared for the bench and the bar in the proper
appreciation of Article 36 of Executive Order No.
209 ("The Family Code of the Philippines"). The
term "psychological incapacity" was neither
defined nor exemplified by the Family Code. Thus

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 such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
solemnization.
The Revision Committee, constituted under the
auspices of the U.P. Law Center, which drafted the
Code explained:
(T)he 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 which, although not binding on
the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect
since the provision was taken from Canon Law. 1
Article 36 of the Family Code was concededly taken
from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law
Canon 1095. (The following persons) are incapable
of contracting marriage; (those)

1. who lack sufficient use of reason;


2. who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of
judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights
and duties, to be given and accepted mutually;
3. who for causes of psychological nature are
unable to assume the essential obligations of
marriage
that should give that much value to Canon Law
jurisprudence as an aid to the interpretation and
construction of the statutory enactment. 2
The principles in the proper application of the law
teach us that the several provisions of a Code must
be read like a congruent whole. Thus, in
determining the import of "psychological
incapacity" under Article 36, one must also read it
along with, albeit to be taken as distinct from, the
other grounds enumerated in the Code, like
Articles 35, 37, 38 and 41 that would likewise, but
for distinct reasons, render the marriage merely
voidable, or Article 55 that could justify a petition
for legal separation. Care must be observed so that
these various circumstances are not applied so
indiscriminately as if the law were indifferent on
the matter.
I would wish to reiterate the Court's' statement
in Santos vs. Court of Appeals; 3 viz:
(T)he 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. . . Article 36 of
the Family Code cannot be 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 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 insensitivity or 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 concealment of drug
addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or
lesbianism, merely renders the marriage contract
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 on the
degree and severity of the disorder,indicia of
psychological
incapacity. 4
In fine, the term "psychological incapacity," to be a
ground for then nullity of marriage under Article 36
of the Family Code, must be able to pass the
following tests; viz:
First, the incapacity must be psychological or
mental, not physical, in nature;
Second, the psychological incapacity must relate to
the inability, not mere refusal, to understand,
assume end discharge the basic marital obligations
of living together, observing love, respect and
fidelity and rendering mutual help and support;
Third, the psychologic condition must exist at the
time the marriage is contracted although its overt
manifestations and the marriage may occur only
thereafter; and
Fourth, the mental disorder must be grave or
serious and incurable.
It may well be that the Family Code Revision
Committee has envisioned Article 36, as not a few
observers would suspect, as another form of
absolute divorce or, as still others would also put it,

to be a alternative to divorce; however, the fact


still remains that the language of the law has failed
to carry out, even if true, any such intendment. It
might have indeed turned out for the better, if it
were otherwise, there could be good reasons to
doubt the constitutionality of the measure. The
fundamental law itself, no less, has laid down in
terse language its unequivocal command on how
the State should regard marriage and the family,
thus
Section 2, Article XV:
Sec. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution,
is the foundation of the family and shall be
protected by the State.
Section 12, Article II:
Sec. 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family
life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a
basic autonomous social institution . . . .
Section 1, Article XV:
Sec. 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as
the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall
strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its
total development. (The 1987 Constitution)
The case of Marcelino vs. Cruz, 121 SCRA 51, might
here be significant not so much for the specific
issue there resolved but for the tone it has set. The
Court there has held that constitutional provisions
are to be considered mandatory unless by
necessary implication, a different intention is
manifest such that to have them enforced strictly
would cause more harm than by disregarding
them. It is quite clear to me that the constitutional
mandate on marriage and the family has not been
meant to be simply directory in character, nor for
mere expediency or convenience, but one that
demands a meaningful, not half-hearted, respect.

Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J., concuring opinion:
I concur in the result of the decision penned by Mr.
Justice Panganiban but only because of the
peculiar facts of the case. As to whether or not the

psychological incapacity exists in a given case


calling for annulment of a marriage, depends
crucially, more than in any field of the law, on the
facts of the case. InLeouel Santos v. Court of
Appeals and Julia Rosario-Bedia Santos, G.R. No.
112019, 4 January 1995, 240 SCRA 20-36, I
maintained, and I still maintain, that there was
psychological incapacity on the part of the wife to
discharge the duties of a wife in a valid marriage.
The facts of the present case, after an indepth
study, do not support a similar conclusion.
Obviously, each case must be judged, not on the
basis of a prioriassumptions, predilections or
generalizations but according to its own facts. In
the field of psychological incapacity as a ground for
annulment of marriage, it is trite to say that no
case is on "all fours" with another case. The trial
judge must take pains in examining the actual
millieu and the appellate court must, as much as
possible, avoid substituting its own judgment for
that of the trial court.
ROMERO, J., separate opinion:
The majority opinion, overturning that of the Court
of Appeals which affirmed the Regional Trial Court
ruling. upheld petitioner Solicitor General's
position that "opposing and conflicting
personalities" is not equivalent to psychological
incapacity, for the latter "is not simply
the neglect by the parties to the marriage of their
responsibilities and duties, but a defect in their
Psychological nature which renders them incapable
of performing such marital responsibilities and
duties.
In the present case, the alleged personality traits of
Reynaldo, the husband, did not constitute so much
"psychological incapacity" as a "difficulty," if not
outright "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance
of some marital obligations. "It is not enough to
prove that the parties failed to meet their
responsibilities and duties as married persons; it is
essential that they must be shown to
be incapable of doing so, due to some
psychological (not physical) illness."
I would add that neither should the incapacity be
the result of mental illness. For if it were due to
insanity or defects in the mental faculties short of
insanity, there is a resultant defect of vice of

consent, thus rendering the marriage annulable


under Art. 45 of the Family Code.
That the intent of the members of the U.P. Law
Center's Civil Code Revision Committee was to
excludemental inability to understand the essential
nature of marriage and focus strictly on
psychological incapacity is demonstrated in the
way the provision in question underwent revisions.
At the Committee meeting of July 26, 1986, the
draft provision read:
(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
discharge the essential marital obligations, even if
such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the
celebration.
The twists and turns which the ensuing discussion
took finally produced the following revised
provision even before the session was over:
(7) That contracted by any party who, at the time
of the celebration, was psychologically
incapacitated to discharge the essential marital
obligations, even if such lack or incapacity becomes
manifest after the celebration.
Noticeably, the immediately preceding formulation
above has dropped any reference to "wanting in
the sufficient use of reason or judgment to
understand the essential nature or marriage" and
to "mentally incapacitated." It was explained that
these 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 consent, "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 sanity is curable. . . . Psychological
incapacity does not refer to mental faculties and
has nothing to do with consent; it refers to
obligations attendant to
marriage." 1

My own position as a member of the Committee


then was that psychological incapacity is, in a
sense, insanity of a lesser degree.
As to the proposal of Justice Caguioa to use the
term "psychological or mental impotence,"
Archbishop Oscar Cruz opined in he earlier
February 9, 1984 session that this term "is an
invention of some churchmen who are moralists
but not 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. . . ." Justice Ricardo C.
Puno opined that sometimes a person may be
psychologically impotent with one but not with
another.
One of the guidelines enumerated in the majority
opinion for the interpretation and application of
Art. 36 is: "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."
The Committee, through Prof. Araceli T. Barrera,
considered the inclusion of the phrase" and is
incurable" but Prof. Esteban B. Bautista
commented that this would give rise to the
question of how they will determine curability and
Justice Caguioa agreed that it would be more
problematic. Yet the possibility that one may be
cured after the psychological incapacity becomes
manifest after the marriage was not ruled out by
Justice Puno and Justice Alice Sempio-Diy. Justice
Caguioa suggested that the remedy was to allow
the afflicted spouse to remarry.
For clarity, the Committee classified the bases for
determining void marriages, viz:
1. lack of one or more of the essential requisites of
marriage as contract;
2. reasons of public policy;
3. special cases and special situations.
The ground of psychological incapacity was
subsumed under "special cases and special
situations," hence its special treatment in Art. 36 in
the Family Code as finally enacted.

Nowhere in the Civil Code provisions on Marriage is


there a ground for avoiding or annulling marriages
that even comes close to being psychological in
nature.
Where consent is vitiated due to circumstances
existing at the time of the marriage, such marriage
which stands valid until annulled is capable of
ratification or convalidation.
On the other hand, for reasons of public policy or
lack of essential requisites, some marriages are
void from the beginning.
With the revision of Book I of the Civil Code,
particularly the provisions on Marriage, the
drafters, now open to fresh winds of change in
keeping with the more permissive mores and
practices of the time, took a leaf from the relatively
liberal provisions of Canon Law.
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, are unable to assume the
essential obligations of marriage" provided the
model for what is now Art. 36 of the Family Code:
"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.
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, recognizes an intermediate state, the
voidable or annullable marriages. When the
Ecclesiastical Tribunal "annuls" a marriage, it
actually declares the marriage null and 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 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.
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 found
themselves in limbo freed from the marriage
bonds in the eyes of the Catholic Church but yet
unable to contract a valid civil marriage under state
laws. Heedless of civil law sanctions, some persons
contract new marriages or enter into live-in
relationships.
It was precisely to provide a satisfactory solution to
such anomalous situations that the Civil Law
Revision Committee decided to engraft the Canon
Law concept of psychological incapacity into the
Family Code and classified the same as a ground
for declaring marriages void ab initio or totally in
existent from the beginning.
A brief historical note on the Old Canon Law (1917).
This Old Code, while it did not provide directly for
psychological incapacity, in effect recognized the
same indirectly from a combination of three old
canons: "Canon #1081 required persons to 'be
capable according to law' in order to give valid
consent; Canon #1082 required that persons 'be at
least not ignorant' of the major elements required
in marriage; and 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 distinct
but related grounds for annulment, called 'lack of
due discretion' and 'lack of due competence.' Lack of
due discretion means that the person did not have
the ability to give valid consent at the time of the
wedding and therefore the union is invalid. Lack of
due competence means that the person
was incapable of carrying out the obligations of the
promise he or she made during the wedding
ceremony.
"Favorable annulment decisions by the Roman
Rota in the 1950s and 1960s involving sexual
disorders such as homosexuality and nymphomania
laid the foundation for a broader approach to the
kind of proof necessary for psychological grounds for
annulment. The Rota had reasoned for the first
time in several cases that the capacity to give valid
consent at the time of marriage was probably not
present in persons who had displayed such
problems shortly after the marriage. The nature of

this change was nothing short of revolutionary.


Once the Rota itself had demonstrated a cautious
willingness to use this kind of hindsight, the way
was paved for what came after 1970. Diocesan
Tribunals began to accept proof of serious
psychological problems that manifested themselves
shortly after the ceremony as proof of an inability to
give valid consent at the time of the ceremony.
Furthermore, and equally significant, the
professional opinion of a psychological expert
became increasingly important in such cases. Data
about the person's entire 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 at the time of the wedding. These
opinions were rarely challenged and tended to be
accepted as decisive evidence of lack of valid
consent.
The Church took pains to point out that its new
openness in this area did not amount to the
addition of new grounds for annulment, but rather
was an accommodation by the Church to
the advances made in psychology during the past
decades. There was now the expertise to provide the
all-important connecting link between a marriage
breakdown and premarital causes.
During the 1970s, the Church broadened its whole
idea of marriage from that of a legal contract to
that of a covenant. The result of this was that it
could no longer be assumed in annulment cases that
a person who could intellectually understand the
concept of marriage could necessarily give valid
consent to marry. The ability to both grasp and
assume the real obligations of a mature, lifelong
commitment are now considered a necessary
prerequisite to valid matrimonial consent. 2
Rotal decisions continued applying the concept of
incipient psychological incapacity, "not only to
sexual anomalies but to all kinds of personality
disorders that incapacitate a spouse or both
spouses from assuming or carrying out the
essential obligations of marriage. For marriage . . .
is not merely cohabitation or the right of the
spouses to each others' 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. Rotal decisions since 1973 have

refined the meaning of psychological or psychic


capacity for marriage as presupposing the
development of an adult personality; as meaning
the capacity of the spouses to give themselves to
each other and to accept the other as a distinct
person; that the spouses must be 'other oriented'
since the obligations of marriage are rooted in a selfgiving love; and that the spouses must have the
capacity for interpersonal relationship because
marriage is more than just a physical reality but
involves a true intertwining of personalities. The
fulfillment of the obligations of marriage depends.
according to Church decisions, on the strength of
this interpersonal relationship. A serious incapacity
for interpersonal sharing and support is held to
impair the relationship and consequently, the
ability to fulfill the essential marital
obligations. The marital capacity of one spouse is
not considered in isolation but in reference to the
fundamental relationship to the other spouse. 3
Fr. Green, in an article in Catholic Mind, lists six
elements necessary to the mature marital
relationship:
The courts consider the following elements crucial
to the marital commitment: (1) a permanent and
faithful commitment to the marriage partner; (2)
openness to children and partner; (3) stability; (4)
emotional maturity; (5) financial responsibility; (6)
an ability to cope with the ordinary stresses and
strains of marriage, etc.
Fr. Green goes on to speak about some of the
psychological conditions that might lead to the
failure of a marriage:
At stake is a type of constitutional impairment
precluding conjugal communion even 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 personality with its fundamental lack of
loyalty to persons or sense of moral values; (2)
hyperesthesia, where the individual has no real
freedom of sexual choice; (3) the inadequate
personality where personal responses consistently
fallshort of reasonable expectations.
xxx xxx xxx

The psychological grounds are the best approach


for anyone who doubts whether he or she has a
case for an annulment on any other terms. A
situation that does not fit into any of the more
traditional categories often fits very easily into the
psychological category.
As new as the psychological grounds are, experts
are already detecting a shift in their use. Whereas
originally the emphasis was on the parties' inability
to exercise proper judgment at the time of the
marriage (lack of due discretion), recent cases seem
to be concentrating on the parties' to assume or
carry out their responsibilities an obligations as
promised (lack of due competence). An advantage
to using the ground of lack of due competence is
that the at the time the marriage was entered
into civil divorce and breakup of the family almost is
of someone's failure out marital responsibilities as
promised at the time the marriage was entered
into. 4
In the instant case, "opposing and conflicting
personalities" of the spouses were not considered
equivalent to psychological incapacity. As well
in Santos v. Court of Appeals cited in the ponencia,
the Court held that the failure of the wife to return
home from the U.S. or to communicate with her
husband for more then five years is not proof of her
psychological incapacity as to render the marriage
a nullity. 5 Therefore, Art. 36 is inapplicable and the
marriages remain valid and subsisting.
However in the recent case of Chi Ming Tsoi v. Court
of Appeals, 6 this Court upheld both the Regional
Trial Court and the Court of Appeals in declaring
the presence of psychological incapacity on the
part of the husband. Said petitioner husband, after
ten (10) months' sleeping with his wife never had
coitus with her, a fact he did not deny but he
alleged that it was due to the physical disorder of
his wife which, however, he failed to prove.
Goaded by the indifference and stubborn refusal of
her husband to fulfill a basic marital obligation
described as "to procreate children based on the
universal principle that procreation of children
through sexual cooperation is the basic end of
marriage," the wife brought the action in the lower
court to declare the marriage null.

The Court, quoting Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former


Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Marriage
Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila
(Branch I) on Psychological incapacity concluded:
If a spouse, although physically capable but simply
refuses to perform his or her essential marriage
obligations, and 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 incapacity.
We declared:
This Court, finding the gravity of the failed
relationship in which the parties found themselves
trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and
unconsummated marital obligations, can do no less
but sustain the studied judgment of respondent
appellate court.
1 concur with the majority opinion that the herein
marriage remains valid and subsisting absent
psychological incapacity (under Art. 36 of the
Family Code) on the part of either or both of the
spouses.

VITUG, J., concurring:


I fully concur with my esteemed 'colleague Mr.
Justice Artemio V. Panganiban in his ponencia, and
I find to be most helpful the guidelines that he
prepared for the bench and the bar in the proper
appreciation of Article 36 of Executive Order No.
209 ("The Family Code of the Philippines"). The
term "psychological incapacity" was neither
defined nor exemplified by the Family Code. Thus

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 such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
solemnization.

The Revision Committee, constituted under the


auspices of the U.P. Law Center, which drafted the
Code explained:
(T)he 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 which, although not binding on
the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect
since the provision was taken from Canon Law. 1
Article 36 of the Family Code was concededly taken
from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law
Canon 1095. (The following persons) are incapable
of contracting marriage; (those)
1. who lack sufficient use of reason;
2. who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of
judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights
and duties, to be given and accepted mutually;
3. who for causes of psychological nature are
unable to assume the essential obligations of
marriage
that should give that much value to Canon Law
jurisprudence as an aid to the interpretation and
construction of the statutory enactment. 2
The principles in the proper application of the law
teach us that the several provisions of a Code must
be read like a congruent whole. Thus, in
determining the import of "psychological
incapacity" under Article 36, one must also read it
along with, albeit to be taken as distinct from, the
other grounds enumerated in the Code, like
Articles 35, 37, 38 and 41 that would likewise, but
for distinct reasons, render the marriage merely
voidable, or Article 55 that could justify a petition
for legal separation. Care must be observed so that
these various circumstances are not applied so
indiscriminately as if the law were indifferent on
the matter.
I would wish to reiterate the Court's' statement
in Santos vs. Court of Appeals; 3 viz:
(T)he 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. . . Article 36 of
the Family Code cannot be 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 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 insensitivity or 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 concealment of drug
addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or
lesbianism, merely renders the marriage contract
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 on the
degree and severity of the disorder,indicia of
psychological
incapacity. 4
In fine, the term "psychological incapacity," to be a
ground for then nullity of marriage under Article 36
of the Family Code, must be able to pass the
following tests; viz:
First, the incapacity must be psychological or
mental, not physical, in nature;

Second, the psychological incapacity must relate to


the inability, not mere refusal, to understand,
assume end discharge the basic marital obligations
of living together, observing love, respect and
fidelity and rendering mutual help and support;
Third, the psychologic condition must exist at the
time the marriage is contracted although its overt
manifestations and the marriage may occur only
thereafter; and
Fourth, the mental disorder must be grave or
serious and incurable.
It may well be that the Family Code Revision
Committee has envisioned Article 36, as not a few
observers would suspect, as another form of
absolute divorce or, as still others would also put it,
to be a alternative to divorce; however, the fact
still remains that the language of the law has failed
to carry out, even if true, any such intendment. It
might have indeed turned out for the better, if it
were otherwise, there could be good reasons to
doubt the constitutionality of the measure. The
fundamental law itself, no less, has laid down in
terse language its unequivocal command on how
the State should regard marriage and the family,
thus
Section 2, Article XV:
Sec. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution,
is the foundation of the family and shall be
protected by the State.

necessary implication, a different intention is


manifest such that to have them enforced strictly
would cause more harm than by disregarding
them. It is quite clear to me that the constitutional
mandate on marriage and the family has not been
meant to be simply directory in character, nor for
mere expediency or convenience, but one that
demands a meaningful, not half-hearted, respect.
EDWARD KENNETH
NGO TE,
Petitioner,

- versus -

G.R. No. 161793

Present:

YNARESSANTIAGO, J.,
Chairperson,

ROWENA ONG
GUTIERREZ YU-TE,
Respondent,

AUSTRIAMARTINEZ,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
NACHURA, and
PERALTA, JJ.

REPUBLIC OF
THEPHILIPPINES,

Promulgated:

Oppositor.
February 13, 2009

Section 12, Article II:


Sec. 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family
life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a
basic autonomous social institution . . . .
Section 1, Article XV:
Sec. 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as
the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall
strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its
total development. (The 1987 Constitution)
The case of Marcelino vs. Cruz, 121 SCRA 51, might
here be significant not so much for the specific
issue there resolved but for the tone it has set. The
Court there has held that constitutional provisions
are to be considered mandatory unless by

NACHURA, J.:

Far from novel is the issue involved in this


petition. Psychological incapacity, since its
incorporation in our laws, has become a clichd

subject of discussion in our jurisprudence. The Court


treats this case, however, with much ado, it having
realized that current jurisprudential doctrine has
unnecessarily imposed a perspective by which
psychological incapacity should be viewed, totally
inconsistent with the way the concept was
formulatedfree in form and devoid of any
definition.

For the resolution of the Court is a petition for


review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court assailing the August 5, 2003 Decision[1] of the
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 71867. The
petition further assails the January 19, 2004
Resolution[2] denying the motion for the
reconsideration of the challenged decision.

The relevant facts and proceedings follow.

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 college. Edward was then initially
attracted to Rowenas close friend; but, as the latter
already had a boyfriend, the young man decided to
court Rowena. That was in January 1996, when
petitioner was a sophomore student and respondent,
a freshman.[3]

Sharing similar angst towards their families, the two


understood one another and developed a certain
degree of closeness towards each other. In March
1996, or around three months after their first
meeting, Rowena asked Edward that they elope. At
first, he refused, bickering that he was young and
jobless. Her persistence, however, made him relent.
Thus, they left Manila and sailed to Cebu that month;
he, providing their travel money and she, purchasing
the boat ticket.[4]

However, Edwards P80,000.00 lasted for only a


month. Their pension house accommodation and
daily sustenance fast depleted it. And they could not

find a job. In April 1996, they decided to go back


to Manila. Rowena proceeded to her uncles house
and Edward to his parents home. As his family was
abroad, and Rowena kept on telephoning him,
threatening him that she would commit suicide,
Edward agreed to stay with Rowena at her uncles
place.[5]

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 where Edward was treated like a
prisonerhe was not allowed to go out
unaccompanied. Her uncle also showed Edward his
guns and warned the latter not to leave Rowena.[7] At
one point, Edward was able to call home and talk to
his brother who suggested that they should stay at
their parents home and live with them. Edward
relayed this to Rowena who, however, suggested that
he should get his inheritance so that they could live
on their own. Edward talked to his father about this,
but the patriarch got mad, told Edward that he would
be disinherited, and insisted that Edward must go
home.[8]

After a month, Edward escaped from the house of


Rowenas uncle, and stayed with his parents. His
family then hid him from Rowena and her family
whenever they telephoned to ask for him.[9]

In June 1996, Edward was able to talk to


Rowena. Unmoved by his persistence that they
should live with his parents, she said that it was better
for them to live separate lives. They then parted
ways.[10]

After almost four years, or on January 18, 2000,


Edward filed a petition before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 106, for the
annulment of his marriage to Rowena on the basis of
the latters psychological incapacity. This was
docketed as Civil Case No. Q-00-39720.[11]

As Rowena did not file an answer, the trial court, on


July 11, 2000, ordered the Office of the City
Prosecutor (OCP) ofQuezon City to investigate
whether there was collusion between the
parties.[12] In the meantime, on July 27, 2000, the
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) entered its
appearance and deputized the OCP to appear on its
behalf and assist it in the scheduled hearings.[13]

On August 23, 2000, the OCP submitted an


investigation report stating that it could not
determine if there was collusion between the parties;
thus, it recommended trial on the merits.[14]

The clinical psychologist who examined petitioner


found both parties psychologically incapacitated, and
made the following findings and conclusions:

BACKGROUND DATA & BRIEF MARITAL HISTORY:

EDWARD KENNETH NGO TE is a [29-year-old]


Filipino male adult born and baptized Born Again
Christian at Manila. He finished two years in college
at AMA Computer College last 1994 and is currently
unemployed. He is married to and separated from
ROWENA GUTIERREZ YU-TE. He presented himself
at my office for a psychological evaluation in relation
to his petition for Nullification of Marriage against the
latter by the grounds of psychological incapacity. He
is now residing at 181 P. Tuazon Street, Quezon City.

Petitioner got himself three siblings who are


now in business and one deceased sister. Both his
parents are also in the business world by whom he
[considers] as generous, hospitable, and patient. This
said virtues are said to be handed to each of the
family member. He generally considers himself to be
quiet and simple. He clearly remembers himself to be
afraid of meeting people. After 1994, he tried his luck
in 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 1996. His interest lie[s] on becoming a

full servant of God by being a priest or a pastor. He


[is] said to isolate himself from his friends even during
his childhood days as he only loves to read the Bible
and hear its message.

Respondent is said to come from a fine family


despite having a lazy father and a disobedient
wife. She is said to have not finish[ed] her collegiate
degree and shared intimate sexual moments with her
boyfriend prior to that with petitioner.

In January of 1996, respondent showed her


kindness to petitioner and this became the
foundation of their intimate relationship. After a
month of dating, petitioner mentioned to respondent
that he is having problems with his
family. Respondent surprisingly retorted that she
also hates her family and that she actually wanted to
get out of their lives. From that [time on],
respondent had insisted to petitioner that they
should elope and live together. Petitioner hesitated
because he is not prepared as they are both young
and inexperienced, but she insisted that they would
somehow manage because petitioner is rich. In the
last week of March 1996, respondent seriously
brought the idea of eloping and she already bought
tickets for the boat going to Cebu. 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 locate her, so petitioner was compelled to rent
an apartment. The parties tried to look 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 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. After a few days of separation,
respondent called petitioner by phone and said she
wanted to talk to him. Petitioner responded
immediately and when he arrived at their house,
respondent confronted petitioner as to why he
appeared to be cold, respondent acted irrationally
and even threatened to commit suicide. Petitioner
got scared so he went home again. Respondent
would call by phone every now and then and became

angry as petitioner does not know what to


do. Respondent went to the extent of 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 point in time[,]
respondent brought the idea of marriage.
Petitioner[,] out of frustration in life[,] agreed to her
to pacify her. And so on April 23, 1996, respondents
uncle brought the parties to Valenzuela[,] and on that
very same day[,] petitioner was made to sign the
Marriage Contract before the Judge. Petitioner
actually never applied for any Marriage License.

Respondent decided that they should stay first


at their house until after arrival of the parents of
petitioner. But when the parents of petitioner
arrived, respondent refused to allow petitioner to go
home. Petitioner was threatened in so many ways
with her 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 even
made petitioner sign a declaration that if he should
perish, the authorities should look for him at his
parents[ ]and relatives[ ]houses. Sometime in 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
military escort. Petitioner, however, did not inform
them that he signed a marriage contract with
respondent. When they knew about it[,] petitioner
was referred for counseling. Petitioner[,] after the
counseling[,] tried to contact respondent. Petitioner
offered her to live instead to[sic] the home of
petitioners parents while they are still
studying. Respondent refused the idea and claimed
that she would only live with him if they will have a
separate home of their own and be away from his
parents. She also 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 knowing [that]
the petitioner already settled his differences with his
own family. When respondent refused to live with
petitioner where he chose for them to
stay, petitioner decided to tell her to stop harassing
the home of his parents. He told her 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
anymore, respondent stopped tormenting petitioner
and informed petitioner that they should live
separate lives.

The said relationship between Edward and


Rowena is said to be undoubtedly in the wreck and
weakly-founded. The break-up was caused by both
parties[] unreadiness to commitment and their
young age. He was still in the state of finding his fate
and fighting boredom, while she was still
egocentrically involved with herself.

TESTS ADMINISTERED:

Revised Beta Examination


Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test
Draw A Person Test
Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test
Sachs Sentence Completion Test
MMPI

TEST RESULTS & EVALUATION:

Both petitioner and respondent are dubbed to


be emotionally immature and recklessly impulsive
upon swearing to their marital vows as each of them
was motivated by different notions on marriage.

Edward Kenneth Ngo Te, the petitioner in this


case[,] is said to be still unsure and unready so as to
commit himself to marriage. He is still founded to be
on the search of what he wants in life. He is
absconded as an introvert as he is not really sociable
and displays a lack of interest in social interactions
and mingling with other individuals. He is seen too
akin to this kind of lifestyle that he finds it boring and

uninteresting to commit himself to a relationship


especially to that of respondent, as aggravated by her
dangerously aggressive moves. As he is more of the
reserved and timid type of person, as he prefer to be
religiously attached and spend a solemn time alone.

ROWENA GUTIERREZ YU-TE, the respondent, is said


to be of the aggressive-rebellious type of
woman. She is seen to be somewhat exploitative in
her [plight] for 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 family. In order to
have her dreams realized, she used force and threats
knowing that [her] husband is somehow weakwilled. Upon the realization that there is really no
chance for wealth, she gladly finds her way out of the
relationship.

REMARKS:

Before going to marriage, one should really get to


know himself and marry himself 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
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 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 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 incurable presence of
Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder that
started since childhood and only manifested during
marriage. Both parties display psychological
incapacities that made marriage a big mistake for
them to take.[15]

The trial court, on July 30, 2001, rendered its


Decision[16] declaring the marriage of the parties null
and void on the ground that both parties were
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
essential marital obligations.[17] The Republic,
represented by the OSG, timely filed its notice of
appeal.[18]

On review, the appellate court, in the assailed August


5, 2003 Decision[19] in CA-G.R. CV No. 71867, reversed
and set aside the trial courts ruling.[20] It ruled that
petitioner failed to prove the psychological incapacity
of respondent. The clinical psychologist did not
personally examine respondent, and relied only on
the information provided by petitioner. Further, the
psychological incapacity was not shown to be
attended by gravity, juridical antecedence and
incurability. In sum, the evidence adduced fell short of
the requirements stated in Republic v. Court of
Appeals and Molina[21] needed for the declaration of
nullity of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family
Code.[22] The CA faulted the lower court for rendering
the decision without the required certification of the
OSG briefly stating therein the OSGs reasons for its
agreement 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 Resolution.[24]

Dissatisfied, petitioner filed before this Court the


instant petition for review on certiorari. On June 15,
2005, the Court gave due course to the petition and
required the parties to submit their respective
memoranda.[25]

In his memorandum,[26] petitioner argues that the CA


erred in substituting its own judgment for that of the
trial court. He posits that the RTC declared the
marriage void, not only because of respondents
psychological incapacity, but rather due to both
parties psychological incapacity. Petitioner also
points out that there is no 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 the trial; and it had been

furnished copies of all the pleadings, the trial court


orders and notices.[27]

elucidated in her separate opinion in Santos v. Court


of Appeals:[33]

For its part, the OSG contends in its


memorandum,[28] that the annulment petition filed
before the RTC contains no statement of the essential
marital obligations that the parties failed to comply
with. The root cause of the psychological incapacity
was likewise not alleged in the petition; neither was it
medically or clinically identified. The purported
incapacity of both parties was not shown to be
medically or clinically permanent or incurable. And
the clinical psychologist did not personally examine
the respondent. Thus, the OSG concludes that the
requirements in Molina[29] were not satisfied.[30]

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 Center, I wish to add
some observations. The letter 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.

The Court now resolves the singular issue of whether,


based on Article 36 of the Family Code, the marriage
between the parties is null and void.[31]
I.

We begin by examining the provision, tracing its


origin and charting the development of jurisprudence
interpreting it.

Article 36 of the Family Code[32] provides:

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.

As borne out by the deliberations of the Civil Code


Revision Committee that drafted the Family Code,
Article 36 was based on grounds available in the
Canon Law. Thus, Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero

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 divorce between the spouses after a number
of years of separation, legal or de facto. Justice J.B.L.
Reyes 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
without a judicial decree of legal separation, and (b)
whenever a married person would have obtained a
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.

Subsequently, however, when the Civil Code Revision


Committee and Family Law 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

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 are governed by law and


not subject to stipulation, except that marriage
settlements may fix the property relations during the
marriage within the limits provided by law.

With the above definition, and considering the


Christian traditional concept of marriage of the
Filipino 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 of our people belong, the two Committees in
their joint meetings did not pursue the idea of absolute
divorce and, instead, opted for an action for judicial
declaration of invalidity of marriage based on grounds
available in the Canon Law. It was thought that such
an action would not only be an acceptable 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 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 Justice Reyes on
judicial declaration of 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
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 Civil
Code, to wit:

(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
discharge the essential marital obligations, even if
such lack or incapacity is made manifest after the
celebration.

as well as the following implementing provisions:

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 provision of Article 34.

Art. 33. The action or defense for the declaration of


the absolute nullity of a marriage shall not prescribe.

xxx

xxx

xxx

It is believed that many hopelessly broken marriages


in our country today may already be 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 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 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; 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
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 psychosexual
anomaly.[34]

In her separate opinion in Molina,[35] she expounded:

At the Committee meeting of July 26, 1986, the draft


provision read:

(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
discharge the essential marital obligations, even if
such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the
celebration.

The twists and turns which the ensuing discussion


took finally produced the following revised provision
even before the session was over:

(7) That contracted by any party who, at the time


of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated
to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if
such lack or incapacity becomes manifest after the
celebration.

Noticeably, the immediately preceding formulation


above has dropped any reference 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 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 consent, 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
curable . . . Psychological incapacity does not refer to
mental faculties and has nothing to do with consent;
it refers to obligations attendant to marriage.

My own position as a member of the Committee then


was that psychological incapacity is, in a sense,
insanity of a lesser degree.

As to the proposal of Justice Caguioa to use the term


psychological or mental impotence, Archbishop
Oscar Cruz opined in the earlier February 9, 1984
session that this term is an invention of some
churchmen who are moralists but not 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 . . .
Justice Ricardo C. Puno opined that sometimes a
person may be psychologically impotent with one but
not with another.

One of the guidelines enumerated in the majority


opinion for the interpretation and application of Art.
36 is: 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.

The Committee, through Prof. Araceli T. Barrera,


considered the inclusion of the phrase and is
incurable but Prof. Esteban B. Bautista commented
that this would give rise to the question of how they
will determine curability and Justice Caguioa agreed
that it would be more problematic. Yet, the
possibility that one may be cured after the
psychological incapacity becomes manifest after the
marriage was not ruled out by Justice Puno and
Justice Alice Sempio-Diy. Justice Caguioa suggested
that the remedy was to allow the afflicted spouse to
remarry.

For clarity, the Committee classified the bases for


determining void marriages, viz.:

1.
lack of one or more of the essential requisites of
marriage as contract;

2.

reasons of public policy;

3.

special cases and special situations.

The ground of psychological incapacity was


subsumed under special cases and special
situations, hence, its special treatment in Art. 36 in
the Family Code as finally enacted.

Nowhere in the Civil Code provisions on Marriage is


there a ground for avoiding or annulling marriages
that even comes close to being psychological in
nature.

Where consent is vitiated due to circumstances


existing at the time of the marriage, such marriage
which stands valid until annulled is capable of
ratification or convalidation.

On the other hand, for reasons of public policy or lack


of essential requisites, some marriages are void from
the beginning.

With the revision of Book I of the Civil Code,


particularly the provisions on Marriage, the drafters,
now open to fresh winds of change in keeping with
the more permissive mores and practices of the time,
took a leaf from the relatively liberal provisions of
Canon Law.

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, are unable to assume the essential obligations
of marriage provided the model for what is now Art.
36 of the Family Code: 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.

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,
recognizes an intermediate state, the voidable or
annullable marriages. When the Ecclesiastical
Tribunal annuls a marriage, it actually declares the
marriage null and 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 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.

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 found themselves in
limbofreed from the marriage bonds in the eyes of
the Catholic Church but yet unable to contract a valid
civil marriage under state laws. Heedless of civil law
sanctions, some persons contract new marriages or
enter into live-in relationships.

It was precisely to provide a satisfactory solution to


such anomalous situations that the Civil Law Revision
Committee decided to engraft the Canon Law
concept of psychological incapacity into the Family
Codeand classified the same as a ground for
declaring marriages void ab initio or totally inexistent
from the beginning.

A brief historical note on the Old Canon Law (1917).


This Old Code, while it did not provide directly for
psychological incapacity, in effect, recognized the
same indirectly from a combination of three old
canons: Canon #1081 required persons to be
capable according to law in order to give valid
consent; Canon #1082 required that persons be at
least not ignorant of the major elements required in

marriage; and 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 distinct but related
grounds for annulment called lack of due discretion
and lack of due competence. Lack of due discretion
means that the person did not have the ability to give
valid consent at the time of the wedding and,
therefore, the union is invalid. Lack of due
competence means that the person was incapable of
carrying out the obligations of the promise he or she
made during the wedding ceremony.

Favorable annulment decisions by the Roman Rota in


the 1950s and 1960s involving sexual disorders such as
homosexuality and nymphomania laid the foundation
for a broader approach to the kind of proof necessary
for psychological grounds for annulment. TheRota had
reasoned for the first time in several cases that the
capacity to give valid consent at the time of marriage
was probably not present in persons who had
displayed such problems shortly after the marriage.
The nature of this change was nothing short of
revolutionary. Once the Rota itself had demonstrated
a cautious willingness to use this kind of hindsight,
the way was paved for what came after 1970.Diocesan
Tribunals began to accept proof of serious psychological
problems that manifested themselves shortly after the
ceremony as proof of an inability to give valid consent
at the time of the ceremony.[36]

Interestingly, the Committee did not give any


examples of psychological incapacity 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
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 which, although not binding on the civil
courts, may be given persuasive effect since the
provision itself was taken from the Canon
Law.[37] The law is then so designed as to allow some
resiliency in its application.[38]

Yet, as held in Santos,[39] the phrase psychological


incapacity is not meant to comprehend all possible
cases of psychoses. It refers to no less than a mental
(not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be
truly noncognitive of the basic marital covenants that
concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by
the parties to the marriage which, as expressed by
Article 68[40] of the Family Code, include their mutual
obligations to live together, observe love, respect and
fidelity; and render help and support. The
intendment of the law has been to confine it to the
most serious of cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to
give meaning and significance to the
marriage.[41] This interpretation is, in fact, consistent
with that in Canon Law, thus:

3.5.3.1. The Meaning of Incapacity to Assume. A


sharp conceptual distinction must be made between
the second and third paragraphs of C.1095, namely
between the grave lack of discretionary judgment
and the incapacity to assume the essential
obligation. Mario Pompedda, a rotal judge, explains
the difference by an ordinary, if somewhat banal,
example. Jose wishes to sell a house to Carmela, and
on the 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 different locality, and prior to the
conclusion of the contract, the house was gutted
down by fire unbeknown to both of them. This is the
hypothesis contemplated by the third paragraph of
the canon. The third paragraph does not deal with
the psychological process of giving consent because it
has been established a priori that both have such a
capacity to give consent, and they both know well the
object of their consent [the house and its
particulars]. Rather, C.1095.3 deals with the object of
the consent/contract which does not exist. The
contract is invalid because it lacks its formal
object. The consent as a psychological act is both
valid and sufficient. The psychological act, however,
is directed towards an object which is not
available. Urbano Navarrete summarizes this
distinction: the third paragraph deals not with the
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 responsibilities he assumes as a result of the


consent he elicits.

Since the address of Pius XII to the auditors of the


Roman Rota in 1941 regarding psychic incapacity with
respect to marriage arising from pathological
conditions, there has been an increasing trend to
understand as ground of nullity different from others,
the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of
marriage, especially the incapacity which arises from
sexual anomalies. Nymphomania is a sample which
ecclesiastical jurisprudence has studied under this
rubric.

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 faculties of intellect, discernment, and
freedom; or are there sexual anomalies that are
purely so that is to say, they arise from certain
physiological dysfunction of the hormonal system,
and they affect the sexual condition, leaving intact
the higher faculties however, so that these persons
are still capable of free human acts. The evidence
from the empirical sciences is abundant that there are
certain anomalies of a sexual nature which may impel
a person towards sexual activities which are not
normal, either with respect to its frequency
[nymphomania, satyriasis] or to the nature of the
activity itself [sadism, masochism,
homosexuality]. However, these anomalies
notwithstanding, it is altogether possible that the
higher faculties remain intact such that a person so
afflicted continues to have an adequate
understanding of what marriage is and of the gravity
of its responsibilities. In fact, he can choose marriage
freely. The question though is whether such a person
can assume those 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 issues
from the incapacity to posit the object of consent,
rather than the incapacity to posit consent itself.

Ecclesiastical jurisprudence has been hesitant, if not


actually confused, in this regard. The initial steps

taken by church courts were not too clear whether


this incapacity is incapacity to posit consent or
incapacity to posit the object of consent. A case c.
Pinna, for example, arrives at the conclusion that the
intellect, under such an irresistible impulse, is
prevented from properly deliberating and its
judgment lacks freedom. This line of reasoning
supposes that the intellect, at the moment of
consent, is under the influence of this irresistible
compulsion, with the inevitable conclusion that such
a decision, made as it was under these circumstances,
lacks the necessary 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 a matter
of fact, true that the intellect is always and
continuously under such an irresistible compulsion? It
would seem entirely possible, and certainly more
reasonable, to think that there are certain cases in
which one who is sexually hyperaesthetic can
understand perfectly and evaluate quite maturely
what marriage is and what it implies; his consent
would be juridically ineffective for this one reason
that he cannot posit the object of consent, the
exclusive jus in corpus to be exercised in a normal way
and with usually regularity. It would seem more
correct to say that the consent may indeed be free,
but is juridically ineffective because the party is
consenting to an object that he cannot deliver. The
house he is selling was gutted down by fire.

3.5.3.2. Incapacity as an Autonomous


Ground. Sabattani seems to have seen his way more
clearly through this tangled mess, proposing as he did
a clear conceptual distinction between the inability to
give consent on the one hand, and the inability to
fulfill the object of consent, on the other. It is his
opinion that nymphomaniacs usually understand the
meaning of marriage, and they are usually able to
evaluate its implications. They would have no
difficulty with positing a free and intelligent
consent. However, such persons, capable as they are
of eliciting an intelligent and free consent, experience
difficulty in another sphere: delivering the object of
the consent. Anne, another rotal judge, had likewise
treated the difference between the act of consenting
and the act of positing the object of consent from the
point of view of a person afflicted with

nymphomania. According to him, such an affliction


usually leaves the process of knowing and
understanding and evaluating intact. What it affects
is the object of consent: the delivering of the goods.

3.5.3.3 Incapacity as Incapacity to Posit the Object


of Consent. From the selected rotal jurisprudence
cited, supra, it is possible to see a certain progress
towards a 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 ability to make a free
decision, an intelligent judgment, and a mature
evaluation and weighing of things. The
decision coram Sabattani concerning a
nymphomaniac affirmed that such a spouse can have
difficulty not only with regard to the moment of
consent but also, and especially, with regard to the
matrimonium in facto esse. The decision concludes
that a person in such a condition is incapable of
assuming the conjugal obligation of fidelity, although
she may have no difficulty in understanding what the
obligations of marriage are, nor in the weighing and
evaluating of those same obligations.

Prior to the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law


in 1983, it was not unusual to refer to this ground as
moral impotence or psychic impotence, or similar
expressions to express a specific incapacity rooted in
some anomalies and disorders in the
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 constitutes the impediment dealt
with by C.1084. Nonetheless, the anomalies render
the subject incapable of binding himself in a valid
matrimonial pact, to the extent that the anomaly
renders that person incapable of fulfilling the
essential obligations. According to the principle
affirmed by the long tradition of moral theology:
nemo ad impossibile tenetur.

xxxx

3.5.3.5 Indications of Incapacity. There is incapacity


when either or both of the 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
narcissistic personality] that he does not even know
how to begin a union with the other, let alone how to
maintain and sustain such a relationship. A second
incapacity could be due to the fact that the spouses
are incapable of beginning or maintaining a
heterosexual consortium, which goes to the very
substance of matrimony. Another incapacity could
arise when a spouse is unable to concretize the good
of himself or of the other party. The canon speaks,
not of the bonum partium, but of the bonum
conjugum. A spouse who is capable only of realizing
or contributing to the good of 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 of
procuring the economic good and the financial
security of the other, but not capable of realizing
the bonum conjugale of the other. These are general
strokes and this is not the place for detained and
individual description.

A rotal decision c. Pinto resolved a petition where the


concrete circumstances of the case concerns a person
diagnosed to be suffering from serious
sociopathy. He concluded that while the respondent
may have understood, on the level of the intellect,
the essential obligations of marriage, he was not
capable of assuming them because of his
constitutional immorality.

Stankiewicz clarifies that the maturity and capacity of


the person as regards the fulfillment of
responsibilities is determined not only at the moment
of decision but also and especially during the moment
of execution of decision. And when this is applied to
constitution of the marital consent, it means that the
actual fulfillment of the essential obligations of
marriage is a pertinent consideration that must be
factored into the question of whether a person was in
a position to assume the obligations of marriage in
the first place. When one speaks of the inability of
the party to assume and fulfill the obligations, one is

not looking at matrimonium in fieri, but also and


especially atmatrimonium in facto esse. In [the]
decision of 19 Dec. 1985, Stankiewicz collocated the
incapacity of the respondent to assume the essential
obligations of marriage in the psychic constitution of
the person, precisely on the basis of his
irresponsibility as regards money and his apathy as
regards the rights of others that he had
violated. Interpersonal relationships are invariably
disturbed in the presence of this personality
disorder. A lack of empathy (inability to recognize
and experience how others feel) is common. A sense
of entitlement, unreasonable expectation, especially
favorable treatment, is usually present. Likewise
common is interpersonal exploitativeness, in which
others are taken advantage of in order to achieve
ones ends.

Authors have made listings of obligations considered


as essential matrimonial obligations. One of them is
the right to the communio vitae. This and their
corresponding obligations are basically centered
around the good of the spouses and of the
children. Serious psychic anomalies, which do not
have to be necessarily incurable, may give rise to the
incapacity to assume any, or several, or even all of
these rights. There are some cases in which
interpersonal relationship is impossible. Some
characteristic features of inability for interpersonal
relationships in marriage include affective
immaturity, narcissism, and antisocial traits.

Marriage and Homosexuality. Until 1967, it was not


very clear under what rubric homosexuality was
understood to be invalidating of marriage that is to
say, is homosexuality invalidating because of the
inability to evaluate the responsibilities of 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 marriage so that by 1978,
Parisella was able to consider, with charity,
homosexuality as an autonomous ground of
nullity. This is to say that a person so afflicted is said
to be unable to assume the essential obligations of
marriage. In this same rotal decision, the object of
matrimonial consent is understood to refer not only

to the jus in corpus 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 juridical
structure to account for the complex phenomenon
that homosexuality is. The homosexual is not
necessarily impotent because, except in very few
exceptional cases, such a person is usually capable of
full sexual relations with the spouse. Neither is it a
mental infirmity, and a person so afflicted does not
necessarily suffer from a grave lack of due discretion
because this sexual anomaly does not by itself affect
the critical, volitive, and intellectual faculties. Rather,
the homosexual person is unable to assume the
responsibilities of marriage because he is unable to
fulfill this object of the matrimonial contract. In other
words, the invalidity lies, not so much in the defect of
consent, as in the defect of the object of consent.

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 proffers the opinion that the
clause is a reference to the personality of the
contractant. In other words, there must be a
reference to the psychic part of the person. It is only
when there is something in the psyche or in the
psychic constitution of the person which impedes his
capacity that one can then affirm that the person is
incapable according to the hypothesis contemplated
by C.1095.3. A person is judged incapable in this
juridical sense only to the extent that he is found to
have something rooted in his psychic constitution
which impedes the assumption of these
obligations. A bad habit deeply engrained in ones
consciousness would not seem to qualify to be a
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 given ones psychic constitution. It would
seem then that the law insists that the source of the
incapacity must be one which is not the fruit of some
degree of freedom.[42]

Conscious of the laws intention that it is the courts,


on a case-to-case basis, that should determine
whether a party to a marriage is psychologically
incapacitated, the Court, in sustaining the lower
courts judgment of annulment in Tuason v. Court of
Appeals,[43] ruled that the findings of the trial court
are final and binding on the appellate courts.[44]

Again, upholding the trial courts findings and


declaring that its decision was not a judgment on the
pleadings, the Court, inTsoi v. Court of
Appeals,[45] explained that when private respondent
testified under oath before the lower court and was
cross-examined by the adverse party, she thereby
presented evidence in the form of
testimony. Importantly, the Court, aware of parallel
decisions of Catholic marriage 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 incapacity.

The resiliency with which the concept should be


applied and the case-to-case basis by which the
provision should be interpreted, as so intended by its
framers, had, somehow, been rendered ineffectual by
the imposition of a set of strict standards
inMolina,[46] thus:

From their submissions and the Court's own


deliberations, the following guidelines in the
interpretation and application of Art. 36 of the Family
Code are hereby handed down for the guidance of the
bench and the bar:

(1)
The burden of proof to show the nullity of
the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. 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 Constitution and our laws cherish the
validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our
Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family,
recognizing it as the foundation of the nation. It
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 by the state.

The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on


marriage and the family and emphasizes their
permanence, inviolability and solidarity.

(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 psychologicalnot physical,
although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be
physical. The evidence must convince the court that
the parties, or one of them, was mentally or
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 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 ejusdem
generis, nevertheless such root cause must be
identified as a psychological illness and its
incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence
may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical
psychologists.

(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 perceivable
at such time, but the illness itself must have attached
at such moment, or prior thereto.

(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. 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 may not be
psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and
raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of
marriage.

(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 peculiarities, mood changes,
occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted
as root causes. The illness must be shown as
downright incapacity or 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 integral element in the personality
structure that effectively incapacitates the person
from really accepting and thereby complying with the
obligations essential to marriage.

(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.

(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. It is clear
that Article 36 was 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:

The following are incapable of contracting marriage:


Those who are unable to assume the essential
obligations of marriage due to causes of
psychological nature.

Since the purpose of including such provision in our


Family Code is to 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 given to decisions of such appellate
tribunal. Ideally subject to our law on evidence
what is decreed as canonically invalid should also be
decreed civilly void.

This is one instance where, in view of the evident


source and purpose of the Family Code provision,
contemporaneous religious interpretation is to be
given persuasive effect. Here, the State and the
Churchwhile remaining independent, separate and
apart from each othershall walk together in synodal
cadence towards the same goal of protecting and
cherishing marriage and the family as the inviolable
base of the nation.

(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.[47]

Noteworthy is that in Molina, while the majority of


the Courts membership concurred in the ponencia of
then Associate Justice (later Chief Justice) Artemio V.
Panganiban, three justices concurred in the result
and another threeincluding, as aforesaid, Justice
Romerotook pains to compose their individual
separate opinions. Then Justice Teodoro R. Padilla
even emphasized that each case must be judged, not

on the basis of a priori assumptions, predelictions or


generalizations, but according to its own facts. In the
field of psychological incapacity as a ground for
annulment of marriage, it is trite to say that no case is
on all fours with another case. The trial judge must
take pains in examining the factual milieu and the
appellate court must, as much as possible, avoid
substituting its own judgment for that of the trial
court.[48]

Predictably, however, in resolving subsequent


cases,[49] the Court has applied the aforesaid
standards, without too much regard for the laws
clear intention that each 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 psychological
disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals.

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. Understandably, the Court was then
alarmed by the deluge of petitions for the dissolution
of marital bonds, and was sensitive to the OSGs
exaggeration of Article 36 as the most liberal divorce
procedure in the world.[50]The unintended
consequences of Molina, however, has taken its toll
on people who have to live with deviant behavior,
moral insanity and sociopathic personality anomaly,
which, like termites, consume little by little the very
foundation of their families, our basic social
institutions. Far from what was intended by the
Court, Molina has become a strait-jacket, forcing all
sizes to fit into and be bound by it. Wittingly or
unwittingly, the Court, in conveniently
applying Molina, has allowed diagnosed sociopaths,
schizophrenics, nymphomaniacs, narcissists and the
like, to continuously debase and pervert the sanctity
of marriage. Ironically, the Roman Rota has annulled
marriages on account of the personality disorders of
the said individuals.[51]

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 intervention by the State, through the


public prosecutor, to guard against collusion between
the parties and/or fabrication of evidence.[52] The
Court should rather be alarmed by the rising number
of cases involving marital abuse, child abuse,
domestic violence and incestuous rape.

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 sanctity of marriage, because
it refuses to allow a person afflicted with a
psychological disorder, who cannot comply with or
assume the essential marital obligations, from
remaining in that sacred bond. It may be stressed that
the infliction of physical violence, constitutional
indolence or laziness, drug dependence or addiction,
and psychosexual anomaly are manifestations of a
sociopathic personality 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 declaration
of nullity under Article 36 will simply provide a decent
burial to a stillborn marriage.

The prospect of a possible remarriage by the freed


spouses should not pose too much of a concern for
the Court. First and foremost, because it is none of its
business. And 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 vigilant, and
never again marry a person with a personality
disorder. On the other hand, a would-be spouse of
the psychologically incapacitated runs the risk of the
latters disorder recurring in their marriage.

Lest it be misunderstood, we are not suggesting the


abandonment of Molina in this case. We simply
declare that, as aptly stated by Justice Dante O. Tinga
in Antonio v. Reyes,[55] there is need to emphasize
other perspectives as well which should govern the
disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under
Article 36. At the risk of being redundant, we
reiterate once more the principle that each case must
be 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 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.

The Church took pains to point out that its new


openness in this area did not amount to the addition
of new grounds for annulment, but rather was an
accommodation by the Church to the advances made
in psychology during the past decades. There was now
the expertise to provide the all-important connecting
link between a marriage breakdown and premarital
causes.

II.

We now examine the instant case.

The parties whirlwind relationship lasted more or less


six (6) months. They met in January 1996, eloped in
March, exchanged marital vows in May, and parted
ways in June. The psychologist who provided expert
testimony found both parties psychologically
incapacitated. Petitioners behavioral pattern falls
under the classification of dependent personality
disorder, and respondents, that of the narcissistic
and antisocial personality disorder.[56]

By the very nature of Article 36, courts, despite


having the primary task and burden of decisionmaking, must not discount but, instead, must
consider as decisive evidence the expert opinion on
the psychological and mental temperaments of the
parties.[57]

Justice Romero explained this in Molina, as follows:

Furthermore, and equally significant, the professional


opinion of a psychological expert became increasingly
important in such cases. Data about the person's entire
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 wedding. These opinions were rarely
challenged and tended to be accepted as decisive
evidence of lack of valid consent.

During the 1970s, the Church broadened its whole


idea of marriage from that of a legal contract to that
of a covenant. The result of this was that it could no
longer be assumed in annulment cases that a person
who could intellectually understand the concept of
marriage could necessarily give valid consent to marry.
The ability to both grasp and assume the real
obligations of a mature, lifelong commitmentare now
considered a necessary prerequisite to valid
matrimonial consent.

Rotal decisions continued applying the concept of


incipient psychological incapacity, not only to sexual
anomalies but to all kinds of personality disorders
that incapacitate a spouse or both spouses from
assuming or carrying out the essential obligations of
marriage. For marriage . . . is not merely cohabitation
or the right of the 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. Rotal decisions since
1973 have refined the meaning of psychological or
psychic capacity for marriage as presupposing the
development of an adult personality; as meaning the
capacity of the spouses to give themselves to each
other and to accept the other as a distinct person; that
the spouses must be other oriented since the
obligations of marriage are rooted in a self-giving love;
and that the spouses must have the capacity for
interpersonal relationship because marriage is more
than just a physical reality but involves a true
intertwining of personalities. The fulfillment of the
obligations of marriage depends, according to Church
decisions, on the strength of this interpersonal
relationship. A serious incapacity for interpersonal
sharing and support is held to impair the relationship
and consequently, the ability to fulfill the essential
marital obligations.The marital capacity of one spouse

is not considered in isolation but in reference to the


fundamental relationship to the other spouse.

Fr. Green, in an article in Catholic Mind, lists six


elements necessary to the mature marital
relationship:

The courts consider the following elements crucial to


the marital commitment: (1) a permanent and faithful
commitment to the marriage partner; (2) openness to
children and partner; (3) stability; (4) emotional
maturity; (5) financial responsibility; (6) an ability to
cope with the ordinary stresses and strains of
marriage, etc.

Fr. Green goes on to speak about some of the


psychological conditions that might lead to the failure
of a marriage:

At stake is a type of constitutional impairment


precluding conjugal communion even 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
personality with its fundamental lack of loyalty to
persons or sense of moral values; (2) hyperesthesia,
where the individual has no real freedom of sexual
choice; (3) the inadequate personality where personal
responses consistently fall short of reasonable
expectations.

xxxx

The psychological grounds are the best approach for


anyone who doubts whether he or she has a case for
an annulment on any other terms. A situation that
does not fit into any of the more traditional
categories often fits very easily into the psychological
category.

As new as the psychological grounds are, experts are


already detecting a shift in their use. Whereas
originally the emphasis was on the parties' inability to
exercise proper judgment at the time of the marriage
(lack of due discretion), recent cases seem to be
concentrating on the parties' incapacity to assume or
carry out their responsibilities and obligations as
promised (lack of due competence). An advantage to
using the ground of lack of due competence is that at
the time the marriage was entered into civil divorce
and breakup of the family almost always is proof of
someone's failure to carry out marital responsibilities as
promised at the time the marriage was entered
into.[58]

Hernandez v. Court of Appeals[59] emphasizes the


importance of presenting expert testimony to
establish the precise cause of a partys psychological
incapacity, and to show that it existed at the
inception of the marriage. And as Marcos v.
Marcos[60]asserts, there is no requirement that the
person to be declared psychologically incapacitated
be personally examined by a physician, if the totality
of evidence 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 psychological incapacity and the
psychological disorder itself.

This is not to mention, but we mention nevertheless


for emphasis, that the 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 incurable
presence of psychological
incapacity.[62] Parenthetically, the Court, at this 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
trial judge to refer the case to a court-appointed
psychologist/expert for an independent assessment
and evaluation of the psychological state of the
parties. This will assist the courts, who are no experts
in the field of psychology, to arrive at an intelligent
and judicious determination of the case. The rule,

however, does not dispense with the parties


prerogative to present their own expert witnesses.

Going back, in the case at bench, the psychological


assessment, which we consider as adequate,
produced the findings that both parties are afflicted
with personality disordersto repeat, dependent
personality disorder for petitioner, and narcissistic
and antisocial personality disorder for respondent.
We note that The Encyclopedia of Mental
Health discusses personality disorders as follows

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 limited to isolated episodes but are deeply
ingrained, inflexible, maladaptive and severe enough
to cause the individual mental stress or anxieties or to
interfere with interpersonal relationships and normal
functioning. Personality disorders are often
recognizable by adolescence or earlier, continue
through adulthood and become less obvious in
middle or old age. An individual may have more than
one personality disorder at a time.

The common factor among individuals who have


personality disorders, despite a variety of character
traits, is the way in which the disorder leads to
pervasive problems in social and occupational
adjustment. Some individuals with personality
disorders are perceived by others as overdramatic,
paranoid, obnoxious or even criminal, without an
awareness of their behaviors. Such qualities may lead
to trouble getting along with other people, as well as
difficulties in other areas of life and often a 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
dependent. Such traits can lead to interpersonal
difficulties, reduced self-esteem and dissatisfaction
with life.

Causes of Personality Disorders Different mental


health viewpoints propose a variety of causes of

personality disorders. These include Freudian,


genetic factors, neurobiologic theories and brain
wave activity.

Freudian Sigmund Freud believed that fixation at


certain stages of development led to certain
personality types. Thus, some disorders as described
in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (3d ed., rev.) are derived from his oral, anal
and phallic character types. Demanding and
dependent behavior (dependent and passiveaggressive) was thought to derive from fixation at the
oral stage. Characteristics of obsessionality, rigidity
and emotional aloofness were thought to derive from
fixation at the anal stage; fixation at the phallic stage
was thought to lead to shallowness and an inability to
engage in intimate relationships. However, later
researchers have found little evidence that early
childhood events or fixation at certain stages of
development lead to specific personality patterns.

Genetic Factors Researchers have found that there


may be a genetic factor involved in the etiology of
antisocial and borderline personality disorders; there
is less evidence of inheritance of other personality
disorders. Some family, adoption and twin studies
suggest that schizotypal personality may be related
to genetic factors.

Neurobiologic Theories In individuals who have


borderline personality, researchers have found that
low cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5HIAA) negatively correlated with measures of
aggression and a past history of suicide
attempts. Schizotypal personality has been
associated with low platelet monoamine oxidase
(MAO) activity and impaired smooth pursuit eye
movement.

Brain Wave Activity Abnormalities in


electroencephalograph (EEG) have been reported in
antisocial personality for many years; slow wave is
the most widely reported abnormality. A study of
borderline patients reported that 38 percent had at

least marginal EEG abnormalities, compared with 19


percent in a control group.

Types of Disorders According to the American


Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders(3d ed., rev., 1987), or
DSM-III-R, personality disorders are categorized into
three major clusters:

Cluster A: Paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal


personality disorders. Individuals who have these
disorders often appear to have odd or eccentric habits
and traits.

Cluster B: Antisocial, borderline, histrionic and


narcissistic personality disorders. Individuals who
have these disorders often appear overly emotional,
erratic and dramatic.

Cluster C: Avoidant, dependent, obsessivecompulsive and passive-aggressive personality


disorders. Individuals who have these disorders often
appear anxious or fearful.

The DSM-III-R also lists another category,


personality disorder not otherwise specified, that
can be used for other specific personality disorders or
for mixed conditions that do not qualify as any of the
specific personality disorders.

Individuals with diagnosable personality disorders


usually have long-term concerns, and thus therapy
may be long-term.[64]

A personality disorder characterized by a pattern of


dependent and submissive 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 actually bring about
dominance by others through a quest for
overprotection.

Dependent personality disorder usually begins


in early adulthood. Individuals who have this disorder
may be unable to make everyday decisions without
advice or reassurance from others, may allow others
to make most of their important decisions (such as
where to live), tend to agree with people even when
they believe they are wrong, have difficulty starting
projects or doing things on their own, volunteer to do
things that are demeaning in order to get approval
from other people, feel uncomfortable or helpless
when alone and are often preoccupied with fears of
being abandoned.[65]

and antisocial personality disorder described, as


follows

Characteristics include a consistent pattern of


behavior that is intolerant of the conventional
behavioral limitations imposed by a society, an
inability to sustain a job over a period of years,
disregard for the rights of others (either through
exploitiveness or criminal behavior), frequent physical
fights and, quite commonly, child or spouse abuse
without remorse and a tendency to blame
others. There is often a faade of charm and even
sophistication that masks disregard, lack of remorse
for mistreatment of others and the need to control
others.

Dependent personality disorder is characterized in


the following manner
Although characteristics of this disorder
describe criminals, they also may befit some

individuals who are prominent in business or politics


whose habits of self-centeredness and disregard for
the rights of others may be hidden prior to a public
scandal.

During the 19th century, this type of personality


disorder was referred to as moral insanity. The term
described immoral, guiltless behavior that was not
accompanied by impairments in reasoning.

According to the classification system used in


the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (3d ed., rev. 1987), anti-social personality
disorder is one of the four dramatic personality
disorders, the others being borderline, histrionic and
narcissistic.[66]

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 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 had a first-hand
view of the witnesses deportment, arrived at the
same conclusion.

Indeed, petitioner, who is afflicted with


dependent personality disorder, cannot assume the
essential marital obligations of living together,
observing love, respect and fidelity and rendering
help and support, for he is unable to make everyday
decisions without advice from others, allows others to
make most of his important decisions (such as where
to live), tends to agree with people even when he
believes they are wrong, has difficulty doing things on
his own, volunteers to do things that are demeaning
in order to get approval from other people, feels
uncomfortable or helpless when alone and is often
preoccupied with fears of being abandoned.[67] As
clearly shown in this case, petitioner followed
everything dictated to him by the persons around
him. He is insecure, weak and gullible, has no sense of

his identity as a person, has no cohesive self to speak


of, and has no goals and clear direction in life.

Although on a different plane, the same may


also be said of the respondent. Her being afflicted
with antisocial personality disorder makes her unable
to assume the essential marital obligations. This
finding takes into account her disregard for the rights
of others, her abuse, mistreatment and control of
others without remorse, her tendency to blame
others, and her intolerance of the conventional
behavioral limitations imposed by
society.[68] Moreover, as shown in this case,
respondent is impulsive and domineering; she had no
qualms in manipulating petitioner with her threats of
blackmail and of committing suicide.

Both parties being afflicted with grave, severe


and incurable psychological incapacity, the
precipitous marriage which they contracted on April
23, 1996 is thus, declared null and void.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for


review on certiorari is GRANTED. The August 5, 2003
Decision and the January 19, 2004 Resolution of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 71867
are REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the Decision,
dated July 30, 2001, REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.