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G.R. No.

L-46132 May 28, 1991

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
FELIPE SANTIAGO, defendant-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Rogelio A. Vinluan for defendant-appellant.

MEDIALDEA, J.:

The accused, Felipe Santiago, was charged with the crime of rape in Criminal Case No. 1048 before the Court of First Instance,
Branch I, Nueva Ecija. The criminal complaint filed by Mabini Garcia in the said case reads as follows:

That on or about the 26th day of May, 1975 in Cabanatuan City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, by means of force or intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, have sexual intercourse with the undersigned complainant against the latter's will.

CONTRARY TO LAW. (p. 3, Rollo)

Upon being arraigned, the accused entered the plea of not guilty to the offense charged. After trial on the merits, the trial court
rendered its decision on February 23, 1977, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Felipe Santiago guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape
defined and penalized under Art. 335, pars. 1 and 2 of the Revised Penal Code, and hereby sentences him to the penalty
of Reclusion Perpetua, civil interdiction for life and perpetual absolute disqualification. He will also pay the costs of the
case (sic).

It is here to be observed that while the accused is said to have pointed a gun to the side of the victim while riding the
tricycle and in going up the Driftwood Hotel, the crime of rape was not actually committed with the use of the gun, hence,
the death penalty is not; reposed on the accused.

SO ORDERED. (pp. 39-40, Rollo)

Not satisfied with the decision, the accused appealed.

The antecedent facts as summarized in the People's brief are as follows:

The accused, Felipe Santiago, and the victim herein, Mabini Garcia, were officemates at the time of the incident in
question. Felipe Santiago was the head of the GSIS Branch Office in Cabanatuan City. He was the superior officer of
Mabini Garcia who was an employee in the Investment Unit of the said branch office.

The incident in question transpired in the late afternoon of May 26, 1975, while Mabini Garcia was on her way to see her
dressmaker in Cabanatuan City. She took a tricycle and was proceeding in the direction of the Development Bank
Building when she heard the accused, Felipe Santiago, call her from another tricycle. She stopped her tricycle and
Santiago approached her. He told her that he wanted to discuss some office matters with her, and he asked her to join
him for a snack at the Manrio Restaurant. Mabini Garcia answered that she would proceed to the Manrio immediately
after seeing her dressmaker. She then went to her dressmaker and, as agreed, proceeded to the Manrio. She saw
Felipe Santiago there sitting at a table drinking beer. Only a few people were present. When she went to his table, she
found a chicken sandwich and a glass of lemon juice already on the table. She told him she was full. However, she was
thirsty and so, she drank the lemon juice, about half of its contents at first, but as they conversed, continued drinking
little by little until she consumed the glassful. (pp. 4-12, t.s.n., April 2, 1976)

After conversing for a few minutes, Santiago professed his feelings for Mabini Garcia. He told her that he was in love
with her. The latter was surprised and taken aback. She reminded him that he was a married man and she had no future
with him. At this answer, the accused wrinkled his brow and looked angry. Mabini Garcia bade him goodbye soon
afterwards because she started to feel dizzy. The accused stopped her from leaving and held her thigh while she was
still seated. She stood up and told him not to molest her (bastusin). She sat down again in order not to arouse the
attention of the other people. After a while, Santiago went to the comfort room. Mabini Garcia took advantage of his
absence and went out from the Manrio to go home. She called for a tricycle and was about to board it when, all of a
sudden, Felipe Santiago appeared and pushed her into the tricycle. He sat beside her inside the tricycle and warned not
to make an outcry or scandal, otherwise, he would shoot her. Santiago put his left arm around her, while his right hand
pointed a gun, covered with a jacket, at her right side. He ordered the tricycle to go straight ahead in the direction of the
Driftwood Hotel. Mabini Garcia was afraid and nervous but unable to shout because she was dizzy. (pp. 12-20, t.s.n.,
April 2, 1976).

When the tricycle stopped, Mabini Garcia saw that they were inside the compound of the Driftwood Hotel Santiago
alighted from the tricycle, pulling Mabini Garcia with him The victim resisted and held onto the side of the tricycle with
her two hands. However, because of her weak, nervous and dizzy condition, Santiago succeeded in pulling her out. He
warned her again not to create any scandal or else, he would shoot her. Santiago then brought her to a room in the hotel
and quickly closed the door. (pp. 21-30, t.s.n., April 2, 1976).

Inside the room, Santiago held her by the shoulders and began to kiss her with the gun still pointed at her side. She
pleaded with him not to pursue his evil intentions, and to have pity on her as she had not done him any wrong. Santiago
continued to kiss her while she struggled to avoid contact with his body. Then Santiago slapped her and she fell. She
managed to rise up but Santiago boxed her in the stomach and she became unconscious. (pp. 31-35, t.s.n., April 2,
1976).

When Mabini Garcia came to, she found herself on the bed totally naked, her vagina bleeding, her thighs painful, and
she felt that Santiago had succeeded in abusing her. Santiago was also in bed, embracing and kissing her. She felt
weak, then, she cried and cursed Felipe Santiago. Although she felt weak, she kicked him. (pp. 4-11, t.s.n., June 4, 1976)

After a few minutes, Santiago stood up and told Mabini Garcia to dress up. He threw her clothes to her and she got up,
still crying, and started to dress. The accused warned her not to report the matter to anybody or he would kill her. Mabini
Garcia was afraid, because she had known the accused to have been involved before in a murder case. She knew he
was not joking. The accused told her to go with him. Mabini Garcia obeyed because she was afraid of the accused and
she felt weak. They rode on a tricycle. Again, the accused warned her not to report the matter to anybody or he would
kill her. Mabini Garcia continued to cry softly in the tricycle, taking care not to make the driver notice her condition. When
the tricycle reached the intersection of the highway, and Mabini Street, the accused went down and told the victim to
proceed home. (pp. 14-18, t.s.n., June 16, 1976).

Mabini Garcia reached her house at around 8:00 P.M. and her mother, brother and sister were already resting. Only the
household helper was in the sala, She informed Mabini that supper was ready, but Mabini answered she will not eat
supper anymore. She went to her room right away because she did not want the helper to notice that anything was
wrong. She cried the whole night over the injustice committed upon her by Felipe Santiago. (pp. 6-11, t.s.n., July 19, 1976)

Mabini Garcia went as usual to office the following day because she did not want anyone to know what had happened to
her. Besides, she thought that Felipe Santiago would not report for work because earlier, she heard him announce at a
Division Meeting that he would be out on official business for two weeks starting that day. However, at around 10:00
o'clock in the morning, Felipe Santiago suddenly arrived in the office. Mabini Garcia was surprised and disturbed but she
concealed her feelings. She frequented the comfort room to give vent to her crying. (pp. 11-18, t.s.n., July 19, 1976).

The following day, Santiago did not come to office, He reported again only on the following Friday. Mabini Garcia
continuously reported to the office from May 27, 1975 until the end of the week, keeping her shame to herself. She tried
to conceal her sadness, but sensed that her officemates must have noticed, after some time, that she was not her usual
self (pp. 19-20, July 19, 1976).

The GSIS Cabanatuan Office celebrated its office anniversary on May 31, 1975, with a dinner-dance at the La Parilla.
Mabini Garcia did not want to attend the affair but she was prevailed upon by Mrs. Benjamina de Vera, their Chief in the
Salary Loan and Policy Section, who fetched her from her house. At the La Parilla, she joined her companions in the
Investment Unit of the GSIS. She noticed that some of the employees did not attend, but she was the only one fetched
from her house. Mabini Garcia did not feel like dancing but an officemate kept approaching her for a dance, so, finally
she agreed to dance with him. While they were dancing, Felipe Santiago, whose presence she had not noticed until that
time, tapped her partner's shoulder, and took his place in dancing with her. She pushed him away, but Santiago held her
tight, and said in a low, but firm voice that he would slap and humiliate her if she tried to leave him in the middle of the
dance hall. After the piece, Mabini Garcia wanted to go home. She went back to her seat and asked for Mrs. de Vera,
but she was nowhere to be found. Pretending that she had a headache, she told the person sitting beside her to inform
Mrs. de Vera that she left because she was not feeling well. (pp. 20-30, t.s.n., July 19, 1976)

Mabini Garcia continued going to office regularly, still ashamed to reveal her misfortune because it might bring dishonor
to her family. Finally, she felt that her problem was too much to bear, alone. On June 30, 1975 she revealed to her
brother Rufino the abomination committed upon her by Felipe Santiago. He suggested that they inform their other
brothers and their mother about the incident. After revealing the incident to their eldest brother, Atty. Mario T. Garcia, he
advised them to report the incident to the operatives of the Philippine Constabulary, which they did. (pp. 34-49, t.s.n.,
July 19, 1971). (pp. 29, Brief for Plaintiff-Appellee, p. 126, Rollo)

On the same day, the victim was examined by Dr. Leonides Soriano, the senior resident physician at the Paulino J. Garcia
Memorial Medical and Research Center in Cabanatuan City. Her findings were as follows:

Breast epherical, popilla brownish pink

Pubic hairmoderate in amount

Labia majora and minorapinkish in color

Hymen laceration old healed at 1:00, 5:00 & 9:00 o'clock facing the clock

Vaginaadmits 1 finger with ease, 2 fingers with difficulty SMEAR FOR SPERMATOZOA . . . NEGATIVE." (p. 23, Rollo)

In this appeal, the accused-appellant assigned eight (8) errors committed by the lower court, to wit:

FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE UNCORROBORATED STORY OF THE COMPLAINANT
AND CONVICTING THE ACCUSED ON THE BASIS THEREOF.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THERE WAS AN ABSENCE OF ANY OPPOSITION,
STRUGGLE OR TENACIOUS RESISTANCE ON THE PART OF THE COMPLAINANT AND THAT NO FORCE,
VIOLENCE OR INTIMIDATION WAS EMPLOYED BY THE ACCUSED.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT A DELAY OF THIRTY-FIVE (35) DAYS IN REPORTING THE
ALLEGED RAPE IS NOT OVERLY LONG AND THAT COMPLAINANT'S EXPLANATION FOR THE DELAY HAS THE
SEMBLANCE OF TRUTH.

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE CONDUCT AND BEHAVIOR OF THE COMPLAINANT
AFTER THE ALLEGED RAPE BELIE AND NEGATE HER CHARGE OF RAPE.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE COMPLAINANT LIED IN RESPECT OF HER CLAIM OF
VIRGINITY AT THE TIME OF THE ALLEGED RAPE AND THAT THIS LIE DESTROYED HER CREDIBILITY ON
OTHER MATERIAL MATTERS.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT NOTHING IN THE SUBSTANTIAL ALLEGATIONS OF THE
PROSECUTION HAS BEEN REFUTED.

SEVENTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED NOT UPON THE STRENGTH OF THE EVIDENCE OF
THE PROSECUTION BUT UPON THE ALLEGED WEAKNESS OF THE EVIDENCE FOR THE DEFENSE,

EIGHTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR


THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO MEET THE QUANTUM OF
PROOFWHICH IS EVIDENCE BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBTNECESSARY TO OVERCOME THE
PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE, (pp. 21-24, Brief for Appellant, p. 100, Rollo )

The appellant contends that the testimony of the victim, Mabini Garcia is doubtful as it is uncorroborated, aside from the fact that
it contains serious inconsistencies and contradictions as follows: Firstly, the alleged abduction of the victim could not have
happened in a busy thoroughfare outside the Manrio Hotel, considering that the meeting between the accused and the victim
appears to have been accidental. Secondly, the victim failed to state in her affidavit submitted to the Philippine Constabulary that
she was raped at the Driftwood Hotel. Thirdly, in her testimony in court, the victim stated that she was pushed into the tricycle by
the accused after she left the Manrio Hotel but in her affidavit before the Philippine Constabulary, she stated nothing of this
incident. Fourthly, the complainant's earlier testimony upon direct examination that she felt the gun poked at her side all the way
from Manrio Hotel to the Driftwood Hotel is inconsistent with her latter testimony that the first time she saw the gun was after she
had been allegedly abused by the accused.

The main question raised by appellant is credibility of the prosecution's main witness the victim herself. It is well-settled that the
lone testimony of the victim in the prosecution for rape, if credible, is sufficient to sustain a verdict of conviction, the rationale
being that owing to the nature of the offense, the only evidence that can oftentimes be adduced to establish the guilt of the
accused is the offended party's testimony (People v. Lor, L-47440-42, September 12, 1984, 132 SCRA 41). Hence, if the testimony
of the offended party is not improbable, a defendant may be convicted on the lone testimony of the victim. We have perused the
long testimony of the victim and We found nothing improbable about it. On the contrary, the victim has testified clearly and
logically as to events which happened on that fateful day. Her narration of events even included details which she could not have
supplied if they were not true.

Based on the victim's testimony, the incident happened at 6:00 in the evening when there were only few persons passing by.
She also stated that she felt weak and dizzy after drinking the lemon juice offered to her by the appellant at the Manrio Hotel. It
is therefore not impossible for the appellant to easily force the victim into the tricycle without much resistance and bring her to
the Driftwood Hotel where he would consummate his evil intentions.

The failure of the victim to state certain details in her affidavit before the PC, i.e., the name of the hotel where she was raped and
the fact that the appellant pushed her into the tricycle refer merely to minor details which do not destroy her credibility. The
victim's statements in her affidavit and her testimony in court are substantially the same, the latter being more accurate as the
victim had ample opportunity to clearly narrate the incident in court.

The victim's alleged contradictory statements concerning her perception of the gun held by the appellant is of little importance. In
fact, We could not find any inconsistency therein. The facts are clear that she felt the gun poked at her while she and appellant
were riding in the tricycle but she saw the gun only after she was abused. Inconsistency on matters of minor details do not
detract from the actual fact of rape. Testimonial discrepancies would have been caused by the natural fickleness of memory
which tend to strengthen rather than weaken credibility as they erase any suspicion of rehearsed testimony (People v Cayazo, L-
47398, March 14, 1988, 158 SCRA 586).

A reading of the assailed decision will reveal that the trial court has carefully analyzed and discussed not only the victim's
testimony but also her conduct while in the witness stand. Said the trial court:

. . . On the other hand, the whole gamut of the statements made by Mabini Garcia cannot be assailed anywhere as a
prevarication. She has not stated anything that is in itself an impossibility or an improbability. Her story is complete in
long and numerous details covering an expanse of so many days. Had she just invented the story of the rape, she could
not have just as easily invented all the details she gave and in fact, it would have been safer for her not to tell such a
long story. She even mentioned a part played by Mrs. Benjamina de Vera, Chief of Salary Loan and Policy Section of
the GSIS office and subordinate of the accused. In fact, this part she mentioned does not touch on the rape itself, but
what this Court sees is that had Mabini Garcia fabricated the rape incident, she would not have mentioned the name of
Mrs. de Vera at all. Her manner of declaring, her demeanor, her straight-forwardness all mark her as a reliable witness,
telling the whole truth as she saw it. This Court does not even take into account her occasional outbursts of weeping,
except to say that they did not appear to be in the way of acting or, as is said in the vernacular, mere "arte." Nothing has
ever been said, nor can it be in any manner deduced, that Mabini Garcia had an axe to grind against the accused or that
she was bent on extracting money from him. She was his subordinate employee and she was never threatened with
removal, demotion or punishment of any kind. There was never any previous incident by which one could say that she
wanted money. There was a lapse of thirty-five days between the incident and the time she reported the matter to any
member of her family for the purpose of a complaint. This delay is not overly long and her explanation on how and why
she kept the secret to herself for a while has every semblance of truth. (pp. 37-39, Rollo)

As can be gleaned from the above quoted discussion, the trial court upheld on justifiable grounds the testimony of the victim as
to the truth of the perpetuation of the crime charged. Where the issue is credibility of the witnesses, the findings and conclusions
of the trial court are binding upon this Court.
The appellant's submission that the victim failed to raise an outcry or offer serious resistance when she was abducted and later
raped has no merit. The suggestion of the victim that she was drugged after drinking the lemon juice given by the appellant
explains why the victim was unable to resist the accused effectively or make an outcry. While no chemical test was undertaken
to concretely prove that the juice she drank actually contained drugs, the fact remains uncontroverted as appellant did not even
take the witness stand in order to deny that after the victim drank the lemon juice already prepared for her, she began to feel
weak and dizzy. Even the driver of the tricycle where she and appellant rode towards the Driftwood Hotel observed that she was
very pale (TSN, Dec. 2, 1975, p. 20, Records). Further, where appellant succeeded in bringing her to the Driftwood Hotel, he
boxed her in the stomach which rendered her unconscious and allowed appellant to satisfy his beastly desires (TSN, June 16,
1976, p. 117, Records). It is clear that the acts of appellant were deliberately done to deprive the victim of reason and the will to
resist his sexual assault. The effect is thus similar to that of violence in overcoming resistance with which she could very well
have successfully thwarted the lustful act. Appellant undoubtedly had clearly committed the crime charged by depriving
complainant of reason to be able to have carnal knowledge of her without the latter having in the least shown any sign of
consent (People v. Bautista, No. L 49778, January 27, 1981, 102 SCRA 483). In a rape of a woman deprived of reason or who is
unconscious, the victim has no will. In that case, it is not necessary that she should offer real opposition or constant resistance to
the sexual intercourse.

Records show that it took the victim thirty-five (35) days before finally reporting the crime to the police authorities. The lapse of
the said period cannot be considered as unreasonably long to render the victim's testimony doubtful. In her testimony in court,
she related how she suffered emotionally and psychologically in trying to keep to herself the outrage done to her; that at first,
she did not want to reveal what had happened to her because of the shame it will bring to her family, aside from the fact that her
brothers might take the law into their own hands and create trouble; that she finally told her family about the rape because she
felt aggrieved by the incident (TSN, July 19, 1976, pp. 160-165, Records). Where the complainant or victim has fully explained her
failure to report the sexual abuse immediately after the rape, there is no reason to cast doubt on the veracity of her testimony
(People v. Cabradilla, L-33788, November 29, 1984, 133 SCRA 413). The delay in reporting the crime to the authorities may be
due to fear of the malefactor or the shame that would result from the disclosure of the dishonor done to the offended woman
(People vs. Tano, 109 Phil. 912; People vs. Castillo, 111 Phil. 1024).

Appellant contends that the victim lied when she testified that she was a virgin at the time of the rape incident, since the doctor-
witness for the defense stated that the round edges in the lacerations found in the hymen of the victim show that the victim had
sexual intercourse at least six months previously long before the alleged rape.

We agree with the conclusions of the trial court that virginity is not a necessary element in the crime of rape and that the time in
which wounds heal differ among people, in addition to the fact that methods of treatment of a wound may result in differences in
the period of healing. We have held in one case that lack of fresh lacerations does not negative sexual intercourse where
medical examination was conducted 16 days after alleged assault (People v. Deus, No. 63729, May 31, 1985, 136 SCRA 660).
Moreover, the fact that hymenal lacerations were found to be "healed round edge" and no spermatozoa were found do not
necessarily negate rape (People v. Malabad, No. 63219, November 28, 1984, 133 SCRA 392).

Furthermore, the appellant has not shown any improper motive on the part of the victim for her to testify as she did (People v.
Maago, No. 90669, November 21 1990). It has long been held that no young Filipina of decent repute would publicly admit that
she had been criminally abused and ravished, unless that is the truth. For it is her natural instinct to protect her honor (People v.
Avero, No. 76483, August 30, 1988, 165 SCRA 130).

Unfortunately, the accused did not take the witness stand to explain his side. We cannot hold to against him, for an accused has
the right to remain silent and no adverse inference should be drawn from that silence. In view thereof, in order to gain conviction,
the prosecution must rely on the strength of its evidence rather than on the weakness of the defense (People v. de Dios y
Exconde, G.R. No. 58174, July 6, 1990). Considering the totality of the evidence on record in the instant case, We find that the
guilt of the accused has been established with proof beyond reasonable doubt. However, We find on the basis of the evidence
that the offense was committed with the use of a deadly weapon. The applicable provision is Article 335, paragraph 3 of the
Revised Penal Code which provides that whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon, the penalty
shall be reclusion perpetua to death (People v. Orita, G.R. No. 88724, April 3, 1990). No aggravating circumstances attended the
commission of the offense. Hence, the trial court correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua upon the accused but failed
to impose an indemnity for the victim.

ACCORDINGLY, the appealed decision of the trial court dated February 23, 1977 is AFFIRMED. The accused, Felipe Santiago is
hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentenced to reclusion perpetua as well as to indemnify
the victim in the amount of P40,000.00.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-12790 August 31, 1960


JOEL JIMENEZ, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
REMEDIOS CAIZARES, defendant.
Republic of the Philippines, intervenor-appellant.

Acting Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor Pacifico P. de Castro for appellant.
Climaco, Ascarraga and Silang for appellee.

PADILLA, J.:

In a complaint filed on 7 June 1955 in the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga the plaintiff Joel Jimenez prays for a decree
annulling his marriage to the defendant Remedios Caizares contracted on 3 August 1950 before a judge of the municipal court
of Zamboanga City, upon the ground that the office of her genitals or vagina was to small to allow the penetration of a male
organ or penis for copulation; that the condition of her genitals as described above existed at the time of marriage and continues
to exist; and that for that reason he left the conjugal home two nights and one day after they had been married. On 14 June 1955
the wife was summoned and served a copy of the complaint. She did not file an answer. On 29 September 1956, pursuant to the
provisions of article 88 of the Civil Code, the Court directed the city attorney of Zamboanga to inquire whether there was a
collusion, to intervene for the State to see that the evidence for the plaintiff is not a frame-up, concocted or fabricated. On 17
December 1956 the Court entered an order requiring the defendant to submit to a physical examination by a competent lady
physician to determine her physical capacity for copulation and to submit, within ten days from receipt of the order, a medical
certificate on the result thereof. On 14 March 1957 the defendant was granted additional five days from notice to comply with the
order of 17 December 1956 with warning that her failure to undergo medical examination and submit the required doctor's
certificate would be deemed lack of interest on her part in the case and that judgment upon the evidence presented by her
husband would be rendered.

After hearing, at which the defendant was not present, on 11 April 1957 the Court entered a decree annulling the marriage
between the plaintiff and the defendant. On 26 April 1957 the city attorney filed a motion for reconsideration of the decree thus
entered, upon the ground, among others, that the defendant's impotency has not been satisfactorily established as required by
law; that she had not been physically examined because she had refused to be examined; that instead of annulling the marriage
the Court should have punished her for contempt of court and compelled her to undergo a physical examination and submit a
medical certificate; and that the decree sought to be reconsidered would open the door to married couples, who want to end
their marriage to collude or connive with each other by just alleging impotency of one of them. He prayed that the complaint be
dismissed or that the wife be subjected to a physical examination. Pending resolution of his motion, the city attorney timely
appealed from the decree. On 13 May 1957 the motion for reconsideration was denied.

The question to determine is whether the marriage in question may be annulled on the strength only of the lone testimony of the
husband who claimed and testified that his wife was and is impotent. The latter did not answer the complaint, was absent during
the hearing, and refused to submit to a medical examination.

Marriage in this country is an institution in which the community is deeply interested. The state has surrounded it with safeguards
to maintain its purity, continuity and permanence. The security and stability of the state are largely dependent upon it. It is the
interest of each and every member of the community to prevent the bringing about of a condition that would shake its foundation
and ultimately lead to its destruction. The incidents of the status are governed by law, not by will of the parties. The law
specifically enumerates the legal grounds, that must be proved to exist by indubitable evidence, to annul a marriage. In the case
at bar, the annulment of the marriage in question was decreed upon the sole testimony of the husband who was expected to
give testimony tending or aiming at securing the annulment of his marriage he sought and seeks. Whether the wife is really
impotent cannot be deemed to have been satisfactorily established, becase from the commencement of the proceedings until
the entry of the decree she had abstained from taking part therein. Although her refusal to be examined or failure to appear in
court show indifference on her part, yet from such attitude the presumption arising out of the suppression of evidence could not
arise or be inferred because women of this country are by nature coy, bashful and shy and would not submit to a physical
examination unless compelled to by competent authority. This the Court may do without doing violence to and infringing in this
case is not self-incrimination. She is not charged with any offense. She is not being compelled to be a witness against
herself. 1 "Impotency being an abnormal condition should not be presumed. The presumption is in favor of potency." 2 The lone
testimony of the husband that his wife is physically incapable of sexual intercourse is insufficient to tear asunder the ties that
have bound them together as husband and wife.

The decree appealed from is set aside and the case remanded to the lower court for further proceedings in accordance with this
decision, without pronouncement as to costs.

Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Gutierrez David, and Dizon, JJ. concur.
G.R. No. L-29138 May 29, 1970

ELENA CONTRERAS, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
CESAR J. MACARAIG, defendant-appellee.

Jose T. Nery for plaintiff-appellee.

The City fiscal for defendant-appellant.

Cesar J. Macaraig in his own behalf.

DIZON, J.:

Appeal taken by Elena Contreras from a decision of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 00138
dismissing her complaint upon the ground that the same was filed more than one year from and after the date on which she had
become cognizant of the cause for legal separation.

The following, facts found by the trial court are not in dispute:

Plaintiff and defendant were married on March 16, 1952 in the Catholic Church of Quiapo, Manila. Out of their
Marriage, three children were born: Eusebio C. Macaraig, on January 11, 1953; Victoria C. Macaraig, on March
26, 1956; and Alexander C. Macaraig, on August 4, 1958. All the children are in the care of plaintiff wife.

Sometime in 1958, the couple acquired rights, as lessee and purchaser under a conditional sale agreement, to
own a house and lot, known as Lot 4, Block 8 of the Philamlife Homes in Quezon City which they transferred in
favor of their three children on October 29, 1958 (Exh. F). Installment payments are being made by plaintiff's
father. The spouses own no other conjugal property.

Immediately before the election of 1961, defendant was employed as manager of the printing establishment
owned by plaintiff's father known as the MICO Offset. In that capacity, defendant met and came to know Lily
Ann Alcala, who place orders with MICO Offset for propaganda materials for Mr. Sergio Osmea, who was then
a Vice-Presidential candidate. After the elections of 1961, defendant resigned from MICO Offset to be a special
agent at Malacaang. He began to be away so often and to come home very late. Upon plaintiff's inquiry,
defendant explained that he was out on a series of confidential missions.

In September, 1962, Avelino Lubos, driver of the family car, told plaintiff that defendant was living in Singalong
with Lily Ann Alcala. When defendant, the following October, returned to the conjugal home, plaintiff refrained
from verifying Lubos' report from defendant in her desire not to anger nor drive defendant away. Although
plaintiff, in April 1963, also received rumors that defendant was seen with a woman who was on the family way
on Dasmarias St., she was so happy that defendant again return to the family home in May, 1963 that she once
more desisted from discussing the matter with him because she did not wish to precipitate a quarrel and drive
him away. All this while, defendant, if and whenever he returned to the family fold, would only stay for two or
three days but would be gone for a period of about a month.

After plaintiff received reports that Lily Ann Alcala had given birth to a baby, she sent Mrs. Felicisima Antioquia,
her father's employee, to verify the reports. The latter was driven by Lubos to the house in Singalong and
between 5:00 and 6:00 o'clock that afternoon, she saw defendant was carrying a baby in his arms. Mrs.
Antioquia then went to the parish priest of Singalong where she inquired about the child of Cesar Macaraig and
Lily Ann Alcala and she was given a copy of the baptismal certificate of Maria Vivien Mageline Macaraig (Exh. G)
which she gave to plaintiff sometime in October, 1963.

Plaintiff then entreated her father-in-law, Lucilo Macaraig, to intercede with defendant and to convince him to
return to his family. Mr. Macaraig, after talking to his son and seeking him with the latter's child told plaintiff that
he could not do anything.

In November, 1963, plaintiff requested the cooperation of defendant's older sister, Mrs. Enriqueta Majul, and the
latter obliged and arranged a meeting at her home in Buendia between plaintiff and Lily Ann Alcala. Lily Ann
said she was willing to give up defendant as she had no desire to be accused criminally but it was defendant
who refused to break relationship with her.

In the early part of December, 1963, plaintiff, accompanied by her two children, Victoria and Alexander, and by
Mrs. Leticia Lagronio went to talk to defendant at his place of work on Espaa Extension in front of Quezon
Institute. They repaired to Victoria Peak, a nearby restaurant, where plaintiff pleaded with defendant to give up
Lily Ann Alcala and to return to the conjugal home, assuring him that she was willing to forgive him. Defendant
informed plaintiff that he could no longer leave Lily Ann and refused to return to his legitimate family.

On December 14, 1963, plaintiff instituted the present action for legal separation. When defendant did not
interpose any answer after he was served summons, the case was referred to the Office of the City Fiscal of
Manila pursuant to the provisions of Article 101 of the Civil Code. After a report was received from Asst. Fiscal
Primitivo M. Pearanda that he believed that there was no collusion present, plaintiff was allowed to present her
evidence. Defendant has never appeared in this case.

The reasons relied upon by the trial court in dismissing the complaint are set forth in the appealed decision as follows:

Under the facts established by plaintiff's evidence, although the infidelity of the husband is apparent, yet the
case will have to be dismissed. Article 102 provides that, an action for legal separation cannot be instituted
except within one year after plaintiff "became cognizant of the cause." In the absence of a clear-cut decision of
the Supreme Court as to the exact import of the term "cognizant," the practical application of said Article can be
attended with difficulty. For one thing; that rules might be different in case of adultery, which is an act, and for
concubinage, which may be a situation or a relationship.

In respect of concubinage, the word 'cognizant' may not connote the date when proof thereof sufficient to
establish the cause before a court of law is possessed. Otherwise, the one year period would be meaningless
for practical purposes because all a wife would have to do would be to claim that the necessary proof was
secured only within one year before the filing of the complaint. On the other hand, it should be hard to concede
that what the law envisages (and, in a way, encourages) is the filing of a complaint within one year after the
innocent spouses has received information of the other's infidelity, howsoever baseless the report might be.

The Court believes that the correct rule lies between the two extremes. At the time a wife acquired information,
which can be reasonably relied upon as true, that her husband is living in concubinage with another woman, the
one-year period should be deemed to have started even if the wife shall not then be in possession of proof
sufficient to establish the concubinage before a court of law. The one-year period may be viewed, inter alia, as
an alloted time within which proof should be secured. It is in the light of this rule that the Court will determine
whether or not plaintiff's action for legal separation has prescribed.

After her husband resigned from MICO Offset to be a special agent in Malacaan, subsequent to the elections
of 1961, he would seldom come home. He allayed plaintiff's suspicions with the explanation that he had been
away on 'confidential missions.' However, in September, 1962, Avelino Lubos, plaintiff's driver, reported to
plaintiff that defendant was living in Singalong with Lily Ann Alcala. As a matter of fact, it was also Lubos who
brought Mrs. F. Antioquia (when plaintiff had asked to verify the reports) to the house in Singalong where she
saw defendant, Lily Ann and the baby.

The requirement of the law that a complaint for legal separation be filed within one year after the date plaintiff
become cognizant of the cause is not of prescriptive nature, but is of the essence of the cause of action. It is
consonant with the philosophy that marriage is an inviolable social institution so that the law provides strict
requirements before it will allow a disruption of its status.

In the instant action, the Court has to find that plaintiff became cognizant of defendant's infidelity in September,
1962. Plaintiff made successive attempts to induce the husband to amend his erring ways but failed. Her desire
to bring defendant back to the connubial fold and to preserve family solidarity deterred her from taking timely
legal action.

The only question to be resolved is whether the period of one year provided for in Article 102 of the Civil Code should be counted,
as far as the instant case is concerned from September 1962 or from December 1963. Computing the period of one year from the
former date, it is clear that plaintiff's complaint filed on December 14, 1963 came a little too late, while the reverse would be true if
said period is deemed to have commenced only in the month of December 1963.

The period of "five years from after the date when such cause occurred" is not here involved.
Upon the undisputed facts it seems clear that, in the month of September 1962, whatever knowledge appellant had acquired
regarding the infidelity of her husband, that is, of the fact that he was then living in Singalong with Lily Ann Alcala, was only
through the information given to her by Avelino Lubos, driver of the family car. Much as such hearsay information had pained
and anguished her, she apparently thought it best and no reasonable person may justifiably blame her for it not to go
deeper into the matter herself because in all probability even up to that time, notwithstanding her husband's obvious neglect of
his entire family, appellant still cherished the hope however forlorn of his coming back home to them. Indeed, when her
husband returned to the conjugal home the following October, she purposely refrained from bringing up the matter of his marital
infidelity "in her desire not to anger nor drive defendant away" quoting the very words of the trial court. True, appellant
likewise heard in April 1963 rumors that her husband was seen with a woman on the family way on Dasmarias Street, but failed
again to either bring up the matter with her husband or make attempts to verify the truth of said rumors, but this was due, as the
lower court itself believed, because "she was so happy that defendant again returned to the family home in May 1963 that she
once more desisted from discussing the matter with him because she did not wish to precipitate a quarrel and drive him away."
As a matter of fact, notwithstanding all these painful informations which would not have been legally sufficient to make a case for
legal separation appellant still made brave if desperate attempts to persuade her husband to come back home. In the words
of the lower court, she "entreated her father-in-law, Lucilo Macaraig, to intercede with defendant and to convince him to return to
his family" and also "requested the cooperation of defendant's older sister, Mrs. Enriqueta Majul" for the same purpose, but all
that was of no avail. Her husband remained obdurate.

After a careful review of the record, We are persuaded that, in the eyes of the law, the only time when appellant really became
cognizant of the infidelity of her husband was in the early part of December 1963 when, quoting from the appealed decision, the
following happened

In the early part of December, 1963, plaintiff, accompanied by her two children, Victoria and Alexander, and by
Mrs. Leticia Lagronio went to talk to defendant at his place of work on Espaa Extension in front of Quezon
Institute. They repaired to Victoria Peak, a nearby restaurant, where plaintiff pleaded with defendant to give up
Lily Ann Alcala and to return to the conjugal home, assuring him that she was willing to forgive him. Defendant
informed plaintiff that he could no longer leave Lily Ann and refused to return to his legitimate family.

From all the foregoing We conclude that it was only on the occasion mentioned in the preceding paragraph
when her husband admitted to her that he was living with and would no longer leave Lily Ann to return to his
legitimate family that appellant must be deemed to be under obligation to decide whether to sue or not to sue for
legal separation, and it was only then that the legal period of one year must be deemed to have commenced.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is set aside and another is hereby rendered holding that appellant is entitled to legal
separation as prayed for in her complaint; and the case is hereby remanded to the lower court for appropriate proceedings in
accordance with law.

Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo and Villamor, JJ., concur.

Concepcion, C.J., concurs in the result.

Castro, J., is on leave.

G.R. No. L-18008 October 30, 1962

ELISEA LAPERAL, petitioner,


vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, oppositor.

Martin B. Laurea and Associates for petitioner.


Office of the Solicitor General for oppositor.

BARRERA, J.:

On May 10, 1960, Elisea Laperal filed in the Court of First Instance of Baguio (Sp Proc. No. 433) a petition which reads:

1. That petitioner has been a bona fide resident of the City of Baguio for the last three years prior to the date of the filing
of this petition;
2. That petitioner's maiden name is ELISEA LAPERAL; that on March 24, 1939, she married Mr. Enrique R. Santamaria;
that in a partial decision entered on this Honorable Court on January 18, 1958, in Civil Case No. 356 of this Court, entitled
'E nrique R. Santamaria vs. Elisea L. Santamaria' Mr. Enrique Santamaria was given a decree of legal separation from
her; that the said partial decision is now final;

3. That during her marriage to Enrique R. Santamaria, she naturally used, instead of her maiden name, that of Elisea L.
Santamaria; that aside from her legal separation from Enrique R. Santamaria, she has also ceased to live with him for
many years now;

4. That in view of the fact that she has been legally separated from Mr. Enrique R. Santamaria and has likewise ceased
to live with him for many years, it is desirable that she be allowed to change her name and/or be permitted to resume
using her maiden name, to wit: ELISEA LAPERAL.

WHEREFORE, petitioner respectfully prayed that after the necessary proceedings are had, she be allowed to resume
using her maiden name of Elisea Laperal.

The petition was opposed by the City Attorney of Baguio on the ground that the same violates the provisions of Article 370
(should be 372) of the Civil Code, and that it is not sanctioned by the Rules of Court.

In its decision of October 31, 1960, the court denied the petition for the reason that Article 372 of the Civil Code requires the wife,
even after she is decreed legally separated from her husband, to continue using the name and surname she employed before
the legal separation. Upon petitioner's motion, however, the court, treating the petition as one for change of name, reconsidered
its decision and granted the petition on the ground that to allow petitioner, who is a businesswoman decreed legally separated
from her husband, to continue using her married name would give rise to confusion in her finances and the eventual liquidation
of the conjugal assets. Hence, this appeal by the State.

The contention of the Republic finds support in the provisions of Article 372 of the New Civil Code which reads:

ART. 372. When legal separation has been granted, the wife shall continue using her name and surname employed
before the legal separation. (Emphasis supplied)

Note that the language of the statute is mandatory that the wife, even after the legal separation has been decreed, shall continue
using her name and surname employed before the legal separation. This is so because her married status is unaffected by the
separation, there being no severance of the vinculum. It seems to be the policy of the law that the wife should continue to use
the name indicative of her unchanged status for the benefit of all concerned.

The appellee contends, however, that the petition is substantially for change of her name from Elisea L. Santamaria, the one she
has been using, since her marriage, to Elisea Laperal, her maiden name, giving as reason or cause therefor her being legally
separated from the husband Enrique R. Santamaria, and the fact that they have ceased to live together for many years.

There seems to be no dispute that in the institution of these proceedings, the procedure prescribed in Rule 103 of the Rules of
Court for change of name has been observed. But from the petition quoted in full at the beginning of these opinion, the only
reason relied upon for the change of name is the fact that petitioner is legally separated from her husband and has, in fact,
ceased to live with him for many years. It is doubtful, to say the least, whether Rule 103 which refers to change of name in
general, may prevail over the specific provisions of Article 372 of the New Civil Code with regards to married women legally
separated from their husbands. Even, however, applying Rule 103 to this case, the fact of legal separation alone which is the
only basis for the petition at bar is, in our opinion, not a sufficient ground to justify a change of the name of herein petitioner,
for to hold otherwise would be to provide an easy circumvention of the mandatory provisions of Article 372.

It is true that in the second decision which reconsidered the first it is stated that as the petitioner owns extensive business
interests, the continued used of her husband surname may cause undue confusion in her finances and the eventual liquidation
of the conjugal assets. This finding is however without basis. In the first place, these were not the causes upon which the petition
was based; hence, obviously no evidence to this effect had been adduced. Secondly, with the issuance of the decree of legal
separation in 1958, the conjugal partnership between petitioner and her husband had automatically been dissolved and
liquidated. (Art. 106[2], Civil Cod). Consequently, there could be no more occasion for an eventual liquidation of the conjugal
assets.

WHEREFORE, the order of the lower court of December 1, 1960, granting the petition, is hereby set aside and the petition
dismissed. Without costs. So ordered.

Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Paredes, Dizon, Regala and Makalintal,
JJ., concur.
G.R. No. 47101 April 25, 1941

GODOFREDO BUCCAT, demandante-apelante,


vs.
LUIDA MANGONON DE BUCCAT, demandada-apelada.

D. Feliciano Leviste, D. Tomas P. Panganiban y Doa Sotera N. Megia en representacion del apelante.
Doa Luida Mangonon de Buccat en su propia representacion.

HORRILLENO, J.:

Este asunto se ha elevado a esta Superioridad por el Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Baguio, ya que solo suscita una cuestion
puramente de derecho.

El 20 de marzo de 1939 el demandante inico la presento causa, en la que no comparecio la demandada, no obstante haber sido
debidamente emplazada. Por lo que, permitido el demandante a presentar sus pruebas, el Juzgado inferior fallo el asunto a
favor de la demandada. De ahi esta apelacion.

El demandante pide la anulacion de su matrimonio habido con la demandada Luida Mangonon de Buccat el 26 de noviembre de
1938, en la Ciudad de Baguio, fundandose en que, al consentir en dicho matrimonio, lo hizo porque la demandada le habia
asegurado que ella era virgen.

De la decision del Juzgado inferior se desprenden los siguientes hechos:

El demandante conocio a la demandada el mes de marzo de 1938. Despues de varias entrevistas, ambos quedaron
comprometidos el 19 de septiembre del mismo ao. El 26 de noviembre de igual ao, el demandante contrajo matrimonio con la
demandada en la catedrla catolica de la Ciudad de Baguio. Desoues de convivir maritalmente por espacio de ochenta y nueve
dias, la demandada dio a luz un nio de nueve meses, el 23 de febrero de 1939. De resultas de este acontecimiento, el
demandante abandono a la demandada y no volvio a hacer vida marital con ella.

No vemos razon alguna para revocar la sentencia apelada. En efecto, es inverosimil la alegacion del demandante y apelante
que el ni siguiera habia sospechado el estado gravido de la demandada, estando esta, como queda probado, en condicion
preada muy avanzada. Por lo que no ha lugar a estimar el fraude de que habla el apelante. Lo alegado por este en el sentido
de que no ses raro hallar a personas de abdomen desarrollado, nos parece pueril para merecer nuestra consideracion, tanto
mas cuanto que el demandante era estudiante de primer ao de derecho.

El matrimonio es una institucion sacratisima: es el cimiento en que descansa la sociedad. Para anularlo, son menester pruebas
claras y fehacientes. En este asunto no existen tales pruebas.

Hallando la sentencia apelada ajustada a derecho, debe ser confirmada, como por la presente la confirmamos, en todas sus
partes, con las costas al apelante. Asi se ordena.

Avancea, Pres., Imperial, Diaz y Laurel, MM., estan conformes.

VERONICA CABACUNGAN ALCAZAR, G.R. No. 174451


Petitioner,
Present:

CARPIO, J.,
Chairperson,
- versus - CHICO-NAZARIO,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA, and
PERALTA, JJ.

REY C. ALCAZAR, Promulgated:


Respondent.
October 13, 2009
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

This Petition for Review on Certiorari seeks to reverse the Decision [1] dated 24 May 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 84471, affirming the Decision dated 9 June 2004 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos City, Branch 85, in Civil Case
No. 664-M-2002, which dismissed petitioner Veronica Cabacungan Alcazars Complaint for the annulment of her marriage to
respondent Rey C. Alcazar.
The Complaint, [2] docketed as Civil Case No. 664-M-2002, was filed by petitioner before the RTC on 22 August 2002. Petitioner
alleged in her Complaint that she was married to respondent on 11 October 2000 by Rev. Augusto G. Pabustan (Pabustan), at
the latters residence. After their wedding, petitioner and respondent lived for five days in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, the
hometown of respondents parents. Thereafter, the newlyweds went back to Manila, but respondent did not live with petitioner at
the latters abode at 2601-C Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Tondo, Manila. On 23 October 2000, respondent left
for Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he worked as an upholsterer in a furniture shop. While working in Riyadh,
respondent did not communicate with petitioner by phone or by letter. Petitioner tried to call respondent for five times but
respondent never answered. About a year and a half after respondent left for Riyadh, a co-teacher informed petitioner that
respondent was about to come home to the Philippines. Petitioner was surprised why she was not advised by respondent of his
arrival.

Petitioner further averred in her Complaint that when respondent arrived in the Philippines, the latter did not go home to
petitioner at 2601-C Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Tondo, Manila. Instead, respondent proceeded to his parents house in San Jose,
Occidental Mindoro. Upon learning that respondent was in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, petitioner went to see her brother-in-
law in Velasquez St., Tondo, Manila, who claimed that he was not aware of respondents whereabouts.Petitioner traveled to San
Jose, Occidental Mindoro, where she was informed that respondent had been living with his parents since his arrival in March
2002.

Petitioner asserted that from the time respondent arrived in the Philippines, he never contacted her. Thus, petitioner
concluded that respondent was physically incapable of consummating his marriage with her, providing sufficient cause for
annulment of their marriage pursuant to paragraph 5, Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines (Family Code). There was
also no more possibility of reconciliation between petitioner and respondent.
Per the Sheriffs Return [3] dated 3 October 2002, a summons, together with a copy of petitioners Complaint, was served
upon respondent on 30 September 2002.[4]

On 18 November 2002, petitioner, through counsel, filed a Motion [5] to direct the public prosecutor to conduct an
investigation of the case pursuant to Article 48 of the Family Code.

As respondent did not file an Answer, the RTC issued on 27 November 2002 an Order[6] directing the public prosecutor to
conduct an investigation to ensure that no collusion existed between the parties; to submit a report thereon; and to appear in all
stages of the proceedings to see to it that evidence was not fabricated or suppressed.
On 4 March 2003, Public Prosecutrix Veronica A.V. de Guzman (De Guzman) submitted her Report manifesting that she
had conducted an investigation of the case of petitioner and respondent in January 2003, but respondent never participated
therein. Public Prosecutrix De Guzman also noted that no collusion took place between the parties, and measures were taken to
prevent suppression of evidence between them. She then recommended that a full-blown trial be conducted to determine
whether petitioners Complaint was meritorious or not.

Pre-trial was held and terminated on 20 May 2003.

On 21 May 2003, the RTC received the Notice of Appearance of the Solicitor General.

Trial on the merits ensued thereafter.

During trial, petitioner presented herself, her mother Lolita Cabacungan (Cabacungan), and clinical psychologist Nedy L.
Tayag (Tayag) as witnesses.

Petitioner first took the witness stand and elaborated on the allegations in her Complaint. Cabacungan corroborated
petitioners testimony.

Petitioners third witness, Tayag, presented the following psychological evaluation of petitioner and respondent:

After meticulous scrutiny and careful analysis of the collected data, petitioner is found to be free from
any underlying personality aberration neither (sic) of any serious psychopathological traits, which may possibly
impede her normal functioning (sic) of marriage. On the other hand, the undersigned arrived to (sic) a firm
opinion that the sudden breakdown of marital life between petitioner and respondent was clearly due to the
diagnosed personality disorder that the respondent is harboring, making him psychologically incapacitated to
properly assume and comply [with] essential roles (sic) of obligations as a married man.

The pattern of behaviors displayed by the respondent satisfies the diagnostic criteria of a disorder
clinically classified as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a condition deemed to be grave, severe, long lasting
in proportion and incurable by any treatment.

People suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder are known to have a pervasive pattern of
grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and
present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. has a grandiose of self-importance (e.g. exaggerates achievements and talents, expect to be


recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love

3. believes that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with,
other special or high status people (institutions)

4. requires excessive admiration

5. has sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or


automatic compliance with his or her expectations

6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes.

The root cause of respondents personality disorder can be attributed to his early childhood years with
predisposing psychosocial factors that influence[d] his development. It was recounted that respondent is the first
child of his mothers second family. Obviously, unhealthy familial constellation composed his immediate
environment in his growing up years. Respondent had undergone a severe longing for attention from his father
who had been unfaithful to them and had died early in life, that he was left alone to fend for the family needs.
More so that they were coping against poverty, his caregivers failed to validate his needs, wishes or responses
and overlooked the love and attention he yearned which led to develop a pathological need for self-object to
help him maintain a cohesive sense of self-such so great that everything other people offer is consumed. Hence,
he is unable to develop relationship with other (sic) beyond this need. There is no capacity for empathy sharing,
or loving others.

The psychological incapacity of the respondent is characterized by juridical antecedence as it already


existed long before he entered into marriage. Since it already started early in life, it is deeply engrained within
his system and becomes a[n] integral part of his personality structure, thereby rendering such to be permanent
and incurable. [7]

Tayag concluded in the end that:

As such, their marriage is already beyond repair, considering the fact that it has long been (sic) ceased
to exist and have their different life priorities. Reconciliation between them is regarded to be (sic). The essential
obligations of love, trust, respect, fidelity, authentic cohabitation as husband and wife, mutual help and support,
and commitment, did not and will no lon[g]er exist between them. With due consideration of the above-
mentioned findings, the undersigned recommends, the declaration of nullity of marriage between petitioner and
respondent. [8]

On 18 February 2004, petitioner filed her Formal Offer of Evidence. Public Prosecutrix Myrna S. Lagrosa (Lagrosa), who
replaced Public Prosecutrix De Guzman, interposed no objection to the admission of petitioners evidence and manifested that
she would no longer present evidence for the State.

On 9 June 2004, the RTC rendered its Decision denying petitioners Complaint for annulment of her marriage to
respondent, holding in substance that:

In the case at bar, the Court finds that the acts of the respondent in not communicating with petitioner
and not living with the latter the moment he returned home from Saudi Arabia despite their marriage do (sic) not
lead to a conclusion of psychological incapacity on his part. There is absolutely no showing that his defects were
already present at the inception of their marriage or that these are incurable.

That being the case, the Court resolves to deny the instant petition.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Annulment of Marriage is hereby DENIED. [9]

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration [10] but it was denied by the RTC in an Order[11] dated 19 August 2004.

Aggrieved, petitioner filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 84471. In a
Decision [12] dated 24 May 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC Decision dated 9 June 2004. The Court of Appeals ruled
that the RTC did not err in finding that petitioner failed to prove respondents psychological incapacity. Other than petitioners bare
allegations, no other evidence was presented to prove respondents personality disorder that made him completely unable to
discharge the essential obligations of the marital state. Citing Republic v. Court of Appeals ,[13] the appellate court ruled that the
evidence should be able to establish that at least one of the spouses was mentally or physically ill to such an extent that said
person could not have known the marital obligations to be assumed; or knowing the marital obligations, could not have validly
assumed the same. At most, respondents abandonment of petitioner could be a ground for legal separation under Article 5 of the
Family Code.

Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution [14] dated 28 August 2008.

Hence, this Petition raising the sole issue of:

WHETHER OR NOT, AS DEFINED BY THE LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE, RESPONDENT IS


PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO PERFORM THE ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATONS.[15]

At the outset, it must be noted that the Complaint originally filed by petitioner before the RTC was for annulment of
marriage based on Article 45, paragraph 5 of the Family Code, which reads:

ART. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the
marriage:
xxxx

(5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and
such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; x x x.

Article 45(5) of the Family Code refers to lack of power to copulate. [16] Incapacity to consummate denotes the permanent
inability on the part of the spouses to perform the complete act of sexual intercourse. [17] Non-consummation of a marriage may
be on the part of the husband or of the wife and may be caused by a physical or structural defect in the anatomy of one of the
parties or it may be due to chronic illness and inhibitions or fears arising in whole or in part from psychophysical conditions. It
may be caused by psychogenic causes, where such mental block or disturbance has the result of making the spouse physically
incapable of performing the marriage act. [18]

No evidence was presented in the case at bar to establish that respondent was in any way physically incapable to
consummate his marriage with petitioner.Petitioner even admitted during her cross-examination that she and respondent had
sexual intercourse after their wedding and before respondent left for abroad. There obviously being no physical incapacity on
respondents part, then, there is no ground for annulling petitioners marriage to respondent. Petitioners Complaint was, therefore,
rightfully dismissed.
One curious thing, though, caught this Courts attention. As can be gleaned from the evidence presented by petitioner
and the observations of the RTC and the Court of Appeals, it appears that petitioner was actually seeking the declaration of
nullity of her marriage to respondent based on the latters psychological incapacity to comply with his marital obligations of
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.
Petitioner attributes the filing of the erroneous Complaint before the RTC to her former counsels mistake or gross
ignorance. [19] But even said reason cannot save petitioners Complaint from dismissal. It is settled in this jurisdiction that the client
is bound by the acts, even mistakes, of the counsel in the realm of procedural technique. [20] Although this rule is not a hard and
fast one and admits of exceptions, such as where the mistake of counsel is so gross, palpable and inexcusable as to result in
the violation of his clients substantive rights, [21] petitioner failed to convince us that such exceptional circumstances exist herein.
Assuming for the sake of argument that we can treat the Complaint as one for declaration of nullity based on Article 36 of
the Family Code, we will still dismiss the Complaint for lack of merit, consistent with the evidence presented by petitioner during
the trial.
Article 36 of the Family Code provides:

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.

In Santos v. Court of Appeals,[22] the Court declared that psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code is
not meant to comprehend all possible cases of psychoses. It should refer, rather, 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. Psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical
antecedence, and (c) incurability.[23]

The Court laid down the guidelines in resolving petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage, based on Article 36 of the
Family Code, in Republic v. Court of Appeals ,[24] 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. 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 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 dos. 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, 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.

Being accordingly guided by the aforequoted pronouncements in Republic v. Court of Appeals, we scrutinized the totality
of evidence presented by petitioner and found that the same was not enough to sustain a finding that respondent was
psychologically incapacitated.

Petitioners evidence, particularly her and her mothers testimonies, merely established that respondent left petitioner
soon after their wedding to work in Saudi Arabia; that when respondent returned to the Philippines a year and a half later, he
directly went to live with his parents in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, and not with petitioner in Tondo, Manila; and that
respondent also did not contact petitioner at all since leaving for abroad. These testimonies though do not give us much insight
into respondents psychological state.

Tayags psychological report leaves much to be desired and hardly helps petitioners cause. It must be noted that Tayag
was not able to personally examine respondent. Respondent did not appear for examination despite Tayags invitation. [25] Tayag,
in evaluating respondents psychological state, had to rely on information provided by petitioner. Hence, we expect Tayag to
have been more prudent and thorough in her evaluation of respondents psychological condition, since her source of information,
namely, petitioner, was hardly impartial.

Tayag concluded in her report that respondent was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, traceable to the
latters experiences during his childhood. Yet, the report is totally bereft of the basis for the said conclusion. Tayag did not
particularly describe the pattern of behavior that showed that respondent indeed had a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Tayag
likewise failed to explain how such a personality disorder made respondent psychologically incapacitated to perform his
obligations as a husband. We emphasize that the burden falls upon petitioner, not just to prove that respondent suffers from a
psychological disorder, but also that such psychological disorder renders him truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that
concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage. [26] Psychological incapacity must be more than
just a difficulty, a refusal, or a neglect in the performance of some marital obligations.

In this instance, we have been allowed, through the evidence adduced, to peek into petitioners marital life and, as a
result, we perceive a simple case of a married couple being apart too long, becoming strangers to each other, with the husband
falling out of love and distancing or detaching himself as much as possible from his wife.

To be tired and give up on ones situation and on ones spouse are not necessarily signs of psychological illness; neither
can falling out of love be so labeled. When these happen, the remedy for some is to cut the marital knot to allow the parties to go
their separate ways. This simple remedy, however, is not available to us under our laws. Ours is a limited remedy that addresses
only a very specific situation a relationship where no marriage could have validly been concluded because the parties; or where
one of them, by reason of a grave and incurable psychological illness existing when the marriage was celebrated, did not
appreciate the obligations of marital life and, thus, could not have validly entered into a marriage. [27]
An unsatisfactory marriage is not a null and void marriage. As we stated in Marcos v. Marcos [28] :

Article 36 of the Family Code, we stress, is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital
bond at the time the causes therefor manifest themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a
party even before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of
awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. x x x.

Resultantly, we have held in the past that mere irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities in no wise
constitute psychological incapacity. [29]

As a last-ditch effort to have her marriage to respondent declared null, petitioner pleads abandonment by and sexual
infidelity of respondent. In a Manifestation and Motion [30] dated 21 August 2007 filed before us, petitioner claims that she was
informed by one Jacinto Fordonez, who is residing in the same barangay as respondent in Occidental Mindoro, that respondent
is living-in with another woman named Sally.

Sexual infidelity, per se, however, does not constitute psychological incapacity within the contemplation of the Family
Code. Again, petitioner must be able to establish that respondents unfaithfulness is a manifestation of a disordered personality,
which makes him completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state. [31]

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. Hence, any doubt
should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and
nullity. [32] Presumption is always in favor of the validity of marriage. Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio.[33] In the case at bar,
petitioner failed to persuade us that respondents failure to communicate with petitioner since leaving for Saudi Arabia to work,
and to live with petitioner after returning to the country, are grave psychological maladies that are keeping him from knowing
and/or complying with the essential obligations of marriage.

We are not downplaying petitioners frustration and misery in finding herself shackled, so to speak, to a marriage that is
no longer working. Regrettably, there are situations like this one, where neither law nor society can provide the specific answers
to every individual problem.[34]

WHEREFORE , the Petition is DENIED. The 24 May 2006 Decision and 28 August 2008 Resolution of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 84471, which affirmed the 9 June 2004 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos City, Branch
85, dismissing petitioner Veronica Cabacungan Alcazars Complaint in Civil Case No. 664-M-2002, are AFFIRMED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 175581

Petitioner,

- versus -

JOSE A. DAYOT, G.R. No. 179474


Respondent.
x------------------x Present:
FELISA TECSON-DAYOT,

Petitioner, AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.,

Acting Chairperson,

TINGA, *

CHICO-NAZARIO,

VELASCO,** and

REYES, JJ.
- versus -

Promulgated:

March 28, 2008

JOSE A. DAYOT,
Respondent.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

Before us are two consolidated petitions. G.R. No. 175581 and G.R. No. 179474 are Petitions for Review under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court filed by the Republic of the Philippines and Felisa Tecson-Dayot (Felisa), respectively, both challenging the
Amended Decision [1] of the Court of Appeals, dated 7 November 2006, in CA-G.R. CV No. 68759, which declared the marriage
between Jose Dayot (Jose) and Felisa void ab initio.

The records disclose that on 24 November 1986, Jose and Felisa were married at the Pasay City Hall. The marriage was
solemnized by Rev. Tomas V. Atienza. [2] In lieu of a marriage license, Jose and Felisa executed a sworn affidavit, [3] also dated 24
November 1986, attesting that both of them had attained the age of maturity, and that being unmarried, they had lived together
as husband and wife for at least five years.
On 7 July 1993, Jose filed a Complaint[4] for Annulment and/or Declaration of Nullity of Marriage with the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Bian, Laguna, Branch 25. He contended that his marriage with Felisa was a sham, as no marriage ceremony was
celebrated between the parties; that he did not execute the sworn affidavit stating that he and Felisa had lived as husband and
wife for at least five years; and that his consent to the marriage was secured through fraud.

In his Complaint, Jose gave his version of the events which led to his filing of the same. According to Jose, he was
introduced to Felisa in 1986. Immediately thereafter, he came to live as a boarder in Felisas house, the latter being his
landlady. Some three weeks later, Felisa requested him to accompany her to the Pasay City Hall, ostensibly so she could claim
a package sent to her by her brother from Saudi Arabia. At the Pasay City Hall, upon a pre-arranged signal from Felisa, a man
bearing three folded pieces of paper approached them. They were told that Jose needed to sign the papers so that the package
could be released to Felisa. He initially refused to do so. However, Felisa cajoled him, and told him that his refusal could get
both of them killed by her brother who had learned about their relationship.Reluctantly, he signed the pieces of paper, and gave
them to the man who immediately left. It was in February 1987 when he discovered that he had contracted marriage with
Felisa. He alleged that he saw a piece of paper lying on top of the table at the sala of Felisas house. When he perused the same,
he discovered that it was a copy of his marriage contract with Felisa. When he confronted Felisa, the latter feigned ignorance.

In opposing the Complaint, Felisa denied Joses allegations and defended the validity of their marriage. She declared
that they had maintained their relationship as man and wife absent the legality of marriage in the early part of 1980, but that she
had deferred contracting marriage with him on account of their age difference. [5] In her pre-trial brief, Felisa expounded that while
her marriage to Jose was subsisting, the latter contracted marriage with a certain Rufina Pascual (Rufina) on 31 August
1990. On 3 June 1993, Felisa filed an action for bigamy against Jose. Subsequently, she filed an administrative complaint against
Jose with the Office of the Ombudsman, since Jose and Rufina were both employees of the National Statistics and Coordinating
Board. [6] The Ombudsman found Jose administratively liable for disgraceful and immoral conduct, and meted out to him the
penalty of suspension from service for one year without emolument. [7]

On 26 July 2000, the RTC rendered a Decision [8] dismissing the Complaint. It disposed:

WHEREFORE, after a careful evaluation and analysis of the evidence presented by both parties, this
Court finds and so holds that the [C]omplaint does not deserve a favorable consideration. Accordingly, the
above-entitled case is hereby ordered DISMISSED with costs against [Jose]. [9]

The RTC ruled that from the testimonies and evidence presented, the marriage celebrated between Jose and Felisa
on 24 November 1986 was valid. It dismissed Joses version of the story as implausible, and rationalized that:

Any person in his right frame of mind would easily suspect any attempt to make him or her sign a blank
sheet of paper. [Jose] could have already detected that something was amiss, unusual, as they were
at Pasay City Hall to get a package for [Felisa] but it [was] he who was made to sign the pieces of paper for the
release of the said package.Another indirect suggestion that could have put him on guard was the fact that, by
his own admission, [Felisa] told him that her brother would kill them if he will not sign the papers. And yet it took
him, more or less, three months to discover that the pieces of paper that he signed was [sic] purportedly the
marriage contract. [Jose] does not seem to be that ignorant, as perceived by this Court, to be taken in for a ride
by [Felisa.]

[Joses] claim that he did not consent to the marriage was belied by the fact that he acknowledged Felisa
Tecson as his wife when he wrote [Felisas] name in the duly notarized statement of assets and liabilities he
filled up on May 12, 1988, one year after he discovered the marriage contract he is now claiming to be sham and
false. [Jose], again, in his company I.D., wrote the name of [Felisa] as the person to be contacted in case of
emergency. This Court does not believe that the only reason why her name was written in his company I.D. was
because he was residing there then. This is just but a lame excuse because if he really considers her not his
lawfully wedded wife, he would have written instead the name of his sister.

When [Joses] sister was put into the witness stand, under oath, she testified that she signed her name
voluntarily as a witness to the marriage in the marriage certificate (T.S.N., page 25, November 29, 1996) and she
further testified that the signature appearing over the name of Jose Dayot was the signature of his [sic] brother
that he voluntarily affixed in the marriage contract (page 26 of T.S.N. taken on November 29, 1996), and when
she was asked by the Honorable Court if indeed she believed that Felisa Tecson was really chosen by her
brother she answered yes. The testimony of his sister all the more belied his claim that his consent was
procured through fraud. [10]

Moreover, on the matter of fraud, the RTC ruled that Joses action had prescribed. It cited Article 87[11] of the New Civil
Code which requires that the action for annulment of marriage must be commenced by the injured party within four years after
the discovery of the fraud. Thus:

That granting even for the sake of argument that his consent was obtained by [Felisa] through fraud,
trickery and machinations, he could have filed an annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage at the earliest
possible opportunity, the time when he discovered the alleged sham and false marriage contract. [Jose] did not
take any action to void the marriage at the earliest instance. x x x.[12]

Undeterred, Jose filed an appeal from the foregoing RTC Decision to the Court of Appeals. In a Decision dated 11
August 2005, the Court of Appeals found the appeal to be without merit. The dispositive portion of the appellate courts Decision
reads:

WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. [13]

The Court of Appeals applied the Civil Code to the marriage between Jose and Felisa as it was solemnized prior to the
effectivity of the Family Code. The appellate court observed that the circumstances constituting fraud as a ground for annulment
of marriage under Article 86[14] of the Civil Code did not exist in the marriage between the parties. Further, it ruled that the action
for annulment of marriage on the ground of fraud was filed beyond the prescriptive period provided by law. The Court of Appeals
struck down Joses appeal in the following manner:

Nonetheless, even if we consider that fraud or intimidation was employed on Jose in giving his consent to the
marriage, the action for the annulment thereof had already prescribed. Article 87 (4) and (5) of the Civil Code
provides that the action for annulment of marriage on the ground that the consent of a party was obtained by
fraud, force or intimidation must be commenced by said party within four (4) years after the discovery of the
fraud and within four (4) years from the time the force or intimidation ceased.Inasmuch as the fraud was
allegedly discovered by Jose in February, 1987 then he had only until February, 1991 within which to file an
action for annulment of marriage.However, it was only on July 7, 1993 that Jose filed the complaint for
annulment of his marriage to Felisa. [15]

Likewise, the Court of Appeals did not accept Joses assertion that his marriage to Felisa was void ab initio for lack of a
marriage license. It ruled that the marriage was solemnized under Article 76[16] of the Civil Code as one of exceptional character,
with the parties executing an affidavit of marriage between man and woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at
least five years. The Court of Appeals concluded that the falsity in the affidavit to the effect that Jose and Felisa had lived
together as husband and wife for the period required by Article 76 did not affect the validity of the marriage, seeing that the
solemnizing officer was misled by the statements contained therein. In this manner, the Court of Appeals gave credence to the
good-faith reliance of the solemnizing officer over the falsity of the affidavit. The appellate court further noted that on the dorsal
side of said affidavit of marriage, Rev. Tomas V. Atienza, the solemnizing officer, stated that he took steps to ascertain the ages
and other qualifications of the contracting parties and found no legal impediment to their marriage. Finally, the Court of Appeals
dismissed Joses argument that neither he nor Felisa was a member of the sect to which Rev. Tomas V. Atienza
belonged. According to the Court of Appeals, Article 56[17] of the Civil Code did not require that either one of the contracting
parties to the marriage must belong to the solemnizing officers church or religious sect. The prescription was established only in
Article 7[18] of the Family Code which does not govern the parties marriage.

Differing with the ruling of the Court of Appeals, Jose filed a Motion for Reconsideration thereof. His central opposition was that
the requisites for the proper application of the exemption from a marriage license under Article 76 of the Civil Code were not fully
attendant in the case at bar. In particular, Jose cited the legal condition that the man and the woman must have been living
together as husband and wife for at least five years before the marriage. Essentially, he maintained that the affidavit of marital
cohabitation executed by him and Felisa was false.

The Court of Appeals granted Joses Motion for Reconsideration and reversed itself. Accordingly, it rendered an Amended
Decision, dated 7 November 2006, the fallo of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated August 11, 2005 is RECALLED and SET ASIDE and another one entered
declaring the marriage between Jose A. Dayot and Felisa C. Tecson void ab initio.

Furnish a copy of this Amended Decision to the Local Civil Registrar of Pasay City.[19]
In its Amended Decision, the Court of Appeals relied on the ruling of this Court in Nial v. Bayadog,[20] and reasoned that:

In Nial v. Bayadog, where the contracting parties to a marriage solemnized without a marriage license
on the basis of their affidavit that they had attained the age of majority, that being unmarried, they had lived
together for at least five (5) years and that they desired to marry each other, the Supreme Court ruled as follows:

x x x In other words, the five-year common-law cohabitation period, which is counted back from the date
of celebration of marriage, should be a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of the
marriage. This 5-year period should be the years immediately before the day of the marriage and it should be a
period of cohabitation characterized by exclusivity meaning no third party was involved at any time within the 5
years and continuity that is unbroken. Otherwise, if that continuous 5-year cohabitation is computed without any
distinction as to whether the parties were capacitated to marry each other during the entire five years, then the
law would be sanctioning immorality and encouraging parties to have common law relationships and placing
them on the same footing with those who lived faithfully with their spouse. Marriage being a special relationship
must be respected as such and its requirements must be strictly observed. The presumption that a man and a
woman deporting themselves as husband and wife is based on the approximation of the requirements of the
law. The parties should not be afforded any excuse to not comply with every single requirement and later use
the same missing element as a pre-conceived escape ground to nullify their marriage. There should be no
exemption from securing a marriage license unless the circumstances clearly fall within the ambit of the
exception. It should be noted that a license is required in order to notify the public that two persons are about to
be united in matrimony and that anyone who is aware or has knowledge of any impediment to the union of the
two shall make it known to the local civil registrar.

Article 80(3) of the Civil Code provides that a marriage solemnized without a marriage license, save
marriages of exceptional character, shall be void from the beginning.Inasmuch as the marriage between Jose
and Felisa is not covered by the exception to the requirement of a marriage license, it is, therefore, void ab
initio because of the absence of a marriage license. [21]

Felisa sought reconsideration of the Amended Decision, but to no avail. The appellate court rendered a
Resolution [22] dated 10 May 2007, denying Felisas motion.

Meanwhile, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a Petition for Review
before this Court in G.R. No. 175581, praying that the Court of Appeals Amended Decision dated 7 November 2006 be reversed
and set aside for lack of merit, and that the marriage between Jose and Felisa be declared valid and subsisting. Felisa filed a
separate Petition for Review, docketed as G.R. No. 179474, similarly assailing the appellate courts Amended Decision. On 1
August 2007, this Court resolved to consolidate the two Petitions in the interest of uniformity of the Court rulings in similar cases
brought before it for resolution. [23]

The Republic of the Philippines propounds the following arguments for the allowance of its Petition, to wit:

I
RESPONDENT FAILED TO OVERTHROW THE PRESUMPTION OF THE VALIDITY OF HIS MARRIAGE TO
FELISA.

II

RESPONDENT DID NOT COME TO THE COURT WITH CLEAN HANDS AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED
TO PROFIT FROM HIS OWN FRAUDULENT CONDUCT.

III

RESPONDENT IS ESTOPPED FROM ASSAILING THE LEGALITY OF HIS MARRIAGE FOR LACK OF
MARRIAGE LICEN[S]E. [24]

Correlative to the above, Felisa submits that the Court of Appeals misapplied Nial.[25] She differentiates the case at bar
from Nial by reasoning that one of the parties therein had an existing prior marriage, a circumstance which does not obtain in her
cohabitation with Jose. Finally, Felisa adduces that Jose only sought the annulment of their marriage after a criminal case for
bigamy and an administrative case had been filed against him in order to avoid liability. Felisa surmises that the declaration of
nullity of their marriage would exonerate Jose from any liability.

For our resolution is the validity of the marriage between Jose and Felisa. To reach a considered ruling on the issue, we
shall jointly tackle the related arguments vented by petitioners Republic of the Philippines and Felisa.

The Republic of the Philippines asserts that several circumstances give rise to the presumption that a valid marriage
exists between Jose and Felisa. For her part, Felisa echoes the claim that any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of
the marriage by citing this Courts ruling in Hernandez v. Court of Appeals. [26] To buttress its assertion, the Republic points to the
affidavit executed by Jose and Felisa, dated 24 November 1986, attesting that they have lived together as husband and wife for
at least five years, which they used in lieu of a marriage license. It is the Republics position that the falsity of the statements in
the affidavit does not affect the validity of the marriage, as the essential and formal requisites were complied with; and the
solemnizing officer was not required to investigate as to whether the said affidavit was legally obtained. The Republic opines that
as a marriage under a license is not invalidated by the fact that the license was wrongfully obtained, so must a marriage not be
invalidated by the fact that the parties incorporated a fabricated statement in their affidavit that they cohabited as husband and
wife for at least five years. In addition, the Republic posits that the parties marriage contract states that their marriage was
solemnized under Article 76 of the Civil Code. It also bears the signature of the parties and their witnesses, and must be
considered a primary evidence of marriage. To further fortify its Petition, the Republic adduces the following documents: (1)
Joses notarized Statement of Assets and Liabilities, dated 12 May 1988 wherein he wrote Felisas name as his wife; (2)
Certification dated 25 July 1993 issued by the Barangay Chairman 192, Zone ZZ, District 24 of Pasay City, attesting that Jose and
Felisa had lived together as husband and wife in said barangay; and (3) Joses company ID card, dated 2 May 1988, indicating
Felisas name as his wife.

The first assignment of error compels this Court to rule on the issue of the effect of a false affidavit under Article 76 of
the Civil Code. A survey of the prevailing rules is in order.

It is beyond dispute that the marriage of Jose and Felisa was celebrated on 24 November 1986, prior to the effectivity of
the Family Code. Accordingly, the Civil Code governs their union. Article 53 of the Civil Code spells out the essential requisites of
marriage as a contract:

ART. 53. No marriage shall be solemnized unless all these requisites are complied with:

(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties;

(2) Their consent, freely given;

(3) Authority of the person performing the marriage; and

(4) A marriage license, except in a marriage of exceptional character. (Emphasis ours.)

Article 58[27] makes explicit that no marriage shall be solemnized without a license first being issued by the local civil
registrar of the municipality where either contracting party habitually resides, save marriages of an exceptional character
authorized by the Civil Code, but not those under Article 75.[28] Article 80(3) [29] of the Civil Code makes it clear that a marriage
performed without the corresponding marriage license is void, this being nothing more than the legitimate consequence flowing
from the fact that the license is the essence of the marriage contract. [30] This is in stark contrast to the old Marriage
Law, [31] whereby the absence of a marriage license did not make the marriage void. The rationale for the compulsory character of
a marriage license under the Civil Code is that it is the authority granted by the State to the contracting parties, after the proper
government official has inquired into their capacity to contract marriage. [32]

Under the Civil Code, marriages of exceptional character are covered by Chapter 2, Title III, comprising Articles 72 to
79. To wit, these marriages are: (1) marriages in articulo mortis or at the point of death during peace or war, (2) marriages in
remote places, (2) consular marriages, [33] (3) ratification of marital cohabitation, (4) religious ratification of a civil marriage, (5)
Mohammedan or pagan marriages, and (6) mixed marriages. [34]
The instant case pertains to a ratification of marital cohabitation under Article 76 of the Civil Code, which provides:

ART. 76. No marriage license shall be necessary when a man and a woman who have attained the age of
majority and who, being unmarried, have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years, desire to
marry each other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person
authorized by law to administer oaths. The official, priest or minister who solemnized the marriage shall also
state in an affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the ages and other qualifications of the contracting parties
and that he found no legal impediment to the marriage.

The reason for the law,[35] as espoused by the Code Commission, is that the publicity attending a marriage license may
discourage such persons who have lived in a state of cohabitation from legalizing their status. [36]

It is not contested herein that the marriage of Jose and Felisa was performed without a marriage license. In lieu thereof,
they executed an affidavit declaring that they have attained the age of maturity; that being unmarried, they have lived together as
husband and wife for at least five years; and that because of this union, they desire to marry each other. [37] One of the central
issues in the Petition at bar is thus: whether the falsity of an affidavit of marital cohabitation, where the parties have in truth fallen
short of the minimum five-year requirement, effectively renders the marriage void ab initio for lack of a marriage license.

We answer in the affirmative.

Marriages of exceptional character are, doubtless, the exceptions to the rule on the indispensability of the formal
requisite of a marriage license. Under the rules of statutory construction, exceptions, as a general rule, should be strictly [38] but
reasonably construed. [39] They extend only so far as their language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in favor of
the general provisions rather than the exception. [40] Where a general rule is established by statute with exceptions, the court will
not curtail the former or add to the latter by implication. [41] For the exception in Article 76 to apply, it is a sine qua non thereto that
the man and the woman must have attained the age of majority, and that, being unmarried, they have lived together as
husband and wife for at least five years.

A strict but reasonable construction of Article 76 leaves us with no other expediency but to read the law as it is plainly
written. The exception of a marriage license under Article 76 applies only to those who have lived together as husband and wife
for at least five years and desire to marry each other. The Civil Code, in no ambiguous terms, places a minimum period
requirement of five years of cohabitation. No other reading of the law can be had, since the language of Article 76 is precise. The
minimum requisite of five years of cohabitation is an indispensability carved in the language of the law. For a marriage
celebrated under Article 76 to be valid, this material fact cannot be dispensed with. It is embodied in the law not as a directory
requirement, but as one that partakes of a mandatory character. It is worthy to mention that Article 76 also prescribes that the
contracting parties shall state the requisite facts[42] in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths; and
that the official, priest or minister who solemnized the marriage shall also state in an affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the
ages and other qualifications of the contracting parties and that he found no legal impediment to the marriage.

It is indubitably established that Jose and Felisa have not lived together for five years at the time they executed their
sworn affidavit and contracted marriage.The Republic admitted that Jose and Felisa started living together only in June 1986, or
barely five months before the celebration of their marriage. [43] The Court of Appeals also noted Felisas testimony that Jose was
introduced to her by her neighbor, Teresita Perwel, sometime in February or March 1986 after the EDSA Revolution. [44] The
appellate court also cited Felisas own testimony that it was only in June 1986 when Jose commenced to live in her house.[45]

Moreover, it is noteworthy that the question as to whether they satisfied the minimum five-year requisite is factual in
nature. A question of fact arises when there is a need to decide on the truth or falsehood of the alleged facts.[46] Under Rule 45,
factual findings are ordinarily not subject to this Courts review. [47] It is already well-settled that:

The general rule is that the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are binding on this Court. A recognized
exception to this rule is when the Court of Appeals and the trial court, or in this case the administrative body,
make contradictory findings. However, the exception does not apply in every instance that the Court of Appeals
and the trial court or administrative body disagree. The factual findings of the Court of Appeals remain
conclusive on this Court if such findings are supported by the record or based on substantial evidence.[48]

Therefore, the falsity of the affidavit dated 24 November 1986, executed by Jose and Felisa to exempt them from the
requirement of a marriage license, is beyond question.

We cannot accept the insistence of the Republic that the falsity of the statements in the parties affidavit will not affect the
validity of marriage, since all the essential and formal requisites were complied with. The argument deserves scant
merit. Patently, it cannot be denied that the marriage between Jose and Felisa was celebrated without the formal requisite of a
marriage license. Neither did Jose and Felisa meet the explicit legal requirement in Article 76, that they should have lived
together as husband and wife for at least five years, so as to be excepted from the requirement of a marriage license.

Anent petitioners reliance on the presumption of marriage, this Court holds that the same finds no applicability to the
case at bar. Essentially, when we speak of a presumption of marriage, it is with reference to the prima facie presumption that a
man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. [49] Restated more
explicitly, persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence of any counter-presumption or
evidence special to the case, to be in fact married. [50] The present case does not involve an apparent marriage to which the
presumption still needs to be applied.There is no question that Jose and Felisa actually entered into a contract of marriage on 24
November 1986, hence, compelling Jose to institute a Complaint for Annulment and/or Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, which
spawned the instant consolidated Petitions.
In the same vein, the declaration of the Civil Code [51] that every intendment of law or fact leans towards the validity of
marriage will not salvage the parties marriage, and extricate them from the effect of a violation of the law. The marriage of Jose
and Felisa was entered into without the requisite marriage license or compliance with the stringent requirements of a marriage
under exceptional circumstance. The solemnization of a marriage without prior license is a clear violation of the law and would
lead or could be used, at least, for the perpetration of fraud against innocent and unwary parties, which was one of the evils that
the law sought to prevent by making a prior license a prerequisite for a valid marriage. [52] The protection of marriage as a sacred
institution requires not just the defense of a true and genuine union but the exposure of an invalid one as well.[53] To permit a
false affidavit to take the place of a marriage license is to allow an abject circumvention of the law. If this Court is to protect the
fabric of the institution of marriage, we must be wary of deceptive schemes that violate the legal measures set forth in our laws.

Similarly, we are not impressed by the ratiocination of the Republic that as a marriage under a license is not invalidated
by the fact that the license was wrongfully obtained, so must a marriage not be invalidated by a fabricated statement that the
parties have cohabited for at least five years as required by law. The contrast is flagrant. The former is with reference to an
irregularity of the marriage license, and not to the absence of one. Here, there is no marriage license at all.Furthermore, the
falsity of the allegation in the sworn affidavit relating to the period of Jose and Felisas cohabitation, which would have qualified
their marriage as an exception to the requirement for a marriage license, cannot be a mere irregularity, for it refers to a
quintessential fact that the law precisely required to be deposed and attested to by the parties under oath. If the essential matter
in the sworn affidavit is a lie, then it is but a mere scrap of paper, without force and effect. Hence, it is as if there was no affidavit
at all.

In its second assignment of error, the Republic puts forth the argument that based on equity, Jose should be denied
relief because he perpetrated the fabrication, and cannot thereby profit from his wrongdoing. This is a misplaced invocation. It
must be stated that equity finds no room for application where there is a law.[54] There is a law on the ratification of marital
cohabitation, which is set in precise terms under Article 76 of the Civil Code. Nonetheless, the authorities are consistent that the
declaration of nullity of the parties marriage is without prejudice to their criminal liability. [55]

The Republic further avers in its third assignment of error that Jose is deemed estopped from assailing the legality of his
marriage for lack of a marriage license. It is claimed that Jose and Felisa had lived together from 1986 to 1990, notwithstanding
Joses subsequent marriage to Rufina Pascual on 31 August 1990, and that it took Jose seven years before he sought the
declaration of nullity; hence, estoppel had set in.

This is erroneous. An action for nullity of marriage is imprescriptible. [56] Jose and Felisas marriage was celebrated sans a
marriage license. No other conclusion can be reached except that it is void ab initio. In this case, the right to impugn a void
marriage does not prescribe, and may be raised any time.
Lastly, to settle all doubts, jurisprudence has laid down the rule that the five-year common-law cohabitation period under
Article 76 means a five-year period computed back from the date of celebration of marriage, and refers to a period of legal union
had it not been for the absence of a marriage. [57] It covers the years immediately preceding the day of the marriage,
characterized by exclusivity - meaning no third party was involved at any time within the five years - and continuity that is
unbroken. [58]

WHEREFORE, the Petitions are DENIED. The Amended Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated 7 November 2006 in
CA-G.R. CV No. 68759, declaring the marriage of Jose Dayot to Felisa Tecson-Dayot void ab initio , is AFFIRMED, without
prejudice to their criminal liability, if any. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 186400 October 20, 2010

CYNTHIA S. BOLOS, Petitioner,


vs.
DANILO T. BOLOS, Respondent.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking a review of the December 10, 2008
Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in an original action for certiorari under Rule 65 entitled "Danilo T. Bolos v. Hon. Lorifel
Lacap Pahimna and Cynthia S. Bolos," docketed as CA-G.R. SP. No. 97872, reversing the January 16, 2007 Order of the
Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 69 (RTC), declaring its decision pronouncing the nullity of marriage between petitioner
and respondent final and executory.

On July 10, 2003, petitioner Cynthia Bolos (Cynthia) filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of her marriage to respondent
Danilo Bolos (Danilo) under Article 36 of the Family Code, docketed as JDRC No. 6211.

After trial on the merits, the RTC granted the petition for annulment in a Decision, dated August 2, 2006, with the following
disposition:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the marriage between petitioner CYNTHIA S. BOLOS and respondent
DANILO T. BOLOS celebrated on February 14, 1980 as null and void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity on the
part of both petitioner and respondent under Article 36 of the Family Code with all the legal consequences provided by law.

Furnish the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan as well as the National Statistics Office (NSO) copy of this decision.

SO ORDERED. 2

A copy of said decision was received by Danilo on August 25, 2006. He timely filed the Notice of Appeal on September 11, 2006.

In an order dated September 19, 2006, the RTC denied due course to the appeal for Danilos failure to file the required motion for
reconsideration or new trial, in violation of Section 20 of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and
Annulment of Voidable Marriages.

On November 23, 2006, a motion to reconsider the denial of Danilos appeal was likewise denied.
On January 16, 2007, the RTC issued the order declaring its August 2, 2006 decision final and executory and granting the Motion
for Entry of Judgment filed by Cynthia.

Not in conformity, Danilo filed with the CA a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 seeking to annul the orders of the RTC as they
were rendered with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction, to wit: 1) the September 19, 2006
Order which denied due course to Danilos appeal; 2) the November 23, 2006 Order which denied the motion to reconsider the
September 19, 2006 Order; and 3) the January 16, 2007 Order which declared the August 2, 2006 decision as final and executory.
Danilo also prayed that he be declared psychologically capacitated to render the essential marital obligations to Cynthia, who
should be declared guilty of abandoning him, the family home and their children.

As earlier stated, the CA granted the petition and reversed and set aside the assailed orders of the RTC. The appellate court
stated that the requirement of a motion for reconsideration as a prerequisite to appeal under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC did not apply
in this case as the marriage between Cynthia and Danilo was solemnized on February 14, 1980 before the Family Code took
effect. It relied on the ruling of this Court in Enrico v. Heirs of Sps. Medinaceli 3 to the effect that the "coverage [of A.M. No. 02-11-
10-SC] extends only to those marriages entered into during the effectivity of the Family Code which took effect on August 3,
1988."

Cynthia sought reconsideration of the ruling by filing her Manifestation with Motion for Extension of Time to File Motion for
Reconsideration and Motion for Partial Reconsideration [of the Honorable Courts Decision dated December 10, 2008]. The CA,
however, in its February 11, 2009 Resolution,4 denied the motion for extension of time considering that the 15-day reglementary
period to file a motion for reconsideration is non-extendible, pursuant to Section 2, Rule 40, 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure
citing Habaluyas v. Japson, 142 SCRA 208. The motion for partial reconsideration was likewise denied.

Hence, Cynthia interposes the present petition via Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising the following

ISSUES

THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN ISSUING THE QUESTIONED DECISION DATED DECEMBER 10, 2008
CONSIDERING THAT:

A. THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF THE HONORABLE COURT IN ENRICO V. SPS. MEDINACELI IS NOT


APPLICABLE TO THE INSTANT CASE CONSIDERING THAT THE FACTS AND THE ISSUE THEREIN ARE NOT
SIMILAR TO THE INSTANT CASE.

B. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF THE HONORABLE COURT IS APLLICABLE TO


THE INSTANT CASE, ITS RULING IN ENRICO V. SPS. MEDINACELI IS PATENTLY ERRONEOUS BECAUSE THE
PHRASE "UNDER THE FAMILY CODE" IN A.M. NO. 02-11-10-SC PERTAINS TO THE WORD "PETITIONS"
RATHER THAN TO THE WORD "MARRIAGES."

C. FROM THE FOREGOING, A.M. NO. 02-11-10-SC ENTITLED "RULE ON DECLARATION OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY
OF VOID MARRIAGES AND ANNULMENT OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGES" IS APPLICABLE TO MARRIAGES
SOLEMNIZED BEFORE THE EFFECTIVITY OF THE FAMILY CODE. HENCE, A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
IS A PRECONDITION FOR AN APPEAL BY HEREIN RESPONDENT.

D. CONSIDERING THAT HEREIN RESPONDENT REFUSED TO COMPLY WITH A PRECONDITION FOR APPEAL,
A RELAXATION OF THE RULES ON APPEAL IS NOT PROPER IN HIS CASE.

II

THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN ISSUING THE QUESTIONED RESOLUTION DATED FEBRUARY 11, 2009
CONSIDERING THE FOREGOING AND THE FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE.

III

THE TENETS OF JUSTICE AND FAIR PLAY, THE NOVELTY AND IMPORTANCE OF THE ISSUE AND THE SPECIAL
CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE JUSTIFY AND WARRANT A LIBERAL VIEW OF THE RULES IN FAVOR OF THE
PETITIONER. MOREOVER, THE INSTANT PETITION IS MERITORIOUS AND NOT INTENDED FOR DELAY. 5
From the arguments advanced by Cynthia, the principal question to be resolved is whether or not A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC entitled
"Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages," is applicable to the case at
bench.

Petitioner argues that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is also applicable to marriages solemnized before the effectivity of the Family Code.
According to Cynthia, the CA erroneously anchored its decision to an obiter dictum in the aforecited Enrico case, which did not
even involve a marriage solemnized before the effectivity of the Family Code.

She added that, even assuming arguendo that the pronouncement in the said case constituted a decision on its merits, still the
same cannot be applied because of the substantial disparity in the factual milieu of the Enrico case from this case. In the said
case, both the marriages sought to be declared null were solemnized, and the action for declaration of nullity was filed, after the
effectivity of both the Family Code in 1988 and of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC in 2003. In this case, the marriage was solemnized
before the effectivity of the Family Code and A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC while the action was filed and decided after the effectivity of
both.

Danilo, in his Comment, 6 counters that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is not applicable because his marriage with Cynthia was
solemnized on February 14, 1980, years before its effectivity. He further stresses the meritorious nature of his appeal from the
decision of the RTC declaring their marriage as null and void due to his purported psychological incapacity and citing the mere
"failure" of the parties who were supposedly "remiss," but not "incapacitated," to render marital obligations as required under
Article 36 of the Family Code.

The Court finds the petition devoid of merit.

Petitioner insists that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC governs this case. Her stance is unavailing. The Rule on Declaration of Absolute
Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages as contained in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC which the Court
promulgated on March 15, 2003, is explicit in its scope. Section 1 of the Rule, in fact, reads:

Section 1. Scope This Rule shall govern petitions for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages and annulment of
voidable marriages under the Family Code of the Philippines.

The Rules of Court shall apply suppletorily.

The categorical language of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC leaves no room for doubt. The coverage extends only to those marriages
entered into during the effectivity of the Family Code which took effect on August 3, 1988.7 The rule sets a demarcation line
between marriages covered by the Family Code and those solemnized under the Civil Code. 8

The Court finds Itself unable to subscribe to petitioners interpretation that the phrase "under the Family Code" in A.M. No. 02-11-
10-SC refers to the word "petitions" rather than to the word "marriages."

A cardinal rule in statutory construction is that when the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for
construction or interpretation. There is only room for application. 9 As the statute is clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must
be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. This is what is known as the plain-meaning rule
or verba legis. It is expressed in the maxim, index animi sermo, or "speech is the index of intention." Furthermore, there is the
maxim verba legis non est recedendum , or "from the words of a statute there should be no departure." 10

There is no basis for petitioners assertion either that the tenets of substantial justice, the novelty and importance of the issue
and the meritorious nature of this case warrant a relaxation of the Rules in her favor. Time and again the Court has stressed that
the rules of procedure must be faithfully complied with and should not be discarded with the mere expediency of claiming
substantial merit.11 As a corollary, rules prescribing the time for doing specific acts or for taking certain proceedings are
considered absolutely indispensable to prevent needless delays and to orderly and promptly discharge judicial business. By their
very nature, these rules are regarded as mandatory.12

The appellate court was correct in denying petitioners motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration
considering that the reglementary period for filing the said motion for reconsideration is non-extendible. As pronounced in Apex
Mining Co., Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 13

The rule is and has been that the period for filing a motion for reconsideration is non-extendible. The Court has made this clear
as early as 1986 in Habaluyas Enterprises vs. Japzon. Since then, the Court has consistently and strictly adhered
thereto. 1avvphil

Given the above, we rule without hesitation that the appellate courts denial of petitioners motion for reconsideration is justified,
precisely because petitioners earlier motion for extension of time did not suspend/toll the running of the 15-day reglementary
period for filing a motion for reconsideration. Under the circumstances, the CA decision has already attained finality when
petitioner filed its motion for reconsideration. It follows that the same decision was already beyond the review jurisdiction of this
Court.

In fine, the CA committed no reversible error in setting aside the RTC decision which denied due course to respondents appeal
and denying petitioners motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration.

Appeal is an essential part of our judicial system. Its purpose is to bring up for review a final judgment of the lower court. The
courts should, thus, proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of his right to appeal.14 In the recent case of Almelor v.
RTC of Las Pinas City, Br. 254,15 the Court reiterated: While the right to appeal is a statutory, not a natural right, nonetheless it is
an essential part of our judicial system and courts should proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of the right to appeal,
but rather, ensure that every party-litigant has the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause, free from
the constraints of technicalities.

In the case at bench, the respondent should be given the fullest opportunity to establish the merits of his appeal considering that
what is at stake is the sacrosanct institution of marriage.

No less than the 1987 Constitution recognizes marriage as an inviolable social institution. This constitutional policy is echoed in
our Family Code. Article 1 thereof emphasizes its permanence and inviolability, thus:

Article 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and 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.

This Court is not unmindful of the constitutional policy to protect and strengthen the family as the basic autonomous social
institution and marriage as the foundation of the family. 16

Our family law is based on the policy that marriage is not a mere contract, but a social institution in which the State is vitally
interested. The State finds no stronger anchor than on good, solid and happy families. The break up of families weakens our
social and moral fabric and, hence, their preservation is not the concern alone of the family members. 17

WHEREFORE , the petition is DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

LOLITA D. ENRICO, G.R. No. 173614

Petitioner, Present:

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.
Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

- versus - CHICO-NAZARIO,

NACHURA, and

REYES, JJ.

HEIRS OF SPS. EULOGIO B. MEDINACELI


AND TRINIDAD CATLI-MEDINACELI,
Promulgated:
REPRESENTED BY VILMA M. ARTICULO,
Respondents.

September 28, 2007

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

The instant Petition for Certiorari filed under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure assails the Order, [1] dated 3 May 2006 of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Aparri, Cagayan, Branch 6, in Civil Case No. II-4057, granting reconsideration of its
Order, [2] dated 11 October 2005, and reinstating respondents Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage.

On 17 March 2005, respondents, heirs of Spouses Eulogio B. Medinaceli (Eulogio) and Trinidad Catli-Medinaceli (Trinidad) filed
with the RTC, an action for declaration of nullity of marriage of Eulogio and petitioner Lolita D. Enrico. Substantially, the
complaint alleged, inter alia, that Eulogio and Trinidad were married on 14 June 1962, in Lal-lo, Cagayan. [3] They begot seven
children, herein respondents, namely: Eduardo, Evelyn, Vilma, Mary Jane, Haizel, Michelle and Joseph Lloyd. [4] On 1 May
2004, Trinidad died. [5] On 26 August 2004, Eulogio married petitioner before the Municipal Mayor of Lal-lo, Cagayan. [6] Six months
later, or on 10 February 2005, Eulogio passed away. [7]

In impugning petitioners marriage to Eulogio, respondents averred that the same was entered into without the requisite
marriage license. They argued that Article 34[8] of the Family Code, which exempts a man and a woman who have been living
together for at least five years without any legal impediment from securing a marriage license, was not applicable to petitioner
and Eulogio because they could not have lived together under the circumstances required by said provision. Respondents
posited that the marriage of Eulogio to Trinidad was dissolved only upon the latters death, or on 1 May 2004, which was barely
three months from the date of marriage of Eulogio to petitioner. Therefore, petitioner and Eulogio could not have lived together
as husband and wife for at least five years. To further their cause, respondents raised the additional ground of lack of marriage
ceremony due to Eulogios serious illness which made its performance impossible.

In her Answer, petitioner maintained that she and Eulogio lived together as husband and wife under one roof for 21 years openly
and publicly; hence, they were exempted from the requirement of a marriage license. From their union were born Elvin Enrico
and Marco Enrico, all surnamed Medinaceli, on 28 October 1988 and 30 October 1991, respectively. She further contended that
the marriage ceremony was performed in the Municipal Hall of Lal-lo, Cagayan, and solemnized by the Municipal Mayor. As an
affirmative defense, she sought the dismissal of the action on the ground that it is only the contracting parties while living who
can file an action for declaration of nullity of marriage.

On 11 October 2005, the RTC issued an Order, [9] granting the dismissal of the Complaint for lack of cause of action. It cited A.M.
No. 02-11-10-SC, [10] dated 7 March 2003, promulgated by the Supreme Court En Banc as basis. The RTC elucidated on its
position in the following manner:
The Complaint should be dismissed.

1) Administrative Matter No. 02-11-10-SC promulgated by the Supreme Court which took effect on March 15,
2003 provides in Section 2, par. (a) [11] that a petition for Declaration of Absolute Nullity of a Void Marriage may be
filed solely by the husband or the wife. The language of this rule is plain and simple which states that such
a petition may be filed solely by the husband or the wife. The rule is clear and unequivocal that only the
husband or the wife may file the petition for Declaration of Absolute Nullity of a Void Marriage. The
reading of this Court is that the right to bring such petition is exclusive and this right solely belongs to
them. Consequently, the heirs of the deceased spouse cannot substitute their late father in bringing the action
to declare the marriage null and void. [12] (Emphasis supplied.)

The dispositive portion of the Order, thus, reads:

WHEREFORE, [the] Motion to Dismiss raised as an affirmative defense in the answer is hereby
GRANTED. Accordingly, the Complaint filed by the [respondents] is hereby DISMISSED with costs de officio. [13]

Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration thereof. Following the filing by petitioner of her Comment to the said motion, the
RTC rendered an Order[14] dated 3 May 2006, reversing its Order of 11 October 2005. Hence, the RTC reinstated the complaint on
the ratiocination that the assailed Order ignored the ruling in Nial v. Bayadog,[15] which was on the authority for holding that the
heirs of a deceased spouse have the standing to assail a void marriage even after the death of the latter. It held that Section 2(a)
of A.M. No. 02-11-20-SC, which provides that a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by
the husband or the wife, applies only where both parties to a void marriage are still living. [16] Where one or both parties are
deceased, the RTC held that the heirs may file a petition to declare the marriage void. The RTC expounded on its stance, thus:

The questioned Order disregarded the case of Nial vs. Bayadog, 328 SCRA 122 (March 14, 2000) in which the
Supreme Court, First Division, held that the heirs of a deceased person may file a petition for the declaration of
his marriage after his death. The Order subject of this motion for reconsideration held that the case of Nial vs.
Bayadog is now superseded by the new Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Marriages (hereinafter
referred to as the Rule) because the Supreme Court has rejected the case of Nial vs. Bayadog by approving the
Rule on Nullity of Void Marriages. The Order further held that it is only the husband or the wife who is (sic) the
only parties allowed to file an action for declaration of nullity of their marriage and such right is purely personal
and is not transmissible upon the death of the parties.

It is admitted that there seems to be a conflict between the case of Nial vs. Bayadog and Section 2(a) of
the Rule. In view of this, the Court shall try to reconcile the case of Nial vs. Bayadog and the Rule. To reconcile,
the Court will have to determine [the] basic rights of the parties. The rights of the legitimate heirs of a person
who entered into a void marriage will be prejudiced particularly with respect to their successional rights. During
the lifetime of the parent[,] the heirs have only an inchoate right over the property of the said parents. Hence,
during the lifetime of the parent, it would be proper that it should solely be the parent who should be allowed to
file a petition to declare his marriage void.However, upon the death of the parent his heirs have already a vested
right over whatever property left by the parent. Such vested right should not be frustrated by any rules of
procedure such as the Rule. Rules of Procedure cannot repeal rights granted by substantive law. The heirs,
then, have a legal standing in Court.
If the heirs are prohibited from questioning the void marriage entered by their parent, especially when
the marriage is illegal and feloniously entered into, it will give premium to such union because the guilty parties
will seldom, if ever at all, ask for the annulment of the marriage. Such void marriage will be given a semblance
of validity if the heirs will not be allowed to file the petition after the death of the parent.

For these reasons, this Court believes that Sec. 2(a) of the Rules on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of
Marriage is applicable only when both parties to a (sic) void marriage are still living. Upon the death of anyone of
the guilty party to the void marriage, his heirs may file a petition to declare the the (sic) marriage void, but the
Rule is not applicable as it was not filed b the husband or the wife. It shall be the ordinary rule of civil procedure
which shall be applicable.[17]

Perforce, the decretal portion of the RTC Order of 3 May 2006 states:

In view of the foregoing, the Court grants the motion for reconsideration dated October 31, 2005 and reinstate
this case.[18]

Aggrieved, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the foregoing Order; however, on 1 June 2006, the RTC
denied the said motion on the ground that no new matter was raised therein. [19]

Hence, the instant Petition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure on the sole question of whether the case
law as embodied in Nial, or the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages,
as specified in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC of the Supreme Court applies to the case at bar.

At the outset, we note that petitioner took an abbreviated route to this Court, countenancing the hierarchy of courts.

We have earlier emphasized that while the Supreme Court has the concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Appeals and
the RTCs (for writs enforceable within their respective regions), to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition or certiorari, the litigants
are well advised against taking a direct recourse to this Court. [20] Instead, they should initially seek the proper relief from the
lower courts. As a court of last resort, this Court should not be burdened with the task of dealing with causes in the first
instance. Where the issuance of an extraordinary writ is concurrently within the competence of the Court of Appeals or the RTC,
litigants must observe the principle of hierarchy of courts.[21] However, it cannot be gainsaid that this Court has the discretionary
power to brush aside procedural lapses if compelling reasons, or the nature and importance of the issues raised, warrant the
immediate exercise of its jurisdiction.[22] Moreover, notwithstanding the dismissibility of the instant Petition for its failure to
observe the doctrine on the hierarchy of courts, this Court will proceed to entertain the case grounded as it is on a pure question
of law.
Petitioner maintains that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC governs the instant case. A contrario, respondents posit that it
is Nial which is applicable, whereby the heirs of the deceased person were granted the right to file a petition for the declaration
of nullity of his marriage after his death.

We grant the Petition.

In reinstating respondents Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, the RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion.

While it is true that Nial in no uncertain terms allowed therein petitioners to file a petition for the declaration of nullity of
their fathers marriage to therein respondent after the death of their father, we cannot, however, apply its ruling for the reason
that the impugned marriage therein was solemnized prior to the effectivity of the Family Code. The Court in Nial recognized that
the applicable law to determine the validity of the two marriages involved therein is the Civil Code, which was the law in effect at
the time of their celebration. [23] What we have before us belongs to a different milieu, i.e., the marriage sought to be declared
void was entered into during the effectivity of the Family Code. As can be gleaned from the facts, petitioners marriage to Eulogio
was celebrated in 2004.

The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages as contained in A.M.
No. 02-11-10-SC is explicit in its scope, to wit:

Section 1. Scope. This Rule shall govern petitions for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages
and annulment of voidable marriages under the Family Code of the Philippines.

The Rules of Court shall apply suppletorily. (Emphasis supplied.)

The categorical language of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC leaves no room for doubt. The coverage extends only to those
marriages entered into during the effectivity of the Family Code which took effect on 3 August 1988.[24]

Moreover, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC took effect on 15 March 2003, following its publication in a newspaper of general
circulation. Thus, contrary to the opinion of the RTC, there is no need to reconcile the provisions of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC with
the ruling in Nial, because they vary in scope and application. As has been emphasized, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC covers marriages
under the Family Code of the Philippines, and is prospective in its application. The marriage of petitioner to Eulogio was
celebrated on 26 August 2004, and it squarely falls within the ambit of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.

Hence, in resolving the issue before us, we resort to Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, which provides:
Section 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages.

(a) Who may file. A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the
husband or the wife. (n) (Emphasis supplied.)

There is no ambiguity in the Rule. Absolute sententil expositore non indiget. When the language of the law is clear, no
explanation of it is required. Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, makes it the sole right of the husband or the wife to file
a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage.

The Rationale of the Rules on Annulment of Voidable Marriages and Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages,
Legal Separation and Provisional Orders explicates on Section 2(a) in the following manner, viz:

1. Only an aggrieved or injured spouse may file petitions for annulment of voidable marriages and
declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. Such petitions cannot be filed by the compulsory or
intestate heirs of the spouses or by the State. [Section 2; Section 3, paragraph a]

Only an aggrieved or injured spouse may file a petition for annulment of voidable marriages or
declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. Such petition cannot be filed by compulsory or
intestate heirs of the spouses or by the State. The Committee is of the belief that they do not have a
legal right to file the petition.Compulsory or intestate heirs have only inchoate rights prior to the death
of their predecessor, and hence can only question the validity of the marriage of the spouses upon the
death of a spouse in a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased spouse filed in the
regular courts. On the other hand, the concern of the State is to preserve marriage and not to seek its
dissolution. [25] (Emphasis supplied.)

Respondents clearly have no cause of action before the court a quo . Nonetheless, all is not lost for respondents. While
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC declares that a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the
husband or the wife, it does not mean that the compulsory or intestate heirs are already without any recourse under the
law. They can still protect their successional right, for, as stated in the Rationale of the Rules on Annulment of Voidable
Marriages and Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages, Legal Separation and Provisional Orders, compulsory or
intestate heirs can still question the validity of the marriage of the spouses, not in a proceeding for declaration of nullity, but upon
the death of a spouse in a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased spouse filed in the regular courts.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. Civil Case No. II-4057 filed before the Regional Trial Court of Aparri, Cagayan,
Branch 6, is ORDERED DISMISSED without prejudice to challenging the validity of the marriage of Lolita D. Enrico to Eulogio B.
Medinaceli in a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the latter. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 160172 February 13, 2008

REINEL ANTHONY B. DE CASTRO, petitioner,


vs.
ANNABELLE ASSIDAO-DE CASTRO, respondent.

DECISION

TINGA, J.:

This is a petition for review of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV. No. 69166,2 declaring that (1) Reianna Tricia A.
De Castro is the legitimate child of the petitioner; and (2) that the marriage between petitioner and respondent is valid until
properly nullified by a competent court in a proceeding instituted for that purpose.

The facts of the case, as culled from the records, follow.

Petitioner and respondent met and became sweethearts in 1991. They planned to get married, thus they applied for a marriage
license with the Office of the Civil Registrar of Pasig City in September 1994. They had their first sexual relation sometime in
October 1994, and had regularly engaged in sex thereafter. When the couple went back to the Office of the Civil Registrar, the
marriage license had already expired. Thus, in order to push through with the plan, in lieu of a marriage license, they executed
an affidavit dated 13 March 1995 stating that they had been living together as husband and wife for at least five years. The
couple got married on the same date, with Judge Jose C. Bernabe, presiding judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City,
administering the civil rites. Nevertheless, after the ceremony, petitioner and respondent went back to their respective homes
and did not live together as husband and wife.

On 13 November 1995, respondent gave birth to a child named Reinna Tricia A. De Castro. Since the child s birth, respondent
has been the one supporting her out of her income as a government dentist and from her private practice.

On 4 June 1998, respondent filed a complaint for support against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City (trial
court. 3 In her complaint, respondent alleged that she is married to petitioner and that the latter has "reneged on his
responsibility/obligation to financially support her "as his wife and Reinna Tricia as his child." 4

Petitioner denied that he is married to respondent, claiming that their marriage is void ab initio since the marriage was facilitated
by a fake affidavit; and that he was merely prevailed upon by respondent to sign the marriage contract to save her from
embarrassment and possible administrative prosecution due to her pregnant state; and that he was not able to get parental
advice from his parents before he got married. He also averred that they never lived together as husband and wife and that he
has never seen nor acknowledged the child.

In its Decision dated 16 October 2000,5 the trial court ruled that the marriage between petitioner and respondent is not valid
because it was solemnized without a marriage license. However, it declared petitioner as the natural father of the child, and thus
obliged to give her support. Petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, arguing that the lower court committed grave
abuse of discretion when, on the basis of mere belief and conjecture, it ordered him to provide support to the child when the
latter is not, and could not have been, his own child.

The Court of Appeals denied the appeal. Prompted by the rule that a marriage is presumed to be subsisting until a judicial
declaration of nullity has been made, the appellate court declared that the child was born during the subsistence and validity of
the parties marriage. In addition, the Court of Appeals frowned upon petitioners refusal to undergo DNA testing to prove the
paternity and filiation, as well as his refusal to state with certainty the last time he had carnal knowledge with respondent, saying
that petitioners "forgetfulness should not be used as a vehicle to relieve him of his obligation and reward him of his being
irresponsible." 6 Moreover, the Court of Appeals noted the affidavit dated 7 April 1998 executed by petitioner, wherein he
voluntarily admitted that he is the legitimate father of the child.

The appellate court also ruled that since this case is an action for support, it was improper for the trial court to declare the
marriage of petitioner and respondent as null and void in the very same case. There was no participation of the State, through
the prosecuting attorney or fiscal, to see to it that there is no collusion between the parties, as required by the Family Code in
actions for declaration of nullity of a marriage. The burden of proof to show that the marriage is void rests upon petitioner, but it
is a matter that can be raised in an action for declaration of nullity, and not in the instant proceedings. The proceedings before
the trial court should have been limited to the obligation of petitioner to support the child and his wife on the basis of the
marriage apparently and voluntarily entered into by petitioner and respondent. 7 The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated 16 October 2000, of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City,
National Capital Judicial Region, Brach 70, in JDRC No. 4626, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS (1) declaring
Reianna Tricia A. De Castro, as the legitimate child of the appellant and the appellee and (2) declaring the marriage on
13 March 1995 between the appellant and the appellee valid until properly annulled by a competent court in a proceeding
instituted for that purpose. Costs against the appellant. 8

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but the motion was denied by the Court of Appeals.9 Hence this petition.

Before us, petitioner contends that the trial court properly annulled his marriage with respondent because as shown by the
evidence and admissions of the parties, the marriage was celebrated without a marriage license. He stresses that the affidavit
they executed, in lieu of a marriage license, contained a false narration of facts, the truth being that he and respondent never
lived together as husband and wife. The false affidavit should never be allowed or admitted as a substitute to fill the absence of
a marriage license.10 Petitioner additionally argues that there was no need for the appearance of a prosecuting attorney in this
case because it is only an ordinary action for support and not an action for annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of
marriage. In any case, petitioner argues that the trial court had jurisdiction to determine the invalidity of their marriage since it
was validly invoked as an affirmative defense in the instant action for support. Citing several authorities,11 petitioner claims that a
void marriage can be the subject of a collateral attack. Thus, there is no necessity to institute another independent proceeding
for the declaration of nullity of the marriage between the parties. The refiling of another case for declaration of nullity where the
same evidence and parties would be presented would entail enormous expenses and anxieties, would be time-consuming for
the parties, and would increase the burden of the courts.12 Finally, petitioner claims that in view of the nullity of his marriage with
respondent and his vigorous denial of the childs paternity and filiation, the Court of Appeals gravely erred in declaring the child
as his legitimate child.

In a resolution dated 16 February 2004, the Court required respondent and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file their
respective comments on the petition.13

In her Comment, 14 respondent claims that the instant petition is a mere dilatory tactic to thwart the finality of the decision of the
Court of Appeals. Echoing the findings and rulings of the appellate court, she argues that the legitimacy of their marriage cannot
be attacked collaterally, but can only be repudiated or contested in a direct suit specifically brought for that purpose. With regard
to the filiation of her child, she pointed out that compared to her candid and straightforward testimony, petitioner was uncertain, if
not evasive in answering questions about their sexual encounters. Moreover, she adds that despite the challenge from her and
from the trial court, petitioner strongly objected to being subjected to DNA testing to prove paternity and filiation. 15

For its part, the OSG avers that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that it was improper for the trial court to declare null and
void the marriage of petitioner and respondent in the action for support. Citing the case of Nial v. Bayadog,16 it states that courts
may pass upon the validity of a marriage in an action for support, since the right to support from petitioner hinges on the
existence of a valid marriage. Moreover, the evidence presented during the proceedings in the trial court showed that the
marriage between petitioner and respondent was solemnized without a marriage license, and that their affidavit (of a man and
woman who have lived together and exclusively with each other as husband and wife for at least five years) was false. Thus, it
concludes the trial court correctly held that the marriage between petitioner and respondent is not valid. 17 In addition, the OSG
agrees with the findings of the trial court that the child is an illegitimate child of petitioner and thus entitled to support. 18

Two key issues are presented before us. First, whether the trial court had the jurisdiction to determine the validity of the marriage
between petitioner and respondent in an action for support and second, whether the child is the daughter of petitioner.

Anent the first issue, the Court holds that the trial court had jurisdiction to determine the validity of the marriage between
petitioner and respondent. The validity of a void marriage may be collaterally attacked. 19 Thus, in Nial v. Bayadog, we held:

However, other than for purposes of remarriage, no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity.
For other purposes, such as but not limited to determination of heirship, legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child, settlement of
estate, dissolution of property regime, or a criminal case for that matter, the court may pass upon the validity of marriage
even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. This
is without prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. When such need arises, a final judgment of declaration of
nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry. The clause "on the basis of a final judgment declaring
such previous marriage void" in Article 40 of the Family Code connotes that such final judgment need not be obtained
only for purpose of remarriage. 20
Likewise, in Nicdao Cario v. Yee Cario,21 the Court ruled that it is clothed with sufficient authority to pass upon the validity of
two marriages despite the main case being a claim for death benefits. Reiterating Nial, we held that the Court may pass upon
the validity of a marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the validity of said marriage, so long as it is essential to
the determination of the case. However, evidence must be adduced, testimonial or documentary, to prove the existence of
grounds rendering such a marriage an absolute nullity. 22

Under the Family Code, the absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, whereas
a defect in any of the essential requisites shall render the marriage voidable.23 In the instant case, it is clear from the evidence
presented that petitioner and respondent did not have a marriage license when they contracted their marriage. Instead, they
presented an affidavit stating that they had been living together for more than five years. 24 However, respondent herself in effect
admitted the falsity of the affidavit when she was asked during cross-examination, thus

ATTY. CARPIO:

Q But despite of (sic) the fact that you have not been living together as husband and wife for the last five years on or
before March 13, 1995, you signed the Affidavit, is that correct?

A Yes, sir. 25

The falsity of the affidavit cannot be considered as a mere irregularity in the formal requisites of marriage. The law dispenses
with the marriage license requirement for a man and a woman who have lived together and exclusively with each other as
husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period of at least five years before the marriage. The aim of this provision is to
avoid exposing the parties to humiliation, shame and embarrassment concomitant with the scandalous cohabitation of persons
outside a valid marriage due to the publication of every applicant s name for a marriage license. 26 In the instant case, there was
no "scandalous cohabitation" to protect; in fact, there was no cohabitation at all. The false affidavit which petitioner and
respondent executed so they could push through with the marriage has no value whatsoever; it is a mere scrap of paper. They
were not exempt from the marriage license requirement. Their failure to obtain and present a marriage license renders their
marriage void ab initio.

Anent the second issue, we find that the child is petitioners illegitimate daughter, and therefore entitled to support.

Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate
children. 27 Thus, one can prove illegitimate filiation through the record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment,
an admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned,
or the open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child, or any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and
special laws. 28

The Certificate of Live Birth 29 of the child lists petitioner as the father. In addition, petitioner, in an affidavit waiving additional tax
exemption in favor of respondent, admitted that he is the father of the child, thus stating:

1. I am the legitimate father of REIANNA TRICIA A. DE CASTRO who was born on November 3, 1995 at Better Living,
Paraaque, Metro Manila; 30

We are likewise inclined to agree with the following findings of the trial court:

That Reinna Tricia is the child of the respondent with the petitioner is supported not only by the testimony of the latter,
but also by respondent s own admission in the course of his testimony wherein he conceded that petitioner was his
former girlfriend. While they were sweethearts, he used to visit petitioner at the latters house or clinic. At times, they
would go to a motel to have sex. As a result of their sexual dalliances, petitioner became pregnant which ultimately led
to their marriage, though invalid, as earlier ruled. While respondent claims that he was merely forced to undergo the
marriage ceremony, the pictures taken of the occasion reveal otherwise (Exhs. "B," "B-1," to "B-3," "C," "C-1" and "C-2,"
"D," "D-1" and "D-2," "E," "E-1" and "E-2," "F," "F-1" and "F-2," "G," "G-1" and "G-2" and "H," "H-1" to "H-3"). In one of the
pictures (Exhs. "D," "D-1" and "D-2"), defendant is seen putting the wedding ring on petitioners finger and in another
picture (Exhs. "E," "E-1" and "E-2") respondent is seen in the act of kissing the petitioner.31

WHEREFORE, the petition is granted in part. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV No.
69166 are SET ASIDE and the decision of the Regional Trial Court Branch 70 of Pasig City in JDRC No. 4626 dated 16 October
2000 is hereby REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.
JUAN DE DIOS CARLOS, G.R. No. 179922
Petitioner,
Present:

- versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,


Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
FELICIDAD SANDOVAL, also CHICO-NAZARIO,
known as FELICIDAD S. VDA. NACHURA, and
DE CARLOS or FELICIDAD REYES, JJ.
SANDOVAL CARLOS or
FELICIDAD SANDOVAL VDA.
DE CARLOS, and TEOFILO Promulgated:
CARLOS II,
Respondents. December 16, 2008

x--------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

REYES, R.T., J.:

ONLY a spouse can initiate an action to sever the marital bond for marriages solemnized during the effectivity of the
Family Code, except cases commenced prior to March 15, 2003. The nullity and annulment of a marriage cannot be declared in a
judgment on the pleadings, summary judgment, or confession of judgment.

We pronounce these principles as We review on certiorari the Decision [1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) which reversed
and set aside the summary judgment [2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in an action for declaration of nullity of marriage,
status of a child, recovery of property, reconveyance, sum of money, and damages.

The Facts

The events that led to the institution of the instant suit are unveiled as follows:

Spouses Felix B. Carlos and Felipa Elemia died intestate. They left six parcels of land to their compulsory
heirs, Teofilo Carlos and petitioner Juan De Dios Carlos. The lots are particularly described as follows:

Parcel No. 1

Lot No. 162 of the MUNTINLUPA ESTATE SUBDIVISION, Case No. 6137 of the Court of Land Registration.

Exemption from the provisions of Article 567 of the Civil Code is specifically reserved.

Area: 1 hectare, 06 ares, 07 centares.

Parcel No. 2

A parcel of land (Lot No. 159-B), being a portion of Lot 159, situated in the Bo. of
Alabang, Municipality of Muntinlupa, Province of Rizal, x x x containing an area of Thirteen Thousand Four
Hundred Forty One (13,441) square meters.

Parcel No. 3
A parcel of land (Lot 159-B-2 of the subd. plan [LRC] Psd-325903, approved as a non-subd. project), being a
portion of Lot 159-B [LRC] Psd- Alabang, Mun. of Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the
NE, points 2 to 4 by Lot 155, Muntinlupa Estate; on the SE, point 4 to 5 by Lot 159-B-5; on the S, points 5 to 1 by
Lot 159-B-3; on the W, points 1 to 2 by Lot 159-B-1 (Road widening) all of the subd. plan, containing an area
of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY (130) SQ. METERS, more or less.

PARCEL No. 4

A parcel of land (Lot 28-C of the subd. plan Psd-13-007090, being a portion of Lot 28, Muntinlupa Estate, L.R.C.
Rec. No. 6137), situated in the Bo. of Alabang, Mun. of Muntinlupa, Metro Manila. Bounded on the NE, along
lines 1-2 by Lot 27, Muntinlupa Estate; on the East & SE, along lines 2 to 6 by Mangangata River; and on the
West., along line 6-1, by Lot 28-B of the subd. plan x x x containing an area of ONE THUSAND AND SEVENTY-
SIX (1,076) SQUARE METERS.

PARCEL No. 5

PARCELA DE TERRENO No. 50, Manzana No. 18, de la subd. de Solocan. Linda por el NW, con la parcela 49;
por el NE, con la parcela 36; por el SE, con la parcela 51; y por el SW, con la calle Dos Castillas. Partiendo de
un punto marcado 1 en el plano, el cual se halla a S. gds. 01'W , 72.50 mts. Desde el punto 1 de esta manzana,
que es un mojon de concreto de la Ciudad de Manila, situado on el esquina E. que forman las Calles Laong
Laan y Dos. Castillas, continiendo un extension superficial de CIENTO CINCUENTA (150) METROS
CUADRADOS.

PARCEL No. 6

PARCELA DE TERRENO No. 51, Manzana No. 18, de la subd. De Solocon. Linda por el NW, con la parcela 50;
por el NE, con la parcela 37; por el SE, con la parcela 52; por el SW, con la Calle Dos Castillas. Partiendo de un
punto Marcado 1 en el plano, el cual se halla at S. 43 gds. 01'E , 82.50 mts. Desde el punto 1 de esta manzana,
que es un mojon de concreto de la Ciudad de Manila, situado on el esquina E. que forman las Calles Laong
Laan y Dos. Castillas, continiendo una extension superficial de CIENTO CINCUENTA (150) METROS
CUADRADOS. [3]

During the lifetime of Felix Carlos, he agreed to transfer his estate to Teofilo. The agreement was made in order to avoid
the payment of inheritance taxes.Teofilo, in turn, undertook to deliver and turn over the share of the other legal
heir, petitioner Juan De Dios Carlos.

Eventually, the first three (3) parcels of land were transferred and registered in the name of Teofilo. These three (3) lots
are now covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 234824 issued by the Registry of Deeds of Makati City; TCT No.
139061 issued by the Registry of Deeds of Makati City; and TCT No. 139058 issued by the Registry of Deeds of Makati City.

Parcel No. 4 was registered in the name of petitioner. The lot is now covered by TCT No. 160401 issued by the Registry
of Deeds of Makati City.

On May 13, 1992, Teofilo died intestate. He was survived by respondents Felicidad and their son, Teofilo Carlos II
(Teofilo II). Upon Teofilos death, Parcel Nos. 5 & 6 were registered in the name of respondent Felicidad and co-respondent,
Teofilo II. The said two (2) parcels of land are covered by TCT Nos. 219877 and 210878, respectively, issued by the Registry of
Deeds of Manila.
In 1994, petitioner instituted a suit against respondents before the RTC in Muntinlupa City, docketed as Civil Case No.
94-1964. In the said case, the parties submitted and caused the approval of a partial compromise agreement. Under the
compromise, the parties acknowledged their respective shares in the proceeds from the sale of a portion of the first parcel of
land. This includes the remaining 6,691-square-meter portion of said land.

On September 17, 1994, the parties executed a deed of extrajudicial partition, dividing the remaining land of the first
parcel between them.

Meanwhile, in a separate case entitled Rillo v. Carlos,[4] 2,331 square meters of the second parcel of land were
adjudicated in favor of plaintiffs Rillo. The remaining 10,000-square meter portion was later divided between petitioner and
respondents.

The division was incorporated in a supplemental compromise agreement executed on August 17, 1994, with respect to
Civil Case No. 94-1964. The parties submitted the supplemental compromise agreement, which was approved accordingly.
Petitioner and respondents entered into two more contracts in August 1994. Under the contracts, the parties equally
divided between them the third and fourth parcels of land.

In August 1995, petitioner commenced an action, docketed as Civil Case No. 95-135, against respondents before the
court a quo with the following causes of action: (a) declaration of nullity of marriage; (b) status of a child; (c) recovery of property;
(d) reconveyance; and (e) sum of money and damages. The complaint was raffled to Branch 256 of the RTC in Muntinlupa.

In his complaint, petitioner asserted that the marriage between his late brother Teofilo and respondent Felicidad was a
nullity in view of the absence of the required marriage license. He likewise maintained that his deceased brother was neither the
natural nor the adoptive father of respondent Teofilo Carlos II.

Petitioner likewise sought the avoidance of the contracts he entered into with respondent Felicidad with respect to the
subject real properties. He also prayed for the cancellation of the certificates of title issued in the name of respondents. He
argued that the properties covered by such certificates of title, including the sums received by respondents as proceeds, should
be reconveyed to him.

Finally, petitioner claimed indemnification as and by way of moral and exemplary damages, attorneys fees, litigation
expenses, and costs of suit.

On October 16, 1995, respondents submitted their answer. They denied the material averments of petitioners complaint.
Respondents contended that the dearth of details regarding the requisite marriage license did not invalidate Felicidads marriage
to Teofilo. Respondents declared that Teofilo II was the illegitimate child of the deceased Teofilo Carlos with another woman.

On the grounds of lack of cause of action and lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, respondents prayed for the
dismissal of the case before the trial court.They also asked that their counterclaims for moral and exemplary damages, as well
as attorneys fees, be granted.
But before the parties could even proceed to pre-trial, respondents moved for summary judgment. Attached to the
motion was the affidavit of the justice of the peace who solemnized the marriage. Respondents also submitted the Certificate of
Live Birth of respondent Teofilo II. In the certificate, the late Teofilo Carlos and respondent Felicidad were designated as parents.

On January 5, 1996, petitioner opposed the motion for summary judgment on the ground of irregularity of the contract
evidencing the marriage. In the same breath, petitioner lodged his own motion for summary judgment. Petitioner presented a
certification from the Local Civil Registrar of Calumpit, Bulacan, certifying that there is no record of birth of respondent Teofilo II.

Petitioner also incorporated in the counter-motion for summary judgment the testimony of respondent Felicidad in
another case. Said testimony was made in Civil Case No. 89-2384, entitled Carlos v. Gorospe, before the RTC Branch 255, Las
Pias. In her testimony, respondent Felicidad narrated that co-respondent Teofilo II is her child with Teofilo.[5]

Subsequently, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Muntinlupa submitted to the trial court its report and manifestation,
discounting the possibility of collusion between the parties.
RTC and CA Dispositions

On April 8, 1996, the RTC rendered judgment, disposing as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, defendants (respondents) Motion for Summary Judgment is


hereby denied. Plaintiffs (petitioners) Counter-Motion for Summary Judgment is hereby granted and summary
judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff as follows:

1. Declaring the marriage between defendant Felicidad Sandoval and Teofilo Carlos solemnized at
Silang, Cavite on May 14, 1962, evidenced by the Marriage Certificate submitted in this case, null and void ab
initio for lack of the requisite marriage license;

2. Declaring that the defendant minor, Teofilo S. Carlos II, is not the natural, illegitimate, or legally
adopted child of the late Teofilo E. Carlos;
3. Ordering defendant Sandoval to pay and restitute to plaintiff the sum of P18,924,800.00 together with
the interest thereon at the legal rate from date of filing of the instant complaint until fully paid;

4. Declaring plaintiff as the sole and exclusive owner of the parcel of land, less the portion adjudicated
to plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 11975, covered by TCT No. 139061 of the Register of Deeds of Makati City, and
ordering said Register of Deeds to cancel said title and to issue another title in the sole name of plaintiff herein;

5. Declaring the Contract, Annex K of complaint, between plaintiff and defendant Sandoval null and void,
and ordering the Register of Deeds of Makati City to cancel TCT No. 139058 in the name of Teofilo Carlos, and
to issue another title in the sole name of plaintiff herein;

6. Declaring the Contract, Annex M of the complaint, between plaintiff and defendant Sandoval null and
void;

7. Ordering the cancellation of TCT No. 210877 in the names of defendant Sandoval and defendant
minor Teofilo S. Carlos II and ordering the Register of Deeds of Manila to issue another title in the exclusive
name of plaintiff herein;

8. Ordering the cancellation of TCT No. 210878 in the name of defendant Sandoval and defendant Minor
Teofilo S. Carlos II and ordering the Register of Deeds of Manila to issue another title in the sole name of
plaintiff herein.

Let this case be set for hearing for the reception of plaintiffs evidence on his claim for moral damages,
exemplary damages, attorneys fees, appearance fees, and litigation expenses on June 7, 1996 at 1:30 o'clock in
the afternoon.
SO ORDERED. [6]

Dissatisfied, respondents appealed to the CA. In the appeal, respondents argued, inter alia , that the trial court acted
without or in excess of jurisdiction in rendering summary judgment annulling the marriage of Teofilo, Sr. and Felicidad and in
declaring Teofilo II as not an illegitimate child of Teofilo, Sr.

On October 15, 2002, the CA reversed and set aside the RTC ruling, disposing as follows:

WHEREFORE, the summary judgment appealed from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and in lieu
thereof, a new one is entered REMANDING the case to the court of origin for further proceedings.

SO ORDERED. [7]

The CA opined:

We find the rendition of the herein appealed summary judgment by the court a quo contrary to law and
public policy as ensconced in the aforesaid safeguards. The fact that it was appellants who first sought
summary judgment from the trial court, did not justify the grant thereof in favor of appellee. Not being an action
to recover upon a claim or to obtain a declaratory relief, the rule on summary judgment apply (sic) to an action to
annul a marriage. The mere fact that no genuine issue was presented and the desire to expedite the disposition
of the case cannot justify a misinterpretation of the rule. The first paragraph of Article 88 and 101 of the Civil
Code expressly prohibit the rendition of decree of annulment of a marriage upon a stipulation of facts or a
confession of judgment. Yet, the affidavits annexed to the petition for summary judgment practically amount to
these methods explicitly proscribed by the law.

We are not unmindful of appellees argument that the foregoing safeguards have traditionally been
applied to prevent collusion of spouses in the matter of dissolution of marriages and that the death of Teofilo
Carlos on May 13, 1992 had effectively dissolved the marriage herein impugned. The fact, however, that
appellees own brother and appellant Felicidad Sandoval lived together as husband and wife for thirty years and
that the annulment of their marriage is the very means by which the latter is sought to be deprived of her
participation in the estate left by the former call for a closer and more thorough inquiry into the circumstances
surrounding the case. Rather that the summary nature by which the court a quo resolved the issues in the case,
the rule is to the effect that the material facts alleged in the complaint for annulment of marriage should always
be proved. Section 1, Rule 19 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:

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. (Underscoring supplied)

Moreover, even if We were to sustain the applicability of the rules on summary judgment to the case at
bench, Our perusal of the record shows that the finding of the court a quo for appellee would still not be
warranted. While it may be readily conceded that a valid marriage license is among the formal requisites of
marriage, the absence of which renders the marriage void ab initio pursuant to Article 80(3) in relation to Article
58 of the Civil Code the failure to reflect the serial number of the marriage license on the marriage contract
evidencing the marriage between Teofilo Carlos and appellant Felicidad Sandoval, although irregular, is not as
fatal as appellee represents it to be. Aside from the dearth of evidence to the contrary, appellant Felicidad
Sandovals affirmation of the existence of said marriage license is corroborated by the following statement in the
affidavit executed by Godofredo Fojas, then Justice of the Peace who officiated the impugned marriage, to wit:

That as far as I could remember, there was a marriage license issued at Silang, Cavite
on May 14, 1962 as basis of the said marriage contract executed by Teofilo Carlos and Felicidad
Sandoval, but the number of said marriage license was inadvertently not placed in the marriage
contract for the reason that it was the Office Clerk who filled up the blanks in the Marriage
Contract who in turn, may have overlooked the same.
Rather than the inferences merely drawn by the trial court, We are of the considered view that the
veracity and credibility of the foregoing statement as well as the motivations underlying the same should be
properly threshed out in a trial of the case on the merits.

If the non-presentation of the marriage contract the primary evidence of marriage is not proof that a
marriage did not take place, neither should appellants non-presentation of the subject marriage license be taken
as proof that the same was not procured. The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage, it must be
emphasized, rests upon the plaintiff and any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage.

Considering that the burden of proof also rests on the party who disputes the legitimacy of a particular
party, the same may be said of the trial courts rejection of the relationship between appellant Teofilo Carlos II
and his putative father on the basis of the inconsistencies in appellant Felicidad Sandovals statements. Although
it had effectively disavowed appellants prior claims regarding the legitimacy of appellant Teofilo Carlos II, the
averment in the answer that he is the illegitimate son of appellees brother, to Our mind, did not altogether
foreclose the possibility of the said appellants illegitimate filiation, his right to prove the same or, for that matter,
his entitlement to inheritance rights as such.

Without trial on the merits having been conducted in the case, We find appellees bare allegation that
appellant Teofilo Carlos II was merely purchased from an indigent couple by appellant Felicidad Sandoval, on
the whole, insufficient to support what could well be a minors total forfeiture of the rights arising from his
putative filiation.Inconsistent though it may be to her previous statements, appellant Felicidad Sandovals
declaration regarding the illegitimate filiation of Teofilo Carlos II is more credible when considered in the light of
the fact that, during the last eight years of his life, Teofilo Carlos allowed said appellant the use of his name and
the shelter of his household. The least that the trial court could have done in the premises was to conduct a trial
on the merits in order to be able to thoroughly resolve the issues pertaining to the filiation of appellant Teofilo
Carlos II. [8]

On November 22, 2006, petitioner moved for reconsideration and for the inhibition of the ponente, Justice Rebecca De
Guia-Salvador. The CA denied the twin motions.

Issues

In this petition under Rule 45, petitioner hoists the following issues:

1. That, in reversing and setting aside the Summary Judgment under the Decision, Annex A hereof, and
in denying petitioners Motion for reconsideration under the Resolution, Annex F hereof, with respect to the
nullity of the impugned marriage, petitioner respectfully submits that the Court of Appeals committed a grave
reversible error in applying Articles 88 and 101 of the Civil Code, despite the fact that the circumstances of this
case are different from that contemplated and intended by law, or has otherwise decided a question of
substance not theretofore decided by the Supreme Court, or has decided it in a manner probably not in accord
with law or with the applicable decisions of this Honorable Court;

2. That in setting aside and reversing the Summary Judgment and, in lieu thereof, entering another
remanding the case to the court of origin for further proceedings, petitioner most respectfully submits that the
Court of Appeals committed a serious reversible error in applying Section 1, Rule 19 (now Section 1, Rule 34) of
the Rules of Court providing for judgment on the pleadings, instead of Rule 35 governing Summary Judgments;

3. That in reversing and setting aside the Summary Judgment and, in lieu thereof, entering another
remanding the case to the court of origin for further proceedings, petitioner most respectfully submits that the
Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion, disregarded judicial admissions, made findings on
ground of speculations, surmises, and conjectures, or otherwise committed misapplications of the laws and
misapprehension of the facts.[9] (Underscoring supplied)

Essentially, the Court is tasked to resolve whether a marriage may be declared void ab initio through a judgment on the
pleadings or a summary judgment and without the benefit of a trial. But there are other procedural issues, including the capacity
of one who is not a spouse in bringing the action for nullity of marriage.
Our Ruling

I. The grounds for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage must be proved. Neither judgment on the
pleadings nor summary judgment is allowed.So is confession of judgment disallowed.

Petitioner faults the CA in applying Section 1, Rule 19[10] of the Revised Rules of Court, which provides:

SECTION 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits
the material allegations of the adverse partys 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.

He argues that the CA should have applied Rule 35 of the Rules of Court governing summary judgment, instead of the rule on
judgment on the pleadings.

Petitioner is misguided. The CA did not limit its finding solely within the provisions of the Rule on judgment on the pleadings. In
disagreeing with the trial court, the CA likewise considered the provisions on summary judgments, to wit:

Moreover, even if We are to sustain the applicability of the rules on summary judgment to the case at
bench, Our perusal of the record shows that the finding of the court a quo for appellee would still not be
warranted. x x x[11]

But whether it is based on judgment on the pleadings or summary judgment, the CA was correct in reversing the summary
judgment rendered by the trial court. Both the rules on judgment on the pleadings and summary judgments have no place in
cases of declaration of absolute nullity of marriage and even in annulment of marriage.

With the advent of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, known as Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of
Voidable Marriages, the question on the application of summary judgments or even judgment on the pleadings in cases of nullity
or annulment of marriage has been stamped with clarity. The significant principle laid down by the said Rule, which took effect
on March 15, 2003[12] is found in Section 17, viz.:

SEC. 17. Trial. (1) The presiding judge shall personally conduct the trial of the case. No delegation of
evidence to a commissioner shall be allowed except as to matters involving property relations of the spouses.

(2) The grounds for declaration of absolute nullity or annulment of marriage must be proved. No
judgment on the pleadings, summary judgment, or confession of judgment shall be allowed. (Underscoring
supplied)

Likewise instructive is the Courts pronouncement in Republic v. Sandiganbayan.[13] In that case, We excluded actions for nullity
or annulment of marriage from the application of summary judgments.

Prescinding from the foregoing discussion, save for annulment of marriage or declaration of its nullity or
for legal separation, summary judgment is applicable to all kinds of actions. [14] (Underscoring supplied)

By issuing said summary judgment, the trial court has divested the State of its lawful right and duty to intervene in the
case. The participation of the State is not terminated by the declaration of the public prosecutor that no collusion exists between
the parties. The State should have been given the opportunity to present controverting evidence before the judgment was
rendered. [15]

Both the Civil Code and the Family Code ordain that the court should order the prosecuting attorney to appear and intervene for
the State. It is at this stage when the public prosecutor sees to it that there is no suppression of evidence. Concomitantly, even if
there is no suppression of evidence, the public prosecutor has to make sure that the evidence to be presented or laid down
before the court is not fabricated.

To further bolster its role towards the preservation of marriage, the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages
reiterates the duty of the public prosecutor, viz.:

SEC. 13. Effect of failure to appear at the pre-trial. (a) x x x

(b) x x x If there is no collusion, the court shall require the public prosecutor to intervene for the State during the
trial on the merits to prevent suppression or fabrication of evidence. (Underscoring supplied)
Truly, only the active participation of the public prosecutor or the Solicitor General will ensure that the interest of the State is
represented and protected in proceedings for declaration of nullity of marriages by preventing the fabrication or suppression of
evidence.[16]

II. A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or
wife. Exceptions: (1) Nullity of marriage cases commenced before the effectivity of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC; and (2)
Marriages celebrated during the effectivity of the Civil Code.

Under the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages, the petition for
declaration of absolute nullity of marriage may not be filed by any party outside of the marriage. The Rule made it exclusively a
right of the spouses by stating:

SEC. 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages.

(a) Who may file. A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the
husband or the wife. (Underscoring supplied)

Section 2(a) of the Rule makes it the sole right of the husband or the wife to file a petition for declaration of absolute
nullity of void marriage. The rationale of the Rule is enlightening, viz.:

Only an aggrieved or injured spouse may file a petition for annulment of voidable marriages
or declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. Such petition cannot be filed by compulsory or intestate heirs
of the spouses or by the State. The Committee is of the belief that they do not have a legal right to file the
petition. Compulsory or intestate heirs have only inchoate rights prior to the death of their predecessor,
and, hence, can only question the validity of the marriage of the spouses upon the death of a spouse in a
proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased spouse filed in the regular courts. On the other hand,
the concern of the State is to preserve marriage and not to seek its dissolution. [17] (Underscoring supplied)

The new Rule recognizes that the husband and the wife are the sole architects of a healthy, loving, peaceful
marriage. They are the only ones who can decidewhen and how to build the foundations of marriage. The spouses alone are the
engineers of their marital life. They are simultaneously the directors and actors of their matrimonial true-to-life play. Hence, they
alone can and should decide when to take a cut, but only in accordance with the grounds allowed by law.

The innovation incorporated in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC sets forth a demarcation line between marriages covered by the
Family Code and those solemnized under the Civil Code. The Rule extends only to marriages entered into during the effectivity
of the Family Code which took effect on August 3, 1988.[18]

The advent of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages marks the beginning of the end of the right
of the heirs of the deceased spouse to bring a nullity of marriage case against the surviving spouse. But the Rule never intended
to deprive the compulsory or intestate heirs of their successional rights.

While A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC declares that a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage may be filed solely by
the husband or the wife, it does not mean that the compulsory or intestate heirs are without any recourse under the law. They
can still protect their successional right, for, as stated in the Rationale of the Rules on Annulment of Voidable Marriages
and Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages, compulsory or intestate heirs can still question the validity of the marriage
of the spouses, not in a proceeding for declaration of nullity but upon the death of a spouse in a proceeding for the settlement of
the estate of the deceased spouse filed in the regular courts. [19]

It is emphasized, however, that the Rule does not apply to cases already commenced before March 15, 2003 although
the marriage involved is within the coverage of the Family Code. This is so, as the new Rule which became effective on March
15, 2003[20] is prospective in its application. Thus, the Court held in Enrico v. Heirs of Sps. Medinaceli,[21] viz.:

As has been emphasized, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC covers marriages under the Family Code of
the Philippines, and is prospective in its application.[22] (Underscoring supplied)

Petitioner commenced the nullity of marriage case against respondent Felicidad in 1995. The marriage in controversy
was celebrated on May 14, 1962. Which law would govern depends upon when the marriage took place. [23]

The marriage having been solemnized prior to the effectivity of the Family Code, the applicable law is the Civil Code
which was the law in effect at the time of its celebration. [24] But the Civil Code is silent as to who may bring an action to declare
the marriage void. Does this mean that any person can bring an action for the declaration of nullity of marriage?

We respond in the negative. The absence of a provision in the Civil Code cannot be construed as a license for any
person to institute a nullity of marriage case.Such person must appear to be the party who stands to be benefited or injured by
the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. [25] Elsewise stated, plaintiff must be the real party-in-
interest. For it is basic in procedural law that every action must be prosecuted and defended in the name of the real party-in-
interest. [26]

Interest within the meaning of the rule means material interest or an interest in issue to be affected by the decree or
judgment of the case, as distinguished from mere curiosity about the question involved or a mere incidental interest. One having
no material interest to protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court as plaintiff in an action. When plaintiff is not
the real party-in-interest, the case is dismissible on the ground of lack of cause of action. [27]

Illuminating on this point is Amor-Catalan v. Court of Appeals,[28] where the Court held:

True, under the New Civil Code which is the law in force at the time the respondents were married, or
even in the Family Code, there is no specific provision as to who can file a petition to declare the nullity of
marriage; however, only a party who can demonstrate proper interest can file the same. A petition to declare the
nullity of marriage, like any other actions, must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party-in-
interest and must be based on a cause of action. Thus, in Nial v. Badayog, the Court held that the children have
the personality to file the petition to declare the nullity of marriage of their deceased father to their stepmother as
it affects their successional rights.

xxxx

In fine, petitioners personality to file the petition to declare the nullity of marriage cannot be ascertained
because of the absence of the divorce decree and the foreign law allowing it. Hence, a remand of the case to
the trial court for reception of additional evidence is necessary to determine whether respondent Orlando was
granted a divorce decree and whether the foreign law which granted the same allows or restricts remarriage. If it
is proved that a valid divorce decree was obtained and the same did not allow respondent Orlandos remarriage,
then the trial court should declare respondents marriage as bigamous and void ab initio but reduced the amount
of moral damages from P300,000.00 to P50,000.00 and exemplary damages from P200,000.00 to P25,000.00. On
the contrary, if it is proved that a valid divorce decree was obtained which allowed Orlando to remarry, then the
trial court must dismiss the instant petition to declare nullity of marriage on the ground that petitioner Felicitas
Amor-Catalan lacks legal personality to file the same. [29] (Underscoring supplied)
III. The case must be remanded to determine whether or not petitioner is a real-party-in-interest to seek the
declaration of nullity of the marriage in controversy.

In the case at bench, the records reveal that when Teofilo died intestate in 1992, his only surviving compulsory heirs are
respondent Felicidad and their son, Teofilo II.Under the law on succession, successional rights are transmitted from the moment
of death of the decedent and the compulsory heirs are called to succeed by operation of law. [30]

Upon Teofilos death in 1992, all his property, rights and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance are transmitted to
his compulsory heirs. These heirs were respondents Felicidad and Teofilo II, as the surviving spouse and child, respectively.

Article 887 of the Civil Code outlined who are compulsory heirs, to wit:

(1) Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and ascendants;

(2) In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their legitimate children and
descendants;

(3) The widow or widower;

(4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural children by legal fiction;

(5) Other illegitimate children referred to in Article 287 of the Civil Code. [31]

Clearly, a brother is not among those considered as compulsory heirs. But although a collateral relative, such as a brother, does
not fall within the ambit of a compulsory heir, he still has a right to succeed to the estate. Articles 1001 and 1003 of the New Civil
Code provide:

ART. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower, the latter
shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other half.

ART. 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, the
collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following
articles. (Underscoring supplied)

Indeed, only the presence of descendants, ascendants or illegitimate children excludes collateral relatives from
succeeding to the estate of the decedent. The presence of legitimate, illegitimate, or adopted child or children of the
deceased precludes succession by collateral relatives.[32] Conversely, if there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate
children, or a surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the decedent.[33]

If respondent Teofilo II is declared and finally proven not to be the legitimate, illegitimate, or adopted son of Teofilo,
petitioner would then have a personality to seek the nullity of marriage of his deceased brother
with respondent Felicidad. This is so, considering that collateral relatives, like a brother and sister, acquire successional right
over the estate if the decedent dies without issue and without ascendants in the direct line.

The records reveal that Teofilo was predeceased by his parents. He had no other siblings but petitioner. Thus, if Teofilo
II is finally found and proven to be not a legitimate, illegitimate, or adopted son of Teofilo, petitioner succeeds to the other half of
the estate of his brother, the first half being allotted to the widow pursuant to Article 1001 of the New Civil Code. This makes
petitioner a real-party-interest to seek the declaration of absolute nullity of marriage of his deceased brother with respondent
Felicidad. If the subject marriage is found to be void ab initio , petitioner succeeds to the entire estate.

It bears stressing, however, that the legal personality of petitioner to bring the nullity of marriage case is contingent upon
the final declaration that Teofilo II is not a legitimate, adopted, or illegitimate son of Teofilo.
If Teofilo II is proven to be a legitimate, illegitimate, or legally adopted son of Teofilo, then petitioner has no legal
personality to ask for the nullity of marriage of his deceased brother and respondent Felicidad. This is based on the ground that
he has no successional right to be protected, hence, does not have proper interest.For although the marriage in controversy may
be found to be void from the beginning, still, petitioner would not inherit. This is because the presence of descendant,
illegitimate, [34] or even an adopted child [35] excludes the collateral relatives from inheriting from the decedent.

Thus, the Court finds that a remand of the case for trial on the merits to determine the validity or nullity of the subject
marriage is called for. But the RTC is strictly instructed to dismiss the nullity of marriage case for lack of cause of action
if it is proven by evidence that Teofilo II is a legitimate, illegitimate, or legally adopted son of Teofilo Carlos, the
deceased brother of petitioner.

IV. Remand of the case regarding the question of filiation of respondent Teofilo II is proper and in order. There
is a need to vacate the disposition of the trial court as to the other causes of action before it.

Petitioner did not assign as error or interpose as issue the ruling of the CA on the remand of the case concerning the filiation of
respondent Teofilo II. This notwithstanding, We should not leave the matter hanging in limbo.

This Court has the authority to review matters not specifically raised or assigned as error by the parties, if their
consideration is necessary in arriving at a just resolution of the case.[36]

We agree with the CA that without trial on the merits having been conducted in the case, petitioners bare allegation that
respondent Teofilo II was adopted from an indigent couple is insufficient to support a total forfeiture of rights arising from his
putative filiation. However, We are not inclined to support its pronouncement that the declaration of respondent Felicidad as to
the illegitimate filiation of respondent Teofilo II is more credible. For the guidance of the appellate court, such declaration of
respondent Felicidad should not be afforded credence. We remind the CA of the guaranty provided by Article 167 of the Family
Code to protect the status of legitimacy of a child, to wit:

ARTICLE 167. The child shall be considered legitimate although the mother may have declared against its
legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress. (Underscoring supplied)

It is stressed that Felicidads declaration against the legitimate status of Teofilo II is the very act that is proscribed by Article 167
of the Family Code. The language of the law is unmistakable. An assertion by the mother against the legitimacy of her child
cannot affect the legitimacy of a child born or conceived within a valid marriage. [37]

Finally, the disposition of the trial court in favor of petitioner for causes of action concerning reconveyance, recovery of property,
and sum of money must be vacated.This has to be so, as said disposition was made on the basis of its finding that the marriage
in controversy was null and void ab initio.
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is MODIFIED as follows:

1. The case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court in regard to the action on the status and filiation of respondent
Teofilo Carlos II and the validity or nullity of marriage between respondent Felicidad Sandoval and the late
Teofilo Carlos;

2. If Teofilo Carlos II is proven to be the legitimate, or illegitimate, or legally adopted son of the late Teofilo Carlos,
the RTC is strictly INSTRUCTED to DISMISS the action for nullity of marriage for lack of cause of action;

3. The disposition of the RTC in Nos. 1 to 8 of the fallo of its decision is VACATED AND SET ASIDE.

The Regional Trial Court is ORDERED to conduct trial on the merits with dispatch and to give this case priority in its
calendar.
No costs.

SO ORDERED.

REPUBLIC OF THE G.R. No. 171042


PHILIPPINES,
Petitioner, Present:

QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson,


CARPIO MORALES,
TINGA,
- versus - VELASCO, JR., and
BRION, JJ.

Promulgated:
LYNNETTE CABANTUG-BAGUIO, June 30, 2008
Respondent.
x--------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

From the Decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed that of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch 24 nullifying
the marriage of respondent, Lynnette Cabantug-Baguio (Lynnette), to Martini Dico Baguio (Martini), the Republic through the
Office of the Solicitor General filed the present petition for review.

Lynnette and Martini contracted marriage on August 12, 1997. Less than three years later or on October 12, 2000,
Lynnette filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City a complaint [1] for declaration of nullity of marriage, docketed as
Civil Case No. CEB 25700, on the ground of Martinis psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital duties and
obligations under Articles 68-70[2] of the Family Code.

Despite service of summons upon Martini, he never filed any responsive pleading to the complaint. [3] No collusion was
established between the parties. [4] Upon the authority of the Solicitor General, the provincial prosecutor of Cebu City appeared in
the case under the formers supervision and control. [5]

From the deposition of Lynnette taken before Branch Clerk of Court Atty. Monalila S. Tecson on January 10, 2001,[6] the
following are gathered:

Lynnette and Martini, a seaman working overseas, became pen pals in 1995.

In 1996, the two met in person during Martinis vacation after the expiration of his contract on board an ocean-going
vessel.

On August 12, 1997, Martini, then 32, and Lynnette, then 34, contracted marriage, [7] following which they moved to the
house of Lynnettes parents at 33-B La Guardia Extension, Lahug, Cebu City. Martini, however, stayed there only on weekends,
and during weekdays he stayed with his parents in Looc, Lapu-lapu City.While Lynnette suggested that the two of them stay in
the house of Martinis parents, Martini disagreed, claiming that there were many already living with his parents.

Lynnette noticed that every time she conversed with Martini, he always mentioned his mother and his family, and she
soon realized that he was a mamas boy.And she noticed too that when she would call up Martini at his parents house and his
mother was the one who answered the call, she would deny that he was around.

In 1998, after Martini again returned following an almost 10-month contract overseas, [8] he stayed with Lynnette. When in
1999 Martini again disembarked, he stayed with his parents.

On the insistence of his mother, Martinis monetary allotment was shared equally between her and Lynnette.

Lynnette had since January 1999 not heard from Martini. And since April 1999, Lynnette stopped receiving her share of
the allotment, drawing her to inquire from Martinis employer who informed her that he had already disembarked on even
month. She soon found out that Martini was in Alabang, Muntinlupa.

When Lynnette and Martini finally met in Cebu City, he told her that they are not compatible and should just part ways.

The last time the couple talked was on October 14, 1999 when Martini was at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
(NAIA) about to depart for abroad. Since then, Martini never communicated with Lynnette. On investigation, Lynnette learned
that Martini declared in his employment records that he was single and named his mother as principal allottee.[9]

Hence, Lynnettes filing of the complaint for declaration of nullification of marriage.

Aside from her deposition, [10] Lynnette presented her Certificate of Marriage, [11] Martinis undated Seafarer Information
Sheet, [12] the letter of clinical psychologist Dr. Andres S. Gerong (Dr. Gerong) to Martini requesting for a personal interview, [13] Dr.
Gerongs testimony, [14] and the Psychological Evaluation Report[15] prepared by Dr. Gerong after his interview of Lynnette and her
sister Dr. Rosemarie Sistoza. [16]

In the Psychological Evaluation Report, Dr. Gerong noted as follows:

1. The couples [sic] were married on August 12, 1997 in Danao City, Cebu[;]
2. After the wedding the couple stayed at the petitioners residence, but the defendant would always go home
to his parents in Looc, Lapu-lapu City;
3. Defendant did not show any directions to establish their home, [is] happy-go-lucky, and would just see the
plaintiff for his physical and sexual needs;
4. Plaintiff felt being used, exploited, uncared for, taken for granted, abandoned;
5. Defendants parents appeared to control the son to the extent of meddling [with] the finances coming from
the income as a seaman;
6. Defendant never showed respect for his parents-in-law;
7. Parents of the defendant insisted [on] a co-allot[ment without] any protestations from the plaintiff who has
been generous all the time;
8. Defendant remained immature , could not stand by his wife and would still depend upon the decisions of
his parents and without any personal directions as to what to do with his family;
9. Strictly speaking, the couple never really live[d] together as husband and wife like any ordinary
couple [17] (underscoring supplied),
and concluded that

Defendant shows immature personality disorder, dependency patterns, and self-centered


motives. Th[ese are] the core personality dysfunctions noted and have been exaggeratedly expressed which are
detrimental to the familial well-being;

The situation is serious, grave, existing already during the adolescent period, and incurable because
personality and character are stable whether or not it is normal and adaptive.

xxxx

The defendant is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations in marriage and
family .[18] (Underscoring supplied)

Expounding on his findings, Dr. Gerong testified, thus:

ATTY. SINGCO: (To witness)

Q: In gist, what were your findings as to the psychological capacity or incapacity of defendant Martini Dico
Baguio?
A: x x x [T]o sum it up, the synopsis of the findings, the defendant husband appeared to be [a] dependent
person to his family and unable to [sever . . .] the connection being a married man and to establish a domicile for
his family and to support his family.

xxxx

ATTY. SINGCO: (To witness)

Q: Dr. Gerong, how grave or serious is the psychological incapacity of the defendant?
A: Being, I would say in our popular parlance, mamas boy as alleged, that will endanger the integrity of the
marriage because instead of establishing a permanent conjugal relationship with the wife the husband-
defendant would remain dependent on his family .

xxxx

ATTY. SINGCO: (To witness)

Q: Okay, in terms of the chances that this incapacity will be cured, what are the chances, if any?
A: As to curability, since I am using a clinical term []personality or character disorder or dysfunction[] and as I
have said many times that the personality is stable and pervasive over time. And if it is established as early as
adolescent period and up to the present it has remained persistent thru the years and therefore its a permanent
trait of the defendant-husband, therefore its incurable.[19] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

By Decision [20] of January 2, 2002, Branch 24 of the Cebu City RTC found Martini psychologically incapacitated to comply
with the essential marital obligations of marriage, and that the same incapacity existed at the time the couple exchanged their
marriage vows.

The Solicitor General, via appeal, [21] challenged before the Court of Appeals the trial courts decision
. . . DECLARING THE PARTIES MARRIAGE NULL AND VOID, DEFENDANTS MARTINI DICO BAGUIOS
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY NOT HAVING BEEN PROVEN TO EXIST. [22]
By Decision [23] of January 13, 2005, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts decision. Addressing the Solicitor
Generals argument that Dr. Gerongs testimony failed to establish the cause of Martinis psychological incapacity and to show
that it existed at the inception of the marriage, [24] the Court of Appeals held:

x x x [I]n contradiction of the Republics contention and its supporting above-cited doctrine, this Court
cites the more recent jurisprudence laid down in the case of Marcos v. Marcos,[25] in which the High Tribunal has
foregone with the requirement that the defendant should be examined by a physician or psychologist as
a conditio sine qua non for declaration of nullity of marriage. It held thus:

The x x x guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared
psychologically incapacitated x x x [w]hat is important is the presence of evidence that can
adequately establish the partys psychological condition, [f]or indeed, if the totality of evidence
presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical
examination for the person concerned need not be resorted to. [26]

Therefore, the oral deposition [of Lynette] and the Psychological Evaluation Report by Dr. Andres
S. Gerong, Ph.D. as Clinical Psychologist declaring the defendant psychologically incapacitated to comply with
the essential obligations in marriage and family life was sufficient for US to believe that undeniably the
defendant suffers psychological incapacity.[27] (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)

On the Solicitor Generals contention that Martinis abandonment of Lynnette is a ground for legal separation and not for
declaration of nullity of marriage, [28] and that Martinis alleged personality traits are not of the nature contemplated by Article 36 of
the Family Code, [29] the Court of Appeals declared:

x x x WE note that it was not the abandonment which was the ground relied upon by the plaintiff-
appellee but the defendants being a mamas boy.[30]

xxxx

Being a Mamas Boy, his uncaring attitude towards his wife, declaring himself single and naming
his mother as the beneficiary, spending more time with his familyand less with his wife and ultimately,
abandoning her manifested defendants psychological incapacity. These, to sum it all, to US are manifestations
of severe psychological disorder rather than a mere obstinate refusal to comply with his marital
obligations. [31] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The Solicitor Generals Motion for Reconsideration [32] having been denied by the Court of Appeals, [33] the present
petition [34] was filed, faulting the appellate court to have gravely erred:

I
. . . IN RULING THAT THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION AND TESTIMONY OF DR. ANDRES GERONG
THAT DEFENDANT IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED HAVE LEGAL BASIS.

II
. . . IN FAILING TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THAT ABANDONMENT BY ONES SPOUSE IS ONLY A
GROUND FOR LEGAL SEPARATION AND NOT FOR THE DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE.

III
. . . IN RULING THAT DEFENDANTS BEING A MAMAS BOY IS A MANIFESTATION OF A PSYCHOLOGICAL
DISORDER. [35] (Italics in the original)
The Solicitor Generals arguments persuade.

The Solicitor General argued as follows:

Dr. Gerong merely testified that defendants alleged psychological incapacity (being a mamas boy)
began in his adolescent stage and has remained persistent through the years (p. 20, Brief). Dr. Gerong did
not detail this finding. He made no effort to look into and testify on defendants past life, attitudes, habits and
character to explain defendants alleged psychological incapacity as required by this Honorable Court in the
case of Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Molina, 268 SCRA 198 (1998).

Again, while it is true that Dr. Gerong testified that defendants alleged defect is incurable, he failed to
explain why it is clinically or medically permanent. His only basis for saying that it is incurable is his finding
that defendant has been a mamas boy since his adolescence (p. 7, TSN, June 19, 2001). During the trial, Dr.
Gerong also failed to explain in detail why the defendants alleged psychological incapacity is grave and to
discuss what kind of disorder defendant is suffering from.[36] (Emphasis in the original; italics and
underscoring supplied)

On the doctors findings in his Report, the Solicitor General argued:

The said findings reveal nothing in defendants past life and acts that shows a behavior pattern that would
prove his alleged psychological incapacity. Dr. Gerongs finding that defendants parents are too controlling
because they were made co-allottees of the remittances sent by their son does not prove the alleged
psychological incapacity of defendant. The report likewise failed to explain the gravity of the alleged
psychological incapacity of defendant and state whether or not it incapacitates defendant from carrying out
the normal and ordinary duties of marriage and family . There is likewise no explanation by Dr. Gerong why
he found defendants incapacity to be incurable. This Honorable Court has held that such illness must be
shown to be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligation of the
marriage. Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable and grave
[Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Molina, supra]. These Dr. Gerong failed to do.

Even when the rules have been relaxed and the personal examination of the defendant by a
psychiatrist or psychologist is no longer mandatory for the declaration of nullity of marriage under Article
36 of the Family Code, the totality of evidence presented during trial by private respondent
must still prove the gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability of the alleged psychological
incapacity (Marcos v. Marcos, 343 SCRA 755 [2000]; Santos v. Court of Appeals , 240 SCRA 20
[1995]).(Emphasis in the original; italics and underscoring supplied)

In fine, the Solicitor General concluded that there was no showing that Martinis alleged personality traits are of the
nature contemplated by Article 36 of the Family Code and the rulings of this Court in the cited cases, [37] and that Martinis
abandonment of Lynnette constitutes only a ground for legal separation but not for declaration of nullity of marriage. [38]

Article 36 of the Family Code on which Lynnette anchors her complaint provides that [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.

Article 36 must be read in conjunction with the other articles in the Family Code, specifically Articles 35, 37, 38, and 41
which provide different grounds to render a marriage void ab initio, as well as Article 45 which dwell on voidable marriages, and
Article 55 on legal separation. [39] Care must be observed so that these various circumstances are not to be applied
indiscriminately as if the law were indifferent on the matter. [40]

And Article 36 should not be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefor
manifest themselves, nor with legal separation in which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but on
physical violence, moral pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity,
abandonment, and the like.[41]

Psychological incapacity has been elucidated on as follows:

The term psychological incapacity to be a ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the
Family Code, refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even before the celebration of the
marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and
responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. As all people may have certain quirks and
idiosyncrasies, or isolated characteristics associated with certain personality disorders, there is hardly a
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. x x x [T]he root cause must be identified as a psychological
illness, and its incapacitating nature must be fully explained x x x.[42] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The mere showing of irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities does not constitute psychological
incapacity. [43] Nor does failure of the parties to meet their responsibilities and duties as married persons.

It is essential that the parties to a marriage must be shown to be insensitive to or incapable of meeting their duties and
responsibilities due to some psychological (not physical) illness, [44] which insensitivity or incapacity should have been existing at
the time of the celebration of the marriage even if it becomes manifest only after its solemnization.[45]

In fine, for psychological incapacity to render a marriage void ab initio, it must be characterized by

(a) Gravity It must be grave and serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the
ordinary duties required in a marriage;
(b) Juridical Antecedence It must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage,
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. [46]

Dr. Gerong found that Martinis personality disorders including his being a mamas boy are serious, grave, existing already
during the adolescent period and incurable and concluded that Martini appeared to be dependent upon his family and unable to
establish a domicile for his family and to support his family.

The doctors findings and conclusion were derived from his interview of Lynnette and her sister and Lynnettes
deposition. From Lynnettes deposition, however, it is gathered that Martinis failure to establish a common life with her stems from
his refusal, not incapacity, to do so. It is downright incapacity, not refusal or neglect or difficulty, much less ill will, [47] which renders
a marriage void on the ground of psychological incapacity. In another vein, how the doctor arrived at the conclusion, after
interviewing Lynnette and considering her deposition, that any such personality disorders of Martini have been existing since
Martinis adolescent years has not been explained. It bears recalling that Martini and Lynnette became pen pals in 1995 and
contracted marriage in 1997 when Martini was already 32 years old, far removed from adolescent years.

Dr. Gerongs citing of Martinis appointment of his mother as a beneficiary and his representing himself as single in his
Seafarer Information Sheet, without more, as indications of Martinis dependence on his family
amounting to his incapacity to fulfill his duties as a married man does not logically follow, especially given that the Seafarers
Information Sheet is not even dated [48] and, therefore, there is no certainty that it was prepared after Martini contracted marriage.

While the examination by a physician of a person in order to declare him/her psychological incapacitated is not required,
the root cause thereof must be medically or clinically identified. There must thus be evidence to adequately establish the
same. There is none such in the case at bar, however.

The Constitution sets out a policy of protecting and strengthening the family as the basic social institution and marriage
as the foundation of the family. [49] Marriage, an inviolable institution protected by the State, [50] cannot be dissolved at the whim of
the parties. [51] In petitions for the declaration of nullity of marriage, the burden of proof to show the nullity of marriage lies on the
plaintiff. [52] Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and
nullity. [53]

As reflected above, Lynnette failed to discharge the onus probandi. While the Court sympathizes with her predicament,
its first and foremost duty is to apply the law. [54] Dura lex sed lex.

Lynnettes marriage with Martini may have failed then, but it cannot be declared void ab initio on the ground of
psychological incapacity in light of the insufficient evidence presented. [55]

WHEREFORE , the petition is GRANTED . The decision of the Court of Appeals dated January 13,
2005 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Civil Case No.CEB 25700 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch 24, is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

IGNACIO J. SALMINGO, A.C. No. 6573


Complainant,
Present:

PUNO, C.J.,
QUISUMBING, *
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, *
CARPIO,
versus AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CORONA,
CARPIO MORALES,
AZCUNA,
TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
GARCIA,
VELASCO, JR., and
ATTY. RODNEY K. RUBICA, NACHURA, JJ.
Respondent.
Promulgated:
July 9, 2007

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:


The following facts spawned the filing of the administrative complaint at bar, for disbarment against Atty. Rodney K.
Rubica (respondent), by herein complainant Ignacio J. Salmingo which he transmitted to the Chief Justice by letter of September
27, 2004.

Respondent filed on January 9, 2003 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Negros Occidental a complaint for
declaration of nullity of his marriage with Liza Jane Estao [1] (Liza Jane).

The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. 2243-40.

The summons for Liza Jane at her given address at Blk. 25, Lot 36 Josefina St., Eroreco Subdivision, Bacolod City[2] was
returned unserved as allegedly no one could be found there. [3] Respondent thereupon filed a Motion for Leave of Court to Effect
Service of Summons by Publication, [4] which was granted. [5]

Summons was thus published in the Visayan Post, a weekly newspaper of general circulation in Negros Occidental.[6]

Nothing was heard from Liza Jane, however; hence, respondent presented evidence ex parte[7] before Branch 40 of the
Silay RTC, without the participation of the City Prosecutor. [8]

By Decision [9] dated May 23, 2003, the trial court declared the marriage between respondent and Liza Jane null and void,
as the evidence showed that there was a previous valid and existing marriage between Liza Jane and one Rene Jose T.
Mojica. [10] The judgment was entered as final on July 17, 2003.[11]

In his present complaint, [12] the complainant alleges that in prosecuting the annulment case, respondent deliberately
concealed Liza Janes address so that she could not be served with summons, thus enabling him to present evidence ex
parte ;[13] that respondent caused the publication of summons only in a newspaper of local circulation;[14] that respondent did not
serve a copy of his petition on the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the City or Provincial Prosecutor; [15] and that he
did not cause the registration of the decree of nullity in the Civil Registry. [16]

Complainant thus prayed:

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, it is respectfully prayed of this Court that:


1. An order be issued directing:
a. The setting aside [of] the Decision in Civil Case No. 2253-40;
b. The reopening of the case in a separate sala where the City Prosecutor shall represent
the State;
c. Deleting the name of Rodney K. Rubica from the Roll of Attorneys and ordering him to
pay for the Cost of Retrial.
2. For other relief and remedies just and equitable under the premises. [17] (Underscoring supplied)

Respondent denied knowing Liza Janes real address. [18] He denied too having failed to comply with the procedural
requirements in the declaration of nullity case.[19] He in fact questioned complainants standing to contest the decision of the trial
court in the said case.[20]

This Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and
recommendation. [21]

The IBP investigating commissioner recommended that respondent be suspended for three months for gross
misconduct. [22] The IBP Board of Governors resolved to dismiss the case, however, for lack of sufficient evidence. [23]

This Court upholds the resolution of the IBP Board of Governors.

It is settled that:

x x x In view of the nature and consequences of a disciplinary proceeding, observance of due


process, as in other JUDICIAL determinations, is imperative along with a presumption of innocence in favor
of the lawyer. Consequently, the burden of proof is on the complainant to overcome such presumption and
establish his charges by clear preponderance of evidence.[24] (Underscoring supplied)

To prove that respondent knew Liza Janes true whereabouts all along, complainant alleged that respondent had been
sending allowances to Liza Jane and their children at her residence. [25] Respondent countered, however, that he had been
sending allowances by depositing the same in a bank in Bacolod City through an automated teller machine (ATM) account,
which deposit could be withdrawn at any ATM machine within the Philippines. [26] This complainant failed to controvert.

On respondents alleged non-compliance with the following provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of
Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages which took effect on March 15, 2003:[27]
xxxx

Sec. 5. Contents and form of petition. x x x


(4) It shall be filed in six copies. The petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition on the Office of the
Solicitor General and the Office of the City or Provincial Prosecutor, within five days from the date of its filing
and submit to the court proof of such service within the same period.
Failure to comply with any of the preceding requirements may be a ground for immediate dismissal
of the petition.
xxxx
Sec. 6. Summons.The service of summons shall be governed by Rule 14 of the Rules of Court and
by the following rules:
(1) Where the respondent cannot be located at his given address or his whereabouts are unknown
and cannot be ascertained by diligent inquiry, service of summons may, by leave of court, be effected upon
him by publication once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the
Philippines and in such places as the court may order. In addition, a copy of the summons shall be
served on the respondent at his last known address by registered mail or any other means the court may
deem sufficient.

Sec. 8. Answer. x x x
(3) Where no answer is filed or if the answer does not tender an issue, the court shall order the
public prosecutor to investigate whether collusion exists between the parties.

x x x Sec. 19. Decision


xxxx
(2) The parties, including the Solicitor General and the public prosecutor, shall be served with copies
of the decision personally or by registered mail. If the respondent summoned by publication failed to appear
in the action, the dispositive part of the decision shall be published once in a newspaper of general
circulation.
xxxx
Sec. 23. Registration and publication of the decree; decree as best evidence. (a) The prevailing
party shall cause the registration of the Decree in the Civil Registry where the marriage was registered, the
Civil Registry of the place where the Family Court is situated, and in the National Census and Statistics
Office. He shall report to the court compliance with this requirement within thirty days from receipt of the copy
of the Decree.
(b) In case service of summons was made by publication, the parties shall cause the publication of
the Decree once in a newspaper of general circulation.
(c) The registered Decree shall be the best evidence to prove the declaration of absolute nullity or
annulment of marriage and shall serve as notice to third persons concerning the properties of petitioner and
respondent as well as the properties or presumptive legitimes delivered to their common children. (Emphasis
supplied; italics in the original)

The requirements in the above-cited Rule that the petitioner should serve copies of the petition on the Office of the
Solicitor General and that of the Public Prosecutor; that service of summons by publication on a respondent whose whereabouts
are unknown be in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines; and that the prevailing party cause the registration and
publication of the decree took effect only May 15, 2003, after respondent filed the declaration of nullity case on January 9, 2003.

At the time respondent filed his petition for declaration of the nullity of marriage, what applied was the Rules of Court
under which he was not required to file his petition in six copies and to serve copies on the Office of the Solicitor General and
that of the City or Provincial Prosecutor. Neither was he required to cause the registration and publication of the decree of nullity.

Respondent did comply with the procedure in the Rules of Court on service by publication on a respondent whose
whereabouts are unknown, which procedure requires only publication in a newspaper of general circulation and in such places
and for such time as the court may order,[28] as opposed to a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines and in such
places as the court may order required by the above-quoted Section 6 (1) of the Rule On Declaration Of Absolute Nullity Of Void
Marriages And Annulment Of Voidable Marriages.

The requirement that the trial court order the prosecutor to investigate whether collusion exists in case the defendant in
the declaration of nullity case files no answer is addressed to the said court, not to the parties to the case nor to their counsel,
absent any showing of respondents involvement in the lapse in the prescribed procedure, he cannot be faulted therefor.
Respecting complainants claim that respondent did not cause the registration of the decree of nullity of the marriage, he
offered no proof, in accordance with Section 28, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, which states:

SEC. 28. Proof of lack of record. A written statement signed by an officer having custody of an official
record or by his deputy that after diligent search no record or entry of a specified tenor is found to exist in the
records of his office, accompanied by a certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that the
records of his office contain no such record or entry. (Underscoring supplied),

in support thereof.

As for complainants prayer for the setting aside of the decision in Civil Case No. 2243-40 and the reopening of the case,
the same may not be considered, not in the present case anyway. He is, parenthetically, not even a real party in interest to the
said case. His invocation of the States interest in protecting the sanctity of marriage [29] does not give him the standing to question
the decision. By law, it is the prosecuting attorney or fiscal or the Solicitor General who represents the interest of the State in
proceedings for the annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage. [30]

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The dismissal of the complaint by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines is upheld.

SO ORDERED.

ORLANDO G. TONGOL, G.R. NO. 157610


Petitioner,
Present:

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,

Chairperson,

- versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

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:

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 ofMakati 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 psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated. x x x[4]

Psychological incapacity must be characterized by:


(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;

(b) Juridical Antecedence It must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, 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,[6] 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. 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 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, [9] 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 InadequatePersonality 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 Mendoza-Tongol 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 a (sic)
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]

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

ATTY. VILLAREAL -

xxxx

Q- What exactly do you mean [by] inadequate personality disorder?

A- Inadequate 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- What about hysterical coloring?


A- Hysterical coloring means, there is always an exaggeration of her psychological reactions to any stresses, Sir.

Q- Exaggeration in what aspect?

A- Exaggeration 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 obligations of marriage, Dr.
Villegas expounded as follows:

ATTY. RENDOR -

xxxx

Q- How about Mrs. Tongol, what are your findings?

A- Mrs. 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.

ATTY. RENDOR -

Q- In your expert opinion, Doctor, can you tell us the reason why Mrs. Tongol acted in such a way?

A- Because 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

Q- What 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?

A- She 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.
Q- Based 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?

A- 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.[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.[16] 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. [17] 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 areAFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and RORIDEL OLAVIANO MOLINA, respondents.

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 of Santos 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.

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 "E-1." Reynaldo did not present
any evidence as he appeared only during the pre-trial conference.

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 'p sychological 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 objectives of marriage, then there is enough reason to leave
the spouses to their individual fates.

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.

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 Appeals6 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 'p sychological 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, 7Justice 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 be incapable 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 pre-nuptial
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-a-vis existing 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 of ejusdem
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 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. 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
vinculi contemplated 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.

G.R. No. L-23433 February 10, 1968

GLORIA G. JOCSON, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
RICARDO R. ROBLES, defendant-appellant.

REYES J.B.L., J.:

On February 4, 1963, Gloria G. Jocson commenced in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court an action for the
annulment of her marriage to Ricardo R. Robles (Civ. Case No. E-00013), on the ground that it was bigamous. It was alleged in
the amended complaint that previous to his marriage to plaintiff on May 27, 1958, defendant Robles had contracted a first
marriage with Josefina Fausto, who had instituted a criminal action for Bigamy against the same defendant in the Court of First
Instance of Manila (Crim. Case No. 64124). Plaintiff also demanded from the defendant moral and exemplary damages,
attorneys' fees, and costs, claiming that during their cohabitation, she was subjected to physical maltreatment by her husband,
resulting in the premature birth of their first child, who died three days later.

In his answer, defendant also assailed the validity of the marriage. But he charged plaintiffs' parents with having
compelled him by force, threat and intimidation, to contract that marriage with her, notwithstanding their knowledge that he is a
married man; and that said threat and intimidation allegedly persisted until January, 1963 when he was finally able to get away
and live apart from the plaintiff.

Thereafter, defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, on the ground that no genuine issue of fact is involved in the
case. It was claimed that defendant's contention, that his consent to the marriage was secured by force and intimidation
employed upon his person by the relatives of plaintiff, was allegedly supported by the joint affidavit of plaintiff's father and
brother, dated October 28, 1963, attached to the motion (pp. 22-32, Record on Appeal). Plaintiff, on the other hand, submitted the
case for judgment on the pleadings.

On December 23, 1963, defendant's motion for summary judgment was denied, the court ruling that before it can pass
upon plaintiff's prayer for the declaration of nullity of her marriage to defendant, there is necessity for proof that when he
contracted marriage with plaintiff, defendant Robles had a previous and subsisting valid marriage. The evidentiary requirement
to establish these facts, according to the court, was not met in the motion for summary judgment. Defendant's plea to have his
marriage declared as having been brought about by force and intimidation, was also denied, the court finding indications of
collusion between the parties in their attempt to secure the nullification of said marriage. Reconsideration of this order, sought by
defendant, was denied on January 18, 1964. And, when both parties failed to appear at the scheduled hearing on March 9, 1964,
the court directed the dismissal of the action.

On April 17, 1964, defendant notified the court below of his intention to appeal to this Court from the abovementioned
orders of December 23, 1963, January 18, 1964, and March 9, 1964. The appeal bond and amended record on appeal, dated April
15, 1964, were thereafter approved.

It is noted that, as specified in the notice of appeal, defendant is taking exception from the lower court's orders of
December 23, 1963, January 18, 1964, and March 9, 1964; however, there is no indication or certification or proof that the filing of
the appeal notice, bond and record on appeal on April 17, 1964 were made within the reglementary period, as required by the
provisions of Section 6, Revised Rule 41 of the Rules of Court. Thereunder, the record on appeal must contain, not only the full
names of all the parties to the proceeding, as well as the pleadings, petitions, motions and orders related to the order or
judgment subject of the appeal and which are necessary for the proper understanding of the issue involved therein, but also
"such data as will show that the appeal was perfected on time." This requirement, incorporated in the new Rules of Court to
enable the appellate courts to determine without protracted inquiry whether an appeal was timely made or not, was held to be
jurisdictional, failure to comply with which shall cause the dismissal of the appeal. 1 There is here no showing that the present
appeal was perfected within the reglementary period, which datum should have appeared in the record on appeal.

On the merits, we are satisfied that the Court of Domestic Relations correctly denied the motion for summary judgment in
view of the first paragraph of Articles 88 and 1011 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, that expressly prohibit the rendition of a
decree of annulment of a marriage upon a stipulation of facts or a confession of judgment. The affidavits annexed to the petition
for summary judgment practically amount to these methods not countenanced by the Civil Code.
FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, this proceeding is hereby dismissed, conformable to Section (a) of Revised Rule 50
of the Rules of Court, and the judgment appealed from is affirmed. Costs against the appellant.

Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando, JJ., concur. 1wph

G.R. No. L-13553 February 23, 1960

JOSE DE OCAMPO, petitioner,


vs.
SERAFINA FLORENCIANO, respondent.

Joselito J. Coloma for petitioner.

BENGZON, J.:

Action for legal separation by Jose de Ocampo against his wife Serafina, on the ground of adultery. The court of first instance of
Nueva Ecija dismissed it. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding there was confession of judgment, plus condonation or consent
to the adultery and prescription.

We granted certiorari to consider the application of articles 100 and 101 of the New Civil Code, which for convenience are quoted
herewith:

ART. 100.The legal separation may be claimed only by the innocent spouse, provided there has been no condonation
of or consent to the adultery or concubinage. Where both spouses are offenders, a legal separation cannot be claimed
by either of them. Collusion between the parties to obtain legal separation shall cause the dismissal of the petition.

ART. 101.No decree of legal separation shall be promulgated upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment.

In case of non-appearance of the defendant, the court shall order the prosecuting attorney to inquire whether or not a
collusion between the parties exists. If there is no collusion, the prosecuting attorney shall intervene for the State in
order to take care that the evidence for the plaintiff is not fabricated.

The record shows that on July 5, 1955, the complaint for legal separation was filed. As amended, it described their marriage
performed in 1938, and the commission of adultery by Serafina, in March 1951 with Jose Arcalas, and in June 1955 with Nelson
Orzame.

Because the defendant made no answer, the court defaulted her, and pursuant to Art. 101 above, directed the provincial fiscal to
investigate whether or not collusion existed between the parties. The fiscal examined the defendant under oath, and then
reported to the Court that there was no collusion. The plaintiff presented his evidence consisting of the testimony of Vicente
Medina, Ernesto de Ocampo, Cesar Enriquez, Mateo Damo, Jose de Ocampo and Capt. Serafin Gubat.

According to the Court of Appeals, the evidence thus presented shows that "plaintiff and defendant were married in April 5, 1938
by a religious ceremony in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, and had lived thereafter as husband and wife. They begot several children who
are now living with plaintiff. In March, 1951, plaintiff discovered on several occasions that his wife was betraying his trust by
maintaining illicit relations with one Jose Arcalas. Having found the defendant carrying marital relations with another man plaintiff
sent her to Manila in June 1951 to study beauty culture, where she stayed for one year. Again, plaintiff discovered that while in
the said city defendant was going out with several other men, aside from Jose Arcalas. Towards the end of June, 1952, when
defendant had finished studying her course, she left plaintiff and since then they had lived separately.

"On June 18, 1955, plaintiff surprised his wife in the act of having illicit relations with another man by the name of Nelson Orzame.
Plaintiff signified his intention of filing a petition for legal separation, to which defendant manifested her conformity provided she
is not charged with adultery in a criminal action. Accordingly, plaintiff filed on July 5, 1955, a petition for legal separation."

The Court of Appeals held that the husband's right to legal separation on account of the defendant's adultery with Jose Arcalas
had prescribed, because his action was not filed within one year from March 1951 when plaintiff discovered her infidelity. (Art.
102, New Civil Code) We must agree with the Court of Appeals on this point. 1

As to the adultery with Nelson Orzame, the appellate court found that in the night of June 18, 1955, the husband upon
discovering the illicit connection, expressed his wish to file a petition for legal separation and defendant readily agreed to such
filing. And when she was questioned by the Fiscal upon orders of the court, she reiterated her conformity to the legal separation
even as she admitted having had sexual relations with Nelson Orzame. Interpreting these facts virtually to mean a confession of
judgment the Appellate Court declared that under Art. 101, legal separation could not be decreed.

As we understand the article, it does not exclude, as evidence, any admission or confession made by the defendant outside of
the court. It merely prohibits a decree of separation upon a confession of judgment. Confession of judgment usually happens
when the defendant appears in court and confesses the right of plaintiff to judgment or files a pleading expressly agreeing to the
plaintiff's demand.2 This is not occur.

Yet, even supposing that the above statement of defendant constituted practically a confession of judgment, inasmuch as there
is evidence of the adultery independently of such statement, the decree may and should be granted, since it would not be based
on her confession, but upon evidence presented by the plaintiff. What the law prohibits is a judgment based exclusively or mainly
on defendant's confession. If a confession defeats the action ipso facto, any defendant who opposes the separation will
immediately confess judgment, purposely to prevent it.

The mere circumstance that defendants told the Fiscal that she "like also" to be legally separated from her husband, is no
obstacle to the successful prosecution of the action. When she refused to answer the complaint, she indicated her willingness to
be separated. Yet, the law does not order the dismissal. Allowing the proceeding to continue, it takes precautions against
collusion, which implies more than consent or lack of opposition to the agreement.

Needless to say, when the court is informed that defendant equally desires the separation and admitted the commission of the
offense, it should be doubly careful lest a collusion exists. (The Court of Appeals did not find collusion.)

Collusion in divorce or legal separation means the agreement.

. . . between husband and wife for one of them to commit, or to appear to commit, or to be represented in court as
having committed, a matrimonial offense, or to suppress evidence of a valid defense, for the purpose of enabling the
other to obtain a divorce. This agreement, if not express, may be implied from the acts of the parties. It is a ground for
denying the divorce. (Griffiths vs. Griffiths, 69 N. J. Eq. 689 60 Atl. 1099; Sandoz vs. Sandoz, 107 Ore. 282, 214 Pas. 590.).

In this case, there would be collusion if the parties had arranged to make it appear that a matrimonial offense had been
committed although it was not, or if the parties had connived to bring about a legal separation even in the absence of grounds
therefor.

Here, the offense of adultery had really taking place, according to the evidence. The defendant could not have falsely told the
adulterous acts to the Fiscal, because her story might send her to jail the moment her husband requests the Fiscal to prosecute.
She could not have practiced deception at such a personal risk.

In this connection, it has been held that collusion may not be inferred from the mere fact that the guilty party confesses to the
offense and thus enables the other party to procure evidence necessary to prove it. (Williams vs. Williams, [N. Y.] 40 N. E. (2d)
1017; Rosenweig vs. Rosenweig, 246 N. Y. Suppl. 231; Conyers, vs. Conyers, 224 S. W. [2d] 688.).

And proof that the defendant desires the divorce and makes no defense, is not by itself collusion. (Pohlman vs. Pohlman, [N. J.]
46 Atl. Rep. 658.).

We do not think plaintiff's failure actively to search for defendant and take her home (after the latter had left him in 1952)
constituted condonation or consent to her adulterous relations with Orzame. It will be remembered that she "left" him after
having sinned with Arcalas and after he had discovered her dates with other men. Consequently, it was not his duty to search for
her to bring her home. Hers was the obligation to return.

Two decisions 3 are cited wherein from apparently similar circumstances, this Court inferred the husband's consent to or
condonation of his wife's misconduct. However, upon careful examination, a vital difference will be found: in both instances, the
husband had abandoned his wife; here it was the wife who "left" her husband.

Wherefore, finding no obstacles to the aggrieved husband's petition we hereby reverse the appealed decision and decree a legal
separation between these spouse, all the consequent effects. Costs of all instances against Serafina Florenciano. So ordered.

Paras, C. J., Padilla, Montemayor, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J. B. L., Endencia, Barrera, and Gutierrez David, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-40895 November 6, 1975

MILAGROS DE LA CRUZ, petitioner,


vs.
HON. JUDGE BIENVENIDO EJERCITO, Court of First Instance of Pampanga and Angeles City, Branch IV; TEODORO
DAVID, City Fiscal of Angeles City, and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, thru the Office of the SOLICITOR
GENERAL, respondents. .

C. S. Gaddi & Maximo Q. Canlas for petitioner. .

Office of the Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor General Eulogio Raquel-Santos and Solicitor Tomas M.
Dilig for respondent People of the Philippines.

City Fiscal Eller Dula Torres for respondent City Fiscal of Angeles City.

AQUINO, J.:

On May 20, 1974 Milagros de la Cruz was charged with bigamy in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, Angeles City Branch
IV for having married Sergeant Dominick L. Gaccino on September 15, 1973 while her prior marriage to Teodoro G. David was
undissolved. The information was filed at the instance of her first husband (Criminal Case No. 3128).

On August 1, 1974 Milagros de la Cruz filed in the same court at its San Fernando Branch III a complaint for the annulment of her
marriage to Sergeant Gaccino on the ground of duress (Civil Case No. 4188).

Defendant Gaccino did not answer the complaint. Judge Mariano Castaeda, Jr. ordered the Provincial Fiscal to investigate
whether there was a collusion between the parties. A special counsel of the Fiscal's office reported that there was no collusion. .

On December 16, 1974 Judge Castaeda rendered a decision annulling the marriage of Milagros de la Cruz to Gaccino. No
appeal was taken from that decision. It became final. In view of the annulment of her second marriage, Milagros de la Cruz filed
on January 27, 1975 a motion to dismiss the bigamy charge. The private prosecutor and the prosecuting fiscal opposed the
motion.

Judge Bienvenido Ejercito denied it in his order of May 27, 1975 on the ground that the decision in the annulment case is not
controlling in the criminal case because the parties and the issues in the two cases are not the same.

That refusal of Judge Ejercito to dismiss the bigamy case, not withstanding the judicial pronouncement that her second marriage
was a nullity, prompted Milagros de la Cruz to file the instant special civil action of certiorari and prohibition.

The issue is whether the bigamy case became moot or untenable after the second marriage, on which the prosecution for
bigamy is based, was annulled.

The City Fiscal of Angeles City contends that the lower court acted correctly in denying the motion to dismiss the bigamy charge.
He argues that the decision in the annulment case should be set up as a defense by Milagros de la Cruz during the trial and that
it would not justify the outright dismissal of the criminal case.

On the other hand, the Solicitor General manifested that the stand of Milagros de la Cruz should be sustained because one
element of bigamy is that the alleged second marriage, having all the requisites, would be valid were it not for the subsistence of
the first marriage (People vs. Mora Dumpo, 62 Phil. 246, 248; Merced vs. Hon. Diez, 109 Phil. 155; Zapanta vs. Montesa, 114 Phil.
1227).

We hold that the finding in the annulment case that the second marriage contracted by Milagros de la Cruz with Sergeant
Gaccino was a nullity is determinative of her innocence and precludes the rendition of a verdict that she committed bigamy. To
try the criminal case in the face of such a finding would be unwarranted.

As noted by Groizard, it is essential "que el segundo matrimonio 'h a de constituir un acto solemne en que concurran los
requisitos exigidos para la existencia del sacramento o del contrato' " (2 Cuello Calon, Derecho Penal, 12th ed., p. 675, note 2).
As pointed out in the Merced case, supra, it is necessary in a prosecution for bigamy that the second marriage be declared valid
if its validity was questioned in a civil action.
And even supposing arguendo that the decree annulling the second marriage was questionable or erroneous because it was
issued in a judgment by default, still that would not prevent the decree from having legal effect. "An erroneous judgment is not a
void judgment" (Chereau vs. Fuentebella, 43 Phil. 216).

WHEREFORE, the lower court's order of May 27, 1975, denying the motion to dismiss of Milagros de la Cruz, is set aside. The
writ of prohibition is granted. No Costs.

SO ORDERED.

for the State in order to take care that the evidence for the plaintiff is not fabricated.

The provision has been taken from Article 30 of the California Civil Code, 8 and it is, in substance, reproduced in Article 60 of the
Family Code. 9

Article 101 reflects the public policy on marriages, and it should easily explain the mandatory tenor of the law. In Brown
v. Yambao, 10 the Court has observed:

The policy of Article 101 of the new Civil Code, calling for the intervention of the state attorneys in case of
uncontested proceedings for legal separation (and of annulment of marriages, under Article 88), is to emphasize
that marriage is more than a mere contract; that it is a social institution in which the state is vitally interested, so
that its continuation or interruption can not be made to depend upon the parties themselves (Civil Code, Article
52; Adong vs. Cheong Gee, 43 Phil. 43; Ramirez v. Gmur, 42 Phil. 855; Goitia v. Campos, 35 Phil. 252). It is
consonant with this policy that the inquiry by the Fiscal should be allowed to focus upon any relevant matter that
may indicate whether the proceedings for separation or annulment are fully justified or not.

Article 103 of the Civil Code, now Article 58 of the Family Code, further mandates that an action for legal separation must "in no
case be tried before six months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition," obviously in order to provide the parties a
"cooling-off" period. In this interim, the court should take steps toward getting the parties to reconcile.

The significance of the above substantive provisions of the law is further underscored by the inclusion of the following provision
in Rule 18 of the Rules of Court:

Sec. 6. No defaults in actions for annulments of marriage or for legal separation . If the defendant in an action
for annulment of marriage or for legal separation fails to answer, the court shall order the prosecuting attorney to
investigate whether or not a collusion between the parties exists, and if there is no collusion, to intervene for the
State in order to see to it that the evidence submitted is not fabricated.

The special prescriptions on actions that can put the integrity of marriage to possible jeopardy are impelled by no less than the
State's interest in the marriage relation and its avowed intention not to leave the matter within the exclusive domain and the
vagaries of the parties to alone dictate.

It is clear that the petitioner did, in fact, specifically pray for legal separation. 11 That other remedies, whether principal or
incidental, have likewise been sought in the same action cannot dispense, nor excuse compliance, with any of the statutory
requirements aforequoted.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby GRANTED and the proceedings below, including the Decision of 17 March
1980 appealed from, are NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-23102 April 24, 1967

CECILIO MENDOZA, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and LUISA DE LA ROSA MENDOZA, respondents.

Guillermo B. Ilagan for petitioner.


George Y. Cadhit for respondents.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:

Cecilio Mendoza resorts to this Court for a review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in case CA-G.R. No. 30005-R, denying
a writ of prohibition and injunction against the orders of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija refusing dismissal of Civil Case
No. 3436 of that Court.1wph1.t

We glean from the record that Luisa de la Rosa Mendoza instituted Case No. 3436 against petitioner herein. In the complaint,
she averred that she was married to Cecilio Mendoza on 2 September 1953; that they lived together as husband and wife until 14
July 1954, when the husband departed for the United States to further his studies and practice his profession; that since then,
defendant Mendoza "without justifiable cause or reason deliberately abandoned and neglected plaintiff and despite repeated
demands by plaintiff, defendant has failed and refused, and still fails and refuses, to provide for the maintenance and support of
plaintiff, who is allegel to be pregnant, sickly and without any source of revenue, while defendant (now petitioner) is employed in
a hospital in the United States, earning an average of $200.00 a month, besides being a part-owner of lands in Muoz, Nueva
Ecija, assessed at P32,330.00 in 1955.

In due course, defendant Cecilio Mendoza moved for dismissal of the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and improper venue. The
motion having been denied, he filed an answer with counterclaim, putting in issue the validity of his marriage to plaintiff (Brief, p.
13), and plaintiff (now respondent) Luisa de la Rosa duly replied.

On 3 July 1961 defendant filed a second motion to dismiss, this time predicated on the complaint's failure to state a cause of
action, because it contained no allegation that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made before the filing of the suit,
and invoking the provisions of Article 222 of the Civil Code of the Philippines (R.A. No. 386) that provides:

ART. 222. No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same family unless it should appear that earnest
efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have failed, subject to the limitations in article 2035.

The Court of First Instance, having refused to entertain his second motion to dismiss, the defendant petitioned the Court of
Appeals for writ of prohibition with preliminary injunction to stop the Court of First Instance from further proceeding with the case.
The Court of Appeals gave due course to his petition and issued the preliminary writ prayed for; but, after hearing and
consideration of the merits, it denied the writ of prohibition and dissolved the injunction.

His motion for reconsideration having been denied, Cecilio Mendoza then resorted to this Court, which gave due course to his
petition for review.

Petitioner argues that Article 222 of the Civil Code of the Philippines (jam. quot.) requires that before a suit between members of
the same family (in this case between husband and wife) is filed or maintained, it must appear that earnest efforts toward a
compromise have been made, and the only way to make it so appear when the suit is filed is by a proper averment to that effect
in the complaint. Since the law forbids a suit being initiated (filed) or maintained unless such efforts at compromise appear, the
showing that efforts in question were made is a condition precedent to the existence of the cause of action. It follows that the
failure of the complaint to plead that plaintiff previously tried in earnest to reach a settlement out of court renders it assailable for
lack of cause of action and it may be so attacked at any stage of the case even on appeal.

While we agree that petitioner's position represents a correct statement of the general rule on the matter, we are nevertheless
constrained to hold that the Court of Appeals and the Court of First Instance committed no error in refusing to dismiss the
complaint, for on its face, the same involved a claim for future support that under Article 2035 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
can not be subject of a valid compromise, and is, therefore, outside the sphere of application of Article 222 of the Code upon
which petitioner relies. This appears from the last proviso of said Article 222, already quoted. Even the answer below, in
attacking the validity of the marriage of plaintiff-respondent Luisa de la Rosa to defendant-petitioner Cecilio Mendoza, poses a
non-compromisable issue.

ART. 2035. No compromise upon the following questions shall be valid:

(1) x x x;

(2) The validity of a marriage or a legal separation;

(3) x x x;

(4) Future support.

Since no valid compromise is possible on these issues, a showing of previous efforts to compromise them would be superfluous.
It may be that the complaint asks for both future support and support in arrears, as petitioner contends. But, the possibility of
compromise on the latter does not negate the existence of a valid cause of action for future support, to which Article 222 can not
apply.

Wherefore, the decision of the Court of Appeals, sustaining that of the court of origin denying dismissal of the complaint, is
affirmed. Costs against petitioner. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-61549 May 27, 1985

FRANCISCO DE ASIS & CO., INC., FRANCISCO DE ASIS and LEOCADIO DE ASIS, petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, and MERCEDES PRIETO DELGADO, respondents.

Cruz, Durian, Agabin, Atienza & Alday for petitioners.

Efren C. Carag for private respondent.

RELOVA, J:

In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners seek to reverse and/or modify the decision, dated July 30, 1981, of respondent
Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the trial court, as well as the resolution, dated August 20, 1982, denying the motion for
reconsideration.

The facts of the case as aptly synthesized and adopted in toto by the respondent appellate court are as follows:

Defendant Francisco de Asis & Co., Inc. was organized sometime in 1967 with Francisco de Asis as its president
and Leocadio de Asis as one of the members of the Board of Directors, As a stock brokerage company, it did
business in the Makati Stock Exchange wherein one becomes a member upon the execution of an undertaking
by at least 2 members of its Board of Directors who own 95% of the stocks to answer solidarily for the
corporation liabilities of the member company. Leocadio de Asis and Francisco de Asis who owned 95% of the
outstanding capital stock of the Francisco de Asis & Co., Inc. executed a joint and several undertaking on July
25, 1967 wherein they jointly and severally warrant the equitable payment of all valid and legitimate corporate
liabilities of Francisco de Asis & Co., Inc. in connection with its membership in the Makati Stock Exchange
(Exhibits A, A-1, and A-2).

Sometime in June, 1970 the defendant company thru its president Francisco de Asis approached Mrs. Mercedes
P. Delgado for assistance to secure a loan in the amount of P200,000.00 from the Resource & Finance
Corporation. Since Francisco de Asis was a good friend and his father Leocadio de Asis was solvent and
answerable in a joint and solidarily undertaking of the company, she agreed to raise the amount of P200,000.00
as requested. She was able to secure P100,000.00 from the Resource and Finance Corporation for which she
executed a promissory note (Exhibit F) and the amount of P100,000.00 from her brother Benito Prieto, Jr. With
this amount, she deposited it in the Bank of Asia, Makati Branch in favor of Francisco de Asis & Co., Inc. under
current account of 2-001, in accordance with the instructions of its President Francisco de Asis (Exhibit B).
Thereafter, on or about August, 1973 Francisco de Asis informed her that he had P100,000.00 to be made as
partial payment of their loan and suggested that she invest it by buying shares of Philex Mining. To this
suggestion, she agreed. Unfortunately, this supposed partial payment which was to be invested in shares of
Philex was not carried out because Francisco de Asis & Co., Inc. was suspended by the Makati Stock Exchange
from trading, As a result, there was a rush of claims against the company resulting in its collapse. She Called up
Mr. Asis to settle the loan and she was assured of settlement as Mr. Leocadio de Asis is solvent and
answerable for the debts of the company. Mr. de Asis even sent her a cable assuring her that the loan would be
settled (Exhibits C and C-1). This loan she extended to Francisco de Asis & Co., Inc. remained unpaid. On the
other hand, she had been paying on her own the loan with the Resource & Finance Corp. as well as with her
brother Benito Prieto, Jr. She is married but separated from her husband.

On the part of the defendants only Leocadio de Asis testified. His testimony substantially established that he is a
lawyer and had fully understood the effects and circumstances of executing the joint and several undertaking,
Exhibit A, which was made in accomodation to his son Francisco de Asis. He was a nominal stockholder of the
Francisco de Asis & Co., Inc. of which 97% of the subscribed capital belong to his son Francisco while the
remaining 3% was subscribed by him This joint and several undertaking, Exhibit A, was to answer for obligation
in favor of the Makati Stock Exchange in connection with the operation of said exchange and not in favor of any
other party (Exhibit I). He was compelled to execute this joint and several undertaking which in his opinion is null
and void especially considering that a nominal stock member like himself wig be held liable because no license
will be issued unless this condition is first satisfied. He was an original Director of the defendant corporation and
at one time chairman of the board for a short period. He ceased to be an officer of this corporation sometime in
1970. He had no direct participation in the management of the corporation to attend the board meetings. The
corporation had never pass any resolution authorizing Francisco de Asis to secure a loan of P200,000.00 from
Mercedes P. Delgado. As a matter of fact, he had no knowledge of this transaction except when the instant suit
was filed. (pp. 34-37, Record on Appeal). (pages 30-32, Rollo).

Petitioners raised the same assignments of errors presented and passed upon by the appellate court that the latter erred (1) in
declaring that the obligation sued upon was corporate loan of Francisco de Asis and Co., Inc. and not a personal loan of
Francisco de Asis with the private respondent; and (2) in holding petitioner Leocadio de Asis liable, jointly and severally, with
petitioners Francisco de Asis and Francisco de Asis & Co., Inc. under the "Joint and Several Undertakings."

WE do not agree.

The records are negative of any evidence which would show that the corporate nature of the transaction alleged in paragraphs 4
and 8 of the complaint which read:

4. Sometime in June of 1970, defendant, Francisco de Asis approached plaintiff, who was a good friend, and
informed her that he was in need of P200,000.00 because the stock brokerage firm bearing his name, defendant
Francisco de Asis and Co., Inc. was encountering cash flow problems;

8. On July 2, 1970, plaintiff deposited the P200,000.00 to the bank account of defendant corporation at the Bank
of Asia, Makati Branch (pages 32-33, Rollo).

have been denied and proved to be false. Thus, We are in affirmance of the findings of respondent appellate court that

The necessity and urgency for the loan of P200,000.00 was not to meet the personal need of Francisco de Asis
as there is no showing that he was in financial difficulties but to resolve the cash flow problems of Francisco de
Asis and Co., Inc. for which plaintiff-appellee deposited the amount of P200,000.00 on July 2, 1970 in the current
account of defendant corporation at the Makati Branch of the Bank of Asia. Neither would the absence of the
usual documents, i.e., promissory notes and/or real estate or chattel mortgages, negate the existence of the
loan. Considering the relationship between the parties, being very good friends, plaintiff-appellee dispensed with
the customary documentation in her desire to bail out a friend from the difficulties that his corporation is facing,
97% of the capital stock of which he owned. But the loan of P200,000.00 is not totally without any document. The
deposit slip (Exhibit "B") of the Bank of Asia showing the deposit of P200,000.00 on July 2, 1970, in Current
Account No. 2-0017 of defendant corporation indicates the receipt of said amount. And the record is bereft of any
evidence disclosing that said funds were used other than for corporate purposes.

If the transaction contemplated by the parties herein is that of a personal loan to Francisco de Asis, then plaintiff
could have simply written out a check in the latter's name or deposited the amount of the loan in his personal
account. (page 33, Rollo).

The claim of the corporation that it had not authorized Francisco de Asis to obtain loan for the company from the private
respondent is belied by the fact that upon deposit of the sum of P200,000.00 in its current account, it had retained and disbursed
the said amount. And, assuming that it had not really authorized Francisco de Asis to borrow money from private respondent,
the company is still obliged to return the same under Article 2154 of the Civil Code which provides:

If something is received when there is no right to demand it, and it was unduly delivered through mistake, the
obligation to return it arises.

Relative to the argument that Francisco and Leocadio de Asis' liability under their "Joint and Several Undertaking" is limited to
the obligation of the corporation in connection with its membership at the Makati Stock Exchange, their liability is spelled out by
Exhibit "A" as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, for and in consideration of the foregoing premises, the Owners hereby jointly and
severally warrant the equitable payment of all valid and legitimate corporate liabilities of the Francisco de Asis &
Co., Inc. in connection with its membership at the Makati Stock Exchange Exhibit "A" (page 33, Rollo).

The execution of the foregoing instrument is a requirement for membership in the Makati Stock Exchange. Subdivision 2,
Section 1 of Article XIII of the Constitution of the Makati Stock Exchange clearly states:
that stockholders owning at least 95% of the outstanding capital stock of the applicant corporation shall execute
a public instrument making themselves jointly and severally liable without limitation for all the transactions and
dealings of said corporation and a copy of said document shall be filed with the Commission provided, however,
that if the 95% outstanding capital stock is owned by only one person another stockholder shall be required to
execute with him the said public instrument or guaranty. (page 34, Rollo), (Emphasis supplied).

And, as pointed out by respondent appellate court, "Leocadio and Francisco de Asis knowingly and voluntarily executed and
signed the Joint and Several Undertaking, Exhibit "A" ". More so, in the case of Leocadio de Asis who is a lawyer and, therefore,
knew the legal import and far-reaching consequences of the document he signed.

ACCORDINGLY, for lack of merit, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-28394 November 26, 1970

PEDRO GAYON, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
SILVESTRE GAYON and GENOVEVA DE GAYON, defendants-appellees.

German M. Lopez for plaintiff-appellant.

Pedro R. Davila for defendants-appellees.

CONCEPCION, C.J.:

Appeal, taken by plaintiff Pedro Gayon, from an order of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo dismissing his complaint in Civil Case
No. 7334 thereof.

The records show that on July 31, 1967, Pedro Gayon filed said complaint against the spouses Silvestre Gayon and Genoveva
de Gayon, alleging substantially that, on October 1, 1952, said spouses executed a deed copy of which was attached to the
complaint, as Annex "A" whereby they sold to Pedro Gelera, for the sum of P500.00, a parcel of unregistered land therein
described, and located in the barrio of Cabubugan, municipality of Guimbal, province of Iloilo, including the improvements
thereon, subject to redemption within five (5) years or not later than October 1, 1957; that said right of redemption had not been
exercised by Silvestre Gayon, Genoveva de Gayon, or any of their heirs or successors, despite the expiration of the period
therefor; that said Pedro Gelera and his wife Estelita Damaso had, by virtue of a deed of sale copy of which was attached to
the complaint, as Annex "B" dated March 21, 1961, sold the aforementioned land to plaintiff Pedro Gayon for the sum of
P614.00; that plaintiff had, since 1961, introduced thereon improvements worth P1,000; that he had, moreover, fully paid the taxes
on said property up to 1967; and that Articles 1606 and 1616 of our Civil Code require a judicial decree for the consolidation of the
title in and to a land acquired through a conditional sale, and, accordingly, praying that an order be issued in plaintiff's favor for
the consolidation of ownership in and to the aforementioned property.

In her answer to the complaint, Mrs. Gayon alleged that her husband, Silvestre Gayon, died on January 6, 1954, long before the
institution of this case; that Annex "A" to the complaint is fictitious, for the signature thereon purporting to be her signature is not
hers; that neither she nor her deceased husband had ever executed "any document of whatever nature in plaintiff's favor"; that
the complaint is malicious and had embarrassed her and her children; that the heirs of Silvestre Gayon had to "employ the
services of counsel for a fee of P500.00 and incurred expenses of at least P200.00"; and that being a brother of the deceased
Silvestre Gayon, plaintiff "did not exert efforts for the amicable settlement of the case" before filing his complaint. She prayed,
therefore, that the same be dismissed and that plaintiff be sentenced to pay damages.

Soon later, she filed a motion to dismiss, reproducing substantially the averments made in her answer and stressing that, in view
of the death of Silvestre Gayon, there is a "necessity of amending the complaint to suit the genuine facts on record." Presently,
or on September 16, 1967, the lower court issued the order appealed from, reading:

Considering the motion to dismiss and it appearing from Exhibit "A" annexed to the complaint that Silvestre
Gayon is the absolute owner of the land in question, and considering the fact that Silvestre Gayon is now dead
and his wife Genoveva de Gayon has nothing to do with the land subject of plaintiff's complaint, as prayed for,
this case is hereby dismissed, without pronouncement as to costs. 1

A reconsideration of this order having been denied, plaintiff interposed the present appeal, which is well taken.

Said order is manifestly erroneous and must be set aside. To begin with, it is not true that Mrs. Gayon "has nothing to do with
the land subject of plaintiff's complaint." As the widow of Silvestre Gayon, she is one of his compulsory heirs 2and has,
accordingly, an interest in the property in question. Moreover, her own motion to dismiss indicated merely "a necessity of
amending the complaint," to the end that the other successors in interest of Silvestre Gayon, instead of the latter, be made
parties in this case. In her opposition to the aforesaid motion for reconsideration of the plaintiff, Mrs. Gayon alleged, inter alia,
that the "heirs cannot represent the dead defendant, unless there is a declaration of heirship." Inasmuch, however, as
succession takes place, by operation of law, "from the moment of the death of the decedent" 3 and "(t)he inheritance includes all
the property, rights and obligations of a person which are not extinguished by his death," 4 it follows that if his heirs were included
as defendants in this case, they would be sued, not as "representatives" of the decedent, but as owners of an aliquot interest in
the property in question, even if the precise extent of their interest may still be undetermined and they have derived it from the
decent. Hence, they may be sued without a previous declaration of heirship, provided there is no pending special proceeding for
the settlement of the estate of the decedent. 5

As regards plaintiff's failure to seek a compromise, as an alleged obstacle to the present case, Art. 222 of our Civil Code
provides:

No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same family unless it should appear that earnest
efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have failed, subject to the limitations in article
2035.

It is noteworthy that the impediment arising from this provision applies to suits "filed or maintained between members of the
same family." This phrase, "members of the same family," should, however, be construed in the light of Art. 217 of the same
Code, pursuant to which:

Family relations shall include those:

(1) Between husband and wife;

(2) Between parent and child;

(3) Among other ascendants and their descendants;

(4) Among brothers and sisters.

Mrs. Gayon is plaintiff's sister-in-law, whereas her children are his nephews and/or nieces. Inasmuch as none of them is
included in the enumeration contained in said Art. 217 which should be construed strictly, it being an exception to the general
rule and Silvestre Gayon must necessarily be excluded as party in the case at bar, it follows that the same does not come
within the purview of Art. 222, and plaintiff's failure to seek a compromise before filing the complaint does not bar the same.

WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is hereby set aside and the case remanded to the lower court for the inclusion, as
defendant or defendants therein, of the administrator or executor of the estate of Silvestre Gayon, if any, in lieu of the decedent,
or, in the absence of such administrator or executor, of the heirs of the deceased Silvestre Gayon, and for further proceedings,
not inconsistent with this decision, with the costs of this instance against defendant-appellee, Genoveva de Gayon. It is so
ordered.

[G.R. No. 119714. May 29, 1997]

SALVADOR S. ESQUIVIAS and ALICIA DOMALAON-ESQUIVIAS, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, JOSE G.
DOMALAON, ELENA G. DOMALAON and REGISTER OF DEEDS OF SORSOGON, respondents.
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J.:

A 6,270-SQUARE METER PARCEL OF LAND in the poblacion of Gubat, Sorsogon, [1] is the subject of this action for
reconveyance and damages.
Julia Galpo de Domalaon was the owner of a piece of land with an area of 1,260 square meters and the two-storey house
standing thereon. In 1950 she extrajudicially constituted this property into a family home. Alicia Domalaon-Esquivias, Elena G.
Domalaon and Jose G. Domalaon, among other children, were named beneficiaries thereof.[2]
On 11 March 1974 a Deed of Absolute Sale was executed by Julia Galpo de Domalaon in favor of her son-in-law, Atty.
Salvador Esquivias, husband of Alicia Domalaon.Subject matter of the deed was the property constituting the family home the
two-storey house and the residential lot on which it stood, more particularly described in the deed as

"x x x containing an area corresponding to the ground floor area of the house (136 sq. m.) plus and including its outside
surrounding area of land measuring three (3) meters from the outside walls on all sides of said house, and including the whole
width and length of the driveway leading from the house to Manook Street. This is likewise part and parcel of the family home
declared in the name of Julia Galpo de Domalaon under Tax Declaration No. 9021 containing an original area of 1,260 square
meters, more or less, and assessed at P1,070." [3]

On 30 March 1977 the family home was dissolved by Julia Galpo de Domalaon with the conformity of all her
children. Afterwards, another deed of sale was executed by her dated 12 April 1977 transferring to Jose G. Domalaon the house
and lot which once constituted the family home. The deed indicated that the property being sold was the entire 1,260 square
meters. [4] However, in the Affidavit of Confirmatory Waiver of Rights, [5] the area was increased to 2,456 square meters.
Prior to the sale of the property to him, or on 21 October 1976, Jose already filed two (2) applications for Free Patent in his
name covering the entire property. When his first application was approved, a certificate of title[6] was issued on 11 February
1981. His rights over the other application covering the rest of the property were relinquished by him in favor of his sister
Elena. [7] It turned out later that Elena G. Domalaon also succeeded in her application for Free Patent and a certificate of title was
issued in her name on 18 March 1985.[8]
Alleging that it was only in 1981 that she came to know that the document she signed in favor of Atty. Salvador S. Esquivias
in 1974 was actually a deed of sale, Julia Galpo de Domalaon filed a disbarment case against Atty. Esquivias. According to her,
being a son-in-law and lawyer of the Domalaons, Atty. Esquivias took advantage of her trust and confidence and poor eyesight
by representing that the document was a sale of her land in favor of all her children. But the Solicitor General, who investigated
the case, recommended its dismissal for lack of merit thus

xxxx

The claim of the complainant that respondent took advantage of her trust and confidence and presented to her for signature a
prepared document which he represented as a distribution of her lands to her children is not credible x x x x It is inconceivable
that from March 1974 up to January 1981, complainant had never informed her children that she had already signed a document
transferring her ricelands to them x x x x And what is more, it is too much of a coincidence that Elena Domalaon discovered the
document at the Office of the Register of Deeds of Sorsogon in January 1981 x x x x The only reasonable conclusion is that
Elena knew all along about the existence of said document, which is a genuine deed of sale in favor of respondent, and she and
her mother (complainant herself) only concocted the alleged misrepresentation committed by respondent just to get even with
him x x x x The settled rule is that the serious consequences of disbarment or suspension should follow only where there is a
clear preponderance of evidence against the respondent. The presumption is that the attorney is innocent of the charges
proffered and has performed his duty as a lawyer in accordance with his oath.

Complainant's evidence is obviously insufficient to prove dishonesty on the part of respondent. Complainant's version is not
credible, and respondent has adduced sufficient evidence to prove motive for the filing of the instant complaint x x x x [9]

This Court adopted the above Recommendation and dismissed the case.[10]
Upon discovering that the subject lands were already titled in the names of Jose and Elena, Atty. Esquivias and his wife
filed an action for reconveyance and damages before the Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon. In their complaint they claimed the
entire 6,270 square meters and not just the house and lot they acquired by purchase from Julia.According to them, when
Silvestre Domalaon, husband of Julia, was still alive he promised to transfer the entire property in their names as payment of his
accumulated debts to them. Thus, they declared the property in their names and paid the taxes thereon.
After trial, the court ruled in favor of plaintiffs thus

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court hereby orders:


1. That plaintiff Salvador Esquivias and Alicia Domalaon-Esquivias be declared the owners of the house and the portion of the
land it is standing on, with an area of 136 sq.m., plus and including its outside surrounding area of land measuring three (3)
meters from the outside walls on all sides of the house, and including the whole width and length of the driveway leading from
the house to Manook Street;

2. That Jose Domalaon should reconvey to the plaintiffs that property mentioned above; and for the purpose, a licensed surveyor
be commissioned to set off that particular portion of the property. The fee of such surveyor should be paid by defendant Jose
Domalaon;

3. That the property identified as Lot No. 453 be partitioned by the heirs of Julia G. Domalaon, and as a consequence, the
Register of Deeds of Sorsogon is ordered to cancel OCT No. P-22729 in the name of Elena Domalaon and issue the
corresponding titles to the portions owned by each heir;

4. That defendants Jose Domalaon and Elena Domalaon should pay to the plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the sum of P5,000 as
moral damages, and P5,000 as attorney's fees;

5. That defendants, likewise, jointly and severally, should pay the costs of this suit.

Not satisfied with the decision, respondents Jose G. Domalaon and Elena G. Domalaon elevated the case to the Court of
Appeals which reversed the decision of the trial court and dismissed the case on the basis of its finding that there was no
compliance with the mandatory requirements of Art. 222 of the New Civil Code; hence, the instant petition.
Three (3) issues need to be resolved: (a) Was the appellate court correct in holding that no earnest effort towards a
compromise between members of the same family was made, in contravention of Art. 222 of the Civil Code? (b) Did the
Report/Recommendation of the Solicitor General in the disbarment case, which was adopted by the Supreme Court, rule on the
validity of the sale executed by Julia Domalaon? (c) Who has a better right over the subject property, the Esquiviases or the
Domalaons?
Petitioners contend that Atty. Esquivias is only a brother-in-law of Jose and Elena Domalaon. Atty. Esquivias is not a
member of the family of his wife and is outside the scope and coverage of the law requiring that the same members of a family
should exert efforts to bring about a compromise before the commencement of a litigation.
We agree with petitioners. Article 222 of the Civil Code provides that no suit shall be filed or maintained between members
of the same family unless it should appear that earnest efforts towards a compromise have been made but the same have
failed. The reason for the law is that a lawsuit between family members generates deeper bitterness than one between
strangers. Hence, it is necessary that every effort should be made towards a compromise before a litigation is allowed to breed
hate and passion in the family. [11]
But this requirement in Art. 222 of the Civil Code applies only to suits between or among members of the same family. The
phrase "between members of the same family" should be construed in the light of Art. 217 of the Civil Code [12] under which
"family relations" include only those (a) between husband and wife, (b) between parent and child, (c) among other ascendants
and their descendants, and (d) among brothers and sisters.
As correctly pointed out by petitioners, Atty. Salvador S. Esquivias is not included in the enumeration of who are members
of the same family, as he is only a brother-in-law of respondents Jose and Elena by virtue of his marriage to their sister
Alicia. His relationship with respondents is based on affinity and not on consanguinity. Consequently, insofar as he is concerned,
he is a stranger with respect to the family of his wife and, as such, the mandatory requirement of "earnest effort toward a
compromise" does not apply to him. In Magbaleta v. Gonong[13] we ruled that "efforts to compromise" are not a jurisdictional
prerequisite for the maintenance of an action whenever a stranger to the family is a party thereto, whether as necessary or
indispensable one. An alien to the family may not be willing to suffer the inconvenience of, much less relish, the delay and the
complications that wranglings between and among relatives more often than not entail. Besides, it is neither practical nor fair that
the rights of a family be made to depend on a stranger who just happens to have innocently acquired some interest in a property
by virtue of his affinity to the parties. Contrary to the ruling of the Court of Appeals, we find no reason to give Art. 222 a broader
scope than its literal import.
On the second issue, petitioner Salvador S. Esquivias postulates that the validity of the deed of sale in his favor had already
been sustained in the disbarment proceedings against him. As a consequence, the facts established therein have become the
law of the case and can no longer be disturbed by the Court of Appeals.
The argument is flawed. In the case of In re Almacen [14] we ruled

x x x x Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, they do not involve a trial
of an action or a suit, but are rather investigations by the Court into the conduct of one of its officers. Not being intended to inflict
punishment, it is in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. It may be
initiated by the Court motu proprio. Public interest is its primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether or
not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the
Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of
preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of
members who by their misconduct have proved themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities
pertaining to the office of an attorney. In such posture, there can thus be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor.

For this reason, whatever has been decided in the disbarment case cannot be a source of right that may be enforced in another
action, like this case before us.
Moreover, what was decided in the disbarment proceedings was the issue of whether Atty. Esquivias violated his oath by
defrauding and deceiving the complainant into conveying to him the properties in question, and not the issue of the validity of the
deed of sale. When the Solicitor General made a declaration that the deed was valid, it was only because the same was
incidentally necessary for the prompt resolution of the case. Indeed, in matters involving questions of genuineness and due
execution of documents purporting to convey properties of considerable value, no less than an action instituted for that purpose
before a court of competent jurisdiction is necessary, rather than a mere administrative proceeding, like a disbarment case,
where the procedure followed is, more often than not, summary, and where the question on validity of the instrument is merely a
collateral and not the main issue.
Consequently, the judgment on the disbarment proceedings, which incidentally touched on the issue of the validity of the
deed of sale, cannot be considered conclusive in another action where the validity of the same deed of sale is merely one of the
main issues. At best, such judgment may only be given weight when introduced as evidence, but in no case does it bind the
court in the second action.
We are convinced, however, that the sale in favor of Atty. Esquivias was made by Julia with full knowledge of the facts and
there appears nothing on record to warrant a declaration of nullity of the deed from the standpoint of fraud.
It must be emphasized that the bare existence of confidential relation between grantor and grantee does not, standing
alone, raise the presumption of fraud. A deed will not be set aside merely because the grantor and grantee sustained a
confidential relationship where the evidence shows no fraud or abuse of confidence. [15] Besides, if Julia really had a cause of
action against Atty. Esquivias, why did she file only a disbarment case instead of the more appropriate action for annulment of
contract?
As regards the third issue, this Court notes the glaring irregularities that attended the transfer of the land in question to Jose
G. Domalaon and Elena G. Domalaon: First,the land was sold by Julia to Jose on 12 April 1977.[16] But even prior to that date, or
on 21 October 1976, Jose already applied for Free Patent in his name covering the land; [17] Second, during the disbarment
proceedings against Atty. Esquivias, Elena admitted on cross-examination that she went to the Register of Deeds of Sorsogon to
register another deed of sale one executed by her mother in favor of her brother Jose over the same house and lot ahead of the
deed of sale executed in favor of Atty. Esquivias. She succeeded in doing so by using the tax receipt paid by Atty. Esquivias
himself; [18] Third, in the deed of sale of Jose, what was sold to him was 1,260 square meters. However, in the Affidavit of
Confirmatory Waiver of Rights the area was increased to 2,456 square meters; Fourth, Jose relinquished to Elena Lot No. 453
with an area of 3,814 square meters. Surprisingly, the records contain no deed or evidence showing that Julia likewise sold to
Jose Lot No. 453. What was sold was 1,260 square meters if we go by the deed of sale, or 2,456 square meters if we base it on
the Affidavit of Confirmatory Waiver of Rights. As aptly observed by the trial court, how could Jose relinquish to Elena something
which he did not own? Fifth, Julia executed an affidavit [19] dated 17 July 1986 wherein she ceded her rights and interests over Lot
No. 453 in favor of Jose. But it will be observed that such affidavit was not sufficient to transfer ownership of the subject lot. Even
if it did, it was executed only after more than four (4) years from the date Jose relinquished to Elena his alleged rights over Lot
No. 453.
These circumstances confirm the belief that there indeed was collusion among the Domalaons to defeat the valid and
legitimate claim of the Esquiviases by consolidating the ownership of the entire property in the names of Jose G. Domalaon and
Elena G. Domalaon. They likewise belie the Domalaons' profession of ignorance with respect to the existence of the first sale.
Logically, while the deed of sale in favor of Jose G. Domalaon was registered earlier, the same cannot prevail over the
deed of sale in favor of Atty. Esquivias because private respondent knew of the prior sale to petitioners, and such knowledge
tainted his registration with bad faith. [20] To merit protection under Art. 1544, second par.,[21] the second buyer must act in good
faith in registering his deed.
While we are sustaining petitioners' rights over the house and lot subject of the 11 March 1974 deed of sale, we cannot find
any justification to likewise award to them the rest of the property. They presented no evidence other than their self-serving
assertion that the entire property was promised to them by the late Silvestre Domalaon. The fact that such promise was not
contradicted by private respondents does not prove that their claim over the entire property is valid and subsisting. Furthermore,
although the entire property was declared by petitioners in their names for taxation purposes, it does not by itself constitute
conclusive evidence of ownership. [22]
Finally, while the certificates of title in the names of Jose G. Domalaon and Elena G. Domalaon are indefeasible,
unassailable and binding against the whole world, including the government itself, they do not create or vest title. They merely
confirm or record title already existing and vested. They cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner, nor can they
be used as a shield for the commission of fraud; neither does they permit one to enrich himself at the expense of others. [23]
Although a review of the decree of registration is no longer available on account of the expiration of the one-year period
from entry thereof, an equitable remedy is still available to the Esquiviases who were wrongfully deprived of their property, i.e., to
compel Jose G. Domalaon in whose name the house and lot in question had been wrongfully registered, to reconvey the
property to the Esquiviases, provided that the same has not yet been transferred to innocent persons for value. [24]
The registered property is deemed to be held in trust for the real owners by the person in whose name it has been
registered. In this action for reconveyance, the decree of registration is respected as incontrovertible. What is sought instead is
the transfer of the property, in this case, the title thereof, which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another
person's name, to its rightful and legal owners.[25]
WHEREFORE, the Decision of respondent Court of Appeals reversing that of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 54, Gubat,
Sorsogon, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the Decision of the latter court in favor of petitioners as quoted in pages four (4)
and five (5) hereof is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. Costs against private respondents.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 125465. June 29, 1999]

SPOUSES AUGUSTO HONTIVEROS and MARIA HONTIVEROS, petitioners, vs. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, Branch 25,
Iloilo City and SPOUSES GREGORIO HONTIVEROS and TEODORA AYSON, respondents.

DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:

On December 3, 1990, petitioners, the spouses Augusto and Maria Hontiveros, filed a complaint for damages against
private respondents Gregorio Hontiveros and Teodora Ayson before the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 25, where it
was docketed as Civil Case No. 19504. In said complaint, petitioners alleged that they are the owners of a parcel of land, in the
town of Jamindan, Province of Capiz, as shown by OCT No. 0-2124, issued pursuant to the decision of the Intermediate
Appellate Court, dated April 12, 1984, which modified the decision of the Court of First Instance of Capiz, dated January 23, 1975,
in a land registration case [1] filed by private respondent Gregorio Hontiveros; that petitioners were deprived of income from the
land as a result of the filing of the land registration case; that such income consisted of rentals from tenants of the land in the
amount of P66,000.00 per year from 1968 to 1987, and P595,000.00 per year thereafter; and that private respondents filed the land
registration case and withheld possession of the land from petitioners in bad faith. [2]
In their answer, private respondents denied that they were married and alleged that private respondent Hontiveros was a
widower while private respondent Ayson was single. They denied that they had deprived petitioners of possession of and income
from the land. On the contrary, they alleged that possession of the property in question had already been transferred to
petitioners on August 7, 1985, by virtue of a writ of possession, dated July 18, 1985, issued by the clerk of court of the Regional
Trial Court of Capiz, Mambusao, the return thereof having been received by petitioners counsel; that since then, petitioners have
been directly receiving rentals from the tenants of the land; that the complaint failed to state a cause of action since it did not
allege that earnest efforts towards a compromise had been made, considering that petitioner Augusto Hontiveros and private
respondent Gregorio Hontiveros are brothers; that the decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court in Land Registration Case No.
N-581-25 was null and void since it was based upon a ground which was not passed upon by the trial court; that petitioners claim
for damages was barred by prescription with respect to claims before 1984; that there were no rentals due since private
respondent Hontiveros was a possessor in good faith and for value; and that private respondent Ayson had nothing to do with
the case as she was not married to private respondent Gregorio Hontiveros and did not have any proprietary interest in the
subject property.Private respondents prayed for the dismissal of the complaint and for an order against petitioners to pay
damages to private respondents by way of counterclaim, as well as reconveyance of the subject land to private respondents.[3]
On May 16, 1991, petitioners filed an Amended Complaint to insert therein an allegation that earnest efforts towards a
compromise have been made between the parties but the same were unsuccessful.
In due time, private respondents filed an Answer to Amended Complaint with Counterclaim, in which they denied, among
other things, that earnest efforts had been made to reach a compromise but the parties were unsuccessful.
On July 19, 1995, petitioners moved for a judgment on the pleadings on the ground that private respondents answer did not
tender an issue or that it otherwise admitted the material allegations of the complaint. [4] Private respondents opposed the motion
alleging that they had denied petitioners claims and thus tendered certain issues of fact which could only be resolved after trial.[5]
On November 23, 1995, the trial court denied petitioners motion. At the same time, however, it dismissed the case on the
ground that the complaint was not verified as required by Art. 151 of the Family Code and, therefore, it did not believe that
earnest efforts had been made to arrive at a compromise. The order of the trial court reads: [6]

The Court, after an assessment of the diverging views and arguments presented by both parties, is of the opinion and so holds
that judgment on the pleadings is inappropriate not only for the fact that the defendants in their answer, particularly in its
paragraph 3 to the amended complaint, specifically denied the claim of damages against them, but also because of the ruling in
De Cruz vs. Cruz, G.R. No. 27759, April 17, 1970 (32 SCRA 307), citing Rili vs. Chunaco, 98 Phil. 505, which ruled that the party
claiming damages must satisfactorily prove the amount thereof and that though the rule is that failure to specifically deny the
allegations in the complaint or counter-claim is deemed an admission of said allegations, there is however an exception to it, that
is, that when the allegations refer to the amount of damages, the allegations must still be proved. This ruling is in accord with the
provision of Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court.

That while the plaintiffs in their amended complaint allege that earnest efforts towards a compromise with the defendants were
made, the fact is that their complaint was not verified as provided in Article 151 of the Family Code. Besides, it is not believed
that there were indeed earnest efforts made to patch up and/or reconcile the two feuding brothers, Gregorio and Augusto, both
surnamed Hontiveros.

The submission of the plaintiffs that, assuming no such earnest efforts were made, the same is not necessary or jurisdictional in
the light of the ruling in Rufino Magbaleta, et al., petitioners, vs. Hon. Arsenio M. Gonong, et al., respondents, No. L-44903, April
22, 1977, is, to the mind of this Court, not applicable to the case at bar for the fact is the rationale in that case is not present in
the instant case considering these salient points:

a) Teodora Ayson, the alleged wife of defendant Gregorio Hontiveros and allegedly not a member of the Hontiveros Family, is
not shown to be really the wife of Gregorio, a fact which Gregorio also denied in their verified answer to the amended complaint;

b) Teodora Ayson has not been shown to have acquired any proprietary right or interest in the land that was litigated by Gregorio
and Augusto, unlike in the cited case of Magbaleta where it was shown that a stranger to the family acquired certain right;

c) In the decision rendered by the appellate court no mention was made at all of the name of Teodora Ayson as part-awardee of
Lot 37 that was adjudged to Gregorio other than himself who was therein described as a widower. Moreover, Teodora was never
mentioned in said decision, nor in the amended complaint and in the amended motion for judgment on the pleadings that she
ever took any part in the act or transaction that gave rise to the damages allegedly suffered by the plaintiffs for which they now
claim some compensation.

WHEREFORE, in the light of all the foregoing premises, the Court orders, as it hereby orders, the dismissal of this case with
cost against the plaintiffs.

SO ORDERED.

Petitioners moved for a reconsideration of the order of dismissal, but their motion was denied.[7] Hence, this petition for
review on certiorari. Petitioners contend:
I. THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT PALPABLY ERRED IN DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT ON THE GROUND THAT
IT DOES NOT ALLEGE UNDER OATH THAT EARNEST EFFORTS TOWARD A COMPROMISE WERE MADE
PRIOR TO THE FILING THEREOF AS REQUIRED BY ARTICLE 151 OF THE FAMILY CODE.
II. THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT PALPABLY ERRED IN NOT DENYING THE MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE
PLEADINGS AND ORDERING A TRIAL ON THE MERITS.
Private respondents raise a preliminary question. They argue that petitioners should have brought this case on appeal to
the Court of Appeals since the order of the trial court judge was actually a decision on the merits. On the other hand, even if
petition for certiorari were the proper remedy, they contend that the petition is defective because the judge of the trial court has
not been impleaded as a respondent. [8]
Private respondents contention is without merit. The petition in this case was filed pursuant to Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court. As explained in Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation v. Court of Appeals :[9]

Under Section 5, subparagraph (2)(e), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court is vested with the power to review,
revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders
of lower courts in all cases in which only an error or question of law is involved. A similar provision is contained in Section 17,
fourth paragraph, subparagraph (4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended by Republic Act No. 5440. And, in such cases
where only questions of law are involved, Section 25 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines implementing Batas Pambansa Blg.
129, in conjunction with Section 3 of Republic Act No. 5440, provides that the appeal to the Supreme Court shall be taken by
petition for certiorari which shall be governed by Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

The rule, therefore, is that direct appeals to this Court from the trial court on questions of law have to be through the filing of a
petition for review on certiorari. It has been held that:

x x x when a CFI (RTC) adjudicates a case in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, the correct mode of elevating the judgment
to the Court of Appeals is by ordinary appeal, or appeal by writ of error, involving merely the filing of a notice of appeal - except
only if the appeal is taken in special proceedings and other cases wherein multiple appeals are allowed under the law, in which
even the filing of a record on appeal is additionally required. Of course, when the appeal would involve purely questions of law or
any of the other cases (except criminal cases as stated hereunder) specified in Section 5(2), Article X of the Constitution, it
should be taken to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rules 42 and 45 of the Rules of
Court.

By way of implementation of the aforestated provisions of law, this Court issued on March 9, 1990 Circular No. 2-90, paragraph 2
of which provides:

2. Appeals from Regional Courts to the Supreme Court. Except in criminal cases where the penalty imposed is life imprisonment
or reclusion perpetua, judgments of regional trial courts may be appealed to the Supreme Court only by petition for review on
certiorari in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, this
being the clear intendment of the provision of the Interim Rules that (a)ppeals to the Supreme Court shall be taken by petition for
certiorari which shall be governed by Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

Under the foregoing considerations, therefore, the inescapable conclusion is that herein petitioner adopted the correct mode of
appeal in G.R. No. 88354 by filing with this Court a petition to review on certiorari the decision of the Regional Trail Court of
Pasig in Civil Case No. 25528 and raising therein purely questions of law.

In Meneses v. Court of Appeals , it was held: [10]

It must also be stressed that the trial courts order of 5 June 1992 dismissing the petitioners complaint was, whether it was right or
wrong, a final order because it had put an end to the particular matter resolved, or settled definitely the matter therein disposed
of and left nothing more to be done by the trial court except the execution of the order. It is a firmly settled rule that the remedy
against such order is the remedy of appeal and not certiorari. That appeal may be solely on questions of law, in which case it
may be taken only to this Court; or on questions of fact and law, in which case the appeal should be brought to the Court of
Appeals. Pursuant to Murillo v. Consul, the appeal to this Court should be by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

As private respondents themselves admit, the order of November 23, 1995 is a final order from which an appeal can be
taken. It is final in the sense that it disposes of the pending action before the court and puts an end to the litigation so that
nothing more was left for the trial court to do.[11] Furthermore, as the questions raised are questions of law, petition for review
on certiorari is the proper mode of appeal. These questions are: (1) whether after denying petitioners motion for judgment on the
pleadings, the trial court could dismiss their complaint motu proprio for failure to comply with Art. 151 of the Family Code which
provides that no suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it appears from the complaint, which must be
verified, that earnest efforts towards a compromise have been made but the same have failed; and (2) whether Art. 151 applies
to this case. These questions do not require an examination of the probative value of evidence presented and the truth or
falsehood of facts asserted which questions of fact would entail. [12]
On the other hand, petitioners contend that the trial court erred in dismissing the complaint when no motion to that effect
was made by any of the parties. They point out that, in opposing the motion for judgment on the pleadings, private respondents
did not seek the dismissal of the case but only the denial of petitioners motion. Indeed, what private respondents asked was that
trial be held on the merits.
Of course, there are instances when the trial court may order the dismissal of the case even without a motion to that effect
filed by any of the parties. In Baja v. Macandog ,[13] this Court mentioned these cases, to wit:

The court cannot dismiss a case motu proprio without violating the plaintiffs right to be heard, except in the following instances: if
the plaintiff fails to appear at the time of the trial; if he fails to prosecute his action for an unreasonable length of time; or if he
fails to comply with the rules or any order of the court; or if the court finds that it has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
suit.

However, none of these exceptions appears in this case.


Moreover, the trial court itself found that judgment on the pleadings is inappropriate not only for the fact that [private
respondents] in their answer . . . specifically denied the claim of damages against them, but also because of the [rule] . . . that
the party claiming damages must satisfactorily prove the amount thereof. . . . Necessarily, a trial must be held.
Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides: [14]

SECTION 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits the material allegation of
the adverse partys pleading, the court may, on motion of the 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.

Under the rules, if there is no controverted matter in the case after the answer is filed, the trial court has the discretion to grant a
motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by a party.[15] Where there are actual issues raised in the answer, such as one
involving damages, which require the presentation of evidence and assessment thereof by the trial court, it is improper for the
judge to render judgment based on the pleadings alone. [16] In this case, aside from the amount of damages, the following factual
issues have to be resolved, namely, (1) private respondent Teodora Aysons participation and/or liability, if any, to petitioners and
(2) the nature, extent, and duration of private respondents possession of the subject property. The trial court, therefore, correctly
denied petitioners motion for judgment on the pleadings.
However, the trial court erred in dismissing petitioners complaint on the ground that, although it alleged that earnest efforts
had been made toward the settlement of the case but they proved futile, the complaint was not verified for which reason the trial
court could not believe the veracity of the allegation.
The absence of the verification required in Art. 151 does not affect the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the
complaint. The verification is merely a formal requirement intended to secure an assurance that matters which are alleged are
true and correct. If the court doubted the veracity of the allegations regarding efforts made to settle the case among members of
the same family, it could simply have ordered petitioners to verify them. As this Court has already ruled, the court may simply
order the correction of unverified pleadings or act on it and waive strict compliance with the rules in order that the ends of justice
may be served. [17] Otherwise, mere suspicion or doubt on the part of the trial court as to the truth of the allegation that earnest
efforts had been made toward a compromise but the parties efforts proved unsuccessful is not a ground for the dismissal of an
action. Only if it is later shown that such efforts had not really been exerted would the court be justified in dismissing the
action. Thus, Art. 151 provides:

No suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it should appear from the verified complaint or petition that
earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have failed. It if is shown that no such efforts were in
fact made, the case must be dismissed.

This rule shall not apply to cases which may not be the subject of compromise under the Civil Code.

Moreover, as petitioners contend, Art. 151 of the Family Code does not apply in this case since the suit is not exclusively
among family members. Citing several cases [18] decided by this Court, petitioners claim that whenever a stranger is a party in a
case involving family members, the requisite showing of earnest efforts to compromise is no longer mandatory. They argue that
since private respondent Ayson is admittedly a stranger to the Hontiveros family, the case is not covered by the requirements of
Art. 151 of the Family Code.
We agree with petitioners. The inclusion of private respondent Ayson as defendant and petitioner Maria Hontiveros as
plaintiff takes the case out of the ambit of Art. 151 of the Family Code. Under this provision, the phrase members of the same
family refers to the husband and wife, parents and children, ascendants and descendants, and brothers and sisters, whether full
or half-blood. [19] As this Court held in Guerrero v. RTC, Ilocos Norte, Br. XVI:[20]

As early as two decades ago, we already ruled in Gayon v. Gayon that the enumeration of brothers and sisters as members of
the same family does not comprehend sisters-in-law. In that case, then Chief Justice Concepcion emphasized that sisters-in-law
(hence, also brothers-in-law) are not listed under Art. 217 of the New Civil Code as members of the same family. Since Art. 150
of the Family Code repeats essentially the same enumeration of members of the family, we find no reason to alter existing
jurisprudence on the mater. Consequently, the court a quo erred in ruling that petitioner Guerrero, being a brother-in-law of
private respondent Hernando, was required to exert earnest efforts towards a compromise before filing the present suit.

Religious relationship and relationship by affinity are not given any legal effect in this jurisdiction.[21] Consequently, private
respondent Ayson, who is described in the complaint as the spouse of respondent Hontiveros, and petitioner Maria Hontiveros,
who is admittedly the spouse of petitioner Augusto Hontiveros, are considered strangers to the Hontiveros family, for purposes
of Art. 151.
Petitioners finally question the constitutionality of Art. 151 of the Family Code on the ground that it in effect amends the
Rules of Court. This, according to them, cannot be done since the Constitution reserves in favor of the Supreme Court the power
to promulgate rules of pleadings and procedure. Considering the conclusion we have reached in this case, however, it is
unnecessary for present purposes to pass upon this question. Courts do not pass upon constitutional questions unless they are
the very lis mota of the case.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the Order, dated November 23, 1995 of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City,
Branch 25 is SET ASIDE and the case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings not inconsistent with this decision.
SO ORDERED.

26. G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and RORIDEL OLAVIANO MOLINA, respondents.

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 of Santos 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.

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 "E-1." Reynaldo did not present
any evidence as he appeared only during the pre-trial conference.

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 'p sychological 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 objectives of marriage, then there is enough reason to leave
the spouses to their individual fates.

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.

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 Appeals6 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 'p sychological 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, 7Justice 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 be incapable 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 pre-nuptial
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-a-vis existing 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 of ejusdem
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 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. 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
vinculi contemplated 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.

27. G.R. No. 119190 January 16, 1997


CHI MING TSOI, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and GINA LAO-TSOI, 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 Appeals1 its decision are as
follows:

From the evidence adduced, the following acts were preponderantly established:

Sometime on May 22, 1988, the plaintiff married the defendant at the Manila Cathedral, . . . Intramuros Manila, as
evidenced by their Marriage Contract. (Exh. "A")

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.

There, they slept together on the same bed in the same room for the first night of their married life.

It is the version of the 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 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. [T]hey 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.

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.

The plaintiff is not willing to reconcile with her husband.

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.
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:

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 'u tter 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.
SO ORDERED.

28. G.R. No. 149498 May 20, 2004

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
LOLITA QUINTERO-HAMANO, respondent.

DECISION

CORONA, J.:

Before us is a petition for review of the decision1 dated August 20, 2001 of the Court of Appeals2 affirming the decision 3 dated
August 28, 1997 of the Regional Trial Court of Rizal, Branch 72, declaring as null and void the marriage contracted between
herein respondent Lolita M. Quintero-Hamano and her husband Toshio Hamano.

On June 17, 1996, respondent Lolita Quintero-Hamano filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of her marriage to her husband
Toshio Hamano, a Japanese national, on the ground of psychological incapacity.

Respondent alleged that in October 1986, she and Toshio started a common-law relationship in Japan. They later lived in the
Philippines for a month. Thereafter, Toshio went back to Japan and stayed there for half of 1987. On November 16, 1987, she
gave birth to their child.

On January 14, 1988, she and Toshio were married by Judge Isauro M. Balderia of the Municipal Trial Court of Bacoor, Cavite.
Unknown to respondent, Toshio was psychologically incapacitated to assume his marital responsibilities, which incapacity
became manifest only after the marriage. One month after their marriage, Toshio returned to Japan and promised to return by
Christmas to celebrate the holidays with his family. After sending money to respondent for two months, Toshio stopped giving
financial support. She wrote him several times but he never responded. Sometime in 1991, respondent learned from her friends
that Toshio visited the Philippines but he did not bother to see her and their child.

The summons issued to Toshio remained unserved because he was no longer residing at his given address. Consequently, on
July 8, 1996, respondent filed an ex parte motion for leave to effect service of summons by publication. The trial court granted the
motion on July 12, 1996. In August 1996, the summons, accompanied by a copy of the petition, was published in a newspaper of
general circulation giving Toshio 15 days to file his answer. Because Toshio failed to file a responsive pleading after the lapse of
60 days from publication, respondent filed a motion dated November 5, 1996 to refer the case to the prosecutor for investigation.
The trial court granted the motion on November 7, 1996.

On November 20, 1996, prosecutor Rolando I. Gonzales filed a report finding that no collusion existed between the parties. He
prayed that the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor be allowed to intervene to ensure that the evidence submitted was not
fabricated. On February 13, 1997, the trial court granted respondents motion to present her evidence ex parte. She then testified
on how Toshio abandoned his family. She thereafter offered documentary evidence to support her testimony.

On August 28, 1997, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which read:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the marriage between petitioner Lolita M. Quintero-Hamano and Toshio Hamano,
is hereby declared NULL and VOID.

The Civil Register of Bacoor, Cavite and the National Statistics Office are ordered to make proper entries into the
records of the afore-named parties pursuant to this judgment of the Court.

SO ORDERED. 4

In declaring the nullity of the marriage on the ground of Toshios psychological incapacity, the trial court held that:

It is clear from the records of the case that respondent spouses failed to fulfill his obligations as husband of the petitioner
and father to his daughter. Respondent remained irresponsible and unconcerned over the needs and welfare of his
family. Such indifference, to the mind of the Court, is a clear manifestation of insensitivity and lack of respect for his wife
and child which characterizes a very immature person. Certainly, such behavior could be traced to respondents mental
incapacity and disability of entering into marital life. 5
The Office of the Solicitor General, representing herein petitioner Republic of the Philippines, appealed to the Court of Appeals
but the same was denied in a decision dated August 28, 1997, the dispositive portion of which read:

WHEREFORE , in view of the foregoing, and pursuant to applicable law and jurisprudence on the matter and evidence
on hand, judgment is hereby rendered denying the instant appeal. The decision of the court a quo is AFFIRMED. No
costs.

SO ORDERED.6

The appellate court found that Toshio left respondent and their daughter a month after the celebration of the marriage, and
returned to Japan with the promise to support his family and take steps to make them Japanese citizens. But except for two
months, he never sent any support to nor communicated with them despite the letters respondent sent. He even visited the
Philippines but he did not bother to see them. Respondent, on the other hand, exerted all efforts to contact Toshio, to no avail.

The appellate court thus concluded that respondent was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations to his
family, and to "observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support" pursuant to Article 68 of the Family
Code of the Philippines. The appellate court rhetorically asked:

But what is there to preserve when the other spouse is an unwilling party to the cohesion and creation of a family as a
social inviolable institution? Why should petitioner be made to suffer in a marriage where the other spouse is not around
and worse, left them without even helping them cope up with family life and assist in the upbringing of their daughter as
required under Articles 68 to 71 of the Family Code? 7

The appellate court emphasized that this case could not be equated with Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Molina 8and Santos
vs. Court of Appeals. 9 In those cases, the spouses were Filipinos while this case involved a "mixed marriage," the husband being
a Japanese national.

Hence, this appeal by petitioner Republic based on this lone assignment of error:

The Court of Appeals erred in holding that respondent was able to prove the psychological incapacity of Toshio Hamano
to perform his marital obligations, despite respondent s failure to comply with the guidelines laid down in
the Molina case. 10

According to petitioner, mere abandonment by Toshio of his family and his insensitivity to them did not automatically constitute
psychological incapacity. His behavior merely indicated simple inadequacy in the personality of a spouse falling short of
reasonable expectations. Respondent failed to prove any severe and incurable personality disorder on the part of Toshio, in
accordance with the guidelines set in Molina.

The Office of the Public Attorney, representing respondent, reiterated the ruling of the courts a quo and sought the denial of the
instant petition.

We rule in favor of petitioner.

The Court is mindful of the policy of the 1987 Constitution to protect and strengthen the family as the basic autonomous social
institution and marriage as the foundation of the family. 11 Thus, any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the
marriage. 12

Respondent seeks to annul her marriage with Toshio on the ground of psychological incapacity. Article 36 of the Family Code of
the Philippines provides that:

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.

In Molina, we came up with the following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 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. x x x

(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 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 (Salita vs. Magtolis, 233 SCRA 100, June 13, 1994),
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 dos." 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, 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 1095.13 (emphasis supplied)

The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court in Santos: "psychological incapacity must
be characterized by (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence and (c) incurability." 14 The foregoing guidelines do not require that a
physician examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be "medically or clinically
identified." What is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition. For
indeed, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical
examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to. 15

We now proceed to determine whether respondent successfully proved Toshios psychological incapacity to fulfill his marital
responsibilities.

Petitioner showed that Toshio failed to meet his duty to live with, care for and support his family. He abandoned them a month
after his marriage to respondent. Respondent sent him several letters but he never replied. He made a trip to the Philippines but
did not care at all to see his family.
We find that the totality of evidence presented fell short of proving that Toshio was psychologically incapacitated to assume his
marital responsibilities. Toshio s act of abandonment was doubtlessly irresponsible but it was never alleged nor proven to be due
to some kind of psychological illness. After respondent testified on how Toshio abandoned his family, no other evidence was
presented showing that his behavior was caused by a psychological disorder. Although, as a rule, there was no need for an
actual medical examination, it would have greatly helped respondent s case had she presented evidence that medically or
clinically identified his illness. This could have been done through an expert witness. This respondent did not do.

We must remember that abandonment is also a ground for legal separation. 16 There was no showing that the case at bar was
not just an instance of abandonment in the context of legal separation. We cannot presume psychological defect from the mere
fact that Toshio abandoned his family immediately after the celebration of the marriage. As we ruled in Molina, it is not enough to
prove that a spouse failed to meet his responsibility and duty as a married person; it is essential that he must be shown to be
incapable of doing so due to some psychological, not physical, illness. 17 There was no proof of a natal or supervening disabling
factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates a person from
accepting and complying with the obligations essential to marriage. 18

According to the appellate court, the requirements in Molina and Santos do not apply here because the present case involves a
"mixed marriage," the husband being a Japanese national. We disagree. In proving psychological incapacity, we find no
distinction between an alien spouse and a Filipino spouse. We cannot be lenient in the application of the rules merely because
the spouse alleged to be psychologically incapacitated happens to be a foreign national. The medical and clinical rules to
determine psychological incapacity were formulated on the basis of studies of human behavior in general. Hence, the norms
used for determining psychological incapacity should apply to any person regardless of nationality.

In Pesca vs. Pesca, 19 this Court declared that marriage is an inviolable social institution that the State cherishes and protects.
While we commiserate with respondent, terminating her marriage to her husband may not necessarily be the fitting denouement.

WHEREFORE , the petition for review is hereby GRANTED. The decision dated August 28, 1997 of the Court of Appeals is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.

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

ARABELLE J. MENDOZA, Petitioner,


vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and DOMINIC C. MENDOZA, Respondents.

DECISION

BERSAMIN, J.:

To entitle petitioner spouse to a declaration of the nullity of his or her marriage, the totality of the evidence must sufficiently prove
that respondent spouse's psychological incapacity was grave, incurable and existing prior to the time of the marriage.

Petitioner wife appeals the decision promulgated on March 19, 2003,1 whereby the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed the judgment
of the Regional Trial Court in Mandaluyong City (RTC) declaring her marriage with respondent Dominic C. Mendoza (Dominic)
as null and void.

Antecedents

Petitioner and Dominic met in 1989 upon his return to the country from his employment in Papua New Guinea. They had been
next-door neighbors in the appartelle they were renting while they were still in college she, at Assumption College while he, at
San Beda College taking a business management course. After a month of courtship, they became intimate and their intimacy
ultimately led to her pregnancy with their daughter whom they named Allysa Bianca. They got married on her eighth month of
pregnancy in civil rites solemnized in Pasay City on June 24, 1991,2 after which they moved to her place, although remaining
dependent on their parents for support.

When petitioner delivered Alyssa Bianca, Dominic had to borrow funds from petitioners best friend to settle the hospital bills. He
remained jobless and dependent upon his father for support until he finished his college course in October 1993. She took on
various jobs to meet the family s needs, first as a part-time aerobics instructor in 1992 and later, in 1993, as a full-time employee
in Sanofi, a pharmaceutical company. Being the one with the fixed income, she shouldered all of the familys expenses (i.e.,
rental, food, other bills and their childs educational needs).
On his part, Dominic sold Colliers Encyclopedia for three months after his graduation from college before he started working as
a car salesman for Toyota Motors in Bel-Air, Makati in 1994.3 Ironically, he spent his first sales commission on a celebratory bash
with his friends inasmuch as she shouldered all the household expenses and their childs schooling because his irregular income
could not be depended upon. In September 1994, she discovered his illicit relationship with Zaida, his co-employee at Toyota
Motors. Eventually, communication between them became rare until they started to sleep in separate rooms, thereby affecting
their sexual relationship. 4

In November 1995, Dominic gave her a Daihatsu Charade car as a birthday present. Later on, he asked her to issue two blank
checks that he claimed would be for the cars insurance coverage. She soon found out, however, that the checks were not paid
for the cars insurance coverage but for his personal needs. Worse, she also found out that he did not pay for the car itself,
forcing her to rely on her father-in-law to pay part of the cost of the car, leaving her to bear the balance of P120,000.00.

To make matters worse, Dominic was fired from his employment after he ran away with P164,000.00 belonging to his employer.
He was criminally charged with violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and estafa, for which he was arrested and incarcerated.
After petitioner and her mother bailed him out of jail, petitioner discovered that he had also swindled many clients some of whom
were even threatening petitioner, her mother and her sister themselves. 5

On October 15, 1997, Dominic abandoned the conjugal abode because petitioner asked him for "time and space to think things
over." A month later, she refused his attempt at reconciliation, causing him to threaten to commit suicide. At that, she and her
family immediately left the house to live in another place concealed from him.

On August 5, 1998, petitioner filed in the RTC her petition for the declaration of the nullity of her marriage with Dominic based on
his psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) opposed the petition.

Ruling of the RTC

In the RTC, petitioner presented herself as a witness, together with a psychiatrist, Dr. Rocheflume Samson, and Professor
Marites Jimenez. On his part, Dominic did not appear during trial and presented no evidence.

On August 18, 2000, the RTC declared the marriage between petitioner and Dominic an absolute nullity, 6 holding in part:

xxx. The result of Dr. Samson s clinical evaluation as testified to by her and per Psychiatric Report she issued together with one
Dr. Doris Primero showed that petitioner appears to be mature, strong and responsible individual. Godly, childlike trust however,
makes her vulnerable and easy to forgive and forget. Petitioner also believes that marriage was a partnership "for better and for
worse", she gave all of herself unconditionally to respondent. Unfortunately, respondent cannot reciprocate. On the one hand,
respondent was found to have a personality that can be characterized as inadequate, immature and irresponsible. His criminal
acts in the present time are mere extensions of his misconduct established in childhood. His childhood experiences of
separations and emotional deprivation largely contributed to this antisocial (sociopathic) attitude and lifestyle.

She concluded that respondent had evidently failed to comply with what is required of him as a husband and father. Besides
from his adulterous relationship and irresponsibility, his malevolent conduct and lack of true remorse indicate that he is
psychologically incapacitated to fulfill the role of a married man. 7

The RTC found that all the characteristics of psychological incapacity, i.e., gravity, antecedence and incurability, as set forth in
Republic v. Court of Appeals (Molina),8 were attendant, establishing Dominics psychological incapacity, viz:

Gravity from the evidence adduced it can be said that respondent cannot carry out the normal and ordinary duties of marriage
and family shouldered by any average couple existing under ordinary circumstances of life and work. Respondent is totally
incapable of observing mutual love, respect and fidelity as well as to provide support to his wife and child. Ever since the start of
the marriage respondent had left all the household concerns and the care of their child to petitioner while he studied and
indulged in night outs with friends. This continued even when he finished his studies and landed a job. He concealed his salary
from the petitioner and worse, had the gall to engage in sexual infidelity. Likewise worthy of serious consideration is
respondent s propensity to borrow money, his deceitfulness and habitual and continuous evasion of his obligations which (sic)
more often than not had led to the filing of criminal cases against him.

Antecedence Before the marriage petitioner was not aware of respondents personality disorder and it was only after marriage
that it begun to surface. Dr. Samson declared that respondents behavioral equilibrium started at a very early age of fifteen. His
dishonesty and lack of remorse are mere extensions of his misconduct in childhood which generally attributable to respondents
childhood experiences of separation and emotional deprivations. In fine, his psychological incapacity is but a product of some
genetic causes, faulty parenting and influence of the environment although its over manifestation appear only after the wedding.
Incurability Respondents personality disorder having existed in him long before he contracted marriage with petitioner, there
appears no chance for respondent to recover any (sic) ordinary means from such incapacity.

All told, the callous and irresponsible ways of respondent show that he does not possess the proper outlook, disposition and
temperament necessary for marriage. Indeed, this ultimate recourse of nullity is the only way by which petitioner can be
delivered from the bondage of a union that only proved to be a mockery and brought pain and dishonor to petitioner.9

Ruling of the CA

The Republic appealed to the CA, arguing that there was no showing that Dominics personality traits either constituted
psychological incapacity existing at the time of the marriage or were of the nature contemplated by Article 36 of the Family Code;
that the testimony of the expert witness, while persuasive, was not conclusive upon the court; and that the real reason for the
parties separation had been their frequent quarrels over financial matters and the criminal cases brought against Dominic.10

On March 19, 2003 the CA promulgated its assailed decision reversing the judgment of the RTC. 11 Specifically, it refused to be
bound by the findings and conclusions of petitioners expert witness, holding:

It has not been established to our satisfaction as well that respondents condition, assuming it is serious enough, was present
before or during the celebration of the marriage. Although petitioners expert witness concluded that petitioner was
psychologically incapacitated even before the parties marriage, the Court refuses to be bound by such finding, in view of the fact
that the witness findings, admittedly, were concluded only on the basis of information given by the petitioner herself, who, at the
time of the examination, interview, was already head strong in her resolve to have her marriage with the respondent nullified,
and harbored ill-feelings against respondent throughout her consultation with Dr. Samson. 12

The CA held the testimonies of petitioners witnesses insufficient to establish Dominics psychological affliction to be of such a
grave or serious nature that it was medically or clinically rooted. Relying on the pronouncements in Republic v.
Dagdag, 13 Hernandez v. Court of Appeals 14 and Pesca v. Pesca, 15 the CA observed:

In her testimony, petitioner described her husband as immature, deceitful and without remorse for his dishonesty, and lack of
affection. Such characteristics, however, do not necessarily constitute a case of psychological incapacity. A persons inability to
share or take responsibility, or to feel remorse for his misbehavior, or even to share his earnings with family members, are
indicative of an immature mind, but not necessarily a medically rooted psychological affliction that cannot be cured.

Even the respondents alleged sexual infidelity is not necessarily equivalent to psychological incapacity, although it may
constitute adequate ground for an action for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code. Nor does the fact that the
respondent is a criminal suspect for estafa or violation of the B.P. Blg. 22 constitutes a ground for the nullification of his marriage
to petitioner. Again, it may constitute ground for legal separation provided the respondent is convicted by final judgment and
sentenced to imprisonment of more than six (6) years. 16

Hence, this appeal by petitioner.

Issues

Petitioner assails the CAs refusal to be bound by the expert testimony and psychiatric evaluation she had presented in the trial
of the case, and the CAs reliance on the pronouncements in Dagdag, Hernandez and Pesca, supra. She contends that the
report on the psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Samson more than complied with the requirements prescribed in Santos v.
Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20) and Molina. She insists that the CA should have applied the
ruling in Marcos v. Marcos (G.R. No. 136490, October 19, 2000, 343 SCRA 755) to the effect that personal medical or
psychological examination was not a requirement for a declaration of psychological incapacity.

Ruling

The appeal has no merit.

We consider the CAs refusal to accord credence and weight to the psychiatric report to be well taken and warranted. The CA
correctly indicated that the ill-feelings that she harbored towards Dominic, which she admitted during her consultation with Dr.
Samson, furnished the basis to doubt the findings of her expert witness; that such findings were one-sided, because Dominic
was not himself subjected to an actual psychiatric evaluation by petitioners expert; and that he also did not participate in the
proceedings; and that the findings and conclusions on his psychological profile by her expert were solely based on the self-
serving testimonial descriptions and characterizations of him rendered by petitioner and her witnesses.
Moreover, Dr. Samson conceded that there was the need for her to resort to other people in order to verify the facts derived from
petitioner about Dominics psychological profile considering the ill-feelings she harbored towards him. It turned out, however, that
the only people she interviewed about Dominic were those whom petitioner herself referred, as the following testimony indicated:

Fiscal Zalameda

Q: So youre saying that the petitioner have an ill-feeling towards the respondent? At the time you interviewed?

A: Yes, Sir, during the first interview.

Q: How about during the subsequent interview?

A: During the subsequent interview more or less the petitioner was able to talk regarding her marital problems which is
uncomfort(able), so she was able to adapt, she was able to condition herself regarding her problems, Sir.

Q: But the ill-feeling was still there?

A: But the feeling was still there, Sir.

Q: Now, considering that this ill feeling of the petitioner insofar as the respondent is concerned, would you say that the petitioner
would only tell you information negative against the respondent?

A: Yes, may be Sir. But I do try to conduct or verify other people the facts given to me by the petitioner, Sir.

Q: And these other people were also people given to you or the name are given to you by the petitioner, Madame Witness?

A: Yes, Sir. 17

In fine, the failure to examine and interview Dominic himself naturally cast serious doubt on Dr. Samsons findings. The CA
rightly refused to accord probative value to the testimony of such expert for being avowedly given to show compliance with the
requirements set in Santos and Molina for the establishment of Dominic s psychological incapacity.

The CAs reliance on Dagdag, Hernandez and Pesca was not misplaced. It is easy to see why.

In Dagdag, we ruled that "Erlinda failed to comply with guideline No. 2 which requires that the root cause of psychological
incapacity must be medically or clinically identified and sufficiently proven by experts, since no psychiatrist or medical doctor
testified as to the alleged psychological incapacity of her husband."18 But here, the expert s testimony on Dominics psychological
profile did not identify, much less prove, the root cause of his psychological incapacity because said expert did not examine
Dominic in person before completing her report but simply relied on other peoples recollection and opinion for that purpose.

In Hernandez, we ruminated that:

xxx expert testimony should have been presented to establish the precise cause of private respondents psychological incapacity,
if any, in order to show that it existed at the inception of the marriage. The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage
rests upon petitioner. The Court is mindful of the policy of the 1987 Constitution to protect and strengthen the family as the basic
autonomous social institution and marriage as the foundation of the family. Thus, any doubt should be resolved in favor of the
validity of the marriage. 19

but the expert evidence submitted here did not establish the precise cause of the supposed psychological incapacity of Dominic,
much less show that the psychological incapacity existed at the inception of the marriage.

The Court in Pesca observed that:

At all events, petitioner has utterly failed, both in her allegations in the complaint and in her evidence, to make out a case of
psychological incapacity on the part of respondent, let alone at the time of solemnization of the contract, so as to warrant a
declaration of nullity of the marriage.

Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, invoked by her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity. 20
Apparent from the aforecited pronouncements is that it was not the absence of the medical experts testimony alone that was
crucial but rather petitioners failure to satisfactorily discharge the burden of showing the existence of psychological incapacity at
the inception of the marriage. In other words, the totality of the evidence proving such incapacity at and prior to the time of the
marriage was the crucial consideration, as the Court has reminded in Ting v. Velez-Ting: 21

By the very nature of cases involving the application of Article 36, it is logical and understandable to give weight to the expert
opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological temperament of parties in order to determine the root cause,
juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability of the psychological incapacity. However, such opinions, while highly advisable,
are not conditions sine qua non in granting petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. At best, courts must treat such opinions
as decisive but not indispensable evidence in determining the merits of a given case. In fact, if the totality of evidence presented
is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical or psychological examination of the person
concerned need not be resorted to. The trial court, as in any other given case presented before it, must always base its decision
not solely on the expert opinions furnished by the parties but also on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of the
proceedings.

Petitioners view that the Court in Marcos stated that the personal medical or psychological examination of respondent spouse
therein was not a requirement for the declaration of his psychological incapacity 22 is not entirely accurate. To be clear, the
statement in Marcos ran as follows:

The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court in Santos v. Court of Appeals:
"psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability." The foregoing
guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root
cause may be "medically or clinically identified." What is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the
party s psychological condition. For indeed, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological
incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to.

In light of the foregoing, even if the expert opinions of psychologists are not conditions sine qua non in the granting of petitions
for declaration of nullity of marriage, the actual medical examination of Dominic was to be dispensed with only if the totality of
evidence presented was enough to support a finding of his psychological incapacity. This did not mean that the presentation of
any form of medical or psychological evidence to show the psychological incapacity would have automatically ensured the
granting of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. What was essential, we should emphasize herein, was the
"presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition," as the Court said in Marcos.

But where, like here, the parties had the full opportunity to present the professional and expert opinions of psychiatrists tracing
the root cause, gravity and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity, then the opinions should be presented and be
weighed by the trial courts in order to determine and decide whether or not to declare the nullity of the marriages.

It bears repeating that the trial courts, as in all the other cases they try, must always base their judgments not solely on the
expert opinions presented by the parties but on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of their proceedings. 23

We find the totality of the evidence adduced by petitioner insufficient to prove that Dominic was psychologically unfit to discharge
the duties expected of him as a husband, and that he suffered from such psychological incapacity as of the date of the marriage.
Accordingly, the CA did not err in dismissing the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.

We have time and again held that 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 must concomitantly be assumed and discharged by the
parties to the marriage that, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, to
observe love, respect and fidelity, and to render help and support. We have also held 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. To qualify as psychological incapacity as a ground
for nullification of marriage, a persons psychological affliction must be grave and serious as to indicate an utter incapacity to
comprehend and comply with the essential objects of marriage, including the rights and obligations between husband and wife.
The affliction must be shown to exist at the time of marriage, and must be incurable.

Accordingly, the RTCs findings that Dominic s psychological incapacity was characterized by gravity, antecedence and
incurability could not stand scrutiny. The medical report failed to show that his actions indicated a psychological affliction of such
a grave or serious nature that it was medically or clinically rooted. His alleged immaturity, deceitfulness and lack of remorse for
his dishonesty and lack of affection did not necessarily constitute psychological incapacity. His inability to share or to take
responsibility or to feel remorse over his misbehavior or to share his earnings with family members, albeit indicative of immaturity,
was not necessarily a medically rooted psychological affliction that was incurable. Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility did
not equate with psychological incapacity. 24 Nor were his supposed sexual infidelity and criminal offenses manifestations of
psychological incapacity. If at all, they would constitute a ground only for an action for legal separation under Article 55 of the
Family Code.
Finally, petitioner contends that the Courts Resolution in A.M. No. 02-11-10 rendered appeals by the OSG no longer required,
and that the appeal by the OSG was a mere superfluity that could be deemed to have become functus officio if not totally
disregarded. 25

The contention is grossly erroneous and unfounded. The Resolution nowhere stated that appeals by the OSG were no longer
required. On the contrary, the Resolution explicitly required the OSG to actively participate in all stages of the proceedings, to wit:

a) The petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition on the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the City or
Provincial Prosecutor, within five days from the date of its filing and submit to the court proof of such service within the
same period. 26

b) The court may require the parties and the public prosecutor, in consultation with the Office of the Solicitor General, to
file their respective memoranda support of their claims within fifteen days from the date the trial is terminated. It may
require the Office of the Solicitor General to file its own memorandum if the case is of significant interest to the State. No
other pleadings or papers may be submitted without leave of court. After the lapse of the period herein provided, the
case will be considered submitted for decision, with or without the memoranda. 27

c) The parties, including the Solicitor General and the public prosecutor, shall be served with copies of the decision
personally or by registered mail. If the respondent summoned by publication failed to appear in the action, the
dispositive part of the decision shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation.28

d) The decision becomes final upon the expiration of fifteen days from notice to the parties.1wphi1 Entry of judgment
shall be made if no motion for reconsideration or new trial, or appeal is filed by any of the parties, the public prosecutor,
or the Solicitor General. 29

e) An aggrieved party or the Solicitor General may appeal from the decision by filing a Notice of Appeal within fifteen
days from notice of denial of the motion for reconsideration or new trial. The appellant shall serve a copy of the notice of
appeal on the adverse parties.30

The obvious intent of the Resolution was to require the OSG to appear as counsel for the State in the capacity of a defensor
vinculi (i.e., defender of the marital bond) to oppose petitions for, and to appeal judgments in favor of declarations of nullity of
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, thereby ensuring that only the meritorious cases for the declaration of nullity of
marriages based on psychological incapacity-those sufficiently evidenced by gravity, incurability and juridical antecedence-would
succeed.

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari; and AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on March 19,
2003 in CA-G.R. CV No. 68615.

The petitioner shall pay the costs of suit.

SO ORDERED.

30. G.R. No. 159594 November 12, 2012

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,


vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS (NINTH DIVISION), AND EDUARDO C. DE QUINTOS, .JR., Respondents.

DECISION

BERSAMIN, J.:

The State appeals the decision promulgated on July 30, 2003,1 whereby the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the declaration by the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 38, in Lingayen, Pangasinan of the nullity of the marriage between respondent Eduardo De Quintos,
Jr. (Eduardo) and Catalina Delos Santos-De Quintos (Catalina) based on the latter's psychological incapacity under Article 36 of
the Family Code.

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

Antecedents
Eduardo and Catalina were married on March 16, 1977 in civil rites solemnized by the Municipal Mayor of Lingayen,
Pangasinan. 2 The couple was not blessed with a child due to Catalinas hysterectomy following her second miscarriage. 3

On April 6, 1998, Eduardo filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of their marriage, 4 citing Catalinas psychological incapacity
to comply with her essential marital obligations. Catalina did not interpose any objection to the petition, but prayed to be given
her share in the conjugal house and lot located in Bacabac, Bugallon, Pangasinan. 5 After conducting an investigation, the public
prosecutor determined that there was no collusion between Eduardo and Catalina. 6

Eduardo testified that Catalina always left their house without his consent; that she engaged in petty arguments with him; that
she constantly refused to give in to his sexual needs; that she spent most of her time gossiping with neighbors instead of doing
the household chores and caring for their adopted daughter; that she squandered by gambling all his remittances as an
overseas worker in Qatar since 1993; and that she abandoned the conjugal home in 1997 to live with Bobbie Castro, her
paramour. 7

Eduardo presented the results of the neuro-psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Annabelle L. Reyes, a psychiatrist. Based on
the tests she administered on Catalina, 8 Dr. Reyes opined that Catalina exhibited traits of Borderline Personality Disorder that
was no longer treatable. Dr. Reyes found that Catalina s disorder was mainly characterized by her immaturity that rendered her
psychologically incapacitated to meet her marital obligations. 9

Catalina did not appear during trial but submitted her Answer/Manifestation,10 whereby she admitted her psychological incapacity,
but denied leaving the conjugal home without Eduardo s consent and flirting with different men. She insisted that she had only
one live-in partner; and that she would not give up her share in the conjugal residence because she intended to live there or to
receive her share should the residence be sold. 11

Ruling of the RTC

The RTC granted the petition on August 9, 2000, decreeing:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, this Honorable Court finds for the plaintiff and judgment is hereby
rendered:

1. Declaring the marriage between Eduardo C. de Quintos and Catalina delos Santos de Quintos, a nullity under Article
36 of the Family Code, as amended.

2. Ordering the Municipal Civil Registrar of Lingayen,Pangasinan to cancel the marriage of the parties from the Civil
Register of Lingayen, Pangasinan in accordance with this decision.

SO ORDERED. 12

The RTC ruled that Catalinas infidelity, her spending more time with friends rather than with her family, and her incessant
gambling constituted psychological incapacity that affected her duty to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. It held
that considering that the matter of determining whether a party was psychologically incapacitated was best left to experts like Dr.
Reyes, the results of the neuro-psychiatric evaluation by Dr. Reyes was the best evidence of Catalinas psychological
incapacity. 13

Ruling of the CA

On appeal, the State raised the lone error that:

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THE PARTIES MARRIAGE NULL AND VOID, DEFENDANT CATALINA
DELOS SANTOS-DE QUINTOS PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY NOT HAVING BEEN PROVEN TO EXIST.

On July 30, 2003, the CA promulgated its decision affirming the judgment of the RTC. The CA concluded that Eduardo proved
Catalina s psychological incapacity, observing that the results of the neuro-psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Reyes
showed that Catalina had been "mentally or physically ill to the extent that she could not have known her marital obligations;"
and that Catalina s psychological incapacity had been medically identified, sufficiently proven, duly alleged in the complaint and
clearly explained by the trial court.

Issue

In this appeal, the State, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), urges that the CA gravely erred because:
I

THERE IS NO SHOWING THAT CATALINAS ALLEGED PERSONALITY TRAITS ARE CONSTITUTIVE OF


PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY EXISTING AT THE TIME OF MARRIAGE CELEBRATION; NOR ARE THEY OF THE
NATURE CONTEMPLATED BY ARTICLE 36 OF THE FAMILY CODE.

II

MARITAL UNFAITHFULNESS OF THE [sic] CATALINA WAS NOT SHOWN TO BE A SYMPTOM OF


PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY.

III

ABANDONMENT OF ONES FAMILY IS ONLY A GROUND FOR LEGAL SEPARATION.

IV

GAMBLING HABIT OF CATALINA NOT LIKEWISE ESTABLISHED TO BE A SYMPTOM OF PSYCHOLOGICAL


INCAPACITY.

THE NEUROPSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION AND TESTIMONY OF DR. ANNABELLE REYES FAILED TO ESTABLISH
THE CAUSE OF CATALINAS INCAPACITY AND PROVE THAT IT EXISTED AT THE INCEPTION OF MARRIAGE, IS
GRAVE AND INCURABLE.14

The OSG argues that the findings and conclusions of the RTC and the CA did not conform to the guidelines laid down by the
Court in Republic v. Court of Appeals, (Molina); 15 and that Catalinas refusal to do household chores, and her failure to take care
of her husband and their adopted daughter were not "defects" of a psychological nature warranting the declaration of nullity of
their marriage, but mere indications of her difficulty, refusal or neglect to perform her marital obligations.

The OSG further argues that Catalinas infidelity, gambling habits and abandonment of the conjugal home were not grounds
under Article 36 of the Family Code; that there was no proof that her infidelity and gambling had occurred prior to the marriage,
while her abandonment would only be a ground for legal separation under Article 55(10) of the Family Code; that the neuro-
psychiatric evaluation by Dr. Reyes did not sufficiently establish Catalinas psychological incapacity; that Dr. Reyes was not
shown to have exerted effort to look into Catalina s past life, attitudes, habits and character as to be able to explain her alleged
psychological incapacity; that there was not even a finding of the root cause of her alleged psychological incapacity; and that
there appeared to be a collusion between the parties inasmuch as Eduardo admitted during the trial that he had given
P50,000.00 to Catalina in exchange for her non-appearance in the trial.

The OSG postulated that Catalinas unsupportive in-laws and Eduardos overseas deployment that had required him to be away
most of the time created the strain in the couples relationship and forced her to seek her friends emotional support and
company; and that her ambivalent attitude towards their adopted daughter was attributable to her inability to bear children of her
own.

Issue

The issue is whether there was sufficient evidence warranting the declaration of the nullity of Catalinas marriage to Eduardo
based on her psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code.

Ruling

We grant the petition for review.

Psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code contemplates an incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to
assume basic marital obligations, and is not merely the difficulty, refusal, or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill
will. It consists of: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage; (b) the inability must refer to the essential
obligations of marriage, that is, the conjugal act, the community of life and love, the rendering of mutual help, and the procreation
and education of offspring; and (c) the inability must be tantamount to a psychological abnormality. Proving that a spouse failed
to meet his or her responsibility and duty as a married person is not enough; it is essential that he or she must be shown to be
incapable of doing so due to some psychological illness. 16
In Santos v. Court of Appeals, 17 we decreed that psychological incapacity should refer to a mental incapacity that causes a party
to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants such as those enumerated in Article 68 of the Family Code and must be
characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability. In an effort to settle the confusion that may arise in deciding
cases involving nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity, we then laid down the following guidelines in the
later ruling in Molina, 18 viz:

(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. x x x.

xxxx

(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the
complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code
requires that the incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be
physical. x x x.

xxxx

(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the celebration" of the marriage. x x x.

xxxx

(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. x x x.

xxxx

(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. x x x.

xxxx

(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.

xxxx

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

The foregoing pronouncements in Santos and Molina have remained as the precedential guides in deciding cases grounded on
the psychological incapacity of a spouse. But the Court has declared the existence or absence of the psychological incapacity
based strictly on the facts of each case and not on a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations.20 Indeed, the incapacity
should be established by the totality of evidence presented during trial, 21making it incumbent upon the petitioner to sufficiently
prove the existence of the psychological incapacity. 22

Eduardo defends the rulings of the RTC and the CA, insisting that they thereby explained the gravity and severity of Catalina s
psychological incapacity that had existed even prior to the celebration of their marriage. 23

We are not convinced. Both lower courts did not exact a compliance with the requirement of sufficiently explaining the gravity,
root cause and incurability of Catalina s purported psychological incapacity. Rather, they were liberal in their appreciation of the
scanty evidence that Eduardo submitted to establish the incapacity.

To start with, Catalina s supposed behavior (i.e., her frequent gossiping with neighbors, leaving the house without Eduardos
consent, refusal to do the household chores and to take care of their adopted daughter, and gambling), were not even
established. Eduardo presented no other witnesses to corroborate his allegations on such behavior. At best, his testimony was
self-serving and would have no serious value as evidence upon such a serious matter that was submitted to a court of law.

Secondly, both lower courts noticeably relied heavily on the results of the neuro-psychological evaluation by Dr. Reyes despite
the paucity of factual foundation to support the claim of Catalina s psychological incapacity. In particular, they relied on the
following portion of the report of Dr. Reyes, to wit:

REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

Catalina is exhibiting traits of a borderline personality. This is characterized, mainly by immaturity in several aspects of the
personality. One aspect is in the area of personal relationships, where a person cannot really come up with what is expected in a
relationship that involves commitments. They are generally in and out of relationships, as they do not have the patience to
sustain this [sic] ties. Their behavior is like that of a child who has to be attended to as they might end up doing things which are
often regrettable. These people however usually do not feel remorse for their wrongdoings. They do not seem to learn from their
mistakes, and they have the habit of repeating these mistakes to the detriment of their own lives and that of their families. Owing
to these characteristics, people with these pattern of traits cannot be expected to have lasting and successful relationships as
required in marriage. It is expected that even with future relationships, things will not work out.

Families of these people usually reveal that parents relationship are not also that ideal. If this be the background of the
developing child, it is likely that his or her relationships would also end up as such.

xxxx

With all these collateral information being considered and a longitudinal history of defendant made, it is being concluded that she
was not able to come up with the minimum expected of her as a wife. Her behavior and attitude before and after the marriage is
highly indicative of a very immature and childish person, rendering her psychologically incapacitated to live up and meet the
responsibilities required in a commitment like marriage. Catalina miserably failed to fulfill her role as wife and mother, rendering
her incapacitated to comply with her duties inherent in marriage. In the same vein, it cannot be expected that this attitude and
behavior of defendant will still change because her traits have developed through the years and already ingrained within her. 24

Yet, the report was ostensibly vague about the root cause, gravity and incurability of Catalinas supposed psychological
incapacity. Nor was the testimony given in court by Dr. Reyes a source of vital information that the report missed out on. Aside
from rendering a brief and general description of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, both the report and court
testimony of Dr. Reyes tendered no explanation on the root cause that could have brought about such behavior on the part of
Catalina. They did not specify which of Catalinas various acts or omissions typified the conduct of a person with borderline
personality, and did not also discuss the gravity of her behavior that translated to her inability to perform her basic marital duties.
Dr. Reyes only established that Catalina was childish and immature, and that her childishness and immaturity could no longer be
treated due to her having already reached an age "beyond maturity." 25

Thirdly, we have said that the expert evidence presented in cases of declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological
incapacity presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert to make a conclusive
diagnosis of a grave, severe and incurable presence of psychological incapacity. 26 We have explained this need in Lim v. Sta.
Cruz-Lim, 27 stating:

The expert opinion of a psychiatrist arrived at after a maximum of seven (7) hours of interview, and unsupported by separate
psychological tests, cannot tie the hands of the trial court and prevent it from making its own factual finding on what happened in
this case. The probative force of the testimony of an expert does not lie in a mere statement of his theory or opinion, but rather in
the assistance that he can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for his criterion and the reasons upon
which the logic of his conclusion is founded. 28

But Dr. Reyes had only one interview with Catalina, and did not personally seek out and meet with other persons, aside from
Eduardo, who could have shed light on and established the conduct of the spouses before and during the marriage. For that
reason, Dr. Reyes report lacked depth and objectivity, a weakness that removed the necessary support for the conclusion that
the RTC and the CA reached about Catalinas psychological incapacity to perform her marital duties.

Under the circumstances, the report and court testimony by Dr. Reyes did not present the gravity and incurability of Catalinas
psychological incapacity. There was, to start with, no evidence showing the root cause of her alleged borderline personality
disorder and that such disorder had existed prior to her marriage. We have repeatedly pronounced that the root cause of the
psychological incapacity must be identified as a psychological illness, with its incapacitating nature fully explained and
established by the totality of the evidence presented during trial.29
What we can gather from the scant evidence that Eduardo adduced was Catalinas immaturity and apparent refusal to perform
her marital obligations. However, her immaturity alone did not constitute psychological incapacity. 30 To rule that such immaturity
amounted to psychological incapacity, it must be shown that the immature acts were manifestations of a disordered personality
that made the spouse completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state, which inability was merely
due to her youth or immaturity.31

Fourthly, we held in Suazo v. Suazo 32 that there must be proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor that effectively
incapacitated the respondent spouse from complying with the basic marital obligations, viz:

It is not enough that the respondent, alleged to be psychologically incapacitated, had difficulty in complying with his marital
obligations, or was unwilling to perform these obligations. Proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor an adverse integral
element in the respondents personality structure that effectively incapacitated him from complying with his essential marital
obligations must be shown. Mere difficulty, refusal or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will on the part of
the spouse is different from incapacity rooted in some debilitating psychological condition or illness; irreconcilable differences,
sexual infidelity or perversion, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility and the like, do not by themselves warrant a finding of
psychological incapacity under Article 36, as the same may only be due to a person s refusal or unwillingness to assume the
essential obligations of marriage.

The only fact established here, which Catalina even admitted in her Answer, was her abandonment of the conjugal home to live
with another man. Yet, abandonment was not one of the grounds for the nullity of marriage under the Family Code. It did not
also constitute psychological incapacity, it being instead a ground for legal separation under Article 55(10) of the Family Code.
On the other hand, her sexual infidelity was not a valid ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code,
considering that there should be a showing that such marital infidelity was a manifestation of a disordered personality that made
her completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of marriage. 33 Needless to state, Eduardo did not adduce such
evidence, rendering even his claim of her infidelity bereft of factual and legal basis.

Lastly, we do not concur with the assertion by the OSG that Eduardo colluded with Catalina. The assertion was based on his
admission during trial that he had paid her the amount of P50,000.00 as her share in the conjugal home in order to convince her
not to oppose his petition or to bring any action on her part,34 to wit:

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY FISCAL MUERONG

Q Mr. de Quintos, also during the first part of the hearing, your wife, the herein defendant, Catalina delos Santos-de Quintos,
has been religiously attending the hearing, but lately, I noticed that she is no longer attending and represented by counsel, did
you talk to your wife?

A No, sir.

Q And you find it more convenient that it would be better for both of you, if, she will not attend the hearing of this case you filed
against her, is it not?

A No, sir. I did not.

Q But, am I correct, Mr. de Quintos, that you and your wife had an agreement regarding this case?

A None, sir.

Q And you were telling me something about an agreement that you will pay her an amount of P50,000.00, please tell us, what is
that agreement that you have to pay her P50,000.00?

A Regarding our conjugal properties, sir.

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

A Yes, sir.

Q And why did you agree that you have to give her P50,000.00?

A It is because we bought a lot and constructed a house thereat, that is why I agreed, sir.

Q Is it not a fact, Mr. witness, that your wife does not oppose this petition for declaration of marriage which you filed against her?
A She does not opposed [sic], sir.

Q As a matter of fact, the only thing that she is concern [sic] about this case is the division of your conjugal properties?

A Yes, sir.

Q That is why you also agreed to give her P50,000.00 as her share of your conjugal properties, so that she will not pursue
whatever she wanted to pursue with regards to the case you filed against her, is that correct?

A Yes, sir.

Q And you already gave her that amount of P50,000.00, Mr. witness?

A Yes, sir.

Q And because she has already gotten her share of P50,000.00 that is the reason why she is no longer around here?

A Yes sir, it could be. 35

Verily, the payment to Catalina could not be a manifest sign of a collusion between her and Eduardo.1wphi1 To recall, she did
not interpose her objection to the petition to the point of conceding her psychological incapacity, but she nonetheless made it
clear enough that she was unwilling to forego her share in the conjugal house. The probability that Eduardo willingly gave her
the amount of P50,000.00 as her share in the conjugal asset out of his recognition of her unquestionable legal entitlement to such
share was very high, so that whether or not he did so also to encourage her to stick to her previously announced stance of not
opposing the petition for nullity of the marriage should by no means be of any consequence in determining the issue of collusion
between the spouses.

In fine, given the insufficiency of the evidence proving the psychological incapacity of Catalina, we cannot but resolve in favor of
the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. 36

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for review on certiorari; SET ASIDE the decision the Court of Appeals promulgated on
July 30, 2003; and DISMISS the petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage filed under Article 36 of the Family Code for lack
of merit.

Costs to be paid by the respondent.

SO ORDERED.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 168335
Petitioner,

Present:

CARPIO MORALES, J., Chairperson,

BRION,

BERSAMIN,
*
ABAD,

VILLARAMA, JR. and


*
- versus - SERENO, JJ.

Promulgated:

June 6, 2011

NESTOR GALANG,

Respondent.

x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

BRION, J.:

We resolve the Petition for Review on Certiorari [1] filed by the Republic of the Philippines (petitioner), challenging the
decision [2] dated November 25, 2004 and the resolution [3] dated May 9, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No.
70004. The challenged decision affirmed the decision [4] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 62, Angeles City, declaring the
marriage of Nestor Galang (respondent) and Juvy Salazar null and void on the ground of the latters psychological incapacity.
The assailed resolution denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration.

Antecedent Facts

On March 9, 1994, the respondent and Juvy contracted marriage in Pampanga. They resided in the house of the respondents
father in San Francisco, Mabalacat, Pampanga. The respondent worked as an artist-illustrator at the Clark Development
Corporation, earning P8,500.00 monthly. Juvy, on the other hand, stayed at home as a housewife. They have one child,
Christopher.

On August 4, 1999, the respondent filed with the RTC a petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage with Juvy, under
Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 9494. He alleged that Juvy was
psychologically incapacitated to exercise the essential obligations of marriage, as she was a kleptomaniac and a swindler.
He claimed that Juvy stole his ATM card and his parents money, and often asked money from their friends and relatives on the
pretext that Christopher was confined in a hospital. According to the respondent, Juvy suffers from mental deficiency, innate
immaturity, distorted discernment and total lack of care, love and affection [towards him and their] child. He posited that Juvys
incapacity was extremely serious and appears to be incurable. [5]

The RTC ordered the city prosecutor to investigate if collusion existed between the parties. Prosecutor Angelito I. Balderama
formally manifested, on October 18, 1999, that he found no evidence of collusion between the parties. The RTC set the case for
trial in its Order of October 20, 1999. The respondent presented testimonial and documentary evidence to substantiate his
allegations.

In his testimony, the respondent alleged that he was the one who prepared their breakfast because Juvy did not want to wake up
early; Juvy often left their child to their neighbors care; and Christopher almost got lost in the market when Juvy brought him
there. [6]

The respondent further stated that Juvy squandered the P15,000.00 he entrusted to her. He added that Juvy stole his ATM card
and falsified his signature to encash the check representing his (the respondents) fathers pension. He, likewise, stated that he
caught Juvy playing mahjong and kuwaho three (3) times. Finally, he testified that Juvy borrowed money from their relatives on
the pretense that their son was confined in a hospital. [7]

Aside from his testimony, the respondent also presented Anna Liza S. Guiang, a psychologist, who testified that she conducted
a psychological test on the respondent. According to her, she wrote Juvy a letter requesting for an interview, but the latter did not
respond. [8] In her Psychological Report, the psychologist made the following findings:

Psychological Test conducted on client Nestor Galang resembles an emotionally-matured individual. He


is well-adjusted to the problem he meets, and enable to throw-off major irritations but manifest[s] a very low
frustration tolerance which means he has a little ability to endure anxiety and the client manifests suppressed
feelings and emotions which resulted to unbearable emotional pain, depression and lack of self-esteem and
gained emotional tensions caused by his wifes behavior.

The incapacity of the defendant is manifested [in] such a manner that the defendant-wife: (1) being very
irresponsible and very lazy and doesnt manifest any sense of responsibility; (2) her involvement in gambling
activities such as mahjong and kuwaho; (3) being an estafador which exhibits her behavioral and personality
disorders; (4) her neglect and show no care attitude towards her husband and child; (5) her immature and rigid
behavior; (6) her lack of initiative to change and above all, the fact that she is unable to perform her marital
obligations as a loving, responsible and caring wife to her family. There are just few reasons to believe that the
defendant is suffering from incapacitated mind and such incapacity appears to be incorrigible.

xxx

The following incidents are the reasons why the couple separated:

1. After the marriage took place, the incapacity of the defendant was manifested on such occasions
wherein the plaintiff was the one who prepared his breakfast, because the defendant doesnt want to
wake up early; this became the daily routine of the plaintiff before reporting to work;

2. After reporting from work, the defendant was often out gambling, as usual, the plaintiff was the one
cooking for supper while the defendant was very busy with her gambling activities and never
attended to her husbands needs;

3. There was an occasion wherein their son was lost in the public market because of the
irresponsible attitude of the defendant;

4. That the defendant suffers from personality and behavioral disorders, there was an occasion
wherein the defendant [would] steal money from the plaintiff and use them for gambling;

5. Defendant, being an estafador had been manifested after their marriage took place, wherein the
defendant would come with stories so that people [would] feel pity on her and give her money.
Through false pretenses she [would] be able to deceive and take money from neighbors, relatives
and other people.

6. That the plaintiff convinced the defendant to stop her unhealthy lifestyle (gambling), but the
defendant never listened to his advices;

7. That the plaintiff was the one who [was] taking care of their son, when the plaintiff will leave for
work, the defendant [would] entrust their son to their neighbor and go [to] some place. This act
reflects the incapacity of the defendant by being an irresponsible mother;

8. That the defendant took their son and left their conjugal home that resulted into the couples
separation.

Psychological findings tend to confirm that the defendant suffers from personality and behavioral
disorders. These disorders are manifested through her grave dependency on gambling and stealing money. She
doesnt manifest any sense of responsibility and loyalty and these disorders appear to be incorrigible.

The plaintiff tried to forget and forgive her about the incidents and start a new life again and hoping she
would change. Tried to get attention back by showing her with special care, treating her to places for a weekend
vacation, cook[ing] her favorite food, but the defendant didnt care to change, she did not prepare meals, wash
clothes nor clean up. She neglected her duties and failed to perform the basic obligations as a wife.
So in the view of the above-mentioned psychological findings, it is my humble opinion that there is
sufficient reason to believe that the defendant wife is psychologically incapacitated to perform her marital duties
as a wife and mother to their only son. [9]

The RTC Ruling

The RTC nullified the parties marriage in its decision of January 22, 2001. The trial court saw merit in the testimonies of
the respondent and the psychologist, and concluded that:

After a careful perusal of the evidence in the instant case and there being no controverting evidence,
this Court is convinced that as held in Santos case, the psychological incapacity of respondent to comply with
the essential marital obligations of his marriage with petitioner, which Dr. Gerardo Veloso said can be
characterized by (a) gravity because the subject cannot carry out the normal and ordinary duties of marriage
and family shouldered by any average couple existing under ordinary circumstances of life and work; (b)
antecedence, because the root cause of the trouble can be traced to the history of the subject before marriage
although its overt manifestations appear over after the wedding; and (c) incurability, if treatments required
exceed the ordinary means or subject, or involve time and expense beyond the reach of the subject are all
obtaining in this case.

xxxx

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is granted


and the marriage between petitioner and defendant is hereby declared null and void pursuant to Article 36 of the
Family Code of the Philippines. [10]

The CA Decision

The petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General, appealed the RTC decision to the CA. The CA, in its decision
dated November 25, 2004, affirmed the RTC decision in toto.

The CA held that Juvy was psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations. It explained that
Juvys indolence and lack of sense of responsibility, coupled with her acts of gambling and swindling, undermined her capacity to
comply with her marital obligations. In addition, the psychologist characterized Juvys condition to be permanent, incurable and
existing at the time of the celebration of her marriage with the respondent.[11]

The petitioner moved to reconsider this Decision, but the CA denied his motion in its resolution dated May 9, 2005.[12]

The Petition and the Issues


The petitioner claims in the present petition that the totality of the evidence presented by the respondent was insufficient to
establish Juvys psychological incapacity to perform her essential marital obligations. The petitioner additionally argues that the
respondent failed to show the juridical antecedence, gravity, and incurability of Juvys condition. [13] The respondent took the exact
opposite view.

The issue boils down to whether there is basis to nullify the respondents marriage to Juvy on the ground that at the time of the
celebration of the marriage, Juvy suffered from psychological incapacity that prevented her from complying with her essential
marital obligations.

The Courts Ruling

After due consideration, we resolve to grant the petition, and hold


that no sufficient basis exists to annul the marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity under the terms of Article 36 of the
Family Code.

Article 36 of the Family Code

and Related Jurisprudence

Article 36 of the Family Code provides that 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.[14]

In Leouel Santos v. Court of Appeals, et al.,[15] the Court first declared that psychological incapacity must be
characterized by (a) gravity; (b) juridical antecedence ; and (c) incurability. The defect 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. It must be confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders
clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. [16] We laid down more
definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code in Republic of the Philippines v. Court of
Appeals and Roridel Olaviano Molina, whose salient points are footnoted below. [17] These guidelines incorporate the basic
requirements we established in Santos.[18]

In Brenda B. Marcos v. Wilson G. Marcos, [19] we further clarified that it is not absolutely necessary to introduce expert opinion in
a petition under Article 36 of the Family Code if the totality of evidence shows that psychological incapacity exists and its gravity,
juridical antecedence, and incurability can be duly established. Thereafter, the Court promulgated A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC (Rule
on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages) [20] which provided that 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.
Our 2009 ruling in Edward Kenneth Ngo Te v. Rowena Ong Gutierrez Yu-Te [21] placed some cloud in the continued
applicability of the time-tested Molina [22] guidelines. We stated in this case that instead of serving as a
guideline, Molina unintentionally became a straightjacket; it forced all cases involving psychological incapacity to fit into and be
bound by it. This is contrary to the intention of the law, since no psychological incapacity case can be considered as completely
on "all fours" with another.

Benjamin G. Ting v. Carmen M. Velez-Ting[23] and Jocelyn M. Suazo v. Angelito Suazo, [24] however, laid to rest any
question regarding the continued applicability of Molina.[25] In these cases, we clarified that Ngo Te[26] did not
abandon Molina.[27] Far from abandoning Molina,[28] Ngo Te[29] simply suggested the relaxation of its stringent requirements. We
also explained that Suazo [30] that Ngo Te[31] merely stands for a more flexible approach in considering petitions for declaration of
nullity of marriages based on psychological incapacity. [32]

The Present Case

In the present case and using the above guidelines, we find the totality of the respondents evidence the testimonies of
the respondent and the psychologist, and the latters psychological report and evaluation insufficient to prove Juvys
psychological incapacity pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code.

a. The respondents testimony

The respondents testimony merely showed that Juvy: (a) refused to wake up early to prepare breakfast; (b) left their
child to the care of their neighbors when she went out of the house; (c) squandered a huge amount of the P15,000.00 that the
respondent entrusted to her; (d) stole the respondents ATM card and attempted to withdraw the money deposited in his account;
(e) falsified the respondents signature in order to encash a check; (f) made up false stories in order to borrow money from their
relatives; and (g) indulged in gambling.

These acts, to our mind, do not per se rise to the level of psychological incapacity that the law requires. We stress that
psychological incapacity must be more than just a "difficulty," "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance
of some marital obligations. In Republic of the Philippines v. Norma Cuison-Melgar, et
al.,[33] we ruled that it is not enough to prove that a spouse failed to meet his responsibility and duty as a married person; it is
essential that he or she must be shown to be incapable of doing so because of some psychological, not physical, illness. In
other words, proof of 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 had to be shown. [34] A cause has to be shown and linked with the manifestations of the psychological incapacity.
The respondents testimony failed to show that Juvys condition is a manifestation of a disordered personality rooted in
some incapacitating or debilitating psychological condition that rendered her unable to discharge her essential marital obligation.
In this light, the acts attributed to Juvy only showed indications of immaturity and lack of sense of responsibility, resulting in
nothing more than the difficulty, refusal or neglect in the performance of marital obligations. In Ricardo B. Toring v. Teresita M.
Toring,[35] we emphasized that irreconcilable differences, sexual infidelity or perversion, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility,
and the like do not by themselves warrant a finding of psychological incapacity, as these may only be due to a person's difficulty,
refusal or neglect to undertake the obligations of marriage that is not rooted in some psychological illness that Article 36 of the
Family Code addresses.

In like manner, Juvys acts of falsifying the respondents signature to encash a check, of stealing the respondents ATM,
and of squandering a huge portion of the P15,000.00 that the respondent entrusted to her, while no doubt reprehensible, cannot
automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially when the evidence shows that these were
mere isolated incidents and not recurring acts. Neither can Juvys penchant for playing mahjong and kuwaho for money, nor her
act of soliciting money from relatives on the pretext that her child was sick, warrant a conclusion that she suffered from a mental
malady at the time of the celebration of marriage that rendered her incapable of fulfilling her marital duties and obligations. The
respondent, in fact, admitted that Juvy engaged in these behaviors (gambling and what the respondent refers to as swindling)
only two (2) years after their marriage, and after he let her handle his salary and manage their finances. The evidence also
shows that Juvy even tried to augment the familys income during the early stages of their marriage by putting up a sari-sari store
and by working as a manicurist.

b. The Psychologists Report

The submitted psychological report hardly helps the respondents cause, as it glaringly failed to establish that Juvy was
psychologically incapacitated to perform her essential marital duties at the material time required by Article 36 of the Family
Code.

To begin with, the psychologist admitted in her report that she derived her conclusions exclusively from the information
given her by the respondent. Expectedly, the respondents description of Juvy would contain a considerable degree of bias; thus,
a psychological evaluation based on this one-sided description alone can hardly be considered as credible or sufficient. We are
of course aware of our pronouncement in Marcos [36] that the person sought to be declared psychologically incapacitated need
not be examined by the psychologist as a condition precedent to arrive at a conclusion. If the incapacity can be proven by
independent means, no reason exists why such independent proof cannot be admitted to support a conclusion of psychological
incapacity, independently of a psychologists examination and report. In this case, however, no such independent evidence has
ever been gathered and adduced. To be sure, evidence from independent sources who intimately knew
Juvy before and after the celebration of her marriage would have made a lot of difference and could have added weight to the
psychologists report.
Separately from the lack of the requisite factual basis, the psychologists report simply stressed Juvys negative traits
which she considered manifestations of Juvys psychological incapacity (e.g., laziness, immaturity and irresponsibility; her
involvement in swindling and gambling activities; and her lack of initiative to change), and declared that psychological findings
tend to confirm that the defendant suffers from personality and behavioral disorders x x x she doesnt manifest any sense of
responsibility and loyalty, and these disorders appear to be incorrigible. [37] In the end, the psychologist opined without stating the
psychological basis for her conclusion that there is sufficient reason to believe that the defendant wife is psychologically
incapacitated to perform her marital duties as a wife and mother to their only son.[38]

We find this kind of conclusion and report grossly inadequate. First, we note that the psychologist did not even identify
the types of psychological tests which sheadministered on the respondent and the root cause of Juvys psychological condition.
We also stress that the acts alleged to have been committed by Juvy all occurred during the marriage;
there was no showing that any mental disorder existed at the inception of the marriage. Second, the report failed to prove the
gravity or severity of Juvys alleged condition, specifically, why and to what extent the disorder is serious, and how it
incapacitated her to comply with her marital duties. Significantly, the report did not even categorically state the particular type of
personality disorder found. Finally, the report failed to establish the incurability of Juvys condition. The reports pronouncements
that Juvy lacks the initiative to change and that her mental incapacity appears incorrigible [39] are insufficient to prove that her
mental condition could not be treated, or if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond her means to undertake.

c. The Psychologists Testimony

The psychologists court testimony fared no better in proving the juridical antecedence, gravity or incurability of Juvys
alleged psychological defect as she merely reiterated what she wrote in her report i.e., that Juvy was lazy and irresponsible;
played mahjong and kuhawo for money; stole money from the respondent; deceived people to borrow cash; and neglected her
child without linking these to an underlying psychological cause. Again, these allegations, even if true, all occurred during the
marriage. The testimony was totally devoid of any information or insight into Juvys early life and associations, how she acted
before and at the time of the marriage, and how the symptoms of a disordered personality developed. Simply put, the
psychologist failed to trace the history of Juvys psychological condition and to relate it to an existing incapacity at the time of the
celebration of the marriage.

She, likewise, failed to successfully prove the elements of gravity and incurability. In these respects, she merely stated
that despite the respondents efforts to show love and affection, Juvy was hesitant to change . From this premise, she jumped to
the conclusion that Juvy appeared to be incurable or incorrigible, and would be very hard to cure. These unfounded
conclusions cannot be equated with gravity or incurability that Article 36 of the Family Code requires. To be declared clinically or
medically incurable is one thing; to refuse or be reluctant to change is another. To hark back to what we earlier discussed,
psychological incapacity refers only to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. [40]

The Constitution sets out a policy of protecting and strengthening the family as the basic social institution, and marriage
is the foundation of the family. Marriage, as an inviolable institution protected by the State, cannot be dissolved at the whim of
the parties. In petitions for the declaration of nullity of marriage, the burden of proof to show the nullity of marriage lies with the
plaintiff. [41] Unless the evidence presented clearly reveals a situation where the parties, or one of them, could not have validly
entered into a marriage by reason of a grave and serious psychological illness existing at the time it was celebrated, we are
compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the marital tie. [42]

WHEREFORE , in view of these considerations, we GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the Decision and the
Resolution of the Court of Appeals, dated November 25, 2004 and May 9, 2005, respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. 70004.
Accordingly, we DISMISS respondent Nestor Galangs petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage to Juvy Salazar under
Article 36 of the Family Code. Costs against respondent Nestor Galang.

SO ORDERED.

CYNTHIA E. YAMBAO, G.R. No. 184063

Petitioner,
Present:

CARPIO, J.,

Chairperson,

NACHURA,
- versus -
PERALTA,

ABAD, and

MENDOZA, JJ.

Promulgated:
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and PATRICIO E.
YAMBAO,

Respondents. January 24, 2011

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION

NACHURA, J.:

Before this Court is yet another tale of marital woe.

Petitioner Cynthia E. Yambao (petitioner) is assailing the Decision [1] dated April 16, 2008 and the Resolution [2] dated
August 4, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 89262. The CA affirmed the decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Makati City, which denied petitioners Petition [4] for the annulment of her marriage to respondent Patricio E. Yambao
(respondent) on the ground of psychological incapacity.

Petitioner and respondent were married on December 21, 1968 at the Philamlife Church in Quezon City. [5] On July 11,
2003, after 35 years of marriage, petitioner filed a Petition [6] before the RTC, Makati City, praying that the marriage be declared
null and void by reason of respondents psychological incapacity, pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code. [7]

In her petition before the RTC, petitioner narrated that, since the beginning, her and respondents married life had been
marred by bickering, quarrels, and recrimination due to the latters inability to comply with the essential obligations of married
life. [8]

Petitioner averred that through all the years of their married life, she was the only one who earned a living and took care
of the children. Respondent, she alleged, did nothing but eat and sleep all day, and spend time with friends. When respondent
would find a job, he would not be able to stay in it for long. Likewise, respondent went into several business ventures, which all
failed. In addition, respondent loved to gamble and would gamble away whatever money would come his way.

Petitioner also claimed that, when their children were babies, respondent did not even help to change their diapers or
feed them, even while petitioner was recovering from her caesarean operation, proffering the excuse that he knew nothing about
children. [9] Later, respondent became insecure and jealous and would get mad every time he would see petitioner talking to other
people, even to her relatives. When respondent started threatening to kill petitioner, she decided to leave the conjugal abode
and live separately from him.[10] She then consulted a psychiatrist who concluded that respondent was indeed psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. [11]

In his Answer, respondent denied that he has refused to work. He claimed that he had been trying to find a decent job,
but was always unable to because of his old age and lack of qualifications. He also claimed that he did not stay long in the jobs
he had because the same could not support the needs of his family, and yielded benefits that were not commensurate to the
efforts he exerted. He had ventured into small businesses but they failed due to various economic crises. Respondent further
claimed that he was not, in fact, contented with living with petitioners relatives since his every move was being watched with
eagle eyes. [12]

Respondent denied that he gambled, positing that since he had no income, he would not have the funds for such activity.
He alleged that even without a steady source of income, he still shared in the payment of the amortization of their house in BF
Homes, Paraaque City.

As to the care of their children, respondent countered that no fault should be attributed to him because that is the duty of
the household help. [13]

Respondent also denied that he threatened to kill petitioner, considering that there was never any evidence that he had
ever harmed or inflicted physical injury on petitioner to justify the latter having a nervous breakdown. [14]

He further alleged that he never consulted any psychiatrist, and denied that he was psychologically incapacitated to
comply with the essential obligations of marriage. [15]

On February 9, 2007, the RTC rendered a decision [16] dismissing the petition for lack of merit. The RTC held that
petitioners evidence failed to support her argument that respondent was totally unaware of and incapacitated to perform his
marital obligations such that the marriage was void from the beginning. The court said that, even as petitioner claimed to be
unhappy in the marriage, it is incontrovertible that the union lasted for over thirty years and the parties were able to raise three
children into adulthood without suffering any major parenting problems. The court also noted that respondent was faithful to
petitioner and never physically abused her. Likewise, when the parties lived with petitioners parents, respondent got along well
enough with her family. [17]

The RTC recognized that respondent did indeed have many faults, such as his indolence and utter irresponsibility.
However, the RTC said, respondents failure to find decent work was due to his not having obtained a college degree and his
lack of other qualifications. Likewise, respondents failure in business could not be entirely attributed to him, since petitioner was
a business partner in some of these ventures. [18]

The RTC also rejected the supposed negative effect of respondents Dependent Personality Disorder. The RTC said that,
although the evidence tended to show that respondent would unduly rely upon petitioner to earn a living for the family, there was
no evidence to show that the latter resented such imposition or suffered with the additional financial burdens passed to her by
her husband. On the contrary, the RTC averred that, despite a supposedly horrible married life, petitioner was able to rise in the
ranks in her company and buy properties with hardly any help from respondent. [19]
The RTC concluded that while respondent might have been deficient in providing financial support, his presence,
companionship, and love allowed petitioner to accomplish many things. Thus, respondent could be relied on for love, fidelity, and
moral support, which are obligations expected of a spouse under Article 68 of the Family Code. [20]

Lastly, the RTC rejected petitioners claim that she suffered through respondents overbearing jealousy. It found that
respondent only became jealous when he thought that petitioner was cheating on him. The RTC determined that jealousy was
not a character trait that contributed to respondents psychological dysfunction; much less did it amount to psychological or
mental torture on petitioner.[21] Thus, the RTC concluded that the parties might have indeed entered into a bad marriage, but this
did not in itself prove that the marriage did not exist, given the 30 years they remained together through the various ups and
downs of their volatile relationship. [22]

Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied on May 21, 2007.[23] Petitioner subsequently filed a Notice of
Appeal, [24] which was given due course by the RTC in an Order dated June 8, 2007.[25] She then appealed to the CA.

In a Decision [26] dated April 16, 2008, the CA affirmed the RTCs decision. The CA held that petitioner failed to show that
respondent was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. It pointed out that respondent
exerted efforts to find a source of income to support his family. However, his failure to find a suitable job and the failure of his
business ventures were not mental but physical defects and, hence, could not be considered psychological incapacity as
contemplated under the law.

The CA also found that petitioners claims that she lived in misery during the marriage and that respondent failed to keep
his promises to her were not duly established. The CA held that the fact that the parties lived together for 35 years and raised
three children well, and the fact that respondent never physically abused petitioner belied the formers psychological incapacity.
The CA also held that respondents refusal to care for the children was not psychological incapacity but merely constituted
refusal to perform the task, which is not equivalent to an incapacity or inability. [27]

The appellate court also rejected petitioners allegation of respondents unbearable jealousy. It said that the same must
be shown as a manifestation of a disordered personality which would make respondent completely unable to discharge the
essential obligations of the marital state. [28] The CA averred that a jealous attitude simply evinced respondents love for his wife,
whom he could not bear to lose to another man. Meanwhile, the CA construed the purported threats to kill petitioner as
emotional immaturity and not psychological incapacity. [29]

Lastly, the CA found the report of expert witness Dr. Edgardo Juan Tolentino (Dr. Tolentino) to be unsupported by
sufficient evidence since the findings therein were not corroborated by any other witness. Moreover, the CA said, neither the
report nor petitioners testimony established that respondents psychological condition was grave enough to bring about the
inability of the latter to assume the essential obligations of marriage, so that the same was medically permanent or incurable. [30]
Petitioners subsequent motion for reconsideration was denied in a resolution dated August 4, 2008.[31]

Petitioner is now before this Court in a last ditch effort to gain freedom from her marriage to respondent. In her petition
for review, petitioner submits the following assignment of errors:

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER FAILED TO


SHOW THAT RESPONDENT WAS PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO COMPLY WITH THE
ESSENTIAL OBLIGATIONS OF MARRIAGE

II

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT WAS MERELY
REFUSING TO COMPLY WITH THE ESSENTIAL OBLIGATIONS OF MARRIAGE AND NOT DOWNRIGHT
INCAPACITATED OR UNABLE

III

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE RESPONDENTS


UNBEARABLE JEALOUSY CANNOT BE CONSIDERED A CHARACTER TRAIT CONTRIBUTING TO
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY

IV

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THERE WAS NO SUFFICIENT
EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THAT THE PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION OF RESPONDENT WAS GRAVE
ENOUGH, INCURABLE AND HAD NO ANTECEDENCE (sic) [32]

Petitioner argues that respondents Dependent Personality Disorder was sufficiently established by her testimony and
that of her sister, which testimonies were both credible considering that they have personal knowledge of the circumstances
prior to and during the parties marriage. On the other hand, respondents evidence consisted merely of his sole testimony, which
were self-serving and full of inconsistencies. [33] Petitioner points out that what the CA characterized as respondents efforts in
finding jobs were merely the result of short-lived bursts of industry, failing to note that the jobs were few and very far
between. [34] The rest of the time, respondent did nothing but eat, sleep, and party with his friends. [35] Petitioner also alleges that
respondent was given the opportunity to finish his studies, first by his parents, and then by petitioner herself, but he never took
up these offers. [36]

Petitioner also highlighted respondents failure to earn his keep, participate in household chores, or take care of their
children. She argues that respondent had the obligation to help and contribute to all the needs of the family, whether the same
be in the form of material or physical support. [37]

Petitioner also refutes the CAs conclusion that respondent was merely refusing to attend to his familys needs. She
insists that respondents inability is due to a psychological affliction, i.e., Dependent Personality Disorder, as attested to by the
expert witness she presented during trial. [38] Part of this same disorder, according to petitioner, is respondents jealous tendencies,
which the CA belittled and attributed to emotional immaturity. [39]

Finally, petitioner argues against the CAs finding that respondents laziness and dependence could not be characterized
as inability but just plain refusal. Petitioner contends that she has complied with the guidelines laid down by the Court
in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina. She further contends that the framers of the Family Code never intended to give
such a suppressed definition of psychological incapacity, and, in fact, declared that a restrictive definition would limit the
applicability of the provision.[40] Moreover, she asserts that she has proven that respondents unbearable jealousy and Dependent
Personality Disorder manifested themselves even before the marriage of the parties, although not in the same degree as when
they were already married. [41]

The petition has no merit and, perforce, must be denied.

Article 36 of the Family Code states:

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.

Preliminarily, the Court reiterates its recent pronouncement that each case for declaration of nullity under the foregoing
provision 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. [42] Judicial understanding of
psychological incapacity may be informed by evolving standards, taking into account the particulars of each case, current trends
in psychological and even canonical thought, and experience. [43]

While the Court has not abandoned the standard set in Molina,[44] the Court has reiterated the tenet that the factual
milieu of each case must be treated as distinct and, as such, each case must be decided based on its own set of facts.

In Santos v. Court of Appeals,[45] the Court held that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity (b)
juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. These guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared
psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be medically or clinically identified. [46] What is important is the presence
of evidence that can adequately establish the party's psychological condition. If the totality of evidence presented is enough to
sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted
to. [47]

Hence, the issue in this case can be summed up, thus: Does the totality of petitioners evidence establish respondents
psychological incapacity to perform the essential obligations of marriage?

The Court holds that it does not.

The intendment of the law has been to confine the application of Article 36 to the most serious cases of personality
disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. [48] Thus, for a
marriage to be annulled under Article 36 of the Family Code, the psychologically incapacitated spouse must be shown to suffer
no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes him or her to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants. [49] 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. [50]

In this case, there is no showing that respondent was suffering from a psychological condition so severe that he was
unaware of his obligations to his wife and family. On the contrary, respondents efforts, though few and far between they may be,
showed an understanding of his duty to provide for his family, albeit he did not meet with much success. Whether his failure was
brought about by his own indolence or irresponsibility, or by some other external factors, is not relevant. What is clear is that
respondent, in showing an awareness to provide for his family, even with his many failings, does not suffer from psychological
incapacity.

Article 36 contemplates incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume basic marital obligations and not
merely difficulty , refusal, or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will.[51] This incapacity consists of the following:
(a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage; (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; and (c) the inability must be tantamount to a psychological abnormality. [52] It is not enough to prove that a
spouse failed to meet his responsibility and duty as a married person; it is essential that he must be shown to be incapable of
doing so due to some psychological illness. [53]

That respondent, according to petitioner, lack[ed] effective sense of rational judgment and responsibility [54] does not
mean he is incapable to meet his marital obligations. His refusal to help care for the children, his neglect for his business
ventures, and his alleged unbearable jealousy may indicate some emotional turmoil or mental difficulty, but none have been
shown to amount to a psychological abnormality.

Moreover, even assuming that respondents faults amount to psychological incapacity, it has not been established that the same
existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage.

In his psychological report,[55] Dr. Tolentino merely said, [b]ecause ones personality or character is formed early in life, it
has a clear ANTECEDENT and it has an enduring pattern of inner experience that deviates from the expectations of the
individuals culture, [56] without explaining this antecedent. Even petitioner, in her allegations, never explained how the alleged
psychological incapacity manifested itself prior to or at the time of the celebration of their marriage.

Likewise militating against petitioners cause is the finding of the trial court, and the same was affirmed by the CA, that
respondent never committed infidelity or physically abused petitioner or their children. In fact, considering that the children lived
with both parents, it is safe to assume that both made an impact in the childrens upbringing. And still, as found by the RTC and
the CA, the parties were able to raise three children into adulthood without any major parenting problems.[57] Such fact could
hardly support a proposition that the parties marriage is a nullity.

Respondent may not have turned out to be the ideal husband, or may have failed to meet petitioners exacting standards.
Yet this Court finds it impossible to believe that, as petitioner alleges, there was nothing but heartache and strife in their over 35
years (prior to filing the petition for declaration of nullity) of marriage.

To be sure, respondent, perhaps with a little more effort on his part, could have been more helpful and could have made
life that much easier for his wife. The fact that he did not, however, does not mean that he is psychologically incapacitated to
discharge his marital obligations, as to give the Court a reason to declare the marriage null and void.

Certainly, the marriage was beset by difficulties, or as petitioner puts it, marred by bickerings, quarrels, and recrimination.
It is a fact, however, that all marriages suffer through the same trials at one point or another, with some going through more
rough patches than others. The Court concedes that petitioner and respondents marriage, as characterized by the former, may
indeed be problematic, even tumultuous. However, that they had gone through 35 years together as husband and wife is an
indication that the parties can, should they choose to do so, work through their problems.

WHEREFORE , the foregoing premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated April 16, 2008 and the
Resolution dated August 4, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 89262 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

BENJAMIN G. TING, G.R. No. 166562

Petitioner,
Present:

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,

Chairperson,

CARPIO MORALES, *
- versus -
CHICO-NAZARIO,

NACHURA, and

PERALTA, JJ.

Promulgated:

CARMEN M. VELEZ-TING,
March 31, 2009
Respondent.

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the November 17, 2003 Amended Decision [1] of the
Court of Appeals (CA), and its December 13, 2004 Resolution [2] in CA-G.R. CV No. 59903. The appellate court, in its assailed
decision and resolution, affirmed the January 9, 1998 Decision [3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 23, Cebu
City, declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent null and void ab initio pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code. [4]

The facts follow.

Petitioner Benjamin Ting (Benjamin) and respondent Carmen Velez-Ting (Carmen) first met in 1972 while they were
classmates in medical school. [5] They fell in love, and they were wed on July 26, 1975 in Cebu City when respondent was already
pregnant with their first child.

At first, they resided at Benjamins family home in Maguikay, Mandaue City.[6] When their second child was born, the
couple decided to move to Carmens family home in Cebu City.[7] In September 1975, Benjamin passed the medical board
examinations [8] and thereafter proceeded to take a residency program to become a surgeon but shifted to anesthesiology after
two years. By 1979, Benjamin completed the preceptorship program for the said field [9] and, in 1980, he began working
for Velez Hospital, owned by Carmens family, as member of its active staff, [10] while Carmen worked as the hospitals
Treasurer. [11]

The couple begot six (6) children, namely Dennis, born on December 9, 1975; James Louis, born on August 25, 1977;
Agnes Irene, born on April 5, 1981; Charles Laurence, born on July 21, 1986; Myles Vincent, born on July 19, 1988; and Marie
Corinne, born on June 16, 1991.[12]

On October 21, 1993, after being married for more than 18 years to petitioner and while their youngest child was only two
years old, Carmen filed a verified petition before the RTC of Cebu City praying for the declaration of nullity of their marriage
based on Article 36 of the Family Code. She claimed that Benjamin suffered from psychological incapacity even at the time of
the celebration of their marriage, which, however, only became manifest thereafter. [13]

In her complaint, Carmen stated that prior to their marriage, she was already aware that Benjamin used to drink and
gamble occasionally with his friends. [14] But after they were married, petitioner continued to drink regularly and would go home at
about midnight or sometimes in the wee hours of the morning drunk and violent. He would confront and insult respondent,
physically assault her and force her to have sex with him. There were also instances when Benjamin used his gun and shot the
gate of their house. [15] Because of his drinking habit, Benjamins job as anesthesiologist was affected to the point that he often had
to refuse to answer the call of his fellow doctors and to pass the task to other anesthesiologists. Some surgeons even stopped
calling him for his services because they perceived petitioner to be unreliable. Respondent tried to talk to her husband about the
latters drinking problem, but Benjamin refused to acknowledge the same. [16]
Carmen also complained that petitioner deliberately refused to give financial support to their family and would even get
angry at her whenever she asked for money for their children. Instead of providing support, Benjamin would spend his money on
drinking and gambling and would even buy expensive equipment for his hobby. [17] He rarely stayed home [18] and even neglected
his obligation to his children.[19]

Aside from this, Benjamin also engaged in compulsive gambling. [20] He would gamble two or three times a week and
would borrow from his friends, brothers, or from loan sharks whenever he had no money. Sometimes, Benjamin would pawn his
wifes own jewelry to finance his gambling. [21] There was also an instance when the spouses had to sell their family car and even
a portion of the lot Benjamin inherited from his father just to be able to pay off his gambling debts. [22] Benjamin only stopped
going to the casinos in 1986 after he was banned therefrom for having caused trouble, an act which he said he purposely
committed so that he would be banned from the gambling establishments. [23]

In sum, Carmens allegations of Benjamins psychological incapacity consisted of the following manifestations:

1. Benjamins alcoholism, which adversely affected his family relationship and his profession;

2. Benjamins violent nature brought about by his excessive and regular drinking;

3. His compulsive gambling habit, as a result of which Benjamin found it necessary to sell the family car twice
and the property he inherited from his father in order to pay off his debts, because he no longer had money to
pay the same; and

4. Benjamins irresponsibility and immaturity as shown by his failure and refusal to give regular financial
support to his family.[24]

In his answer, Benjamin denied being psychologically incapacitated. He maintained that he is a respectable person, as
his peers would confirm. He said that he is an active member of social and athletic clubs and would drink and gamble only for
social reasons and for leisure. He also denied being a violent person, except when provoked by circumstances. [25] As for his
alleged failure to support his family financially, Benjamin claimed that it was Carmen herself who would collect his professional
fees from VelezHospital when he was still serving there as practicing anesthesiologist. [26] In his testimony, Benjamin also insisted
that he gave his family financial support within his means whenever he could and would only get angry at respondent for lavishly
spending his hard-earned money on unnecessary things. [27] He also pointed out that it was he who often comforted and took care
of their children, while Carmen played mahjong with her friends twice a week. [28]

During the trial, Carmens testimony regarding Benjamins drinking and gambling habits and violent behavior was
corroborated by Susana Wasawas, who served as nanny to the spouses children from 1987 to 1992.[29] Wasawas stated that she
personally witnessed instances when Benjamin maltreated Carmen even in front of their children. [30]
Carmen also presented as witness Dr. Pureza Trinidad-Oate, a psychiatrist.[31] Instead of the usual personal interview,
however, Dr. Oates evaluation of Benjamin was limited to the transcript of stenographic notes taken during Benjamins deposition
because the latter had already gone to work as an anesthesiologist in a hospital in South Africa. After reading the transcript of
stenographic notes, Dr. Oate concluded that Benjamins compulsive drinking, compulsive gambling and physical abuse of
respondent are clear indications that petitioner suffers from a personality disorder. [32]

To refute Dr. Oates opinion, petitioner presented Dr. Renato D. Obra, a psychiatrist and a consultant at the Department
of Psychiatry in Don Vicente Sotto MemorialMedical Center, as his expert witness. [33] Dr. Obra evaluated Benjamins
psychological behavior based on the transcript of stenographic notes, as well as the psychiatric evaluation report prepared by Dr.
A.J.L. Pentz, a psychiatrist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and his (Dr. Obras) interview with Benjamins
brothers. [34] Contrary to Dr. Oates findings, Dr. Obra observed that there is nothing wrong with petitioners personality,
considering the latters good relationship with his fellow doctors and his good track record as anesthesiologist. [35]

On January 9, 1998, the lower court rendered its Decision [36] declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent
null and void. The RTC gave credence to Dr. Oates findings and the admissions made by Benjamin in the course of his
deposition, and found him to be psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. Specifically,
the trial court found Benjamin an excessive drinker, a compulsive gambler, someone who prefers his extra-curricular activities to
his family, and a person with violent tendencies, which character traits find root in a personality defect existing even before his
marriage to Carmen. The decretal portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the marriage
between plaintiff and defendant null and void ab initio pursuant to Art. 36 of the Family Code. x x x

xxxx

SO ORDERED. [37]

Aggrieved, petitioner appealed to the CA. On October 19, 2000, the CA rendered a Decision [38] reversing the trial courts ruling. It
faulted the trial courts finding, stating that no proof was adduced to support the conclusion that Benjamin was psychologically
incapacitated at the time he married Carmen since Dr. Oates conclusion was based only on theories and not on established
fact, [39] contrary to the guidelines set forth in Santos v. Court of Appeals [40] and in Rep. of the Phils. v. Court of Appeals and
Molina.[41]

Because of this, Carmen filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the Molina guidelines should not be applied to
this case since the Molina decision was promulgated only on February 13, 1997, or more than five years after she had filed her
petition with the RTC. [42] She claimed that the Molina ruling could not be made to apply retroactively, as it would run counter to
the principle of stare decisis. Initially, the CA denied the motion for reconsideration for having been filed beyond the prescribed
period. Respondent thereafter filed a manifestation explaining compliance with the prescriptive period but the same was likewise
denied for lack of merit. Undaunted, respondent filed a petition for certiorari [43] with this Court. In a Resolution [44] dated March 5,
2003, this Court granted the petition and directed the CA to resolve Carmens motion for reconsideration. [45] On review, the CA
decided to reconsider its previous ruling. Thus, on November 17, 2003, it issued an Amended Decision [46] reversing its first ruling
and sustaining the trial courts decision. [47]

A motion for reconsideration was filed, this time by Benjamin, but the same was denied by the CA in its December 13, 2004
Resolution. [48]

Hence, this petition.

For our resolution are the following issues:

I. Whether the CA violated the rule on stare decisis when it refused to follow the guidelines set forth
under the Santos and Molina cases;

II. Whether the CA correctly ruled that the requirement of proof of psychological incapacity for the
declaration of absolute nullity of marriage based on Article 36 of the Family Code has been liberalized;
and

III. Whether the CAs decision declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent null and void [is]
in accordance with law and jurisprudence.

We find merit in the petition.

I. On the issue of stare decisis.

The principle of stare decisis enjoins adherence by lower courts to doctrinal rules established by this Court in its final
decisions. It is based on the principle that once a question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deemed settled
and closed to further argument. [49] Basically, it is a bar to any attempt to relitigate the same issues, [50] necessary for two simple
reasons: economy and stability. In our jurisdiction, the principle is entrenched in Article 8 of the Civil Code. [51]
This doctrine of adherence to precedents or stare decisis was applied by the English courts and was later adopted by
the United States. Associate Justice (now Chief Justice) Reynato S. Punos discussion on the historical development of this legal
principle in his dissenting opinion in Lambino v. Commission on Elections [52] is enlightening:

The latin phrase stare decisis et non quieta movere means stand by the thing and do not disturb the
calm. The doctrine started with the English Courts. Blackstone observed that at the beginning of the 18th
century, it is an established rule to abide by former precedents where the same points come again in litigation.
As the rule evolved, early limits to its application were recognized: (1) it would not be followed if it were plainly
unreasonable; (2) where courts of equal authority developed conflicting decisions; and, (3) the binding force of
the decision was the actual principle or principles necessary for the decision; not the words or reasoning used to
reach the decision.

The doctrine migrated to the United States. It was recognized by the framers of the U.S. Constitution.
According to Hamilton, strict rules and precedents are necessary to prevent arbitrary discretion in the
courts. Madison agreed but stressed that x x x once the precedent ventures into the realm of altering or
repealing the law, it should be rejected. Prof. Consovoy well noted that Hamilton and Madison disagree about
the countervailing policy considerations that would allow a judge to abandon a precedent. He added that their
ideas reveal a deep internal conflict between the concreteness required by the rule of law and the flexibility
demanded in error correction. It is this internal conflict that the Supreme Court has attempted to deal with for
over two centuries.

Indeed, two centuries of American case law will confirm Prof. Consovoy's observation although stare
decisis developed its own life in the United States. Two strains of stare decisishave been isolated by legal
scholars. The first, known as vertical stare decisis deals with the duty of lower courts to apply the decisions of
the higher courts to cases involving the same facts. The second, known as horizontal stare decisis requires
that high courts must follow its own precedents. Prof. Consovoy correctly observes that vertical stare decisis has
been viewed as an obligation, while horizontal stare decisis, has been viewed as a policy, imposing choice but
not a command. Indeed, stare decisis is not one of the precepts set in stone in our Constitution.

It is also instructive to distinguish the two kinds of horizontal stare decisis constitutional stare
decisis and statutory stare decisis. Constitutional stare decisis involves judicial interpretations of the
Constitution while statutory stare decisis involves interpretations of statutes. The distinction is important for
courts enjoy more flexibility in refusing to apply stare decisisin constitutional litigations. Justice Brandeis' view on
the binding effect of the doctrine in constitutional litigations still holds sway today. In soothing prose, Brandeis
stated: Stare decisis is not . . . a universal and inexorable command. The rule of stare decisis is not inflexible.
Whether it shall be followed or departed from, is a question entirely within the discretion of the court, which is
again called upon to consider a question once decided. In the same vein, the venerable Justice Frankfurter
opined: the ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what we have said about it.
In contrast, the application of stare decisis on judicial interpretation of statutes is more inflexible. As Justice
Stevens explains: after a statute has been construed, either by this Court or by a consistent course of decision
by other federal judges and agencies, it acquires a meaning that should be as clear as if the judicial gloss had
been drafted by the Congress itself. This stance reflects both respect for Congress' role and the need to
preserve the courts' limited resources.

In general, courts follow the stare decisis rule for an ensemble of reasons, viz.: (1) it legitimizes judicial
institutions; (2) it promotes judicial economy; and, (3) it allows for predictability. Contrariwise, courts refuse to be
bound by the stare decisis rule where (1) its application perpetuates illegitimate and unconstitutional holdings; (2)
it cannot accommodate changing social and political understandings; (3) it leaves the power to overturn bad
constitutional law solely in the hands of Congress; and, (4) activist judges can dictate the policy for future courts
while judges that respect stare decisis are stuck agreeing with them.
In its 200-year history, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to follow the stare decisis rule and reversed
its decisions in 192 cases. The most famous of these reversals is Brown v. Board of Education which
junked Plessy v. Ferguson's separate but equal doctrine. Plessy upheld as constitutional a state law
requirement that races be segregated on public transportation. In Brown, the U.S. Supreme Court, unanimously
held that separate . . . is inherently unequal. Thus, by freeing itself from the shackles of stare decisis, the U.S.
Supreme Court freed the colored Americans from the chains of inequality. In the Philippine setting, this Court
has likewise refused to be straitjacketed by the stare decisis rule in order to promote public welfare. In La Bugal-
B'laan Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos, we reversed our original ruling that certain provisions of the Mining Law
are unconstitutional. Similarly, in Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, we overturned our first ruling and held, on
motion for reconsideration, that a private respondent is bereft of the right to notice and hearing during the
evaluation stage of the extradition process.

An examination of decisions on stare decisis in major countries will show that courts are agreed on the
factors that should be considered before overturning prior rulings. These are workability, reliance, intervening
developments in the law and changes in fact. In addition, courts put in the balance the following determinants:
closeness of the voting, age of the prior decision and its merits.

The leading case in deciding whether a court should follow the stare decisis rule in constitutional
litigations is Planned Parenthood v. Casey . It established a 4-pronged test. The court should (1) determine
whether the rule has proved to be intolerable simply in defying practical workability; (2) consider whether the rule
is subject to a kind of reliance that would lend a special hardship to the consequences of overruling and add
inequity to the cost of repudiation; (3) determine whether related principles of law have so far developed as to
have the old rule no more than a remnant of an abandoned doctrine; and, (4) find out whether facts have so
changed or come to be seen differently, as to have robbed the old rule of significant application or justification. [53]

To be forthright, respondents argument that the doctrinal guidelines prescribed in Santos and Molina should not be applied
retroactively for being contrary to the principle of stare decisis is no longer new. The same argument was also raised but was
struck down in Pesca v. Pesca, [54] and again in Antonio v. Reyes.[55] In these cases, we explained that the interpretation or
construction of a law by courts constitutes a part of the law as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only when a prior ruling of
this Court is overruled, and a different view is adopted, that the new doctrine may have to be applied prospectively in favor of
parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith, in accordance therewith under the familiar rule of lex
prospicit, non respicit.

II. On liberalizing the required proof for the declaration of nullity of marriage under Article 36.

Now, petitioner wants to know if we have abandoned the Molina doctrine.

We have not.

In Edward Kenneth Ngo Te v. Rowena Ong Gutierrez Yu-Te,[56] we declared that, 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.
We said that instead of serving as a guideline, Molina unintentionally became a straightjacket, forcing all cases involving
psychological incapacity to fit into and be bound by it, which is not only contrary to the intention of the law but unrealistic as well
because, with respect to psychological incapacity, no case can be considered as on all fours with another. [57]

By the very nature of cases involving the application of Article 36, it is logical and understandable to give weight to the expert
opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological temperament of parties in order to determine the root cause,
juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability of the psychological incapacity. However, such opinions, while highly advisable,
are not conditions sine qua non in granting petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. [58] At best, courts must treat such
opinions as decisive but not indispensable evidence in determining the merits of a given case. In fact, if the totality of evidence
presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical or psychological examination of the
person concerned need not be resorted to. [59] The trial court, as in any other given case presented before it, must always base its
decision not solely on the expert opinions furnished by the parties but also on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of
the proceedings.

It was for this reason that we found it necessary to emphasize in Ngo Te that each case involving the application of
Article 36 must be treated distinctly and judged not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but
according to its own attendant facts. 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.

Far from abandoning Molina, we simply suggested the relaxation of the stringent requirements set forth therein,
cognizant of the explanation given by the Committee on the Revision of the Rules on the rationale of the Rule on Declaration of
Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC), viz.:

To require the petitioner to allege in the petition the particular root cause of the psychological incapacity
and to attach thereto the verified written report of an accredited psychologist or psychiatrist have proved to be
too expensive for the parties. They adversely affect access to justice o poor litigants. It is also a fact that there
are provinces where these experts are not available. Thus, the Committee deemed it necessary to relax this
stringent requirement enunciated in the Molina Case. The need for the examination of a party or parties by a
psychiatrist or clinical psychologist and the presentation of psychiatric experts shall now be determined by the
court during the pre-trial conference.[60]

But where, as in this case, the parties had the full opportunity to present professional and expert opinions of psychiatrists tracing
the root cause, gravity and incurability of a partys alleged psychological incapacity, then such expert opinion should be
presented and, accordingly, be weighed by the court in deciding whether to grant a petition for nullity of marriage.

III. On petitioners psychological incapacity.


Coming now to the main issue, we find the totality of evidence adduced by respondent insufficient to prove that
petitioner is psychologically unfit to discharge the duties expected of him as a husband, and more particularly, that he suffered
from such psychological incapacity as of the date of the marriage eighteen (18) years ago. Accordingly, we reverse the trial
courts and the appellate courts rulings declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent null and void ab initio.

The intendment of the law has been to confine the application of Article 36 to the most serious cases of personality
disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. [61] The
psychological illness that must have afflicted a party at the inception of the marriage should be a malady so grave and
permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she is about to
assume. [62]

In this case, respondent failed to prove that petitioners defects were present at the time of the celebration of their
marriage. She merely cited that prior to their marriage, she already knew that petitioner would occasionally drink and gamble
with his friends; but such statement, by itself, is insufficient to prove any pre-existing psychological defect on the part of her
husband. Neither did the evidence adduced prove such defects to be incurable.

The evaluation of the two psychiatrists should have been the decisive evidence in determining whether to declare the
marriage between the parties null and void. Sadly, however, we are not convinced that the opinions provided by these experts
strengthened respondents allegation of psychological incapacity. The two experts provided diametrically contradicting
psychological evaluations: Dr. Oate testified that petitioners behavior is a positive indication of a personality disorder,[63] while Dr.
Obra maintained that there is nothing wrong with petitioners personality. Moreover, there appears to be greater weight in Dr.
Obras opinion because, aside from analyzing the transcript of Benjamins deposition similar to what Dr. Oate did, Dr. Obra also
took into consideration the psychological evaluation report furnished by another psychiatrist in South Africawho personally
examined Benjamin, as well as his (Dr. Obras) personal interview with Benjamins brothers. [64] Logically, therefore, the balance
tilts in favor of Dr. Obras findings.

Lest it be misunderstood, we are not condoning petitioners drinking and gambling problems, or his violent outbursts
against his wife. There is no valid excuse to justify such a behavior. Petitioner must remember that he owes love, respect, and
fidelity to his spouse as much as the latter owes the same to him. Unfortunately, this court finds respondents testimony, as well
as the totality of evidence presented by the respondent, to be too inadequate to declare him psychologically unfit pursuant to
Article 36.

It should be remembered that the presumption is always in favor of the validity of marriage. Semper praesumitur pro
matrimonio.[65] In this case, the presumption has not been amply rebutted and must, perforce, prevail.
WHEREFORE , premises considered, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The November 17, 2003
Amended Decision and the December 13, 2004 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 59903 are
accordingly REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.

VALERIO E. KALAW, G.R. No. 166357


Petitioner,

Present:

CORONA, C.J., Chairperson,


- versus - LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO, and
PEREZ, JJ.

MA. ELENA FERNANDEZ, Promulgated:


Respondent. September 19, 2011
x-------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

A finding of psychological incapacity must be supported by well-established facts. It is the plaintiffs burden to convince the court of the
existence of these facts.

Before the Court is a Petition for Review[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) May 27, 2004 Decision [2] and December 15, 2004 Resolution [3] in CA-
G.R. CV No. 64240, which reversed the trial courts declaration of nullity of the herein parties marriage. The fallo of the assailed Decisio n reads:

WHEREFOREthe appeal is GRANTED, and the assailed Decision is SET ASIDE and VACATED while the petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.[4]

Factual Antecedents

Petitioner Valerio E. Kalaw (Tyrone) and respondent Ma. Elena Fernandez (Malyn) met in 1973. They maintain ed a rela tionship and
eventually married in Hong Kong on November 4, 1976.They had four children, Vale rio (Rio), Maria Eva (Ria), Ramon Miguel (Miggy or
Mickey), and Jaime Teodoro (Jay).
Shortly after the birth of their youngest son, Tyrone had an extramarital affair with Jocelyn Quejano (Jocelyn), who gave birth to a son in
March 1983.[5]
In May 1985, Malyn left the conjugal home (the house of her Kalaw in-laws) and her four children with Tyrone. [6] Meanwhile, Tyrone started
living with Jocelyn, who bore him three more children. [7]

In 1990, Tyrone went to the United States (US) with Jocelyn and their children. He left his four children from his marriage with Malyn in a
rented house in Valle Verde with only a househelp and a driver.[8] The househelp would just call Malyn to take care of the children whenever
any of them got sick. Also, in accordance with their custody agreement, the children stayed with Malyn on weekends. [9]

In 1994, the two eld er children, Rio and Ria, asked for Malyns permission to go to Japan for a one-week vacation. Malyn acceded only to
learn later that Tyrone brought the children to the US.[10] After just one year, Ria returned to the Philippin es and chose to live with Malyn.
Meanwhile, Tyrone and Jocelyns family returned to the Philip pines and resumed physical custody of the two younger children, Miggy and
Jay. According to Malyn, from that time on, the children refused to go to her house on weekends because of alleged weekend pla ns with their
father. [11]

Complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage

On July 6, 1994, nin e years since the de facto separation from his wife, Tyrone filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage based on
Article 36 of the Family Code.[12] He alleged that Malyn was psychologically incapacitated to perform and comply with the essentia l marital
obligations at the time of the celebration of their marriage. He further claimed that her psychological incapacity was manifested by her
immaturity and irresponsibility towards Tyrone and their children durin g their co-habitation, as shown by Malyns following acts:

1. she left the children without proper care and attention as she pla yed mahjo ng all day and all nig ht;

2. she left the house to party with male friends and returned in the early hours of the followin g day; and

3. she committed adultery on June 9, 1985, which act Tyrone discovered in flagrante delicto.[13]

During trial,[14] Tyrone narrated the circumstances of Malyns alleged infidelity. According to him, on June 9, 1985, he and his brother-in-law,
Ronald Fernandez (Malyns brother), proceeded to Hyatt Hotel and learned that Malyn was occupying a room with a certain Benjie Guevarra
(Benjie). When he proceeded to the said room, he saw Benjie and Malyn inside. [15] At rebuttal, Tyrone ela borated that Benjie was wearing
only a towel around his waist, while Malyn was lyin g in bed in her underwear. After an exchange of words, he agreed not to charge Malyn
with adultery when the latter agreed to relinquish all her marital and parental rights.[16] They put their agreement in writing before Atty. Jose
Pala rca.

Tyrone presented a psychologist, Dr. Cristina Gates (Dr. Gates), and a Catholic canon law expert, Fr. Gerard Healy, S.J. (Fr. Healy), to testify
on Malyns psychological incapacity.

Dr. Gates explained on the stand that the factual allegations regarding Malyns behavior her sexual infidelity, habitual mahjong playing, and
her frequent nights-out with friends may refle ct a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). [17] NPD is present when a person is obsessed to
meet her wants and needs in utter disregard of her significant others.[18] Malyns NPD is manifest in her utter neglect of her duties as a
mother. [19]

Dr. Gates reported that Malyns personality disorder may have been evident even prior to her marriage because it is rooted in her family
background and upbringing, which the psychologist gathered to be materially deprived and without a proper maternal role model.[20]
Dr. Gates based her diagnosis on the facts revealed by her interviews with Tyrone, Trinidad Kalaw (Tyrones sister-in-law), and the son
Miggy. She also read the transcript of Tyrones court testimony. [21]

Fr. Healy corroborated Dr. Gates assessment. He concluded that Malyn was psychologically incapacitated to perform her marital
duties. [22] He explained that her psycholo gical incapacity is rooted in her role as the breadwinner of her family. This role allegedly infla ted
Malyns ego to the point that her needs became prio rity, while her kids and husbands needs became secondary.Malyn is so self-absorbed
that she is incapable of prioritizing her familys needs.

Fr. Healy clarified that playing mahjong and spendin g time with friends are not disorders by themselves. They only constitute psycholo gical
incapacity whenever inordinate amounts of time are spent on these activities to the detriment of ones familia l duties. [23] Fr. Healy
characterized Malyns psychological incapacity as grave and incurable. [24]

He based his opinion on his interview with Tyrone, the trial transcripts, as well as the report of Dr. Natividad Dayan (Dr. Dayan), Malyns
expert witness.[25] He clarified that he did not verify the truthfuln ess of the factual allegations regarding Malyns habits because he belie ved it is
the courts duty to do so. [26] Instead, he formed his opinion on the assumption that the factual allegations are indeed true.

Malyns version

Malyn denied bein g psycholo gically incapacitated. [27] While she admitted pla ying mahjong, she denied playing as frequently as Tyrone
alleged. She maintained that she did so only two to three times a week and always between 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. only. [28] And in those instances,
she always had Tyrones permission and would often bring the children and their respective yayaswith her.[29] She main tained that she did not
negle ct her duties as mother and wife.

Malyn admitted leaving the conjugal home in May 1985. She, however, explained that she did so only to escape her physically abusive
husband.[30] On the day she left, Tyrone, who preferred to keep Malyn a housewife, was upset that Malyn was preparing to go to work. He
called up the security guards and instructed them not to let Malyn out of the house. Tyrone then pla ced cigarette ashes on Malyns head and
proceeded to lock the bedroom doors. Fearing another beating, Malyn rushed out of their bedroom and into her mother-in-laws room. She
blurted that Tyrone would beat her up again so her mother-in-law gave her P300 to leave the house. [31] She never returned to their conjugal
home.

Malyn explained that she applied for work, against Tyrones wishes, because she wanted to be self-sufficient. Her resolve came from her
discovery that Tyrone had a son by Jocelyn and had secretly gone to the US with Jocelyn.[32]

Malyn denied the allegation of adultery. She maintained that Benjie only booked a room at the Hyatt Hotel for her because she was so drunk
after partying with friends. She admitted finding her brother Ronald and Tyrone at the door of the Hyatt Hotel room, but maintained being fully
clothed at that time.[33] Malyn insisted that she wrote the letter relinquishing all her spousal and parental rights under duress.[34]

After the Hyatt Hotel incident, Malyn only saw her children by surreptitiously visitin g them in school. She later obtained partial custody of the
children as an incident to the legal separation actio n filed by Tyrone again st her (which actio n was subsequently dismissed for lack of interest).
As an affirmative defense, Malyn main tained that it was Tyrone who was sufferin g from psychological incapacity, as manifested by his drug
dependence, habitual drinking, womanizing, and physical violence.[35] Malyn presented Dr. Dayan a clinical psychologist, as her expert
witness.

Dr. Dayan interviewed Tyrone, Malyn, Miggy/Mickey, Jay, and Ria for her psychological evaluation of the spouses. The factual narrations
culled from these intervie ws reveal that Tyrone found Malyn a lousy mother because of her mahjong habit,[36] while Malyn was fed up with
Tyrones sexual infidelity, drug habit, and physical abuse. [37] Dr. Dayan determined that both Tyrone and Malyn were behaviorally immature.
They encountered problems because of their personality differences, which ultimately led to the demise of their marriage. Her diagnostic
impressions are summarized below:

The marriage of Tyrone and Malyn was a mistake from the very beginning. Both of them were not truly ready for marriage
even after two years of living together and having a child. When Malyn first met Tyrone who showered her with gifts, flo wers,
and affection she resisted his overtures. She made it clear that she could take him or leave him. But the minute she started
to care, she became a different person clingy and immature, doubting his love, constantly demanding reassurance that she
was the most important person in his life. She became rela tionship-dependent. It appears that her style then was when she
begin s to care for a man, she puts all her energy into him and loses focus on herself. This imbalance between thinkin g and
feelin g was overwhelming to Tyrone who admitted that the thought of commitment scared him. Tyrone admitted that when
he was in his younger years, he was often out seeking other women. His interest in them was not necessarily for sex, just
for fun dancing, drinkin g, or simply flirting.

Both of them seem behaviorally immature. For some time, Malyn adapted to her husband who was a moody man with
short temper and unresolved issues with parents and sib lings. He was a distancer, concerned more about his work and
friends tha[n] he was about spending time with his family. Because of Malyns and Tyrones backgrounds (both came from
families with hig h conflicts) they experienced turmoil and chaos in their marriage. The conflicts they had struggle d to avoid
suddenly galloped out of control Their individ ual personalities broke through, precipitating the demise of their marriage.[38]

Dr. Dayan likewise wrote in her psychological evaluatio n report that Malyn exhibited significant, but not severe, dependency, narcissism, and
compulsiveness.[39]

On the stand, the psychologist ela borated that while Malyn had relatio nship proble ms with Tyrone, she appeared to have a good rela tionship
with her kid s. [40] As for Tyrone, he has commitment issues which prevent him from committing himself to his duties as a husband. He is
unable to remain faithful to Malyn and is psychologically incapacitated to perform this duty.[41]

Childrens version

The child ren all stated that both their parents took care of them, provided for their needs, and loved them. Rio testified that they would
accompany their mother to White Plains on days that she played mahjong with her friends. None of them reported bein g neglected or feeling
abandoned.

The two eld er kids remembered the fights between their parents but it was only Ria who admitted actually witnessin g physical abuse inflicted
on her mother. [42] The two eld er kids also recalled that, after the separation, their mother would visit them only in school.[43]

The child ren recalled livin g in Valle Verde with only the househelp and driver during the time that their dad was abroad. [44] While they did not
live with their mother while they were housed in Valle Verde, the kids were in agreement that their mother took care of them on weekends
and would see to their needs. They had a common recollection that the househelp would call their mother to come and take care of them in
Valle Verde whenever any of them was sick.[45]
Other witnesses

Dr. Cornelio Banaag, Tyrones attending psychiatrist at the Manila Sanitarium, testified that, for the duration of Tyrones confin ement, the
couple appeared happy and the wife was commendable for the support she gave to her spouse. [46] He likewise testified that Tyrone tested
negative for drugs and was not a drug dependent.[47]

Malyns brother, Ronald Fernandez, confirmed Tyrones allegation that they found Malyn with Benjie in the Hyatt hotel room. Contrary to
Tyrones versio n, he testified that neither he nor Tyrone entered the room, but stayed in the hallway. He likewise did not recall seeing Benjie
or Malyn half-naked. [48]

Tyrone then presented Mario Calma (Mario), who was allegedly part of Malyns group of friends. He stated on the stand that they would go on
nights-out as a group and Malyn would meet with a male musician-friend afterwards. [49]

Social worker

The trial court ordered the court social worker, Jocelyn V. Arre (Arre), to conduct a social case study on the parties as well as the minor
children. Arre interviewed the parties Tyrone and Malyn; the minor children Miggy/Mickey and Jay; Tyrones live-in partner, Jocelyn; [50] and
Tyrone and Malyns only daughter, Ria. While both parents are financially stable and have positive relatio nships with their children, she
recommended that the custody of the minor children be awarded to Malyn. Based on the interviews of family members themselves, Malyn
was shown to be more available to the children and to exercise better supervisio n and care. The social worker commended the fact that even
after Malyn left the conjugal home in 1985, she made efforts to visit her children clandestinely in their respective schools. And while she was
only granted weekend custody of the children, it appeared that she made efforts to personally attend to their needs and to devote time with
them.[51]
On the contrary, Tyrone, who had custody of the children since the couples de facto separatio n, simply left the children for several years with
only a maid and a driver to care for them while he lived with his second family abroad. [52] The socia l worker found that Tyrone tended to
prioritize his second family to the detriment of his children with Malyn. Given this history during the formative years of the children, the social
worker did not find Tyrone a reliable parent to whom custody of adolescents may be awarded.

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court [53]

After summarizin g the evidence presented by both parties, the tria l court conclu ded that both parties are psychologically incapacitated to
perform the essential marital obligatio ns under the Family Code. The courts Decision is encapsulated in this paragraph:

From the evidence, it appears that parties are both suffering from psychological incapacity to perform their essential marital
obligations under Article 36 of the Family Code. The parties entered into a marriage without as much as understandin g
what it entails. They failed to commit themselves to its essential oblig ations: the conjugal act, the community of life and love,
the rendering of mutual help, the procreatio n and educatio n of their children to become responsible individ uals. Parties
psychological incapacity is grave, and serious such that both are incapable of carrying out the ordin ary duties required in
marriage. The incapacity has been clinically established and was found to be pervasive, grave and incurable. [54]
The trial court then declared the parties marriage void ab initio pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code.[55]

Ruling of the Court of Appeals [56]


Malyn appealed the trial courts Decision to the CA. The CA reversed the trial courts ruling because it is not supported by the facts on
record. Both parties allegations and incrimin ations against each other do not support a finding of psychological incapacity. The parties faults
tend only to picture their immaturity and irresponsibility in performing their marital and familial obligatio ns.At most, there may be sufficient
grounds for a legal separation. [57] Moreover, the psychological report submitted by petitioners expert witness, Dr. Gates, does not explain how
the dia gnosis of NPD came to be drawn from the sources. It failed to satisfy the legal and jurisprudential requirements for the declaration of
nullity of marriage. [58]

Tyrone filed a motion for reconsideratio n[59] but the same was denie d on December 15, 2004.[60]

Petitioners arguments

Petitioner Tyrone argues that the CA erred in disregardin g the factual findings of the trial court, which is the court that is in the best position to
appreciate the evidence. He opines that he has presented preponderant evidence to prove that respondent is psychologically incapacitated
to perform her essentia l marital oblig ations, to wit:

a) the expert witnesses, Dr. Gates and Fr. Healy, proved on the stand that respondents egocentric attitude, immaturity, self-
obsession and self-centeredness were manifestatio ns of respondents NPD; [61]

b) these expert witnesses proved that respondents NPD is grave and incurable and prevents her from performing her
essential martial oblig ations;[62] and

c) that respondents NPD existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage because it is rooted in her upbringing, family
background, and socialite lifestyle prior to her marriage.[63]

Petitioner stresses that even respondent insisted that their marriage is void because of psychological incapacity, albeit on petitioners part.[64]

Respondents arguments

Respondent main tains that Tyrone failed to discharge his burden of proving her alleged psychological incapacity.[65] She argues that the
testimonies of her children and the findings of the court social worker to the effect that she was a good, loving, and attentive mother are
sufficient to rebut Tyrones allegation that she was negligent and irresponsible.[66]

She assails Dr. Gatess report as one-sided and lacking in depth. Dr. Gates did not interview her, their common children, or even Jocelyn.
Moreover, her report failed to state that Malyns alleged psychological incapacity was grave and incurable. [67] Fr. Healys testimony, on the
other hand, was based only on Tyrones version of the facts.[68]

Malyn reiterates the appellate courts ruling that the trial court Decision is intrinsically defective for failing to support its conclusio n of
psychological incapacity with factual findings.

Almost four years after filing her memorandum, respondent apparently had a change of heart and filed a Manifestatio n with Motion for Leave
to Withdraw Comment and Memorandum.[69]She manifested that she was no longer disputing the possibility that their marriage may really be
void on the basis of Tyrones psychological incapacity. She then asked the Court to dispose of the case with justice.[70] Her manifestatio n and
motio n were noted by the Court in its January 20, 2010 Resolution.[71]

Issue

Whether petitioner has sufficiently proved that respondent suffers from psychological incapacity

Our Ruling

The petition has no merit. The CA committed no reversible error in setting aside the tria l courts Decision for lack of legal and factual basis.

A petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is governed by Article 36 of the Family Code which provides:
ART. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psycholo gically incapacitated
to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest
only after its solemnization.

Psychological incapacity is the downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume the basic marital oblig ations.[72] The
burden of proving psychological incapacity is on the pla in tiff. [73] The pla in tiff must prove that the incapacitated party, based on his or her
actions or behavior, suffers a serious psychological disorder that completely disables him or her from understandin g and discharging the
essential oblig ations of the marital state. The psychological problem must be grave, must have existed at the time of marriage, and must be
incurable. [74]

In the case at bar, petitioner failed to prove that his wife (respondent) suffers from psychological incapacity. He presented the testimonies of
two supposed expert witnesses who conclu ded that respondent is psychologically incapacitated, but the conclusio ns of these witnesses were
premised on the alleged acts or behavior of respondent which had not been sufficiently proven.Petitioners experts heavily relied on
petitioners allegations of respondents constant mahjo ng sessions, visits to the beauty parlor, going out with friends, adultery, and neglect of
their children. Petitioners experts opin ed that respondents alleged habits, when performed constantly to the detriment of quality and quantity
of time devoted to her duties as mother and wife, constitute a psychological incapacity in the form of NPD.

But petitioners allegations, which served as the bases or underlying premises of the conclusio ns of his experts, were not actually
proven. In fact, respondent presented contrary evidence refuting these allegations of the petitioner.

For instance, petitioner alleged that respondent constantly played mahjong and neglected their children as a result. Respondent admittedly
played mahjo ng, but it was not proven that she engaged in mahjong so frequently that she neglected her duties as a mother and a
wife. Respondent refuted petitioners allegations that she pla yed four to five times a week. She maintain ed it was only two to three times a
week and always with the permission of her husband and without abandonin g her children at home. The children corroborated this, saying
that they were with their mother when she pla yed mahjong in their rela tives home. Petitioner did not present any proof, other than his own
testimony, that the mahjong sessions were so frequent that respondent negle cted her family. While he intimated that two of his sons repeated
the second grade, he was not able to link this episode to respondents mahjo ng-playin g. The least that could have been done was to prove
the frequency of respondents mahjo ng-playin g during the years when these two children were in second grade. This was not done. Thus,
while there is no dispute that respondent played mahjong, its alleged debilitating frequency and adverse effect on the children were not
proven.
Also unproven was petitioners claim about respondents alleged constant visits to the beauty parlor, goin g out with friends, and obsessive
need for attention from other men. No proof whatsoever was presented to prove her visits to beauty salons or her frequent partying with
friends. Petitioner presented Mario (an alleged companio n of respondent during these nights-out) in order to prove that respondent had
affairs with other men, but Mario only testified that respondent appeared to be dating other men. Even assuming arguendo that petitioner was
able to prove that respondent had an extramarital affair with another man, that one instance of sexual infid elity cannot, by itself, be equated
with obsessive need for attention from other men. Sexual infidelity per se is a ground for legal separation, but it does not necessarily
constitute psycholo gical incapacity.
Given the insufficiency of evidence that respondent actually engaged in the behaviors described as constitutive of NPD, there is no basis for
conclu ding that she was indeed psychologically incapacitated. Indeed, the totality of the evidence points to the opposite conclusio n. A fair
assessment of the facts would show that respondent was not totally remiss and incapable of appreciating and performing her marital and
parental duties. Not once did the children state that they were negle cted by their mother. On the contrary, they narrated that she took care of
them, was around when they were sick, and cooked the food they like. It appears that respondent made real efforts to see and take care of
her children despite her estrangement from their father.There was no testimony whatsoever that shows abandonment and neglect of familial
duties. While petitioner cites the fact that his two sons, Rio and Miggy, both faile d the second ele mentary level despite having tutors, there is
nothing to link their academic shortcomings to Malyns actio ns.

After poring over the records of the case, the Court finds no factual basis for the conclusio n of psychological incapacity. There is no error in
the CAs reversal of the trial courts ruling that there was psycholo gical incapacity. The trial courts Decision merely summarized the allegations,
testimonies, and evidence of the respective parties, but it did not actually assess the veracity of these allegations, the credibility of the
witnesses, and the weight of the evidence. The trial court did not make factual findings which can serve as bases for its legal conclusion of
psychological incapacity.

What transpired between the parties is acrimony and, perhaps, infidelity, which may have constrained them from dedicating the best
of themselves to each other and to their children. There may be grounds for legal separation, but certainly not psychological incapacity that
voids a marriage.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals May 27, 2004 Decision and its December 15, 2004
Resolution in CA-G.R. CV No. 64240 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

JOSE REYNALDO B. OCHOSA, G.R. No. 167459

Petitioner,
Present:

CORONA, C.J.,

Chairperson,

VELASCO, JR.,

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
- versus -
DEL CASTILLO, and

PEREZ, JJ.
Promulgated:

BONA J. ALANO and REPUBLIC OF THE

PHILIPPINES, January 26, 2011

Respondents.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to set aside the Decision [1] dated
October 11, 2004 as well as the Resolution [2] dated March 10, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 65120, which
reversed and set aside the Decision [3] dated January 11, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 140 in Civil Case
No. 97-2903. In the said January 11, 1999 Decision, the trial court granted petitioner Jose Reynaldo Ochosas (Jose) petition for
the declaration of nullity of marriage between him and private respondent Bona J. Alano (Bona).

The relevant facts of this case, as outlined by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:

It appears that Jose met Bona in August 1973 when he was a young lieutenant in the AFP while the
latter was a seventeen-year-old first year college drop-out. They had a whirlwind romance that culminated into
sexual intimacy and eventual marriage on 27 October 1973 before the Honorable Judge Cesar S. Principe in
Basilan. The couple did not acquire any property. Neither did they incur any debts. Their union produced no
offspring. In 1976, however, they found an abandoned and neglected one-year-old baby girl whom they later
registered as their daughter, naming her Ramona Celeste Alano Ochosa.

During their marriage, Jose was often assigned to various parts of the Philippine archipelago as an
officer in the AFP. Bona did not cohabit with him in his posts, preferring to stay in her hometown of Basilan.
Neither did Bona visit him in his areas of assignment, except in one (1) occasion when Bona stayed with him for
four (4) days.

Sometime in 1985, Jose was appointed as the Battalion Commander of the Security Escort Group. He
and Bona, along with Ramona, were given living quarters at Fort Bonifacio, Makati City where they resided with
their military aides.

In 1987, Jose was charged with rebellion for his alleged participation in the failed coup detat. He was
incarcerated in Camp Crame.
It appears that Bona was an unfaithful spouse. Even at the onset of their marriage when Jose was
assigned in various parts of the country, she had illicit relations with other men. Bona apparently did not change
her ways when they lived together at Fort Bonifacio; she entertained male visitors in her bedroom whenever
Jose was out of their living quarters. On one occasion, Bona was caught by Demetrio Bajet y Lita, a security
aide, having sex with Joses driver, Corporal Gagarin. Rumors of Bonas sexual infidelity circulated in the military
community. When Jose could no longer bear these rumors, he got a military pass from his jail warden and
confronted Bona.

During their confrontation, Bona admitted her relationship with Corporal Gagarin who also made a
similar admission to Jose. Jose drove Bona away from their living quarters. Bona left with Ramona and went to
Basilan.

In 1994, Ramona left Bona and came to live with Jose. It is Jose who is currently supporting the needs
of Ramona.

Jose filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, docketed as Civil Case No. 97-2903 with the
RTC of Makati City, Branch 140, seeking to nullify his marriage to Bona on the ground of the latters
psychological incapacity to fulfill the essential obligations of marriage.

Summons with a copy of the petition and its annexes were duly served upon Bona who failed to file any
responsive pleading during the reglementary period.

Pursuant to the order of the trial court, the Public Prosecutor conducted an investigation to determine
whether there was collusion between the parties. Said prosecutor submitted a report that she issued a
subpoena to both parties but only Jose appeared; hence, it can not be reasonably determined whether or not
there was collusion between them.

Trial on the merits of the case ensued. Petitioner along with his two military aides, Gertrudes Himpayan
Padernal and Demetrio Bajet y Lita, testified about respondents marital infidelity during the marriage.

The fourth and final witness was Elizabeth E. Rondain, a psychiatrist, who testified that after conducting
several tests, she reached the conclusion that respondent was suffering from histrionic personality disorder
which she described as follows:

Her personality is that she has an excessive emotion and attention seeking behavior.
So therefore they dont develop sympathy in feelings and they have difficulty in maintaining
emotional intimacy. In the case of Mr. Ochosa he has been a military man. It is his duty to be
transferred in different areas in the Philippines. And while he is being transferred from one place
to another because of his assignments as a military man, Mrs. Bona Alano refused to follow him
in all his assignments. There were only few occasions in which she followed him. And during
those times that they were not living together, because of the assignments of Mr. Ochosa she
developed extra marital affair with other man of which she denied in the beginning but in the
latter part of their relationship she admitted it to Mr. Ochosa that she had relationship with
respondents driver. I believe with this extra marital affair that is her way of seeking attention and
seeking emotions from other person and not from the husband. And of course, this is not
fulfilling the basic responsibility in a marriage.
According to Rondain, respondents psychological disorder was traceable to her family history, having
for a father a gambler and a womanizer and a mother who was a battered wife. There was no possibility of a
cure since respondent does not have an insight of what is happening to her and refused to acknowledge the
reality.

With the conclusion of the witnesses testimonies, petitioner formally offered his evidence and rested his
case.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) submitted its opposition to the petition on the ground that the
factual settings in the case at bench, in no measure at all, can come close to the standards required to decree a
nullity of marriage (Santos v. CA, 240 SCRA 20 [1995]).

In a Decision dated 11 January 1999, the trial court granted the petition and nullified the parties
marriage on the following findings, viz:

xxxx

Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended, provides as follows:

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.

Such a ground to be invalidative (sic) of marriage, the degree of incapacity must exhibit
GRAVITY, ANTECEDENCE and INCURABILITY.

From the evidence presented, the Court finds that the psychological incapacity of the
respondent exhibited GRAVITY, ANTECEDENCE and INCURABILITY.

It is grave because the respondent did not carry out the normal and ordinary duties of
marriage and family shouldered by any average couple existing under everyday circumstances
of life and work. The gravity was manifested in respondents infidelity as testified to by the
petitioner and his witnesses.

The psychological incapacity of the respondent could be traced back to respondents


history as testified to by the expert witness when she said that respondents bad experience
during her childhood resulted in her difficulty in achieving emotional intimacy, hence, her
continuous illicit relations with several men before and during the marriage.

Considering that persons suffering from this kind of personality disorder have no insight
of their condition, they will not submit to treatment at all. As in the case at bar, respondents
psychological incapacity clinically identified as Histrionic Personality Disorder will remain
incurable. [4] (Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, the dispositive portion of the trial court Decision dated January 11, 1999 read:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered DECLARING the marriage of JOSE
REYNALDO B. OCHOSA and BONA J. ALANO on October 27, 1973 at Basilan City VOID AB INITIO on ground
of psychological incapacity of the respondent under Article 36 of the Family Code as amended with all the
effects and consequences provided for by all applicable provisions of existing pertinent laws.

After this Decision becomes final, let copies thereof be sent to the Local Civil Registrar of Basilan City
who is directed to cancel the said marriage from its Civil Registry, and the Local Civil Registrar of Makati City for
its information and guidance. [5]

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) appealed the said ruling to the Court of Appeals which sided with the OSGs
contention that the trial court erred in granting the petition despite Joses abject failure to discharge the burden of proving the
alleged psychological incapacity of his wife, Bona, to comply with the essential marital obligations.

Thus, the Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the trial court Decision in its assailed Decision dated October 11,
2004, the dispositive portion of which states:

WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED, the appealed Decision dated 11 January 1999 in Civil Case No.
97-2903 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 140, is accordingly REVERSED and SET
ASIDE, and another is entered DISMISSING the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. [6]

Jose filed a Motion for Reconsideration but this was denied by the Court of Appeals for lack of merit in its assailed
Resolution dated March 10, 2005.

Hence, this Petition.

The only issue before this Court is whether or not Bona should be deemed psychologically incapacitated to comply with
the essential marital obligations.

The petition is without merit.

The petition for declaration of nullity of marriage which Jose filed in the trial court hinges on Article 36 of the Family Code, to wit:
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.

In the landmark case of Santos v. Court of Appeals,[7] we observed that psychological incapacity must be characterized
by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) 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 marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were
otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.

Soon after, incorporating the three basic requirements of psychological incapacity as mandated in Santos , we laid down
in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina [8] the following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the
Family Code:

(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 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 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 dos. 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 outburst 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 Article 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 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 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.[9] (Citations omitted.)

In Marcos v. Marcos,[10] we previously held that the foregoing guidelines do not require that a physician examine the
person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be medically or clinically identified. What is
important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition.For, indeed, if the totality
of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person
concerned need not be resorted to.
It is also established in jurisprudence that from these requirements arise the concept that Article 36 of the Family Code
does not really dissolve a marriage; it simply recognizes that there never was any marriage in the first place because the
affliction already then existing was so grave and permanent as to deprive the afflicted party of awareness of the duties and
responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she was to assume or had assumed. [11]

A little over a decade since the promulgation of the Molina guidelines, we made a critical assessment of the same
in Ngo Te v. Yu-Te,[12] to wit:

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. 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. [13]

However, our critique did not mean that we had declared an abandonment of the Molina doctrine. On the contrary, we
simply declared and, thus, clarified in the same Tecase that there is a need to emphasize other perspectives as well which
should govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. Furthermore, we reiterated in the same case
the principle that each case must be 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. [14]

In the case at bar, the trial court granted the petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage on the basis of Dr. Elizabeth
Rondains testimony [15] and her psychiatric evaluation report [16] as well as the individual testimonies of Jose [17] and his military
aides - Mrs. Gertrudes Himpayan Padernal [18] and Corporal Demetrio Bajet. [19]

We are sufficiently convinced, after a careful perusal of the evidence presented in this case, that Bona had been, on
several occasions with several other men, sexually disloyal to her spouse, Jose. Likewise, we are persuaded that Bona had
indeed abandoned Jose. However, we cannot apply the same conviction to Joses thesis that the totality of Bonas acts
constituted psychological incapacity as determined by Article 36 of the Family Code. There is inadequate credible evidence that
her defects were already present at the inception of, or prior to, the marriage. In other words, her alleged psychological
incapacity did not satisfy the jurisprudential requisite of juridical antecedence.

With regard to Bonas sexual promiscuity prior to her marriage to Jose, we have only the uncorroborated testimony of
Jose made in open court to support this allegation. To quote the pertinent portion of the transcript:

Q: So, what was the reason why you have broken with your wife after several years -
A: Well, I finally broke up with my wife because I can no longer bear the torture because of the gossips that she
had an affair with other men, and finally, when I have a chance to confront her she admitted that she
had an affair with other men.

Q: With other men. And, of course this her life with other men of course before the marriage you have already
known

A: Yes, your honor.

Q: So, that this gossips because you said that you thought that this affair would go to end after your marriage?

A: Yes, I was thinking about that.

Q: So, that after several years she will not change so thats why you cant bear it anymore?

A: Yes, maam. [20]

Dr. Rondains testimony and psychiatric evaluation report do not provide evidentiary support to cure the doubtful veracity
of Joses one-sided assertion. Even if we take into account the psychiatrists conclusion that Bona harbors a Histrionic Personality
Disorder that existed prior to her marriage with Jose and this mental condition purportedly made her helplessly prone to
promiscuity and sexual infidelity, the same cannot be taken as credible proof of antecedence since the method by which such an
inference was reached leaves much to be desired in terms of meeting the standard of evidence required in determining
psychological incapacity.

The psychiatrists findings on Bonas personality profile did not emanate from a personal interview with the subject herself
as admitted by Dr. Rondain in court, as follows:

Q: How about, you mentioned that the petitioner came for psychological test, how about the respondent, did she
come for interview and test?

A: No, maam.

Q: Did you try to take her for such?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: And what did she tell you, did she come for an interview?
A: There was no response, maam. [21]

As a consequence thereof, Dr. Rondain merely relied on her interview with Jose and his witness, Mrs. Padernal, as well
as the court record of the testimonies of other witnesses, to wit:

Q: And you said you did interviews. Who did the interview?

A: I interviewed Mr. Ochosa and their witness Padernal, maam.

Q: When you say Padernal are you referring to Gertrudes Himpayan Padernal who testified in this court?

A: Yes, maam.

xxxx

Q: Other than the interviews what else did you do in order to evaluate members of the parties?

A: I also interviewed (sic) the transcript of stenographic notes of the testimonies of other witnesses, maam.

xxxx

Q: Was there also a psychological test conducted on the respondent?

A: Yes, your honor.

Q: It was on the basis of the psychological test in which you based your evaluation report?

A: It was based on the psychological test conducted and clinical interview with the other witnesses, your
Honor. [22]

Verily, Dr. Rondain evaluated Bonas psychological condition indirectly from the information gathered solely from Jose
and his witnesses. This factual circumstance evokes the possibility that the information fed to the psychiatrist is tainted with bias
for Joses cause, in the absence of sufficient corroboration.
Even if we give the benefit of the doubt to the testimonies at issue since the trial court judge had found them to be
credible enough after personally witnessing Jose and the witnesses testify in court, we cannot lower the evidentiary benchmark
with regard to information on Bonas pre-marital history which is crucial to the issue of antecedence in this case because we
have only the word of Jose to rely on. In fact, Bonas dysfunctional family portrait which brought about her Histrionic Personality
Disorder as painted by Dr. Rondain was based solely on the assumed truthful knowledge of Jose, the spouse who has the most
to gain if his wife is found to be indeed psychologically incapacitated. No other witness testified to Bonas family history or her
behavior prior to or at the beginning of the marriage. Both Mrs. Padernal and Corporal Bajet came to know Bona only during
their employment in petitioners household during the marriage. It is undisputed that Jose and Bona were married in 1973 while
Mrs. Padernal and Corporal Bajet started to live with petitioners family only in 1980 and 1986, respectively.

We have previously held that, in employing a rigid and stringent level of evidentiary scrutiny to cases like this, we do not
suggest that a personal examination of the party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated is mandatory; jurisprudence holds
that this type of examination is not a mandatory requirement. While such examination is desirable, we recognize that it may not
be practical in all instances given the oftentimes estranged relations between the parties. For a determination though of a partys
complete personality profile, information coming from persons with personal knowledge of the juridical antecedents may be
helpful. This is an approach in the application of Article 36 that allows flexibility, at the same time that it avoids, if not totally
obliterate, the credibility gaps spawned by supposedly expert opinion based entirely on doubtful sources of information. [23]

However, we have also ruled in past decisions that to make conclusions and generalizations on a spouses psychological
condition based on the information fed by only one side, similar to what we have pointed out in the case at bar, is, to the Courts
mind, not different from admitting hearsay evidence as proof of the truthfulness of the content of such evidence.[24]

Anent the accusation that, even at the inception of their marriage, Bona did not wish to be with Jose as a further
manifestation of her psychological incapacity, we need only to look at the testimonial records of Jose and his witnesses to be
convinced otherwise, to wit:

JOSE OCHOSAS TESTIMONY:

Q: How long did you stay with your wife?

A: We were married in 1973 and we separated in 1988 but in all those years there were only few occasions that
we were staying together because most of the time Im in the field.

Q: Now, you said most of the time you were in the field, did you not your wife come with you in any of your
assignments?

A: Never, but sometimes she really visited me and stayed for one (1) day and then

Q: And, where did your wife stayed when she leaves you?

A: She was staying with her mother in Basilan.


Q: Where were you assigned most of the time?

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

Q: And, of course she would come to your place every now and then because it is not very far

A: No, maam, once in a while only.

Q: Did you not go home to your conjugal home?

A: I have a chanced also to go home because we were allowed to at least three (3) days every other month.

Q: So, if you start from the marriage up to 1988 so that is 16 years you were supposed to have been living
together?

A: No, actually in 19 middle of 1987 because in 1987 I was in x x x.[25]

GERTRUDES PADERNALS TESTIMONY:

Q: Now, do you know when they lived together as husband and wife?

A: 1979.

Q: And you said that you have known the petitioner and the respondent in this case because in fact, you lived
with them together in the same quarters. Does the quarters have different rooms?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: But very near each other?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: You know them because of the proximity of the quarters?

A: Yes, maam.
Q: It was only during this 1980 to 1983, three (3) years that you lived together that you have a chance to be with
the spouses?

xxxx

A: Since 1980 to 1983 we lived together in the same house.

xxxx

Q: Now, Madam Witness, after 1983, where did you reside together with your husband?

A: In Cagayan de Oro and in 1986 we came back to Manila, in Fort Bonifacio.

Q: You mean, in the same house where petitioner and the respondent lived together?

A: Yes. Maam.

Q: How long did you live in the house where the petitioner and the respondent stay?

A: Twelve years now since 1983 to 1995.

Q: Where was the petitioner working at that time, from 1982 to 1995?

A: He is a soldier, a Colonel.

Q: Do you know where he was assigned during this time?

A: Yes, maam, G-3.

Q: May we know where this G-3 is?

A: Fort Bonifacio, maam.

Q: What about the wife, where does she stay?

A: At Fort Bonifacio, in their house.[26]


DR. ELIZABETH E. RONDAINS TESTIMONY:

Q: Now, they got married in 1973, am I correct?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: But the matter of the work or assignment of the petitioner, he was assigned in different Provinces or
Barangays in the Philippines?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: Now, when the wife or the respondent in this case did not go with the husband in different places of his
assignment did you ask her why what was the reason why she did not like to go those places?

A: She just did not want to. The wife did not go with him because by transferring from one place to another, she
just dont want to go, she just wanted to stay in Basilan where her hometown is, maam.

Q: Did the petitioner herein tell you why the respondent dont want to go with him?

A: Yes, I asked, the answer of the petitioner was she simply did not want to go with him because she did not
want him to be appointed to far away places.

Q: And would it be that since she did not like to go with the husband in some far away different assignments she
also assumed that the assignments were in this war regions they were always fighting considering the
place in Basilan they were in fighting atmosphere?

A: It is possible but he was transferred to Manila and she also refused to stay in Manila, maam.

Q: When was that that she refused to come to Manila?

A: I think, sometime in 1983, maam. She did not follow immediately. She stayed with him only for four (4) months,
maam.

Q: Now, do you know if the petitioner and the respondent were living together as husband and wife for this
period of time during the relationship?
A: Yes, maam. After their marriage I believe their relationship was good for a few months until he was
transferred to Julu. I believe during that time when they were together the husband was giving an
attention to her. The husband was always there and when the husband transferred to Basilan, the
attention was not there anymore, maam. [27]

It is apparent from the above-cited testimonies that Bona, contrary to Joses assertion, had no manifest desire to abandon Jose
at the beginning of their marriage and was, in fact, living with him for the most part of their relationship from 1973 up to the time
when Jose drove her away from their conjugal home in 1988. On the contrary, the record shows that it was Jose who was
constantly away from Bona by reason of his military duties and his later incarceration. A reasonable explanation for Bonas
refusal to accompany Jose in his military assignments in other parts of Mindanao may be simply that those locations were
known conflict areas in the seventies. Any doubt as to Bonas desire to live with Jose would later be erased by the fact that Bona
lived with Jose in their conjugal home in Fort Bonifacio during the following decade.

In view of the foregoing, the badges of Bonas alleged psychological incapacity, i.e., her sexual infidelity and
abandonment, can only be convincingly traced to the period of time after her marriage to Jose and not to the inception of the
said marriage.

We have stressed time and again 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 therefore manifest themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even
before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties
and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. These marital obligations are those provided under Articles
68 to 71, 220, 221 and 225 of the Family Code. [28]

While we are not insensitive to petitioners suffering in view of the truly appalling and shocking behavior of his wife, still, we are
bound by judicial precedents regarding the evidentiary requirements in psychological incapacity cases that must be applied to
the present case.

WHEREFORE , the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED .

SO ORDERED.

DANILO A. AURELIO, Petitioner, G.R. No. 175367

Present:

CARPIO, J., Chairperson,

- versus - NACHURA,

PERALTA,
ABAD, and

MENDOZA, JJ.

Promulgated:

VIDA MA. CORAZON P. AURELIO, June 6, 2011

Respondent .

x--------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari,[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to set aside the
October 6, 2005 Decision [2] and October 26, 2006 Resolution,[3] of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. SP No. 82238.

The facts of the case are as follows:

Petitioner Danilo A. Aurelio and respondent Vida Ma. Corazon Aurelio were married on March 23, 1988. They have two
sons, namely: Danilo Miguel and Danilo Gabriel.

On May 9, 2002, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 94, a Petition for
Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. [4] In her petition, respondent alleged that both she and petitioner were psychologically
incapacitated of performing and complying with their respective essential marital obligations. In addition, respondent alleged that
such state of psychological incapacity was present prior and even during the time of the marriage ceremony. Hence, respondent
prays that her marriage be declared null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code which 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 succinctly summarized by the CA, contained in respondents petition are the following allegations, to wit:

x x x The said petition alleged, inter alia, that both husband and wife are psychologically incapable of
performing and complying with their essential marital obligations. Said psychological incapacity was existing
prior and at the time of the marriage. Said psychological incapacity was manifested by lack of financial
support from the husband; his lack of drive and incapacity to discern the plight of his working wife. The
husband exhibited consistent jealousy and distrust towards his wife. His moods alternated between hostile
defiance and contrition. He refused to assist in the maintenance of the family. He refused to foot the
household bills and provide for his familys needs. He exhibited arrogance. He was completely insensitive to
the feelings of his wife. He liked to humiliate and embarrass his wife even in the presence of their children.

Vida Aurelio, on the other hand, is effusive and displays her feelings openly and freely. Her feelings change
very quickly from joy to fury to misery to despair, depending on her day-to-day experiences. Her tolerance for
boredom was very low. She was emotionally immature; she cannot stand frustration or disappointment. She
cannot delay to gratify her needs. She gets upset when she cannot get what she wants. Self-indulgence lifts
her spirits immensely. Their hostility towards each other distorted their relationship. Their incapacity to accept
and fulfill the essential obligations of marital life led to the breakdown of their marriage. Private respondent
manifested psychological aversion to cohabit with her husband or to take care of him. The psychological
make-up of private respondent was evaluated by a psychologist, who found that the psychological incapacity
of both husband and wife to perform their marital obligations is grave, incorrigible and incurable. Private
respondent suffers from a Histrionic Personality Disorder with Narcissistic features; whereas petitioner suffers
from passive aggressive (negativistic) personality disorder that renders him immature and irresponsible to
assume the normal obligations of a marriage. [5]

On November 8, 2002, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss [6] the petition. Petitioner principally argued that the petition
failed to state a cause of action and that it failed to meet the standards set by the Court for the interpretation and implementation
of Article 36 of the Family Code.

On January 14, 2003, the RTC issued an Order [7] denying petitioners motion.

On February 21, 2003, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was, however, denied by the RTC in an
[8]
Order dated December 17, 2003. In denying petitioners motion, the RTC ruled that respondents petition for declaration of nullity
of marriage complied with the requirements of the Molina doctrine, and whether or not the allegations are meritorious would
depend upon the proofs presented by both parties during trial, to wit:

A review of the petition shows that it observed the requirements in Republic vs. Court of Appeals (268
SCRA 198), otherwise known as the Molina Doctrine. There was allegation of the root cause of the
psychological incapacity of both the petitioner and the respondent contained in paragraphs 12 and 13 of the
petition. The manifestation of juridical antecedence was alleged in paragraphs 5 and 6 of the petition. The
allegations constituting the gravity of psychological incapacity were alleged in paragraph 9 (a to l) of the
petition. The incurability was alleged in paragraph 10 of the petition. Moreover, the clinical finding of
incurability was quoted in paragraph 15 of the petition. There is a cause of action presented in the petition for
the nullification of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.

Whether or not the allegations are meritorious depends upon the proofs to be presented by both
parties. This, in turn, will entail the presentation of evidence which can only be done in the hearing on the
merits of the case. If the Court finds that there are (sic) preponderance of evidence to sustain a nullification,
then the cause of the petition shall fail. Conversely, if it finds, through the evidence that will be presented
during the hearing on the merits, that there are sufficient proofs to warrant nullification, the Court shall
declare its nullity. [9]
On February 16, 2004, petitioner appealed the RTC decision to the CA via petition for certiorari [10] under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court.

On October 6, 2005, the CA rendered a Decision dismissing the petition, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, [the] instant petition is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.[11]

In a Resolution dated October 26, 2004, the CA dismissed petitioners motion for reconsideration.

In its Decision, the CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC and held that respondents complaint for declaration of nullity of
marriage when scrutinized in juxtaposition with Article 36 of the Family Code and the Molina doctrine revealed the existence of a
sufficient cause of action.

Hence, herein petition, with petitioner raising two issues for this Courts consideration, to wit:

I.

WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS VIOLATED THE APPLICABLE LAW AND
JURISPRUDENCE WHEN IT HELD THAT THE ALLEGATIONS CONTAINED IN THE PETITION FOR
DECLARATION OF THE NULLITY OF MARRIAGE ARE SUFFICIENT FOR THE COURT TO DECLARE
THE NULLITY OF THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN VIDA AND DANILO.

II.

WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS VIOLATED THE APPLICABLE LAW AND
JURISPRUDENCE WHEN IT DENIED PETITIONERS ACTION FOR CERTIORARIDESPITE THE FACT
THAT THE DENIAL OF HIS MOTION TO DISMISS BY THE TRIAL COURT IS PATENTLY AND UTTERLY
TAINTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
JURISDICTION; AND THAT APPEAL IN DUE COURSE IS NOT A PLAIN, ADEQUATE OR SPEEDY
REMEDY UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. [12]

Before anything else, it bears to point out that had respondents complaint been filed after March 15, 2003, this present
petition would have been denied since Supreme Court Administrative Matter No. 02-11-10[13] prohibits the filing of a motion to
dismiss in actions for annulment of marriage. Be that as it may, after a circumspect review of the arguments raised by petitioner
herein, this Court finds that the petition is not meritorious.
In Republic v. Court of Appeals,[14] this Court created the Molina guidelines to aid the courts in the disposition of cases
involving psychological incapacity, to wit:

(1) Burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff.

(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.

(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage.

(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable.

(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential
obligations of 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.

(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.[15]

This Court, pursuant to Supreme Court Administrative Matter No. 02-11-10, has modified the above pronouncements,
particularly Section 2(d) thereof, stating that the certification of the Solicitor General required in the Molina case is dispensed
with to avoid delay. Still, Article 48 of the Family Code mandates that the appearance of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal
assigned be on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not
fabricated or suppressed. [16]

Petitioner anchors his petition on the premise that the allegations contained in respondents petition are insufficient to
support a declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity. Specifically, petitioner contends that the petition
failed to comply with three of the Molina guidelines, namely: that the root cause of the psychological incapacity must be alleged
in the complaint; that such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential
obligations of marriage; and that the non-complied marital obligation must be stated in the petition. [17]

First, contrary to petitioners assertion, this Court finds that the root cause of psychological incapacity was stated and
alleged in the complaint. We agree with the manifestation of respondent that the family backgrounds of both petitioner and
respondent were discussed in the complaint as the root causes of their psychological incapacity. Moreover, a competent and
expert psychologist clinically identified the same as the root causes.

Second , the petition likewise alleged that the illness of both parties was of such grave a nature as to bring about a
disability for them to assume the essential obligations of marriage. The psychologist reported that respondent suffers from
Histrionic Personality Disorder with Narcissistic Features. Petitioner, on the other hand, allegedly suffers from Passive
Aggressive (Negativistic) Personality Disorder. The incapacity of both parties to perform their marital obligations was alleged to
be grave, incorrigible and incurable.

Lastly , this Court also finds that the essential marital obligations that were not complied with were alleged in the petition.
As can be easily gleaned from the totality of the petition, respondents allegations fall under Article 68 of the Family Code which
states that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual
help and support.

It bears to stress that whether or not petitioner and respondent are psychologically incapacitated to fulfill their marital
obligations is a matter for the RTC to decide at the first instance. A perusal of the Molina guidelines would show that the same
contemplate a situation wherein the parties have presented their evidence, witnesses have testified, and that a decision has
been reached by the court after due hearing. Such process can be gleaned from guidelines 2, 6 and 8, which refer to a decision
rendered by the RTC after trial on the merits. It would certainly be too burdensome to ask this Court to resolve at first instance
whether the allegations contained in the petition are sufficient to substantiate a case for psychological incapacity. Let it be
remembered that each case involving the application of Article 36 must be treated distinctly and judged not on the basis of a
priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its own attendant facts. 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. [18] It would thus be more prudent for this Court to remand the case to the RTC, as it would be in the
best position to scrutinize the evidence as well as hear and weigh the evidentiary value of the testimonies of the ordinary
witnesses and expert witnesses presented by the parties.

Given the allegations in respondents petition for nullity of marriage, this Court rules that the RTC did not commit grave
abuse of discretion in denying petitioners motion to dismiss. By grave abuse of discretion is meant capricious and whimsical
exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough. It must be grave abuse of
discretion as when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must
be so patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to
act at all in contemplation of law.[19] Even assuming arguendo that this Court were to agree with petitioner that the allegations
contained in respondents petition are insufficient and that the RTC erred in denying petitioners motion to dismiss, the same is
merely an error of judgment correctible by appeal and not an abuse of discretion correctible by certiorari.[20]

Finally, the CA properly dismissed petitioners petition. As a general rule, the denial of a motion to dismiss, which is an
interlocutory order, is not reviewable by certiorari. Petitioners remedy is to reiterate the grounds in his motion to dismiss, as
defenses in his answer to the petition for nullity of marriage, proceed trial and, in case of an adverse decision, appeal the
decision in due time. [21] The existence of that adequate remedy removed the underpinnings of his petition for certiorari in the
CA. [22]

WHEREFORE , premises considered the petition is DENIED. The October 6, 2005 Decision and October 26,
2006 Resolution of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 82238, are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

ROWENA PADILLA-RUMBAUA, G.R. No. 166738


Petitioner,

Present:

*
CARPIO-MORALES, J.,

Acting Chairperson,
**
- versus - CARPIO,
***
CHICO-NAZARIO,
*** *
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and

BRION, JJ.

Promulgated:

EDWARD RUMBAUA,

Respondent. August 14, 2009

x --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

DECISION

BRION, J.:

Petitioner Rowena Padilla-Rumbaua (petitioner) challenges, through her petition for review on certiorari, [1] the decision

dated June 25, 2004[2] and the resolution dated January 18, 2005[3] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 75095. The

challenged decision reversed the decision[4] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) declaring the marriage of the petitioner and

respondent Edward Rumbaua (respondent) null and void on the ground of the latters psychological incapacity. The assailed

resolution, on the other hand, denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration.

ANTECEDENT FACTS
The present petition traces its roots to the petitioners complaint for the declaration of nullity of marriage against the

respondent before the RTC, docketed as Civil Case No. 767. The petitioner alleged that the respondent was psychologically

incapacitated to exercise the essential obligations of marriage as shown by the following circumstances: the respondent reneged

on his promise to live with her under one roof after finding work; he failed to extend financial support to her; he blamed her for

his mothers death; he represented himself as single in his transactions; and he pretended to be working in Davao, although he

was cohabiting with another woman in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Summons was served on the respondent through substituted service, as personal service proved futile.[5] The RTC

ordered the provincial prosecutor to investigate if collusion existed between the parties and to ensure that no fabrication or

suppression of evidence would take place. [6] Prosecutor Melvin P. Tiongsons report negated the presence of collusion between

the parties.[7]

The Republic of the Philippines (Republic), through the office of the Solicitor General (OSG), opposed the petition.[8] The

OSG entered its appearance and deputized the Provincial Prosecutor of Nueva Vizcaya to assist in all hearings of the case. [9]

The petitioner presented testimonial and documentary evidence to substantiate her charges.

The petitioner related that she and the respondent were childhood neighbors in Dupax del Norte, Nueva

Vizcaya. Sometime in 1987, they met again and became sweethearts but the respondents family did not approve of their

relationship. After graduation from college in 1991, the respondent promised to marry the petitioner as soon as he found a job.

The job came in 1993, when the Philippine Air Lines (PAL) accepted the respondent as a computer engineer. The respondent

proposed to the petitioner that they first have a secret marriage in order not to antagonize his parents. The petitioner agreed;

they were married in Manila on February 23, 1993. The petitioner and the respondent, however, never lived together; the

petitioner stayed with her sister in Fairview, Quezon City, while the respondent lived with his parents in Novaliches.

The petitioner and respondent saw each other every day during the first six months of their marriage. At that point, the

respondent refused to live with the petitioner for fear that public knowledge of their marriage would affect his application for a

PAL scholarship. Seven months into their marriage, the couples daily meetings became occasional visits to the petitioners

house in Fairview; they would have sexual trysts in motels. Later that year, the respondent enrolled at FEATI University after he

lost his employment with PAL. [10]


In 1994, the parties respective families discovered their secret marriage. The respondent s mother tried to convince him

to go to the United States, but he refused. To appease his mother, he continued living separately from the petitioner. The

respondent forgot to greet the petitioner during her birthday in 1992 and likewise failed to send her greeting cards on special

occasions. The respondent indicated as well in his visa application that he was single.

In April 1995, the respondents mother died. The respondent blamed the petitioner, associating his mothers death to the

pain that the discovery of his secret marriage brought. Pained by the respondents action, the petitioner severed her relationship

with the respondent. They eventually reconciled through the help of the petitioners father, although they still lived separately.

In 1997, the respondent informed the petitioner that he had found a job in Davao. A year later, the petitioner and her

mother went to the respondents house in Novaliches and found him cohabiting with one Cynthia Villanueva (Cynthia). When

she confronted the respondent about it, he denied having an affair with Cynthia. [11] The petitioner apparently did not believe the

respondents and moved to to Nueva Vizcaya to recover from the pain and anguish that her discovery brought. [12]

The petitioner disclosed during her cross-examination that communication between her and respondent had

ceased. Aside from her oral testimony, the petitioner also presented a certified true copy of their marriage contract; [13] and the

testimony, curriculum vitae,[14] and psychological report [15] of clinical psychologist Dr. Nedy Lorenzo Tayag (Dr. Tayag).

Dr. Tayag declared on the witness stand that she administered the following tests on the petitioner: a Revised Beta

Examination; a Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test; a Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test; a Draw a Person Test; a Sachs

Sentence Completion Test; and MMPI.[16] She thereafter prepared a psychological report with the following findings:

TEST RESULTS AND EVALUATION

Psychometric tests data reveal petitioner to operate in an average intellectual level. Logic and
reasoning remained intact. She is seen to be the type of woman who adjusts fairly well into most
situations especially if it is within her interests. She is pictured to be faithful to her commitments and had
reservations from negative criticisms such that she normally adheres to social norms, behavior-wise.
Her age speaks of maturity, both intellectually and emotionally. Her one fault lies in her compliant
attitude which makes her a subject for manipulation and deception such that of respondent. In all the
years of their relationship, she opted to endure his irresponsibility largely because of the mere belief that
someday things will be much better for them. But upon the advent of her husbands infidelity, she
gradually lost hope as well as the sense of self-respect, that she has finally taken her tool to be
assertive to the point of being aggressive and very cautious at times so as to fight with the frustration
and insecurity she had especially regarding her failed marriage.
Respondent in this case, is revealed to operate in a very self-centered manner as he
believes that the world revolves around him. His egocentrism made it so easy for him to
deceitfully use others for his own advancement with an extreme air of confidence and
dominance. He would do actions without any remorse or guilt feelings towards others especially
to that of petitioner.

REMARKS

Love happens to everyone. It is dubbed to be boundless as it goes beyond the expectations


people tagged with it. In love, age does matter. People love in order to be secure that one will share
his/her life with another and that he/she will not die alone. Individuals who are in love had the power to
let love grow or let love die it is a choice one had to face when love is not the love he/she expected.

In the case presented by petitioner, it is very apparent that love really happened for her towards
the young respondent who used love as a disguise or deceptive tactic for exploiting the confidence
she extended towards him. He made her believe that he is responsible, true, caring and thoughtful
only to reveal himself contrary to what was mentioned. He lacked the commitment, faithfulness, and
remorse that he was able to engage himself to promiscuous acts that made petitioner look like an
innocent fool. His character traits reveal him to suffer Narcissistic Personality Disorder - declared to be
grave, severe and incurable. [17] [Emphasis supplied.]

The RTC Ruling

The RTC nullified the parties marriage in its decision of April 19, 2002. The trial court saw merit in the testimonies of the

petitioner and Dr. Tayag, and concluded as follows:

xxxx

Respondent was never solicitous of the welfare and wishes of his wife. Respondent imposed limited or
block [sic] out communication with his wife, forgetting special occasions, like petitioners birthdays and
Valentine s Day; going out only on occasions despite their living separately and to go to a motel to have sexual
intercourse.

It would appear that the foregoing narration are the attendant facts in this case which show the
psychological incapacity of respondent, at the time of the celebration of the marriage of the parties, to enter into
lawful marriage and to discharge his marital responsibilities (See Articles 68 to 71, Family Code). This incapacity
is declared grave, severe and incurable.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the marriage between petitioner Rowena Padilla Rumbaua and
respondent Edwin Rumbaua is hereby declared annulled.

SO ORDERED. [18]
The CA Decision

The Republic, through the OSG, appealed the RTC decision to the CA. [19] The CA decision of June 25, 2004 reversed and

set aside the RTC decision, and denied the nullification of the parties marriage. [20]

In its ruling, the CA observed that Dr. Tayags psychiatric report did not mention the cause of the respondents so-called

narcissistic personality disorder; it did not discuss the respondents childhood and thus failed to give the court an insight into

the respondents developmental years. Dr. Tayag likewise failed to explain why she came to the conclusion that the

respondent s incapacity was deep-seated and incurable.

The CA held that Article 36 of the Family Code requires the incapacity to be psychological, although its manifestations

may be physical. Moreover, the evidence presented must show that the incapacitated party was mentally or physically ill so that

he or she could not have known the marital obligations assumed, knowing them, could not have assumed them. In other words,

the illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect, or difficulty to perform the essential

obligations of marriage. In the present case, the petitioner suffered because the respondent adamantly refused to live with her

because of his parents objection to their marriage.

The petitioner moved to reconsider the decision, but the CA denied her motion in its resolution of January 18, 2005. [21]

The Petition and the Issues

The petitioner argues in the present petition that

1. the OSG certification requirement under Republic v. Molina [22] (the Molina case) cannot be dispensed with because

A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, which relaxed the requirement, took effect only on March 15, 2003;

2. vacating the decision of the courts a quo and remanding the case to the RTC to recall her expert witness and cure

the defects in her testimony, as well as to present additional evidence, would temper justice with mercy; and
3. Dr. Tayags testimony in court cured the deficiencies in her psychiatric report.

The petitioner prays that the RTCs and the CAs decisions be reversed and set aside, and the case be remanded to the

RTC for further proceedings; in the event we cannot grant this prayer, that the CAs decision be set aside and the RTCs

decision be reinstated.

The Republic maintained in its comment that: (a) A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC was applicable although it took effect after the

promulgation of Molina; (b) invalidating the trial courts decision and remanding the case for further proceedings were not proper;

and (c) the petitioner failed to establish respondents psychological incapacity. [23]

The parties simply reiterated their arguments in the memoranda they filed.

THE COURT S RULING

We resolve to deny the petition for lack of merit.

A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is applicable

In Molina, the Court emphasized the role of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the OSG; they are to appear as

counsel for the State in proceedings for annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages:

(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. [Emphasis supplied.]

A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC [24] -- which this Court promulgated on March 15, 2003 and duly published -- is geared towards the

relaxation of the OSG certification that Molina required. Section 18 of this remedial regulation provides:
SEC. 18. Memoranda. The court may require the parties and the public prosecutor, in consultation
with the Office of the Solicitor General, to file their respective memoranda in support of their claims within fifteen
days from the date the trial is terminated. It may require the Office of the Solicitor General to file its own
memorandum if the case is of significant interest to the State. No other pleadings or papers may be submitted
without leave of court. After the lapse of the period herein provided, the case will be considered submitted for
decision, with or without the memoranda.

The petitioner argues that the RTC decision of April 19, 2002 should be vacated for prematurity, as it was rendered

despite the absence of the required OSG certification specified in Molina. According to the petitioner, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC,

which took effect only on March 15, 2003, cannot overturn the requirements of Molina that was promulgated as early as February

13, 1997.

The petitioners argument lacks merit.

The amendment introduced under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is procedural or remedial in character; it does not create or

remove any vested right, but only operates as a remedy in aid of or confirmation of already existing rights. The settled rule is that

procedural laws may be given retroactive effect, [25] as we held in De Los Santos v. Vda. de Mangubat: [26]

Procedural Laws do not come within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or the general rule
against the retroactive operation of statues - they may be given retroactive effect on actions pending and
undetermined at the time of their passage and this will not violate any right of a person who may feel that he is
adversely affected, insomuch as there are no vested rights in rules of procedure.

A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, as a remedial measure, removed the mandatory nature of an OSG certification and may be

applied retroactively to pending matters. In effect, the measure cures in any pending matter any procedural lapse on the

certification prior to its promulgation. Our rulings in Antonio v. Reyes [27] and Navales v. Navales [28] have since confirmed and

clarified that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC has dispensed with the Molina guideline on the matter of certificatio n, although Article 48 mandates the

appearance of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal to ensure that no collusion between the partie s would take place. Thus, what is important is the

presence of the prosecutor in the case, not the remedial requirement that he be certified to be present. From this perspective, the petitioners

objection regarding the Molina guideline on certificatio n lacks merit.

A Remand of the Case to the RTC is Improper

The petitioner maintains that vacating the lower courts decisions and the remand of the case to the RTC for further reception of evidence

are procedurally permissible. She argues that the inadequacy of her evidence during the trial was the fault of her former counsel, Atty. Richard
Tabago, and asserts that remanding the case to the RTC would allow her to cure the evidentiary insufficiencies. She posits in this regard that

while mistakes of counsel bind a party, the rule should be liberally construed in her favor to serve the ends of justice.

We do not find her arguments convincing.

A remand of the case to the RTC for further proceedings amounts to the grant of a new trial that is not procedurally proper at this stage.

Section 1 of Rule 37 provides that an aggrieved party may move the trial court to set aside a judgment or final

order already rendered and to grant a new trial within the period for taking an appeal. In addition, a motion for new trial may be filed only

on the grounds of (1) fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence that could not have been guarded against by ordinary

prudence, and by reason of which the aggrieved partys rights have probably been impaired; or (2) newly discovered evidence

that, with reasonable diligence, the aggrieved party could not have discovered and produced at the trial, and that would probably

alter the result if presented.

In the present case, the petitioner cites the inadequacy of the evidence presented by her former counsel as basis for a

remand. She did not, however, specify the inadequacy. That the RTC granted the petition for declaration of nullity prima

facie shows that the petitioners counsel had not been negligent in handling the case. Granting arguendo that the petitioners

counsel had been negligent, the negligence that would justify a new trial must be excusable, i.e. one that ordinary diligence and

prudence could not have guarded against. The negligence that the petitioner apparently adverts to is that cited in Uy v. First

Metro Integrated Steel Corporation where we explained: [29]

Blunders and mistakes in the conduct of the proceedings in the trial court as a result of the ignorance,
inexperience or incompetence of counsel do not qualify as a ground for new trial. If such were to be admitted as
valid reasons for re-opening cases, there would never be an end to litigation so long as a new counsel could be
employed to allege and show that the prior counsel had not been sufficiently diligent, experienced or
learned. This will put a premium on the willful and intentional commission of errors by counsel, with a view to
securing new trials in the event of conviction, or an adverse decision, as in the instant case.

Thus, we find no justifiable reason to grant the petitioners requested remand.

Petitioner failed to establish the

respondent s psychological incapacity

A petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on

Article 36 of the Family Code which provides that a marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of its 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. In Santos v. Court of Appeals,[30] the Court first declared that

psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) juridical antecedence; and (c) incurability. The defect 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. It must be confined to the most serious

cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the

marriage.

We laid down more definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code in Republic

v. Court of Appeals where we said:

(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 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 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
(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.

These Guidelines incorporate the basic requirements we established in Santos. To reiterate, psychological incapacity

must be characterized by: (a) gravity; (b) juridical antecedence; and (c) incurability.[31] These requisites must be strictly

complied with, as the grant of a petition for nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity must be confined only to the

most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and

significance to the marriage. Furthermore, since the Family Code does not define psychological incapacity, fleshing out its

terms is left to us to do so on a case-to-case basis through jurisprudence.[32] We emphasized this approach in the recent case

of Ting v. Velez-Ting [33] when we explained:

It was for this reason that we found it necessary to emphasize in Ngo Te that each case involving the
application of Article 36 must be treated distinctly and judged not on the basis of a priori assumptions,
predilections or generalizations but according to its own attendant facts. 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 the present case and using the above standards and approach, we find the totality of the petitioners evidence

insufficient to prove that the respondent is psychologically unfit to discharge the duties expected of him as a husband.

a. Petitioners testimony did not prove the root cause, gravity and incurability of respondent s condition

The petitioners evidence merely showed that the respondent: (a) reneged on his promise to cohabit with her; (b)

visited her occasionally from 1993 to 1997; (c) forgot her birthday in 1992, and did not send her greeting cards during special

occasions; (d) represented himself as single in his visa application; (e) blamed her for the death of his mother; and (f) told her he

was working in Davao when in fact he was cohabiting with another woman in 1997.

These acts, in our view, do not rise to the level of the psychological incapacity that the law requires, and should be

distinguished from the difficulty, if not outright refusal or neglect in the performance of some marital obligations that

characterize some marriages. In Bier v. Bier,[34] we ruled that it was not enough that respondent, alleged to be psychologically

incapacitated, had difficulty in complying with his marital obligations, or was unwilling to perform these obligations. Proof of a
natal or supervening disabling factor an adverse integral element in the respondent's personality structure that effectively

incapacitated him from complying with his essential marital obligations had to be shown and was not shown in this cited case.

In the present case, the respondents stubborn refusal to cohabit with the petitioner was doubtlessly irresponsible, but it

was never proven to be rooted in some psychological illness. As the petitioners testimony reveals, respondent merely refused to

cohabit with her for fear of jeopardizing his application for a scholarship, and later due to his fear of antagonizing his family. The

respondent s failure to greet the petitioner on her birthday and to send her cards during special occasions, as well as his acts of

blaming petitioner for his mothers death and of representing himself as single in his visa application, could only at best amount

to forgetfulness, insensitivity or emotional immaturity, not necessarily psychological incapacity. Likewise, the respondents act of

living with another woman four years into the marriage cannot automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially

when no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing at the inception of marriage. In fact, petitioner

herself admitted that respondent was caring and faithful when they were going steady and for a time after their marriage; their

problems only came in later.

To be sure, the respondent was far from perfect and had some character flaws. The presence of these imperfections,

however, does not necessarily warrant a conclusion that he had a psychological malady at the time of the marriage that

rendered him incapable of fulfilling his duties and obligations. To use the words of Navales v. Navales:[35]

Article 36 contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume basic marital obligations.
Mere difficulty, refusal or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will on the part of the spouse is different
from incapacity rooted on some debilitating psychological condition or illness. Indeed, irreconcilable differences, sexual
infidelity or perversion, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, and the like, do not by themselves warrant a
finding of psychological incapacity under Article 36, as the same may only be due to a person's refusal or
unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage and not due to some psychological illness that is
contemplated by said rule.

b. Dr. Tayags psychological report and court testimony

We cannot help but note that Dr. Tayags conclusions about the respondents psychological incapacity were based on

the information fed to her by only one side the petitioner whose bias in favor of her cause cannot be doubted. While this

circumstance alone does not disqualify the psychologist for reasons of bias, her report, testimony and conclusions deserve the

application of a more rigid and stringent set of standards in the manner we discussed above. [36] For, effectively, Dr. Tayag only

diagnosed the respondent from the prism of a third party account; she did not actually hear, see and evaluate the respondent

and how he would have reacted and responded to the doctors probes.
Dr. Tayag, in her report, merely summarized the petitioners narrations, and on this basis characterized the respondent to

be a self-centered, egocentric, and unremorseful person who believes that the world revolves around him; and who used love

as adeceptive tactic for exploiting the confidence [petitioner] extended towards him. Dr. Tayag then incorporated her own idea

of love; made a generalization that respondent was a person who lacked commitment, faithfulness, and remorse, and who

engaged in promiscuous acts that made the petitioner look like a fool; and finally concluded that the respondent s character

traits reveal him to suffer Narcissistic Personality Disorder with traces of Antisocial Personality Disorder declared to be grave

and incurable.

We find these observations and conclusions insufficiently in-depth and comprehensive to warrant the conclusion that a

psychological incapacity existed that prevented the respondent from complying with the essential obligations of marriage. It

failed to identify the root cause of the respondent's narcissistic personality disorder and to prove that it existed at the inception of

the marriage. Neither did it explain the incapacitating nature of the alleged disorder, nor show that the respondent was really

incapable of fulfilling his duties due to some incapacity of a psychological, not physical, nature. Thus, we cannot avoid but

conclude that Dr. Tayags conclusion in her Report i.e., that the respondent suffered Narcissistic Personality Disorder with

traces of Antisocial Personality Disorder declared to be grave and incurable is an unfounded statement, not a necessary

inference from her previous characterization and portrayal of the respondent. While the various tests administered on the

petitioner could have been used as a fair gauge to assess her own psychological condition, this same statement cannot be

made with respect to the respondents condition. To make conclusions and generalizations on the respondents psychological

condition based on the information fed by only one side is, to our mind, not different from admitting hearsay evidence as proof of

the truthfulness of the content of such evidence.

Petitioner nonetheless contends that Dr. Tayags subsequent testimony in court cured whatever deficiencies attended her

psychological report.

We do not share this view.

A careful reading of Dr. Tayags testimony reveals that she failed to establish the fact that at the time the parties were

married, respondent was already suffering from a psychological defect that deprived him of the ability to assume the essential

duties and responsibilities of marriage. Neither did she adequately explain how she came to the conclusion that respondents

condition was grave and incurable. To directly quote from the records:

ATTY. RICHARD TABAGO:


Q: I would like to call your attention to the Report already marked as Exh. E-7, there is a statement
to the effect that his character traits begin to suffer narcissistic personality disorder with traces
of antisocial personality disorder. What do you mean? Can you please explain in laymans word,
Madam Witness?

DR. NEDY LORENZO TAYAG:

A: Actually, in a laymans term, narcissistic personality disorder cannot accept that there is
something wrong with his own behavioral manifestation. [sic] They feel that they can rule the
world; they are eccentric; they are exemplary, demanding financial and emotional support, and
this is clearly manifested by the fact that respondent abused and used petitioners love. Along
the line, a narcissistic person cannot give empathy; cannot give love simply because they love
themselves more than anybody else; and thirdly, narcissistic person cannot support his own
personal need and gratification without the help of others and this is where the petitioner set in.

Q: Can you please describe the personal [sic] disorder?

A: Clinically, considering that label, the respondent behavioral manifestation under personality
disorder [sic] this is already considered grave, serious, and treatment will be impossible [sic]. As
I say this, a kind of developmental disorder wherein it all started during the early formative years
and brought about by one familiar relationship the way he was reared and cared by the family.
Environmental exposure is also part and parcel of the child disorder. [sic]

Q: You mean to say, from the formative [years] up to the present?

A: Actually, the respondent behavioral manner was [present] long before he entered marriage.
[Un]fortunately, on the part of the petitioner, she never realized that such behavioral
manifestation of the respondent connotes pathology. [sic]

xxxx

Q: So in the representation of the petitioner that the respondent is now lying [sic] with somebody else,
how will you describe the character of this respondent who is living with somebody else?

A: This is where the antisocial personality trait of the respondent [sic] because an antisocial person is
one who indulge in philandering activities, who do not have any feeling of guilt at the expense of
another person, and this [is] again a buy-product of deep seated psychological incapacity.

Q: And this psychological incapacity based on this particular deep seated [sic], how would you
describe the psychological incapacity? [sic]

A: As I said there is a deep seated psychological dilemma, so I would say incurable in nature and at
this time and again [sic] the psychological pathology of the respondent. One plays a major
factor of not being able to give meaning to a relationship in terms of sincerity and endurance.
Q: And if this psychological disorder exists before the marriage of the respondent and the petitioner,
Madam Witness?

A: Clinically, any disorder are usually rooted from the early formative years and so if it takes enough
that such psychological incapacity of respondent already existed long before he entered
marriage, because if you analyze how he was reared by her parents particularly by the mother,
there is already an unhealthy symbiosis developed between the two, and this creates a major
emotional havoc when he reached adult age.

Q: How about the gravity?

A: This is already grave simply because from the very start respondent never had an inkling that his
behavioral manifestation connotes pathology and second ground [sic], respondent will never
admit again that such behavior of his connotes again pathology simply because the disorder of
the respondent is not detrimental to himself but, more often than not, it is detrimental to other
party involved.

xxxx

PROSECUTOR MELVIN TIONGSON:

Q: You were not able to personally examine the respondent here?

DR. NEDY TAYAG:

A: Efforts were made by the psychologist but unfortunately, the respondent never appeared at my
clinic.

Q: On the basis of those examinations conducted with the petitioning wife to annul their marriage
with her husband in general, what can you say about the respondent?

A: That from the very start respondent has no emotional intent to give meaning to their relationship. If
you analyze their marital relationship they never lived under one room. From the very start of
the [marriage], the respondent to have petitioner to engage in secret marriage until that time
their family knew of their marriage [sic]. Respondent completely refused, completely
relinquished his marital obligation to the petitioner.

xxxx

COURT:
Q: Because you have interviewed or you have questioned the petitioner, can you really enumerate
the specific traits of the respondent?

DR. NEDY TAYAG:

A: One is the happy-go-lucky attitude of the respondent and the dependent attitude of the
respondent.

Q: Even if he is already eligible for employment?

A: He remains to be at the mercy of his mother. He is a happy-go-lucky simply because he never


had a set of responsibility. I think that he finished his education but he never had a stable job
because he completely relied on the support of his mother.

Q: You give a more thorough interview so I am asking you something specific?

A: The happy-go-lucky attitude; the overly dependent attitude on the part of the mother merely
because respondent happened to be the only son. I said that there is a unhealthy symbiosis
relationship [sic] developed between the son and the mother simply because the mother always
pampered completely, pampered to the point that respondent failed to develop his own sense of
assertion or responsibility particularly during that stage and there is also presence of the simple
lying act particularly his responsibility in terms of handling emotional imbalance and it is clearly
manifested by the fact that respondent refused to build a home together with the petitioner when
in fact they are legally married. Thirdly, respondent never felt or completely ignored the feelings
of the petitioner; he never felt guilty hurting the petitioner because on the part of the petitioner,
knowing that respondent indulge with another woman it is very, very traumatic on her part yet
respondent never had the guts to feel guilty or to atone said act he committed in their
relationship, and clinically this falls under antisocial personality. [37]

In terms of incurability, Dr. Tayag s answer was very vague and inconclusive, thus:

xxxx

ATTY. RICHARD TABAGO

Q: Can this personally be cured, madam witness?

DR. NEDY TAYAG

A: Clinically, if persons suffering from personality disorder curable, up to this very moment, no
scientific could be upheld to alleviate their kind of personality disorder; Secondly, again
respondent or other person suffering from any kind of disorder particularly narcissistic
personality will never admit that they are suffering from this kind of disorder, and then
again curability will always be a question. [sic][38]
This testimony shows that while Dr. Tayag initially described the general characteristics of a person suffering from a

narcissistic personality disorder, she did not really show how and to what extent the respondent exhibited these traits. She

mentioned the buzz words that jurisprudence requires for the nullity of a marriage namely, gravity, incurability, existence at the

time of the marriage, psychological incapacity relating to marriage and in her own limited way, related these to the medical

condition she generally described. The testimony, together with her report, however, suffers from very basic flaws.

First, what she medically described was not related or linked to the respondent s exact condition except in a very general

way. In short, her testimony and report were rich in generalities but disastrously short on particulars, most notably on how the

respondent can be said to be suffering from narcissistic personality disorder; why and to what extent the disorder is grave and

incurable; how and why it was already present at the time of the marriage; and the effects of the disorder on the respondents

awareness of and his capability to undertake the duties and responsibilities of marriage. All these are critical to the success of

the petitioners case.

Second, her testimony was short on factual basis for her diagnosis because it was wholly based on what the petitioner

related to her. As the doctor admitted to the prosecutor, she did not at all examine the respondent, only the petitioner. Neither

the law nor jurisprudence requires, of course, that the person sought to be declared psychologically incapacitated should be

personally examined by a physician or psychologist as a condition sine qua non to arrive at such declaration. [39] If a

psychological disorder can be proven by independent means, no reason exists why such independent proof cannot be admitted

and given credit. [40] No such independent evidence, however, appears on record to have been gathered in this case, particularly

about the respondents early life and associations, and about events on or about the time of the marriage and immediately

thereafter. Thus, the testimony and report appear to us to be no more than a diagnosis that revolves around the one-sided and

meager facts that the petitioner related, and were all slanted to support the conclusion that a ground exists to justify the

nullification of the marriage. We say this because only the baser qualities of the respondents life were examined and given

focus; none of these qualities were weighed and balanced with the better qualities, such as his focus on having a job, his

determination to improve himself through studies, his care and attention in the first six months of the marriage, among

others. The evidence fails to mention also what character and qualities the petitioner brought into her marriage, for example,

why the respondents family opposed the marriage and what events led the respondent to blame the petitioner for the death of

his mother, if this allegation is at all correct. To be sure, these are important because not a few marriages have failed, not

because of psychological incapacity of either or both of the spouses, but because of basic incompatibilities and marital

developments that do not amount to psychological incapacity. The continued separation of the spouses likewise never

appeared to have been factored in. Not a few married couples have likewise permanently separated simply because they have

fallen out of love, or have outgrown the attraction that drew them together in their younger years.
Thus, on the whole, we do not blame the petitioner for the move to secure a remand of this case to the trial courts for the

introduction of additional evidence; the petitioners evidence in its present state is woefully insufficient to support the conclusion

that the petitioners marriage to the respondent should be nullified on the ground of the respondents psychological incapacity.

The Court commiserates with the petitioners marital predicament. The respondent may indeed be unwilling to discharge

his marital obligations, particularly the obligation to live with one s spouse. Nonetheless, we cannot presume psychological

defect from the mere fact that respondent refuses to comply with his marital duties. As we ruled in Molina, it is not enough to

prove that a spouse failed to meet his responsibility and duty as a married person; it is essential that he must be

shown to be incapable of doing so due to some psychological illness. The psychological illness that must afflict a party

at the inception of the marriage should be a malady so grave and permanent as to deprive the party of his or her

awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she was then about to assume.[41]

WHEREFORE, in view of these considerations, we DENY the petition and AFFIRM the decision and resolution of the

Court of Appeals dated June 25, 2004 and January 18, 2005, respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. 75095.

SO ORDERED.

MA. DARLENE DIMAYUGA-LAURENA, G.R. No. 159220


Petitioner,
Present:
PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,
CARPIO,
- versus - CORONA,
AZCUNA, and
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, JJ.

COURT OF APPEALS and Promulgated:


JESSE LAURO LAURENA,
Respondents. September 22, 2008

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Before the Court is a petition for review [1] assailing the 6 June 2003 Decision [2] and 1 August 2003 Resolution [3] of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58458. The Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the 25 March 1997 Decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 140 (trial court) in Civil Case No. 93-3754.
The Antecedent Facts

Ma. Darlene Dimayuga-Laurena (petitioner) and Jesse Lauro Laurena (respondent) met in January 1983.[4] They were married
on 19 December 1983 at the Church of Saint Augustine in Intramuros, Manila. They have two children, Mark Jordan who was
born on 2 July 1985 and Michael Joseph who was born on 11 November 1987.

On 19 October 1993, petitioner filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage against respondent. Petitioner alleged that
respondent was psychologically incapable of assuming the essential obligations of marriage, and the incapacity existed at the
time of the celebration of the marriage although she discovered it only after the marriage.

Petitioner alleged that after their wedding, she and respondent went to Baguio City for their honeymoon. They were
accompanied by a 15-year old boy, the son of one of respondents house helpers, who respondent invited to sleep in their hotel
suite. After their honeymoon, they settled in respondents house in Better Living Subdivision, ParaaqueCity. Petitioner became
pregnant in March 1984 but suffered a miscarriage. According to petitioner, she almost bled to death while respondent continued
watching a television show at the foot of their matrimonial bed.

Petitioner alleged that respondent gave priority to the needs of his parents; would come home past midnight; and even tried to
convert her to his religion. In addition, respondent was a womanizer. Petitioner lived in Batangas for three years while she
tended to their gasoline station while respondent remained in Paraaque City. She discovered that respondent had been living a
bachelors life while she was away. Petitioner also noticed that respondent had feminine tendencies. They would frequently
quarrel and one time, respondent hit her face. Petitioner alleged that in September 1990, respondent abandoned their conjugal
home and stopped supporting their children. Petitioner alleged that respondents psychological incapacity was manifested by his
infidelity, utter neglect of his familys needs, irresponsibility, insensitivity, and tendency to lead a bachelors life.

Petitioner further alleged that during their marriage, she and respondent acquired the following properties which were all part of
their conjugal partnership of gains:

1. duplex house and lot located at 4402 Dayap Street, Palanan, Makati City;
2. house and lot on Palaspas Street, Tanauan, Batangas;
3. dealership of Jeddah Caltex Service Station in Pres. Laurel Highway, Tanauan, Batangas (Jeddah Caltex Station);
4. Personal vehicles consisting of a Mitsubishi Lancer, Safari pick-up, L-300 van and L-200 pick-up; and
5. Jeddah Trucking.

Petitioner prayed for the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains, for custody of their children, and for monthly support
of P25,000.

Respondent denied petitioners allegations. He asserted that petitioner was emotionally immature, stubborn, unstable,
unreasonable, and extremely jealous. Respondent alleged that some of the properties claimed by petitioner were not part of their
conjugal partnership of gains. Respondent prayed for the dismissal of the petition.

The Ruling of the Trial Court


In its Decision [5] dated 25 March 1997, the trial court denied the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. The trial court found
that the manifestations of respondents psychological incapacity alleged by petitioner were not so serious as to consider
respondent psychologically incapacitated. The trial court ruled that petitioners evidence only showed that she could not get along
with respondent.

The dispositive portion of the trial courts Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:

a) DENYING the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage filed by Ma. Darlene Dimayuga-Laurena on the
ground of psychological incapacity;

b) DECLARING the conjugal partnership of gains between petitioner and respondent Dissolved with all the
effects provided by law; and further AFFIRMING the petitioners claim that all the properties acquired during the
marriage are conjugal properties;

c) AWARDING the custody of the children to the parent chosen by the said minors considering that they are over
seven (7) years of age;
Support of said minors shall be borne by the parents in proportion to their respective incomes.

After this decision becomes final, let copies thereof be furnished the Register of Deeds
of Tanauan, Batangas and Makati City for their information.

SO ORDERED.[6]

Petitioner appealed from the trial courts Decision insofar as the trial court denied her petition for declaration of nullity of
marriage. Respondent appealed from the trial courts Decision insofar as the trial court declared some of his parents properties
as part of the conjugal partnership of gains.

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

In its 6 June 2003 Decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the trial courts Decision.
The Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner failed to prove that the root cause of respondents psychological incapacity was
medically or clinically identified and sufficiently proven by experts. The Court of Appeals noted that Dr.
Lourdes Lapuz (Dr. Lapuz), the psychiatrist presented by petitioner, was not able to talk to respondent and simply based her
conclusions and impressions of respondent from her two-hour session with petitioner. The Court of Appeals ruled that
Dr. Lapuzs testimony was vague and ambiguous on the matter of respondents personality disorder which would render him
psychologically incapacitated. The Court of Appeals further ruled that petitioner was not able to prove that respondents alleged
psychological incapacity was existing at the time of the celebration of their marriage. The Court of Appeals further ruled that in
her complaint, petitioners bases were respondents irresponsibility, insensitivity, and infidelity. During the trial, she claimed that
the root of her husbands incapacity was his homosexuality. The Court of Appeals ruled that petitioners allegations in her
complaint and during the trial lacked factual and evidentiary bases. The Court of Appeals ruled that the totality of respondents
acts could not lead to the conclusion that he was psychologically incapacitated; that his incapacity was existing at the time of the
celebration of the marriage; and that it was incurable.

The Court of Appeals also sustained the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains between petitioner and respondent. The
Court of Appeals rejected respondents argument that the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains should also be denied
because of the denial of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. The Court of Appeals ruled that respondents
abandonment of his family and the fact that petitioner and respondent had been separated for more than a year prior to the filing
of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage were sufficient grounds for the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains.
However, the Court of Appeals found that the trial court included as part of the conjugal partnership of gains properties and
businesses, particularly the ancestral house and lot in Tanauan, Batangas; the duplex house and lot
on Dayap Street, Makati City; the Jeddah Caltex Station; and Jeddah Trucking, which all belonged to respondents parents. The
Court of Appeals found that the rentals derived from the properties and the income from the businesses were deposited in the
account of respondents parents. The Court of Appeals excluded the properties and businesses derived from the operations of
the Jeddah Caltex Station and Jeddah Trucking from the conjugal partnership of gains.

The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, the assailed decision is AFFIRMED with regard to the denial of the
petition for annulment of marriage and the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains. The adjudication
respecting the properties which comprise the conjugal partnership is MODIFIED to exclude the properties
belonging to the parents of respondent, i.e., the ancestral house and lot in Tanauan, Batangas, the duplex
house and lot at Dayap Street, Makati, as well as the properties acquired through the operation of
the Caltex station and Jeddah Trucking. No costs.

SO ORDERED. [7]

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration.

In its 1 August 2003 Resolution, the Court of Appeals denied the motion.

Hence, the petition before this Court.

The Issues

The issues in this case are the following:

1. Whether respondent is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations; and

2. Whether the properties excluded by the Court of Appeals form part of the conjugal partnership of gains between
petitioner and respondent.

The Ruling of this Court

The petition has no merit.

Petitioner Failed to Prove Respondents


Psychological Incapacity
The petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article 36 of the Family Code which provides that [a] marriage
contracted by any party who, at the time of 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. In Santos v.
Court of Appeals ,[8] the Court first declared that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) judicial
antecedence; and (c) incurability. [9] It 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. [10] It must be confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity
or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. [11] Finally, the psychologic condition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated. [12] The Court explained:

(a) Gravity It must be grave and serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary
duties required in a marriage;

(b) Judicial Antecedence It must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, 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. [13]

In Republic v. Court of Appeals [14] (Molina case), the Court laid down the guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article
36 of the Family Code as follows:

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 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 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 dos. 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 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, 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. [15]

Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that petitioner failed to satisfy the guidelines in the Molina case.

As found by the Court of Appeals, petitioner anchored her petition on respondents irresponsibility, infidelity, and homosexual
tendencies. Petitioner likewise alleged that respondent tried to compel her to change her religious belief, and in one of their
arguments, respondent also hit her. However, sexual infidelity, repeated physical violence, homosexuality, physical violence or
moral pressure to compel petitioner to change religious affiliation, and abandonment are grounds for legal separation[16] but not
for declaring a marriage void.

In Marcos v. Marcos,[17] the Court ruled that if the totalities of the evidence presented are enough to sustain a finding of
psychological incapacity, there is no need to resort to the actual medical examination of the person concerned. However, while
an actual medical, psychiatric, or psychological examination is not a condition sine qua non to a finding of psychological
incapacity, an expert witness would have strengthened petitioners claim of respondents psychological incapacity. [18] While the
examination by a physician of a person to declare him or her psychologically incapacitated is not required, the root cause of
psychological incapacity must be medically or clinically identified.[19] In this case, the testimony of Dr. Lapuz on respondents
psychological incapacity was based only on her two-hour session with petitioner. Her testimony was characterized by the Court
of Appeals as vague and ambiguous. She failed to prove psychological incapacity or identify its root cause. She failed to
establish that respondents psychological incapacity is incurable. Dr. Lapuz testified:

Q- What, in your opinion are the causes of this incapacity?


A- I feel, your Honor, that there is some personality agenda on his part that I do not know because he has not
come to see me but there are such men who can be very ardent lovers but suddenly will completely turn
over...
Q- Is this a sort of personality disorder?
A- Yes, your Honor.

Q- Is that inherited or could have been acquired even before marriage?


A- It was there on the time of the inception of his personality, it was there. And my feeling is that these things do
not happen overnight, one does not change spot overnight but that thing, like marriage, can completely
turn-table his behavior.

Q- Doctora, do you think this kind of incapacity, this personality disorder, is there any possibility of curing it?
A- Very little at this time and sometimes, when they become older, like when they reach the age of 50s or 60s,
they may settle down and finally give out and reveal interest in their families.

Q- In short, there is possibility that this incapacity of the respondent could be cured?
A- Only respondents physical decline of sexual urge, if the sexual urge would not decline, the incapacity will
continue.

Q- Is there no medicine or is there any kind of medicine that can cure this kind of disorder?
A- None to my knowledge, your Honor. There is no magic feather in the psychiatric treatment. Perhaps, if the
person would be willing and open enough and interested enough... [20]
Even the recommendation in the Social Case Study Report submitted by Social Welfare Officer Marissa P. Obrero-Ballon, who
was assigned by the trial court to conduct a social case study on the parties, failed to show the existence of respondents
psychological incapacity. The Social Welfare Officer instead found that petitioner was immature while respondent was
responsible. [21] She also found that the couple separated because of respondents infidelity.[22]

Petitioner also failed to prove that respondents psychological incapacity was existing at the time of the celebration of their
marriage. Petitioner only cited that during their honeymoon, she found it strange that respondent allowed their 15-year old
companion, the son of one of respondents house helpers, to sleep in their room. However, respondent explained that he and
petitioner already stayed in a hotel for one night before they went to Baguio City and that they had sexual relations even before
their marriage. Respondent explained that the boy was with them to take pictures and videos of their stay in Baguio City and had
to stay with them in the room due to monetary constraints.

In sum, the totality of the evidence presented by petitioner failed to show that respondent was psychologically incapacitated and
that such incapacity was grave, incurable, and existing at the time of the solemnization of their marriage.

Properties of Respondents Parents


Do Not Form Part of Conjugal Partnership of Gains

Petitioner assails the Court of Appeals exclusion of the properties of respondents parents from their conjugal partnership of
gains. In particular, the Court of Appeals excluded the ancestral house and lot in Tanauan, Batangas; the duplex house and lot
on Dayap Street, Makati City; and the properties acquired through the operations of the Jeddah CaltexStation and Jeddah
Trucking.

We sustain in part the Court of Appeals Decision.

As early as 15 July 1978, respondents parents already executed a General Power of Attorney[23] in favor of respondent covering
all their properties and businesses. Several Special Powers of Attorney were also executed by respondents parents in favor of
respondent. On 14 April 1987, respondents parents executed a Deed of Absolute Sale [24] covering two parcels of land located
in Tanauan, Batangas, with a total area of 966 square meters, for P40,000. We agree with the Court of Appeals that the transfer
was merely an accommodation so that petitioner, who was then working at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), could acquire
a loan from BSP at a lower rate [25] using the properties as collateral. The loan proceeds were used as additional capital for the
Jeddah Caltex Station. As found by the Court of Appeals, the loan was still being paid from the income from the
Jeddah Caltex Station. The Lease Contract[26] on the Jeddah Caltex Station was signed by respondent as attorney-in-fact of his
mother Juanita Laurena, leaving no doubt that it was the business of respondents parents. Jeddah Trucking was established
from the proceeds and income of the Jeddah Caltex Station.

As regards the duplex house and lot in Makati City, the Deed of Absolute Sale [27] was executed by Manuela C. Felix in favor of
respondent. Respondent claimed that the duplex house was purchased from the income of the Jeddah Caltex Station. However,
we find no sufficient proof to sustain this allegation. In fact, respondent testified that he received a series of promotions during
their marriage until we can afford to buy that duplex [on] Dayap. [28] Hence, the duplex house on Dayap Street, Makati City should
be included in the conjugal partnership of gains.

WHEREFORE , we PARTLY GRANT the petition. We AFFIRM the 6 June 2003 Decision and 1 August 2003 Resolution of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58458 with MODIFICATION by including the duplex house and lot
on Dayap Street, Makati City in the conjugal partnership of gains. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

JORDAN CHAN PAZ, G.R. No. 166579


Petitioner,
Present:

- versus - CARPIO, J., Chairperson,


BRION,
DEL CASTILLO,
ABAD, and
PEREZ, JJ.
JEANICE PAVON PAZ,
Respondent.
Promulgated:
February 18, 2010
x--------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

This is a petition for review [1] of the 9 August 2004[2] and 26 November 2004[3] Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 80473. In its 9 August 2004 Resolution, the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioner Jordan Chan Pazs (Jordan) appeal of the
13 May 2003 Decision [4] of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 69 (trial court), which granted respondent Jeanice
Pavon Pazs (Jeanice) petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. In its 26 November 2004 Resolution, the Court of Appeals
denied Jordans motion for reconsideration.
The Facts

Jordan and Jeanice met sometime in November 1996. Jeanice was only 19 years old while Jordan was 27 years old. In January
1997, they became a couple and, on 10 May 1997, they were formally engaged. They had their civil wedding on 3 July 1997, and
their church wedding on 21 September 1997. They have one son, Evan Gaubert, who was born on 12 February 1998. After a big
fight, Jeanice left their conjugal home on 23 February 1999.

On 15 September 1999, Jeanice filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage against Jordan. Jeanice alleged that Jordan
was psychologically incapable of assuming the essential obligations of marriage. According to Jeanice, Jordans psychological
incapacity was manifested by his uncontrollable tendency to be self-preoccupied and self-indulgent, as well as his predisposition
to become violent and abusive whenever his whims and caprices were not satisfied.

Jeanice alleged that Jordan had a tendency to lie about his whereabouts and had the habit of hanging out and spending a great
deal of time with his friends. Since Jordan worked in their family business, Jordan would allegedly just stay home, tinker with the
Play Station, and ask Jeanice to lie to his brothers about his whereabouts. Jeanice further alleged that Jordan was heavily
dependent on and attached to his mother. After giving birth to their son, Jeanice noticed that Jordan resented their son and
spent more time with his friends rather than help her take care of their son. Jordan also demanded from his mother a steady
supply of milk and diapers for their son.
At the early stage of their marriage, Jeanice said they had petty fights but that the quarrels turned for the worse and Jordan
became increasingly violent toward her. At one point, Jordan threatened to hurt her with a pair of scissors. Jeanice also alleged
that on 22 February 1999, Jordan subjected her to verbal lashing and insults and threatened to hit her with a golf club. Jeanice
added that Jordan has not provided any financial support or visited their son since she left their conjugal home.

Psychologist Cristina R. Gates (Gates) testified that Jordan was afflicted with Borderline Personality Disorder as manifested in
his impulsive behavior, delinquency and instability.[5] Gates concluded that Jordans psychological maladies antedate their
marriage and are rooted in his family background. Gates added that with no indication of reformation, Jordans personality
disorder appears to be grave and incorrigible.

JORDAN DENIED JEANICES ALLEGATIONS. JORDAN ASSERTED THAT JEANICE EXAGGERATED HER STATEMENTS
AGAINST HIM. JORDAN SAID THAT JEANICE HAS HER OWN PERSONAL INSECURITIES AND THAT HER ACTIONS
SHOWED HER LACK OF MATURITY, CHILDISHNESS AND EMOTIONAL INABILITY TO COPE WITH THE STRUGGLES
AND CHALLENGES OF MAINTAINING A MARRIED LIFE.

JORDAN ALSO OBJECTED TO THE PSYCHOLOGICAL REPORT OFFERED BY JEANICE. JORDAN POINTED OUT THAT
HE WAS NOT SUBJECTED TO ANY INTERVIEW OR PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS BY GATES. JORDAN ARGUED THAT
GATES CONCLUSIONS WERE MERE SPECULATIONS, CONJECTURES AND SUPPOSITIONS FROM THE INFORMATION
SUPPLIED BY JEANICE. JORDAN ALLEGED THAT IT WAS PATENTLY ONE-SIDED AND IS NOT ADMISSIBLE IN
EVIDENCE AS IT WAS BASED ON HEARSAY STATEMENTS OF JEANICE WHICH WERE OBVIOUSLY SELF-
SERVING. JORDAN SAID HE WANTS JEANICE BACK AND PRAYED FOR THE DISMISSAL OF THE PETITION.

THE RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT

ON 13 MAY 2003, THE TRIAL COURT GRANTED JEANICES PETITION. THE TRIAL COURT DECLARED THAT JORDANS
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY, WHICH WAS SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFIED AS BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER,
DEPRIVED HIM OF THE CAPACITY TO FULLY UNDERSTAND HIS RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE MARITAL BOND. THE
TRIAL COURT FOUND THAT JORDAN WAS PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO COMPLY WITH THE ESSENTIAL
OBLIGATIONS OF MARRIAGE, PARTICULARLY ARTICLES 68[6] AND 70[7] OF THE FAMILY CODE. THE TRIAL COURT
ALSO DECLARED THAT JORDANS PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY, BEING ROOTED IN HIS FAMILY BACKGROUND,
ANTEDATES THE MARRIAGE AND THAT WITHOUT ANY SIGN OF REFORMATION, FOUND THE SAME TO BE GRAVE
AND INCURABLE.

THE DISPOSITVE PORTION OF THE TRIAL COURTS 13 MAY 2003 DECISION READS:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, JUDGMENT IS HEREBY RENDERED DECLARING THE MARRIAGE
BETWEEN PETITIONER JEANICE PAVON PAZ AND RESPONDENT JORDAN CHAN PAZ CELEBRATED
ON JULY 3, 1997 AND SEPTEMBER 21, 1997 AS NULL AND VOID AB INITIO ON THE GROUND OF
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY ON THE PART OF RESPONDENT PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 36 OF THE
FAMILY CODE WITH ALL THE EFFECTS PROVIDED BY LAW. THE COUPLES ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY OF
PROPERTIES [SIC] SHALL BE DISSOLVED IN THE MANNER HEREIN PROVIDED. AND THE CUSTODY
OVER EVAN SHALL REMAIN WITH THE PETITIONER, WITHOUT REGARD TO VISITATION RIGHTS OF
THE RESPONDENT AS THE FATHER OF THE CHILD. FURTHERMORE, THE PARTIES ARE JOINTLY
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SUPPORT OF THEIR MINOR CHILD EVAN GUABERT PAVON PAZ.
LET COPIES OF THIS DECISION BE FURNISHED THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRARS OF QUEZON CITY AND PASIG CITY
RESPECTIVELY AS WELL AS THE NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE (NSO, CRP, LEGAL DEPARTMENT) EDSA, QUEZON
CITY.

SO ORDERED. [8]
On 6 June 2003, Jordan filed a Notice of Appeal. [9] The trial court promptly approved Jordans appeal.

ON 10 FEBRUARY 2004, JEANICE FILED A MOTION TO DISMISS APPEAL WITH THE COURT OF APPEALS. [10] IN HER
MOTION, JEANICE SOUGHT THE IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL OF JORDANS APPEAL ON THE GROUND THAT JORDAN
FAILED TO COMPLY WITH SECTION 20 OF A.M. NO. 02-11-10-SC [11] WHICH PROVIDES:

SEC. 20. APPEAL.


(1) Pre-condition. No appeal from the decision shall be allowed unless the appellant has filed a motion for
reconsideration or new trial within fifteen days from notice of judgment.

ON 9 AUGUST 2004, THE COURT OF APPEALS DISMISSED JORDANS APPEAL. ACCORDING TO THE COURT OF
APPEALS, THE RULES STATE IN MANDATORY AND CATEGORICAL TERMS THAT THE FILING OF A MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION OR NEW TRIAL IS A PRE-CONDITION BEFORE AN APPEAL FROM THE DECISION IS
ALLOWED. THE COURT OF APPEALS ADDED THAT WHEN THE LAW IS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS, IT ADMITS NO
ROOM FOR INTERPRETATION BUT MERELY FOR APPLICATION.

JORDAN FILED A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. IN ITS 26 NOVEMBER 2004 RESOLUTION, THE COURT OF
APPEALS DISMISSED THE MOTION.

HENCE, THIS PETITION.

IN A MINUTE RESOLUTION DATED 22 JUNE 2005, WE DENIED JORDANS PETITION FOR FAILURE TO SUFFICIENTLY
SHOW THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED ANY REVERSIBLE ERROR IN THE CHALLENGED RESOLUTIONS
AS TO WARRANT THE EXERCISE BY THIS COURT OF ITS DISCRETIONARY APPELLATE JURISDICTION. [12]
On 18 August 2005, Jordan filed a motion for reconsideration. While Jordan admits that he failed to file a motion for
reconsideration of the trial courts 13 May 2003 Decision, Jordan submits that Section 20 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC should not have
been strictly applied against him because it took effect only on 15 March 2003, or less than two months prior to the rendition of
the trial courts 13 May 2003 Decision. Moreover, Jordan enjoins the Court to decide the case on the merits so as to preserve the
sanctity of marriage as enshrined in the Constitution.

JEANICE ALSO FILED AN OPPOSITION TO THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION ON 1 SEPTEMBER 2005.[13]

IN A MINUTE RESOLUTION DATED 19 SEPTEMBER 2005, WE GRANTED JORDANS MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
AND REINSTATED THE PETITION.[14]

JEANICE FILED A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. IN A MINUTE RESOLUTION DATED 5 JUNE 2006, WE DENIED
JEANICES MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION FOR LACK OF MERIT.[15]

ON 7 AUGUST 2006, JEANICE FILED A SECOND MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION.

IN A MINUTE RESOLUTION DATED 20 SEPTEMBER 2006, WE DENIED JEANICES SECOND MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION FOR LACK OF MERIT AND REMINDED JEANICE THAT A SECOND MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION IS A PROHIBITED PLEADING. [16]

THE ISSUE

THE ONLY ISSUE LEFT TO BE RESOLVED IS WHETHER JORDAN IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO COMPLY
WITH THE ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATIONS.
THE RULING OF THIS COURT

THE PETITION HAS MERIT.

JEANICE FAILED TO PROVE JORDANS


PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY

JEANICES PETITION FOR DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE IS ANCHORED ON ARTICLE 36 OF THE FAMILY
CODE WHICH PROVIDES:

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.

IN SANTOS V. COURT OF APPEALS,[17] THE COURT FIRST DECLARED THAT PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY MUST BE
CHARACTERIZED BY (A) GRAVITY; (B) JUDICIAL ANTECEDENCE; AND (C) INCURABILITY. IT MUST BE CONFINED TO
THE MOST SERIOUS CASES OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS CLEARLY DEMONSTRATIVE OF AN UTTER INSENSITIVITY
OR INABILITY TO GIVE MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE TO THE MARRIAGE. [18]

IN DIMAYUGA-LAURENA V. COURT OF APPEALS,[19] THE COURT EXPLAINED:

(A) GRAVITY IT MUST BE GRAVE AND SERIOUS SUCH THAT THE PARTY WOULD BE INCAPABLE OF
CARRYING OUT THE ORDINARY DUTIES REQUIRED IN A MARRIAGE;

(B) JUDICIAL ANTECEDENCE IT MUST BE ROOTED IN THE HISTORY OF THE PARTY ANTEDATING THE MARRIAGE,
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. [20]

IN GRANTING JEANICES PETITION, THE TRIAL COURT GAVE CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF GATES TO
SUPPORT ITS CONCLUSION THAT JORDAN WAS PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO COMPLY WITH THE
ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATIONS. GATES DECLARED THAT JORDAN WAS SUFFERING FROM BORDERLINE
PERSONALITY DISORDER AS MANIFESTED BY HIS BEING A MAMAS BOY AND THAT SUCH WAS GRAVE AND
INCURABLE, ROOTED IN HIS FAMILY BACKGROUND, [AND] ANTEDATES THE MARRIAGE.

ALTHOUGH THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT THAT A PARTY TO BE DECLARED PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED


SHOULD BE PERSONALLY EXAMINED BY A PHYSICIAN OR A PSYCHOLOGIST, THERE IS NEVERTHELESS A NEED TO
PROVE THE PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY THROUGH INDEPENDENT EVIDENCE ADDUCED BY THE PERSON
ALLEGING SAID DISORDER. [21]
CORRESPONDINGLY, 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. [22]

IN THIS CASE, THE COURT NOTES THAT THE REPORT AND TESTIMONY OF GATES ON JORDANS PSYCHOLOGICAL
INCAPACITY WERE BASED EXCLUSIVELY ON HER INTERVIEWS WITH JEANICE AND THE TRANSCRIPT OF
STENOGRAPHIC NOTES OF JEANICES TESTIMONY BEFORE THE TRIAL COURT. [23] GATES ONLY DIAGNOSED JORDAN
FROM THE STATEMENTS OF JEANICE, WHOSE BIAS IN FAVOR OF HER CAUSE CANNOT BE DOUBTED. GATES DID
NOT ACTUALLY HEAR, SEE AND EVALUATE JORDAN. GATES TESTIFIED:

Q- AS A LAST QUESTION MADAM WITNESS. SO ALL IN ALL YOUR CONCLUSIONS HERE ON PAGE 1 TO
PAGE 5 OF YOUR REPORT ARE ALL BASED ON THE STATEMENT AND PERCEPTION OF THE
PETITIONER (JEANICE) ON THE RESPONDENT (JORDAN)?

A- YES MAM. [24]


Consequently, Gates report and testimony were hearsay evidence since she had no personal knowledge of the alleged facts she
was testifying on.[25] Gates testimony should have thus been dismissed for being unscientific and unreliable. [26]

MOREOVER, CONTRARY TO THE RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT, JORDANS ALLEGED PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY
WAS NOT SHOWN TO BE SO GRAVE AND SO PERMANENT AS TO DEPRIVE HIM OF THE AWARENESS OF THE DUTIES
AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MATRIMONIAL BOND. AT BEST, JEANICES ALLEGATIONS SHOWED THAT JORDAN
WAS IRRESPONSIBLE, INSENSITIVE, OR EMOTIONALLY IMMATURE. THE INCIDENTS CITED BY JEANICE DO NOT
SHOW THAT JORDAN SUFFERED FROM GRAVE PSYCHOLOGICAL MALADIES THAT PARALYZED JORDAN FROM
COMPLYING WITH THE ESSENTIAL OBLIGATIONS OF MARRIAGE.

WHAT THE LAW REQUIRES TO RENDER A MARRIAGE VOID ON THE GROUND OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY IS
DOWNRIGHT INCAPACITY, NOT REFUSAL OR NEGLECT OR DIFFICULTY, MUCH LESS ILL WILL. [27] THE MERE
SHOWING OF IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES AND CONFLICTING PERSONALITIES DOES NOT CONSTITUTE
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY. [28]

IN PEREZ-FERRARIS V. FERRARIS,[29] WE SAID:

AS ALL PEOPLE MAY HAVE CERTAIN QUIRKS AND IDIOSYNCRASIES, OR ISOLATED


CHARACTERISTICS ASSOCIATED WITH CERTAIN PERSONALITY DISORDERS, THERE IS HARDLY A
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 MARRIAGE. [30]

Furthermore, Gates did not particularly describe the pattern of behavior which showed that Jordan indeed suffers from
Borderline Personality Disorder. Gates also failed to explain how such a personality disorder made Jordan
psychologically incapacitated to perform his obligations as a husband.

LIKEWISE, JEANICE WAS NOT ABLE TO ESTABLISH WITH CERTAINTY THAT JORDANS ALLEGED PSYCHOLOGICAL
INCAPACITY WAS MEDICALLY OR CLINICALLY PERMANENT OR INCURABLE. GATES TESTIMONY ON THE MATTER
WAS VAGUE AND INCONCLUSIVE. GATES TESTIFIED:

Q - NOW IS THIS DISORDER CURABLE?

A - IF ITS CONTINUING TO THE PRESENT THEREFORE ITS PERSEVERERATIVE BEHAVIOR. THEN THE POSSIBILITY
OF COUNTERING THE SAME MIGHT BE NIL. [31]

GATES DID NOT ADEQUATELY EXPLAIN HOW SHE CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT JORDANS CONDITION WAS
INCURABLE.

IN SUM, THE TOTALITY OF THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY JEANICE FAILED TO SHOW THAT JORDAN WAS
PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO COMPLY WITH THE ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATIONS AND THAT SUCH
INCAPACITY WAS GRAVE, INCURABLE, AND EXISTING AT THE TIME OF THE SOLEMNIZATION OF THEIR MARRIAGE.
IN REPUBLIC V. CABANTUG-BAGUIO,[32] WE SAID:

THE CONSTITUTION SETS OUT A POLICY OF PROTECTING AND STRENGTHENING THE FAMILY AS
THE BASIC SOCIAL INSTITUTION AND MARRIAGE AS THE FOUNDATION OF THE FAMILY. MARRIAGE,
AS AN INVIOLABLE INSTITUTION PROTECTED BY THE STATE, CANNOT BE DISSOLVED AT THE WHIM
OF THE PARTIES. IN PETITIONS FOR THE DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE, THE BURDEN OF
PROOF TO SHOW THE NULLITY OF MARRIAGE LIES ON THE PLAINTIFF. ANY DOUBT SHOULD BE
RESOLVED IN FAVOR OF THE EXISTENCE AND CONTINUATION OF THE MARRIAGE AND AGAINST ITS
DISSOLUTION AND NULLITY.[33]

WHEREFORE , WE GRANT THE PETITION. WE SET ASIDE THE 9 AUGUST 2004 AND 26 NOVEMBER 2004 RESOLUTIONS
OF THE COURT OF APPEALS. WE REVERSE THE 13 MAY 2003 DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASIG,
BRANCH 69. THE MARRIAGE OF JEANICE PAVON PAZ TO JORDAN CHAN PAZ SUBSISTS AND REMAINS VALID.

SO ORDERED.

JOCELYN M. SUAZO, G.R. No. 164493


Petitioner,

Present:

CARPIO, J., Chairperson,

BRION,

DEL CASTILLO,

- versus - ABAD, and

PEREZ, JJ.

Promulgated:

ANGELITO SUAZO and REPUBLIC OF March 10, 2010


THE PHILIPPINES,

Respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION

BRION, J.:

We resolve the appeal filed by petitioner Jocelyn Suazo (Jocelyn) from the July 14, 2004 Decision of the Court of
Appeals (CA)[1] in CA-G.R. CV No. 62443, which reversed the January 29, 1999 judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 119, Pasay City in Civil Case No. 97-1282. [2] The reversed RTC decision nullified Jocelyns marriage with respondent
Angelito Suazo (Angelito) on the ground of psychological incapacity.

THE FACTS

Jocelyn and Angelito were 16 years old when they first met in June 1985; they were residents of Laguna at that time. After
months of courtship, Jocelyn went to Manila with Angelito and some friends. Having been gone for three days, their parents
sought Jocelyn and Angelito and after finding them, brought them back to Bian, Laguna. Soon thereafter, Jocelyn and Angelitos
marriage was arranged and they were married on March 3, 1986 in a ceremony officiated by the Mayor of Bian.

Without any means to support themselves, Jocelyn and Angelito lived with Angelitos parents after their marriage. They had by
this time stopped schooling. Jocelyn took odd jobs and worked for Angelitos relatives as household help. Angelito, on the other
hand, refused to work and was most of the time drunk. Jocelyn urged Angelito to find work and violent quarrels often resulted
because of Jocelyns efforts.

Jocelyn left Angelito sometime in July 1987. Angelito thereafter found another woman with whom he has since
lived. They now have children.

Ten years after their separation, or on October 8, 1997, Jocelyn filed with the RTC a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage
under Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended. She claimed that Angelito was psychologically incapacitated to comply with
the essential obligations of marriage. In addition to the above historical narrative of their relationship, she alleged in her
complaint:

xxxx

8. That from the time of their marriage up to their separation in July 1987, their relationship had been marred with
bitter quarrels which caused unbearable physical and emotional pains on the part of the plaintiff because
defendant inflicted physical injuries upon her every time they had a troublesome encounter;

9. That the main reason for their quarrel was always the refusal of the defendant to work or his indolence and
his excessive drinking which makes him psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations making
life unbearably bitter and intolerable to the plaintiff causing their separation in fact in July 1987;

10. That such psychological incapacity of the defendant started from the time of their marriage and became very
apparent as time went and proves to be continuous, permanent and incurable;

xxxx

Angelito did not answer the petition/complaint. Neither did he submit himself to a psychological examination with psychologist
Nedy Tayag (who was presumably hired by Jocelyn).

The case proceeded to trial on the merits after the trial court found that no collusion existed between the parties. Jocelyn, her
aunt Maryjane Serrano, and the psychologist testified at the trial.
In her testimony, Jocelyn essentially repeated the allegations in her petition, including the alleged incidents of physical
beating she received from Angelito. On cross-examination, she remained firm on these declarations but significantly declared
that Angelito had not treated her violently before they were married.

Asst. Sol. Gen. Kim Briguera:

Q. Can you describe your relationship with the respondent before you got married?

A. He always go (sic) to our house to court me.

Q. Since you cited violence, after celebration of marriage, will you describe his behavioural (sic) pattern
before you got married?

A. He show (sic) kindness, he always come (sic) to the house.

Q. So you cannot say his behavioral pattern composing of violent nature before you got married (sic), is
there any signs (sic) of violence?

A. None maam (sic), because we were not sweethearts.

Q. Even to other people?

A. He also quarrel (sic). [3]

Maryjane Serrano corroborated parts of Jocelyns testimony.

When the psychologist took the witness stand, she declared:

Q. What about the respondent, did you also make clinical interpretation of his behavior?

A. Apparently, the behavior and actuation of the respondent during the time of the marriage the
respondent is suffering from anti-social personality Disorder this is a serious and severe apparently incurable
(sic). This disorder is chronic and long-standing before the marriage.

Q. And you based your interpretation on the report given by the petitioner?

A. Based on the psychological examination wherein there is no pattern of lying when I examined her,
the petitioner was found to be very responsive, coherent, relevant to marital relationship with respondent.
Q. And the last page of Exhibit E which is your report there is a statement rather on the last page, last
paragraph which state: It is the clinical opinion of the undersigned that marriage between the two, had already
hit bottom rock (sic) even before the actual celebration of marriage. Respondent(s) immature, irresponsible and
callous emotionality practically harbors (sic) the possibility of having blissful relationship. His general behavior
fulfill(s) the diagnostic criteria for a person suffering from Anti Social Personality Disorder. Such disorder is
serious and severe and it interferred (sic) in his capacity to provide love, caring, concern and responsibility to his
family. The disorder is chronic and long-standing in proportion and appear(s) incurable. The disorder was
present at the time of the wedding and became manifest thereafter due to stresses and pressure of married
life. He apparently grew up in a dysfunctional family. Could you explain what does chronic mean?

A. Chronic is a clinical language which means incurable it has been there long before he entered
marriage apparently, it came during early developmental (sic) Basic trust was not develop (sic).

Q. And this long standing proportion (sic).

A. That no amount of psychological behavioral help to cure such because psychological disorder are not
detrimental to men but to others particularly and this (sic) because the person who have this kind of disorder do
not know that they have this kind of disorder.

Q. So in other words, permanent?

A. Permanent and incurable.

Q. You also said that this psychological disorder is present during the wedding or at the time of the
wedding or became manifest thereafter?

A. Yes, maam.

xxxx

Court:

Q. Is there a clinical findings (sic)?

A. That is the clinical findings. Personality Disorder labeled on Anti-Social Personality Disorder (sic).

Q. How was shown during the marriage (sic)?

A. The physical abuses on the petitioner also correlated without any employment exploitative and silent
(sic) on the part of the respondent is clearly Anti-Social Disorder.

Q. Do the respondent know that he has that kind of psychological disorder (sic)?
A. Usually a person suffering that psychological disorder will not admit that they are suffering that kind of
disorder (sic).

Court:

Q. So because of this Anti-Social Disorder the petitioner suffers a lot (sic)?

A. Yes, because the petitioner is a victim of hardships of marital relation to the respondent (sic).

Court:

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

A. Yes, according to the petitioner, respondent never give due respect more often than not he even
shouted at them for no apparent reason (sic).

Court:

Q. Did you say Anti-Social Disorder incurable (sic)?

A. Yes, sir.

Court:

Q. Is there a physical violence (sic)?

A. Actually, I could see the petitioner is tortured mentally of the respondent (sic).

Court:

Q. How was the petitioner tortured?

A. She was able to counter-act by the time she was separated by the respondent (sic).

Court:

Q. Do you mean to tell us that Anti-Social disorder is incurable?


A. Yes, sir.

Court:

Q. Why did you know?

A. Anti-Social disorder is incurable again because the person itself, the respondent is not aware that this
kind of personality affect the other party (sic).

Court:

Q. This Anti-Social behavior is naturally affected the petitioner (sic)?

A. They do not have children because more often than not the respondent is under the influence of
alcohol, they do not have peaceful harmonious relationship during the less than one year and one thing what is
significant, respondent allowed wife to work as housemaid instead of he who should provide and the petitioner
never receive and enjoy her earning for the five months that she work and it is also the petitioner who took
sustainance of the vices. (sic)

Q. And because of that Anti-Social disorder he had not shown love to the petitioner?

A. From the very start the respondent has no emotion to sustain the marital relationship but what he
need is to sustain his vices thru the petitioner (sic).

Court:

Q. What are the vices?

A. Alcohol and gambling.

Court:

Q. And this affected psychological incapacity to perform marital obligation?

A. Not only that up to this time from my clinical analysis of Anti-Social Personality Disorder, he is good
for nothing person. [4]

The psychologist also identified the Psychological Report she prepared. The Report pertinently states: [5]
Report on the psychological condition of JOCELYN M. SUAZO, a petitioner for Nullity of Marriage
versus ANGELITO D. SUAZO

GENERAL DATA

[This pertains to Jocelyns]

BRIEF MARITAL HISTORY

xxxx

Husband is Angelito D. Suazo, 28 years old reached 3rd year high school, a part time tricycle driver,
eldest among 4 siblings. Father is a machine operator, described to be an alcoholic, womanizer and a heavy
gambler. While mother is a sales agent. It was a common knowledge within their vicinity that she was also
involved in an illicit relationship. Familial relationship was described to be stormy, chaotic whose bickering and
squabbles were part and parcel of their day to day living.

TEST RESULTS AND EVALUATION

Projective data reveal an introvert person whose impulse life is adequately suppressed so much so that
it does not create inner tension and anxiety. She is fully equipped in terms of drives and motivation particularly
in uplifting not, only her socio-emotional image but was as her morale. She may be sensitive yet capable of
containing the effect of such sensitiveness; in order to remain in goodstead (sic) with her immediate
environment.

She is pictured as a hard-working man (sic) who looks forward for a better future in spite of difficulties
she had gone through in the past. She is fully aware of external realities of life that she set simple life goals
which is (sic) commensurate with her capabilities and limitations. However, she needs to prioritize her interest in
order to direct her energy toward specific goals.Her tolerance for frustration appears to be at par with her coping
mechanism that she is able to discharge negative trends appropriately.

REMARKS :

[Already cited in full in the psychologists testimony quoted above][6]

The Office of the Solicitor General representing the Republic of the Philippines strongly opposed the petition for declaration of
nullity of the marriage. Through a Certification filed with the RTC, it argued that the psychologist failed to examine and test
Angelito; thus, what she said about him was purely hearsay.

THE RTC RULING


The RTC annulled the marriage under the following reasoning:

While there is no particular instance setforth (sic) in the law that a person may be considered as
psychologically incapacitated, there as (sic) some admitted grounds that would render a person to be unfit to
comply with his marital obligation, such as immaturity, i.e., lack of an effective sense of rational judgment and
responsibility, otherwise peculiar to infants (like refusal of the husband to support the family or excessive
dependence on parents or peer group approval) and habitual alcoholism, or the condition by which a person
lives for the next drink and the next drinks (The Family Code of the Phils, Alicia Sempio-Diy, p.39, 1988 ed.)

The evidence presented by the petitioner and the testimony of the petitioner and Dr. Tayag, points (sic)
to one thing that the petitioner failed to establish a harmonious family life with the respondent. On the contrary,
the respondent has not shown love and respect to the petitioner manifested by the formers being irresponsible,
immature, jobless, gambler, drunkard and worst of all a wife beater. The petitioner, unable to bear any longer
the misbehavior and attitude of the respondent, decided, after one year and four months of messy days, to leave
the respondent.

In this regard, the petitioner was able to prove that right from the start of her married life with the
respondent, she already suffered from maltreatment, due to physical injuries inflicted upon her and that she was
the one who worked as a housemaid of a relative of her husband to sustain the latters niece (sic) and because
they were living with her husbands family, she was obliged to do the household chores an indication that she is
a battered wife coupled with the fact that she served as a servant in his (sic) husbands family.

This situation that the petitioner had underwent may be attributed to the fact that at the time of their
marriage, she and her husband are still young and was forced only to said marriage by her relatives. The
petitioner and the respondent had never developed the feeling of love and respect, instead, the respondent
blamed the petitioners family for said early marriage and not to his own liking.

Applying the principles and the requisites of psychological incapacity enunciated by this Court in Santos v. Court of
Appeals ,[7] the RTC concluded:

The above findings of the psychologist [referring to the psychologist testimony quoted above] would only
tend to show that the respondent was, indeed, suffering from psychological incapacity which is not only grave
but also incurable.

Likewise, applying the principles set forth in the case of Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Molina, 268
SCRA 198, wherein the Supreme Court held that:

x x x x [At this point, the RTC cited the pertinent Molina ruling]

The Court is satisfied that the evidence presented and the testimony of the petitioner and Dr. Familiar
(sic) [the psychologist who testified in this case was Nedy Tayag, not a Dr. Familiar] attesting that there is
psychological incapacity on the part of the respondent to comply with the essential marital obligations has been
sufficiently and clearly proven and, therefore, petitioner is entitled to the relief prayed for.
A claim that the marriage is valid as there is no psychological incapacity of the respondent is a
speculation and conjecture and without moral certainty. This will enhanced (sic) a greater tragedy as the
battered wife/petitioner will still be using the surname of the respondent, although they are now separated, and a
grim and sad reminder of her husband who made here a slave and a punching bag during the short span of her
marriage with him. The law on annulment should be liberally construed in favor of an innocent suffering
petitioner otherwise said law will be an instrument to protect persons with mental illness like the serious anti-
social behavior of herein respondent. [8]

THE CA RULING

The Republic appealed the RTC decision to the CA. The CA reversed the RTC decision, ruling that:

True, as stated in Marcos vs Marcos 343 SCRA 755, the guidelines set in Santos vs Court of
Appeals and Republic vs Court of Appeals do not require that a physician personally examine the person to be
declared psychologically incapacitated. The Supreme Court adopted the totality of evidence approach which
allows the fact of psychological incapacity to be drawn from evidence that medically or clinically identify the root
causes of the illness. If the totality of the evidence is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity,
then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to. Applied in Marcos, however,
the aggregate testimony of the aggrieved spouse, children, relatives and the social worker were not found to be
sufficient to prove psychological incapacity, in the absence of any evaluation of the respondent himself, the
person whose mental and psychological capacity was in question.

In the case at bench, there is much scarcer evidence to hold that the respondent was psychologically
incapable of entering into the marriage state, that is, to assume the essential duties of marriage due to an
underlying psychological illness. Only the wife gave first-hand testimony on the behavior of the husband, and it
is inconclusive. As observed by the Court in Marcos, the respondent may have failed to provide material support
to the family and has resorted to physical abuse, but it is still necessary to show that they were manifestations of
a deeper psychological malaise that was clinically or medically identified. The theory of the psychologist that the
respondent was suffering from an anti-social personality syndrome at the time of the marriage was not the
product of any adequate medical or clinical investigation. The evidence that she got from the petitioner,
anecdotal at best, could equally show that the behavior of the respondent was due simply to causes like
immaturity or irresponsibility which are not equivalent to psychological incapacity, Pesca vs Pesca 356 SCRA
588, or the failure or refusal to work could have been the result of rebelliousness on the part of one who felt that
he had been forced into a loveless marriage. In any event, the respondent was not under a permanent
compulsion because he had later on shown his ability to engage in productive work and more stable
relationships with another. The element of permanence or incurability that is one of the defining characteristic of
psychological incapacity is not present.

There is no doubt that for the short period that they were under the same roof, the married life of the
petitioner with the respondent was an unhappy one. But the marriage cannot for this reason be extinguished. As
the Supreme Court intimates in Pesca, our strict handling of Article 36 will be a reminder of the inviolability of the
marriage institution in our country and the foundation of the family that the law seeks to protect. The concept of
psychological incapacity is not to be a mantra to legalize what in reality are convenient excuses of parties to
separate and divorce.

THE PETITION
Jocelyn now comes to us via the present petition to challenge and seek the reversal of the CA ruling based on the following
arguments:

1. The Court of Appeals went beyond what the law says, as it totally disregarded the legal basis of the
RTC in declaring the marriage null and void Tuason v. Tuason (256 SCRA 158; to be accurate, should
be Tuason v. Court of Appeals) holds that the finding of the Trial Court as to the existence or non-existence of
petitioners psychological incapacity at the time of the marriage is final and binding on us (the Supreme Court);
petitioner has not sufficiently shown that the trial courts factual findings and evaluation of the testimonies of
private respondents witnesses vis--vis petitioners defenses are clearly and manifestly erroneous;

2. Article 36 of the Family Code did not define psychological incapacity; this omission was intentional to
give the courts a wider discretion to interpret the term without being shackled by statutory parameters. Article 36
though was taken from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law, which gives three conditions that would
make a person unable to contract marriage from mental incapacity as follows:
1095. They are incapable of contracting marriage:

(1) who lack the sufficient use of reason;

(2) who suffer from grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights and
duties which are to be mutually given and accepted;

(3) who are not capable of assuming the essential obligations of matrimony due to causes of a
psychic nature.

The decision of the RTC, Jocelyn claims, intelligently conforms to these criteria. The RTC, being clothed with
discretionary functions, applied its finding of psychological incapacity based on existing jurisprudence and the law itself which
gave lower court magistrates enough latitude to define what constitutes psychological incapacity. On the contrary, she further
claims, the OSG relied on generalities without being specific on why it is opposed to the dissolution of a marriage that actually
exists only in name.
Simply stated, we face the issue of whether there is basis to nullify Jocelyns marriage with Angelito under Article 36 of
the Family Code.

THE COURTS RULING

We find the petition devoid of merit. The CA committed no reversible error of law in setting aside the RTC decision, as
no basis exists to declare Jocelyns marriage with Angelito a nullity under Article 36 of the Family Code and its related
jurisprudence.

The Law, Molina and Te

Article 36 of the Family Code provides that 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.

A unique feature of this law is its intended open-ended application, as it merely introduced an abstract concept
psychological incapacity that disables compliance with the contractual obligations of marriage without any concrete definition or,
at the very least, an illustrative example. We must therefore apply the law based on how the concept of psychological incapacity
was shaped and developed in jurisprudence.

Santos v. Court of Appeals[9] declared that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) juridical
antecedence; and (c) incurability. It 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. It must be confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or
inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. [10]

The Court laid down more definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of the law in Republic v. Court of
Appeals [11] (Molina) as follows:

(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 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 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.[12]

Molina, subsequent jurisprudence holds, merely expounded on the basic requirements of Santos.[13]

A later case, Marcos v. Marcos, [14] further clarified that there is no requirement that the defendant/respondent spouse
should be personally examined by a physician or psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of
marriage based on psychological incapacity. Accordingly, it is no longer necessary to introduce expert opinion in a petition under
Article 36 of the Family Code if the totality of evidence shows that psychological incapacity exists and its gravity, juridical
antecedence, and incurability can be duly established. [15]

Pesca v. Pesca[16] clarifies that the Molina guidelines apply even to cases then already pending, under the reasoning
that the courts interpretation or construction establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent of the law; the latter as so
interpreted and construed would thus constitute a part of that law as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only when a prior
ruling of this Court finds itself later overruled, and a different view is adopted, that the new doctrine may have to be applied
prospectively in favor of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith in accordance therewith under
the familiar rule of lex prospicit, non respicit.

On March 15, 2003, the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages
(A.M. No. 08-11-10 SC, Rules) promulgated by the Court took effect. Section 2(d) of the Rules pertinently provides:

(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.

Section 12(d) of the Rules requires a pre-trial brief containing all the evidence presented, including expert opinion, if any, briefly
stating or describing the nature and purpose of these pieces of evidence. Section 14(b) requires the court to consider during the
pre-trial conference the advisability of receiving expert testimony and such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of
the petition. Under Section 17 of the Rules, the grounds for the declaration of the absolute nullity or annulment of marriage must
be proved.
All cases involving the application of Article 36 of the Family Code that came to us were invariably decided based on the
principles in the cited cases. This was the state of law and jurisprudence on Article 36 when the Court decided Te v. Yu-Te [17] (Te)
which revisited the Molina guidelines.

Te begins with the observation that the Committee that drafted the Family Code did not give any examples of
psychological incapacity for fear that by so doing, it would limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem
generis; that the Committee desired that the courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience,
by the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals that, although not
binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision itself was taken from the Canon Law. [18] Te thus
assumes it a basic premise that the law is so designed to allow some resiliency in its application.[19]

Te then sustained Santos doctrinal value, saying that its interpretation is consistent with that of the Canon Law.

Going back to its basic premise, Te said:

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, ruled that the findings of the trial court are final and
binding on the appellate courts.

Again, upholding the trial courts findings and declaring that its decision was not a judgment on the
pleadings, the Court, in Tsoi v. Court of Appeals, 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.
With this as backdrop, Te launched an attack on Molina. It said that 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 in Molina. Molina, to Te, 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.

Te then enunciated 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. 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.

As a final note though, Te expressly stated that it is not suggesting the abandonment of Molina, but that,
following Antonio v. Reyes, it merely looked at other perspectives that should also govern the disposition of petitions for
declaration of nullity under Article 36. The subsequent Ting v. Velez-Ting [20] follows Tes lead when it reiterated that Te did not
abandon Molina; far from abandoning Molina, it simply suggested the relaxation of its stringent requirements, cognizant of the
explanation given by the Committee on the Revision of the Rules on the rationale of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity
of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages: [21]

To require the petitioner to allege in the petition the particular root cause of the psychological incapacity
and to attach thereto the verified written report of an accredited psychologist or psychiatrist have proved to be
too expensive for the parties. They adversely affect access to justice of poor litigants. It is also a fact that there
are provinces where these experts are not available. Thus, the Committee deemed it necessary to relax this
stringent requirement enunciated in the Molina Case. The need for the examination of a party or parties by a
psychiatrist or clinical psychologist and the presentation of psychiatric experts shall now be determined by the
court during the pre-trial conference.

Te, therefore, instead of substantially departing from Molina, [22] merely stands for a more flexible approach in considering
petitions for declaration of nullity of marriages based on psychological incapacity. It is also noteworthy for its evidentiary
approach in these cases, which it expounded on as follows:

By the very nature of Article 36, courts, despite having the primary task and burden of decision-
making, must not discount but, instead, must consider as decisive evidence the expert opinion on the
psychological and mental temperaments of the parties .

xxxx

Hernandez v. Court of Appeals 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 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. 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 .[23] [Underscoring supplied]

This evidentiary approach is repeated in Ting v. Velez-Ting.[24]

Under this evolutionary development, as shown by the current string of cases on Article 36 of the Family
Code, what should not be lost on us is the intention of the law to confine the application of Article 36 to the most
serious cases of personality disorders, clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage; that the psychological illness that must have afflicted a party at the inception of the
marriage should be a malady so grave and permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities
of the matrimonial bond he or she is about to assume.[25] It is not enough that the respondent, alleged to be psychologically
incapacitated, had difficulty in complying with his marital obligations, or was unwilling to perform these obligations. Proof of a
natal or supervening disabling factor an adverse integral element in the respondents personality structure that effectively
incapacitated him from complying with his essential marital obligations must be shown. [26] Mere difficulty, refusal or neglect in the
performance of marital obligations or ill will on the part of the spouse is different from incapacity rooted in some debilitating
psychological condition or illness; irreconcilable differences, sexual infidelity or perversion, emotional immaturity and
irresponsibility and the like, do not by themselves warrant a finding of psychological incapacity under Article 36, as the same may
only be due to a persons refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage. [27]
If all these sound familiar, they do, for they are but iterations of Santos juridical antecedence, gravity and
incurability requisites. This is proof of Santoscontinuing doctrinal validity.

The Present Case

As the CA did, we find Jocelyns evidence insufficient to establish Angelitos psychological incapacity to perform essential
marital obligations. We so conclude based on our own examination of the evidence on record, which we were compelled to
undertake because of the differences in the trial court and the appellate courts appreciation and evaluation of Jocelyns
presented evidence.

a. The Expert Opinion Evidence

Both the psychologists testimony and the psychological report did not conclusively show the root cause, gravity and
incurability of Angelitos alleged psychological condition.

We first note a critical factor in appreciating or evaluating the expert opinion evidence the psychologists testimony and
the psychological evaluation report that Jocelyn presented. Based on her declarations in open court, the psychologist evaluated
Angelitos psychological condition only in an indirect manner she derived all her conclusions from information coming from
Jocelyn whose bias for her cause cannot of course be doubted. Given the source of the information upon which the psychologist
heavily relied upon, the court must evaluate the evidentiary worth of the opinion with due care and with the application of the
more rigid and stringent set of standards outlined above, i.e., that there must be a thorough and in-depth assessment of the
parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis of a psychological incapacity that is grave, severe and incurable.

In saying this, we do not suggest that a personal examination of the party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated is
mandatory; jurisprudence holds that this type of examination is not a mandatory requirement. While such examination is
desirable, we recognize that it may not be practical in all instances given the oftentimes estranged relations between the parties.
For a determination though of a partys complete personality profile, information coming from persons intimately related to him
(such as the partys close relatives and friends) may be helpful. This is an approach in the application of Article 36 that allows
flexibility, at the same time that it avoids, if not totally obliterate, the credibility gaps spawned by supposedly expert opinion
based entirely on doubtful sources of information.

From these perspectives, we conclude that the psych`ologist, using meager information coming from a directly
interested party, could not have secured a complete personality profile and could not have conclusively formed an objective
opinion or diagnosis of Angelitos psychological condition. While the report or evaluation may be conclusive with respect to
Jocelyns psychological condition, this is not true for Angelitos. The methodology employed simply cannot satisfy the required
depth and comprehensiveness of examination required to evaluate a party alleged to be suffering from a psychological
disorder. In short, this is not the psychological report that the Court can rely on as basis for the conclusion that psychological
incapacity exists.
Other than this credibility or reliability gap, both the psychologists report and testimony simply provided a general
description of Angelitos purported anti-social personality disorder, supported by the characterization of this disorder as chronic,
grave and incurable. The psychologist was conspicuously silent, however, on the bases for her conclusion or the particulars that
gave rise to the characterization she gave. These particulars are simply not in the Report, and neither can they be found in her
testimony.

For instance, the psychologist testified that Angelitos personality disorder is chronic or incurable; Angelito has long been afflicted
with the disorder prior to his marriage with Jocelyn or even during his early developmental stage, as basic trust was not
developed. However, she did not support this declaration with any factual basis. In her Report, she based her conclusion on the
presumption that Angelito apparently grew up in a dysfunctional family. Quite noticeable, though, is the psychologists own
equivocation on this point she was not firm in her conclusion for she herself may have realized that it was simply
conjectural. The veracity, too, of this finding is highly suspect, for it was based entirely on Jocelyns assumed knowledge of
Angelitos family background and upbringing.

Additionally, the psychologist merely generalized on the questions of why and to what extent was Angelitos personality
disorder grave and incurable, and on the effects of the disorder on Angelitos awareness of and his capability to undertake the
duties and responsibilities of marriage.

The psychologist therefore failed to provide the answers to the more important concerns or requisites of psychological
incapacity, all of which are critical to the success of Jocelyns cause.

b. Jocelyns Testimony

The inadequacy and/or lack of probative value of the psychological report and the psychologists testimony impel us to
proceed to the evaluation of Jocelyns testimony, to find out whether she provided the court with sufficient facts to support a
finding of Angelitos psychological incapacity.

Unfortunately, we find Jocelyns testimony to be insufficient. Jocelyn merely testified on Angelitos habitual drunkenness,
gambling, refusal to seek employment and the physical beatings she received from him all of which occurred after the
marriage. Significantly, she declared in her testimony that Angelito showed no signs of violent behavior,assuming this to be
indicative of a personality disorder, during the courtship stage or at the earliest stages of her relationship with him. She testified
on the alleged physical beatings after the marriage, not before or at the time of the celebration of the marriage. She did not
clarify when these beatings exactly took place whether it was near or at the time of celebration of the marriage or months or
years after. This is a clear evidentiary gap that materially affects her cause, as the law and its related jurisprudence require that
the psychological incapacity must exist at the time of the celebration of the marriage.

Habitual drunkenness, gambling and refusal to find a job, while indicative of psychological incapacity, do not, by
themselves, show psychological incapacity. All these simply indicate difficulty, neglect or mere refusal to perform marital
obligations that, as the cited jurisprudence holds, cannot be considered to be constitutive of psychological incapacity in the
absence of proof that these are manifestations of an incapacity rooted in some debilitating psychological condition or illness.
The physical violence allegedly inflicted on Jocelyn deserves a different treatment. While we may concede that physical
violence on women indicates abnormal behavioral or personality patterns, such violence, standing alone, does not constitute
psychological incapacity. Jurisprudence holds that there must be evidence showing a link, medical or the like, between the acts
that manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. The evidence of this nexus is irretrievably lost in the
present case under our finding that the opinion of the psychologist cannot be relied upon. Even assuming, therefore, that
Jocelyns account of the physical beatings she received from Angelito were true, this evidence does not satisfy the requirement
of Article 36 and its related jurisprudence, specifically the Santos requisites.

On the whole, the CA correctly reversed the RTC judgment, whose factual bases we now find to be clearly and
manifestly erroneous. Our ruling in Tuason recognizing the finality of the factual findings of the trial court in Article 36 cases
(which is Jocelyns main anchor in her present appeal with us) does not therefore apply in this case. We find that, on the contrary,
the CA correctly applied Article 36 and its related jurisprudence to the facts and the evidence of the present case.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the petition for lack of merit. We AFFIRM the appealed Decision of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 62443.Costs against the petitioner.

-SO ORDERED.

EDWARD N. LIM, G.R. No. 176464

Petitioner,
Present:

CARPIO, J., *

CORONA,

Chairperson,

VELASCO, JR.,
- versus -
NACHURA, and

PERALTA, JJ.

Promulgated:

MA. CHERYL STA. CRUZ-LIM,


February 4, 2010
Respondent.

x-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION
NACHURA, J.:

This petition raises a far-from-novel issue, i.e., the invalidity of a marriage on the ground of either or both of the parties
psychological incapacity. However, similar petitions continue to hound the lower courts, even with the stringent requirements for
the grant of declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity, given the facility with which married
persons are diagnosed with personality disorders.

The instant petition for review on certiorari assails the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 74822,
which reversed the decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 140, Makati City, in Civil Case No. 99-1852.

First, the all too familiar antecedents of man-meets-woman; they get married after a whirlwind relationship; and, not surprisingly,
the marriage goes awry.

Petitioner Edward N. Lim and respondent Maria Cheryl Sta. Cruz-Lim met in 1978 in Cebu, where petitioner, who resides
in Makati City, spent a semestral break from college; and respondent, who resides in Gingoog City, Cagayan de Oro, was a
boarder in petitioners uncles house. At that time, petitioner was twenty-six (26) years old, a college student, and working in the
family business, while respondent was a secretarial student.

After less than a year of courtship via long distance phone calls, petitioner and respondent became sweethearts in early
1979. Within that year, or on December 8, 1979, the two were wed at the Don Bosco Church in Makati City, with a reception at
Midtown Ramada Hotel.

As is customary among those of Chinese descent, petitioner and respondent took up residence with the formers
grandparents and parents in Forbes Park, Makati City. The couple was blessed with three (3) children: Lester Edward, [3] Candice
Grace, [4] and Mariano III. [5]

During their stay in Forbes Park, all living, household and medical expenses were paid and provided by petitioners grandparents.
Petitioners salary of P6,000.00 for working in the family distillery went straight to respondent. Despite all these amenities, the
setup and living arrangement rankled respondent, who continued to insist that they live separately and independently from
petitioners family.

October 14, 1990 proved to be a black-letter day for the union of petitioner and respondent. That morning, respondent
registered a complaint, which was recorded in the police blotter of the Makati City police, about a prior incident where she caught
petitioner in their house in a compromising situation with the stay-in caregiver of petitioners grandmother. This incident landed
on the pages of a tabloid newspaper, Abante, where petitioner, his grandparents house and the family business were all named
and identified. Naturally, this caused embarrassment and humiliation to petitioner and to the rest of his family and relatives.
Also, on that same day, respondent finally left petitioner and brought with her their three (3) children. Respondent
forcibly opened their cabinet and cleaned out the contents thereof, which included petitioners passport, jewelry, and a land title
in petitioners name.

Respondent likewise filed a criminal complaint for Concubinage and Physical Injuries against petitioner which was
eventually dismissed by the investigating prosecutor for lack of merit.

Subsequently, respondent filed with the RTC of Makati City an action for support against petitioner and petitioners
parents. Thereafter, the trial court directed petitioner to give a monthly support of P6,000.00 and, in case of his inability to do so,
petitioners parents were also decreed to give a monthly support for the three minor children in the amount of P34,000.00. [6]

On October 29, 1999, petitioner filed a petition and sought the declaration of nullity of his marriage to respondent on the
ground of the latters psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. Three years thereafter, on July 22, 2002,
petitioner filed an amended petition including an allegation of his own psychological incapacity, as both he and respondent were
diagnosed with personality disordersdependent personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder, respectively.

Following the exchange of pleadings between the parties, petitioner presented evidence, which consisted of the
testimonies of Dr. Cecilia C. Villegas, a psychiatrist; and Maxima Adato, petitioners co-employee in the distillery. In addition,
petitioner offered in evidence Dr. Villegas Psychiatric Report, which concluded that the parties were suffering from personality
disorders. Respondent, despite filing an Answer to the petition denying the allegations therein, waived her right to present
evidence.

Based on the foregoing, primarily on the Psychiatric Report, the RTC declared the marriage between petitioner and
respondent null and void as the two were psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. The RTC
disposed of the case, to wit:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby DECLARES the marriage of EDWARD N. LIM and MA.
CHERYL STA. CRUZ on December 8, 1979 in Makati City VOID AB INITIO on ground of psychological
incapacity of both parties pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code with all the effects and consequences of all
the existing provisions of law.

As regards the custody of the children, considering that all of them are over seven (7) years of age, the Court
shall take into account the choice of each of the child, unless the Court finds compelling reasons to order
otherwise.

Let copies thereof be sent to the Office of Local Civil Registrar of Makati City and the National Statistics
Office, Quezon City who are directed to CANCEL from their respective Civil Registries the marriage of
EDWARD N. LIM and CHERYL STA. CRUZ on December 8, 1979 in Makati City.
The Conjugal Partnership of the Spouses shall be liquidated, partitioned, and distributed in accordance with the
provisions of Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code. [7]

Disagreeing completely with the RTCs disposition, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) appealed to the CA, questioning the
RTCs finding that the parties were psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. The appellate
court granted the OSGs appeal and reversed the trial court. It ruled thus:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is GRANTED. Accordingly, the assailed Decision
dated March 25, 2002 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The marriage between herein parties is hereby
declared subsisting and valid. [8]

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari positing the singular issue of whether the marriage between petitioner and
respondent is null and void on the ground of the parties psychological incapacity.

We deny the petition.

The seminal ruling in Santos v. Court of Appeals [9] cites three (3) factors characterizing psychological incapacity to perform the
essential marital obligations: (1) gravity, (2) juridical antecedence, (3) incurability. We expounded on the foregoing, to wit:

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.

Given the foregoing stringent requisites and without going into the non-exclusive list found in Republic v. Court of
Appeals, [10] petitioner, as the party alleging his own psychological incapacity and that of his spouse, had the special albatross to
prove that he and his wife were suffering from the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. [11]

Instead, petitioner presented the Psychiatric Report of Dr. Villegas, the conclusions drawn are reprinted in full:

PSYCHODYNAMICS OF THE CASE:

Edward is of Chinese descent, born and grew up in a Philippine environment. He was raised and educated in
Philippine school. However, despite his prominent Filipino exposure, his immediate family still practice a strong
cultural Chinese tradition within his home. Very clannish, all family members has to stay in one roof, in a
communal style of living, with the elders in this case, the grandparents are recognized as the authority. Most of
the family members tend to rebel, but at the end, tendency to be submissive and passive were developed. But
despite physical closeness, Edward did not build close attachments to his parents. The father was exceptionally
temperamental and moody, while the mother was extremely asocial, isolated, withdrawn and seclusive, that
repelled him from both of them.
Surrogate parenting from his grandparents satisfied his dependency needs. He developed into a kind,
obedient, submissive and passive adult, which became the center of jealousy and rivalry among the siblings.
Under stressful situation, he became depressed and had suicidal intentions. He felt so secure with his
grandparents, that he subordinated his needs to them. He allowed them to assume responsibilities for major
areas of his life, as in his family decision and independence. He has difficulty expressing disagreements with
others, especially with his wife, because of fear of loss of support or approval. So that even an abusive spouse
may be tolerated for long periods, in order not to disturb the sense of attachments. A persevering worker, he
had difficulties initiating change due to lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities, rather than lack of
motivation or energy. Within 10 years in marriage, he tried hard to grant his wifes wishes, but to no avail. His
wife left him in October, 1990 together with their three children, whom he missed very much. The death of his
grandfather in 1994 was a big blow to him, but he finds solace and security in visiting his grave every Sunday
since then.

On the other hand, Cheryl was initially congenial, which lasted only for a short period of time. Later, her
immaturity interfered with her behavioral pattern and adjustment. Apparently, she could not recognize realities in
their family set-up and will insist on her fantasized wishes. When not granted, shell go into tantrums, moodiness,
anger, hostilities, exhibitions and dramatizations, just to get attention and to emphasize her wants. Her attention-
getting devices will be endless and her suggestibility to the influence of others is very fertile.

Based on the family background, pattern of behavior, and outcome of their marriage, clinical evidence showed
that Mr. Edward Lim is suffering from a Dependent Personality Disorder, while Cheryl is suffering from Histrionic
Personality Disorder associated with immaturity, that render both of them psychologically incapacitated to
perform the duties and responsibilities of marriage.

The root cause of the above clinical condition on the part of Edward was due to overindulgence and
overprotection of his surrogate parents, that left no room for him to develop his own abilities, encouraging too
much dependence, lack of self-confidence, self-doubt, passivity, pessimism, and depression. How much of the
Dependent Disorder was due to developmental defect and how much was due to strong Chinese culture and
traditions, will be difficult to assess.

On the part of Cheryl, the root cause was due to unsatisfied dependency needs that finds gratification in adult
stage, in the form of attention-seeking devices, manifested in her clinical symptoms. Both existed prior to
marriage, but became obviously manifested only after the celebration, due to marital stresses and demands.
Both disorders are considered permanent and incurable, because they started early in their developmental
stage and therefore became so engrained in their personality structure. Both are severe and grave in degree,
because they hampered their normal functioning, specifically related to a difficult heterosexual adjustment. [12]

In addition, Dr. Villegas testified in the lower court as to the findings contained in the Psychiatric Report. Thus, on direct
examination, Dr. Villegas testimony consisted of the following:

Q- Can you tell the Court how you happened to know the petitioner?

A- He was referred to me by his counsel for psychological and psychiatric evaluation related to his
application for nullity of marriage in this Honorable Court, maam.

Q- And were you able to actually conduct an examination for the purposes that you have stated?

A- Yes, maam.
Q- How many times were you able to examine or meet the petitioner?

A- I met him three (3x) times, maam. That was on January 10, January 14 and January 17, year 2000.

Q- And is there any other witness or person that you have met for the purpose of evaluating the
behavior and personality of petitioner?

A- Yes, maam. I was able to interview a long time employee that they have in their company in the
person of Mrs. Emmy Adato who herself know the petitioner since he was eight (8) years old, maam.

xxxx

Q- Do you affirm before this Honorable Court the conclusions that you have arrived at to be correct?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- And what was the conclusion after you conducted the evaluation of the character of petitioner, as
well as that of the respondent?

A- After my intensive interview about the circumstances of their marriage, family background of the
petitioner and also the family background of the respondent, it is the opinion of the examiner that the
petitioner Mr. Edward Lim is suffering from DEPENDENT PERSONALITY DISORDER that renders him
psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties and responsibilities of marriage, maam. On the other
hand, based on the informations and clinical data gathered from the petitioner and my other informant,
Ms. Emmy Adato, it is the opinion of the examiner that the respondent is suffering from HISTRIONIC
PERSONALITY DISORDER associated with an immaturity that renders her psychologically
incapacitated to perform the duties and responsibilities of marriage.

Q- In your capacity as expert, a psychiatrist of forty (40) years, can you conclude that this deficiencies
or defects that you found are sufficient ground to nullify the marriage under Article 36?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- Do you conclude also these deficiencies are continuous and permanent?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- Would you conclude therefore would you consider it as valid ground for the annulment of the marriage?

A- Yes, maam. [13]

On cross examination by the prosecutor, Dr. Villegas testified as

follows:

Q- Doctor, you have testified that it was only the petitioner whom you have examined and evaluated with
(sic)?

A- Yes, maam.
Q- And the other person whom you have interviewed was the employee of the petitioner?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- No other person whom you have interviewed?

A- None, maam.

Q- You did not interview the surrogate parents of petitioner?

A- No, maam.

Q- Did you attempt to communicate with the respondent of this case for the purpose of interviewing her?

A- Yes, maam. [A]nd I have made this through the petitioner who has contacted his children in Cagayan De Oro,
maam.

Q- So you are telling us, Doctor, that the respondent is in Cagayan De Oro?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- And despite your invitation, she did not appear to you?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- So based from your Report on the circumstances of marriage, the information regarding the marriage
of parties in this case came from the petitioner?

A- Yes, sir.

Q- And the family background you have made on Cheryl, the respondent also came from the petitioner?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- And the interview you have made on Adato, the employee of petitioner, she gave you some background of
the respondent here?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- But most of the informations you have gathered from her were pertaining to the petitioner?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- So practically, the evaluation you have made were based on the interview only on both the employee
and the petitioner himself?

A- Yes, maam.
Q- You did not conduct a series of tests to determine or evaluate further?

A- No, maam.

Q- You have not collaborated with any psychologists so as to get some psychological evaluation on
petitioner?

A- No, maam. But the clearer picture of the case presented to me is a very clear picture already of the
psychiatric disorder which did not necessitated (sic) the assistance of a psychologist because it is obvious, the
signs and symptoms are obviously manifested by the parties.

Q- How many times did you meet the petitioner?

A- Three (3) times maam.

Q- And the duration of interview or examination on petitioner is how long?

A- It lasted for about one and a half hours to two and a half hours.

Q- For each session?

A- For each session.

Q- So you were able to examine him for a duration of six (6) hours, more or less. In the six (6) or seven (7)
hours, you were able to make the conclusions which you have made in your report?

A- Yes, maam. A psychiatric interview is a very structured interview

Q- When did you find out that you dont have to resort to psychological evaluation?

A- Even on my interview, I already kn[e]w that I will not be referring this case to a psychological evaluation
because the signs and symptoms are already very clear.

Q- What are these signs and symptoms?

A- The family background, for example, which gave the rootcause, of this case are very, very typical ground that
can bring about

Q- Did you not have any suspicion that the petitioner might be giving you some informations which would given
(sic) some presumption to nullifying his marriage?

A- I have no basis to doubt that kind of information that he might be lying. During the one and a half to two hours
of interview based on his reactions, the way he answers me, the way he grimaces and also, his statements that
he has been giving me are very sincere on his part, that he even, despite the fact that that happened
already about eleven years ago, I could still appreciate how much he feels, so devastated, so frustrated and
disappointed about family life.

Q- You made a conclusion about the personality of both the petitioner and the respondent. Would you say that
even if petitioner would marry again, the same manifestations would exist in the second marriage?
A- It would depend again on the personality profile of the would be partner that he will be having. So it is not
really absolute in his case, in a personality profile, but it would again depend on the personality profile of the
would-be partner that he will be having, maam. [14]

It was folly for the trial court to accept the findings and conclusions of Dr. Villegas with nary a link drawn between the
psychodynamics of the case and the factors characterizing the psychological incapacity. Dr. Villegas sparse testimony does not
lead to the inevitable conclusion that the parties were psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital
obligations. Even on questioning from the trial court, Dr. Villegas testimony did not illuminate on the parties alleged personality
disorders and their incapacitating effect on their marriage:

Q- Doctora, you gave a conclusion that the respondent is suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder
associated with immaturity. Did you discover the antecedents of this disorder?

A- Yes, your honor.

Q- What did you find out?

A- I found out from her family background that the parents were separated. She lived with a stepfather and
therefore their family relationship were only preoccupied by earning a living and no attention were given to the
children. When the children were growing up, specifically Cheryl (interrupted).

Q- By the way, who supplied you this information?

A- The petitioner.

Q- You never discussed the matter with the respondent or any of her relatives, except the husband?

A- None, maam.

Q- Now, you have interviewed Mr. Lim three (3) times. What tests did you give to him aside from the interview?

A- I did not give him any test because a psychological examination is given by a psychologist who acts as a
laboratory aide to a psychiatrist and therefore, if there are some doubts in our clinical interviews, that is the time
we refer the case to a psychologist for a sort of clarification in our clinical interviews.

Q- As far as the gravity of the disorder of petitioner is concerned do you have any suggestions as to the cure of
the same?

A- Because the psychological/psychiatric incapacity has been formed or developed during his early years of
development, I would say that it is ingrained in his personality and therefore, no amount of psychiatric
assistance or medicines can help him improve his personality, your honor. [15]
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM IV), [16] provides general diagnostic
criteria for personality disorders:

A. An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the
individuals culture. This pattern is manifested in two (2) or more of the following areas:

(1) cognition (i.e., ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people, and events)

(2) affectivity (i.e., the range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response)

(3) interpersonal functioning

(4) impulse control

B. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations.

C. The enduring pattern leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other
important areas of functioning.

D. The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back at least to adolescence or early
adulthood.

E. The enduring pattern is not better accounted for as a manifestation or a consequence of another mental
disorder.

F. The enduring pattern is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (i.e., a drug of abuse, a
medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., head trauma).

The alleged personality disorders of the parties have the following specified diagnostic criteria:

301.6 DEPENDENT PERSONALITY DISORDER

A pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of
separation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of
the following:

(1) has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from
others;

(2) needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life;
(3) has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval. Note: do
not include realistic fears of retribution;

(4) has difficulty intiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in
judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy);

(5) goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do
things that are unpleasant;

(6) feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself
or herself;

(7) urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends;

(8) is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself.

301.5 HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER

A pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present
in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention;

(2) interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior;

(3) displays rapidly shifting and shallow expressing of emotions;

(4) consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self;

(5) has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail;

(6) shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion;

(7) is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances; and

(8) considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.

Significantly, nowhere in Dr. Villegas Psychiatric Report and in her testimony does she link particular acts of the parties to the
DSM IVs list of criteria for the specific personality disorders.
Curiously, Dr. Villegas global conclusion of both parties personality disorders was not supported by psychological tests
properly administered by clinical psychologists specifically trained in the tests use and interpretation. The supposed personality
disorders of the parties, considering that such diagnoses were made, could have been fully established by psychometric and
neurological tests which are designed to measure specific aspects of peoples intelligence, thinking, or personality. [17]

Concededly, a copy of DSM IV, or any of the psychology textbooks, does not transform a lawyer or a judge into a
professional psychologist. A judge should not substitute his own psychological assessment of the parties for that of the
psychologist or the psychiatrist. However, a judge has the bounden duty to rule on what the law is, as applied to a certain set of
facts. Certainly, as in all other litigations involving technical or special knowledge, a judge must first and foremost resolve the
legal question based on law and jurisprudence.

The expert opinion of a psychiatrist arrived at after a maximum of seven (7) hours of interview, and unsupported by
separate psychological tests, cannot tie the hands of the trial court and prevent it from making its own factual finding on what
happened in this case. The probative force of the testimony of an expert does not lie in a mere statement of his theory or opinion,
but rather in the assistance that he can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for his criterion and the
reasons upon which the logic of his conclusion is founded.[18]

WHEREFORE , the petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 74822 is
hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

ENRIQUE AGRAVIADOR yALUNAN, G.R. No. 170729


Petitioner,
Present:

CARPIO MORALES, J., Chairperson,


BRION,
- versus - BERSAMIN,
VILLARAMA, JR., and
SERENO, JJ.

Promulgated:

ERLINDA AMPARO-AGRAVIADOR and December 8, 2010


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondents. -- -
x--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

BRION, J.:

Enrique Agraviador y Alunan (petitioner) challenges through his petition for review on certiorari [1] the decision dated May 31,
2005[2] and the resolution dated December 6, 2005[3] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 75207.The challenged
decision reversed the resolution [4] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 276, Muntinlupa City, declaring the marriage of the
petitioner and Erlinda Amparo-Agraviador (respondent) null and void on the ground of the latters psychological incapacity. The
assailed resolution, on the other hand, denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration.

Antecedent Facts

The petitioner first met the respondent in 1971 at a beerhouse where the latter worked. The petitioner, at that time, was a 24-year
old security guard of the Bureau of Customs, while the respondent was a 17-year old waitress. Their meeting led to a courtship,
and they eventually became sweethearts. They often spent nights together at the respondents rented room, and soon entered
into a common-law relationship.

On May 23, 1973, the petitioner and the respondent contracted marriage in a ceremony officiated by Reverend Juanito
Reyes at a church in Tondo, Manila. The petitioners family was apprehensive about this marriage because of the nature of the
respondents work and because she came from a broken family. Out of their union, the petitioner and the respondent begot four
(4) children, namely: Erisque, Emmanuel, Evelyn, and Eymarey.

On March 1, 2001, the petitioner filed with the RTC a petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage with the
respondent, under Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended. [5] The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 01-081. He alleged
that the respondent was psychologically incapacitated to exercise the essential obligations of marriage as she was carefree and
irresponsible, and refused to do household chores like cleaning and cooking; stayed away from their house for long periods of
time; had an affair with a lesbian; did not take care of their sick child; consulted a witch doctor in order to bring him bad fate; and
refused to use the family name Agraviador in her activities.

The petitioner likewise claimed that the respondent refused to have sex with him since 1993 because she became very
close to a male tenant in their house. In fact, he discovered their love notes to each other, and caught them inside his room
several times.

The respondent moved to dismiss the petition on the ground that the root cause of her psychological incapacity was not
medically identified and alleged in the petition. [6] The RTC denied this motion in its order dated July 2, 2001.[7]

In her answer,[8] the respondent denied that she engaged in extramarital affairs and maintained that it was the petitioner
who refused to have sex with her. She claimed that the petitioner wanted to have their marriage annulled because he wanted to
marry their former household helper, Gilda Camarin. She added that she was the one who took care of their son at the hospital
before he died.

The RTC ordered the city prosecutor and/or the Solicitor General to investigate if collusion existed between the
[9]
parties. The RTC, in its Order of November 20, 2001, allowed the petitioner to present his evidence ex parte.[10] The petitioner,
thus, presented testimonial and documentary evidence to substantiate his claims.

In his testimony, the petitioner confirmed what he stated in his petition, i.e., that the respondent was carefree,
irresponsible, immature, and whimsical; stubbornly did what she wanted; did not stay long in the conjugal dwelling; refused to do
household chores; refused to take care of him and their children; and consulted a witch doctor in order to bring bad luck upon
him.

The petitioner further confirmed that the respondent abandoned their sick child, which led to the latters death. The
petitioner further stated that the respondent became very close to a male border of their house; he discovered their love notes to
each other, and caught them inside his room several times.

The petitioner declared that he filed the petition for nullity because the respondent refused to change; he loves his
children and does not want their children to be affected by their mothers conduct. He intimated that he might remarry if it would
benefit their children.

Aside from his testimony, the petitioner also presented a certified true copy of their marriage contract (Exh. B) [11] and the
psychiatric evaluation report (Exh. A) [12] of Dr. Juan Cirilo L. Patac.

In his Psychiatric Evaluation Report, Dr. Patac made the following findings:

REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on the information gathered from Enrique, his son and their helper, the psychological report and
the mental status examination, Enrique is found to be psychologically capable to fulfill the essential
obligations of marriage. He coped with Erlindas selfish and irresponsible behavior as he dutifully
performed what she failed to do for the family. He patiently tried to understand her and exerted every
effort to make her realize the harm caused by her neglect to the family. Throughout their marriage, he
provided emotional and material support for the family. He engaged in other business endeavors aside
from his employment as he maintained to be financially productive.

The same data revealed that Erlinda failed to fulfill the essential obligations of marriage. She manifested
inflexible maladaptive behavior even at the time before their marriage. She is known to be stubborn and
uncaring who did things her way without regard to the feelings of others. She is an irresponsible
individual who selfishly ignored and neglected her role as daughter to her parents as wife to Enrique
and mother to their children. Before the marriage at a young age of 17, Erlinda defied her parents as
she lived alone, rented a room for herself and allowed Enrique to sleep with her. She did not care about
the needs of Enrique before and after marriage and she maintained to be so with her children. She
abandoned and relegated her duty to her family to their helper. She never stayed long in their house
despite pleadings from her children and Enrique. Her irresponsible, uncaring behavior even led to the
death of one of their children. Likewise, she does not show concern and ignores a daughter who is
presently manifesting behavioral problem. She kept secrets as she never allowed her husband and
children know where she stays when shes not at work. She falsified documents as she hid her marital
status when she used her maiden surname in her present employment. She is having illicit affairs and is
reported to be presently having an affair with a lesbian. Her desire to bring bad fate and death to
Enrique through her consultation with a mangkukulam point out her lack of care, love, and respect to
Enrique.

Erlindas lack of motivation and insight greatly affected her capacity to render love, respect and support
to her family.

The above data shows that Erlinda is suffering from a Personality Disorder (Mixed Personality Disorder).
She has been having this disorder since her adolescence. There is no definite treatment for this
disorder. She is deemed psychologically incapacitated to perform the obligations of marriage.

In fairness to Erlinda, she is recommended to undergo the same examination as Enrique underwent. [13]

The RTC Ruling


The RTC nullified the marriage of the petitioner and the respondent in its decision of April 26, 2002. It saw merit in the
petitioners testimony and Dr. Patacs psychiatric evaluation report, and concluded that:

Without contradiction the recitation by Petitioner and the findings of the doctor show that Respondent is
indeed suffering from Mixed Personality Disorder that render her incapable of complying with her marital
obligations. Respondents refusal to commit herself to the marriage, her tendencies to avoid a close relationship
with Petitioner, preferring to be with her lover and finally abandoning their home for a lesbian, a disregard of
social norm, show that she was never prepared for marital commitment in the first place. This incapacity is
deeply rooted from her family upbringing with no hope for a cure. Therefore, for the good of society and of the
parties themselves, it is best that this marriage between ENRIQUE AGRAVIADOR Y ALUNAN and ERLINDA
AMPARO AGRAVIADOR be annulled as if it never took place at all. The Civil Registrar of the City of Manila and
the General Civil Registrar, National Census and Statistics Office, East Avenue, Quezon City, are
hereby requested to make the necessary correction of the civil record of the marriage between the parties and
on their respective civil status.

The children ERISQUE AGRAVIADOR, EMMANUEL AGRAVIADOR, EVELYN AGRAVIADOR and


EYMAREY AGRAVIADOR will however remain as their legitimate children.

It is SO ORDERED.[14]

The CA Decision

The Republic of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General, appealed the RTC decision to the CA. The CA, in its
decision [15] dated May 31, 2005, reversed and set aside the RTC resolution, and dismissed the petition.

The CA held that Dr. Patacs psychiatric evaluation report failed to establish that the respondents personality disorder was
serious, grave and permanent; it likewise did not mention the root cause of her incapacity. The CA further ruled that Dr. Patac
had no basis in concluding that the respondents disorder had no definite treatment because he did not subject her to a mental
assessment.

The CA added that the psychiatric remarks in the Report were nothing but a showcase of respondents character flaws
and liabilities. There was no proof of a natal or supervening factor that effectively incapacitated the respondent from accepting
and complying with the essential obligations of marriage. If at all, these character flaws may only give rise to a legal separation
suit.
The petitioner moved to reconsider this decision, but the CA denied his motion in its resolution of December 6, 2005.[16]

The Petition and Issues

The petitioner now comes to us via the present petition to challenge and seek the reversal of the CA ruling, based on the
following arguments:

I. THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED BY [HIM] WAS MORE THAN SUBSTANTIAL TO


ESTABLISH THE PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY OF THE RESPONDENT[;]

II. THE GUIDELINES SET FORTH IN REPUBLIC V. MOLINA [HAD BEEN] SATISIFIED[;]
III. THE ADMISSIBILITY XXX OF THE PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION REPORT XXX STILL
STANDS FOR NOT HAVING BEEN CONTESTED XXX BY THE STATE AND/THE
RESPONDENT[; and]

IV. THE DEGREE OF PROOF REQUIRED IN CIVIL CASES HAD BEEN SATISIFIED[.]

The issue in this case essentially boils down to whether there is basis to nullify the petitioners marriage to the respondent on the
ground of psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations.

The Courts Ruling

We resolve to deny the petition for lack of merit, and hold that no sufficient basis exists to annul the marriage, pursuant to Article
36 of the Family Code and its related jurisprudence.

The totality of evidence presented


failed to establish the respondents
psychological incapacity

The petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article 36 of the Family Code which provides that "[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
introduced the concept of psychological incapacity as a ground for nullity of marriage, although this concept eludes exact
definition.

The initial common consensus on psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code was that it did not involve
a species of vice of consent. Justices Sempio-Diy and Caguioa, both members of the Family Code revision committee that
drafted the Code, conceded that the spouse may have given free and voluntary consent to a marriage but was, nonetheless,
incapable of fulfilling such rights and obligations. Dr. Arturo Tolentino likewise stated in the 1990 edition of his commentaries on
the Family Code that this psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations does not affect the consent to
the marriage. [17]

In Santos v. Court of Appeals,[18] the Court first declared that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a)
gravity; (b) juridical antecedence; and (c) incurability. It 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."[19] It must be confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an
utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.

We laid down more definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code in Republic v. Court
of Appeals [20] (the Molina case) where we said:

(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 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 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.

These guidelines incorporate the basic requirements we established in Santos . A later case, Marcos v. Marcos, [21] further
clarified that there is no requirement that the defendant/respondent spouse should be personally examined by a physician or
psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity. Accordingly,
it is no longer necessary to introduce expert opinion in a petition under Article 36 of the Family Code if the totality of evidence
shows that psychological incapacity exists and its gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability can be duly established.

A later case, Ngo Te v. Yu-Te,[22] declared that 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. We stated that instead of serving as a
guideline, Molina unintentionally became a straightjacket, forcing all cases involving psychological incapacity to fit into and be
bound by it, which is not only contrary to the intention of the law but unrealistic as well because, with respect to psychological
incapacity, no case can be considered as on "all fours" with another. Ngo Te, therefore, put into question the applicability of
time-tested guidelines set forth in Molina.

Ting v. Velez-Ting[23] and the fairly recent case of Suazo v. Suazo [24] squarely met the issue and laid to rest any question
regarding the applicability of Molina. In these cases, we clarified that Ngo Te did not abandon Molina; far from abandoning
Molina, it simply suggested the relaxation of its stringent requirements. We also explained
in Suazo that NgoTe merely stands for a more flexible approach in considering petitions for declaration of nullity of marriages
based on psychological incapacity.

Under these established guidelines, we find the totality of the petitioners evidence insufficient to prove the respondents
psychological incapacity.

a. Petitioners court testimony

For clarity, we reproduce the pertinent portions of the petitioners testimony that essentially confirmed what the petition
alleged:

Q: Out of your marriage with the said respondent, were you blessed with children, and how many?

A: Yes, sir, we were blessed with four (4), two (2) boys and two (2) girls.
Q: Where are they now?

A: All grown up with the exception of one who died of pneumonia due to the neglect and fault of my said
wife who abandone[d] him at the time of his illness.

Q: Is that the reason why you file[d] the instant petition, Mr. Witness?

A: It is only one of the several reasons, Sir.

Q: Can you cite these reasons, you mentioned?

A: She appears to be carefree, irresponsible, immature, whimsical and used to impose what she
wanted to get, she refused to do household chores, like cooking, caring for the husband
and children, used to stay from the conjugal dwelling, initially for weeks, then for months
and lately fully abandoned the family house and stay with a lesbian. [sic]

At first, I discovered a love note while being so secretive and used to be very close to a male
renter in the ground floor of their house and caught them several times alone in his room,
thus explaining the reason why she refused to have sex since 1993, up to and until the
present time.

Lately, we discovered that she used to consult a cult mangkukulam to bring bad fate against the
family and death for me.

Q: By the way did you give her the chance to change?

A: I gave her but she refused to reform.

xxxx

Q: Can you not give a last chance for you to save your marriage?
A: I think I cannot since she does not accept her fault and she does not want to change for the sake of
our family. [25]

These exchanges during trial significantly constituted the totality of the petitioners testimony on the respondents
supposed psychological or mental malady. We glean from these exchanges the petitioners theory that the respondents
psychological incapacity is premised on her refusal or unwillingness to perform certain marital obligations, and a number of
unpleasant personality traits such as immaturity, irresponsibility, and unfaithfulness.
These acts, in our view, do not rise to the level of psychological incapacity that the law requires, and should be
distinguished from the difficulty, if not outright refusal or neglect, in the performance of some marital obligations that characterize
some marriages. [26] The intent of the law has been to confine the meaning of psychological incapacity to the most serious cases
of personality disorders existing at the time of the marriage clearly demonstrating an utter insensitivity or inability to give
meaning and significance to the marriage. [27] The psychological illness that must have afflicted a party at the inception of the
marriage should be a malady so grave and permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the
matrimonial bond he or she is about to assume.[28]

In the present case, the petitioners testimony failed to establish that the respondents condition is a manifestation of a
disordered personality rooted on some incapacitating or debilitating psychological condition that makes her completely unable to
discharge the essential marital obligations. If at all, the petitioner merely showed that the respondent had some personality
defects that showed their manifestation during the marriage; his testimony sorely lacked details necessary to establish that the
respondents defects existed at the inception of the marriage. In addition, the petitioner failed to discuss the gravity of the
respondents condition; neither did he mention that the respondents malady was incurable, or if it were otherwise, the cure
would be beyond the respondents means to undertake. The petitioners declarations that the respondent does not accept her
fault, does not want to change, and refused to reform are insufficient to establish a psychological or mental defect that is serious,
grave, or incurable as contemplated by Article 36 of the Family Code.

In a similar case, Bier v. Bier,[29] we ruled that it was not enough that the respondent, alleged to be psychologically
incapacitated, had difficulty in complying with his marital obligations, or was unwilling to perform these obligations. Proof of a
natal or supervening disabling factor an adverse integral element in the respondent's personality structure that effectively
incapacitated him from complying with his essential marital obligations had to be shown.

b. Dr. Patacs Psychiatric Evaluation Report

The Court finds that Dr. Patacs Psychiatric Evaluation Report fell short in proving that the respondent was
psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital duties. We emphasize that Dr. Patac did not personally evaluate
and examine the respondent; he, in fact, recommended at the end of his Report for the respondent to undergo the same
examination [that the petitioner] underwent. [30] Dr. Patac relied only on the information fed by the petitioner, the parties
second child, Emmanuel, and household helper. Sarah. Largely, the doctor relied on the information provided by the petitioner.
Thus, while his Report can be used as a fair gauge to assess the petitioners own psychological condition (as he was, in fact,
declared by Dr. Patac to be psychologically capable to fulfill the essential obligations of marriage), the same statement cannot
be made with respect to the respondents condition. The methodology employed simply cannot satisfy the required depth and
comprehensiveness of the examination required to evaluate a party alleged to be suffering from a psychological disorder.[31]
We do not suggest that a personal examination of the party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated is mandatory.
We have confirmed in Marcos v. Marcos that the person sought to be declared psychologically incapacitated must be personally
examined by a psychologist as a condition sine qua non to arrive at such declaration. [32] If a psychological disorder can be
proven by independent means, no reason exists why such independent proof cannot be admitted and given credit. [33] No such
independent evidence appears on record, however, to have been gathered in this case.

In his Report, Dr. Patac attempted to establish the juridical antecedence of the respondents condition by stating that
the respondent manifested inflexible maladaptive behavior before marriage, pointing out how the respondent behaved before the
marriage the respondent defied her parents and lived alone; rented a room for herself; and allowed the petitioner to sleep with
her. These perceived behavioral flaws, to our mind, are insufficient to establish that the incapacity was rooted in the history of
the respondent antedating the marriage. Dr. Patac failed to elucidate on the circumstances that led the respondent to act the
way she did, for example, why she defied her parents and decided to live alone; why she neglected her obligations as a
daughter; and why she often slept with the petitioner. This is an area where independent evidence, such as information from a
person intimately related to the respondent, could prove useful. As earlier stated, no such independent evidence was gathered in
this case. In the absence of such evidence, it is not surprising why the Psychiatric Report Evaluation failed to explain how and
why the respondents so-called inflexible maladaptive behavior was already present at the time of the marriage.

Dr. Patacs Psychiatric Evaluation Report likewise failed to prove the gravity or seriousness of the respondents
condition. He simply made an enumeration of the respondents purported behavioral defects (as related to him by third persons),
and on this basis characterized the respondent to be suffering from mixed personality disorder. In the Background History
portion of his Psychiatric Evaluation Report, Dr. Patac mentioned that the respondent employed one of her siblings to do the
household chores; did not help in augmenting the familys earnings; belittled the petitioners income; continued her studies
despite the petitioners disapproval; seldom stayed at home; became close to a male border; had an affair with a lesbian; did not
disclose the actual date of her departure to Taiwan; threatened to poison the petitioner and their
children; neglected and ignoredtheir children; used her maiden name at work; and consulted a witch doctor to bring bad fate to
the petitioner. Except for the isolated and unfounded statement that Erlindas lack of motivation and insight greatly affected her
capacity to render love, respect and support to the family,[34] there was no other statement regarding the degree of severity of the
respondents condition, why and to what extent the disorder is grave, and how it incapacitated her to comply
with the duties required in marriage. There was likewise no showing of a supervening disabling factor or debilitating
psychological condition that effectively incapacitated the respondent from complying with the essential marital obligations. At any
rate, the personality flaws mentioned above, even if true, could only amount to insensitivity, sexual infidelity, emotional
immaturity, and irresponsibility, which do not by themselves warrant a finding of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the
Family Code.

Interestingly, Dr. Patacs Psychiatric Evaluation Report highlighted only the respondents negative behavioral traits
without balancing them with her other qualities. The allegations of infidelity and insinuations of promiscuity, as well as the claim
that the respondent refused to engage in sexual intercourse since 1993, of course, came from the petitioner, but these claims
were not proven. Even assuming ex gratia argumenti that these accusations were true, the Psychiatric Evaluation Report did not
indicate that unfaithfulness or promiscuousness were traits that antedated or existed at the time of marriage. Likewise, the
accusation that the respondent abandoned her sick child which eventually led to the latters death appears to be an exaggerated
claim in the absence of any specifics and corroboration. On the other hand, the petitioners own questionable traits his flirtatious
nature before marriage and his admission that he inflicted physical harm on the respondent every time he got jealous were not
pursued. From this perspective, the Psychiatric Evaluation Report appears to be no more than a one-sided diagnosis against the
respondent that we cannot consider a reliable basis to conclusively establish the root cause and the degree of seriousness of
her condition.

The Psychiatric Evaluation Report likewise failed to adequately explain how Dr. Patac came to the conclusion that the
respondents personality disorder had no definite treatment. It did not discuss the concept of mixed personality disorder, i.e.,
its classification, cause, symptoms, and cure, and failed to show how and to what extent the respondent exhibited this disorder
in order to create a necessary inference that the respondents condition had no definite treatment or is incurable. A glaring
deficiency, to our mind, is the Psychiatric Evaluation Reports failure to support its findings and conclusions with any factual basis.
It simply enumerated the respondents perceived behavioral defects, and then associated these traits with mixed personality
disorder. We find it unfortunate that Dr. Patac himself was not called on the witness stand to expound on the findings and
conclusions he made in his Psychiatric Evaluation Report. It would have aided petitioners cause had he called Dr. Patac to
testify.

Admittedly, the standards used by the Court in assessing the sufficiency of psychological evaluation reports may be deemed very
strict, but these are proper, in view of the principle that any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage and the indissolubility
of the marital vinculum.[35] Marriage, an inviolable institution protected by the State, cannot be dissolved at the whim of the parties,
especially where the prices of evidence presented are grossly deficient to show the juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability
of the condition of the party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated to assume and perform the essential marital duties.

The petitioners marriage to the respondent may have failed and appears to be without hope of reconciliation The
remedy, however, is not always to have it declared void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity. We stress that Article 36 of the
Family Code contemplates downright incapacity or inability to assume and fulfill the basic marital obligations, not a mere refusal, neglect or
difficulty, much less, ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. It is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond
at the time the grounds for divorce manifest themselves. The State, fortunately or unfortunately, has not seen it fit to decree that
divorce should be available in this country. Neither should an Article 36 declaration of nullity be equated with legal separation, in
which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but on physical violence, moral pressure, moral corruption,
civil interdiction, drug addiction, sexual infidelity, abandonment, and the like. [36] Unless the evidence presented clearly reveals a
situation where the partie s or one of them, by reason of a grave and incurable psychological illness existing at the time the marriage was
celebrated, was incapacitated to fulfill the obligations of marital life (and thus could not then have validly entered into a marriage), then we are
compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the marital tie.

WHEREFORE , in light of all the foregoing, we DENY the petition and AFFIRM the Decision and the Resolution of the
Court of Appeals dated May 31, 2005 and December 6, 2005, respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. 75207. Costs against the petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 179620 August 26, 2008

MANUEL G. ALMELOR, petitioner,


vs.
THE HON. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF LAS PIAS CITY, BRANCH 254, and LEONIDA T. ALMELOR, respondents.
DECISION

REYES, R.T., J.:

MARRIAGE, in its totality, involves the spouses' right to the community of their whole lives. It likewise involves a true intertwining
of personalities. 1

This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision 2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) denying the petition for annulment of
judgment and affirming in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Las Pias, Branch 254. The CA dismissed outright
the Rule 47 petition for being the wrong remedy.

The Facts

Petitioner Manuel G. Almelor (Manuel) and respondent Leonida Trinidad (Leonida) were married on January 29, 1989 at the
Manila Cathedral. 3 Their union bore three children: (1) Maria Paulina Corinne, born on October 20, 1989; (2) Napoleon Manuel,
born on August 9, 1991; and (3) Manuel Homer, born on July 4, 1994.4 Manuel and Leonida are both medical practitioners, an
anesthesiologist and a pediatrician, respectively. 5

After eleven (11) years of marriage, Leonida filed a petition with the RTC in Las Pias City to annul their marriage on the ground
that Manuel was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations. The case, docketed as LP-00-0132 was raffled
off to Branch 254.

During the trial, Leonida testified that she first met Manuel in 1981 at the San Lazaro Hospital where they worked as medical
student clerks. At that time, she regarded Manuel as a very thoughtful person who got along well with other people. They soon
became sweethearts. Three years after, they got married. 6

Leonida averred that Manuel's kind and gentle demeanor did not last long. In the public eye, Manuel was the picture of a perfect
husband and father. This was not the case in his private life. At home, Leonida described Manuel as a harsh disciplinarian,
unreasonably meticulous, easily angered. Manuel's unreasonable way of imposing discipline on their children w