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October 11, 2017

G.R. No. 201988

MARIA VICTORIA SOCORRO LONTOC-CRUZ (Petitioner) vs. NILO SANTOS CRUZ


(Respondent)

Facts: Twenty-two-year-old Marivi met 28-year old Nilo sometime in March 1986. They
became steady in August of the same year. Nilo, whose job was then in Hong Kong,
prodded Marivi to marry him so she could join him there soonest. Marivi agreed. The
couple married in a civil ceremony in 1986 followed by a church wedding in 1987. The
marriage produced two sons: Antonio Manuel and Jose Nilo.

Petitioner’s Contention: Marivi narrated that when they were still going steady, Nilo
would only spend Saturdays and Sundays with her and devote the weekdays to partying
with his friends; that even after their engagement, Nilo would still meet other women and
accept invitations to beauty pageants and cocktails; that Nilo was not the type who would
kiss passionately; that Nilo would not engage in foreplay during sex, but wished only to
satisfy himself; that Nilo would engage in anal sex and would only stop when she
complained that it was painful; that Nilo would thereafter sleep, leaving her feeling "used,"
and that Nilo was impulsive, daring, and adventurous. Marivi added that she eventually
reconciled with Nilo but despite the reconciliation, Nilo never really changed, and that he
remained indifferent, insensitive, and unappreciative. He was controlling and
domineering, and refused to consider her suggestions; he would not want his money
mingled with Marivi’s money. Marivi was moreover bothered because they no longer had
sex after the birth of their second son. While they tried to have sex twice, Nilo failed to
have an erection. After that, Nilo would refuse to have sex with her which made her
question his sexual orientation, so much so that Nilo physically hurt her when she
questioned his virility.

Respondents Contention: Nilo claimed that he was madly in love with Marivi; that at the
start of their relationship, both he and Marivi would exhibit negative personality traits
which they overlooked; that he believed that both he and Marivi were suffering from
psychological incapacity; and that he was not singularly responsible for the breakdown of
their marriage. He stressed that Marivi also contributed to the deterioration of their union,
because Marivi would demand that he behave in ways he was not accustomed to or
inconsistent with his career position, Marivi was jealous of his friends; and would often
make hasty conclusions that he was having an affair with other women; and she would
exhibit volatile temperament if things did not go her way and blame others instead; she
makes decisions impulsively, lacked respect for Nilo, and would speak to him degradingly,
or accuse him of being gay or a homosexual.
According to Nilo, Marivi would always want to know his companions and whereabouts.
Marivi did not understand the demands of his job, and unfairly compared his work to her
father's job, the operation of which was limited to a single area, a compound in a mine
site in Cebu. He explained that the multinational companies he then worked for required
him to work beyond the normal office hours because he has to meet "sales quotas in
millions of dollars," and meet with different clients from areas far from his residence. Nilo
was also turned off by Marivi's act of broadcasting to her whole clan his inadequacies
during their intimate sexual relations, which began after he witnessed Marivi giving birth
to their first child. Since then, he did not feel any sexual excitement and attraction toward
her when they were together. Nilo acknowledged his contribution to the breakdown of the
marriage because his job required him to come home late, his inability to sexually perform
adequately, his failure to be the "ideal husband," and because he had had extramarital
affairs in the years 1992, 2002, and 2006. At the same time, Nilo insisted that Marivi also
contributed to the collapse of their union.

The Clinical Findings

In support of the petitioner’s claim that she and Nilo were suffering from psychological
incapacity, she presented Dr. Villegas, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Encarnacion, a clinical
psychologist.

Dr. Villegas diagnosed Nilo to have "inadequate personality disorder related to masculine
strivings associated with unresolved oedipal complex," while she diagnosed Marivi to
have "personality disorder of the mixed type, histrionic, narcissistic, with immaturity.

In the 2005 Psychiatric Report, Dr. Villegas said that the root cause of the clinical
conditions, on the part of Marivi Cruz, were the overindulgence and over attention of her
parents, in a prolonged manner, carried over to adult adjustments. On the part of Nilo
Cruz, his negative identification and resentments towards his father and close
attachments to his mother, continued by his long-time maid, to the point of an oedipal
situation led to his inadequacy, along masculine strivings, with difficult assertions of his
authority and power.

The clinical conditions existed prior to marriage but became manifest only after the
celebration due to marital stresses and demands. Both are considered as permanent in
nature, because they started early in their developmental stage, and therefore became
so deeply engrained into their personality structures. Both are considered grave in
degree, because they hampered, interfered and disrupted their normal functioning related
to heterosexual adjustments.

According to Dr. Villegas, both parties could not tolerate each others' weaknesses and
that the incapacities of the parties are grave because they preferred to satisfy their own
needs rather than to give in to the other's needs. She claimed that Nilo's lack of a father
figure weakened his masculinity. He cross-identified himself with his mother because his
father, a disciplinarian and the thrifty one, was often absent because of his military
service. While he was still a teenager, his mother migrated to Canada and their long-time
maid acted as his surrogate mother. Nilo sought from his wife his mother's nurturing
qualities, but he felt hostility when Marivi failed to meet his ego ideal. His aggression was
in the form of passivity, punishing his wife by not sexually performing. Also, Dr. Villegas
noted that Nilo would put on a facade, a compensatory mechanism according to social
norms. While he was not exactly a homosexual, he covered up his weak masculine traits
by being a "playboy." Nilo could only comply with the financial obligation of marital life,
but not the psychological and emotional parts of it. Nilo likewise was an inadequate father
figure to his own two sons, especially the younger, who has already manifested strong
feminine traits.

As for Marivi, Dr. Encarnacion found that she exhibited "Histrionic Personality Behaviors
and Features" as manifested by her impressionistic speech, her exaggerated expression
of emotions, and her suggestibility. He stated that Marivi's "inflexibility" consisted in her
expecting a high standard of faithfulness from all men as exemplified by her dad, who
was also very devoted to her mother. However, because dissatisfied and frustrated by
her actual marital situation, she sought attention, externalized blame, displayed anger,
mistrust, resentment, and self-indulgence.

Issue:

Whether or not the marriage of Maria Victoria and Nilo is null and void on the ground of
psychological incapacity of both or either of the parties which fall under Article 36 of the
Family Code?

Regional Trial Court Ruling: In 2008, the RTC denied the Petition.

The RTC took a dim view of the expert witnesses' attribution of a double psychological
incapacity to Marivi's nature of being a "father figure woman," and to Nilo's "oedipal
complex." The court noted that Marivi already disengaged herself from her father as her
standard of an ideal husband when she married Nilo, despite the latter's limitations and
his then being already very focused on his job. Marivi's need for assurance that she is
loved, vis-a-vis her looking up to her father as her standard, was not by itself sufficient to
declare her psychologically incapacitated.

As for Nilo, the RTC found no concrete evidence of "oedipal complex;" the RTC held that
prioritizing his work over the emotional needs of his family was not reflective of his
psychological incapacity because what he did was still for his family's benefit. Neither was
Nilo's lack of sexual interest in Marivi a case of psychological incapacity, for this was a
result of his being turned off by Marivi's unabated naggings and her revelations to her
family of his sexual inadequacies.

Petitioner appealed to the CA.

Court of Appeals’ Ruling:


The CA found that Dr. Villegas and Dr. Encarnacion failed to paint a clear picture of the
supposed gravity or seriousness of Nilo's psychological incapacity, and that it was
unconvinced of the doctors' conclusion that Nilo had a deep propensity to cover up for his
serious inadequacies. It also ruled that Marivi failed to prove that Nilo's failure to comply
with his sexual obligation was due to some psychological condition or makeup, as this
could very well be explained by the stress brought about by Marivi's negative attitude
toward Nilo, who was turned off by her act of revealing to her clan their bedroom secrets
instead of privately resolving the problem with him.

Moreover, the CA said it is a non sequitur, that just because he could not sexually perform
according to Marivi's standard, he should thus be labelled a gay or homosexual. It
appears that Nilo has "selective" impotency, for while he could not have an erection for
Marivi, he nevertheless had had extramarital affairs. Neither did the CA see anything
wrong with Nilo's "put-on facade" of a happy marriage to protect the family's privacy.

The CA did not consider Marivi's alleged histrionic traits as reflected in her behavior as
grave or serious enough to qualify as psychological incapacity. The CA ruled that it was
the couple's irreconcilable differences that marred their marriage; that the negative acts
or actions of one spouse were neutralized or offset by the other's negative actions, and
that these are mere character flaws or bad habits that the spouses developed over the
years which can be modified or changed depending on the desire of either spouse to do
so.

The CA denied the appeal and the decision of the RTC in denying the petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage between appellant Maria Victoria and Nilo for
insufficiency of evidence is AFFIRMED.

Marivi moved for Reconsideration but it was denied by the CA.

Supreme Court Ruling: SC sustain the findings of both the RTC and the CA.

Article 36 of the Family Code states: 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.

Notably, "mere showing of irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities” as in


the present case, in no wise constitutes psychological incapacity nor does “failure of the
parties to meet their responsibilities and duties as married persons” amount to
psychological incapacity. With specific reference to the case before us, even granting that
both parties did suffer from personality disorders as evaluated by the expert witnesses,
we find that the conclusions reached by these expert witnesses do not irresistibly point to
the fact that the personality disorders which plague the spouses antedated the marriage;
that these personality disorders are indeed grave or serious; or that these personality
disorders are incurable or permanent as to render the parties psychologically
incapacitated to carry out and carry on their marital duties. What can be inferred from the
totality of evidence, at most, is a case of incompatibility. For a personality disorder to be
declared clinically or medically incurable or permanent is one thing; for a spouse to refuse
or to be reluctant to perform his/her marital duties is another.

Indeed, we are loath to overturn the findings of the RTC and the CA. More than that, too,
the evidence on record does not square with the existence of psychological incapacity as
contemplated by law and jurisprudence. In the case of Nilo, what brought about the
breakdown of his relationship with Marivi was not necessarily attributable to his so-called
"psychological disorder" but can be imputed to his work and marital stress, and his
ordinary human failings.

With regard to his failure to sexually perform "adequately," the same appeared to be a
case of "selective impotency," as he was turned off by Marivi's disclosure of their bed
secrets to her family. Furthermore, Nilo testified that the sexual problem with Marivi did
not crop up until the birth of their second son, and that he felt that the blame was invariably
and unfairly laid on upon him.

Upon the view we take of this case, thus, this Court believes that the protagonists in this
case are in reality simply unwilling to work out a solution for each other's personality
differences, and have thus become overwhelmed by feelings of disappointment or
disillusionment toward one another. Sadly, a marriage, even if unsatisfactory, is not null
and void marriage so the Petition is DENIED.

APRIL 18, 2018

G.R. No. 210518

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (Petitioner) vs

MARTIN NIKOLAI Z. JAVIER and MICHELLE K. MERCADO- JAVIER (Respondents)

Facts:

Martin and Michelle were married on February 8, 2002. On November 20, 2008, Martin
filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Joint Custody of Common Minor
Child under Article 36 of the Family Code. Martin alleged that both he and Michelle were
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. He
thus prayed for the declaration of nullity of their marriage, and for the joint custody of their
minor child, Amanda M. Javier.
In order to support the allegations in his petition, Martin testified on his own behalf, and
presented the psychological findings of Dr. Elias D. Adamos (Dr. Adamos) (i.e.,
Psychological Evaluation Report on Martin and Psychological Impression Report on
Michelle). In the Psychological Impression Report on Michelle, Dr. Adamos diagnosed
her with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Likewise, Dr. Adamos concluded in the
Psychological Evaluation Report that Martin suffered from the same disorder. Their
disorder was considered grave and incurable, and rendered Martin and Michelle
incapacitated to perform the essential obligations of marriage. Dr. Adamos further testified
before the RTC to provide his expert opinion, and stated that with respect to the
Psychological Impression Report on Michelle, the informants were Martin and the
respondents' common friend, Jose Vicente Luis Serra (Jose Vicente). He was unable to
evaluate Michelle because she did not respond to Dr. Adamos' earlier request to come in
for psychological evaluation.

Issue:

Whether or not the marriage of Maria Victoria and Nilo is null and void on the ground of
psychological incapacity of both or either of the parties which fall under Article 36 of the
Family Code?

Regional Trial Court Ruling:

The RTC dismissed the petition for failure to establish a sufficient basis for the declaration
of nullity of the respondents' marriage.

Though Dr. Adamos diagnosed Martin to be afflicted with a narcissistic personality


disorder, which rendered him incapacitated to comply with his essential marital
obligations of observing love, trust and respect. Martin's testimony is found by the Court
to be not supportive of such finding and vice-versa. In fact, on the basis of Martin's
declarations, the Court came up with an impression that [Martin] is a man gifted with a lot
of patience; that he was righteous, that he laudably performed his role as husband and
father, and that in spite of Michelle's alleged wrongdoings, he still exerted his best efforts
to save their marriage. As to Michelle's alleged psychological incapacity, the Court finds
Martin's testimony to be self-serving and Dr. Adamos' findings to be without sufficient
basis. Taking all the foregoing into consideration, the Court finds no sufficient basis for
granting the relief prayed for in the petition.

In the case at bar, the Court found no sufficient basis for making a finding that either
petitioner or respondent or both were afflicted with a psychological disorder within
the contemplation of existing law and jurisprudence. Such being the case, there was
no need to resort to Dr. Adamos' findings.

The pending Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.


Martin appealed the denial of his petition to the CA. In his Appellant's Brief, Martin
submitted that it is not necessary for the psychologist to personally examine the
incapacitated spouse, or Michelle in this case, before the court may rule on the petition
for declaration of nullity of marriage. He also argued that, at the very least, there was
sufficient evidence to support his own diagnosis of psychological incapacity. Martin thus
claimed that the RTC committed a reversible error in dismissing his petition.

The Republic filed its own brief opposing the appeal of Martin. Arguing that there was no
basis for Dr. Adamos' findings as to Michelle's psychological incapacity, the Republic
asserts that there was no independent proof to establish this claim. Furthermore, the
Republic argued that Martin supported his petition for declaration of nullity of marriage
with self-serving testimonies and hearsay evidence.

Court of Appeals’ Ruling:

Martin's appeal is GRANTED.

The CA found that there was sufficient evidence to support Martin's claim that he is
psychologically incapacitated. The CA also negated the RTC's ruling by referring to
Martin's own testimony, in which he narrated his tendency to impose his own unrealistic
standards on Michelle. In its challenged decision, the CA likewise ruled that Michelle's
diagnosis was adequately supported by the narrations of Martin and Jose Vicente.

Republic filed a Motion for Reconsideration.

The CA denied the motion for being a mere rehash of its earlier arguments.

The Republic argued that there was no basis for the CA's ruling granting the petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage. It argues that the testimony of Martin was self-serving,
especially in relation to Dr. Adamos' diagnosis that Michelle was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations under the Family Code.
According to the Republic, there were no other witnesses that were presented in court,
who could have testified on Michelle's behavior.

Supreme Court’s Ruling:

The Supreme Court finds the present petition partially unmeritorious. The totality of
evidence supports the finding that Martin is psychologically incapacitated to perform the
essential obligations of marriage because the psychological incapacity must be
characterized by: (a) gravity; (b) juridical antecedence; and (c) incurability.

Martin, as the petitioner in this case, submitted several pieces of evidence to support his
petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. He testified as to his own psychological
incapacity and that of his spouse, Michelle. In particular, he stated that Michelle was
confrontational even before their marriage.
The psychological findings of Dr. Adamos were also presented in the trial court to
corroborate his claim. According to Dr. Adamos, Michelle suffered from Narcissistic
Personality Disorder as a result of childhood trauma and defective child-rearing practices.
This disorder was supposedly aggravated by her marriage with Martin, who she
constantly lied to. It was also alleged in the Psychological Impression Report that Michelle
openly had extra-marital affairs. The basis of Dr. Adamos' findings on the psychological
incapacity of Michelle was the information provided by Martin and Jose Vicente. Jose
Vicente was a close friend of the respondents, having introduced them to each other
before their marriage. Jose Vicente was also allegedly a regular confidant of Michelle.

While it is true that Michelle was not personally examined or evaluated for purposes of
the psychological report, the trial court was incorrect in ruling that Dr. Adamos' findings
were based solely on the interview with Martin. Even if that were the case, the findings of
the psychologist are not immediately invalidated for this reason alone. Because a
marriage necessarily involves only two persons, the spouse who witnessed the other
spouse's behavior may "validly relay" the pattern of behavior to the psychologist.

This notwithstanding, the Court disagrees with the CA's findings that Michelle was
psychologically incapacitated. CA cannot absolutely rely on the Psychological Impression
Report on Michelle because there were no other independent evidence establishing the
root cause or juridical antecedence of Michelle's alleged psychological incapacity. While
this Court cannot discount their first-hand observations, it is highly unlikely that they were
able to paint Dr. Adamos a complete picture of Michelle's family and childhood history.
The records do not show that Michelle and Jose Vicente were childhood friends, while
Martin, on the other hand, was introduced to Michelle during their adulthood. Either Martin
or Jose Vicente, as third persons outside the family of Michelle, could not have known
about her childhood, how she was raised, and the dysfunctional nature of her family.
Without a credible source of her supposed childhood trauma, Dr. Adamos was not
equipped with enough information from which he may reasonably conclude that Michelle
is suffering from a chronic and persistent disorder that is grave and incurable.

Martin was also subjected to several psychological tests, as a result of which, Dr. Adamos
diagnosed him with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Additionally, the diagnosis was
based on Dr. Adamos' personal interviews of Martin, who underwent more than 10-
counselling sessions with Dr. Adamos from 2008 to 2009.

These facts were uncontroverted by the Republic.

In his testimony, Dr. Adamos explained that Martin had a "grandiose self-existence,"
which proceeded from his "ideas of preference towards ideal love and ideal marriage.”
Dr. Adamos also found that Martin lacked empathy, leading him to disregard and ignore
the feelings of Michelle.

As a result, Martin was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, with tendencies
toward sadism. Dr. Adamos concluded from the tests administered on Martin that this
disorder was rooted in the traumatic experiences he experienced during his childhood,
having grown up around a violent father who was abusive of his mother. This adversely
affected Martin in such a manner that he formed unrealistic values and standards on his
own marriage, and proposed unconventional sexual practices. When Michelle would
disagree with his ideals, Martin would not only quarrel with Michelle, but would also inflict
harm on her. Other manifestations include excessive love for himself, self-entitlement,
immaturity, and self-centeredness.

As a final note, the Court emphasizes that the factual circumstances obtaining in this
specific case warrant the declaration that Martin is psychologically incapacitated to
perform the essential marital obligations at the time of his marriage to Michelle. The
Supreme Court PARTIALY GRANTED the petition insofar as the psychological incapacity
of respondent Michelle is concerned. The Decision and Resolution of the CA are
MODIFIED to the extent that the marriage of the respondents is declared NULL and VOID
AB INITIO due to the psychological incapacity of respondent Martin, pursuant to Article
36 of the Family Code.

February 6, 2017

G.R. No. 214064

MIRASOL CASTILLO (Petitioner vs.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and FELIPE IMPAS (Respondents)

Facts:

As their parents were good friends and business partners, Mirasol and Felipe started as
friends then became sweethearts. During their courtship, Mirasol discovered that Felipe
sustained his affair with his former girlfriend. The couple's relationship turned tumultuous
after the revelation. With the intervention of their parents, they reconciled. They got
married in Bani, Pangasinan on April 22, 1984 and were blessed with two (2) children.

Mirasol alleged that at the beginning, their union was harmonious prompting her to believe
that the same was made in heaven. However, after thirteen (13) years of marriage, Felipe
resumed philandering. Their relatives and friends saw him with different women. One
time, she has just arrived from a trip and returned home to surprise her family. But to her
consternation, she caught him in a compromising act with another woman. He did not
bother to explain or apologize. Tired of her husband's infidelity, she left the conjugal
dwelling and stopped any communication with him. Felipe's irresponsible acts like
cohabiting with another woman, not communicating with her, and not supporting their
children for a period of not less than ten (10) years without any reason, constitute a severe
psychological disorder.

In support of her case, Mirasol presented clinical psychologist Sheila Marie Montefalcon
(Montefalcon) who, in her Psychological Evaluation Report, concluded that Felipe is
psychologically incapacitated to fulfill the essential marital obligations.

The personality disorder speaks of antecedence as it has an early onset, with an enduring
pattern and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's
culture. His poor parental and family molding (particularly lack of parental parenting)
caused him to have a defective superego and he proved to be selfish, immature and
negligent person and followed a pattern of gross irresponsibility and gross disregard of
the feelings of his partner/wife disregarding the marriage contract and the commitment
he agreed on during the wedding. In other words, the root cause of respondent's flawed
personality pattern can be in childhood milieu. Respondent's familial constellation,
unreliable parenting style from significant figures around him, and unfavorable childhood
experiences have greatly affected his perceptions of himself and his environment in
general. The respondent did not grow up mature enough to cope with his obligations and
responsibilities as a married man and a father.

It also speaks of gravity as he was not able to carry out the normative and ordinary duties
of marriage and family, shouldered by any married man, existing in ordinary
circumstances. He just cannot perform his duties and obligations as a husband, as he
entered into marriage for his own self-satisfaction and gratification, manipulate and
denigrate the petitioner for his own pleasures and satisfaction. In the process, respondent
was unable to assume his marital duties and responsibilities to his wife. He failed to render
mutual help and support. Additionally, it also speaks of incurability, as respondent has no
psychological insight that he has a character problem. He would not acknowledge the
pain he caused to people around him. People suffering from this personality disorder are
unmotivated to treatment and impervious to recovery. There are no medications and
laboratory examinations to be taken for maladaptive behavior such as the NPD
(Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

Otherwise stated, his personality disorder is chronic and pervasive affecting many
aspects of his life, such as social functioning and close relationships. Apparently, he has
failed to develop appropriate adjustment methods. He lacks the intrapersonal and
interpersonal integration that caused him the failure to understand the very nature of that
sharing of life that is directed toward the solidarity and formation of family.

Mirasol filed a Complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC).

Issue:
Whether or not the marriage of Maria Victoria and Nilo is null and void on the ground of
psychological incapacity of both or either of the parties which fall under Article 36 of the
Family Code?

Regional Trial Court’s Ruling:

The RTC declared the marriage between Mirasol and Felipe null and void.

The Clerk of Court is directed to enter this judgment upon its finality in the Book of
Entry of Judgment and to issue the corresponding Entry of Judgment. Thereupon,
the Office of the Civil Registrars in Bani, Pangasinan and Imus, Cavite, are also
mandated to cause the registration of the said ENTRY OF JUDGMENT in their
respective Book of Marriages. Likewise, furnish the petitioner and the counsel of the
petitioner, the respondent, the Solicitor General, 3rd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor
Oscar R. Jarlos and the Civil Registrar General with copies hereof. Upon
compliance, the Court shall forthwith issue the DECREE OF NULLITY OF
MARRIAGE.

However, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG), filed a motion for reconsideration, which the RTC denied.

Court of Appeals’ Ruling:

On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the decision of the RTC, ruling that Mirasol
failed to present sufficient evidence to prove that Felipe was suffering from psychological
incapacity, thus, incapable of performing marital obligations due to some psychological
illness existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage.

Based on the records, it appears more likely that Felipe became unfaithful as a result of
unknown factors that happened during the marriage and not because of his family
background. His tendency to womanize was not shown to be due to causes of a
psychological nature that are grave, permanent and incurable. In fact, it was only after
thirteen (13) years of marriage that he started to engage in extra-marital affairs. In the
complaint filed by Mirasol, she said that after they got married, their relationship as
husband and wife went smoothly and that she was of the belief that she had a marriage
made in heaven.

In short, Felipe's marital infidelity does not appear to be symptomatic of a grave


psychological disorder which rendered him incapable of performing his spousal
obligations. Sexual infidelity, by itself, is not sufficient proof that petitioner is suffering from
psychological incapacity. It must be shown that the acts of unfaithfulness are
manifestations of a disordered personality which make him completely unable to
discharge the essential obligations of marriage. Since that situation does not obtain in the
case, Mirasol's claim of psychological incapacity must fail. Psychological incapacity must
be more than just a "difficulty," "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of some marital
obligations.

Given the insufficiency of the evidence proving the psychological incapacity of Felipe, CA
ruled in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution
and nullity. The appeal is GRANTED. The Decision dated January 20, 2012 is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

Upon the denial of her motion for reconsideration, Mirasol elevated the case before this
Court. This Court rules in the negative.

Supreme Court’s Ruling:

Mirasol alleges that she has sufficiently established that Felipe is psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. On the other hand, the
OSG argues that Mirasol failed to establish from the totality of evidence the gravity,
juridical antecedence and incurability of Felipe's alleged Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The conclusions of the clinical psychologist that he was psychologically incapacitated and
that such incapacity was present at the inception of the marriage were not supported by
evidence. At most, the psychologist merely proved his refusal to perform his marital
obligations. Moreover, she has no personal knowledge of the facts from which she based
her findings and was working on pure assumptions and secondhand information related
to her by one side.

It was held that "psychological incapacity" has been intended by law to 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. Psychological incapacity
must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. The
existence or absence of the psychological incapacity shall be based strictly on the facts
of each case and not on a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations.

The presentation of expert proof in cases for declaration of nullity of marriage based on
psychological incapacity presupposes a thorough and an 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. The probative force of the testimony of
an expert does not lie in a mere statement of her theory or opinion, but rather in the
assistance that she can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for
her criterion and the reasons upon which the logic of her conclusion is founded.

Although the evaluation report of Montefalcon expounds on the juridical antecedence,


gravity and incurability of Felipe's personality disorder, it was, however, admitted that she
evaluated respondent's psychological condition indirectly from the information gathered
from Mirasol and her witness. Felipe's dysfunctional family portrait which brought about
his personality disorder as painted in the evaluation was based solely on the assumed
truthful knowledge of petitioner. There was no independent witness knowledgeable of
respondent's upbringing interviewed by the psychologist or presented before the trial
court.

As such, there are no other convincing evidence asserted to establish Felipe's


psychological condition and its associations in his early life. Montefalcon's testimony and
psychological evaluation report do not provide evidentiary support to cure the doubtful
veracity of Mirasol's one-sided assertion. The said report falls short of the required proof
for the Court to rely on the same as basis to declare petitioner's marriage to respondent
as void.

While the examination by a physician of a person in order to declare him psychologically


incapacitated is not required, the root cause thereof must still be "medically or clinically
identified," and adequately established by evidence. We cannot take the conclusion that
Felipe harbors a personality disorder existing prior to his marriage which purportedly
incapacitated him with the essential marital obligations as credible proof of juridical
antecedence. The manner by which such conclusion was reached leaves much to be
desired in terms of meeting the standard of evidence required in determining
psychological incapacity. The lack of corroborative witness and evidence regarding
Felipe's upbringing and family history renders Montefalcon's opinion on the root cause of
his psychological incapacity conjectural or speculative.

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. In order for sexual infidelity
to constitute as psychological incapacity, the respondent's unfaithfulness must be
established as a manifestation of a disordered personality, completely preventing the
respondent from discharging the essential obligations of the marital state; there must be
proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor that effectively incapacitated him from
complying with the obligation to be faithful to his spouse.

Based on the records, this Court finds that there exists insufficient factual or legal basis
to conclude that Felipe's sexual infidelity and irresponsibility can be equated with
psychological incapacity as contemplated by law. We reiterate that there was no other
evidence adduced. Aside from the psychologist, petitioner did not present other witnesses
to substantiate her allegations on Felipe's infidelity notwithstanding the fact that she
claimed that their relatives saw him with other women. Her testimony, therefore, is
considered self-serving and had no serious evidentiary value.

In sum, this Court finds no cogent reason to reverse the ruling of the CA against the
dissolution and nullity of the parties' marriage due to insufficiency of the evidence
presented. The policy of the State is to protect and strengthen the family as the basic
social institution and marriage is the foundation of the family. Thus, any doubt should be
resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage. The Supreme Court DENIED the petition
of Mirasol Castillo and AFFIRMED the ruling of the CA.