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Pesca vs Pesca Date: April 17, 2001 Ponente: Vitug J Facts: Petitioner Lorna Pesca and respondent Zosimo

o Pesca met on board an interisland vessel bound for Bacolod. After a whirlwind courtship, the couple got married on 03 March 1975. Due to the fact that Lorna was still a college student and that Zosimo was a seaman, the couple did not initially live together. 6 months after the marriage, the couple finally lived together; initially in Quezon City, and permanently thereafter, in Caloocan. Despite being able to stay together for only 2 months in a year, the couple begot 4 children. It was only in 1988, or 13 years after they got married, that Lorna started to notice her husbands true color. Zosimo was emotionally immature, a habitual drinker and has induced physical abuse not only on Lorna but also on the children Lorna, had once left the house due to the abuse, only to forgive Zosimo and give him another chance. Finally, on 22 March 1994, Lorna left their home for good, after being assaulted by Zosimo for over half an hour. Lorna submitted herself to a medical evaluation and filed a complaint against her husband. Zosimo was found guilty by the Metropolitan Trial Court and sentenced to 11 days imprisonment for slight physical injuries. Lorna also filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court, praying for the marriage to be declared null and void by invoking psychological incapacity (Art. 36, NCC). 15 November 1995 the RTC declared the marriage between the parties to be null and void ab initio due to psychological incapacity and ordered the liquidation of conjugal properties. Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals, reversed the decision of the RTC on the basis that Lorna Pesca failed to show proof that Zosimo was indeed suffering from psychological incapacity that would cause him to be incognitive of the basic marital covenant. The CA stated that The burden of proof to show the nullity of marriage lies in the plaintiff and any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity."


Lorna Pesca, the appellant, filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court contending that: The doctrine laid out by Santos vs CA (1995) and Republic of the Philippines vs CA and Molina (1997) cannot be retroactively applied. The application of Santos and Molina should have only warrant a remand of the case to the Trial Court for further proceedings.

Whether or Not the CA erred in applying the doctrine laid out in Santos vs CA and RP vs CA and Molina, and in reversing the decision of the RTC declaring the marriage to be null and void ab inito.

SC Held: Denied. Ratio: The doctrine of Stare Decisis, ordained in Art. 8 of the Civil Code, provides that judicial decision applying and interpretaing the law shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines. The term psychological incapacity as a ground for the declaration of nullity of marriage (Art.36, NCC) was defined in Santos as an incapacity that is: a. Grave; b. Has preceded the marriage; although may have manifested after the marriage; and c. Incurable Petitioner has failed to prove psychological incapacity on the part of her husband. Emotional immaturity, invoked by the petitioner, does not equate to psychological incapacity.