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TING vs.

G.R. No. 166562 March 31, 2009

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
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.

On January 9, 1998, the lower court rendered its decision declaring the marriage between
petitioner and respondent null and void. The RTC gave credence to Dr. Onates 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.

On October 19, 2000, the petitioner appealed to the CA, reversing the trial courts decision.

Whether or not 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 realized

No. By the very nature of case involving the application of Article 36, it is logical and
understood to give weight to the expert opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the
psychological temperament of parties in order to determine the root cause, juridical antecedent,
gravity and incurability of the psychological incapacity. However, such opinions, while highly
advisable, are not conditions 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.

But where, as in this case, the parties had the full opportunity to present professional and
expert opinion of psychiatrists tracing the root cause, gravity and incurability of a partys alleged
psychological incapacity, then such expert opinion should be presented and according, be weighed
by the court in deciding whether to grant a petition for nullity of marriage.

The petition for review on certiorari is granted.