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Respondents claim that Janet declined to give any

information as to her personal background even after she


REPUBLIC VS. NOLASCO had married respondent is too convenient an excuse to
220 SCRA 20 justify his failure to locate her. The same can be said of
FACTS: the loss of the alleged letters respondent had sent to his
Gregorio Nolasco was a seaman. He first met wife which respondent claims were all returned to him.
Janet Monica Parker, a British subject, in a bar in Respondent said he had lost these returned letters, under
Liverpool, England during one of his ships port calls. unspecified circumstances.
Parker lived with Nolasco in his ship for 6 months until
they returned to the Philippines where they got married. Moreover, respondent did not explain the delay of 9
After marriage, Nolasco left for another employment months when he allegedly asked leave from his captain
contract as seaman leaving his wife with his parents in to go back to San Jose, Antique. Also, respondent failed
San Jose, Antique. While working overseas, he received a to explain why he did not even try to get the help of the
letter from his mother informing him that Parker gave police or other authorities in London and Liverpool in his
birth to his son, and that Parker had already left Antique. effort to find his wife.
Nolasco then asked permission to leave his ship to return
home but he arrived in Antique only after 9 months. He Since respondent failed to satisfy the clear requirements
testified that his efforts to look for her himself whenever of the law, his petition for a judicial declaration of
his ship docked in England proved fruitless. presumptive death must be denied.

Nolasco filed a petition for declaration of presumptive CALISTERIO VS. CALISTERIO


death of his wife Janet Monica Parker. The trial court 330 SCRA 201
granted Nolascos petition. The Republic appealed to the FACTS:
CA contending that the trial court erred in declaring Janet The petitioner is the sister of the deceased
Monica Parker presumptively dead because respondent husband of the respondent, Marietta. Marietta had a
Nolasco had failed to show that there existed a well- previous marriage with James William Bounds on January
founded belief for such declaration. The CA affirmed the 13, 1946. James disappeared without a trace on
trial courts decision, hence this petition for review by the February 11, 1947. Eleven years later, Marietta
Republic. married Teodorico Calisterio on May 8, 1958 without the
required judicial declaration of presumptive death as
ISSUE: required in the Family Code.
Whether or not Nolasco has a well-founded belief
that his wife is already dead When Teodorico died, the petitioner filed a petition with
the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 104, a petition entitled,
HELD: "In the Matter of Intestate Estate of the Deceased
There are 4 requisites for the declaration of Teodorico Calisterio y Cacabelos, Antonia Armas,
presumptive death under Article 41 of the FC: Petitioner," claiming to be inter alia, the sole surviving
1. That the absent spouse has been missing heir of Teodorico Calisterio, the marriage between the
for four consecutive years, or two latter and respondent Marietta Espinosa Calisterio being
consecutive years if the disappearance allegedly bigamous and thereby null and void. She
occurred where there is danger of death prayed that her son Sinfroniano C. Armas, Jr., be
under the circumstances laid down in Art. appointed administrator, without bond, of the estate of
391, Civil Code; the deceased and that the inheritance be adjudicated to
2. That the present spouse wishes to her after all the obligations of the estate would have been
remarry; settled.
3. That the present spouse has a well-
founded belief that the absentee is dead; Respondent Marietta opposed the petition. Marietta
and, stated that her first marriage with James Bounds had
4. That the present spouse files a summary been dissolved due to the latter's absence, his
proceeding for the declaration of whereabouts being unknown, for more than eleven years
presumptive death of the absentee. before she contracted her second marriage with
Teodorico. Contending to be the surviving spouse of
Here, respondent Nolasco failed to conduct search for his Teodorico, she sought priority in the administration of the
missing wife with such diligence as to give rise to a well- estate of the decedent. E
founded belief that she is dead. The investigation
allegedly conducted by respondent in his attempt to
The RTC declared Antonia Armas y Calisterio as the sole
ascertain Janet Monica Parkers whereabouts is too
heir of the estate of Teodorico Calisterio. On appeal to
sketchy to form the basis of a reasonable or well-founded
the CA, the CA reversed the RTCs ruling. Hence, this
belief that she was already dead. When he arrived in San
appeal.
Jose, Antique after learning of Janet Monicas departure,
instead of seeking the help of local authorities or of the
British Embassy, he secured another seamans contract ISSUE:
and went to London, a vast city of many millions of Whether or not the subsequent marriage
inhabitants, to look for her there. Walking into a major contracted by Marietta was null and void for lack of
city like Liverpool or London with a simple hope of Judicial declaration of presumptive death as required in
somehow bumping into one particular person there the Family Code.
cannot be regarded as a reasonably diligent search.
HELD:
No, the subsequent marriage was valid. The missing also in the same year and was unheard of since
marriage between the deceased Teodorico and then. In 1996, he married Tina. When he left Tina in 2001,
respondent Marietta was solemnized on 08 May 1958. the latter became curious and made inquiries with the
The law in force at that time was the Civil Code, not the NSO in Manila and learned that Eduardo had been
Family Code which took effect only on 03 August 1988. previously married. Sued for bigamy, Eduardo avers that
Article 256 of the Family Code itself limited its retroactive when he married Tina in 1996, Rubylus had been
governance only to cases where it thereby would not absent for 21 years since 1975. He points out that,
prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in under the 1st paragraph of Article 390 of the Civil Code
accordance with the Civil Code or other laws. she was presumed dead as a matter of law because if
one has been absent for 7 years, whether or not he/she is
Verily, the applicable specific provision in the instant still alive, shall be presumed dead for all purposes except
controversy is Article 83 of the New Civil Code which for succession. Thus, the presumptive death of the
provides: Kyle absentee spouse arises by operation of law upon the
"Art. 83. Any marriage subsequently contracted satisfaction of 2 requirements: the specified period and
by any person during the lifetime of the first the present spouses reasonable belief that the absentee
spouse of such person with any person other is dead. Nowhere under Article 390 of the Civil Code does
than such first spouse shall be illegal and void it require that there must be a judicial declaration of
from its performance, unless: death before the rule on presumptive death would apply.
"(2) The first spouse had been absent for seven
consecutive years at the time of the second ISSUE:
marriage without the spouse present having Is the spouse who contracts a subsequent
news of the absentee being alive, or if the marriage during the subsistence of a previous marriage
absentee, though he has been absent for less still liable for bigamy despite the absentee spouse having
than seven years, is generally considered as been missing for 21 years?
dead and believed to be so by the spouse
present at the time of contracting such HELD:
subsequent marriage, or if the absentee is It was the burden of petitioner to prove his
presumed dead according to articles 390 and defense that when he married Tina in 1996, he was of the
391. The marriage so contracted shall be valid well-grounded belief that his first wife was already dead,
in any of the three cases until declared null and as he had not heard from her for more than 20 years
void by a competent court." since 1975. He should have adduced in evidence a
decision of a competent court declaring the presumptive
Under the foregoing provisions, a subsequent marriage death of his first wife as required by Article 349 of the
contracted during the lifetime of the first spouse is illegal RPC (Bigamy- The penalty x x x x or before the absent
and void ab initio unless the prior marriage is first spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means
annulled or dissolved. Paragraph (2) of the law gives of a judgment rendered in a proper proceedings.), in
exceptions from the above rule. For the subsequent relation to Article 41 of the Family Code. Such judicial
marriage referred to in the three exceptional cases declaration constitutes proof that petitioner acted in good
therein provided, to be held valid, the spouse present faith, and would negate criminal intent on his part when
(not the absentee spouse) so contracting the later he married Tina and, as a consequence, he could not be
marriage must have done so in good faith. held guilty of bigamy. The requirement of judicial
declaration is also for the benefit of the State. Under
A judicial declaration of absence of the absentee spouse Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution, the State shall
is not necessary as long as the prescribed period of protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous
absence is met. The marriages in these exceptional cases social institution. Marriage is a social institution of the
are, by the explicit mandate of Article 83, to be deemed highest importance.
valid "until declared null and void by a competent court."
It follows that the burden of proof would be, in these ANCHETA VS. ANCHETA
cases, on the party assailing the second marriage. 424 SCRA 725
FACTS:
In the case at bar, it remained undisputed that Spouses Rodolfo and Marietta separated-in-fact,
respondent Marietta's first husband, James William but had their conjugal partnership property dissolved
Bounds, had been absent or had disappeared for more judicially. One of the properties adjudicated in her favor
than eleven years before she entered into a second was a resort named Munting Paraiso that is now used as
marriage in 1958 with the deceased Teodorico Calisterio. residence of Marietta and the children. Rodolfo intending
This second marriage, having been contracted during the to remarry filed a petition for declaration of nullity of
regime of the Civil Code, should thus be deemed valid marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity of the
notwithstanding the absence of a judicial declaration of wife. Although Rodolfo knew that Marietta is residing at
presumptive death of James Bounds. Munting Paraiso he had the summons served at another
address. For failure to file an Answer, Rodolfo had the
However, the petitioner should be entitled to of the respondent wife declared in default and was allowed to
estate of the deceased there being no surviving children. adduce evidence ex parte. After the grant of the petition,
The other half should be awarded to the respondent. Rodolfo contracted another marriage with Teresita on
February 14, 1998. Marietta then filed a petition for the
MANUEL VS. PEOPLE annulment of the order of the RTC of Cavite.
November 29, 2005
FACTS: ISSUE:
Eduardo married Rubylus in 1975. She went Whether or not the prosecuting attorney or fiscal
assigned to appear on behalf of the State took steps to that no case would be on all fours with the next one in
prevent collusion between the parties the field of psychological incapacity as a ground for the
nullity of marriage; hence, every trial judge must take
HELD: pains in examining the factual milieu and
The public prosecutor condoned the acts of the the appellatecourt must, as much as possible, avoid
trial court when he interposed no objection to the motion substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court.
of the respondent. The trial court forthwith rendered In the task of ascertaining the presence of
judgment against Marietta without a whimper of protest psychological incapacity as a ground for the nullity of
from the public prosecutor. The actuations of the trial marriage, the courts, which are concededly not
court and the public prosecutor are in defiance of Article endowed with expertise in the field of psychology,
48 of the Family Code which states that In all cases of must of necessity rely on the opinions of experts in
annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, order to inform themselves on the matter, and thus
the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal enable themselves to arrive at an intelligent and
assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take judicious judgment. Indeed, the conditions for the
steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to malady of being grave, antecedent and incurable
take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. demand the in-depth diagnosis by experts.
They also ignored Rule 18, Section 6, 1985 Rules of Court Personal examination by party not required;
now Rule 9, Section 3 (e) of the 1997 Rules of Court that totality of evidence must be considered
there is no default in actions for annulment of marriage We have to stress that the fulfillment of the
or legal separation. constitutional mandate for the State to protect marriage
as an inviolable social institution only relates to a valid
marriage. No protection can be accorded to a marriage
KALAW vs. FERNANDEZ that is null and void
January 14, 2015 ab initio, because such a marriage has no legal existence.
There is no requirement for one to be declared
FACTS: psychologically incapacitated to be personally examined
In the case at bar, Kalaw presented the by a physician, because what is important is the presence
testimonies of two supposed expert witnesses who of evidence that adequately establishes the partys
concluded that respondent is psychologically psychological incapacity. Hence, if the totality of
incapacitated. Petitioners experts heavily relied on evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of
petitioners allegations of respondents constant mahjong psychological incapacity, then actual
sessions, visits to the beauty parlor, going out with medicalexamination of the person concerned need not be
friends, adultery, and neglect of their children. resorted to.
Petitioners experts opined that respondents alleged Verily, the totality of the evidence must show a
habits, when performed constantly to the detriment of link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest
quality and quantity of time devoted to her duties as psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder
mother and wife, constitute a psychological incapacity itself. If other evidence showing that a certain condition
in the form of NPD. could possibly result from an assumed state of facts
However, the Supreme Court in its September existed in the record, the expert opinion should be
19, 2011 decision dismissed the complaint for declaration admissible and be weighed as an aid for the court in
of nullity of the marriage on the ground that there was no interpreting such other evidence on the causation.
factual basis for the conclusion of psychological Indeed, an expert opinion on psychological
incapacity. incapacity should be considered as conjectural or
speculative and without any probative value only in the
ISSUE: absence of other evidence to establish causation. The
Whether or not the marriage was void on the experts findings under such circumstances would not
ground of psychological incapacity. constitute hearsay that would justify their exclusion as
evidence.
HELD:
YES. The Court in granting the Motion for Expert opinion considered as decisive evidence as
Reconsideration held that Fernandez was indeed to psychological and emotional temperaments
psychologically incapacitated as they relaxed the The findings and evaluation by the RTC as the
previously set forth guidelines with regard to this case. trial court deservedcredence because it was in the
Note: Molina guidelines were not abandoned, expert better position to view and examine the demeanor of the
opinions were just given much respect in this case. witnesses while they were testifying. The position and
Guidelines too rigid, thus relaxed IN THIS CASE role of the trial judge in the appreciation of the evidence
The Court held that the guidelines set in the showing the psychological incapacity were not to be
case of Republic v. CA have turned out to be rigid, such downplayed but should be accorded due importance and
that their application to every instance practically respect.
condemned the petitions for declaration of nullity to the The Court considered it improper and
fate of certain rejection. But Article 36 of the Family Code unwarranted to give to such expert opinions a merely
must not be so strictly and too literally read and applied generalized consideration and treatment, least of all to
given the clear intendment of the drafters to adopt its dismiss their value as inadequate basis for the
enacted version of less specificity obviously to enable declaration of the nullity of the marriage. Instead, we
some resiliency in its application. Instead, every court hold that said experts sufficiently and competently
should approach the issue of nullity not on the basis of a described the psychological incapacity of the respondent
priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations, but within the standards of Article 36 of the Family Code. We
according to its own facts in recognition of the verity uphold the conclusions reached by the two expert
witnesses because they were largely drawn from the case visits to the beauty parlor, going out with friends,
records and affidavits, and should not anymore be adultery, and neglect of their children. Petitioners
disputed after the RTC itself had accepted the veracity of experts opined that respondents alleged habits, when
the petitioners factual premises. performed constantly to the detriment of quality and
quantity of time devoted to her duties as mother and
The Court also held that the courts must accord wife, constitute a psychological incapacity in the form of
weight to expert testimony on the psychological and NPD.
mental state of the parties in cases for the declaration of But petitioners allegations, which served as the bases or underlying
the nullity of marriages, for by the very nature of Article premises of the conclusions of his experts, were not actually proven. In
36 of the Family Code the courts, despite having the fact, respondent presented contrary evidence refuting these allegations
primary task and burden of decision-making, must of the petitioner.
not discount but, instead, must consider as
For instance, petitioner alleged that respondent constantly played
decisive evidence the expert opinion on the
mahjong and neglected their children as a result. Respondent admittedly
psychological and mental temperaments of the
played mahjong, but it was not proven that she engaged in mahjong so
parties.
frequently that she neglected her duties as a mother and a wife.
Respondent refuted petitioners allegations that she played four to five
Willfully exposing children to gambling constitutes
times a week. She maintained it was only two to three times a week and
neglect of parental duties
always with the permission of her husband and without abandoning her
The frequency of the respondents mahjong
children at home. The children corroborated this, saying that they were
playing should not have delimited our determination of
with their mother when she played mahjong in their relatives home.
the presence or absence of psychological incapacity.
Petitioner did not present any proof, other than his own testimony, that
Instead, the determinant should be her obvious failure to
the mahjong sessions were so frequent that respondent neglected her
fully appreciate the duties and responsibilities of
family. While he intimated that two of his sons repeated the second
parenthood at the time she made her marital vows. Had grade, he was not able to link this episode to respondents mahjong-
she fully appreciated such duties and responsibilities, she playing. The least that could have been done was to prove the frequency
would have known that bringing along her children of of respondents mahjong-playing during the years when these two
very tender ages to her mahjong sessions would expose children were in second grade. This was not done. Thus, while there is
them to a culture of gambling and other vices that would no dispute that respondent played mahjong, its alleged debilitating
erode their moral fiber. Nonetheless, the long-term frequency and adverse effect on the children were not proven.
effects of the respondents obsessive mahjong playing
surely impacted on her family life, particularly on her Also unproven was petitioners claim about respondents alleged
very young children. constant visits to the beauty parlor, going out with friends, and obsessive
The fact that the respondent brought her need for attention from other men. No proof whatsoever was presented
children with her to her mahjong sessions did not only to prove her visits to beauty salons orher frequent partying with friends.
point to her neglect of parental duties, but also Petitioner presented Mario (an alleged companion of respondent during
manifested her tendency to expose them to a culture of these nights-out) in order to prove that respondent had affairs with other
gambling. Her willfully exposing her children to the men, but Mario only testified that respondent appeared to be dating
culture of gambling on every occasion of her mahjong other men. Even assuming arguendothat petitioner was able to prove that
sessions was a very grave and serious act of respondent had an extramarital affair with another man, that one
subordinating their needs for parenting to the instance of sexual infidelity cannot, by itself, be equated with obsessive
gratification of her own personal and escapist desires. need for attention from other men. Sexual infidelity per seis a ground for
The respondent revealed her wanton disregard legal separation, but it does not necessarily constitute psychological
for her childrens moral and mental development. This incapacity.
disregard violated her duty as a parent to safeguard and Given the insufficiency of evidence that respondent actually engaged in
protect her children. the behaviors described as constitutive of NPD, there is no basis for
FALLO: concluding that she was indeed psychologically incapacitated. Indeed,
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the Motion for the totality of the evidence points to the opposite conclusion. A fair
Reconsideration; REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the decision assessment of the facts would show that respondent was not totally
promulgated on September 19, 2011; and REINSTATES remiss and incapable of appreciating and performing her marital and
the decision rendered by the Regional Trial Court parental duties. Not once did the children state that they were neglected
declaring the marriage between the petitioner and the by their mother. On the contrary, they narrated that she took care of
respondent on November 4, 1976 as NULL AND VOID AB them, was around when they were sick, and cooked the food they like. It
JN/TIO due to the psychological incapacity of the parties appears that respondent made real efforts tosee and take care of her
pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code. 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,
KALAW vs. FERNANDEZ (FULL TEXT) both failed the second elementary level despite having tutors, there is
January 14, 2015 nothing to link their academic short comings to Malyns actions.

In the case at bar, petitioner failed to prove that his wife After poring over the records of the case, the Court finds no factual basis
(respondent) suffers from psychological incapacity. He for the conclusion of psychological incapacity. There is no error in the
presented the testimonies of two supposed expert CAs reversal of the trial courts ruling that there was psychological
witnesses who concluded that respondent is incapacity. The trial courts Decision merely summarized the allegations,
psychologically incapacitated, but the conclusions of testimonies, and evidence of the respective parties, but it did not actually
these witnesses were premised on the alleged acts or assess the veracity of these allegations, the credibility of the witnesses,
behavior of respondent which had not been sufficiently and the weight of the evidence. The trial court did not make factual
proven. Petitioners experts heavily relied on petitioners findings which can serve as bases for its legal conclusionof
allegations of respondents constant mahjong sessions, psychological incapacity.
What transpired between the parties is acrimony and, perhaps, infidelity, considers children conceived prior to the judicial declaration of nullity
which may have constrained them from dedicating the best of of the void marriage to be "legitimate."7
themselves to each other and to their children. There may be grounds for
legal separation, but certainly not psychological incapacity that voids a In time, in Republic v. Court of Appeals,8 the Court set some guidelines
marriage. for the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code,
as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The
Court of Appeals May 27, 2004 Decision and its December 15, 2004 (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage
Resolution in CA-G.R. CV No. 64240 are AFFIRMED. SO belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor
ORDERED.2 of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against
its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that both
In his Motion for Reconsideration,3 the petitioner implores the Court to our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage
take a thorough second look into what constitutes psychological and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an
incapacity; to uphold the findings of the trial court as supported by the entire Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the foundation
testimonies of three expert witnesses; and consequently to find that the of the nation." It decrees marriage as legally "inviolable,"
respondent, if not both parties, were psychologically incapacitated to thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the
perform their respective essential marital obligation. parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected" by
the state.
Upon an assiduous review of the records, we resolve to grant the
petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage
and the family and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability
I and solidarity.
Psychological incapacity as a ground for the nullity of marriage under (2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a)
Article 36 of the Family Code refers to a serious psychological illness medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint,
afflicting a party even prior to the celebration of the marriage that is (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in
permanent as to deprive the party of the awareness of the duties and the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the
responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she was about to assume. incapacity must be psychological not physical, althoughits
Although the Family Code has not defined the term psychological manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The
incapacity, the Court has usually looked up its meaning by reviewing the evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of
deliberations of the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee them, was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the
that had drafted the Family Code in order to gain an insight on the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming,
provision. It appeared that the members of the Family Code Revision or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption
Committee were not unanimous on the meaning, and in the end they thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given
decided to adopt the provision "with less specificity than expected" in here so as not to limit the application of the provision under
order to have the law "allow some resiliency in its the principle of ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root cause
application."4Illustrative of the "less specificity than expected" has been must be identified as a psychological illness and its
the omission by the Family Code Revision Committee to give any incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be
examples of psychological incapacity that would have limited the given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
applicability of the provision conformably with the principle of ejusdem
generis, because the Committee desired that the courts should interpret (3) The incapacity must be proven tobe existing at "the time of
the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, the findings the celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that
of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and the decisions the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their "I
of church tribunals that had persuasive effect by virtue of the provision dos." The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable
itself having been taken from the Canon Law.5 at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such
moment, or prior thereto.
On the other hand, as the Court has observed in Santos v. Court of
Appeals,6 the deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee and (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or
the relevant materials on psychological incapacity as a ground for the clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be
nullity of marriage have rendered it obvious that the term psychological absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not
incapacity as used in Article 36 of the Family Code"has not been meant necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex.
to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as, likewise Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the
mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities, extremely low assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those
intelligence, immaturity, and like circumstances," and could not be taken not related to marriage, like the exercise of a profession or
and construed independently of "but must stand in conjunction with, employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in
existing precepts in our law on marriage." Thus correlated:- diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to
cure them but may not be psychologically capacitated to
x x x "psychological incapacity" should refer to no less than a mental procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential
(not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the obligation of marriage.
basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and
discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the
Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of
together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological peculiarities, mood
There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be accepted
confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright
cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or supervening
marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in
is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand, the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the
an inability of the spouse to have sexual relations with the other. This person from really accepting and thereby complying with the
conclusion is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which obligations essential to marriage.
(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced II
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 The findings of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) on the existence or non-
same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such non- existence of a partys psychological incapacity should be final and
complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the binding for as long as such findings and evaluation of the testimonies of
petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the witnesses and other evidence are not shown to be clearly and manifestly
decision. erroneous.12 In every situation where the findings of the trial court are
sufficiently supported by the facts and evidence presented during trial,
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate the appellate court should restrain itself from substituting its own
Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the judgment.13 It is not enough reason to ignore the findings and
Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given evaluation by the trial court and substitute our own as an appellate
great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was taken tribunal only because the Constitution and the Family Code regard
by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of marriage as an inviolable social institution. We have to stress that the
the New Code of Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 fulfilment of the constitutional mandate for the State to protect marriage
and which provides: as an inviolable social institution14 only relates to a valid marriage. No
protection can be accordedto a marriage that is null and void ab initio,
"The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those because such a marriage has no legal existence.15
who are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage
due to causes of psychological nature." In declaring a marriage null and void ab initio, therefore, the Courts
really assiduously defend and promote the sanctity of marriage as an
Since the purpose of including suchprovision in our Family inviolable social institution. The foundation of our society is thereby
Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of made all the more strong and solid.
our people, it stands to reason that to achieve such
harmonization, great persuasive weight should be given to Here, the findings and evaluation by the RTC as the trial court deserved
decisions of such appellate tribunal. Ideally subject to our credence because it was in the better position to view and examine the
law on evidence whatis decreed as canonically invalid demeanor of the witnesses while they were testifying.16 The position
should also be decreed civilly void. and role of the trial judge in the appreciation of the evidence showing
the psychological incapacity were not to be downplayed but should be
This is one instance where, inview of the evident source and accorded due importance and respect.
purpose of the Family Code provision, contemporaneous
religious interpretation is to be given persuasive effect. Here, Yet, in the September 19, 2011 decision, the Court brushed aside the
the State and the Church while remaining independent, opinions tendered by Dr. Cristina Gates,a psychologist, and Fr. Gerard
separate and apart from each other shall walk together in Healy on the ground that their conclusions were solely based on the
synodal cadence towards the same goal of protecting and petitioners version of the events.
cherishing marriage and the family as the inviolable base of
the nation. After a long and hard second look, we consider it improper and
unwarranted to give to such expert opinions a merely generalized
(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal consideration and treatment, least of all to dismiss their value as
and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No inadequate basis for the declaration of the nullity of the marriage.
decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General Instead, we hold that said experts sufficiently and competently described
issues a certification, which will be quoted in the decision, the psychological incapacity of the respondent within the standards of
briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or Article 36 of the Family Code. We uphold the conclusions reached by
opposition, as the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor the two expert witnesses because they were largely drawn from the case
General, along with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to records and affidavits, and should not anymore be disputed after the
the court such certification within fifteen (15) days from the RTC itself had accepted the veracity of the petitioners factual
date the case is deemed submitted for resolution of the court. premises.17
The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent function
of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095.9 Admittedly, Dr. Gates based her findings on the transcript of the
petitioners testimony, as well as on her interviews of the petitioner, his
The foregoing guidelines have turned out to be rigid, such that their sister Trinidad, and his son Miguel. Although her findings would seem
application to every instance practically condemned the petitions for to be unilateral under such circumstances, it was not right to disregard
declaration of nullity to the fate of certain rejection. But Article 36 of the the findings on that basis alone. After all, her expert opinion took into
Family Code must not be so strictly and too literally read and applied consideration other factors extant in the records, including the own
given the clear intendment of the drafters to adopt its enacted version of opinions of another expert who had analyzed the issue from the side of
"less specificity" obviously to enable "some resiliency in its the respondent herself. Moreover, it is already settled that the courts
application." Instead, every court should approach the issue of nullity must accord weight to expert testimony on the psychological and mental
"not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or state of the parties in cases for the declaration of the nullityof marriages,
generalizations, but according to its own facts" in recognition of the for by the very nature of Article 36 of the Family Code the courts,
verity that no case would be on "all fours" with the next one in the field "despite having the primary task and burden of decision-making, must
of psychological incapacity as a ground for the nullity of marriage; not discount but, instead, must consider as decisive evidence the expert
hence, every "trial judge must take pains in examining the factual milieu opinion on the psychological and mental temperaments of the
and the appellate court must, asmuch as possible, avoid substituting its parties."18
own judgment for that of the trial court."10
The expert opinion of Dr. Gates was ultimately necessary herein to
In the task of ascertaining the presence of psychological incapacity as a enable the trial court to properly determine the issue of psychological
ground for the nullity of marriage, the courts, which are concededly not incapacity of the respondent (if not alsoof the petitioner). Consequently,
endowed with expertise in the field of psychology, must of necessity the lack of personal examination and interview of the person diagnosed
rely on the opinions of experts in order to inform themselves on the with personality disorder, like the respondent, did not per se invalidate
matter, and thus enable themselves to arrive at an intelligent and the findings of the experts. The Court has stressed in Marcos v.
judicious judgment. Indeed, the conditions for the malady of being Marcos19 that there is no requirement for one to bedeclared
grave, antecedent and incurable demand the in-depth diagnosis by psychologically incapacitated to be personally examined by a physician,
experts.11 because what is important is the presence of evidence that adequately
establishes the partys psychological incapacity. Hence, "if the totality of experience.30 It is prudent for us to do so because the concept of
evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological psychological incapacity adopted under Article 36 of the Family Code
incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person concerned was derived from Canon Law.
need not be resorted to."20
Father Healy tendered his opinion onwhether or not the respondents
Verily, the totality of the evidence must show a link, medical or the like, level of immaturity and irresponsibility with regard to her own children
between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and the and to her husband constituted psychological incapacity.
psychological disorder itself. If other evidence showing that a certain
Given his credentials and conceded expertise in Canon
condition could possibly result from an assumed state of facts existed in
the record, the expert opinion should be admissible and be weighed as Law, Father Healys opinions and findings commanded
an aid for the court in interpreting such other evidence on the respect. The contribution that his opinions and findings
causation.21 Indeed, an expert opinion on psychological incapacity could add to the judicial determination of the parties
should be considered as conjectural or speculative and without any psychological incapacity was substantive and instructive.
probative value only in the absence of other evidence to establish He could thereby inform the trial court on the degrees of
causation. The experts findings under such circumstances would not the malady that would warrant the nullity of marriage,
constitute hearsay that would justify their exclusion as evidence.22 This and he could as well thereby provideto the trial court an
is so, considering that any ruling that brands the scientific and technical analytical insight upon a subject as esoteric to the courts
procedure adopted by Dr. Gates as weakened by bias should be as psychological incapacity has been. We could not justly
eschewed if it was clear that her psychiatric evaluation had been based disregard his opinions and findings. Appreciating them
on the parties upbringing and psychodynamics.23 In that context, Dr. together with those of Dr. Gates and Dr. Dayan would
Gates expertopinion should be considered not in isolation but along advance more the cause of justice. The Court observed in
with the other evidence presented here. Ngo Te v. Yu-Te:32

Moreover, in its determination of the issue of psychological incapacity, By the very nature of Article 36, courts, despite having the primary task
the trial court was expectedto compare the expert findings and opinion and burden of decision-making, must not discount but, instead, must
of Dr. Natividad Dayan, the respondents own witness, and those of Dr. consider as decisive evidence the expert opinion on the psychological
Gates. and mental temperaments of the parties.

In her Psychological Evaluation Report,24 Dr. Dayan impressed that the Justice Romero explained this in Molina, as follows:
respondent had "compulsive and dependent tendencies" to the extent of Furthermore, and equally significant, the professional opinion of a
being "relationship dependent." Based from the respondents psychological expert became increasingly important in such cases. Data
psychological data, Dr. Dayan indicated that: about the person's entire life, both before and after the ceremony, were
In her relationship with people, Malyne is likely to be reserved and presented to these experts and they were asked togive professional
seemingly detached in her ways. Although she likes to be around people, opinions about a party's mental capacity at the time of the wedding.
she may keep her emotional distance. She, too, values her relationship These opinions were rarely challenged and tended to be accepted as
but she may not be that demonstrative of her affections. Intimacy may decisive evidence of lack of valid consent.
be quite difficult for her since she tries to maintain a certain distance to The Church took pains to point out that its new openness in this area did
minimize opportunities for rejection. To others, Malyne may appear, not amount to the addition of new grounds for annulment, but rather was
critical and demanding in her ways. She can be assertive when opinions an accommodation by the Church to the advances made in psychology
contrary to those of her own are expressed. And yet, she is apt to be a during the past decades. There was now the expertise to provide the all-
dependent person. At a less conscious level, Malyne fears that others important connecting link between a marriage breakdown and premarital
will abandon her. Malyne, who always felt a bit lonely, placed an causes.
enormous value on having significant others would depend on most
times. During the 1970s, the Church broadened its whole idea of marriage from
that of a legal contract to that of a covenant. The result of this was that it
xxxx could no longer be assumed in annulment cases that a person who could
But the minute she started to care, she became a different person intellectually understand the concept of marriage could necessarily give
clingy and immature, doubting his love, constantly demanding valid consent to marry. The ability to both grasp and assume the real
reassurance that she was the most important person in his life. She obligations of a mature, lifelong commitmentare now considered a
became relationship-dependent.25 necessary prerequisite to valid matrimonial consent.

Dr. Dayan was able to clearly interpret the results of the Millon Clinical Rotal decisions continued applying the concept of incipient
Multiaxial Inventory test26 conducted on the respondent, observing that psychological incapacity, "not only to sexual anomalies but to all kinds
the respondent obtained high scores on dependency, narcissism and ofpersonality disorders that incapacitate a spouse or both spouses from
compulsiveness. assuming or carrying out the essential obligations of marriage. For
marriage . . . is not merely cohabitation or the right of the spouses to
The probative force of the testimony of an expert does not lie in a mere each other's body for hetero sexual acts, but is, in its totality the right to
statement of her theory or opinion, but rather in the assistance that she the community of the whole of life; i.e., the right to a developing
can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for her lifelong relationship. Rotal decisions since 1973 have refined the
criterion and the reasons upon which the logic of her conclusion is meaning of psychological or psychic capacity for marriage as
founded.29 Hence, we should weigh and consider the probative value of presupposing the development of an adult personality; as meaning the
the findings of the expert witnesses vis--vis the other evidence capacity of the spouses to give themselves to each other and to accept
available. the other as a distinct person; that the spouses must be `other oriented'
since the obligations of marriage are rooted in a self-giving love; and
The other expert of the petitioner was Fr. Healy, a canon law expert, an
that the spouses must have the capacity for interpersonal relationship
advocate before the Manila Archdiocese and Matrimonial Tribunal, and
because marriage is more than just a physical reality but involves a true
a consultant of the Family Code Revision Committee. Regarding Father
intertwining of personalities. The fulfillment of the obligations
Healys expert testimony, we have once declared that judicial
ofmarriage depends, according to Church decisions, on the strength of
understanding of psychological incapacity could be informed by
this interpersonal relationship. A serious incapacity for interpersonal
evolving standards, taking into account the particulars of each case, by
sharing and support is held to impair the relationship and consequently,
current trends in psychological and even by canonical thought, and by
the ability to fulfill the essential marital obligations. The marital result" and another three--including, as aforesaid, Justice Romero--took
capacity of one spouse is not considered in isolation but in reference to pains to compose their individual separate opinions. Then Justice
the fundamental relationship to the other spouse. Teodoro R. Padilla even emphasized that "each case must be judged, not
on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations, but
Fr. Green, in an article in Catholic Mind, lists six elements necessary to according to its own facts. In the field of psychological incapacity as a
the mature marital relationship: ground for annulment of marriage, it is trite to say that no case is on all
"The courts consider the following elements crucial to the marital fours with another case. The trial judge must take pains in examining
commitment: (1) a permanent and faithful commitment to the marriage the factual milieu and the appellate court must, as much as possible,
partner; (2) openness to children and partner; (3) stability; (4) emotional avoid substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court."
maturity; (5) financial responsibility; (6) an ability to cope with the Predictably, however, in resolving subsequent cases, the Court has
ordinary stresses and strains of marriage, etc." applied the aforesaid standards, without too much regard for the law's
Fr. Green goes on to speak about some of the psychological conditions clear intention that each case is to be treated differently, as "courts
that might lead to the failure of a marriage: should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis; guided by
experience, the findings of experts and researchers in psychological
"At stake is a type of constitutional impairment precluding conjugal disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals."
communion even with the best intentions of the parties. Among the
psychic factors possibly giving rise to his orher inability to fulfill marital In hindsight, it may have been inappropriate for the Court to impose a
obligations are the following: (1) antisocial personality with its rigid set of rules, as the one in Molina, in resolving all cases of
fundamental lack of loyalty to persons or sense of moral values; (2) psychological incapacity. Understandably, the Court was then alarmed
hyperesthesia, where the individual has no real freedom of sexual by the deluge of petitions for the dissolution of marital bonds, and was
choice; (3) the inadequate personality where personal responses sensitive to the OSG's exaggeration of Article 36 as the "most liberal
consistently fall short of reasonable expectations. divorce procedure in the world." The unintended consequences of
Molina, however, has taken its toll on people who have to live with
xxxx deviant behavior, moral insanity and sociopathic personality anomaly,
The psychological grounds are the best approach for anyone who doubts which, like termites, consume little by little the very foundation of their
whether he or she has a case for an annulment on any other terms. A families, our basic social institutions. Far fromwhat was intended by the
situation that does not fit into any of the more traditional categories Court, Molina has become a strait-jacket, forcing all sizes to fit into and
often fits very easily into the psychological category. be bound by it. Wittingly or unwittingly, the Court, in conveniently
applying Molina, has allowed diagnosed sociopaths, schizophrenics,
As new as the psychological grounds are, experts are already detecting a nymphomaniacs, narcissists and the like, tocontinuously debase and
shift in their use. Whereas originally the emphasis was on the parties' pervert the sanctity of marriage. Ironically, the Roman Rota has annulled
inability to exercise proper judgment at the time of the marriage (lack of marriages on account of the personality disorders of the said individuals.
due discretion), recent cases seem to be concentrating on the parties'
incapacity to assume or carry out their responsibilities and obligations as The Court need not worry about the possible abuse of the remedy
promised(lack of due competence). An advantage to using the ground of provided by Article 36, for there are ample safeguards against this
lack of due competence is that at the time the marriage was entered into contingency, among which is the intervention by the State, through the
civil divorce and breakup of the family almost always is proof of public prosecutor, to guard against collusion between the parties and/or
someone's failure to carry out marital responsibilities as promisedat the fabrication of evidence. The Court should rather be alarmed by the rising
time the marriage was entered into." number of cases involving marital abuse, child abuse, domestic violence
and incestuous rape.
Hernandez v. Court of Appeals emphasizes the importance of presenting
expert testimony to establish the precise cause of a party's psychological In dissolving marital bonds on account of either party's psychological
incapacity, and to show that it existed at the inception of the marriage. incapacity, the Court isnot demolishing the foundation of families, but it
And as Marcos v. Marcosasserts, there is no requirement that the person is actually protecting the sanctity of marriage, because it refuses to allow
to be declared psychologically incapacitated be personally examined by a person afflicted with a psychological disorder, who cannot comply
a physician, if the totalityof evidence presented is enough to sustain a with or assume the essential marital obligations, from remaining in that
finding of psychological incapacity. Verily, the evidence must show a sacred bond. It may be stressed that the infliction of physical violence,
link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest psychological constitutional indolence or laziness, drug dependence or addiction, and
incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. psycho sexual anomaly are manifestations of a sociopathic personality
anomaly. Let itbe noted that in Article 36, there is no marriage to speak
This is not to mention, but we mention nevertheless for emphasis, that of in the first place, as the same is void from the very beginning. To
the presentation of expert proof presupposes a thorough and in-depth indulge in imagery, the declaration of nullity under Article 36 will
assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive simply provide a decent burial to a stillborn marriage.
diagnosis of a grave, severe and incurable presence of psychological
incapacity.33 xxxx

Ngo Tealso emphasized that in light of the unintended consequences of Lest it be misunderstood, we are not suggesting the abandonment of
strictly applying the standards set in Molina,34 the courts should Molina in this case. We simply declare that, as aptly stated by Justice
consider the totality of evidence in adjudicating petitions for declaration Dante O. Tinga in Antonio v. Reyes, there is need to emphasize other
of nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, viz: perspectives as well which should govern the disposition of petitions for
declaration of nullity under Article 36. At the risk of being redundant,
The resiliency with which the concept should be applied and the case-to- we reiterate once more the principle that each case must be judged, not
case basis by which the provision should be interpreted, as so intended on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but
by its framers, had, somehow, been rendered ineffectual by the according to its own facts. And, to repeat for emphasis, courts should
imposition of a set of strict standards in Molina, thus: interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis; guided by experience, the
findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by
xxxx
decisions of church tribunals.35
Noteworthy is that in Molina, while the majority of the Courts
III
membership concurred in the ponencia of then Associate Justice (later
Chief Justice) Artemio V. Panganiban, three justices concurred "in the In the decision of September 19, 2011,the Court declared as follows:
Respondent admittedly played mahjong, but it was not proven that she (4) To enhance, protect, preserve and maintain their physical
engaged in mahjong so frequently that she neglected her duties as a and mental health at all times;
mother and a wife. Respondent refuted petitioners allegations that she
played four to five times a week. She maintained it was only two to (5) To furnish them with good and wholesome educational
three times a week and always withthe permission of her husband and materials, supervise their activities, recreation and association
without abandoning her children at home. The children corroborated with others, protect them from bad company, and prevent them
this, saying that theywere with their mother when she played mahjong in from acquiring habits detrimental to their health, studies and
their relatives home.Petitioner did not present any proof, other than his morals;
own testimony, that the mahjong sessions were so frequent that (6) x x x x
respondent neglected her family. While he intimated that two of his sons
repeated the second grade, he was not able to link this episode to (7) x x x x
respondents mahjong-playing. The least that could have been done was (8) x x x x
to prove the frequency of respondents mahjong-playing during the years
when these two children were in second grade. This was not done. Thus, (9) x x x x (emphasis supplied)
while there is no dispute that respondent played mahjong, its alleged
The September 19, 2011 decision did not properly take into
debilitating frequency and adverse effect on the children were not
consideration the findings of the RTC to the effect that both the
proven.36 (Emphasis supplied)
petitioner and the respondent had been psychologically incapacitated,
The frequency of the respondents mahjong playing should not have and thus could not assume the essential obligations of marriage. The
delimited our determination of the presence or absence of psychological RTC would not have found so without the allegation to that effect by the
incapacity. Instead, the determinant should be her obvious failure to respondent in her answer,39 whereby she averred that it was not she but
fully appreciate the duties and responsibilities of parenthood at the time the petitioner who had suffered from psychological incapacity.
she made her marital vows. Had she fully appreciated such duties and
The allegation of the petitionerspsychological incapacity was
responsibilities, she would have known that bringing along her children
substantiated by Dr. Dayan.
of very tender ages to her mahjong sessions would expose them to a
culture of gambling and other vices that would erode their moral fiber. Although the petitioner, as the plaintiff, carried the burden to prove the
nullity of the marriage, the respondent, as the defendant spouse, could
Nonetheless, the long-term effects of the respondents obsessive
establish the psychological incapacity of her husband because she raised
mahjong playing surely impacted on her family life, particularly on her
the matter in her answer. The courts are justified in declaring a marriage
very young children. We do find to be revealing the disclosures made by
null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code regardless of whether
Valerio Teodoro Kalaw37 the parties eldest son in his deposition,
it is the petitioner or the respondent who imputes the psychological
whereby the son confirmed the claim of his father that his mother had
incapacity to the other as long as the imputation is fully substantiated
been hooked on playing mahjong.
with proof. Indeed, psychological incapacity may exist in one party
alone or in both of them, and if psychological incapacity of either or
both is established, the marriage has to be deemed null and void.
The fact that the respondent brought her children with her to her
mahjong sessions did not only point to her neglect of parental duties, but More than twenty (20) years had passed since the parties parted ways.
also manifested her tendency to expose them to a culture of gambling. By now, they must have already accepted and come to terms with the
Her willfully exposing her children to the culture of gambling on every awful truth that their marriage, assuming it existed in the eyes of the law,
occasion of her mahjong sessions was a very grave and serious act of was already beyond repair. Both parties had inflicted so much damage
subordinating their needs for parenting to the gratification of her own not only to themselves, but also to the lives and psyche of their own
personal and escapist desires. This was the observation of Father Healy children. It would be a greater injustice should we insist on still
himself. In that regard, Dr. Gates and Dr. Dayan both explained that the recognizing their void marriage, and then force them and their children
current psychological state of the respondent had been rooted on her to endure some more damage. This was the very same injustice that
own childhood experience. Justice Romero decried in her erudite dissenting opinion in Santos v.
Court of Appeals:41
The respondent revealed her wanton disregard for her childrens moral
and mental development. This disregard violated her duty as a parent to It would be great injustice, I believe, to petitioner for this Court to give a
safeguard and protect her children, as expressly defined under Article much too restrictive interpretation of the law and compel the petitioner
209 and Article 220 of the Family Code, to wit: to continue to be married to a wife who for purposes of fulfilling her
marital duties has, for all practical purposes, ceased to exist.
Article 209. Pursuant to the natural right and duty of parents over the
person and property of their unemancipated children, parental authority Besides, there are public policy considerations involved in the ruling the
and responsibility shall includethe caring for and rearing of such Court makes today.1wphi1 It is not, in effect, directly or indirectly,
children for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of facilitating the transformation of petitioner into a "habitual tryster" or
their moral, mental and physical character and well-being. one forced to maintain illicit relations with another woman or women
with emerging problems of illegitimate children, simply because he is
Article 220. The parents and those exercising parental authority shall denied by private respondent, his wife, the companionship and conjugal
have with respect to their unemancipated children or wards the love which he has sought from her and towhich he is legally entitled?
following rights and duties:
I do not go as far as to suggest that Art. 36 of the Family Code is a
(1) To keep them in their company, to support, educate and sanction for absolute divorce but I submit that we should not constrict it
instruct them by right precept and good example, and to to non-recognition of its evident purpose and thus deny to one like
provide for their upbringing in keeping with their means; petitioner, an opportunity to turn a new leaf in his life by declaring his
(2) x x x x marriage a nullity by reason of his wifes psychological incapacity to
perform an essential marital obligation. In this case, the marriage never
(3) To provide them with moral and spiritual guidance, existed from the beginning because the respondent was afflicted with
inculcate in them honesty, integrity, self-discipline, self- psychological incapacity at and prior to the time of the marriage. Hence,
reliance, industry and thrift, stimulate their interest in civic the Court should not hesitate to declare the nullity of the marriage
affairs, and inspire in them compliance with the duties of between the parties.
citizenship;
To stress, our mandate to protect the inviolability of marriage as the The couple lived together under one roof. Glenn worked as a bartender,
basic foundation of our society does not preclude striking down a while Mary Grace was a production engineer.
marital union that is "ill-equipped to promote family life," thus:
Sometime in March of 2006, Mary Grace left the home which she
Now is also the opportune time to comment on another common legal shared with Glenn. Glenn subsequently found out that Mary Grace went
guide utilized in the adjudication of petitions for declaration of nullity in to work in Dubai. At the time the instant petition was filed, Mary Grace
the adjudication of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. had not returned yet.
All too frequently, this Court and lower courts, in denying petitions of
the kind, have favorably cited Sections 1 and 2, Article XV of the On February 18, 2009, Glenn filed a Petition5 for the declaration of
Constitution, which respectively state that "[t]he State recognizes the nullity of his marriage with Mary Grace.He alleged that Mary Grace was
Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall insecure, extremely jealous, outgoing and prone to regularly resorting to
strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development[t]," any pretext to be able to leave the house. She thoroughly enjoyed the
and that [m]arriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation night life, and drank and smoked heavily even whenshe was pregnant.
of the family and shall be protected by the State." These provisions Further, Mary Grace refused to perform even the most essential
highlight the importance of the family and the constitutional protection household chores of cleaning and cooking. According to Glenn, Mary
accorded to the institution of marriage. Grace had not exhibited the foregoing traits and behavior during their
whirlwind courtship.6
But the Constitution itself does not establish the parameters of state
protection to marriage as a social institution and the foundation of the Glenn likewise alleged that Mary Grace was not remorseful about the
family. It remains the province of the legislature to define all legal death of the infant whom she delivered. She lived as if she were single
aspects of marriage and prescribe the strategy and the modalities to and was unmindful of her husbands needs. She was self-centered,
protect it, based on whatever socio-political influences it deems proper, selfish and immature. When Glenn confronted her about her behavior,
and subject of course to the qualification that such legislative enactment she showed indifference. She eventually left their home without
itself adheres to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This being the informing Glenn. Glenn later found out that she left for an overseas
case, it also falls on the legislature to put into operation the employment in Dubai.7
constitutional provisions that protect marriage and the family. This has Before Glenn decided to file a petition for the declaration of nullity of
been accomplished at present through the enactment of the Family Code, his marriage with Mary Grace, he consulted the latters friends. They
which defines marriage and the family, spells out the corresponding informed him that Mary Grace came from a broken family and was left
legal effects, imposes the limitations that affect married and family life, to be cared for by her aunts and nannies. The foregoing circumstance
as well as prescribes the grounds for declaration of nullity and those for must have contributed to her sense of insecurity and difficulty in
legal separation. While it may appear that the judicial denial of a petition adjusting to married life.8
for declaration of nullity is reflective of the constitutional mandate to
protect marriage, such action in fact merely enforces a statutory To ease their marital problems, Glenn sought professional guidance and
definition of marriage, not a constitutionally ordained decree of what submitted himself to a psychological evaluation by Clinical Psychologist
marriage is. Indeed, if circumstances warrant, Sections 1 and 2 of Article Nedy Tayag (Dr. Tayag). Dr. Tayag found him as "amply aware of his
XV need not be the only constitutional considerations to be taken into marital roles" and "capable of maintaining a mature and healthy
account in resolving a petition for declaration of nullity. Indeed, Article heterosexual relationship."9
36 of the Family Code, in classifying marriages contracted by a On the other hand, Dr. Tayag assessed Mary Graces personality through
psychologically incapacitated person as a nullity, should be deemed as the data she had gathered from Glenn and his cousin, Rodelito Mayo
an implement of this constitutional protection of marriage. Given the (Rodelito), who knew Mary Graceway back in college.
avowed State interest in promoting marriage as the foundation of the
family, which in turn serves as the foundation of the nation, there is a Mary Grace is the eldest among four siblings. She is a college graduate.
corresponding interest for the State to defend against marriages ill- She belongs to a middle class family. Her father is an overseas contract
equipped to promote family life. Void ab initio marriages under Article worker, while her mother is a housewife. At the time Dr. Tayag prepared
36 do not further the initiatives of the State concerning marriage and her report, Mary Grace was employed in Dubai and romantically
family, as they promote wedlock among persons who, for reasons involved with another man.10
independent of their will, are not capacitated to understand or comply
According to Rodelito, Mary Grace verbally abused and physically
with the essential obligations of marriage.42(Emphasis supplied)
harmed Glenn during the couples fights. Mary Grace is also ill-
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the Motion for Reconsideration; tempered and carefree, while Glenn is jolly, kind and family-oriented.11
REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the decision promulgated on September
Dr. Tayag diagnosed Mary Grace to be suffering from a Narcissistic
19, 2011; and REINSTATES the decision rendered by the Regional Trial
Personality Disorder with anti-social traits. Dr. Tayag concluded that
Court declaring the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent
Mary Grace and Glenns relationship is not founded on mutual love,
on November 4, 1976 as NULL AND VOID AB INITIO due to the
trust, respect, commitment and fidelity to each other. Hence, Dr. Tayag
psychological incapacity of the parties pursuant to Article 36 of the
recommended the propriety of declaring the nullity of the couples
Family Code.
marriage.12
In drawing her conclusions, Dr. Tayag explained that:
VINAS vs. VINAS The said disorder [of Mary Grace] is considered to be severe, serious,
January 21, 2015 grave, permanent and chronic in proportion and is incurable by any form
of clinical intervention. It has already been deeply embedded within her
On April 26, 1999, Glenn and Mary Grace, then 25 and 23 system as it was found to have started as early as her childhood years.
years old, respectively, got married in civil rites held in Because of such, it has caused her to be inflexible, maladaptive and
Lipa City, Batangas.4 Mary Grace was already pregnant functionally[-]impaired especially with regards to heterosexual dealings.
then. The infant, however, died at birth due to weakness
Such disorder of [Mary Grace]is mainly characterized by grandiosity,
and malnourishment. Glenn alleged that the infants
need for admiration and lack of empathy[,] along with her pattern of
death was caused by Mary Graces heavy drinking and
disregard for and violation of the rights of others[,] which utterly
smoking during her pregnancy.
distorted her perceptions and views especially in terms of a fitting
marital relationship. Such disorder manifested in [Mary Grace] through
her unrelenting apathy, sense of entitlement and arrogance. Throughout Ruling of the Court
her union with [Glenn], she has exhibited a heightened sense of self as
seen in her marked inability to show proper respect for her husband. x x The instant petition lacks merit.
x She is too headstrong that most of the time[,] she would do things her The lack of personal examination orassessment of the respondent by a
own way and would not pay close attention to what her husband needed. psychologist or psychiatrist is not necessarily fatal in a petition for the
She had been a wife who constantly struggled for power and dominance declaration of nullity of marriage. "If the totality of evidence presented
in their relationship and [Glenn], being too considerate to her, was often is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual
subjected to her control.x x x She is into many vices and loved hanging medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to."29
out with her friends at night[,] and she even got involved in an illicit
relationship[,] which was still going on up to the present time. x x x. In the instant petition, however, the cumulative testimonies of Glenn, Dr.
Tayag and Rodelito, and the documentary evidence offered do not
The root cause of [Mary Graces]personality aberration can be said to sufficiently prove the root cause, gravity and incurability of Mary
have emanated from the various forms of unfavorable factors in her Graces condition. The evidence merely shows that Mary Grace is
milieu way back as early as her childhood years[,] which is the crucial outgoing, strong-willed and not inclined to perform household chores.
stage in the life of a person as thisis the time when the individuals Further, she is employed in Dubai and is romantically-involved with
character and behavior are shaped. [Mary Grace] came from a another man. She has not been maintaining lines of communication with
dysfunctional family with lenient and tolerating parents[,] who never Glenn at the time the latter filed the petition before the RTC. Glenn, on
impose any restrictions [upon] their children. Considering such fact, she the other hand, is conservative, family-oriented and is the exact opposite
apparently failed to feel the love and affection of the nurturing figures of Mary Grace. While Glenn and Mary Grace possess incompatible
that she had[,] who were supposed to bethe first to show concern [for] personalities, the latters acts and traits do not necessarily indicate
her. x x x She has acquired a domineering character as she was not psychological incapacity. Rumbaua v. Rumbaua30 is emphatic that:
taught to have boundaries in her actions because of the laxity she had
from her caregivers and also because she grew up to be the eldest in the In Bier v. Bier, we ruled that it was not enough that respondent, alleged
brood. She sees to it that she is the one always followed with regards to to be psychologically incapacitated, had difficulty in complying with his
making decisions and always mandates people to submit to her wishes. marital obligations, or was unwilling toperform these obligations. Proof
She has not acquired the very essence of morality [and] has certainly of a natal or supervening disabling factor an adverse integral element
learned set of unconstructive traits that further made her too futile to in the respondents personality structure that effectively incapacitated
assume mature roles. Morals and values were not instilled in her young him from complying with his essential marital obligations had to be
mind that as she went on with her life, she never learned to restrain shown and was not shown in this cited case.
herself from doing ill-advised things even if she isamply aware of the In the present case, the respondents stubborn refusal to cohabit with the
depravity of her actions. petitioner was doubtlessly irresponsible, but it was never proven to be
The psychological incapacity of [Mary Grace] is of a juridical rooted in some psychological illness. x x x Likewise, the respondents
antecedence as it was already inher system even prior to the act of living with another woman four years into the marriage cannot
solemnization of her marriage with [Glenn]. x x x.13 (Underlining ours) automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially when
no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already
On February 18, 2009, Glenn filed before the RTC a Petition for the existing at the inception of marriage. In fact, petitioner herself admitted
Declaration of Nullity of his marriage with Mary Grace. Substituted that respondent was caring and faithful when they were going steady and
service of summons was made upon Mary Grace through her aunt, for a time after their marriage; their problems only came in later.
Susana Rosita.14Mary Grace filed no answer and did not attend any of
the proceedings before the RTC. x x x To use the words of Navales v. Navales:

During the trial, the testimonies of Glenn, Dr. Tayag and Rodelito were Article 36 contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take
offered as evidence. Glenn and Rodelito described Mary Grace as cognizance ofand to assume basic marital obligations. Mere "difficulty,"
outgoing, carefree, and irresponsible. She is the exact opposite of Glenn, "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of marital obligations or "ill
who is conservative and preoccupied with his work.15 On her part, Dr. will" on the part of the spouse is different from "incapacity" rooted on
Tayag reiterated her findings in the psychological report dated some debilitating psychological condition or illness. Indeed,
December 29, 2008. 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
Issue same may only be due to a persons refusal or unwillingness to assume
the essential obligations of marriage and not due to some psychological
Unperturbed, Glenn now raises before this Court the issue of whether or
illness that is contemplated by said rule.31 (Citations omitted,
not sufficient evidence exist justifying the RTCs declaration of nullity
underlining ours and emphasis in the original)
of his marriage with Mary Grace.
It is worth noting that Glenn and Mary Grace lived with each other for
In support thereof, Glenn points out that each petition for the declaration
more or less seven years from 1999 to 2006. The foregoing established
of nullity of marriage should be judged according to its own set of facts,
fact shows that living together as spouses under one roof is not an
and not on the basis of assumptions, predilections or generalizations.
impossibility. Mary Graces departure from their home in 2006 indicates
The RTC judge should pains takingly examine the factual milieu, while
either a refusal or mere difficulty, but not absolute inability to comply
the CA must refrain from substituting its own judgment for that of the
with her obligation to live with her husband.
trial court.23 Further, Glenn argues that in Marcos v. Marcos,24 the
Court ruled that it is not a sine qua non requirement for the respondent Further, considering that Mary Grace was not personally examined by
spouse to be personally examined by a physician or psychologist before Dr. Tayag, there arose a greater burden to present more convincing
a marriage could be declared as a nullity.25 However, if the opinion of evidence to prove the gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability of
an expert is sought, his or her testimony should be considered as the formers condition. Glenn, however, failed in this respect. Glenns
decisive evidence.26 Besides, the findings of the trial court regarding testimony is wanting in material details. Rodelito, on the other hand, is a
the credibility of the witnesses should be respected.27 blood relative of Glenn. Glenns statements are hardly objective.
Moreover, Glenn and Rodelito both referred to Mary Graces traits and
In seeking the denial of the instant petition, the OSG emphasizes that the
acts, which she exhibited during the marriage. Hence, there isnary a
arguments Glenn raise for our consideration are mere reiterations of the
proof on the antecedence of Mary Graces alleged incapacity. Glenn
matters already resolved by the CA.
even testified that, six months before they got married, they saw each
other almost everyday.32 Glenn saw "a loving[,] caring and exists why such independent proof cannot be admitted and given credit.
well[-]educated person"33in Mary Grace. No such independent evidence, however, appears on record to have been
gathered in this case, particularly about the respondents early life and
Anent Dr. Tayags assessment of Mary Graces condition, the Court associations, and about events on orabout the time of the marriage and
finds the same as unfounded.1wphi1 Rumbaua34provides some immediately thereafter. Thus, the testimony and report appearto us to be
guidelines on how the courts should evaluate the testimonies of no more than a diagnosis that revolves around the one-sided and meagre
psychologists or psychiatrists in petitions for the declaration of nullity of facts that the petitioner related, and were all slanted to support the
marriage, viz: conclusion that a ground exists to justify the nullification of the
We cannot help but note that Dr. Tayags conclusions about the marriage. We say this because only the baser qualities of the
respondents psychological incapacity were based on the information fed respondents life were examined and given focus; none of these qualities
to her by only one side the petitioner whose bias in favor of her were weighed and balanced with the better qualities, such as his focus
cause cannot be doubted. While this circumstance alone does on having a job, his determination to improve himself through studies,
notdisqualify the psychologist for reasons of bias, her report, testimony his care and attention in the first six months of the marriage, among
and conclusions deserve the application of a more rigid and stringent set others. The evidence fails to mention also what character and qualities
of standards in the manner we discussed above. For, effectively, Dr. the petitioner brought into her marriage, for example, why the
Tayag only diagnosed the respondent from the prism of a third party respondents family opposed the marriage and what events led the
account; she did not actually hear, see and evaluate the respondent and respondent to blame the petitioner for the death of his mother, if this
how he would have reacted and responded to the doctors probes. allegation is at all correct. To be sure, these are important because not a
few marriages have failed, not because of psychological incapacity of
Dr. Tayag, in her report, merely summarized the petitioners narrations, either or both of the spouses, but because of basic incompatibilities and
and on this basis characterized the respondent to be a self-centered, marital developments that do not amount to psychological incapacity. x
egocentric, and unremorseful person who "believes that the world x x.35 (Citations omitted and underlining ours)
revolves around him"; and who "used love as adeceptive tactic for
exploiting the confidence [petitioner] extended towards him." x x x. In the case at bar, Dr. Tayag made general references to Mary Graces
status as the eldest among her siblings,36her fathers being an overseas
We find these observations and conclusions insufficiently in-depth and contract worker and her very tolerant mother, a housewife.37 These,
comprehensive to warrant the conclusion that a psychological incapacity however, are not sufficient to establish and explain the supposed
existed that prevented the respondent from complying with the essential psychological incapacity of Mary Grace warranting the declaration of
obligations of marriage. It failed to identify the root cause of the the nullity of the couples marriage.
respondents narcissistic personality disorder and to prove that it existed
at the inception of the marriage. Neither did it explain the incapacitating The Court understands the inherent difficulty attendant to obtaining the
nature of the alleged disorder, nor show that the respondent was really statements of witnesses who can attest to the antecedence of a persons
incapable of fulfilling his duties due to some incapacity of a psychological incapacity, but such difficulty does not exempt a
psychological, not physical, nature. Thus, we cannot avoid but conclude petitioner from complying with what the law requires. While the Court
that Dr. Tayags conclusion in her Report i.e., that the respondent also commiserates with Glenns marital woes, the totality of the
suffered "Narcissistic Personality Disorder with traces of Antisocial evidence presented provides inadequate basis for the Court to conclude
Personality Disorder declared to be grave and incurable" is an that Mary Grace is indeed psychologically incapacitated to comply with
unfounded statement, not a necessary inference from her previous her obligations as Glenns spouse.
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 MALLILIN vs. JAMESOLAMIN
made with respect to the respondents condition. To make conclusions
February 18, 2015
and generalizations on the respondents psychological condition based
The Facts:
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
Robert and Luz were married on September 6,
content of such evidence.
1972. They begot three (3) children. On March 16, 1994,
xxxx Robert filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of
marriage before the RTC, Branch 23, Cagayan de Oro City
A careful reading of Dr. Tayags testimony reveals that she failed to (RTC-Br. 23).
establish the fact that at the time the parties were married, respondent On March 7, 1996, RTC-Br. 23 denied the petition.
was already suffering from a psychological defect that deprived him of Robert appealed this judgment before the CA where it
the ability to assume the essential duties and responsibilities of marriage. was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 54261. On January 29,
Neither did she adequately explain howshe came to the conclusion that 1999, the CA reversed the RTC-Br. 23 decision due to
respondents condition was grave and incurable. x x x lack of participation of the State as required under Article
xxxx 48 of the Family Code.3 The case was remanded to the
RTC for further proceedings and its records were
First, what she medically described was not related or linked to the thereafter transferred from RTC-Br. 23 to RTC-Br. 37, as
respondents exact condition except in a very general way. In short, her the latter was designated as Family Court pursuant to the
testimony and report were rich in generalities but disastrously short on Family Code Act of 1997.
particulars, most notably on how the respondent can besaid to be In the complaint, Robert alleged that at the time
suffering from narcissistic personality disorder; why and to what extent of the celebration of their marriage, Luz was suffering
the disorder is grave and incurable; how and why it was already present from psychological and mental incapacity and
at the time of the marriage; and the effects of the disorder on the unpreparedness to enter into such marital life and to
respondents awareness of and his capability to undertake the duties and comply with its essential obligations and responsibilities.
responsibilities of marriage. All these are critical to the success of the Such incapacity became even more apparent during their
petitioners case. marriage when Luz exhibited clear manifestation of
Second, her testimony was short on factual basis for her diagnosis immaturity, irresponsibility, deficiency of independent
because it was wholly based on what the petitioner related toher. x x x If rational judgment, and inability to cope with the heavy
a psychological disorder can be proven by independent means, no reason and oftentimes demanding obligation of a parent.
Luz filed her Answer with Counterclaim contesting essential duties of marriage and its concomitant
the complaint. She averred that it was Robert who responsibilities.
manifested psychological incapacity in their marriage. x x x x We commiserate with the plaintiff-appellees
Despite due notice, however, she did not appear during undeserved marital plight. Yet, Our paramount duty as a
the trial. Assistant City Prosecutor Isabelo Sabanal court compels Us to apply the law at all costs, however
appeared for the State. harsh it may be on whomsoever is called upon to bear its
When Robert testified, he disclosed that Luz was unbiased brunt.
already living in California, USA, and had married an FOR THESE REASONS, the appealed Decision dated
American. He also revealed that when they were still September 20, 2002 in Civil Case No. 94-178 is
engaged, Luz continued seeing and dating another REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No costs.
boyfriend, a certain Lt. Liwag. He also claimed that from SO ORDERED.5
the outset, Luz had been remiss in her duties both as a
wife and as a mother as shown by the following Robert filed a motion for reconsideration, but it
circumstances: (1) it was he who did the cleaning of the was denied by the CA in its June 1, 2010 Resolution,6
room because Luz did not know how to keep order; (2) it stating that the arguments of Robert were mere rehash of
was her mother who prepared their meal while her sister the same ground, arguments and discussion previously
was the one who washed their clothes because she did pointed out by him, and that no new substance was
not want her polished nails destroyed; (3) it was also her brought out to warrant the reconsideration or reversal of
sister who took care of their children while she spent her its decision.
time sleeping and looking at the mirror; (4) when she Hence, this petition.
resumed her schooling, she dated different men; (5) he
received anonymous letters reporting her loitering with ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
male students; (6) when he was not home, she would
receive male visitors; (7) a certain Romy Padua slept in I THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING THAT
their house when he was away; and (6) she would THE ABSENCE OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION OF
contract loans without his knowledge. THE WIFE UNDERSCORES THE EVIDENTIAL GAP TO
In addition, Robert presented the testimony of SUSTAIN THE DECISION OF THE RTC DECLARING THE
Myrna Delos Reyes Villanueva (Villanueva), Guidance MARRIAGE OF PETITIONER TO RESPONDENT NULL AND
Psychologist II of Northern Mindanao Medical Center. VOID ON THE GROUND OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY
On May 8, 2000, while the case was pending IS CONTRARY TO LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE.
before the trial court, Robert filed a petition for marriage
annulment with the Metropolitan Tribunal of First Instance II THE RESPONDENT WIFE WAS ALSO DECLARED BY THE
for the Archdiocese of Manila (Metropolitan Tribunal). NATIONAL APPELLATE MATRIMONIAL TRIBUNAL OF THE
On October 10, 2002, the Metropolitan Tribunal CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES AS
handed down a decision declaring their marriage invalid GUILTY OF GRAVE LACK OF DUE DISCRETION.
ab initio on the ground of grave lack of due discretion on
the part of both parties as contemplated by the second III THE RESPONDENT WIFE WAS ALSO FOUND BY THE
paragraph of Canon1095. This decision was affirmed by LOWER COURT AS PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO
the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal (NAMT). COMPLY WITH THE ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATIONS.
Prior to that, on September 20, 2002, the RTC had
rendered a decision declaring the marriage null and void Robert now argues that he has sufficiently proven
on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of the nullity of his marriage even in the absence of any
Luz as she failed to comply with the essential marital medical, psychiatric or psychological examination of the
obligations. wife by a competent and qualified professional. To bolster
The State, represented by the Office of the his claim, he avers that the Metropolitan Tribunal already
Solicitor General (OSG), interposed an appeal with the declared that Luz exhibited grave lack of discretion in
CA. The OSG argued that Robert failed to make a case for judgment concerning the essential rights and obligations
declaration of nullity of his marriage with Luz. It pointed mutually given and accepted in marriage. The said
out that the real cause of the marital discord was the decision was affirmed by the NAMT.
sexual infidelity of Luz. Such ground, the OSG contended, Robert further argues that the sexual indiscretion
should not result in the nullification of the marriage under of Luz with different men coupled with the fact that she
the law, but merely constituted a ground for legal failed to function as a home maker to her family and as a
separation. housewife to him incapacitated her from accepting and
The CA, in its November 20, 2009 Decision,4 complying with her essential marital obligations. For said
granted the petition and reversed the RTC decision. The reason, he asserts that the case of Luz was not a mere
decision, including the decretal portion, partially reads: case of sexual infidelity, but clearly an illness that was
rooted on some debilitating psychological condition which
[W]e find that the trial court committed a reversible error. incapacitated her to carry out the responsibilities of a
Closer scrutiny of the records reveals, as correctly noted married woman. Robert avers that a sex maniac is not
by the Solicitor General, sexual infidelity are not rooted just a mere sexual infidel but one who is suffering from a
on some debilitating psychological condition but a mere deep psychological problem.
refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential
obligations of marriage. Position of the State
x x x. x x x x In the case at bar, apart from his self-
serving declarations, the evidence adduced by Robert fell The OSG argues that the CA correctly ruled that
short of establishing the fact that at the time of their the totality of evidence presented by Robert was not
marriage, Luz was suffering from a psychological defect sufficient to support a finding that Luz was
which in fact deprived [her] of the ability to assume the psychologically incapacitated. His evidence fell short of
establishing his assertion that at the time of their assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage
marriage, Luz was suffering from a psychological defect which, as so expressed in Article 68 of the Family Code,
which deprived her of the ability to assume the essential among others, include their mutual obligations to live
duties of marriage and its concomitant responsibilities. together; observe love, respect and fidelity; and render
With regard to the findings of the Metropolitan help and support. There is hardly a doubt that the
Tribunal and the NAMT, the OSG claims that the same intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning
were only given persuasive value and were not of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious cases of
controlling or decisive in cases of nullity of marriage. personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter
Further, the decision was based on grave lack of insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance
discretion of judgment concerning matrimonial rights and to the marriage. 7
obligations due to outside factors other than
psychological incapacity as contemplated in Article 36 of Psychological incapacity as required by Article 36
the Family Code. The OSG also raises the strong must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical
possibility of collusion between the parties as shown by antecedence and (c) incurability. The incapacity must be
the events that took place after the issuance of the March grave or serious such that the party would be incapable
7, 1996 RTC Decision. The OSG wrote: of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage. It
must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the
Significantly, the chronological events after the marriage, although the overt manifestations may only
trial court issued its March 7, 1996 Decision unmistakably emerge after the marriage. It must be incurable or, even
show the collusion between the parties to obtain the if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means
reliefs pleaded. Among others, respondents Retraction of of the party involved.8
Testimony was executed without the presence of counsel
sometime in 1998, a few months before she married an In Republic v. Court of Appeals and Eduardo C. De
American. This irregularity was even noticed by the Court Quintos, Jr.,9 the Court reiterated the well-settled
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 54261: guidelines in resolving petitions for declaration of nullity
of marriage, embodied in Republic v. Court of Appeals
x x x x The involvement and active participation of the and Molina,10 based on Article 36 of the Family Code.
Solicitor General became indispensable, in the present Thus:
recourse, when, in a whirlwind turn of events, the
Appellee made a VOLTE FACE executed a Retraction of (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the
Testimony and a Waiver of Custody waiving custody of marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt
Franco Mark J Mallillin, still a minor, her son by the should be resolved in favor of the existence and
Appellant. It bears stressing that the Appellee, in the continuation of the marriage and against its
Court a quo, obdurately denied the material allegations dissolution and nullity. x x x. x x x x
of the Appellants complaint and declared that it was the (2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity
Appellant who was psychologically incapacitated. The must be (a) medically or clinically identified, (b)
sudden turn-about of the appellee, in the present alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven
recourse, to the extent of disowning her testimony in the by experts and (d) clearly explained in the
Court a quo and even praying for the reversal of the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires
Decision of the Trial Court is strongly suggestive, if not that the incapacity must be psychological not
constitutive, of collusion or a modus vivendi between the physical, although its manifestations and/or
parties, outlawed by the Family Code of the Philippines symptoms may be physical. x x x. x x x x
and the Constitution. x x x (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at
"the time of the celebration" of the marriage. x x
x. x x x x
The Courts Ruling (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be
medically or clinically permanent or incurable. x x
The main issue is whether the totality of the x. x x x x
evidence adduced proves that Luz was psychologically (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about
incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of the disability of the party to assume the essential
marriage warranting the annulment of their marriage obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild
under Article 36 of the Family Code. characteriological peculiarities, mood changes,
occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be
The petition is bereft of merit. A petition for accepted as root causes. x x x. x x x x
declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article (6) The essential marital obligations must be those
36 of the Family Code which provides: embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family
Code as regards the husband and wife as well as
Art. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in
time of the celebration, was psychologically regard to parents and their children. Such non-
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital complied marital obligation(s) must also be
obligation of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such stated in the petition, proven by evidence and
incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. included in the text of the decision.
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate
Psychological incapacity," as a ground to nullify a Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, should refer Philippines, while not controlling or decisive,
to no less than a mental not merely physical should be given great respect by our courts. x x
incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of x. x x x x
the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting
attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.
appear as counsel for the state. x x x.
Third, the psychological report of Villanueva,
Guided by these pronouncements, the Court is of Guidance Psychologist II of the Northern Mindanao
the considered view that Roberts evidence failed to Medical Center, Cagayan de Oro City, was insufficient to
establish the psychological incapacity of Luz. prove the psychological incapacity of Luz. There was
nothing in the records that would indicate that Luz had
First, the testimony of Robert failed to overcome either been interviewed or was subjected to a
the burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage. psychological examination. The finding as to her
Other than his self-serving testimony, no other evidence psychological incapacity was based entirely on hearsay
was adduced to show the alleged incapacity of Luz. He and the self-serving information provided by Robert.
presented no other witnesses to corroborate his
allegations on her behavior. Thus, his testimony was self- Fourth, the decision of the Metropolitan Tribunal is
serving and had no serious value as evidence. insufficient to prove the psychological incapacity of Luz.
Although it is true that in the case of Republic v. Court of
Second, the root cause of the alleged Appeals and Molina, 14 the Court stated that
psychological incapacity of Luz was not medically or interpretations given by the NAMT of the Catholic Church
clinically identified, and sufficiently proven during the in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should
trial. Based on the records, Robert failed to prove that her be given great respect by our courts, still it is subject to
disposition of not cleaning the room, preparing their the law on evidence. Thus:
meal, washing the clothes, and propensity for dating and
receiving different male visitors, was grave, deeply Since the purpose of including such provision in
rooted, and incurable within the parameters of our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the
jurisprudence on psychological incapacity. religious faith of our people, it stands to reason that to
achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight
The alleged failure of Luz to assume her duties as should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal.
a wife and as a mother, as well as her emotional Ideally subject to our law on evidence what is
immaturity, irresponsibility and infidelity, cannot rise to decreed as [canonically] invalid should be decreed civilly
the level of psychological incapacity that justifies the void x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
nullification of the parties' marriage. The Court has
repeatedly stressed that psychological incapacity Pertinently, Rule 132, Section 34 of the Rules of Evidence
contemplates "downright incapacity or inability to take provides:
cognizance of and to assume the basic marital
obligations," not merely the refusal, neglect or difficulty, The court shall consider no evidence which has
much less ill will, on the part of the errant spouse.11 not been formally offered. The purpose of which the
Indeed, to be declared clinically or medically incurable is evidence is offered must be specified.
one thing; to refuse or be reluctant to perform one's
duties is another. Psychological incapacity refers only to In this regard, the belated presentation of the
the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly decision of the NAMT cannot be given value since it was
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give not offered during the trial, and the Court has in no way
meaning and significance to the marriage.12 of ascertaining the evidence considered by the same
tribunal.
As correctly found by the CA, sexual infidelity or
perversion and abandonment do not, by themselves, Granting that it was offered and admitted, it must
constitute grounds for declaring a marriage void based on be pointed out that the basis of the declaration of nullity
psychological incapacity. Robert argues that the series of of marriage by the NAMT was not the third paragraph
sexual indiscretion of Luz were external manifestations of of Canon 1095 which mentions causes of a
the psychological defect that she was suffering within her psychological nature similar to Article 36 of the Family
person, which could be considered as nymphomania or Code, but the second paragraph of Canon 1095
excessive sex hunger. Other than his allegations, which refers to those who suffer from grave lack of
however, no other convincing evidence was adduced to discretion of judgment concerning essential
prove that these sexual indiscretions were considered as matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually
nymphomania, and that it was grave, deeply rooted, and given and accepted. For clarity, the pertinent portions
incurable within the term of psychological incapacity of the NAMT decision are as follows:
embodied in Article 36. To stress, Roberts testimony
alone is insufficient to prove the existence of The FACTS on the Case prove with the certitude
psychological incapacity. required by law that based on the deposition of the
petitioner the respondent understandably ignored the
In Sivino A. Ligeralde v. May Ascension A. proceedings completely for which she was duly cited for
Patalinghug and the Republic of the Philippines, 13 the Contempt of Court and premised on the substantially
Court ruled that the respondents act of living an concordant testimonies of the Witnesses, the woman
adulterous life cannot automatically be equated Respondent demonstrated in the external forum through
with a psychological disorder, especially when no her action and reaction patterns, before and after the
specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait marriage-in-fact, her grave lack of due discretion in
already existing at the inception of marriage. The judgement for marriage intents and purposes basically
petitioner must be able to establish that the respondents by reason of her immaturity of judgement as manifested
unfaithfulness was a manifestation of a disordered by her emotional ambivalence x x x.
personality, which made her completely unable to
WHEREFORE, this COLLEGIAL COURT OF believe with moral certainty required by law and
APPEALS, having invoked the Divine Name and having in conclude that the husband-respondent upon contracting
mind the Law, the Jurisprudence and the Facts pertaining marriage suffered from grave lack of due discretion of
to the Case, hereby declares and decrees the judgment, thereby rendering nugatory his marital
confirmation of the nullity decision rendered by the contract: First, his family was dysfunctional in that as a
Metropolitan Tribunal of First Instance for the Archdiocese child, he saw the break-up of the marriage of his own
of Manil on the Marriage Case MALLILIN JAMISOLAMIN parents; his own two siblings have broken marriages;
with Prot. N. 63/2000 on the ground provided by Second, he therefore grew up with a domineering mother
Canon 1095 par. 2 CIC on the part of the woman with whom [he] identified and on whom he depended for
Respondent but NOT on the part of the man Petitioner advice; Third, he was according to his friends, already
for lack of evidence. (Emphases and underscoring into drugs and alcohol before marriage; this affected his
supplied)15 conduct of bipolar kind: he could be very quiet but later
very talkative, peaceful but later hotheaded even violent,
In Santos v. Santos,16 the Court referred to the he also was aware of the infidelity of his mother who now
deliberations during the sessions of the Family Code lives with her paramour, also married and a policeman;
Revision Committee, which drafted the Code, to provide Finally, into marriage, he continued with his drugs and
an insight on the import of Article 36 of the Family Code. alcohol abuse until one time he came home very drunk
It went out to state that a part of the provision is similar and beat up his wife and attacked her with a bolo that
to the third paragraph of Canon 1095 of the Code wounded her; this led to final separation.
of Canon Law, which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court of
Canon 1095. The following are incapable of contracting Second Instance, having invoked the Divine Name and
marriage: having considered the pertinent Law and relevant
1. those who lack sufficient use of reason; Jurisprudence to the Facts of the Case hereby proclaims,
2. those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion declares and decrees the confirmation of the
of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial sentence from the Court a quo in favor of the
rights and obligations to be mutually given and nullity of marriage on the ground contemplated
accepted; under Canon 1095, 2 of the 1983 Code of Canon
3. those who, because of causes of a Law.
psychological nature, are unable to assume
the essential obligations of marriage. However, records of the proceedings before the
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Trial Court show that, other than herself, petitioner-
appellant offered the testimonies of the following persons
In Najera v. Najera,17 the Court was also only, to wit: Aldana Celedonia (petitioner-appellants
confronted with a similar issue of whether to consider an mother), Sonny de la Cruz (member, PNP, Bugallon,
annulment by the NAMT as also covering psychological Pangasinan), and Ma. Cristina R. Gates (psychologist).
incapacity, the only ground recognized in our law. In the Said witnesses testified, in particular, to the unfaithful
said case, the NAMT decision was also based on the night of July 1, 1994 wherein the respondent allegedly
second paragraph of Canon 1095. The Court ruled made an attempt on the life of the petitioner. But unlike
that it was not similar to, and only annulments the hearing and finding before the Matrimonial Tribunal,
under the third paragraph of, Canon 1095 should petitioner-appellants sister-in-law and friends of the
be considered. Elucidating, the Court wrote: opposing parties were never presented before said Court.
As to the contents and veracity of the latters
Petitioners argument is without merit. testimonies, this Court is without any clue.

In its Decision dated February 23, 2004, the Court True, in the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals,
of Appeals apparently did not have the opportunity to et al. (268 SCRA 198), the Supreme Court held that the
consider the decision of the National Appellate interpretations given by the National Appellate
Matrimonial Tribunal. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the
Court of Appeals considered the Matrimonial Tribunals Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be
decision in its Resolution dated August 5, 2004 when it given great respect by our courts. However, the Highest
resolved petitioners motion for reconsideration. In the Tribunal expounded as follows:
said Resolution, the Court of Appeals took cognizance of
the very same issues now raised before this Court and Since the purpose of including such provision in
correctly held that petitioners motion for reconsideration our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the
was devoid of merit. It stated: religious faith of our people, it stands to reason that to
achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight
The Decision of the National Appellate should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal.
Matrimonial Tribunal dated July 2, 2002, which was Ideally subject to our law on evidence what is decreed
forwarded to this Court only on February 11, 2004, reads as [canonically] invalid should be decreed civilly void x x
as follows: x.

[T]he FACTS collated from party complainant and And in relation thereto, Rule 132, Sec. 34 of the
reliable witnesses which include a sister-in-law of Rules of Evidence states:
Respondent (despite summons from the Court dated June
14, 1999, he did not appear before the Court, in effect The court shall consider no evidence which has
waiving his right to be heard, hence, trial in absentia not been formally offered. The purpose of which the
followed) corroborate and lead this Collegiate Court to evidence is offered must be specified.
factual basis of the decision of the National Appellate
Given the preceding disquisitions, petitioner- Matrimonial Tribunal is similar to the facts established
appellant should not expect us to give credence to the by petitioner before the trial court, the decision of the
Decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal confirming the
when, apparently, it was made on a different set of decree of nullity of marriage by the court a quo is not
evidence of which We have no way of ascertaining their based on the psychological incapacity of
truthfulness. respondent. Petitioner, therefore, erred in stating that
the conclusion of Psychologist Cristina Gates regarding
Furthermore, it is an elementary rule that the psychological incapacity of respondent is supported
judgments must be based on the evidence presented by the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial
before the court (Manzano vs. Perez, 362 SCRA 430 Tribunal.
[2001]). And based on the evidence on record, We find
no ample reason to reverse or modify the judgment of In fine, the Court of Appeals did not err in
the Trial Court.[31] affirming the Decision of the RTC. (Emphases in the
original; Underscoring supplied)
Santos v. Santos18 cited the deliberations during
the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee, Hence, Roberts reliance on the NAMT decision is
which drafted the Code, to provide an insight on the misplaced. To repeat, the decision of the NAMT was based
import of Article 36 of the Family Code. It stated that a on the second paragraph of Canon 1095 which
part of the provision is similar to the third paragraph of refers to those who suffer from a grave lack of
Canon 1095 of the Code of Canon Law, which reads: discretion of judgment concerning essential
matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually
Canon 1095. The following are incapable of contracting given and accepted, a cause not of psychological
marriage: nature under Article 36 of the Family Code. A cause of
1. those who lack sufficient use of reason; psychological nature similar to Article 36 is covered by
2. those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion the third paragraph of Canon 1095 of the Code of Canon
of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial Law (Santos v. Santos19), which for ready reference
rights and obligations to be mutually given and reads:
accepted; t
3. hose who, because of causes of a psychological Canon 1095. The following are incapable of contracting
nature, are unable to assume the essential marriage:
obligations of marriage.
x x x x 3. those who, because of causes of a
It must be pointed out that in this case, the basis psychological nature, are unable to assume the
of the declaration of nullity of marriage by the National essential obligations of marriage.
Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal is not the third
paragraph of Canon 1095 which mentions causes To hold that annulment of marriages decreed by
of a psychological nature, but the second the NAMT under the second paragraph of Canon 1095
paragraph of Canon 1095 which refers to those should also be covered would be to expand what the
who suffer from a grave lack of discretion of lawmakers did not intend to include. What would prevent
judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights members of other religious groups from invoking their
and obligations to be mutually given and accepted. own interpretation of psychological incapacity? Would this
For clarity, the pertinent portion of the decision of the not lead to multiple, if not inconsistent, interpretations?
National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal reads:
To consider church annulments as additional
The FACTS collated from party complainant and grounds for annulment under Article 36 would be
reliable witnesses which include a sister-in-law of legislating from the bench. As stated in Republic v. Court
Respondent (despite summons from the Court dated June of Appeals and Molina, 20 interpretations given by the
14, 1999, he did not appear before the Court, in effect NAMT of the Catholic Church in the Philippines are given
waiving his right to be heard, hence, trial in absentia great respect by our courts, but they are not controlling
followed) corroborate and lead this Collegiate Court to or decisive.
believe with moral certainty required by law and
conclude that the husband-respondent upon In Republic v. Galang,21 it was written that the
contacting marriage suffered from grave lack of Constitution set out a policy of protecting and
due discretion of judgment, thereby rendering strengthening the family as the basic social institution,
nugatory his marital contract x x x. and the marriage was the foundation of the family.
Marriage, as an inviolable institution protected by the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court of State, cannot be dissolved at the whim of the parties. In
Second Instance, having invoked the Divine Name and petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage, the burden
having considered the pertinent Law and relevant of proof to show the nullity of marriage lies with the
Jurisprudence to the Facts of the Case hereby proclaims, plaintiff. Unless the evidence presented clearly reveals a
declares and decrees the confirmation of the situation where the parties, or one of them, could not
sentence from the Court a quo in favor of the have validly entered into a marriage by reason of a grave
nullity of marriage on the ground contemplated and serious psychological illness existing at the time it
under Canon 1095, 2 of the 1983 Code of Canon was celebrated, the Court is compelled to uphold the
Law. x x x. indissolubility of the marital tie.

Hence, even if, as contended by petitioner, the In fine, the Court holds that the CA decided
correctly. Petitioner Robert failed to adduce sufficient and
convincing evidence to prove the alleged psychological
incapacity of Luz.

As asserted by the OSG, the allegations of the


petitioner make a case for legal separation. Hence, this
decision is without prejudice to an action for legal
separation if a party would want to pursue such
proceedings. In this disposition, the Court cannot decree
a legal separation because in such proceedings, there are
matters and consequences like custody and separation of
properties that need to be considered and settled.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The


Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
78303-MIN, dated November 20, 2009, and its
Resolution, dated June 1, 2010, are hereby
AFFIRMED, without prejudice.