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PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY house in Better Living Subdivision, Paraaque City. Petitioner became
pregnant in March 1984 but suffered a miscarriage. According to petitioner,
G.R. No. 159220 September 22, 2008 she almost bled to death while respondent continued watching a television
MA. DARLENE DIMAYUGA-LAURENA, Petitioner,- versus - COURT OF APPEALS show at the foot of their matrimonial bed.
and JESSE LAURO LAURENA, Respondents.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x Petitioner alleged that respondent gave priority to the needs of his parents;
DECISION would come home past midnight; and even tried to convert her to his religion.
CARPIO, J.: In addition, respondent was a womanizer. Petitioner lived in Batangas for
three years while she tended to their gasoline station while respondent
The Case remained in Paraaque City. She discovered that respondent had been living a
bachelors life while she was away. Petitioner also noticed that respondent
Before the Court is a petition for review[1] assailing the 6 June 2003 had feminine tendencies. They would frequently quarrel and one time,
Decision[2] and 1 August 2003 Resolution[3] of the Court of Appeals in CA- respondent hit her face. Petitioner alleged that in September 1990,
G.R. CV No. 58458. The Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the 25 respondent abandoned their conjugal home and stopped supporting their
March 1997 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 140 children. Petitioner alleged that respondents psychological incapacity was
(trial court) in Civil Case No. 93-3754. manifested by his infidelity, utter neglect of his familys needs, irresponsibility,
insensitivity, and tendency to lead a bachelors life.
The Antecedent Facts
Petitioner further alleged that during their marriage, she and respondent
Ma. Darlene Dimayuga-Laurena (petitioner) and Jesse Lauro Laurena acquired the following properties which were all part of their conjugal
(respondent) met in January 1983.[4] They were married on 19 December partnership of gains:
1983 at the Church of Saint Augustine in Intramuros, Manila. They have two
children, Mark Jordan who was born on 2 July 1985 and Michael Joseph who 1. duplex house and lot located at 4402 Dayap Street, Palanan, Makati City;
was born on 11 November 1987. 2. house and lot on Palaspas Street, Tanauan, Batangas;
3. dealership of Jeddah Caltex Service Station in Pres. Laurel Highway,
On 19 October 1993, petitioner filed a petition for declaration of nullity of Tanauan, Batangas (Jeddah Caltex Station);
marriage against respondent. Petitioner alleged that respondent was 4. Personal vehicles consisting of a Mitsubishi Lancer, Safari pick-up, L-300
psychologically incapable of assuming the essential obligations of marriage, van and L-200 pick-up; and
and the incapacity existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage 5. Jeddah Trucking.
although she discovered it only after the marriage.
Petitioner prayed for the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains, for
Petitioner alleged that after their wedding, she and respondent went to custody of their children, and for monthly support of P25,000.
Baguio City for their honeymoon. They were accompanied by a 15-year old
boy, the son of one of respondents house helpers, who respondent invited to Respondent denied petitioners allegations. He asserted that petitioner was
sleep in their hotel suite. After their honeymoon, they settled in respondents emotionally immature, stubborn, unstable, unreasonable, and extremely
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jealous. Respondent alleged that some of the properties claimed by appealed from the trial courts Decision insofar as the trial court declared
petitioner were not part of their conjugal partnership of gains. Respondent some of his parents properties as part of the conjugal partnership of gains.
prayed for the dismissal of the petition.
The Ruling of the Trial Court The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

In its Decision[5] dated 25 March 1997, the trial court denied the petition for In its 6 June 2003 Decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed with modification
declaration of nullity of marriage. The trial court found that the the trial courts Decision.
manifestations of respondents psychological incapacity alleged by petitioner The Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner failed to prove that the root cause
were not so serious as to consider respondent psychologically incapacitated. of respondents psychological incapacity was medically or clinically identified
The trial court ruled that petitioners evidence only showed that she could not and sufficiently proven by experts. The Court of Appeals noted that Dr.
get along with respondent. Lourdes Lapuz (Dr. Lapuz), the psychiatrist presented by petitioner, was not
able to talk to respondent and simply based her conclusions and impressions
The dispositive portion of the trial courts Decision reads: of respondent from her two-hour session with petitioner. The Court of
Appeals ruled that Dr. Lapuzs testimony was vague and ambiguous on the
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: matter of respondents personality disorder which would render him
psychologically incapacitated. The Court of Appeals further ruled that
a) DENYING the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage filed by Ma. petitioner was not able to prove that respondents alleged psychological
Darlene Dimayuga-Laurena on the ground of psychological incapacity; incapacity was existing at the time of the celebration of their marriage. The
Court of Appeals further ruled that in her complaint, petitioners bases were
b) DECLARING the conjugal partnership of gains between petitioner and respondents irresponsibility, insensitivity, and infidelity. During the trial, she
respondent Dissolved with all the effects provided by law; and further claimed that the root of her husbands incapacity was his homosexuality. The
AFFIRMING the petitioners claim that all the properties acquired during the Court of Appeals ruled that petitioners allegations in her complaint and
marriage are conjugal properties; during the trial lacked factual and evidentiary bases. The Court of Appeals
ruled that the totality of respondents acts could not lead to the conclusion
c) AWARDING the custody of the children to the parent chosen by the said that he was psychologically incapacitated; that his incapacity was existing at
minors considering that they are over seven (7) years of age; the time of the celebration of the marriage; and that it was incurable.
Support of said minors shall be borne by the parents in proportion to their
respective incomes. The Court of Appeals also sustained the dissolution of the conjugal
partnership of gains between petitioner and respondent. The Court of
After this decision becomes final, let copies thereof be furnished the Register Appeals rejected respondents argument that the dissolution of the conjugal
of Deeds of Tanauan, Batangas and Makati City for their information. partnership of gains should also be denied because of the denial of the
petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. The Court of Appeals ruled that
SO ORDERED.[6] respondents abandonment of his family and the fact that petitioner and
Petitioner appealed from the trial courts Decision insofar as the trial court respondent had been separated for more than a year prior to the filing of the
denied her petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. Respondent
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petition for declaration of nullity of marriage were sufficient grounds for the
dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains. 1. Whether respondent is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
However, the Court of Appeals found that the trial court included as part of essential marital obligations; and
the conjugal partnership of gains properties and businesses, particularly the
ancestral house and lot in Tanauan, Batangas; the duplex house and lot on 2. Whether the properties excluded by the Court of Appeals form part of
Dayap Street, Makati City; the Jeddah Caltex Station; and Jeddah Trucking, the conjugal partnership of gains between petitioner and respondent.
which all belonged to respondents parents. The Court of Appeals found that
the rentals derived from the properties and the income from the businesses The Ruling of this Court
were deposited in the account of respondents parents. The Court of Appeals
excluded the properties and businesses derived from the operations of the The petition has no merit.
Jeddah Caltex Station and Jeddah Trucking from the conjugal partnership of
gains. Petitioner Failed to Prove Respondents
Psychological Incapacity
The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision reads:
The petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article 36
WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, the assailed decision is AFFIRMED of the Family Code which provides that [a] marriage contracted by any party
with regard to the denial of the petition for annulment of marriage and the who, at the time of celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply
dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains. The adjudication respecting with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even
the properties which comprise the conjugal partnership is MODIFIED to if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. In Santos v.
exclude the properties belonging to the parents of respondent, i.e., the Court of Appeals,[8] the Court first declared that psychological incapacity
ancestral house and lot in Tanauan, Batangas, the duplex house and lot at must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) judicial antecedence; and (c)
Dayap Street, Makati, as well as the properties acquired through the incurability.[9] It should refer to no less than a mental (not physical)
operation of the Caltex station and Jeddah Trucking. No costs. incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital
covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the
SO ORDERED.[7] parties to the marriage.[10] It must be confined to the most serious cases of
personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.[11] Finally, the
psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.[12]
In its 1 August 2003 Resolution, the Court of Appeals denied the motion. The Court explained:

Hence, the petition before this Court. (a) Gravity It must be grave and serious such that the party would be
incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in a marriage;
The Issues

The issues in this case are the following:


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(b) Judicial Antecedence It must be rooted in the history of the party psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert
antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
after the marriage; and
3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration
(c) Incurability It must be incurable, or even if it were otherwise, the cure of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when
would be beyond the means of the party involved.[13] the parties exchanged their I dos. The manifestation of the illness need not
be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such
In Republic v. Court of Appeals[14] (Molina case), the Court laid down the moment, or prior thereto.
guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family
Code as follows: 4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent
or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard
1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of
continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like
rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician
of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine
Article on the Family, recognizing it as the foundation of the nation. It decrees to cure them but not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and
marriage as legally inviolable, thereby protecting it from dissolution at the raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of marriage.
whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be protected by the
state. 5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party
to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, mild characteriological
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts cannot be
and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity. accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity
or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other
2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an
clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively
experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with
requires that the incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its the obligations essential to marriage.
manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must
convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or 6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up
psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles
obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children.
assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition,
here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.
ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a
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7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of respondents psychological incapacity.[18] While the examination by a
the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, physician of a person to declare him or her psychologically incapacitated is
should be given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was not required, the root cause of psychological incapacity must be medically or
taken by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New clinically identified.[19] In this case, the testimony of Dr. Lapuz on
Code of Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 and which provides: respondents psychological incapacity was based only on her two-hour session
with petitioner. Her testimony was characterized by the Court of Appeals as
The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable vague and ambiguous. She failed to prove psychological incapacity or identify
to assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological its root cause. She failed to establish that respondents psychological
nature. incapacity is incurable. Dr. Lapuz testified:

Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to Q- What, in your opinion are the causes of this incapacity?
harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people, it stands to A- I feel, your Honor, that there is some personality agenda on his part that I
reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should do not know because he has not come to see me but there are such men who
be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. Ideally - subject to our law can be very ardent lovers but suddenly will completely turn over...
on evidence - what is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed
civilly void.[15] Q- Is this a sort of personality disorder?
A- Yes, your Honor.
Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that petitioner failed to
satisfy the guidelines in the Molina case. Q- Is that inherited or could have been acquired even before marriage?
A- It was there on the time of the inception of his personality, it was there.
As found by the Court of Appeals, petitioner anchored her petition on And my feeling is that these things do not happen overnight, one does not
respondents irresponsibility, infidelity, and homosexual tendencies. change spot overnight but that thing, like marriage, can completely turn-table
Petitioner likewise alleged that respondent tried to compel her to change her his behavior.
religious belief, and in one of their arguments, respondent also hit her.
However, sexual infidelity, repeated physical violence, homosexuality, Q- Doctora, do you think this kind of incapacity, this personality disorder, is
physical violence or moral pressure to compel petitioner to change religious there any possibility of curing it?
affiliation, and abandonment are grounds for legal separation[16] but not for A- Very little at this time and sometimes, when they become older, like when
declaring a marriage void. they reach the age of 50s or 60s, they may settle down and finally give out
and reveal interest in their families.
In Marcos v. Marcos,[17] the Court ruled that if the totalities of the evidence
presented are enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, there Q- In short, there is possibility that this incapacity of the respondent could be
is no need to resort to the actual medical examination of the person cured?
concerned. However, while an actual medical, psychiatric, or psychological A- Only respondents physical decline of sexual urge, if the sexual urge would
examination is not a condition sine qua non to a finding of psychological not decline, the incapacity will continue.
incapacity, an expert witness would have strengthened petitioners claim of
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Q- Is there no medicine or is there any kind of medicine that can cure this Batangas; the duplex house and lot on Dayap Street, Makati City; and the
kind of disorder? properties acquired through the operations of the Jeddah Caltex Station and
A- None to my knowledge, your Honor. There is no magic feather in the Jeddah Trucking.
psychiatric treatment. Perhaps, if the person would be willing and open
enough and interested enough...[20] We sustain in part the Court of Appeals Decision.
Even the recommendation in the Social Case Study Report submitted by
Social Welfare Officer Marissa P. Obrero-Ballon, who was assigned by the trial As early as 15 July 1978, respondents parents already executed a General
court to conduct a social case study on the parties, failed to show the Power of Attorney[23] in favor of respondent covering all their properties and
existence of respondents psychological incapacity. The Social Welfare Officer businesses. Several Special Powers of Attorney were also executed by
instead found that petitioner was immature while respondent was respondents parents in favor of respondent. On 14 April 1987, respondents
responsible.[21] She also found that the couple separated because of parents executed a Deed of Absolute Sale[24] covering two parcels of land
respondents infidelity.[22] located in Tanauan, Batangas, with a total area of 966 square meters, for
P40,000. We agree with the Court of Appeals that the transfer was merely an
Petitioner also failed to prove that respondents psychological incapacity was accommodation so that petitioner, who was then working at the Bangko
existing at the time of the celebration of their marriage. Petitioner only cited Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), could acquire a loan from BSP at a lower rate[25]
that during their honeymoon, she found it strange that respondent allowed using the properties as collateral. The loan proceeds were used as additional
their 15-year old companion, the son of one of respondents house helpers, capital for the Jeddah Caltex Station. As found by the Court of Appeals, the
to sleep in their room. However, respondent explained that he and petitioner loan was still being paid from the income from the Jeddah Caltex Station. The
already stayed in a hotel for one night before they went to Baguio City and Lease Contract[26] on the Jeddah Caltex Station was signed by respondent as
that they had sexual relations even before their marriage. Respondent attorney-in-fact of his mother Juanita Laurena, leaving no doubt that it was
explained that the boy was with them to take pictures and videos of their stay the business of respondents parents. Jeddah Trucking was established from
in Baguio City and had to stay with them in the room due to monetary the proceeds and income of the Jeddah Caltex Station.
constraints.
As regards the duplex house and lot in Makati City, the Deed of Absolute
In sum, the totality of the evidence presented by petitioner failed to show Sale[27] was executed by Manuela C. Felix in favor of respondent.
that respondent was psychologically incapacitated and that such incapacity Respondent claimed that the duplex house was purchased from the income
was grave, incurable, and existing at the time of the solemnization of their of the Jeddah Caltex Station. However, we find no sufficient proof to sustain
marriage. this allegation. In fact, respondent testified that he received a series of
promotions during their marriage until we can afford to buy that duplex [on]
Properties of Respondents Parents Do Not Form Part of Conjugal Partnership Dayap.[28] Hence, the duplex house on Dayap Street, Makati City should be
of Gains included in the conjugal partnership of gains.

Petitioner assails the Court of Appeals exclusion of the properties of WHEREFORE, we PARTLY GRANT the petition. We AFFIRM the 6 June 2003
respondents parents from their conjugal partnership of gains. In particular, Decision and 1 August 2003 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
the Court of Appeals excluded the ancestral house and lot in Tanauan,
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No. 58458 with MODIFICATION by including the duplex house and lot on This case was commenced on August 16, 1990 with the filing by respondent
Dayap Street, Makati City in the conjugal partnership of gains. No costs. Roridel O. Molina of a verified petition for declaration of nullity of her
marriage to Reynaldo Molina. Essentially, the petition alleged that Roridel
SO ORDERED. and Reynaldo were married on April 14, 1985 at the San Agustin Church 4 in
Manila; that a son, Andre O. Molina was born; that after a year of marriage,
G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997 Reynaldo showed signs of "immaturity and irresponsibility" as a husband and
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and RORIDEL a father since he preferred to spend more time with his peers and friends on
OLAVIANO MOLINA, respondents. whom he squandered his money; that he depended on his parents for aid and
PANGANIBAN, J.: assistance, and was never honest with his wife in regard to their finances,
resulting in frequent quarrels between them; that sometime in February
The Family Code of the Philippines provides an entirely new ground (in 1986, Reynaldo was relieved of his job in Manila, and since then Roridel had
addition to those enumerated in the Civil Code) to assail the validity of a been the sole breadwinner of the family; that in October 1986 the couple had
marriage, namely, "psychological incapacity." Since the Code's effectivity, our a very intense quarrel, as a result of which their relationship was estranged;
courts have been swamped with various petitions to declare marriages void that in March 1987, Roridel resigned from her job in Manila and went to live
based on this ground. Although this Court had interpreted the meaning of with her parents in Baguio City; that a few weeks later, Reynaldo left Roridel
psychological incapacity in the recent case of Santos vs. Court of Appeals, still and their child, and had since then abandoned them; that Reynaldo had thus
many judges and lawyers find difficulty in applying said novel provision in shown that he was psychologically incapable of complying with essential
specific cases. In the present case and in the context of the herein assailed marital obligations and was a highly immature and habitually quarrel some
Decision of the Court of Appeals, the Solicitor General has labelled individual who thought of himself as a king to be served; and that it would be
exaggerated to be sure but nonetheless expressive of his frustration Article to the couple's best interest to have their marriage declared null and void in
36 as the "most liberal divorce procedure in the world." Hence, this Court in order to free them from what appeared to be an incompatible marriage from
addition to resolving the present case, finds the need to lay down specific the start.
guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family
Code. In his Answer filed on August 28, 1989, Reynaldo admitted that he and Roridel
could no longer live together as husband and wife, but contended that their
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 challenging the misunderstandings and frequent quarrels were due to (1) Roridel's strange
January 25, 1993 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals 2 in CA-G.R. CV No. 34858 behavior of insisting on maintaining her group of friends even after their
affirming in toto the May 14, 1991 decision of the Regional Trial Court of La marriage; (2) Roridel's refusal to perform some of her marital duties such as
Trinidad, 3 Benguet, which declared the marriage of respondent Roridel cooking meals; and (3) Roridel's failure to run the household and handle their
Olaviano Molina to Reynaldo Molina void ab initio, on the ground of finances.
"psychological incapacity" under Article 36 of the Family Code.
During the pre-trial on October 17, 1990, the following were stipulated:
The Facts
1. That the parties herein were legally married on April 14, 1985 at the
Church of St. Augustine, Manila;
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broke up because of their opposing and conflicting personalities." Then, it
2. That out of their marriage, a child named Albert Andre Olaviano added it sown opinion that "the Civil Code Revision Committee (hereinafter
Molina was born on July 29, 1986; referred to as Committee) intended to liberalize the application of our civil
laws on personal and family rights. . . ." It concluded that:
3. That the parties are separated-in-fact for more than three years;
As ground for annulment of marriage, We view psychologically incapacity as
4. That petitioner is not asking support for her and her child; a broad range of mental and behavioral conduct on the part of one spouse
indicative of how he or she regards the marital union, his or her personal
5. That the respondent is not asking for damages; relationship with the other spouse, as well as his or her conduct in the long
haul for the attainment of the principal objectives of marriage. If said
6. That the common child of the parties is in the custody of the conduct, observed and considered as a whole, tends to cause the union to
petitioner wife. self-destruct because it defeats the very objectives of marriage, then there is
enough reason to leave the spouses to their individual fates.
Evidence for herein respondent wife consisted of her own testimony and that
of her friends Rosemarie Ventura and Maria Leonora Padilla as well as of Ruth In the case at bar, We find that the trial judge committed no indiscretion in
G. Lalas, a social worker, and of Dr. Teresita Hidalgo-Sison, a psychiatrist of analyzing and deciding the instant case, as it did, hence, We find no cogent
the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. She also submitted reason to disturb the findings and conclusions thus made.
documents marked as Exhibits "A" to "E-1." Reynaldo did not present any
evidence as he appeared only during the pre-trial conference. Respondent, in her Memorandum, adopts these discussions of the Court of
Appeals.
On May 14, 1991, the trial court rendered judgment declaring the marriage
void. The appeal of petitioner was denied by the Court of Appeals which The petitioner, on the other hand, argues that "opposing and conflicting
affirmed in toto the RTC's decision. Hence, the present recourse. personalities" is not equivalent to psychological incapacity, explaining that
such ground "is not simply the neglect by the parties to the marriage of their
The Issue responsibilities and duties, but a defect in their psychological nature which
renders them incapable of performing such marital responsibilities and
In his petition, the Solicitor General insists that "the Court of Appeals made duties."
an erroneous and incorrect interpretation of the phrase 'psychological
incapacity' (as provided under Art. 36 of the Family Code) and made an The Court's Ruling
incorrect application thereof to the facts of the case," adding that the
appealed Decision tended "to establish in effect the most liberal divorce The petition is meritorious.
procedure in the world which is anathema to our culture."
In Leouel Santos vs. Court of Appeals 6 this Court, speaking thru Mr. Justice
In denying the Solicitor General's appeal, the respondent Court relied 5 Jose C. Vitug, ruled that "psychological incapacity should refer to no less than
heavily on the trial court's findings "that the marriage between the parties a mental (nor physical) incapacity . . . and that (t)here is hardly any doubt that
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the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of 'psychological Q Is it also the stand of the psychiatrist that the parties are
incapacity' to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly psychologically unfit for each other but they are psychologically fit with other
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and parties?
significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time
the marriage is celebrated." Citing Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former presiding A Yes, Your Honor.
judge of the Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of
Manila, 7 Justice Vitug wrote that "the psychological incapacity must be Q Neither are they psychologically unfit for their professions?
characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability."
A Yes, Your Honor.
On the other hand, in the present case, there is no clear showing to us that
the psychological defect spoken of is an incapacity. It appears to us to be The Court has no more questions.
more of a "difficulty," if not outright "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance
of some marital obligations. Mere showing of "irreconciliable differences" In the case of Reynaldo, there is no showing that his alleged personality traits
and "conflicting personalities" in no wise constitutes psychological incapacity. were constitutive of psychological incapacity existing at the time of marriage
It is not enough to prove that the parties failed to meet their responsibilities celebration. While some effort was made to prove that there was a failure to
and duties as married persons; it is essential that they must be shown to be fulfill pre-nuptial impressions of "thoughtfulness and gentleness" on
incapable of doing so, due to some psychological (nor physical) illness. Reynaldo's part of being "conservative, homely and intelligent" on the part of
Roridel, such failure of expectation is nor indicative of antecedent
The evidence adduced by respondent merely showed that she and her psychological incapacity. If at all, it merely shows love's temporary blindness
husband could nor get along with each other. There had been no showing of to the faults and blemishes of the beloved.
the gravity of the problem; neither its juridical antecedence nor its
incurability. The expert testimony of Dr. Sison showed no incurable During its deliberations, the Court decided to go beyond merely ruling on the
psychiatric disorder but only incompatibility, not psychological incapacity. Dr. facts of this case vis-a-vis existing law and jurisprudence. In view of the
Sison testified: 8 novelty of Art. 36 of the Family Code and the difficulty experienced by many
trial courts interpreting and applying it, the Court decided to invite two amici
COURT curiae, namely, the Most Reverend Oscar V. Cruz, 9 Vicar Judicial (Presiding
Judge) of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church
Q It is therefore the recommendation of the psychiatrist based on your in the Philippines, and Justice Ricardo C. Puno, 10 a member of the Family
findings that it is better for the Court to annul (sic) the marriage? Code Revision Committee. The Court takes this occasion to thank these
friends of the Court for their informative and interesting discussions during
A Yes, Your Honor. the oral argument on December 3, 1996, which they followed up with written
memoranda.
Q There is no hope for the marriage?

A There is no hope, the man is also living with another woman.


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From their submissions and the Court's own deliberations, the following illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have
guidelines in the interpretation and application of Art. 36 of the Family Code attached at such moment, or prior thereto.
are hereby handed down for the guidance of the bench and the bar:
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative
the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against
continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is everyone of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to
rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity the assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related
of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire to marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence,
Article on the Family, 11 recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and
decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from prescribing medicine to cure them but may not be psychologically
dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential
"protected" by the state. obligation of marriage.

The Family Code 12 echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the
family and emphasizes the permanence, inviolability and solidarity party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild
characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically outbursts" cannot be accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as
or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by downright incapacity or inability, nor a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less
experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code ill will. In other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the
requires that the incapacity must be psychological not physical. although person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that
its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby
convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or physically complying with the obligations essential to marriage.
ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he
was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption (6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles
thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given here so as not 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as
to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their
generis, 13 nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the
illness and its incapacitating nature explained. Expert evidence may be given petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.
qualified psychiatrist and clinical psychologists.
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive,
celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was should be given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was
existing when the parties exchanged their "I do's." The manifestation of the taken by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New
Code of Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 and which provides:
11
PERSONS FULL TEXT CASES
The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable
to assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological SO ORDERED.
nature. 14

Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to


harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people, it stands to
reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should
be given to decision of such appellate tribunal. Ideally subject to our law
on evidence what is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed
civilly void.

This is one instance where, in view of the evident source and purpose of the
Family Code provision, contemporaneous religious interpretation is to be
given persuasive effect. Here, the State and the Church while remaining
independent, separate and apart from each other shall walk together in
synodal cadence towards the same goal of protecting and cherishing
marriage and the family as the inviolable base of the nation.

(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the
Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall he
handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be
quoted in the decision, briefly staring therein his reasons for his agreement
or opposition, as the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along
with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such certification
within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed submitted for
resolution of the court. The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent
function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095.

In the instant case and applying Leouel Santos, we have already ruled to grant
the petition. Such ruling becomes even more cogent with the use of the
foregoing guidelines.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision is REVERSED and


SET ASIDE. The marriage of Roridel Olaviano to Reynaldo Molina subsists and
remains valid.