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Mirasol Castillo v.

Republic and Felipe Impas

GR No. 214064. Feb. 6, 2017

FACTS: Mirasol and Felipe started as friends then, eventually, became sweethearts. Mirasol discovered
that Felipe sustained his affair with his former girlfriend. The couple's relationship turned tumultuous after
the revelation. With the intervention of their parents, they reconciled. They got married and had two
children.

Mirasol filed for declaration of nullity of marriage alleging that their union was harmonious, however after
13 years of marriage, Felipe resumed philandering. Their relatives and friends saw him with different
women. She left the conjugal dwelling and cut any communication. Felipe’s act of cohabiting with other
women, not communicating, and not supporting their children without any reason constitute a severe
psychological disorder.

Mirasol presented a psychologist, who declared Felipe to be psychologically incapacitated to fulfill his
essential marital obligations. The RTC then declared the marriage null and void. Upon appeal by Felipe, the
Republic intervened and argued that Mirasol failed to establish the gravity, juridical antecedence and
incurability of Felipe’s disorder. Furthermore, the psychologist’s conclusion was not supported by evidence
as she merely proved Felipe’s refusal to perform his marital obligations, which were not based on personal
knowledge or even a personal examination, but were only secondhand information and one-sided.

The CA however reversed the RTC decision, saying that Mirasol failed to present sufficient evidence.

ISSUE: WON the totality of evidence presented warrants the declaration of nullity of marriage on the
ground of Felipe’s psychological incapacity under Art. 36 of the Family Code

RULING: No. The evidence presented by Mirasol is not sufficient.

Time and time again, psychological incapacity has been intended to be confined to the most serious cases
of personality disorder – it’s gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability must be proved.

Trial courts must always base their judgments not solely on the expert opinion presented by a party but on
the totality of evidence adduced. It bears stressing that Mirasol’s psychologist was not able to conduct an
examination on Felipe and based her conclusions based only on an interview with Mirasol and a common
friend.

The probative force of the testimony of an expert does not lie in a mere statement of her theory or opinion,
but rather in the assistance that she can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for her
criterion and the reasons upon which the logic of her conclusion is founded.