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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

COURT OF APPEALS
MANILA

Eleventh Division

GEORGE TAN MIRANDA,


Petitioner- Appellee

C.A. G.R. CV NO. 110145


Civil Case No. 2016-230
-versus- [REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
National Capital Judicial
Region, Branch 260,
Paranaque City]

FOR: Declaration of Nullity


of Marriage

MARIA KATRINA PEŇARANDA-MIRANDA,


Respondent,

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Oppositor- Appellant
x-------------------------------------------------------------x

A P P E L L E ‘S BRIEF
Atty. Albino G. Valenciano
For the Appellee
AQA Building 2
No. 302 V. Cruz cor. P. Guevarra Street
1500 San Juan City

Solicitor General Jose C. Calida


Assistant Solicitor General Thomas M. Laragan
Associate Solicitor Abraham D. Genuino II
For the Oppositor- Appellant
134 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village
Makati City
i

SUBJECT INDEX

Page

Subject Index i
Statement of the Case and
Counter-Statement of Facts 2
Statement of Issues 5
Argument 5
Discussion 6
Relief 13
Proof of Service and Explanation 14

CASES CITED

Valerio E. Kalaw vs. Ma. Elena Fernandez


G.R. No. 166357, January 14, 2015
People vs Molina, et al
G.R. No. 1088763, February 13, 1997
Ma. Teresa Tani- dela Fuente vs. Rodolfo dela Fuente
G.R. No. 188400, March 8, 2017
Mallilin vs, Jamesolamin
G.R. No. 192718, February 18, 2015
Camacho-Reyes vs Reyes
G.R. No. 185286, August 18, 2010
Ngo Te vs. Gutierrez Yute
G.R. No. 161793, February 13, 2009
1

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


COURT OF APPEALS
MANILA

Eleventh Division

GEORGE TAN MIRANDA,

Petitioner- Appellee

C.A. G.R. CV NO. 110145


Civil Case No. 2016-230
-versus- [REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
National Capital Judicial
Region, Branch 260,
Paranaque City]

FOR: Declaration of Nullity


of Marriage

MARIA KATRINA PEŇARANDA-MIRANDA,


Respondent,

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Oppositor- Appellant
x-------------------------------------------------------------x

APPELLEE’S BRIEF

Petitioner- Appellee GEORGE TAN MIRANDA, by counsel,


unto to this Honorable Court, in answer to the allegations raised
by the Appellant in his Brief, respectfully states:
2

STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND COUNTER-STATEMENT


OF THE FACTS

This is a case for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage on the


ground of psychological incapacity, under Article 36 of the
Family Code filed by Appellee George T. Miranda against herein
respondent Ma. Katrina Peñaranda- Miranda.

The appellee and the respondent became friends during


college years, they dated without formal courtship, and became
sweethearts soon after. Due to unexpected pregnancy, they got
married. Their marriage was solemnized by Municipal Mayor
Basilio L. Miranda of Rosario, Northern Samar on December 15
2006.

After the celebration of their marriage, they stayed at the


house of respondent’s parent. During that time, appellee
noticed the unpleasant behavior of the respondent. She would
often engage into verbal arguments over petty matters with him
and assert herself as always right and there was no room for
her of being wrong. Further, the appellee traumatically
characterizes it as a cycle of insult, arrogance, and immaturity
constantly accompanied by utterance of invective words, and
cursing which became the normal setting of their daily married
life. Further, respondent’s mother was constantly intervening
with their marital problems, making it more difficult to come up
with an agreement.

Appellee and respondent did not have much time together


in later years of their marriage as they work in different places.
Appellee worked in Tacloban City, while respondent worked at
BPO sectors in Manila and Cebu. Their phone conversations
were all about their child but most of the time they end up in
3

disagreement without valid reason. Appellee noticed how


immature and self-centered the respondent was, as she kept on
nagging just for the sake of arguing with him.

Appellee alleged that sometime in year 2012, he wanted to


have sex with the respondent but the latter refused. He
succeeded by forcing her. The appellee felt that respondent was
cold, unaffectionate and that she lacks the empathy to
understand his feelings as her husband. The incident led to the
latter’s pregnancy and resulted to their second child.

While pregnant with their second child, their married life


became worse as their fights happen more frequent, until the
time he left for Dubai to work. Appellee alleged that when he
went abroad to work as an OFW they grew and become more
distant with each other. Every time he would go home he stays
with his parents’ house as the respondent and her parents
would not allow him to stay in their house. In spite of all his
efforts to reconcile with her for their children, still the
respondent refused. She never cared nor attended his needs as
her wife. The petitioner came to the conclusion that their
marital relationship is beyond repair. After which they decided
to separate.

Appellee engaged the services of a clinical psychologist Dr.


Elias D. Adamos, who conducted a psychological evaluation on
the ability of both parties to cope with the essential obligations
of marriage. After evaluation, appellee and respondent were
found to be suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder;
making them incapacitated to perform the essential marital
obligations borne from lack of maturity, lack of empathy at each
other, self-centered thinking and behavior, and grandiose sense
of self-importance.
4

Appellee then filed a petition for Declaration of Nullity of


Marriage on July 6, 2016 at the Regional Trial Court of
Paranaque City, Branch 260. The Court aquo in its decision
dated, June 28, 2017 granted the petition, which reads:

WHEREFORE, finding merit to the petition, judgement is


hereby rendered:

1.) Declaring the marriage between herein parties George


Tan , Miranda and Maria Katrina L. Peñaranda under
Registry No. 2006-47, celebrated on December 15, 006
in Rosario, Northern Samar and/ or any marriage null
and void ab initio on account of the psychological
incapacity of the petitioner and the respondent;

2.) Directing the Municipal Civil Registrar of Rosario,


Northern Samar to cancel the marriage of the herein
parties in the Book of Registry of Marriage;

3.) No other issues.

Let copies of the Decision be furnished to the Municipal


Civil Registrar of Rosario, Northern Samar, Local Civil
Registrar of Paranaque City, the office of the Solicitor
General and the Office of the City Prosecutor, Paranaque
City and the Philippine Statistics Authority, Quezon City.

SO ORDERED.

The Republic filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the


abovementioned Decision. The Court aquo, in its order dated
September 14, 2017, denied the Motion, which reads:
5

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations,


the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the Republic of
the Philippines s herby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

The Republic then filed an Appeal, assailing the


abovementioned Decision and Order of the trial court declaring
the marriage between George T. Miranda and Maria Katrina
Peñaranda as null and void.

Hence, this Appellee’s brief.

ISSUE

WHETHER THE RESPONDENT AND PETITIONER-


APPELLEE ARE PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO
PERFROM THEIR MARITAL OBLIGATIONS.

ARGUMENT

THE TOTALITY OF EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE


PETITIONER- APPELLEE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH TO
PROVE HIS AND RESPONDENT’S PSYCHOLOGICAL
INCAPACITY, MAKING THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN THEM
VOID UNDER ARTICLE 36 OF THE FAMILY CODE.

DISCUSSION

The Office of the Solicitor General alleged that the trial court
erred in declaring the marriage between appellee and respondent
void ab initio on account of both parties’ psychological incapacity.
The Oppositor-Appellant is on the position that the collective
testimonies of the appellee and psychologist Adamos failed to
establish appellee’s and respondent’s psychological incapacity,
6

as the respondent was not assessed and personally examined


by the Dr. Adamos.

Contrary to the Oppositor- Appellant’s contention, the trial


court did not err in declaring the marriage between appelle and
respondent as null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code.
The totality of evidence presented by Appellee was more than
enough to prove petitioner and respondent’s psychological
incapacity which render them incapable of fulfilling the
essential marital obligations.

The fact that Dr. Adamos’ source of information was


Appellee himself, in evaluating the respondent’s psychological
incapacity should not discredit his evaluation as expert
testimony.

In the recent case of Tani-dela Fuente vs dela Fuente1, the


Supreme Court, citing the case of Camacho- Reyes vs Reyes2,
held the lack of examination of the party afflicted with a
personality disorder neither discredits a doctor's testimony nor
renders his or her findings as hearsay, to wit:

The non-examination of one of the parties will not


automatically render as hearsay or invalidate the
findings of the examining psychiatrist or psychologist,
since “marriage, by its very definition, necessarily
involves only two persons. The totality of the behavior
of one spouse during the cohabitation and marriage is
generally and genuinely witnessed mainly by the
other.”

Marcos v. Marcos emphasizes that Molina does


not require a physician to examine a person and
declare him/her to be psychologically incapacitated.
What matters is that the totality of evidence presented
establishes the party’s psychological condition.3

1
G.R. No. 188400, March 8, 2017
2
G.R. No. 185286, August 18, 2010
3
Id
7

The Supreme Court have always reiterated in its decisions


that psychological incapacity as a ground for nullity of marriage
may be ascertained through the totality of evidence offered. That
the respondent should be examined by a physician or
psychologist is neither a necessity nor a condition sine qua non
for a declaration of nullity.4

In Kalaw vs Fernandez-Kalaw, the Supreme Court

accentuated this principle, to wit:

There is no requirement for one to be declared


psychologically incapacitated to be personally examined by
a physician, because what is important is the presence of
evidence that adequately establishes the party’s
psychological incapacity. Hence, “if the totality of evidence
presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological
incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person
concerned need not be resorted to.”

Verily, the totality of the evidence must show a link,


medical or the like, between the acts that manifest
psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder
itself. If other evidence showing that a certain condition
could possibly result from an assumed state of facts existed
in the record, the expert opinion should be admissible and
be weighed as an aid for the court in interpreting such other
evidence on the causation.

Hence the Republic cannot readily conclude that the


pieces of information obtained by Dr. Adamos carries a little
weight as the primary source of information is the Appellee
himself. Further, the assertion that the latter is not competent
to testify as he is naturally biased and would provide
information favorable to his cause and was not present during
the respondent’s growing years is without merit. As held by the
Supreme Court in the case of Camacho-Reyes vs Reyes “for one,
marriage, by its very definition, necessarily involves only two
persons. The totality of the behavior of one spouse during the

4
Marcos vs Marcos, G.R. No. 136490. October 19, 2000
8

cohabitation and marriage is generally and genuinely witnessed


mainly by the other. In this case, the experts testified on their
individual assessment of the present state of the parties'
marriage from the perception of one of the parties, herein
petitioner. Certainly, petitioner, during their marriage, had
occasion to interact with, and experience, respondent's pattern of
behavior which she could then validly relay to the clinical
psychologists and the psychiatrist.”5

In Dr. Adamos’ psychological evaluation, he concluded


that both appellee and respondent is suffering from Narcissistic
Personality Disorder. Appellee’s egocentric behavior
characterized by a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking
and behavior, lack of empathy and demands of constant
attention but doesn’t seem to take in consideration the needs
and feelings of his wife. He has narcissistic tendencies,
provocative and seductive person who considers ordinary
relationship as more intimate than usual. The disorder is deeply
ingrained in his personality disorder which renders him
incapacitated to perform his marital duties and obligations.

The respondent on the other hand manifested grandiose


sense of self-importance. She believes that she is unique or
“special” and can only be understood by some people, and
thinks that she is too good for anything average or ordinary. She
considers herself as more superior than her husband, and
should be the center of attention of everybody specially the
appellee, although he had other responsibilities. She always
refuses to enter into a compromise with her husband, and
embarrassed him in the presence of her family members and
relatives on repeated occasion. Their arguments always resulted
into fights and violence inside their marital home. The
respondent believes that others are always envious of her and
she is better than anyone else and hence, expects to be
recognized as such by her husband and family members. She
refused to cohabit with her husband since 2011. Appellee, then
left for Dubai on April 2012 without respecting his wife’s request

5
Id
9

to set aside his decision to go. Their relationship remained


querulous and confrontational during the appellee’s stay in
Dubai.

Dr. Adamos futher testified that the symptoms of both


petitioner became apparent after the marriage and these were
brought about by some defects in their upbringing and
respective nuclear family

The personality disorder of the respondent speaks of


judicial antecedence and the root cause of her abnormality can
be gleaned from his childhood background, as she was raised
from a dysfunctional, extended and financially challenged
family home. She has special affinity towards her mother,
emotionally deprived as a child, has history of sibling rivalry.
She was raised in a lax and unmentored way, hence grew as a
brat. Her poor parental and family molding caused her to have
a defective superego and she proved to be a selfish, immature
and negligent person and followed a pattern of gross
irresponsibility and gross disregard of the feelings of her
husband disregarding the marriage contract and the
commitment he agreed on during her wedding. The respondent
did not grow up mature enough to cope with his obligations and
responsibilities as a married woman and a mother.

Both parties’ personality disorder manifests incurability,


as they have no psychological insight of their character
problem. The respondent would not acknowledge the pain she
caused to her husband, the husband likewise won’t
acknowledge his shortcomings to her wife and their married life,
both due to parties’ delusion of grandeur and uniqueness.
People suffering from this personality disorder are unmotivated
to treatment and impervious to recovery and are extremely
resistant to changing their behavior, even when it’s causing
them problems.
10

Lastly, their personality disorder manifests gravity as they


were not able to carry out the normal and ordinary duties of
marriage and family, existing in ordinary circumstances. She
just cannot perform her duties and obligations as a wife, due to
her flawed personality, while appellee decided to leave her wife
and family without considering her request not to push through
with her decision. In the process, appellee was also unable to
assume his marital duties and responsibilities to his wife as
they grow distant to each other, their marriage life being marred
by fights, self-centeredness and lack of empathy to each other.
They failed to render mutual help and support as required for
under Article 68 of the family Code, to wit:

Article 68. The husband and wife are obliged to


live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity,
and render mutual help and support.
....
Article 220. The parents and those exercising
parental authority shall have with respect to their
unemancipated children or wards the following rights
and duties:

(1) To keep them in their company, to support,


educate and instruct them by right precept and good
example, and to provide for their upbringing in keeping
with their means;
(2) To give them love and affection, advice and
counsel, companionship and understanding;
(3) To provide them with moral and spiritual
guidance, inculcate in them honesty, integrity, self-
discipline, self-reliance, industry and thrift, stimulate
their interest in civic affairs, and inspire in them
compliance with the duties of citizenship;
(4) To enhance, protect, preserve and maintain
their physical and mental health at all times;
(5) To furnish them with good and wholesome
educational materials, supervise their activities,
recreation and association with others, protect them
from bad company, and prevent them from acquiring
habits detrimental to their health, studies and morals;
11

(6) To represent them in all matters affecting their


interests;
(7) To demand from them respect and obedience;
(8) To impose discipline on them as may be
required under the circumstances; and
(9) To perform such other duties as are imposed
by law upon parents and guardians.

The Supreme Court in the case of Tani-dela Fuente vs dela


Fuente, cited and reiterates the pronouncement made in an
opinion in Mallilin v. Jamesolamin:6

Our choices of intimate partners define us -


inherent ironically in our individuality. Consequently,
when the law speaks of the nature, consequences,
and incidents of marriage governed by law, this refers
to responsibility to children, property relations,
disqualifications, privileges, and other matters limited
to ensuring the stability of society. The state’s interest
should not amount to unwarranted intrusions into
individual liberties.7

Since the State’s interest must be toward the


stability of society, the notion of psychological
incapacity should not only be based on a medical or
psychological disorder, but should consist of the
inability to comply with essential marital obligations
such that public interest is imperiled.

Lastly, this Court takes note of Ngo Te v.


Gutierrez Yu Te's8 observation that a straitjacket
application of the Molina guidelines “has taken its toll
on people who have to live with deviant behavior,
moral insanity and sociopathic personality anomaly,
which, like termites, consume little by little the very
foundation of their families, our basic social

6
G.R. No. 192718, February 18, 2015
7
Dissenting opinion of J. Leonen in Mallilin v. Jamesolamin, G.R. No. 192718, February 18, 2015
8
Ngo Te v Gutierrez Yu-Te, 598 Phil. 666, 696 (2009)
12

institutions.” Ironically, the ultimate effect of such


stringent application of the Molina guidelines is the
perversion of the family unit, the very institution that
our laws are meant to protect.

Although the guidelines set forth for interpretation and


application in Republic v. Molina9 is still controlling, the Court
in considering the effect of its rigid application, qualified and
relaxed the guideline, and stated that:

The foregoing guidelines have turned out to be rigid,


such that their application to every instance practically
condemned the petitions for declaration of nullity to the
fate of certain rejection. But Article 36 of the Family Code
must not be so strictly and too literally read and applied
given the clear intendment of the drafters to adopt its
enacted version of "less specificity" obviously to enable
"some resiliency in its application." Instead, every court
should approach the issue of nullity "not on the basis of a
priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations, but
according to its own facts" in recognition of the verity that
no case would be on "all fours" with the next one in the
field of psychological incapacity as a ground for the nullity
of marriage; hence, every "trial judge must take pains in
examining the factual milieu and the appellate court must,
as much as possible, avoid substituting its own judgment
for that of the trial court."

In the task of ascertaining the presence of


psychological incapacity as a ground for the nullity of
marriage, the courts, which are concededly not endowed
with expertise in the field of psychology, must of necessity
rely on the opinions of experts in order to inform
themselves on the matter, and thus enable themselves to
arrive at an intelligent and judicious judgment. Indeed, the

9
G. R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997
13

conditions for the malady of being grave, antecedent and


incurable demand the in-depth diagnosis by experts.

Lastly, in the words of Justice Lucas Bersamin, in the case


of Tani- dela Fuente vs dela Fuente, the Supreme Court stressed
that the fulfillment of the 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 that is null and void ab initio, because such a
marriage has no legal existence.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it respectfully prayed


of this Honorable Court, that a decision be granted dismissing
the Appeal, and Decision dated June 28, 2017 and the Order
dated September 14, 2017 by the court aquo be AFFIRMED.
Other and equitable reliefs are likewise prayed for.
Respectfully submitted.
September 26, 2018, San Juan for Manila City.

ATTY. ALBINO G. VALENCIANO JR.


AQA Bldg 2, No 302, Vito Cruz,
cor. P Guevarra, San Juan City
PTR No. 5996285/02-23-2918/Makati City
IBP No. AR00756-01-04-2018/Quezon City
Roll No. 44594
MCLE Compliance No. V- July 12, 2016 completed
14

Copy Furnished:
ABRAHAM D. GENUINE II
Associate Solicitor
Office of the Solicitor General
134 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village
Makati City 1229
(632) 988-1674

EXPLANATION

(Pursuant to Section 11, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court)

Service was done by registered mail due to distance and


lack of manpower.

ATTY. ALBINO G. VALENCIANO JR.


Counsel for Appellee
15