Sie sind auf Seite 1von 155

ARTICLE 26

[G.R. No. 80116. June 30, 1989.]


IMELDA MANALAYSAY PILAPIL, petitioner, vs. HON. CORONA IBAYSOMERA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch XXVI; HON. LUIS C. VICTOR, in his capacity as the City
Fiscal of Manila; and ERICH EKKEHARD GEILING, respondents.
SYLLABUS
1.
REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PROSECUTION OF OFFENSES;
ADULTERY AND CONCUBINAGE; SWORN WRITTEN COMPLAINT OF OFFENDED
SPOUSE, JURISDICTIONAL. Under Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code, the
crime of adultery, as well as four other crimes against chastity, cannot be
prosecuted except upon a sworn written complaint filed by the offended spouse. It
has long since been established, with unwavering consistency, that compliance
with this rule is a jurisdictional, and not merely a formal, requirement. While in
point of strict law the jurisdiction of the court over the offense is vested in it by
the Judiciary Law, the requirement for a sworn written complaint is just as
jurisdictional a mandate since it is that complaint which starts the prosecutory
proceeding and without which the court cannot exercise its jurisdiction to try the
case.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; EXCLUSIVE AND SUCCESSIVE RULE IN THE PROSECUTION OF
SEDUCTION, ABDUCTION, RAPE AND ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS, NOT APPLICABLE
TO CONCUBINAGE AND ADULTERY. Now, the law specifically provides that in
prosecutions for adultery and concubinage the person who can legally file the
complaint should be the offended spouse, and nobody else. Unlike the offenses of
seduction, abduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness, no provision is made for
the prosecution of the crimes of adultery and concubinage by the parents,
grandparents or guardian of the offended party. The so-called exclusive and
successive rule in the prosecution of the first four offenses above mentioned do
not apply to adultery and concubinage. It is significant that while the State, as
parens patriae, was added and vested by the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure
with the power to initiate the criminal action for a deceased or incapacitated

victim in the aforesaid offenses of seduction, abduction, rape and acts of


lasciviousness, in default of her parents, grandparents or guardian, such
amendment did not include the crimes of adultery and concubinage. In other
words, only the offended spouse, and no other, is authorized by law to initiate the
action therefor.
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; LEGAL CAPACITY TO SUE IN CIVIL CASES, DETERMINED AS OF
THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT, APPLIED TO PROSECUTION OF CRIMINAL CASES.
Corollary to such exclusive grant of power to the offended spouse to institute
the action, it necessarily follows that such initiator must have the status, capacity
or legal representation to do so at the time of the filing of the criminal action. This
is a familiar and express rule in civil actions; in fact, lack of legal capacity to sue,
as a ground for a motion to dismiss in civil cases, is determined as of the filing of
the complaint or petition. The absence of an equivalent explicit rule in the
prosecution of criminal cases does not mean that the same requirement and
rationale would not apply. Understandably, it may not have been found necessary
since criminal actions are generally and fundamentally commenced by the State,
through the People of the Philippines, the offended party being merely the
complaining witness therein. However, in the so-called "private crimes", or those
which cannot be prosecuted de oficio, and the present prosecution for adultery is
of such genre, the offended spouse assumes a more predominant role since the
right to commence the action, or to refrain therefrom, is a matter exclusively
within his power and option.
4.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RATIONALE. This policy was adopted out of
consideration for the aggrieved party who might prefer to suffer the outrage in
silence rather than go through the scandal of a public trial. Hence, as cogently
argued by petitioner, Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code thus presupposes that
the marital relationship is still subsisting at the time of the institution of the
criminal action for adultery. This is a logical consequence since the raison d'etre
of said provision of law would be absent where the supposed offended party had
ceased to be the spouse of the alleged offender at the time of the filing of the
criminal case.

5.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ADULTERY AND CONCUBINAGE; AFTER A DIVORCE HAS BEEN
DECREED, THE INNOCENT SPOUSE NO LONGER HAS THE RIGHT TO INSTITUTE
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE OFFENDERS. American jurisprudence, on cases
involving statutes in that jurisdiction which are in pari materia with ours, yields
the rule that after a divorce has been decreed, the innocent spouse no longer has
the right to institute proceedings against the offenders where the statute provides
that the innocent spouse shall have the exclusive right to institute a prosecution
for adultery. Where, however, proceedings have been properly commenced, a
divorce subsequently granted can have no legal effect on the prosecution of the
criminal proceedings to a conclusion.
6.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; U.S. RULE APPLIED IN THIS JURISDICTION. We see no
reason why the same doctrinal rule should not apply in this case and in our
jurisdiction, considering our statutory law and jural policy on the matter. We are
convinced that in cases of such nature, the status of the complainant vis-a-vis the
accused must be determined as of the time the complaint was filed. Thus, the
person who initiates the adultery case must be an offended spouse, and by this is
meant that he is still married to the accused spouse, at the time of the filing of
the complaint.
7.
CIVIL LAW; PERSONS AND FAMILY RELATIONS; MARRIAGE IN THE FEDERAL
REPUBLIC OF GERMANY BETWEEN A FILIPINA AND A GERMAN, RECOGNIZED IN
THE PHILIPPINES. In the present case, the fact that private respondent obtained
a valid divorce in his country, the Federal Republic of Germany, is admitted. Said
divorce and its legal effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as
private respondent is concerned in view of the nationality principle in our civil law
on the matter of status of persons.
8.
ID.; ID.; ID.; SEVERANCE OF MATERIAL BOND HAD THE EFFECT OF
DISSOCIATING THE FORMER SPOUSES FROM EACH OTHER. The allegation of
private respondent that he could not have brought this case before the decree of
divorce for lack of knowledge, even if true, is of no legal significance or
consequence in this case. When said respondent initiated the divorce proceeding,
he obviously knew that there would no longer be a family nor marriage vows to
protect once a dissolution of the marriage is decreed. Neither would there be a

danger of introducing spurious heirs into the family, which is said to be one of the
reasons for the particular formulation of our law on adultery, since there would
thenceforth be no spousal relationship to speak of. The severance of the marital
bond had the effect of dissociating the former spouses from each other, hence
the actuations of one would not affect or cast obloquy on the other.
9.
REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PROSECUTION OF OFFENSES;
RULE IN MATA CASE (18 PHIL. 4 90), NOT APPLICABLE TO CASE AT BAR. The
aforecited case of United States vs. Mata cannot be successfully relied upon by
private respondent. In applying Article 433 of the old Penal Code, substantially
the same as Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, which punished adultery
"although the marriage be afterwards declared void", the Court merely stated
that "the lawmakers intended to declare adulterous the infidelity of a married
woman to her marital vows, even though it should be made to appear that she is
entitled to have her marriage contract declared null and void, until and unless she
actually secures a formal judicial declaration to that effect". Definitely, it cannot
be logically inferred therefrom that the complaint can still be filed after the
declaration of nullity because such declaration that the marriage is void ab initio
is equivalent to stating that it never existed. There being no marriage from the
beginning, any complaint for adultery filed after said declaration of nullity would
no longer have a leg to stand on. Moreover, what was consequently contemplated
and within the purview of the decision in said case is the situation where the
criminal action for adultery was filed before the termination of the marriage by a
judicial declaration of its nullity ab initio. The same rule and requisite would
necessarily apply where the termination of the marriage was effected, as in this
case, by a valid foreign divorce.
DECISION
REGALADO, J p:
An ill-starred marriage of a Filipina and a foreigner which ended in a foreign
absolute divorce, only to be followed by a criminal infidelity suit of the latter
against the former, provides Us the opportunity to lay down a decisional rule on
what hitherto appears to be an unresolved jurisdictional question.

On September 7, 1979, petitioner Imelda Manalaysay Pilapil, a Filipino citizen, and


private respondent Erich Ekkehard Geiling, a German national, were married
before the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths at Friedensweiler in the
Federal Republic of Germany. The marriage started auspiciously enough, and the
couple lived together for some time in Malate, Manila where their only child,
Isabella Pilapil Geiling, was born on April 20, 1980. 1

filed and were eventually raffled to two branches of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila. The case entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Imelda Pilapil and William
Chia", docketed as Criminal Case No. 87-52435, was assigned to Branch XXVI
presided by the respondent judge; while the other case, "People of the Philippines
vs. Imelda Pilapil and James Chua", docketed as Criminal Case No. 87-52434 went
to the sala of Judge Leonardo Cruz, Branch XXV, of the same court. 7

Thereafter, marital discord set in, with mutual recriminations between the
spouses, followed by a separation de facto between them.

On March 14, 1987, petitioner filed a petition with the Secretary of Justice asking
that the aforesaid resolution of respondent fiscal be set aside and the cases
against her be dismissed. 8 A similar petition was filed by James Chua, her coaccused in Criminal Case No. 87-52434. The Secretary of Justice, through the
Chief State Prosecutor, gave due course to both petitions and directed the
respondent city fiscal to inform the Department of Justice "if the accused have
already been arraigned and if not yet arraigned, to move to defer further
proceedings" and to elevate the entire records of both cases to his office for
review. 9

After about three and a half years of marriage, such connubial disharmony
eventuated in private respondent initiating a divorce proceeding against
petitioner in Germany before the Schoneberg Local Court in January, 1983. He
claimed that there was failure of their marriage and that they had been living
apart since April, 1982. 2
Petitioner, on the other hand, filed an action for legal separation, support and
separation of property before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XXXII, on
January 23, 1983 where the same is still pending as Civil Case No. 83-15866. 3
On January 15, 1986, Division 20 of the Schoneberg Local Court, Federal Republic
of Germany, promulgated a decree of divorce on the ground of failure of marriage
of the spouses. The custody of the child was granted to petitioner. The records
show that under German law said court was locally and internationally competent
for the divorce proceeding and that the dissolution of said marriage was legally
founded on and authorized by the applicable law of that foreign jurisdiction. 4
On June 27, 1986, or more than five months after the issuance of the divorce
decree, private respondent filed two complaints for adultery before the City Fiscal
of Manila alleging that, while still married to said respondent, petitioner "had an
affair with a certain William Chia as early as 1982 and with yet another man
named Jesus Chua sometime in 1983". Assistant Fiscal Jacinto A. de los Reyes, Jr.,
after the corresponding investigation, recommended the dismissal of the cases on
the ground of insufficiency of evidence. 5 However, upon review, the respondent
city fiscal approved a resolution, dated January 8, 1986, directing the filing of two
complaints for adultery against the petitioner. 6 The complaints were accordingly

Petitioner thereafter filed a motion in both criminal cases to defer her arraignment
and to suspend further proceedings thereon. 10 As a consequence, Judge
Leonardo Cruz suspended proceedings in Criminal Case No. 87-52434. On the
other hand, respondent judge merely reset the date of the arraignment in
Criminal Case No. 87-52435 to April 6, 1987. Before such scheduled date,
petitioner moved for the cancellation of the arraignment and for the suspension
of proceedings in said Criminal Case No. 87-52435 until after the resolution of the
petition for review then pending before the Secretary of Justice. 11 A motion to
quash was also filed in the same case on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, 12
which motion was denied by the respondent judge in an order dated September
8, 1987. The same order also directed the arraignment of both accused therein,
that is, petitioner and William Chia. The latter entered a plea of not guilty while
the petitioner refused to be arraigned. Such refusal of the petitioner being
considered by respondent judge as direct contempt, she and her counsel were
fined and the former was ordered detained until she submitted herself for
arraignment. 13 Later, private respondent entered a plea of not guilty. 14

On October 27, 1987, petitioner filed this special civil action for certiorari and
prohibition, with a prayer for a temporary restraining order, seeking the
annulment of the order of the lower court denying her motion to quash. The
petition is anchored on the main ground that the court is without jurisdiction "to
try and decide the charge of adultery, which is a private offense that cannot be
prosecuted de officio (sic), since the purported complainant, a foreigner, does not
qualify as an offended spouse having obtained a final divorce decree under his
national law prior to his filing the criminal complaint." 15

the first four offenses above mentioned do not apply to adultery and
concubinage. It is significant that while the State, as parens patriae, was added
and vested by the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure with the power to initiate the
criminal action for a deceased or incapacitated victim in the aforesaid offenses of
seduction, abduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness, in default of her parents,
grandparents or guardian, such amendment did not include the crimes of adultery
and concubinage. In other words, only the offended spouse, and no other, is
authorized by law to initiate the action therefor.

On October 21, 1987, this Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining
the respondents from implementing the aforesaid order of September 8, 1987
and from further proceeding with Criminal Case No. 87-52435. Subsequently, on
March 23, 1988 Secretary of Justice Sedfrey A. Ordoez acted on the aforesaid
petitions for review and, upholding petitioner's ratiocinations, issued a resolution
directing the respondent city fiscal to move for the dismissal of the complaints
against the petitioner. 16

Corollary to such exclusive grant of power to the offended spouse to institute the
action, it necessarily follows that such initiator must have the status, capacity or
legal representation to do so at the time of the filing of the criminal action. This is
a familiar and express rule in civil actions; in fact, lack of legal capacity to sue, as
a ground for a motion to dismiss in civil cases, is determined as of the filing of the
complaint or petition.

We find this petition meritorious. The writs prayed for shall accordingly issue.
LexLib
Under Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code, 17 the crime of adultery, as well as
four other crimes against chastity, cannot be prosecuted except upon a sworn
written complaint filed by the offended spouse. It has long since been established,
with unwavering consistency, that compliance with this rule is a jurisdictional, and
not merely a formal, requirement. 18 While in point of strict law the jurisdiction of
the court over the offense is vested in it by the Judiciary Law, the requirement for
a sworn written complaint is just as jurisdictional a mandate since it is that
complaint which starts the prosecutory proceeding 19 and without which the
court cannot exercise its jurisdiction to try the case.
Now, the law specifically provides that in prosecutions for adultery and
concubinage the person who can legally file the complaint should be the offended
spouse, and nobody else. Unlike the offenses of seduction, abduction, rape and
acts of lasciviousness, no provision is made for the prosecution of the crimes of
adultery and concubinage by the parents, grandparents or guardian of the
offended party. The so-called exclusive and successive rule in the prosecution of

The absence of an equivalent explicit rule in the prosecution of criminal cases


does not mean that the same requirement and rationale would not apply.
Understandably, it may not have been found necessary since criminal actions are
generally and fundamentally commenced by the State, through the People of the
Philippines, the offended party being merely the complaining witness therein.
However, in the so-called "private crimes", or those which cannot be prosecuted
de oficio, and the present prosecution for adultery is of such genre, the offended
spouse assumes a more predominant role since the right to commence the
action, or to refrain therefrom, is a matter exclusively within his power and option.
This policy was adopted out of consideration for the aggrieved party who might
prefer to suffer the outrage in silence rather than go through the scandal of a
public trial. 20 Hence, as cogently argued by petitioner, Article 344 of the Revised
Penal Code thus presupposes that the marital relationship is still subsisting at the
time of the institution of the criminal action for adultery. This is a logical
consequence since the raison d'etre of said provision of law would be absent
where the supposed offended party had ceased to be the spouse of the alleged
offender at the time of the filing of the criminal case. 21

In these cases, therefore, it is indispensable that the status and capacity of the
complainant to commence the action be definitely established and, as already
demonstrated, such status or capacity must indubitably exist as of the time he
initiates the action. It would be absurd if his capacity to bring the action would be
determined by his status before or subsequent to the commencement thereof,
where such capacity or status existed prior to but ceased before, or was acquired
subsequent to but did not exist at the time of, the institution of the case. We
would thereby have the anomalous spectacle of a party bringing suit at the very
time when he is without the legal capacity to do so.
To repeat, there does not appear to be any local precedential jurisprudence on the
specific issue as to when precisely the status of a complainant as an offended
spouse must exist where a criminal prosecution can be commenced only by one
who in law can be categorized as possessed of such status. Stated differently and
with reference to the present case, the inquiry would be whether it is necessary in
the commencement of a criminal action for adultery that the marital bonds
between the complainant and the accused be unsevered and existing at the time
of the institution of the action by the former against the latter. cdphil
American jurisprudence, on cases involving statutes in that jurisdiction which are
in pari materia with ours, yields the rule that after a divorce has been decreed,
the innocent spouse no longer has the right to institute proceedings against the
offenders where the statute provides that the innocent spouse shall have the
exclusive right to institute a prosecution for adultery. Where, however,
proceedings have been properly commenced, a divorce subsequently granted can
have no legal effect on the prosecution of the criminal proceedings to a
conclusion. 22
In the cited Loftus case, the Supreme Court of Iowa held that
" 'No prosecution for adultery can be commenced except on the complaint of the
husband or wife.' Section 4932, Code. Though Loftus was husband of defendant
when the offense is said to have been committed, he had ceased to be such when
the prosecution was begun; and appellant insists that his status was not such as
to entitle him to make the complaint. We have repeatedly said that the offense is
against the unoffending spouse, as well as the state, in explaining the reason for

this provision in the statute; and we are of the opinion that the unoffending
spouse must be such when the prosecution is commenced." (Emphasis supplied.)
We see no reason why the same doctrinal rule should not apply in this case and in
our jurisdiction, considering our statutory law and jural policy on the matter. We
are convinced that in cases of such nature, the status of the complainant vis-a-vis
the accused must be determined as of the time the complaint was filed. Thus, the
person who initiates the adultery case must be an offended spouse, and by this is
meant that he is still married to the accused spouse, at the time of the filing of
the complaint.
In the present case, the fact that private respondent obtained a valid divorce in
his country, the Federal Republic of Germany, is admitted. Said divorce and its
legal effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as private respondent is
concerned 23 in view of the nationality principle in our civil law on the matter of
status of persons.
Thus, in the recent case of Van Dorn vs. Romillo, Jr., et al., 24 after a divorce was
granted by a United States court between Alice Van Dorn, a Filipina, and her
American husband, the latter filed a civil case in a trial court here alleging that
her business concern was conjugal property and praying that she be ordered to
render an accounting and that the plaintiff be granted the right to manage the
business. Rejecting his pretensions, this Court perspicuously demonstrated the
error of such stance, thus:
"There can be no question as to the validity of that Nevada divorce in any of the
States of the United States. The decree is binding on private respondent as an
American citizen. For instance, private respondent cannot sue petitioner, as her
husband, in any State of the Union . . .
"It is true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil
Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against absolute
divorces the same being considered contrary to our concept of public policy and
morality. However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized
in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law . . .

"Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the husband
of petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in the case below as petitioner's
husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets . . ." 25

judicial declaration of its nullity ab initio. The same rule and requisite would
necessarily apply where the termination of the marriage was effected, as in this
case, by a valid foreign divorce.

Under the same considerations and rationale, private respondent, being no longer
the husband of petitioner, had no legal standing to commence the adultery case
under the imposture that he was the offended spouse at the time he filed suit.

Private respondent's invocation of Donio-Teves, et al. vs. Vamenta, herein before


cited, 27 must suffer the same fate of inapplicability. A cursory reading of said
case reveals that the offended spouse therein had duly and seasonably filed a
complaint for adultery, although an issue was raised as to its sufficiency but
which was resolved in favor of the complainant. Said case did not involve a
factual situation akin to the one at bar or any issue determinative of the
controversy herein.

The allegation of private respondent that he could not have brought this case
before the decree of divorce for lack of knowledge, even if true, is of no legal
significance or consequence in this case. When said respondent initiated the
divorce proceeding, he obviously knew that there would no longer be a family nor
marriage vows to protect once a dissolution of the marriage is decreed. Neither
would there be a danger of introducing spurious heirs into the family, which is
said to be one of the reasons for the particular formulation of our law on adultery,
26 since there would thenceforth be no spousal relationship to speak of. The
severance of the marital bond had the effect of dissociating the former spouses
from each other, hence the actuations of one would not affect or cast obloquy on
the other.
The aforecited case of United States vs. Mata cannot be successfully relied upon
by private respondent. In applying Article 433 of the old Penal Code, substantially
the same as Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, which punished adultery
"although the marriage be afterwards declared void", the Court merely stated
that "the lawmakers intended to declare adulterous the infidelity of a married
woman to her marital vows, even though it should be made to appear that she is
entitled to have her marriage contract declared null and void, until and unless she
actually secures a formal judicial declaration to that effect". Definitely, it cannot
be logically inferred therefrom that the complaint can still be filed after the
declaration of nullity because such declaration that the marriage is void ab initio
is equivalent to stating that it never existed. There being no marriage from the
beginning, any complaint for adultery filed after said declaration of nullity would
no longer have a leg to stand on. Moreover, what was consequently contemplated
and within the purview of the decision in said case is the situation where the
criminal action for adultery was filed before the termination of the marriage by a

WHEREFORE, the questioned order denying petitioner's motion to quash is SET


ASIDE and another one entered DISMISSING the complaint in Criminal Case No.
87-52435 for lack of jurisdiction. The temporary restraining order issued in this
case on October 21, 1987 is hereby made permanent.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinion
PARAS, J ., concurring:
It is my considered opinion that regardless of whether We consider the German
absolute divorce as valid also in the Philippines, the fact is that the husband in
the instant case, by the very act of his obtaining an absolute divorce in Germany
can no longer be considered as the offended party in case his former wife actually
has carnal knowledge with another, because in divorcing her, he already implicitly
authorized the woman to have sexual relations with others. A contrary ruling
would be less than fair for a man, who is free to have sex will be allowed to
deprive the woman of the same privilege.
In the case of Recto v. Harden (100 Phil. 427 [1956]), the Supreme Court
considered the absolute divorce between the American husband and his American
wife as valid and binding in the Philippines on the theory that their status and

capacity are governed by their National law, namely, American law. There is no
decision yet of the Supreme Court regarding the validity of such a divorce if one
of the parties, say an American, is married to a Filipino wife, for then two (2)
different nationalities would be involved.
In the book of Senate President Jovito Salonga entitled Private International Law
and precisely because of the National law doctrine, he considers the absolute
divorce as valid insofar as the American husband is concerned but void insofar as
the Filipino wife is involved. This results in what he calls a "socially grotesque
situation," where a Filipino woman is still married to a man who is no longer her
husband. It is the opinion however, of the undersigned that very likely the
opposite expresses the correct view. While under the national law of the husband
the absolute divorce will be valid, still one of the exceptions to the application of
the proper foreign law (one of the exceptions to comity) is when the foreign law
will work an injustice or injury to the people or residents of the forum.
Consequently since to recognize the absolute divorce as valid on the part of the
husband would be injurious or prejudicial to the Filipino wife whose marriage
would be still valid under her national law, it would seem that under our law
existing before the new Family Code (which took effect on August 3, 1988) the
divorce should be considered void both with respect to the American husband and
the Filipino wife.
The recent case of Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.(139 SCRA [1985]) cannot apply despite
the fact that the husband was an American with a Filipino wife because in said
case the validity of the divorce insofar as the Filipino wife is concerned was
NEVER put in issue.
Footnotes
1.

Rollo, 5, 29.

2.

Ibid., 6, 29.

3.

Ibid., 7.

4.

Ibid., 7, 29-30; Annexes A and A-1, Petition.

5.

Ibid., 7, 178.

6.

Ibid., 8; Annexes B, B-1 and B-2, id.

7.

Ibid., 8-9, 178.

8.

Ibid., 9, 178; Annex C, id.

9.

Ibid., 9-10, 178; Annex D, id.

10.

Ibid., 9; Annexes E and E-1, id.

11.

Ibid., 10; Annex F, id.

12.

Ibid., 9, 179; Annex G, id.

13.

Ibid., 10; Annex H, id.

14.

Ibid., 105.

15.

Ibid., 11.

16.

Ibid., 311-313.

17.

Cf. Sec. 5, Rule 110, Rules of Court.

18.
People vs. Mandia, 60 Phil. 372, 375 (1934); People vs. Zurbano, 37 SCRA
565, 569 (1971); People vs. Lingayen, G.R. No. 64556, June 10, 1988.
19.
Valdepeas vs. People, 16 SCRA 871 (1966); People vs. Babasa, 97 SCRA
672 (1980).
20.
Samilin vs. Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, 57 Phil. 298 (1932);
Donio-Teves, et al. vs. Vamenta, et al., 133 SCRA 616 (1984).
21.

Rollo, 289.

22.
2 Am. Jur. 2d., 973 citing State vs. Loftus, 104 NW 906, 907; Re Smith, 2
Okla. 153, 37 p. 1099; State vs. Russell, 90 Iowa 569, 58 NW 915.

23.

Recto vs. Harden, 100 Phil. 427 (1956).

24.

139 SCRA 139, 140 (1985).

25.
The said pronouncements foreshadowed and are adopted in the Family
Code of the Philippines (Executive Order No. 209, as amended by Executive Order
No. 227, effective on August 3, 1988), Article 26 whereof provides that "(w)here
marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a
divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him
or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry
under Philippine law."
26.

U.S. vs. Mata, 18 Phil. 490 (1911).

27.

Footnote 20, ante.

[G.R. No. L-38308. December 26, 1984.]


MILAGROS DONIO-TEVES and MANUEL MORENO, petitioners, vs. HON.
CIPRIANO VAMENTA, JR., as Presiding Judge, Branch III, Court of First
Instance, Negros Oriental, PABLO E. CABAHUG, as City Fiscal of
Dumaguete, and JULIAN L. TEVES, respondents.
Geminiano M. Eleccion and Jose A. Arbas for petitioners.
Lenin R. Victoriano for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1.
CRIMINAL LAW; ADULTERY; COMPLAINT MUST BE FILED BY THE OFFENDED
SPOUSE. Adultery, being a private offense, it cannot be prosecuted except
upon a complaint filed by the offended spouse who cannot institute the criminal

prosecution without including both the guilty parties, if they are both alive, nor in
any case, if he shall have consented or pardoned the offenders.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; DESIRE OF THE OFFENDED PARTY TO FILE COMPLAINT, THE
OVERRIDING CONSIDERATION. This legal requirement was imposed "out of
consideration for the aggrieved party who might prefer to suffer the outrage in
silence rather than go through the scandal of a public trial." Thus, the law leaves
it to the option of the aggrieved spouse to seek judicial redress for the affront
committed by the erring spouse. This should be the overriding consideration in
determining the issue of whether or not the condition precedent prescribed by
said Article 344 has been complied with. For, indeed, it is the spirit rather than
the letter of the law which should prevail.
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; REQUIREMENT APPLIES TO COMPLAINT FILED WITH THE
COURT. The complaint referred to which is required by way of initiating the
criminal prosecution of crimes which cannot be prosecuted de officio is, however,
that one filed with the Court and not that which is necessary to start the required
preliminary investigation by the fiscal's office. In the latter case, a letter of
complaint sufficed for the purpose.
4.
ID.; ID.; ID.; DETERMINATION OF PURPOSE AMPLY SHOWN IN THE STRONG
AND UNEQUIVOCAL STATEMENT IN THE COMPLAINT FILED IN CASE AT BAR.
Coming back to the case at bar, the desire of the offended party Julian L. Teves to
bring his wife and her alleged paramour before the bar of justice is only too
evident. Such determination of purpose on his part is amply demonstrated in the
strong and unequivocal statement contained in his first complaint of July 13, 1972
making clear and implicit his purpose, which is no other than "to file a criminal
complaint for ADULTERY against my wife Milagros Donio-Teves and her paramour
Manuel Moreno". . . plus the fact that he filed no less than three (3) complaints in
order to meet the objections of the petitioner herein as to the sufficiency of his
first complaint dated July 13, 1972.
5.
ID.; ID.; COMPLAINT IN CASE AT BAR IS SUFFICIENT TO ENABLE THE COURT
TO PRONOUNCE JUDGMENT. Petitioners' submission that there is no sufficient
and valid complaint instituted in the instant case so as to confer jurisdiction over
the offense and persons of the accused (herein petitioners), hardly convinces Us.

The second complaint dated January 16, 1973 filed with the Fiscal's Office and
that filed with the respondent Court on March 26, 1973, are both sufficient and
valid complaints. Both state the name of the defendants; the designation of the
offense by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the
offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of the commission
of the offense; and the place where the offense was committed, which is an
absolute compliance with what Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code and Section
5, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court prescribe. Both complaints were also
thumbmarked by and under oath of the complainant. The allegations of the
complaints fully apprised petitioners of the facts and acts subject matter thereof
and enables them to fully comprehend to which acts of theirs it refers. Both
sufficiently identify the acts constituting the offense, sufficient enough to enable
the Court to pronounce a valid judgment thereon in case of conviction. As it is,
doubt could not have set in and confusion would not have arisen had the Fiscal
limited himself merely to the filing of the complaint (thumbmarked and under
oath of the complainant) instead of an information with the complaint annexed
thereto.
6.
ID.; ID., ID.; DEATH OF THE OFFENDED PARTY DOES NOT EXTINGUISH
CRIMINAL LIABILITY. Such a stand is erroneous. Death of the offended party is
not a ground for extinguishment of criminal liability whether total or partial. The
participation of the offended party is essential not for the maintenance of the
criminal action but solely for the initiation thereof.
7.
ID.; TERM PRIVATE CRIMES" IS MISLEADING; ONCE THE COMPLAINT IS
FILED, THE LAW WILL BE APPLIED IN FULL FORCE. The term "private crimes" in
reference to felonies which cannot be prosecuted except upon complaint filed by
the aggrieved party, is misleading. Far from what it implies, it is not only the
aggrieved party who is offended in such crimes but also the State. Every violation
of penal laws results in the disturbance of public order and safety which the State
is committed to uphold and protect. If the law imposes the condition that private
crimes like adultery shall not be prosecuted except upon complaint filed by the
offended party, it is, as herein pointed earlier "out of consideration for the
aggrieved party who might prefer to suffer the outrage in silence rather than go
through the scandal of a public trial." Once a complaint is filed, the will of the

offended party is ascertained and the action proceeds just as in any other crime.
This is shown by the fact that after filing a complaint, any pardon given by the
complainant to the offender would be unavailing. It is true, the institution of the
action in so-called private crimes is at the option of the aggrieved party. But it is
equally true that once the choice is made manifest, the law will be applied in full
force beyond the control of, and in spite of the complainant, his death
notwithstanding.
DECISION
CUEVAS, J p:
Petitioners Milagros Donio-Teves and Manuel Moreno are accused of and charged
with 'ADULTERY' before the defunct Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental
under Criminal Case No. 1079 assigned to Branch III thereof, presided over by the
Honorable respondent Judge. The said criminal proceeding was initiated by a
letter-complaint dated July 13, 1972 1 thumbmarked and sworn to by complainant
Julian L. Teves, the husband of petitioner Milagros Donio-Teves, on the same date
before respondent City Fiscal Pablo E. Cabahug. Said letter-complaint reads as
follows: LexLib
"Sir:
I have the honor to file a criminal complaint for 'Adultery' against my wife
Milagros Donio-Teves and her paramour, Manuel Moreno, residents of this City and
Bouffard Subdivision, Sibulan, Negros Oriental, respectively.
The affidavits of my witnesses are hereto attached.
Truly yours,
(Thumbmark)
JULIAN L. TEVES
Complainant

WITNESSES TO THUMBMARK:

Sir:

1.

(Sgd) Mita D. Escao

2.

(Sgd) Rubi Villariza Destao

I hereby accused my wife Milagros Donio-Teves and her paramour Manuel Moreno,
residents of Bais City and Bouffard Subdivision, Sibulan, Negros Oriental,
respectively of the crime of 'Adultery,' committed as follows:

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 13th day of July 1972, at Dumaguete
City.
(Sgd) PABLO E. CABAHUG
City Fiscal
Dumaguete City"
Attached to the said letter-complaint were the affidavits of Elisa Chiu, Milagros
Quiteves and Lorenza Regala-Lacsina, witnesses of complainant Julian L. Teves. 2
On the basis thereof, respondent City Fiscal conducted a preliminary investigation
of the aforesaid charge. Complainant Julian L. Teves took the witness stand
affirmed the statements appearing in his letter-complaint. He also identified one
of the respondents, his wife Milagros Donio-Teves. Thereafter, he was crossexamined lengthily by counsel for both respondents, now petitioners.
After terminating his examination, respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss, assailing
the jurisdiction of the City Fiscal to take cognizance of the case on the ground that
there was no proper complaint filed by complainant Julian L. Teves. The motion
was denied and continuation of the preliminary investigation was thereafter set
for December 2, 1972. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid
order of denial was likewise denied by the respondent City Fiscal. Meanwhile,
complainant Julian L. Teves filed a new letter-complaint dated January 16, 1973,
this time attaching his affidavit thereto.
The said letter-complaint 3 reads as follows:
"The City Fiscal
Dumaguete City

That on or about and during the months of May, 1970, to December, 1970, in the
City of Dumaguete, and within the jurisdiction of this Office for preliminary
investigation, the said Milagros Donio-Teves who is my wife, wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously had sexual intercourse with her co-accused Manuel Moreno, who
is not her husband, while the latter, knowing her to be married, wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously had carnal knowledge of her.
Contrary to law.
I hereby attach my affidavit in support of this complaint, in addition to the
affidavits of Milagros Quiteves, Elisa Chiu and Lorenza RegalaLacsina . . . This complaint is in amplification of my complaint, dated July 23,
1972, against the same persons for the same offense, filed with your office on July
13, 1972. . . .
Truly yours,
(THUMBMARK)

JULIAN L. TEVES
Complainant
xxx

xxx

xxx

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 16th day of January 1973, at Dumaguete
City.
(Sgd) PABLO E. CABAHUG

City Fiscal"

His Thumbmark

Continuation of the preliminary investigation was set for February 12, 1973. It was
later reset to March 6, 1973 and finally to March 23, 1973 at the instance of
respondents-petitioners.
At the resumption of the preliminary investigation scheduled on March 23, 1973,
petitioners filed a Joint Urge Omnibus Motion dated March 23, 1973, praying that
portions of the affidavits of Elisa Chiu, Milagros Quiteves and Lorenza RegalaLacsina which relate to the adulterous acts allegedly committed outside the
territorial jurisdiction of Dumaguete City be ordered stricken out, the same not
falling within the jurisdiction of the respondent City Fiscal. With the said motion
still unresolved, an information to which a complaint thumbmarked by
complainant Julian L. Teves, was filed before the then Court of First Instance of
Negros Oriental on March 26, 1973 which, as herein earlier stated, was docketed
therein as Criminal Case No. 1097. The complaint reads:

"Complaint
The undersigned complainant accused MILAGROS DONIO-TEVES and MANUEL
MORENO of the crime of ADULTERY, committed as follows:
"That on or about and during the months of May, 1970 to December, 1970, and
for sometime prior and subsequent thereto, in the City of Dumaguete, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused MILAGROS
DONIO-TEVES, being then united in lawful wedlock with the undersigned
complainant, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously lay with, and had carnal
knowledge of, her co-accused MANUEL MORENO, who in turn, knowing that said
MILAGROS DONIO-TEVES was a married woman, wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously lay with, and had carnal knowledge of, her."
Contrary to law.
City of Dumaguete, Philippines, March 26, 1973.

JULIAN L. TEVES
Complainant
WITNESS TO THUMBMARK:
(Sgd) YOLANDA D. BAGUIO
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 26th day of March, 1973, in the City
of Dumaguete, Philippines.
(Sgd) PABLO E. CABAHUG
City Fiscal
Witnesses:
1.

Julian L. Teves, Bais City

2.

Elisa Chiu, Bais City

3.

Milagros Quiteves, Bais City

4.

Lorenza Regala-Lacsina, Bais City and others."

On September 28, 1973, the day before the scheduled arraignment, petitioner
Milagros Donio-Teves filed a Motion to Quash challenging the jurisdiction of the
respondent Court over the offense charged and the persons of both accused; and
the authority of respondent City Fiscal of Dumaguete to file the information. In a
"Manifestation" dated September 28, 1973, petitioner Manuel Moreno formally
adopted as his own, Milagros Donio-Teves' aforesaid Motion to Quash.
After the Opposition and Joint Answer to Opposition were filed, respondent Judge
issued an Order dated December 3, 1973 denying petitioners' Motion to Quash for
lack of merit. Petitioners' joint motion for reconsideration was likewise denied in

an Order dated January 14, 1974. Arraignment of petitioners was set for March 1,
1974 and later reset to March 7, 1974.
Hence, the instant petition for CERTIORARI, PROHIBITION and MANDAMUS with
preliminary injunction praying for the annulment of:
"(1)
all the proceedings conducted by the respondent City Fiscal that led to the
filing of the challenged information;
(2)
the Order of the Honorable respondent Judge dated December 3, 1973
denying petitioners' motion to quash as well as the Order dated January 14, 1974
denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration; and
(3)
commanding the respondent Trial Judge and respondent City Fiscal to
desist from taking any further action."
The petition is devoid of merit. Hence, its dismissal is in order.
Petitioners' attack against the validity of the proceedings conducted by the
respondent City Fiscal is anchored on the lack of a valid complaint on the part of
the offended party. The challenge against jurisdiction having been acquired over
the case and persons of the accused, is similarly predicated on the same ground
absence of a valid complaint.
Adultery, being a private offense, it cannot be prosecuted except upon a
complaint filed by the offended spouse who cannot institute the criminal
prosecution without including both the guilty parties, if they are both alive, nor in
any case, if he shall have consented or pardoned the offenders. 4
This Court has invariably maintained strict adherence to this jurisdictional
requirement of a complaint by the offended party, as defined in Section 2 of Rule
106 of the Rules of Court and Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code. 5 So much
so, that an Information filed with the provincial fiscal wherein the offended party
signed at the bottom thereof over and above the signature of the prosecuting
officer, the information even reciting that the provincial fiscal charges defendant
with the crime of seduction at the "instance of the offended party" was
considered insufficient. 6 In another case, 7 this Court motu proprio dismissed the

case for failure of the aggrieved party to file the proper complaint for the offense
of oral defamation imputing the commission of an offense which cannot be
prosecuted de oficio, although the accused never raised the question on appeal,
thereby dramatizing the necessity of strict compliance with the above legal
requirement even to the extent of nullifying all the proceedings already had in the
lower court. Cdpr
However, this legal requirement was imposed "out of consideration for the
aggrieved party who might prefer to suffer the outrage in silence rather than go
through the scandal of a public trial." 8 Thus, the law leaves it to the option of the
aggrieved spouse to seek judicial redress for the affront committed by the erring
spouse. This should be the overriding consideration in determining the issue of
whether or not the condition precedent prescribed by said Article 344 has been
complied with. For, indeed, it is the spirit rather than the letter of the law which
should prevail. 9
The complaint referred to which is required by way of initiating the
prosecution of crimes which cannot be prosecuted de oficio, is, however,
filed with the Court and not that which is necessary to start the
preliminary investigation by the fiscal's office. 10 In the latter case, a
complaint sufficed for the purpose.

criminal
that one
required
letter of

Coming back to the case at bar, the desire of the offended party Julian L. Teves to
bring his wife and her alleged paramour before the bar of' justice is only too
evident. Such determination of purpose on his part is amply demonstrated in the
strong and unequivocal statement contained in his first complaint of July 13, 1972
making clear and implicit his purpose, which is no other than "to file a criminal
complaint for ADULTERY against my wife Milagros Donio-Teves and her paramour
Manuel Moreno" . . . plus the fact that he filed no less than three (3) complaints in
order to meet the objections of the petitioner herein as to the sufficiency of his
first complaint dated July 13, 1972.
Petitioners' submission that there is no sufficient and valid complaint
instituted in the instant case so as to confer jurisdiction over the offense and
persons of the accused (herein petitioners), hardly convince Us. The second
complaint dated January 16, 1973 filed with the Fiscal's Office and that filed with

the respondent Court on March 26, 1973, are both sufficient and valid complaints.
Both state the name of the defendants; the designation of the offense by the
statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the
name of the offended party; the approximate time of the commission of the
offense; and the place where the offense was committed which is an absolute
compliance with what Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 5, Rule
110 of the Rules of Court prescribe. 11 Both complaints were also thumbmarked
by and under oath of the complainant. The allegations of the complaints fully
apprised petitioners of the facts and acts subject matter thereof and enables
them to fully comprehend to which acts of theirs it refers. 12 Both sufficiently
identify the acts constituting the offense, sufficient enough to enable the Court to
pronounce a valid judgment thereon in case of conviction. 13
As it is, doubt could not have set in and confusion would not have arisen had the
Fiscal limited himself merely to the filing of the complaint (thumbmarked and
under oath of the complainant) instead of an information with the complaint
annexed thereto.
Finally, as a last-ditch attempt to throw the ADULTERY case out of court,
petitioners invoked the death of the complainant which took place on April 14,
1974 and during the pendency of this case, as an added argument in support of
their plea for dismissal.
Such a stand is erroneous. Death of the offended party is not a ground for
extinguishment of criminal liability whether total 14 or partial. 15 The
participation of the offended party is essential not for the maintenance of the
criminal action but soley for the initiation thereof. LLjur
The term "private crimes" in reference to felonies which cannot be prosecuted
except upon complaint filed by the aggrieved party, is misleading. Far from what
it implies, it is not only the aggrieved party who is offended in such crimes but
also the State. Every violation of penal laws results in the disturbance of public
order and safety which the State is committed to uphold and protect. If the law
imposes the condition that private crimes like adultery shall not be prosecuted
except upon complaint filed by the offended party, it is, as herein pointed earlier
"out of consideration for the aggrieved party who might prefer to suffer the

outrage in silence rather than go through the scandal of a public trial." Once a
complaint is filed, the will of the offended party is ascertained and the action
proceeds just as in any other crime. This is shown by the fact that after filing a
complaint, any pardon given by the complainant to the offender would be
unavailing. 16 It is true, the institution of the action in so-called private crimes is
at the option of the aggrieved party. But it is equally true that once the choice is
made manifest, the law will be applied in full force beyond the control of, and in
spite of the complainant, his death notwithstanding. 17
WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the petition is DISMISSED. The Presiding Judge of
the Regional Trial Court Branch of Negros Oriental to whose sala Criminal Case No.
1097 had been assigned, is hereby ordered to immediately continue with the trial
of the aforementioned case and render judgment thereon on the basis of the
evidence presented.
SO ORDERED.
Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Abad Santos and Escolin, JJ ., concur.
Separate Opinions
AQUINO, J ., concurring:
I concur. The motion to quash is obviously dilatory. The instant petition should not
have been given due course. LLphil
Footnotes
1.

Appendix "C", Complaint.

2.

Pages 45, 47 and 48, Rollo.

3.

Annex "A."

4.

Article 344, Revised Penal Code; Sec. 4, par. 3, Rule 10, Rules of Court.

5.
U.S. vs. Gomez, 12 Phil. 279; U.S. vs. Narvas, 14 Phil. 410; U.S. vs. dela
Cruz, 17 Phil. 1.39; U.S. vs. Castaares, 18 Phil. 210; U.S. vs. Salazar, 19 Phil. 233;

Quilatan & Santiago vs. Caruncho, 21 Phil. 399; People vs. Martines, 76 Phil. 559;
People vs. Santos, et al., 101 Phil. 798, 803.
6.

People vs. Palabao, G.R. No. L-80027, August 31, 1954.

7.

People vs. Martinez, 76 Phil. 599.

8.

Samilin vs. CFI of Pangasinan, 57 Phil. 298-304.

9.

Paraphrasing the Court in People vs. Ilarde, 125 SCRA 11-18.

ARTICLE 32
ARTICLE 33
ARTICLE 34
[G.R. No. 135216. August 19, 1999.]
TOMASA VDA. DE JACOB, as Special Administratrix of the Intestate
Estate of Deceased Alfredo E. Jacob, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS,
PEDRO PILAPIL, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS for the Province of Camarines
Sur, and JUAN F. TRIVINO as publisher of "Balalong", respondents.

10.

People vs. Santos, et al., supra.

11.

People vs. Salazar, 93 SCRA 796, 801.

Benito P. Fabie and Nelson P. Paraiso for petitioner.

12.

People vs. Arnault, 92 Phil. 252.

Coronado Osorio & Associates for private respondent.

13.

U.S. vs. Chan Co., 23 Phil. 643.

SYNOPSIS

14.

Article 89, Revised Penal Code.

15.

Article 94, Revised Penal Code.

16.

People vs. Miranda, 57 Phil. 274; People vs. Entes, 103 SCRA 162.

17.

People vs. Ilarde, supra.

Petitioner Tomasa Vda. de Jacob, claiming to be the surviving spouse of the


deceased Dr. Alfredo E. Jacob, was appointed as special administratrix for the
various estates of the deceased. As proof, she presented a reconstructed
Marriage Contract between herself and the deceased. However, during the
proceeding for the settlement of the said estate, respondent Pedro Pilapil
intervened by claiming his share in the estate as the legally adopted son of
Alfredo and as his sole surviving heir. In support of his claim, he presented an
Order dated 18 July 1961 issued by then Presiding Judge Jose L. Moya of the Court
of First Instance, Camarines Sur, granting the petition for adoption filed by the
deceased Alfredo in favor of Pedro Pilapil. He also questioned the validity of the
marriage between Tomasa and his adoptive father Alfredo. On the other hand,
Tomasa opposed the said Motion for Intervention. After trial, the court a quo
rendered decision in favor of Pedro. The Court of Appeals affirmed the said
decision. caDTSE

ARTICLE 27
ARTICLE 28
ARTICLE 29
ARTICLE 30
ARTICLE 31

Hence, this petition.

The Court ruled that due execution of the marriage contract was established by
the testimonies of Adela Pilapil, who was present during the marriage ceremony,
and of petitioner herself as a party to the event. The subsequent loss was shown
by the testimony and the affidavit of the officiating priest, Monsignor Yllana, as
well as by petitioner's own declaration in court. These are relevant, competent
and admissible evidence. Since the due execution and the loss of the marriage
contract were clearly shown by the evidence presented, secondary evidence
testimonial and documentary may be admitted to prove the fact of marriage.
Further, Pilapil's conduct gave no indication that he recognized his own alleged
adoption, as shown by the documents that he signed and other acts that he
performed thereafter. In the same vein, no proof was presented that Dr. Jacob had
treated him as an adopted child. Likewise, both the Bureau of Records
Management in Manila and the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Tigaon,
Camarines Sur, issued Certifications that there was no record the Pedro Pilapil had
been adopted by Dr. Jacob. Taken together, these circumstances inexorably
negate the alleged adoption of respondent.
SYLLABUS
1.
REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; FACT OF MARRIAGE MAY BE SHOWN BY
EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE OTHER THAN THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT. The contents of
a document may be proven by competent evidence other than the document
itself, provided that the offeror establishes its due execution and its subsequent
loss or destruction. Accordingly, the fact of marriage may be shown by extrinsic
evidence other than the marriage contract.
2.
CIVIL LAW; PERSONS AND FAMILY RELATIONS; VOID MARRIAGE; SUBJECT
TO COLLATERAL ATTACK. Doctrinally, a void marriage may be subjected to
collateral attack, while a voidable one may be assailed only in a direct
proceeding.
3.
ID.; ID.; MARRIAGE UNDER EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES; MARRIAGE
LICENSE NOT REQUIRED. To start with, Respondent Pedro Pilapil argues that the
marriage was void because the parties had no marriage license. This argument is
misplaced, because it has been established that Dr. Jacob and petitioner lived

together as husband and wife for at least five years. An affidavit to this effect was
executed by Dr. Jacob and petitioner. Clearly then, the marriage was exceptional
in character and did not require a marriage license under Article 76 of the Civil
Code. The Civil Code governs this case, because the questioned marriage and the
assailed adoption took place prior the effectivity of the Family Code. TEDHaA
4.
REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE; SECONDARY
EVIDENCE ALLOWED IN COURT WHEN ORIGINAL WRITING CANNOT BE PRODUCED.
"It is settled that if the original writing has been lost or destroyed or cannot be
produced in court, upon proof of its execution and loss or destruction, or
unavailability, its contents may be proved by a copy or a recital of its contents in
some authentic document, or by recollection of witnesses." Upon a showing that
the document was duly executed and subsequently lost, without any bad faith on
the part of the offeror, secondary evidence may be adduced to prove its contents.
5.
ID.; ID.; ID.; DUE EXECUTION AND FACT OF LOSS OF ORIGINAL DOCUMENT
MAY BE PROVED BY PAROL EVIDENCE. Truly, the execution of a document may
be proven by the parties themselves, by the swearing officer, by witnesses who
saw and recognized the signatures of the parties; or even by those to whom the
parties have previously narrated the execution thereof. The Court has also held
that "[t]he loss may be shown by any person who [knows] the fact of its loss, or
by any one who ha[s] made, in the judgment of the court, a sufficient
examination in the place or places where the document or papers of similar
character are usually kept by the person in whose custody the document lost was,
and has been unable to find it; or who has made any other investigation which is
sufficient to satisfy the court that the instrument [has] indeed [been] lost."
6.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. In the present case, due
execution was established by the testimonies of Adela Pilapil, who was present
during the marriage ceremony, and of petitioner herself as a party to the event.
The subsequent loss was shown by the testimony and the affidavit of the
officiating priest, Monsignor Yllana, as well as by petitioner's own declaration in
court. These are relevant, competent and admissible evidence. Since the due
execution and the loss of the marriage contract were clearly shown by the

evidence presented, secondary evidence testimonial and documentary may


be admitted to prove the fact of marriage.
7.
ID.; ID.; FACT OF MARRIAGE MAY BE PROVEN BY ANY COMPETENT OR
RELEVANT EVIDENCE. As early as Pugeda v. Trias, we have held that marriage
may be proven by any competent and relevant evidence. In that case, we said:
"Testimony by one of the parties to the marriage, or by one of the witnesses to
the marriage, has been held to be admissible to prove the fact of marriage. The
person who officiated at the solemnization is also competent to testify as an
eyewitness to the fact of marriage." In Balogbog v. CA, we similarly held:
"[A]lthough a marriage contract is considered primary evidence of marriage, the
failure to present it is not proof that no marriage took place. Other evidence may
be presented to prove marriage." (emphasis supplied, footnote omitted) In both
cases, we allowed testimonial evidence to prove the fact of marriage. We
reiterated this principle in Trinidad v. CA, in which, because of the destruction of
the marriage contract, we accepted testimonial evidence in its place.
8.
CIVIL LAW; PERSONS AND FAMILY RELATIONS; MARRIAGE; NOT
INVALIDATED BY FAILURE TO SEND COPY OF MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE FOR RECORD
PURPOSES. Respondent Pedro Pilapil misplaces emphasis on the absence of an
entry pertaining to 1975 in the Books of Marriage of the Local Civil Registrar of
Manila and in the National Census and Statistics Office (NCSO). He finds it quite
"bizarre" for petitioner to have waited three years before registering their
marriage. On both counts, he proceeds from the wrong premise. In the first place,
failure to send a copy of a marriage certificate for record purposes does not
invalidate the marriage. In the second place, it was not the petitioner's duty to
send a copy of the marriage certificate to the civil registrar. Instead, this charge
fell upon the solemnizing officer. CaATDE
9.
REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; PRESUMPTION IN FAVOR OF MARRIAGE. "The
basis of human society throughout the civilized world is . . . of marriage. Marriage
in this jurisdiction is not only a civil contract, but it is a new relation, an institution
in the maintenance of which the public is deeply interested. Consequently, every
intendment of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony. Persons dwelling
together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence of any

counterpresumption or evidence special to the case, to be in fact married. The


reason is that such is the common order of society, and if the parties were not
what they thus hold themselves out as being, they would be living in the constant
violation of decency and of law. A presumption established by our Code of Civil
Procedure is 'that a man and woman deporting themselves as husband and wife
have entered into a lawful contract of marriage.' Semper praesumitur pro
matrimonio Always presume marriage."
10.
ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY; FACTUAL FINDINGS OF TRIAL COURT ACCORDED
GREAT WEIGHT AND RESPECT BY APPELLATE COURTS. As a rule, the factual
findings of the trial court are accorded great weight and respect by appellate
courts, because it had the opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses and
to note telltale signs indicating the truth or the falsity of a testimony.
11.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. The rule, however, is
not applicable to the present case, because it was Judge Augusto O. Cledera, not
the ponente, who heard the testimonies of the two expert witnesses. Thus, the
Court examined the records and found that the Court of Appeals and the trial
court "failed to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly considered, will
justify a different conclusion." Hence, the present case is an exception to the
general rule that only questions of law may be reviewed in petitions under Rule
45.
12.
ID.; ID.; BURDEN OF PROOF; FALLS ON PERSON CLAIMING RELATIONSHIP
BY ADOPTION. Pilapil's conduct gave no indication that he recognized his own
alleged adoption, as shown by the documents that he signed and other acts that
he performed thereafter. In the same vein, no proof was presented that Dr. Jacob
had treated him as an adopted child. Likewise, both the Bureau of Records
Management in Manila and the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Tigaon,
Camarines Sur, issued Certifications that there was no record that Pedro Pilapil
had been adopted by Dr. Jacob. Taken together, these circumstances inexorably
negate the alleged adoption of respondent. The burden of proof in establishing
adoption is upon the person claiming such relationship. This Respondent Pilapil
failed to do. Moreover, the evidence presented by petitioner shows that the
alleged adoption is a sham. EHaCTA

DECISION

d)

PANGANIBAN, J p:

And costs against [herein petitioner.]"

The contents of a document may be proven by competent evidence other than


the document itself, provided that the offeror establishes its due execution and its
subsequent loss or destruction. Accordingly, the fact of marriage may be shown
by extrinsic evidence other than the marriage contract.

The Facts

The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the
Decision of the Court of Appeals 1 (CA) dated January 15, 1998, and its Resolution
dated August 24, 1998, denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. llcd
The dispositive part of the CA Decision reads:
"WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from it being
more consistent with the facts and the applicable law, the challenged Decision
dated 05 April 1994 of the RTC, Br. 30, Tigaon, Camarines Sur is AFFIRMED in
toto." 2
The decretal portion of the trial court Decision 3 is as follows:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, decision is hereby rendered in favor of
[herein Respondent] Pedro Pilapil, and against [herein Petitioner] Tomasa Guison
as follows:
a)
Declaring Exh. B, the so called 'reconstructed marriage contract' excluded
under the best evidence rule, and therefore declaring said Exh. B spurious and
non-existent.
b)
Declaring Exh. 3 Order dated July 18, 1961, and the signature of the
issuing Judge JOSE L. MOYA (Exh. 34) to be genuine.
c)
Permanently setting aside and lifting the provisional writ of injunction
earlier issued; and

To pay attorney's fees of P50,000.

The Court of Appeals narrates the facts thus:


"Plaintiff-appellant [petitioner herein] claimed to be the surviving spouse of
deceased Dr. Alfredo E. Jacob and was appointed Special Administratrix for the
various estates of the deceased by virtue of a reconstructed Marriage Contract
between herself and the deceased.
"Defendant-appellee on the other hand, claimed to be the legally-adopted son of
Alfredo. In support of his claim, he presented an Order dated 18 July 1961 issued
by then Presiding Judge Jose L. Moya, CFI, Camarines Sur, granting the petition for
adoption filed by deceased Alfredo in favor of Pedro Pilapil.
"During the proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased Alfredo in
Case No. T-46 (entitled "Tomasa vda. de Jacob v. Jose Centenera, et al) herein
defendant-appellee Pedro sought to intervene therein claiming his share of the
deceased's estate as Alfredo's adopted son and as his sole surviving heir. Pedro
questioned the validity of the marriage between appellant Tomasa and his
adoptive father Alfredo.
"Appellant Tomasa opposed the Motion for Intervention and filed a complaint for
injunction with damages (Civil Case No. T-83) questioning appellee's claim as the
legal heir of Alfredo.
"The following issues were raised in the court a quo:
a)
Whether the marriage between the plaintiff-appellant and deceased
Alfredo Jacob was valid;
b)
Whether the defendant-appellee is the legally adopted son of deceased
Jacob.

"On the first issue, appellant claims that the marriage between her and Alfredo
was solemnized by one Msgr. Florencio C. Yllana, CBCP, Intramuros, Manila
sometime in 1975. She could not however present the original copy of the
Marriage Contract stating that the original document was lost when Msgr. Yllana
allegedly gave it to Mr. Jose Centenera for registration. In lieu of the original,
Tomasa presented as secondary evidence a reconstructed Marriage Contract
issued in 1978.

"Anent the second issue, appellee presented the Order dated 18 July 1961 in
Special Proceedings No. 192 issued by then Presiding Judge Moya granting the
petition for adoption filed by deceased Alfredo which declared therein Pedro
Pilapil as the legally adopted son of Alfredo.

"During the trial, the court a quo observed the following irregularities in the
execution of the reconstructed Marriage Contract, to wit: LexLib

"In an effort to disprove the genuineness and authenticity of Judge Moya's


signature in the Order granting the petition for adoption, the deposition of Judge
Moya was taken at his residence on 01 October 1990.

1.
No copy of the Marriage Contract was sent to the local civil registrar by the
solemnizing officer thus giving the implication that there was no copy of the
marriage contract sent to, nor a record existing in the civil registry of Manila;
2.
In signing the Marriage Contract, the late Alfredo Jacob merely placed his
"thumbmark" on said contract purportedly on 16 September 1975 (date of the
marriage). However, on a Sworn Affidavit executed between appellant Tomasa
and Alfredo a day before the alleged date of marriage or on 15 September 1975
attesting that both of them lived together as husband and wife for five (5) years,
Alfredo [af]fixed his customary signature. Thus the trial court concluded that the
"thumbmark" was logically "not genuine". In other words, not of Alfredo Jacob's;
3.
Contrary to appellant's claim, in his Affidavit stating the circumstances of
the loss of the Marriage Contract, the affiant Msgr. Yllana never mentioned that
he allegedly "gave the copies of the Marriage Contract to Mr. Jose Centenera for
registration". And as admitted by appellant at the trial, Jose Centenera (who
allegedly acted as padrino) was not present at the date of the marriage since he
was then in Australia. In fact, on the face of the reconstructed Marriage Contract,
it was one "Benjamin Molina" who signed on top of the typewritten name of Jose
Centenera. This belies the claim that Msgr. Yllana allegedly gave the copies of the
Marriage Contract to Mr. Jose Centenera;
4.
Appellant admitted that there was no record of the purported marriage
entered in the book of records in San Agustin Church where the marriage was
allegedly solemnized.

"Appellant Tomasa however questioned the authenticity of the signature of Judge


Moya.

"In his deposition, Judge Moya attested that he could no longer remember the
facts in judicial proceedings taken about twenty-nine (29) years ago when he was
then presiding judge since he was already 79 years old and was suffering from
"glaucoma".
"The trial court then consulted two (2) handwriting experts to test the authenticity
and genuineness of Judge Moya's signature.
"A handwriting examination was conducted by Binevenido C. Albacea, NBI
Document Examiner. Examiner Albacea used thirteen (13) specimen signatures of
Judge Moya and compared it with the questioned signature. He pointed out
irregularities and "significant fundamental differences in handwriting
characteristics/habits existing between the questioned and the 'standard'
signature" and concluded that the questioned and the standard signatures "JOSE
L. MOYA" were NOT written by one and the same person. llcd
"On the other hand, to prove the genuineness of Judge Moya's signature, appellee
presented the comparative findings of the handwriting examination made by a
former NBI Chief Document Examiner Atty. Desiderio A. Pagui who examined
thirty-two (32) specimen signatures of Judge Moya inclusive of the thirteen (13)
signatures examined by Examiner Albacea. In his report, Atty. Pagui noted the
existence of significant similarities of unconscious habitual pattern within
allowable variation of writing characteristics between the standard and the
questioned signatures and concluded that the signature of Judge Moya appearing

in the Order dated 18 July 1961 granting the petition for adoption was indeed
genuine.
"Confronted with two (2) conflicting reports, the trial court sustained the findings
of Atty. Pagui declaring the signature of Judge Moya in the challenged Order as
genuine and authentic.
"Based on the evidence presented, the trial court ruled for defendant-appellee
sustaining his claim as the legally adopted child and sole heir of deceased Alfredo
and declaring the reconstructed Marriage Contract as spurious and non-existent."
4 (citations omitted, emphasis in the original)
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
In affirming the Decision of the trial court, the Court of Appeals ruled in this wise:
"Dealing with the issue of validity of the reconstructed Marriage Contract, Article
6, par. 1 of the Family Code provides that the declaration of the contracting
parties that they take each other as husband and wife 'shall be set forth in an
instrument signed by the parties as well as by their witnesses and the person
solemnizing the marriage.' Accordingly, the primary evidence of a marriage must
be an authentic copy of the marriage contract.
"And if the authentic copy could not be produced, Section 3 in relation to Section
5, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:
'SECTION 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. When the
subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible
other than the original document itself, except in the following cases:
(a)
When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in
court without bad faith on the part of the offeror;
xxx

xxx

xxx

'SECTION 5. When the original document is unavailable. When the original


document has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the offeror,

upon proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability without
bad faith on his part, may prove its contents by a copy. Or by a recital of its
contents in some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the
order stated.'
"As required by the Rules, before the terms of a transaction in reality may be
established by secondary evidence, it is necessary that the due execution of the
document and subsequent loss of the original instrument evidencing the
transaction be proved. For it is the due execution of the document and
subsequent loss that would constitute the foundation for the introduction of
secondary evidence to prove the contents of such document. cdll
"In the case at bench, proof of due execution besides the loss of the three (3)
copies of the marriage contract has not been shown for the introduction of
secondary evidence of the contents of the reconstructed contract. Also, appellant
failed to sufficiently establish the circumstances of the loss of the original
document.
"With regard to the trial court's finding that the signature of then Judge Moya in
the questioned Order granting the petition for adoption in favor of Pedro Pilapil
was genuine, suffice it to state that, in the absence of clear and convincing proof
to the contrary, the presumption applies that Judge Moya in issuing the order
acted in the performance of his regular duties.
"Furthermore, since the signature appearing in the challenged Order was
subjected to a rigid examination of two (2) handwriting experts, this negates the
possibility of forgery of Judge Moya's signature. The value of the opinion of a
handwriting expert depends not upon his mere statement of whether a writing is
genuine or false, but upon the assistance he may afford in pointing out
distinguishing marks, characteristics, and discrepancies in and between genuine
and false specimens of writing of which would ordinarily escape notice or
dete[c]tion from an unpracticed observer. And in the final analysis, the
assessment of the credibility of such expert witnesses rests largely in the
discretion of the trial court, and the test of qualification is necessarily a relative
one, depending upon the subject under investigation and the fitness of the
particular witness. Except in extraordinary cases, an appellate court will not

reverse on account of a mistake of judgment on the part of the trial court in


determining qualifications of this case.
"Jurisprudence is settled that the trial court's findings of fact when ably supported
by substantial evidence on record are accorded with great weight and respect by
the Court. Thus, upon review, We find that no material facts were overlooked or
ignored by the court below which if considered might vary the outcome of this
case nor there exist cogent reasons that would warrant reversal of the findings
below. Factual findings of the trial court are entitled to great weight and respect
on appeal especially when established by unrebutted testimony and documentary
evidence." 5 (citations omitted, emphasis in the original)
Disagreeing with the above, petitioner lodged her Petition for Review before this
Court. 6

fundamental distinction, Respondent Pilapil contends that the marriage between


Dr. Alfredo Jacob and petitioner was void ab initio, because there was neither a
marriage license nor a marriage ceremony. 9 We cannot sustain this contention.
To start with, Respondent Pedro Pilapil argues that the marriage was void because
the parties had no marriage license. This argument is misplaced, because it has
been established that Dr. Jacob and petitioner lived together as husband and wife
for at least five years. 10 An affidavit to this effect was executed by Dr. Jacob and
petitioner. 11 Clearly then, the marriage was exceptional in character and did not
require a marriage license under Article 76 of the Civil Code. 12 The Civil Code
governs this case, because the questioned marriage and the assailed adoption
took place prior to the effectivity of the Family Code.
When Is Secondary

The Issues

Evidence Allowed?

In her Memorandum, petitioner presents the following issues for the resolution of
this Court: llcd

"It is settled that if the original writing has been lost or destroyed or cannot be
produced in court, upon proof of its execution and loss or destruction, or
unavailability, its contents may be proved by a copy or a recital of its contents in
some authentic document, or by recollection of witnesses." 13 Upon a showing
that the document was duly executed and subsequently lost, without any bad
faith on the part of the offeror, secondary evidence may be adduced to prove its
contents. 14

"a)
Whether or not the marriage between the plaintiff Tomasa Vda. De Jacob
and deceased Alfredo E. Jacob was valid; and
b)
Whether defendant Pedro Pilapil is the legally adopted son of Alfredo E.
Jacob." 7
The Court's Ruling
The Petition is meritorious. Petitioner's marriage is valid, but respondent's
adoption has not been sufficiently established.
First Issue:
Validity of Marriage
Doctrinally, a void marriage may be subjected to collateral attack, while a
voidable one may be assailed only in a direct proceeding. 8 Aware of this

The trial court and the Court of Appeals committed reversible error when they (1)
excluded the testimonies of petitioner, Adela Pilapil and Msgr. Florencio Yllana and
(2) disregarded the following: (a) photographs of the wedding ceremony; (b)
documentary evidence, such as the letter of Monsignor Yllana stating that he had
solemnized the marriage between Dr. Jacob and petitioner, informed the
Archbishop of Manila that the wedding had not been recorded in the Book of
Marriages, and at the same time requested the list of parties to the marriage; (c)
the subsequent authorization issued by the Archbishop through his vicar
general and chancellor, Msgr. Benjamin L. Marino ordaining that the union
between Dr. Jacob and petitioner be reflected through a corresponding entry in

the Book of Marriages; and (d) the Affidavit of Monsignor Yllana stating the
circumstances of the loss of the marriage certificate.
It should be stressed that the due execution and the loss of the marriage contract,
both constituting the conditio sine qua non for the introduction of secondary
evidence of its contents, were shown by the very evidence they have disregarded.
They have thus confused the evidence to show due execution and loss as
"secondary" evidence of the marriage. In Hernaez v. Mcgrath, 15 the Court
clarified this misconception thus:
". . . [T]he court below was entirely mistaken in holding that parol evidence of the
execution of the instrument was barred. The court confounded the execution and
the contents of the document. It is the contents, . . . which may not be prove[n]
by secondary evidence when the instrument itself is accessible. Proofs of the
execution are not dependent on the existence or non-existence of the document,
and, as a matter of fact, such proofs precede proofs of the contents: due
execution, besides the loss, has to be shown as foundation for the introduction of
secondary evidence of the contents. LLjur
xxx

xxx

xxx

"Evidence of the execution of a document is, in the last analysis, necessarily


collateral or primary. It generally consists of parol testimony or extrinsic papers.
Even when the document is actually produced, its authenticity is not necessarily,
if at all, determined from its face or recital of its contents but by parol evidence.
At the most, failure to produce the document, when available, to establish its
execution may affect the weight of the evidence presented but not the
admissibility of such evidence." (emphasis ours)
The Court of Appeals, as well as the trial court, tried to justify its stand on this
issue by relying on Lim Tanhu v. Ramolete. 16 But even there, we said that
"marriage may be prove[n] by other competent evidence." 17
Truly, the execution of a document may be proven by the parties themselves, by
the swearing officer, by witnesses who saw and recognized the signatures of the
parties; or even by those to whom the parties have previously narrated the

execution thereof. 18 The Court has also held that "[t]he loss may be shown by
any person who [knows] the fact of its loss, or by any one who ha[s] made, in the
judgment of the court, a sufficient examination in the place or places where the
document or papers of similar character are usually kept by the person in whose
custody the document lost was, and has been unable to find it; or who has made
any other investigation which is sufficient to satisfy the court that the instrument
[has] indeed [been] lost." 19
In the present case, due execution was established by the testimonies of Adela
Pilapil, who was present during the marriage ceremony, and of petitioner herself
as a party to the event. The subsequent loss was shown by the testimony and the
affidavit of the officiating priest, Monsignor Yllana, as well as by petitioner's own
declaration in court. These are relevant, competent and admissible evidence.
Since the due execution and the loss of the marriage contract were clearly shown
by the evidence presented, secondary evidence testimonial and documentary
may be admitted to prove the fact of marriage.
The trial court pointed out that on the face of the reconstructed marriage contract
were certain irregularities suggesting that it had fraudulently been obtained. 20
Even if we were to agree with the trial court and to disregard the reconstructed
marriage contract, we must emphasize that this certificate is not the only proof of
the union between Dr. Jacob and petitioner.
Proof of Marriage
As early as Pugeda v. Trias 21 , we have held that marriage may be proven by any
competent and relevant evidence. In that case, we said:
"Testimony by one of the parties to the marriage, or by one of the witnesses to
the marriage, has been held to be admissible to prove the fact of marriage. The
person who officiated at the solemnization is also competent to testify as an
eyewitness to the fact of marriage." 22 (emphasis supplied)
In Balogbog v. CA, 23 we similarly held:

"[A]lthough a marriage contract is considered primary evidence of marriage, the


failure to present it is not proof that no marriage took place. Other evidence may
be presented to prove marriage." (emphasis supplied, footnote omitted) LLphil
In both cases, we allowed testimonial evidence to prove the fact of marriage. We
reiterated this principle in Trinidad v. CA, 24 in which, because of the destruction
of the marriage contract, we accepted testimonial evidence in its place. 25

This jurisprudential attitude 31 towards marriage is based on the prima facie


presumption that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife
have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. 32 Given the undisputed, even
accepted, 33 fact that Dr. Jacob and petitioner lived together as husband and
wife, 34 we find that the presumption of marriage was not rebutted in this case.
Second Issue:

Respondent Pedro Pilapil misplaces emphasis on the absence of an entry


pertaining to 1975 in the Books of Marriage of the Local Civil Registrar of Manila
and in the National Census and Statistics Office (NCSO). 26 He finds it quite
"bizarre" for petitioner to have waited three years before registering their
marriage. 27 On both counts, he proceeds from the wrong premise. In the first
place, failure to send a copy of a marriage certificate for record purposes does not
invalidate the marriage. 28 In the second place, it was not the petitioner's duty to
send a copy of the marriage certificate to the civil registrar. Instead, this charge
fell upon the solemnizing officer. 29

Validity of Adoption Order

Presumption in Favor of Marriage

We disagree. As a rule, the factual findings of the trial court are accorded great
weight and respect by appellate courts, because it had the opportunity to observe
the demeanor of witnesses and to note telltale signs indicating the truth or the
falsity of a testimony. The rule, however, is not applicable to the present case,
because it was Judge Augusto O. Cledera, not the ponente, who heard the
testimonies of the two expert witnesses. Thus, the Court examined the records
and found that the Court of Appeals and the trial court "failed to notice certain
relevant facts which, if properly considered, will justify a different conclusion." 36
Hence, the present case is an exception to the general rule that only questions of
law may be reviewed in petitions under Rule 45. 37

Likewise, we have held:


"The basis of human society throughout the civilized world is . . . of marriage.
Marriage in this jurisdiction is not only a civil contract, but it is a new relation, an
institution in the maintenance of which the public is deeply interested.
Consequently, every intendment of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony.
Persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence
of any counterpresumption or evidence special to the case, to be in fact married.
The reason is that such is the common order of society, and if the parties were
not what they thus hold themselves out as being, they would be living in the
constant violation of decency and of law. A presumption established by our Code
of Civil Procedure is 'that a man and woman deporting themselves as husband
and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage.' Semper praesumitur
pro matrimonio Always presume marriage." 30 (emphasis supplied)

In ruling that Respondent Pedro Pilapil was adopted by Dr. Jacob and that the
signature of Judge Moya appearing on the Adoption Order was valid, the Court of
Appeals relied on the presumption that the judge had acted in the regular
performance of his duties. The appellate court also gave credence to the
testimony of respondent's handwriting expert, for "the assessment of the
credibility of such expert witness rests largely on the discretion of the trial
court . . . ." 35

Central to the present question is the authenticity of Judge Moya's signature on


the questioned Order of Adoption. To enlighten the trial court on this matter, two
expert witnesses were presented, one for petitioner and one for Respondent
Pilapil. The trial court relied mainly on respondent's expert and brushed aside the
Deposition of Judge Moya himself. 38 Respondent Pilapil justifies the trial judge's
action by arguing that the Deposition was ambiguous. He contends that Judge

Moya could not remember whether the signature on the Order was his and cites
the following portion as proof: 39
"Q.

What was you[r] response, sir?

A.

I said I do not remember." prcd

Respondent Pilapil's argument is misleading, because it took the judge's


testimony out of its context. Considered with the rest of the Deposition, Judge
Moya's statements contained no ambiguity. He was clear when he answered the
queries in the following manner:
"Atty. Benito P. Fabie
Q.

What else did she tell you[?]

A.

And she ask[ed] me if I remembered having issued the order.

Q.

What was your response sir[?]

A.

I said I do not remember." 40

The answer "I do not remember" did not suggest that Judge Moya was unsure of
what he was declaring. In fact, he was emphatic and categorical in the
subsequent exchanges during the Deposition:
"Atty. Benito P. Fabie
Q.
I am showing to you this Order, Exh. 'A' deposition[;] will you please recall
whether you issued this Order and whether the facsimile of the signature
appearing thereon is your signature.
A.
As I said, I do not remember having issued such an order and the signature
reading Jose[;] I can't make out clearly what comes after the name[;] Jose Moya is
not my signature." 41

Clearly, Judge Moya could not recall having ever issued the Order of Adoption.
More importantly, when shown the signature over his name, he positively
declared that it was not his.
The fact that he had glaucoma when his Deposition was taken does not discredit
his statements. At the time, he could with medication still read the newspapers;
upon the request of the defense counsel, he even read a document shown to him.
42 Indeed, we find no reason and the respondent has not presented any to
disregard the Deposition of Judge Moya.
Judge Moya's declaration was supported by the expert testimony of NBI
Document Examiner Bienvenido Albacea, who declared:
"Atty. Paraiso
Q.
And were you able to determine [w]hat purpose you had in your
examination of this document?
A.
Yes sir, [based on] my conclusion, [I] stated that the questioned and the
standard signature Jose L. Moya were not written by one and the same person. On
the basis of my findings that I would point out in detail, the difference in the
writing characteristics [was] in the structural pattern of letters which is very
apparent as shown in the photograph as the capital letter 'J'." 43
It is noteworthy that Mr. Albacea is a disinterested party, his services having been
sought without any compensation. Moreover, his competence was recognized
even by Respondent Pilapil's expert witness, Atty. Desiderio Pagui. 44
Other considerations also cast doubt on the claim of respondent. The alleged
Order was purportedly made in open court. In his Deposition, however, Judge
Moya declared that he did not dictate decisions in adoption cases. The only
decisions he made in open court were criminal cases, in which the accused
pleaded guilty. 45 Moreover, Judge Moya insisted that the branch where he was
assigned was always indicated in his decisions and orders; yet the questioned
Order did not contain this information. Furthermore, Pilapil's conduct gave no
indication that he recognized his own alleged adoption, as shown by the

documents that he signed and other acts that he performed thereafter. 46 In the
same vein, no proof was presented that Dr. Jacob had treated him as an adopted
child. Likewise, both the Bureau of Records Management 47 in Manila and the
Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Tigaon, Camarines Sur, 48 issued
Certifications that there was no record that Pedro Pilapil had been adopted by Dr.
Jacob. Taken together, these circumstances inexorably negate the alleged
adoption of respondent. 49
The burden of proof in establishing adoption is upon the person claiming such
relationship. 50 This Respondent Pilapil failed to do. Moreover, the evidence
presented by petitioner shows that the alleged adoption is a sham. Cdpr
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed Decision of the Court of
Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The marriage between Petitioner Tomasa
Vda. de Jacob and the deceased Alfredo E. Jacob is hereby recognized and
declared VALID and the claimed adoption of Respondent Pedro Pilapil is
DECLARED NONEXISTENT. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melo, Vitug, Purisima and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.
Sixth Division composed of J. Jesus M. Elbinias (chairman), J. Omar U. Amin
(ponente), and J. Hector L. Hofilea.
2.

CA Decision, p. 10; rollo, p. 59.

3.
Penned by Judge Angel S. Malaya. The case was heard by several judges;
namely, Judges Alfredo A. Cabral, Nilo A. Malanyaon, Ceferino P. Barcinas,
Bonifacio C. Initia, and Augusto O. Cledera.

6.
This case was deemed submitted for resolution on June 8, 1999, upon
receipt by the Court of respondent's Memorandum.
7.

Memorandum for Petitioner, p. 11; rollo, p. 83.

8.
Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines: Commentaries and Jurisprudence,
Vol. I, 1987 ed., p. 265.
9.

Respondents' Memorandum, p. 8; rollo, p. 120.

10.

See note 34, infra.

11.

See CA Decision, p. 5; rollo, p. 54.

12.

Art. 76 of the Civil Code provides:

"No marriage license shall be necessary when a man and a woman


who have attained the age of majority and who, being unmarried, have lived
together as husband and wife for at least five years, desire to marry each other.
The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any
person authorized by law to administer oath. The official, priest or minister who
solemnized the marriage shall also state in an affidavit that he took steps to
ascertain the ages and other qualifications of the contracting parties and that he
found no legal impediment to the marriage."
13.
De Guzman v. CA, 260 SCRA 389, 395, August 7, 1996, per Mendoza, J.
See Rule 130, 5, Rules of Court.
14.

See De Vera v. Aguilar, 218 SCRA 602, February 9, 1993.

15.

91 Phil. 565, 573, July 9, 1952, per Tuason, J.

16.

66 SCRA 425, August 29, 1975.


Ibid., p. 469, per Barredo, J.

4.

CA Decision, pp. 3-7; rollo, pp. 52-56.

17.

5.

CA Decision, pp. 7-9; rollo, pp. 56-58.

18.
De Vera v. Aguilar, supra, pp. 606-607, citing Michael & Co v. Enriquez, 33
Phil. 87, 89-90, December 24, 1915. See also De Guzman v. CA, supra.

19.

Ibid., p. 607, citing Michael & Co v. Enriquez, supra. (emphasis ours)

35.

20.

CA Decision, pp. 4-5; rollo, pp. 53-54.

21.

4 SCRA 849, 855, March 31, 1962, per Labrador, J.

36.
Fuentes v. Court of Appeals, 268 SCRA 703, February 26, 1997, per
Panganiban, J.

22.

Ibid., citing 55 CJS, p. 900.

37.
Alcantara v. Court of Appeals, 252 SCRA 353, January 25, 1996; Cayabyab
v. IAC, 232 SCRA 1, April 18, 1994.

23.

269 SCRA 259, 266, March 7, 1997; per Mendoza, J.

38.

See RTC Decision, p. 11; Records, Vol. III, p. 1,506.

24.

289 SCRA 188, April 20, 1998.

39.

Respondent's Memorandum, pp. 13-14; rollo, pp. 125-126.

25.

Ibid., p. 204, per Panganiban, J.

26.

Respondent's Memorandum, p. 8; rollo, p. 120.

40.
Deposition of Judge Jose L. Moya, p. 2, October 1, 1990; Records, Vol. 3, p.
1,128.

27.

Respondent's Memorandum, p. 10; rollo, p. 122.

28.
See Madridejo v. De Leon, 55 Phil. 1, 3, October 6, 1930; cited in Jones v.
Hortiguela, 64 Phil. 179, 184, March 6, 1937. Article 53 of the New Civil Code. Cf.
Petition, p. 22; rollo, p. 29.
29.

Article 68, Civil Code.

30.
Perido v. Perido, 63 SCRA 97, 103, March 12, 1975, per Makalintal, CJ,
citing Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee, 43 Phil. 43, 56, March 3, 1922.
31.
See Trinidad v. CA, supra; Balogbog v. CA, supra; People v. Borromeo, 133
SCRA 110, October 31, 1984; Perido v. Perido, 63 SCRA 97, March 12, 1975.

CA Decision, p. 9; rollo, p. 58.

41.

Ibid. (Emphasis supplied)

42.

Ibid., p. 4; Records, Vol. 3, p. 1,130.

43.

TSN, p. 9, May 3, 1991; Records, p. 1,266, vol. 3.

44.

TSN, p. 7, December 8, 1992; Records, Vol. 3, p. 1,422.

45.

Deposition of Judge Jose L. Moya, p. 4; Records, Vol. 3, p. 1,130.

46.

Petitioner's Memorandum, pp. 31-36; rollo, pp. 103-108.

47.

Records, Vol. I, p. 40.

48.

Records, Vol. I, p. 41.

32.
Section 3 (aa), Rule 131, Rules of Court. Cf. Section 5 (bb), Rule 131, 1964
Rules of Court and Article 220 of the Civil Code.

49.

Eusebio v. Valmores, 97 Phil. 163, May 31, 1955.

33.

50.

Lazatin v. Campos, 92 SCRA 250, July 30, 1979.

Respondent's Memorandum, p. 12; rollo, p. 124.

34.
This is evidenced by the "Affidavit of Marriage Between a Man and Woman
Who Have Lived for at Least Five Years," the authenticity of which was not
questioned by respondent.

ARTICLE 35

[G.R. No. 162368. July 17, 2006.]


MA. ARMIDA PEREZ-FERRARIS, petitioner, vs. BRIX FERRARIS, respondent.
RESOLUTION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J p:
This resolves the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Ma. Armida PerezFerraris of the Resolution dated June 9, 2004 denying the petition for review on
certiorari of the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated April 30,
2003 and February 24, 2004, respectively, for failure of the petitioner to
sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error.
aDHCEA
On February 20, 2001, the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 151 rendered
a Decision 1 denying the petition for declaration of nullity of petitioner's marriage
with Brix Ferraris. The trial court noted that suffering from epilepsy does not
amount to psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Civil Code and the
evidence on record were insufficient to prove infidelity. Petitioner's motion for
reconsideration was denied in an Order 2 dated April 20, 2001 where the trial
court reiterated that there was no evidence that respondent is mentally or
physically ill to such an extent that he could not have known the obligations he
was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof.
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed 3 in toto the judgment
of the trial court. It held that the evidence on record did not convincingly establish
that respondent was suffering from psychological incapacity or that his "defects"
were incurable and already present at the inception of the marriage. 4 The Court
of Appeals also found that Dr. Dayan's testimony failed to establish the substance
of respondent's psychological incapacity; that she failed to explain how she
arrived at the conclusion that the respondent has a mixed personality disorder;
that she failed to clearly demonstrate that there was a natal or supervening
disabling factor or an adverse integral element in respondent's character that
effectively incapacitated him from accepting and complying with the essential
marital obligations. 5

Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied 6 for lack of merit; thus, she
filed a petition for review on certiorari with this Court. As already stated, the
petition for review was denied for failure of petitioner to show that the appellate
tribunal committed any reversible error.
Petitioner filed the instant motion for reconsideration. 7 The Court required
respondent Brix Ferraris to file comment 8 but failed to comply; thus, he is
deemed to have waived the opportunity to file comment. Further, the Court
directed the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on petitioner's
motion for reconsideration which it complied on March 2, 2006.
After considering the arguments of both the petitioner and the OSG, the Court
resolves to deny petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
The issue of whether or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling
for annulment of marriage depends crucially, more than in any field of the law, on
the facts of the case. 9 Such factual issue, however, is beyond the province of this
Court to review. It is not the function of the Court to analyze or weigh all over
again the evidence or premises supportive of such factual determination. 10 It is
a well-established principle that factual findings of the trial court, when affirmed
by the Court of Appeals, are binding on this Court, 11 save for the most
compelling and cogent reasons, like when the findings of the appellate court go
beyond the issues of the case, run contrary to the admissions of the parties to the
case, or fail to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly considered, will
justify a different conclusion; or when there is a misappreciation of facts, 12 which
are unavailing in the instant case. CHcESa
The term "psychological incapacity" to be a ground for the nullity of marriage
under Article 36 of the Family Code, refers to a serious psychological illness
afflicting a party even before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so
grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and
responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. 13 As all people
may have certain quirks and idiosyncrasies, or isolated characteristics associated
with certain personality disorders, there is hardly any doubt that the intendment
of the law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the
most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter

insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. 14 It is


for this reason that the Court relies heavily on psychological experts for its
understanding of the human personality. However, the root cause must be
identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature must be fully
explained, 15 which petitioner failed to convincingly demonstrate.
As aptly held by the Court of Appeals:
Simply put, the chief and basic consideration in the resolution of marital
annulment cases is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish
respondent's psychological condition. Here, appellant contends that there is such
evidence. We do not agree. Indeed, the evidence on record did not convincingly
establish that respondent was suffering from psychological incapacity. There is
absolutely no showing that his "defects" were already present at the inception of
the marriage, or that those are incurable.
Quite apart from being plainly self-serving, petitioner's evidence showed that
respondent's alleged failure to perform his so-called marital obligations was not at
all a manifestation of some deep-seated, grave, permanent and incurable
psychological malady. To be sure, the couple's relationship before the marriage
and even during their brief union (for well about a year or so) was not all bad.
During that relatively short period of time, petitioner was happy and contented
with her life in the company of respondent. In fact, by petitioner's own reckoning,
respondent was a responsible and loving husband. . . . . Their problems began
when petitioner started doubting respondent's fidelity. It was only when they
started fighting about the calls from women that respondent began to withdraw
into his shell and corner, and failed to perform his so-called marital obligations.
Respondent could not understand petitioner's lack of trust in him and her
constant naggings. He thought her suspicions irrational. Respondent could not
relate to her anger, temper and jealousy. . . . .
xxx

xxx

xxx

At any rate, Dr. Dayan did not explain how she arrived at her diagnosis that
respondent has a mixed personality disorder called "schizoid," and why he is the
"dependent and avoidant type." In fact, Dr. Dayan's statement that one suffering

from such mixed personality disorder is dependent on others for decision . . .


lacks specificity; it seems to belong to the realm of theoretical speculation. Also,
Dr. Dayan's information that respondent had extramarital affairs was supplied by
the petitioner herself. Notably, when asked as to the root cause of respondent's
alleged psychological incapacity, Dr. Dayan's answer was vague, evasive and
inconclusive. She replied that such disorder "can be part of his family
upbringing" . . . . She stated that there was a history of respondent's parents
having difficulties in their relationship. But this input on the supposed problematic
history of respondent's parents also came from petitioner. Nor did Dr. Dayan
clearly demonstrate that there was really "a natal or supervening disabling factor"
on the part of respondent, or an "adverse integral element" in respondent's
character that effectively incapacitated him from accepting, and, thereby
complying with, the essential marital obligations. Of course, petitioner likewise
failed to prove that respondent's supposed psychological or mental malady
existed even before the marriage. All these omissions must be held up against
petitioner, for the reason that upon her devolved the onus of establishing nullity
of the marriage. Indeed, any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of
the marriage and the indissolubility of the marital vinculum. 16
We find respondent's alleged mixed personality disorder, the "leaving-the-house"
attitude whenever they quarreled, the violent tendencies during epileptic attacks,
the sexual infidelity, the abandonment and lack of support, and his preference to
spend more time with his band mates than his family, are not rooted on some
debilitating psychological condition but a mere refusal or unwillingness to assume
the essential obligations of marriage. ASEIDH
In Republic v. Court of Appeals, 17 where therein respondent preferred to spend
more time with his friends than his family on whom he squandered his money,
depended on his parents for aid and assistance, and was dishonest to his wife
regarding his finances, the Court held that the psychological defects spoken of
were more of a "difficulty," if not outright "refusal" or "neglect" in the
performance of some marital obligations and that a mere showing of
irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities in no wise constitute
psychological incapacity; it is not enough to prove that the parties failed to meet
their responsibilities and duties as married persons; it is essential that they must

be shown to be incapable of doing so, due to some psychological, not physical,


illness.
Also, we held in Hernandez v. Court of Appeals 18 that habitual alcoholism, sexual
infidelity or perversion, and abandonment do not by themselves constitute
grounds for declaring a marriage void based on psychological incapacity.
While petitioner's marriage with the respondent failed and appears to be without
hope of reconciliation, the remedy however is not always to have it declared void
ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity. An unsatisfactory marriage,
however, is not a null and void marriage. 19 No less than the Constitution
recognizes the sanctity of marriage and the unity of the family; it decrees
marriage as legally "inviolable" and protects it from dissolution at the whim of the
parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected" by the state. 20
Thus, in determining the import of "psychological incapacity" under Article 36, it
must be read in conjunction with, although to be taken as distinct from Articles
35, 21 37, 22 38, 23 and 41 24 that would likewise, but for different reasons,
render the marriage void ab initio, or Article 45 25 that would make the marriage
merely voidable, or Article 55 that could justify a petition for legal separation.
Care must be observed so that these various circumstances are not applied so
indiscriminately as if the law were indifferent on the matter. 26 Article 36 should
not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the
causes therefor manifest themselves. 27 Neither it is to be equated with legal
separation, in which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity
but on physical violence, moral pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug
addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity, abandonment and the like. 28

Footnotes
1.

Rollo, pp. 96-99. Penned by Judge Franchito N. Diamante.

2.

Id. at 101.

3.
Id. at 9-19. Penned by Associate Justice Renato C. Dacudao and concurred
in by Associate Justices Godardo A. Jacinto and Danilo B. Pine.
4.

Id. at 17.

5.

Id. at 18.

6.

Id. at 7.

7.

Id. at 208-227.

8.

Id. at 228.

9.
Concurring Opinion of Justice Teodoro R. Padilla in Republic v. Court of
Appeals, 335 Phil. 664, 680 (1997).
10.
Abacus Real Estate Development Center, Inc. v.
Corporation, G.R. No. 162270, April 6, 2005, 455 SCRA 97, 106.
11.

Manila

Banking

Domingo v. Robles, G.R. No. 153743, March 18, 2005, 453 SCRA 812, 817.

12.
Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Macalinao, G.R. No. 141856, February
11, 2005, 451 SCRA 63, 69.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration of the


Resolution dated June 9, 2004 denying the petition for review on certiorari for
failure of the petitioner to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals committed
any reversible error, is DENIED WITH FINALITY. cESDCa

13.

Marcos v. Marcos, 397 Phil. 840, 851 (2000).

14.

Santos v. Court of Appeals, 310 Phil. 21, 40 (1995).

15.

Republic v. Court of Appeals, supra note 9 at 677.

SO ORDERED.

16.

Rollo, pp. 111-113.

Panganiban, C.J., Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr. and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.

17.

Supra note 9 at 669 & 674.

18.

377 Phil. 919, 931 (1999).

19.
Carating-Siayngco v. Siayngco, G.R. No. 158896, October 27, 2004, 441
SCRA 422, 439.
20.
522.

Republic v. Iyoy, G.R. No. 152577, September 21, 2005, 470 SCRA 508,

21.

Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:

(1)
Those contracted by any party below eighteen years of age
even with the consent of parents or guardians;
(2)
Those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to
perform marriages unless such marriages were contracted with either or both
parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority
to do so;
(3)
Those solemnized without a license, except those covered
by the preceding Chapter;
(4)

Those bigamous or polygamous marriages not falling under

Article 41;
(5)
Those contracted through mistake of one contracting party
as to the identity of the other; and
(6)

Those subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53.

22.
Art. 37. Marriages between the following are incestuous and void from the
beginning, whether the relationship between the parties be legitimate or
illegitimate:

blood.

(1)

Between ascendants and descendants of any degree; and

(2)

Between brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half

23.
Art. 38. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning for
reasons of public policy:
(1)
Between collateral blood relatives, whether legitimate or
illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree;
(2)

Between step-parents and step-children;

(3)

Between parents-in-law and children-in-law;

(4)

Between the adopting parent and the adopted child;

(5)
the adopted child;

Between the surviving spouse of the adopting parent and

(6)

Between the surviving spouse of the adopted child and the

(7)

Between an adopted child and a legitimate child of the

(8)

Between the adopted children of the same adopter; and

adopter;

adopter;

(9)
Between parties where one, with the intention to marry the
other, killed that other person's spouse or his or her own spouse.
24.
Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a
previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the
subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive
years and the spouse present had a well-founded belief that the absent spouse
was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under
the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an
absence of only two years shall be sufficient.
For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the
preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as

provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee,
without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.

[G.R. No. 155800. March 10, 2006.]


LEONILO ANTONIO, petitioner, vs. MARIE IVONNE F. REYES, respondent.

25.
Art. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes,
existing at the time of the marriage:
(1)
That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the
marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and
the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or
person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless
after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other
and both lived together as husband and wife;
(2)
That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party
after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
(3)
That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud,
unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the
fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
(4)
That the consent of either party was obtained by force,
intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased,
such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
(5)
That either party was physically incapable of consummating
the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be
incurable; or
(6)
That either party was inflicted with a sexually-transmitted
disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.
26.
Concurring Opinion of Justice Jose C. Vitug in Republic v. Court of Appeals,
supra note 9 at 690.
27.

Carating-Siayngco v. Siayngco, supra note 19 at 439.

28.

Marcos v. Marcos, supra note 13.

DECISION
TINGA, J p:
Statistics never lie, but lovers often do, quipped a sage. This sad truth has
unsettled many a love transformed into matrimony. Any sort of deception
between spouses, no matter the gravity, is always disquieting. Deceit to the
depth and breadth unveiled in the following pages, dark and irrational as in the
modern noir tale, dims any trace of certitude on the guilty spouse's capability to
fulfill the marital obligations even more. CTEaDc
The Petition for Review on Certiorari assails the Decision 1 and Resolution 2 of the
Court of Appeals dated 29 November 2001 and 24 October 2002. The Court of
Appeals had reversed the judgment 3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati
declaring the marriage of Leonilo N. Antonio (petitioner) and Marie Ivonne F.
Reyes (respondent), null and void. After careful consideration, we reverse and
affirm instead the trial court.
Antecedent Facts
Petitioner and respondent met in August 1989 when petitioner was 26 years old
and respondent was 36 years of age. Barely a year after their first meeting, they
got married before a minister of the Gospel 4 at the Manila City Hall, and through
a subsequent church wedding 5 at the Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish, Bagong Ilog,
Pasig, Metro Manila on 6 December 1990. 6 Out of their union, a child was born on
19 April 1991, who sadly died five (5) months later.
On 8 March 1993, 7 petitioner filed a petition to have his marriage to respondent
declared null and void. He anchored his petition for nullity on Article 36 of the
Family Code alleging that respondent was psychologically incapacitated to comply
with the essential obligations of marriage. He asserted that respondent's
incapacity existed at the time their marriage was celebrated and still subsists up
to the present. 8

As manifestations of respondent's alleged psychological incapacity, petitioner


claimed that respondent persistently lied about herself, the people around her,
her occupation, income, educational attainment and other events or things, 9 to
wit:
(1)
She concealed the fact that she previously gave birth to an illegitimate
son, 10 and instead introduced the boy to petitioner as the adopted child of her
family. She only confessed the truth about the boy's parentage when petitioner
learned about it from other sources after their marriage. 11
(2)
She fabricated a story that her brother-in-law, Edwin David, attempted to
rape and kill her when in fact, no such incident occurred. 12
(3)
She misrepresented herself as a psychiatrist to her obstetrician, Dr.
Consuelo Gardiner, and told some of her friends that she graduated with a degree
in psychology, when she was neither. 13
(4)
She claimed to be a singer or a free-lance voice talent affiliated with
Blackgold Recording Company (Blackgold); yet, not a single member of her family
ever witnessed her alleged singing activities with the group. In the same vein, she
postulated that a luncheon show was held at the Philippine Village Hotel in her
honor and even presented an invitation to that effect 14 but petitioner discovered
per certification by the Director of Sales of said hotel that no such occasion had
taken place. 15
(5)
She invented friends named Babes Santos and Via Marquez, and under
those names, sent lengthy letters to petitioner claiming to be from Blackgold and
touting her as the "number one moneymaker" in the commercial industry worth
P2 million. 16 Petitioner later found out that respondent herself was the one who
wrote and sent the letters to him when she admitted the truth in one of their
quarrels. 17 He likewise realized that Babes Santos and Via Marquez were only
figments of her imagination when he discovered they were not known in or
connected with Blackgold. 18
(6)
She represented herself as a person of greater means, thus, she altered
her payslip to make it appear that she earned a higher income. She bought a sala

set from a public market but told petitioner that she acquired it from a famous
furniture dealer. 19 She spent lavishly on unnecessary items and ended up
borrowing money from other people on false pretexts. 20
(7)
She exhibited insecurities and jealousies over him to the extent of calling
up his officemates to monitor his whereabouts. When he could no longer take her
unusual behavior, he separated from her in August 1991. He tried to attempt a
reconciliation but since her behavior did not change, he finally left her for good in
November 1991. 21
In support of his petition, petitioner presented Dr. Dante Herrera Abcede (Dr.
Abcede), a psychiatrist, and Dr. Arnulfo V. Lopez (Dr. Lopez), a clinical
psychologist, who stated, based on the tests they conducted, that petitioner was
essentially a normal, introspective, shy and conservative type of person. On the
other hand, they observed that respondent's persistent and constant lying to
petitioner was abnormal or pathological. It undermined the basic relationship that
should be based on love, trust and respect. 22 They further asserted that
respondent's extreme jealousy was also pathological. It reached the point of
paranoia since there was no actual basis for her to suspect that petitioner was
having an affair with another woman. They concluded based on the foregoing that
respondent was psychologically incapacitated to perform her essential marital
obligations. 23
In opposing the petition, respondent claimed that she performed her marital
obligations by attending to all the needs of her husband. She asserted that there
was no truth to the allegation that she fabricated stories, told lies and invented
personalities. 24 She presented her version, thus: ASHaDT
(1)
She concealed her child by another man from petitioner because she was
afraid of losing her husband. 25
(2)
She told petitioner about David's attempt to rape and kill her because she
surmised such intent from David's act of touching her back and ogling her from
head to foot. 26

(3)
She was actually a BS Banking and Finance graduate and had been
teaching psychology at the Pasig Catholic School for two (2) years. 27

poor control of impulses, which are signs that might point to the presence of
disabling trends, were not elicited from respondent. 34

(4)
She was a free-lance voice talent of Aris de las Alas, an executive producer
of Channel 9 and she had done three (3) commercials with McCann Erickson for
the advertisement of Coca-cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Traders Royal Bank. She
told petitioner she was a Blackgold recording artist although she was not under
contract with the company, yet she reported to the Blackgold office after office
hours. She claimed that a luncheon show was indeed held in her honor at the
Philippine Village Hotel on 8 December 1979. 28

In rebuttal, Dr. Lopez asseverated that there were flaws


conducted by Dr. Reyes as (i) he was not the one who
interpreted respondent's psychological evaluation, and (ii) he
one instrument called CPRS which was not reliable because a
the results of such test. 35

(5)
She vowed that the letters sent to petitioner were not written by her and
the writers thereof were not fictitious. Bea Marquez Recto of the Recto political
clan was a resident of the United States while Babes Santos was employed with
Saniwares. 29
(6)
She admitted that she called up an officemate of her husband but averred
that she merely asked the latter in a diplomatic matter if she was the one asking
for chocolates from petitioner, and not to monitor her husband's whereabouts. 30
(7)
She belied the allegation that she spent lavishly as she supported almost
ten people from her monthly budget of P7,000.00. 31
In fine, respondent argued that apart from her non-disclosure of a child prior to
their marriage, the other lies attributed to her by petitioner were mostly hearsay
and unconvincing. Her stance was that the totality of the evidence presented is
not sufficient for a finding of psychological incapacity on her part. 32
In addition, respondent presented Dr. Antonio Efren Reyes (Dr. Reyes), a
psychiatrist, to refute the allegations anent her psychological condition. Dr. Reyes
testified that the series of tests conducted by his assistant, 33 together with the
screening procedures and the Comprehensive Psycho-Pathological Rating Scale
(CPRS) he himself conducted, led him to conclude that respondent was not
psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations. He
postulated that regressive behavior, gross neuroticism, psychotic tendencies, and

in the evaluation
administered and
made use of only
good liar can fake

After trial, the lower court gave credence to petitioner's evidence and held that
respondent's propensity to lying about almost anything-her occupation, state of
health, singing abilities and her income, among others-had been duly established.
According to the trial court, respondent's fantastic ability to invent and fabricate
stories and personalities enabled her to live in a world of make-believe. This made
her psychologically incapacitated as it rendered her incapable of giving meaning
and significance to her marriage. 36 The trial court thus declared the marriage
between petitioner and respondent null and void. cDCaTH
Shortly before the trial court rendered its decision, the Metropolitan Tribunal of
the Archdiocese of Manila annulled the Catholic marriage of the parties, on the
ground of lack of due discretion on the part of the parties. 37 During the
pendency of the appeal before the Court of Appeals, the Metropolitan Tribunal's
ruling was affirmed with modification by both the National Appellate Matrimonial
Tribunal, which held instead that only respondent was impaired by a lack of due
discretion. 38 Subsequently, the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial
Tribunal was upheld by the Roman Rota of the Vatican. 39
Petitioner duly alerted the Court of Appeals of these rulings by the Catholic
tribunals. Still, the appellate court reversed the RTC's judgment. While conceding
that respondent may not have been completely honest with petitioner, the Court
of Appeals nevertheless held that the totality of the evidence presented was
insufficient to establish respondent's psychological incapacity. It declared that the
requirements in the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals 40 governing the
application and interpretation of psychological incapacity had not been satisfied.

Taking exception to the appellate court's pronouncement, petitioner elevated the


case to this Court. He contends herein that the evidence conclusively establish
respondent's psychological incapacity.
In considering the merit of this petition, the Court is heavily influenced by the
credence accorded by the RTC to the factual allegations of petitioner. 41 It is a
settled principle of civil procedure that the conclusions of the trial court regarding
the credibility of witnesses are entitled to great respect from the appellate courts
because the trial court had an opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses
while giving testimony which may indicate their candor or lack thereof. 42 The
Court is likewise guided by the fact that the Court of Appeals did not dispute the
veracity of the evidence presented by petitioner. Instead, the appellate court
concluded that such evidence was not sufficient to establish the psychological
incapacity of respondent. 43
Thus, the Court is impelled to accept the factual version of petitioner as the
operative facts. Still, the crucial question remains as to whether the state of facts
as presented by petitioner sufficiently meets the standards set for the declaration
of nullity of a marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. These standards were
definitively laid down in the Court's 1997 ruling in Republic v. Court of Appeals 44
(also known as the Molina case 45 ), and indeed the Court of Appeals cited the
Molina guidelines in reversing the RTC in the case at bar. 46 Since Molina was
decided in 1997, the Supreme Court has yet to squarely affirm the declaration of
nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. 47 In fact, even before
Molina was handed down, there was only one case, Chi Ming Tsoi v. Court of
Appeals, 48 wherein the Court definitively concluded that a spouse was
psychologically incapacitated under Article 36.
This state of jurisprudential affairs may have led to the misperception that the
remedy afforded by Article 36 of the Family Code is hollow, insofar as the
Supreme Court is concerned. 49 Yet what Molina and the succeeding cases did
ordain was a set of guidelines which, while undoubtedly onerous on the petitioner
seeking the declaration of nullity, still leave room for a decree of nullity under the
proper circumstances. Molina did not foreclose the grant of a decree of nullity
under Article 36, even as it raised the bar for its allowance. HSEcTC

Legal Guides to Understanding Article 36


Article 36 of the Family Code states that "[a] marriage contracted by any party
who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply
with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if
such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization." 50 The concept of
psychological incapacity as a ground for nullity of marriage is novel in our body of
laws, although mental incapacity has long been recognized as a ground for the
dissolution of a marriage.
The Spanish Civil Code of 1889 prohibited from contracting marriage persons
"who are not in the full enjoyment of their reason at the time of contracting
marriage." 51 Marriages with such persons were ordained as void, 52 in the same
class as marriages with underage parties and persons already married, among
others. A party's mental capacity was not a ground for divorce under the Divorce
Law of 1917, 53 but a marriage where "either party was of unsound mind" at the
time of its celebration was cited as an "annullable marriage" under the Marriage
Law of 1929. 54 Divorce on the ground of a spouse's incurable insanity was
permitted under the divorce law enacted during the Japanese occupation. 55
Upon the enactment of the Civil Code in 1950, a marriage contracted by a party
of "unsound mind" was classified under Article 85 of the Civil Code as a voidable
marriage. 56 The mental capacity, or lack thereof, of the marrying spouse was not
among the grounds for declaring a marriage void ab initio. 57 Similarly, among
the marriages classified as voidable under Article 45 (2) of the Family Code is one
contracted by a party of unsound mind. 58
Such cause for the annulment of marriage is recognized as a vice of consent, just
like insanity impinges on consent freely given which is one of the essential
requisites of a contract. 59 The initial common consensus on psychological
incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code was that it did not constitute a
specie of vice of consent. Justices Sempio-Diy and Caguioa, both members of the
Family Code revision committee that drafted the Code, have opined that
psychological incapacity is not a vice of consent, and conceded that the spouse
may have given free and voluntary consent to a marriage but was nonetheless
incapable of fulfilling such rights and obligations. 60 Dr. Tolentino likewise stated

in the 1990 edition of his commentaries on the Family Code that this
"psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations does
not affect the consent to the marriage." 61
There were initial criticisms of this original understanding of Article 36 as phrased
by the Family Code committee. Tolentino opined that "psychologically incapacity
to comply would not be juridically different from physical incapacity of
consummating the marriage, which makes the marriage only voidable under
Article 45 (5) of the Civil Code . . . [and thus] should have been a cause for
annulment of the marriage only." 62 At the same time, Tolentino noted "[it] would
be different if it were psychological incapacity to understand the essential marital
obligations, because then this would amount to lack of consent to the marriage."
63 These concerns though were answered, beginning with Santos v. Court of
Appeals, 64 wherein the Court, through Justice Vitug, acknowledged that
"psychological incapacity should refer to no less than a mental (not physical)
incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital
covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to
the marriage." 65
The notion that psychological incapacity pertains to the inability to understand
the obligations of marriage, as opposed to a mere inability to comply with them,
was further affirmed in the Molina 66 case. Therein, the Court, through then
Justice (now Chief Justice) Panganiban observed that "[t]he evidence [to establish
psychological incapacity] must convince the court that the parties, or one of
them, was mentally or psychically ill to such extent that the person could not
have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have
given valid assumption thereto." 67 Jurisprudence since then has recognized that
psychological incapacity "is a malady so grave and permanent as to deprive one
of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is
about to assume." 68
It might seem that this present understanding of psychological incapacity
deviates from the literal wording of Article 36, with its central phase reading
"psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
marriage." 69 At the same time, it has been consistently recognized by this Court

that the intent of the Family Code committee was to design the law as to allow
some resiliency in its application, by avoiding specific examples that would limit
the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. Rather,
the preference of the revision committee was for "the judge to interpret the
provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, in the findings of experts
and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals
which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect
since the provision was taken from Canon Law." 70
We likewise observed in Republic v. Dagdag: 71
Whether or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling for
annulment of a marriage, depends crucially, more than in any field of the law, on
the facts of the case. Each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori
assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its own facts. In
regard to psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment of marriage, it is
trite to say that no case is on "all fours" with another case. The 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. 72
The Court thus acknowledges that the definition of psychological incapacity, as
intended by the revision committee, was not cast in intractable specifics. Judicial
understanding of psychological incapacity may be informed by evolving
standards, taking into account the particulars of each case, current trends in
psychological and even canonical thought, and experience. It is under the
auspices of the deliberate ambiguity of the framers that the Court has developed
the Molina rules, which have been consistently applied since 1997. Molina has
proven indubitably useful in providing a unitary framework that guides courts in
adjudicating petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. At the same time,
the Molina guidelines are not set in stone, the clear legislative intent mandating a
case-to-case perception of each situation, and Molina itself arising from this
evolutionary understanding of Article 36. There is no cause to disavow Molina at
present, and indeed the disposition of this case shall rely primarily on that
precedent. There is need though to emphasize other perspectives as well which

should govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article
36. CSTHca
Of particular notice has been the citation of the Court, first in Santos then in
Molina, of the considered opinion of canon law experts in the interpretation of
psychological incapacity. This is but unavoidable, considering that the Family
Code committee had bluntly acknowledged that the concept of psychological
incapacity was derived from canon law, 73 and as one member admitted, enacted
as a solution to the problem of marriages already annulled by the Catholic Church
but still existent under civil law. 74 It would be disingenuous to disregard the
influence of Catholic Church doctrine in the formulation and subsequent
understanding of Article 36, and the Court has expressly acknowledged that
interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the local
Church, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our
courts. 75 Still, it must be emphasized that the Catholic Church is hardly the sole
source of influence in the interpretation of Article 36. Even though the concept
may have been derived from canon law, its incorporation into the Family Code
and subsequent judicial interpretation occurred in wholly secular progression.
Indeed, while Church thought on psychological incapacity is merely persuasive on
the trial courts, judicial decisions of this Court interpreting psychological
incapacity are binding on lower courts. 76
Now is also opportune time to comment on another common legal guide utilized
in the adjudication of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. 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 Constitution, which respectively
state that "[t]he State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the
nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total
developmen[t]," and that "[m]arriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the
foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State." These provisions
highlight the importance of the family and the constitutional protection accorded
to the institution of marriage.
But the Constitution itself does not establish the parameters of state protection to
marriage as a social institution and the foundation of the family. It remains the

province of the legislature to define all legal aspects of marriage and prescribe
the strategy and the modalities to protect it, based on whatever socio-political
influences it deems proper, and subject of course to the qualification that such
legislative enactment itself adheres to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This
being the case, it also falls on the legislature to put into operation the
constitutional provisions that protect marriage and the family. This has been
accomplished at present through the enactment of the Family Code, which
defines marriage and the family, spells out the corresponding legal effects,
imposes the limitations that affect married and family life, as well as prescribes
the grounds for declaration of nullity and those for legal separation. While it may
appear that the judicial denial of a petition for declaration of nullity is reflective of
the constitutional mandate to protect marriage, such action in fact merely
enforces a statutory definition of marriage, not a constitutionally ordained decree
of what marriage is. Indeed, if circumstances warrant, Sections 1 and 2 of Article
XV need not be the only constitutional considerations to be taken into account in
resolving a petition for declaration of nullity.
Indeed, Article 36 of the Family Code, in classifying marriages contracted by a
psychologically incapacitated person as a nullity, should be deemed as an
implement of this constitutional protection of marriage. Given the 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 corresponding interest for the
State to defend against marriages ill-equipped to promote family life. Void ab
initio marriages under Article 36 do not further the initiatives of the State
concerning marriage and family, as they promote wedlock among persons who,
for reasons independent of their will, are not capacitated to understand or comply
with the essential obligations of marriage. SECHIA
These are the legal premises that inform us as we decide the present petition.
Molina Guidelines As Applied in This Case
As stated earlier, Molina established the guidelines presently recognized in the
judicial disposition of petitions for nullity under Article 36. The Court has
consistently applied Molina since its promulgation in 1997, and the guidelines
therein operate as the general rules. They warrant citation in full:

1)
The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation
of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact
that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity
of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family,
recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It decrees marriage as legally
"inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both
the family and marriage are to be "protected"' by the state.
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and
emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.
2)
The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or
clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts
and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires
that the incapacity must be psychologicalnot physical, although its
manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince
the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically 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 thereof. Although no
example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application
of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root
cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature
fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and
clinical psychologists.
3)
The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the
celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was
existing when the parties exchanged their "I do's." The manifestation of the
illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have
attached at such moment, or prior thereto.
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 to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the
same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of

marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the
exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be
effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them
but not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own
children as an essential obligation of marriage.
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 peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts"
cannot be 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
words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the
person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential
to marriage.
6)
The essential marital obligations must be those embraced 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 same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such
non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by
evidence and included in the text of the decision.
7)
Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the
Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be
given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was 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:
"The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable to
assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological
nature." HEcTAI
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 decisions

of such appellate tribunal. Ideallysubject to our law on evidencewhat is


decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed civilly void. 77
Molina had provided for an additional requirement that the Solicitor General issue
a certification stating his reasons for his agreement or opposition to the petition.
78 This requirement however was dispensed with following the implementation of
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, or the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void
Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages. 79 Still, Article 48 of the Family
Code mandates that the appearance of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal
assigned be on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the
parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. Obviously,
collusion is not an issue in this case, considering the consistent vigorous
opposition of respondent to the petition for declaration of nullity. In any event, the
fiscal's participation in the hearings before the trial court is extant from the
records of this case.
As earlier noted, the factual findings of the RTC are now deemed binding on this
Court, owing to the great weight accorded to the opinion of the primary trier of
facts, and the refusal of the Court of Appeals to dispute the veracity of these
facts. As such, it must be considered that respondent had consistently lied about
many material aspects as to her character and personality. The question remains
whether her pattern of fabrication sufficiently establishes her psychological
incapacity, consistent with Article 36 and generally, the Molina guidelines.
We find that the present case sufficiently satisfies the guidelines in Molina.
First. Petitioner had sufficiently overcome his burden in proving the psychological
incapacity of his spouse. Apart from his own testimony, he presented witnesses
who corroborated his allegations on his wife's behavior, and certifications from
Blackgold Records and the Philippine Village Hotel Pavillon which disputed
respondent's claims pertinent to her alleged singing career. He also presented
two (2) expert witnesses from the field of psychology who testified that the
aberrant behavior of respondent was tantamount to psychological incapacity. In
any event, both courts below considered petitioner's evidence as credible
enough. Even the appellate court acknowledged that respondent was not totally
honest with petitioner. 80

As in all civil matters, the petitioner in an action for declaration of nullity under
Article 36 must be able to establish the cause of action with a preponderance of
evidence. However, since the action cannot be considered as a non-public matter
between private parties, but is impressed with State interest, the Family Code
likewise requires the participation of the State, through the prosecuting attorney,
fiscal, or Solicitor General, to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties
and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. Thus, even if the
petitioner is able establish the psychological incapacity of respondent with
preponderant evidence, any finding of collusion among the parties would
necessarily negate such proofs.
Second. The root cause of respondent's psychological incapacity has been
medically or clinically identified, alleged in the complaint, sufficiently proven by
experts, and clearly explained in the trial court's decision. The initiatory complaint
alleged that respondent, from the start, had exhibited unusual and abnormal
behavior "of peren[n]ially telling lies, fabricating ridiculous stories, and inventing
personalities and situations," of writing letters to petitioner using fictitious names,
and of lying about her actual occupation, income, educational attainment, and
family background, among others. 81
These allegations, initially characterized in generalities, were further linked to
medical or clinical causes by expert witnesses from the field of psychology.
Petitioner presented two (2) such witnesses in particular. Dr. Abcede, a
psychiatrist who had headed the department of psychiatry of at least two (2)
major hospitals, 82 testified as follows:
WITNESS:
Given that as a fact, which is only based on the affidavit provided to me, I
can say that there are a couple of things that [are] terribly wrong with the
standards. There are a couple of things that seems (sic) to be repeated over and
over again in the affidavit. One of which is the persistent, constant and repeated
lying of the "respondent"; which, I think, based on assessment of normal behavior
of an individual, is abnormal or pathological. . . .
ATTY. RAZ: (Back to the witness)

QWould you say then, Mr. witness, that because of these actuations of the
respondent she is then incapable of performing the basic obligations of her
marriage?
AWell, persistent lying violates the respect that one owes towards another.
The lack of concern, the lack of love towards the person, and it is also something
that endangers human relationship. You see, relationship is based on
communication between individuals and what we generally communicate are our
thoughts and feelings. But then when one talks and expresse[s] their feelings,
[you] are expected to tell the truth. And therefore, if you constantly lie, what do
you think is going to happen as far as this relationship is concerned. Therefore, it
undermines that basic relationship that should be based on love, trust and
respect.
QWould you say then, Mr. witness, that due to the behavior of the
respondent in constantly lying and fabricating stories, she is then incapable of
performing the basic obligations of the marriage?
xxx

xxx

xxx

ATTY. RAZ: (Back to the witness)


QMr. witness, based on the testimony of Mr. Levy Mendoza, who is the third
witness for the petitioner, testified that the respondent has been calling up the
petitioner's officemates and ask him (sic) on the activities of the petitioner and
ask him on the behavior of the petitioner. And this is specifically stated on page
six (6) of the transcript of stenographic notes, what can you say about this, Mr.
witness?
AIf an individual is jealous enough to the point that he is paranoid, which
means that there is no actual basis on her suspect (sic) that her husband is
having an affair with a woman, if carried on to the extreme, then that is
pathological. That is not abnormal. We all feel jealous, in the same way as we also
lie every now and then; but everything that is carried out in extreme is abnormal
or pathological. If there is no basis in reality to the fact that the husband is having
an affair with another woman and if she persistently believes that the husband is

having an affair with different women, then that is pathological and we call that
paranoid jealousy.
QNow, if a person is in paranoid jealousy, would she be considered
psychologically incapacitated to perform the basic obligations of the marriage?
IDcTEA
A-

Yes, Ma'am. 83

The other witness, Dr. Lopez, was presented to establish not only the
psychological incapacity of respondent, but also the psychological capacity of
petitioner. He concluded that respondent "is [a] pathological liar, that [she
continues] to lie [and] she loves to fabricate about herself." 84
These two witnesses based their conclusions of psychological incapacity on the
case record, particularly the trial transcripts of respondent's testimony, as well as
the supporting affidavits of petitioner. While these witnesses did not personally
examine respondent, the Court had already held in Marcos v. Marcos 85 that
personal examination of the subject by the physician is not required for the
spouse to be declared psychologically incapacitated. 86 We deem the
methodology utilized by petitioner's witnesses as sufficient basis for their medical
conclusions. Admittedly, Drs. Abcede and Lopez's common conclusion of
respondent's psychological incapacity hinged heavily on their own acceptance of
petitioner's version as the true set of facts. However, since the trial court itself
accepted the veracity of petitioner's factual premises, there is no cause to dispute
the conclusion of psychological incapacity drawn therefrom by petitioner's expert
witnesses.
Also, with the totality of the evidence presented as basis, the trial court
explicated its finding of psychological incapacity in its decision in this wise:
To the mind of the Court, all of the above are indications that respondent is
psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential obligations of marriage. It
has been shown clearly from her actuations that respondent has that propensity
for telling lies about almost anything, be it her occupation, her state of health, her
singing abilities, her income, etc. She has this fantastic ability to invent and

fabricate stories and personalities. She practically lived in a world of make believe
making her therefore not in a position to give meaning and significance to her
marriage to petitioner. In persistently and constantly lying to petitioner,
respondent undermined the basic tenets of relationship between spouses that is
based on love, trust and respect. As concluded by the psychiatrist presented by
petitioner, such repeated lying is abnormal and pathological and amounts to
psychological incapacity. 87
Third. Respondent's psychological incapacity was established to have clearly
existed at the time of and even before the celebration of marriage. She fabricated
friends and made up letters from fictitious characters well before she married
petitioner. Likewise, she kept petitioner in the dark about her natural child's real
parentage as she only confessed when the latter had found out the truth after
their marriage.
Fourth. The gravity of respondent's psychological incapacity is sufficient to prove
her disability to assume the essential obligations of marriage. It is immediately
discernible that the parties had shared only a little over a year of cohabitation
before the exasperated petitioner left his wife. Whatever such circumstance
speaks of the degree of tolerance of petitioner, it likewise supports the belief that
respondent's psychological incapacity, as borne by the record, was so grave in
extent that any prolonged marital life was dubitable.
It should be noted that the lies attributed to respondent were not adopted as false
pretenses in order to induce petitioner into marriage. More disturbingly, they
indicate a failure on the part of respondent to distinguish truth from fiction, or at
least abide by the truth. Petitioner's witnesses and the trial court were emphatic
on respondent's inveterate proclivity to telling lies and the pathologic nature of
her mistruths, which according to them, were revelatory of respondent's inability
to understand and perform the essential obligations of marriage. Indeed, a person
unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality would similarly be unable to
comprehend the legal nature of the marital bond, much less its psychic meaning,
and the corresponding obligations attached to marriage, including parenting. One
unable to adhere to reality cannot be expected to adhere as well to any legal or
emotional commitments.

The Court of Appeals somehow concluded that since respondent allegedly tried
her best to effect a reconciliation, she had amply exhibited her ability to perform
her marital obligations. We are not convinced. Given the nature of her
psychological condition, her willingness to remain in the marriage hardly banishes
nay extenuates her lack of capacity to fulfill the essential marital obligations.
Respondent's ability to even comprehend what the essential marital obligations
are is impaired at best. Considering that the evidence convincingly disputes
respondent's ability to adhere to the truth, her avowals as to her commitment to
the marriage cannot be accorded much credence.
At this point, it is worth considering Article 45(3) of the Family Code which states
that a marriage may be annulled if the consent of either party was obtained by
fraud, and Article 46 which enumerates the circumstances constituting fraud
under the previous article, clarifies that "no other misrepresentation or deceit as
to character, health, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will
give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage." It would be improper to
draw linkages between misrepresentations made by respondent and the
misrepresentations under Articles 45 (3) and 46. The fraud under Article 45(3)
vitiates the consent of the spouse who is lied to, and does not allude to vitiated
consent of the lying spouse. In this case, the misrepresentations of respondent
point to her own inadequacy to cope with her marital obligations, kindred to
psychological incapacity under Article 36.
Fifth. Respondent is evidently unable to comply with the essential marital
obligations as embraced by Articles 68 to 71 of the Family Code. Article 68, in
particular, enjoins the spouses to live together, observe mutual love, respect and
fidelity, and render mutual help and support. As noted by the trial court, it is
difficult to see how an inveterate pathological liar would be able to commit to the
basic tenets of relationship between spouses based on love, trust and respect.
Sixth. The Court of Appeals clearly erred when it failed to take into consideration
the fact that the marriage of the parties was annulled by the Catholic Church. The
appellate court apparently deemed this detail totally inconsequential as no
reference was made to it anywhere in the assailed decision despite petitioner's
efforts to bring the matter to its attention. 88 Such deliberate ignorance is in

contravention of Molina, which held that interpretations given by the National


Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not
controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts. DTISaH
As noted earlier, the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Manila decreed
the invalidity of the marriage in question in a Conclusion 89 dated 30 March 1995,
citing the "lack of due discretion" on the part of respondent. 90 Such decree of
nullity was affirmed by both the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, 91 and
the Roman Rota of the Vatican. 92 In fact, respondent's psychological incapacity
was considered so grave that a restrictive clause 93 was appended to the
sentence of nullity prohibiting respondent from contracting another marriage
without the Tribunal's consent.
In its Decision dated 4 June 1995, the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal
pronounced:
The JURISPRUDENCE in the Case maintains that matrimonial consent is
considered ontologically defective and wherefore judicially ineffective when
elicited by a Part Contractant in possession and employ of a discretionary
judgment faculty with a perceptive vigor markedly inadequate for the practical
understanding of the conjugal Covenant or serious impaired from the correct
appreciation of the integral significance and implications of the marriage vows.
The FACTS in the Case sufficiently prove with the certitude required by law that
based on the depositions of the Partes in Causa and premised on the testimonies
of the Common and Expert Witnesse[s], the Respondent made the marriage
option in tenure of adverse personality constracts that were markedly antithetical
to the substantive content and implications of the Marriage Covenant, and that
seriously undermined the integrality of her matrimonial consent in terms of its
deliberative component. In other words, afflicted with a discretionary faculty
impaired in its practico-concrete judgment formation on account of an adverse
action and reaction pattern, the Respondent was impaired from eliciting a
judicially binding matrimonial consent. There is no sufficient evidence in the Case
however to prove as well the fact of grave lack of due discretion on the part of the
Petitioner. 94

Evidently, the conclusion of psychological incapacity was arrived at not only by


the trial court, but also by canonical bodies. Yet, we must clarify the proper import
of the Church rulings annulling the marriage in this case. They hold sway since
they are drawn from a similar recognition, as the trial court, of the veracity of
petitioner's allegations. Had the trial court instead appreciated respondent's
version as correct, and the appellate court affirmed such conclusion, the rulings of
the Catholic Church on this matter would have diminished persuasive value. After
all, it is the factual findings of the judicial trier of facts, and not that of the
canonical courts, that are accorded significant recognition by this Court.
Seventh. The final point of contention is the requirement in Molina that such
psychological incapacity be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or
incurable. It was on this score that the Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of
the trial court, the appellate court noting that it did not appear certain that
respondent's condition was incurable and that Dr. Abcede did not testify to such
effect. 95
Petitioner points out that one month after he and his wife initially separated, he
returned to her, desiring to make their marriage work. However, respondent's
aberrant behavior remained unchanged, as she continued to lie, fabricate stories,
and maintained her excessive jealousy. From this fact, he draws the conclusion
that respondent's condition is incurable.
From the totality of the evidence, can it be definitively concluded that
respondent's condition is incurable? It would seem, at least, that respondent's
psychosis is quite grave, and a cure thereof a remarkable feat. Certainly, it would
have been easier had petitioner's expert witnesses characterized respondent's
condition as incurable. Instead, they remained silent on whether the
psychological incapacity was curable or incurable.
But on careful examination, there was good reason for the experts' taciturnity on
this point.
The petitioner's expert witnesses testified in 1994 and 1995, and the trial court
rendered its decision on 10 August 1995. These events transpired well before
Molina was promulgated in 1997 and made explicit the requirement that the

psychological incapacity must be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or


incurable. Such requirement was not expressly stated in Article 36 or any other
provision of the Family Code. DTAIaH
On the other hand, the Court in Santos, which was decided in January 1995,
began its discussion by first citing the deliberations of the Family Code
committee, 96 then the opinion of canonical scholars, 97 before arriving at its
formulation of the doctrinal definition of psychological incapacity. 98 Santos did
refer to Justice Caguioa's opinion expressed during the deliberations that
"psychological incapacity is incurable," 99 and the view of a former presiding
judge of the Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Manila that
psychological incapacity must be characterized "by (a) gravity, (b) juridical
antecedence, and (c) incurability." 100 However, in formulating the doctrinal rule
on psychological incapacity, the Court in Santos omitted any reference to
incurability as a characteristic of psychological incapacity. 101
This disquisition is material as Santos was decided months before the trial court
came out with its own ruling that remained silent on whether respondent's
psychological incapacity was incurable. Certainly, Santos did not clearly mandate
that the incurability of the psychological incapacity be established in an action for
declaration of nullity. At least, there was no jurisprudential clarity at the time of
the trial of this case and the subsequent promulgation of the trial court's decision
that required a medical finding of incurability. Such requisite arose only with
Molina in 1997, at a time when this case was on appellate review, or after the
reception of evidence.
We are aware that in Pesca v. Pesca, 102 the Court countered an argument that
Molina and Santos should not apply retroactively with the observation that the
interpretation or construction placed by the courts of a law constitutes a part of
that law as of the date the statute in enacted. 103 Yet we approach this present
case from utterly practical considerations. The requirement that psychological
incapacity must be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable is
one that necessarily cannot be divined without expert opinion. Clearly in this
case, there was no categorical averment from the expert witnesses that
respondent's psychological incapacity was curable or incurable simply because

there was no legal necessity yet to elicit such a declaration and the appropriate
question was not accordingly propounded to him. If we apply Pesca without deep
reflection, there would be undue prejudice to those cases tried before Molina or
Santos, especially those presently on appellate review, where presumably the
respective petitioners and their expert witnesses would not have seen the need to
adduce a diagnosis of incurability. It may hold in those cases, as in this case, that
the psychological incapacity of a spouse is actually incurable, even if not
pronounced as such at the trial court level.
We stated earlier that Molina is not set in stone, and that the interpretation of
Article 36 relies heavily on a case-to-case perception. It would be insensate to
reason to mandate in this case an expert medical or clinical diagnosis of
incurability, since the parties would have had no impelling cause to present
evidence to that effect at the time this case was tried by the RTC more than ten
(10) years ago. From the totality of the evidence, we are sufficiently convinced
that the incurability of respondent's psychological incapacity has been
established by the petitioner. Any lingering doubts are further dispelled by the
fact that the Catholic Church tribunals, which indubitably consider incurability as
an integral requisite of psychological incapacity, were sufficiently convinced that
respondent was so incapacitated to contract marriage to the degree that
annulment was warranted.
All told, we conclude that petitioner has established his cause of action for
declaration of nullity under Article 36 of the Family Code. The RTC correctly ruled,
and the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the trial court.
There is little relish in deciding this present petition, pronouncing as it does the
marital bond as having been inexistent in the first place. It is possible that
respondent, despite her psychological state, remains in love with petitioner, as
exhibited by her persistent challenge to the petition for nullity. In fact, the
appellate court placed undue emphasis on respondent's avowed commitment to
remain in the marriage. Yet the Court decides these cases on legal reasons and
not vapid sentimentality. Marriage, in legal contemplation, is more than the
legitimatization of a desire of people in love to live together.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the RTC dated 10 August
1995, declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent NULL and VOID
under Article 36 of the Family Code, is REINSTATED. No costs. TAcSCH

14.

Id. at 95.

15.

Supra note 13.

SO ORDERED.

16.

Id. at 70, 92.

Quisumbing, Carpio and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.

17.

TSN, 8 September 1993, p. 12.

Footnotes

18.

Id. at 12-13. See also records, p. 91.

1.
Penned by Associate Justice Ruben T. Reyes, concurred in by Associate
Justices Renato C. Dacudao and Mariano C. Del Castillo; See rollo, pp. 67-84.

19.

Rollo, pp. 71, 92.

20.

Id.; records, p. 3.

21.

Rollo, pp. 71, 92.

22.

Id. at 71-72, 92-93.

23.

Id.

24.

Id. at 93.

2.

Rollo, p. 86.

3.
Penned by Judge (now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) Josefina
Guevara-Salonga.
4.
Solemnized by Rev. Victor M. Navarro, Minister of the PCCC, Las Pias,
Metro Manila.
5.

Solemnized by the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Rodolfo Aguirre Gallardo.

25.

Id. at 74, 94.

6.

Rollo, pp. 69, 91.

26.

Id.

7.

Records, pp. 1-5.

27.

Id. at 73, 93.

8.

Id. at 1-2.

28.

Id.

9.

Id. at 2-3. See also rollo, pp. 69, 91.

29.

Id.

10.

Named Tito F. Reyes II, born on 21 January 1982.

30.

Id. at 74, 94.

11.

Supra note 8.

31.

Id. at 73, 94.

12.

Rollo, pp. 69, 92.

32.

Id. at 77-78.

13.

Id. at 70, 92.

33.

Miss Francianina Sanches.

34.

Rollo, p. 94.

48.

334 Phil. 294 (1997).

35.

Id. at 72, 93; TSN, 23 March 1995, pp. 15-17.

36.

Rollo, pp. 95-96.

49.
It does not escape this Court's attention that many lower courts do grant
petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36, and that these decisions are
not elevated for review to the Supreme Court.

37.

Id. at 97-98.

50.

38.

Id. at pp. 99-100.

39.

Id. at 101-103.

40.

335 Phil. 664 (1997).

51.
Translated from the original Spanish by Justice F.C. FISHER. SEE F.C.
FISHER, THE CIVIL CODE OF SPAIN WITH PHILIPPINE NOTES AND REFERENCES 45
(Fifth Ed., 1947). The original text of Article 83 (2) of the Spanish Civil Code reads:
"No pueden contraer matrimonio: . . . (2) Los que no estuvieren en el pleno
ejercicio du su razon al tiempo de contraer matrimonio."

41.

Rollo, p. 95.

See Family Code, Art. 36.

52.

See Spanish Civil Code. (1889) Art. 101.

42.
Limketkai Sons Milling, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 321 Phil. 105, 126 (1995),
citing Serrano v. Court of Appeals, 196 SCRA 107 (1991).

53.

Act No. 2710 (1917).

43.

Rollo, p. 82.

54.

See Act No. 3613 (1929), Sec. 30 (c)

44.

Supra note 40.

55.

See Executive Order No. 141 (1943), Sec. 2 (5).

45.
The petitioning spouse and co-respondent in the case being Roridel O.
Molina. Id.

56.
Unless the party of unsound mind, after coming to reason, freely cohabited
with the other as husband or wife. See Civil Code, Art. 85 (3).

46.

57.

Rollo, p. 78.

47.
There were two cases since 1997 wherein the Court did let stand a lower
court order declaring as a nullity a marriage on the basis of Article 36. These
cases are Sy v. Court of Appeals, 386 Phil. 760 (2000), and Buenaventura v. Court
of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 127358 & 127449, 31 March 2005, 454 SCRA 261. However,
in Sy, the Court found that the marriage was void ab initio due to the lack of a
marriage license at the time the marriage was solemnized, and thus declined to
pass upon the question of psychological incapacity. In Buenaventura, since the
parties chose not to challenge the trial court's conclusion of psychological
incapacity and instead raised questions on the award of damages and support,
the Court did not review the finding of psychological incapacity.

See Civil Code, Art. 80.

58.
Subject to the same qualifications under Article 85 (3) of the Civil Code.
See note 56.
59.

See Civil Code, Art. 1327 (2) in relation to Art. 1318 (1).

60.
See Santos v. Court of Appeals, 310 Phil. 21, 32-33 (1995). See also A.
SEMPIO DIY, HANDBOOK ON THE FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES 37 (1988). A
contrary view though was expressed by Justice Ricardo Puno, also a member of
the Family Code commission. See Santos v. Court of Appeals, ibid.

61.
I A. TOLENTINO, CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES: COMMENTARIES AND
JURISPRUDENCE 274-275 (1990 ed.).

72.
Id. at 431; citing Republic v. Court of Appeals, 268 SCRA 198, 214 (1997),
Padilla, J., Separate Statement.

62.

Id.

73.

See Santos v. Court of Appeals, supra note 60, at 32-39.

63.

Id. at 274.

74.

See SEMPIO-DIY, supra note 60, at 36.

64.

Supra note 60.

75.

Republic v. Court of Appeals, supra note 40, at 678.

65.
Id. at 40, emphasis supplied. The Court further added, "[t]here is hardly
any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of
'psychological incapacity' to the most serious cases of personality disorders
clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to marriage." Id.

76.
Thus, Chi Ming Tsoi v. Court of Appeals, supra note 48, wherein the
psychological incapacity of the petitioner was recognized by the Court from the
fact that he did not engage in sexual relations with his wife during their ten (10)
month marital cohabitation, remains a binding precedent, even though it was
decided shortly before the Molina case.

66.

Supra note 40.

77.

Republic v. Court of Appeals, supra note 40, at 676-680.

67.

Id. at 677.

78.

Id. at 680.

68.

Marcos v. Marcos, 397 Phil. 840, 851 (2000).

79.
See Carating-Siayngco v. Siayngco, G.R. No. 158896, 27 October 2004,
441 SCRA 422, 435.

69.
It may be noted that a previous incarnation of Article 36, subsequently
rejected by the Family Code Commission, stated that among those void ab initio
marriages are those "contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration,
was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the
essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to
discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack of incapacity is made
manifest after the celebration." See Santos v. Court of Appeals, supra note 60, at
30.
70.
Salita v. Magtolis, G.R. No. 106429, 13 June 1994, 233 SCRA 100, 107-108;
citing A. SEMPIO-DIY, supra note 60, at 37, emphasis supplied. See also Santos v.
Court of Appeals, supra note 60, at 36; Republic v. Court of Appeals, supra note
40, at 677.
71.

G.R. No. 109975, 9 February 2001, 351 SCRA 425.

80.

Rollo, p. 82.

81.

Records, pp. 2-3.

82.
University of Santo Tomas Hospital and UERM Memorial Medical Center. Dr.
Abcede likewise was the past president of the Philippine Psychiatrist Association.
TSN, February 23, 1994, p. 6.
83.

TSN, 23 February 1994, pp. 7-9, 11-12.

84.

TSN, 23 March 1995, p. 12.

85.

397 Phil. 840 (2000).

86.

Id. at 850.

87.

Rollo, pp. 95-96.

88.
As shown by the Motion(s) for Early Resolution of the Case filed by
petitioner with the canonical declarations attached as annexes.
89.

Id. at 97-98.

90.
The Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Manila based the decree of
invalidity on the ground of lack of due discretion on the part of both parties. On
appeal, however, the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal modified the
judgment by holding that lack of due discretion applied to respondent but there
was no sufficient evidence to prove lack of due discretion on the part of petitioner.
See also note 38.
91.

Rollo, pp. 99-100.

92.

Id. at 101-103.

93.
"A restrictive clause is herewith attached to this sentence of nullity to the
effect that the respondent may not enter into another marriage without the
express consent of this Tribunal, in deference to the sanctity and dignity of the
sacrament of matrimony, as well as for the protection of the intended spouse.";
rollo, p. 97.
94.

Rollo, p. 99. Emphasis supplied, citations omitted.

95.

Rollo, p. 82.

96.

Santos v. Court of Appeals, supra note 60, at 30-36.

97.

Id. at 37-39.

98.

Id. at 39-40.

99.

Id. at 33.

100.

Id. at 39.

101. "It should be obvious, looking at all the foregoing disquisitions, including,
and most importantly, the deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee
itself, that the use of the phrase "psychological incapacity" under Article 36 of the
Code has not been meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as,
likewise mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities, extremely low intelligence,
immaturity, and like circumstances (cited in Fr. Artemio Baluma's "Void and
Voidable Marriages in the Family Code and their Parallels in Canon Law," quoting
from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder by the American
Psychiatric Association; Edward Hudson's "Handbook II for Marriage Nullity
Cases"). Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be taken and construed
independently of but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts in our law
on marriage. Thus correlated, "psychological incapacity" should refer to no less
than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive
of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and
discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of
the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love,
respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that
the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological
incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter intensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand,
an inability of the spouse to have sexual relations with the other. This conclusion
is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which considers children conceived
prior to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void marriage to be "legitimate."
"The other forms of psychoses, if existing at the inception of
marriage, like the state of a party being of unsound mind or concealment of drug
addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism, merely renders the
marriage contract voidable pursuant to Article 46, Family Code. If drug addiction,
habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality should occur only during the
marriage, they become mere grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the
Family Code. These provisions of the Code, however, do not necessarily preclude
the possibility of these various circumstances being themselves, depending on
the degree and severity of the disorder, indicia of psychological incapacity.

"Until further statutory and jurisprudential parameters are


established, every circumstance that may have some bearing on the degree,
extent, and other conditions of that incapacity must, in every case, be carefully
examined and evaluated so that no precipitate and indiscriminate nullity is
peremptorily
decreed.
The
well-considered
opinions
of
psychiatrists,
psychologists, and persons with expertise in psychological disciplines might be
helpful or even desirable." Santos v. Court of Appeals, id. at 39-41.
102.

G.R. No. 136921, 17 April 2001, 356 SCRA 588.

103.

Id. at 593.

Copyright 2006

C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.

[G.R. No. 136490. October 19, 2000.]


BRENDA B. MARCOS, petitioner, vs. WILSON G. MARCOS, respondent.
Jimeno Jalandoni & Cope Law Offices for petitioner.
Macaraig Law Office for private respondent.
SYNOPSIS
This petition assailed the Court of Appeals' decision which declared the marriage
between the parties valid, and which thereby reversed the RTC decision nullifying
the marriage after finding the appellant to be psychologically incapacitated
because he failed to find work to support his family and his violent attitude
towards petitioner and their children. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision

mainly because respondent was not subjected to any psychological or psychiatric


evaluation.
In upholding the decision of the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court held: that
personal medical or psychological examination of respondent is not required for a
declaration of psychological incapacity, but the totality of the evidence petitioner
presented does not show such incapacity to be permanent or incurable and to
have existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage. In this case,
respondent left and failed to support his family because he lost his job for more
than six years. His condition is also not incurable because now he is gainfully
employed as a taxi driver. At best, the petitioner presented evidence which
referred only to grounds for legal separation, not for declaring a marriage void.
SYLLABUS
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; NULLITY OF MARRIAGE; PSYCHOLOGICAL
INCAPACITY AS A GROUND FOR ANNULMENT. The guidelines incorporate the
three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court in Santos v. Court of
Appeals: "psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity (b)
juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability." The foregoing guidelines do not
require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically
incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be "medically or clinically identified."
What is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the
party's psychological condition. For indeed, 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.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. Although this Court is sufficiently
convinced that respondent failed to provide material support to the family and
may have resorted to physical abuse and abandonment, the totality of his acts
does not lead to a conclusion of psychological incapacity on his part. There is
absolutely no showing that his "defects" were already present at the inception of
the marriage or that they are incurable. Verily, the behavior of respondent can be
attributed to the fact that he had lost his job and was not gainfully employed for a
period of more than six years. It was during this period that he became
intermittently drunk, failed to give material and moral support, and even left the

family home. Thus, his alleged psychological illness was traced only to said period
and not to the inception of the marriage. Equally important, there is no evidence
showing that his condition is incurable, especially now that he is gainfully
employed as a taxi driver. CIaASH
3.
ID.; ID.; LEGAL SEPARATION; GROUNDS THEREFOR; PROPER REMEDY IN
CASE AT BAR. [L]egal separation, in which the grounds need not be rooted in
psychological incapacity but on physical violence, moral pressure, moral
corruption, civil interdiction, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity,
abandonment and the like. At best, the evidence presented by petitioner refers
only to grounds for legal separation, not for declaring a marriage void.

and void ab initio pursuant to Art. 36 of the Family Code. The conjugal properties,
if any, is dissolved [sic] in accordance with Articles 126 and 129 of the same Code
in relation to Articles 50, 51 and 52 relative to the delivery of the legitime of [the]
parties' children. In the best interest and welfare of the minor children, their
custody is granted to petitioner subject to the visitation rights of respondent."
HEcTAI
"Upon finality of this Decision, furnish copy each to the Office of the Civil Registrar
of Pasig City where the marriage was solemnized, the National Census and
Statistics Office, Manila and the Register of Deeds of Mandaluyong City for their
appropriate action consistent with this Decision.

DECISION

"SO ORDERED."

PANGANIBAN, J p:

The Facts

Psychological incapacity, as a ground for declaring the nullity of a marriage, may


be established by the totality of evidence presented. There is no requirement,
however, that the respondent should be examined by a physician or a
psychologist as a conditio sine qua non for such declaration. DcAEIS

The facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows:

The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,
assailing the July 24, 1998 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R CV
No. 55588, which disposed as follows:
"WHEREFORE, the contested decision is set aside and the marriage between the
parties is hereby declared valid." 2
Also challenged by petitioner is the December 3, 1998 CA Resolution denying her
Motion for Reconsideration.
Earlier, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) had ruled thus:
"WHEREFORE, the marriage between petitioner Brenda B. Marcos and respondent
Wilson G. Marcos, solemnized on September 6, 1982 in Pasig City is declared null

"It was established during the trial that the parties were married twice: (1) on
September 6, 1982 which was solemnized by Judge Eriberto H. Espiritu at the
Municipal Court of Pasig (Exh. A); and (2) on May 8, 1983 which was solemnized
by Rev. Eduardo L. Eleazar, Command Chaplain, at the Presidential Security
Command Chapel in Malacaang Park, Manila (Exh. A-1). Out of their marriage,
five (5) children were born (Exhs. B, C, D, E and F).
"Appellant Wilson G. Marcos joined the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1973.
Later on, he was transferred to the Presidential Security Command in Malacaang
during the Marcos Regime. Appellee Brenda B. Marcos, on the other hand, joined
the Women's Auxiliary Corps under the Philippine Air Force in 1978. After the Edsa
Revolution, both of them sought a discharge from the military service. SaCIDT
"They first met sometime in 1980 when both of them were assigned at the
Malacaang Palace, she as an escort of Imee Marcos and he as a Presidential
Guard of President Ferdinand Marcos. Through telephone conversations, they
became acquainted and eventually became sweethearts.

"After their marriage on September 6, 1982, they resided at No. 1702 Daisy
Street, Hulo Bliss, Mandaluyong, a housing unit which she acquired from the Bliss
Development Corporation when she was still single.
"After the downfall of President Marcos, he left the military service in 1987 and
then engaged in different business ventures that did not however prosper. As a
wife, she always urged him to look for work so that their children would see him,
instead of her, as the head of the family and a good provider. Due to his failure to
engage in any gainful employment, they would often quarrel and as a
consequence, he would hit and beat her. He would even force her to have sex
with him despite her weariness. He would also inflict physical harm on their
children for a slight mistake and was so severe in the way he chastised them.
Thus, for several times during their cohabitation, he would leave their house. In
1992, they were already living separately. ISHCcT
"All the while, she was engrossed in the business of selling "magic uling" and
chicken. While she was still in the military, she would first make deliveries early in
the morning before going to Malacaang. When she was discharged from the
military service, she concentrated on her business. Then, she became a supplier
in the Armed Forces of the Philippines until she was able to put up a trading and
construction company, NS Ness Trading and Construction Development
Corporation.
"The 'straw that broke the camel's back' took place on October 16, 1994, when
they had a bitter quarrel. As they were already living separately, she did not want
him to stay in their house anymore. On that day, when she saw him in their
house, she was so angry that she lambasted him. He then turned violent,
inflicting physical harm on her and even on her mother who came to her aid. The
following day, October 17, 1994, she and their children left the house and sought
refuge in her sister's house.
"On October 19, 1994, she submitted herself [to] medical examination at the
Mandaluyong Medical Center where her injuries were diagnosed as contusions
(Exh. G, Records, 153). AEDHST

"Sometime in August 1995, she together with her two sisters and driver, went to
him at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong to look for their missing child, Niko. Upon
seeing them, he got mad. After knowing the reason for their unexpected
presence, he ran after them with a samurai and even [beat] her driver.
"At the time of the filing of this case, she and their children were renting a house
in Camella, Paraaque, while the appellant was residing at the Bliss unit in
Mandaluyong.
"In the case study conducted by Social Worker Sonia C. Millan, the children
described their father as cruel and physically abusive to them (Exh. UU, Records,
pp. 85-100).
"The appellee submitted herself to psychologist Natividad A. Dayan, Ph. D., for
psychological evaluation (Exh. YY, Records, pp. 207-216), while the appellant on
the other hand did not.
"The court a quo found the appellant to be psychologically incapacitated to
perform his marital obligations mainly because of his failure to find work to
support his family and his violent attitude towards appellee and their children, . . .
3
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Reversing the RTC, the CA held that psychological incapacity had not been
established by the totality of the evidence presented. It ratiocinated in this wise:
"Essential in a petition for annulment is the allegation of the root cause of the
spouse's psychological incapacity which should also be medically or clinically
identified, sufficiently proven by experts and clearly explained in the decision. The
incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the
marriage and shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. It must
also be grave enough to bring about the disability of the parties to assume the
essential obligations of marriage as set forth in Articles 68 to 71 and Articles 220
to 225 of the Family Code and such non-complied marital obligations must

similarly be alleged in the petition, established by evidence and explained in the


decision. SDIaCT
"In the case before us, the appellant was not subjected to any psychological or
psychiatric evaluation. The psychological findings about the appellant by
psychiatrist Natividad Dayan were based only on the interviews conducted with
the appellee. Expert evidence by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists
is essential if only to prove that the parties were or any one of them was mentally
or psychically ill to be truly incognitive of the marital obligations he or she was
assuming, or as would make him or her . . . unable to assume them. In fact, he
offered testimonial evidence to show that he [was] not psychologically
incapacitated. The root cause of his supposed incapacity was not alleged in the
petition, nor medically or clinically identified as a psychological illness or
sufficiently proven by an expert. Similarly, there is no evidence at all that would
show that the appellant was suffering from an incapacity which [was]
psychological or mental not physical to the extent that he could not have
known the obligations he was assuming: that the incapacity [was] grave, ha[d]
preceded the marriage and [was] incurable." 4
Hence, this Petition. 5
Issues
In her Memorandum, 6 petitioner presents for this Court's consideration the
following issues: cSCTEH
"I.
Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals could set aside the findings
by the Regional Trial Court of psychological incapacity of a respondent in a
Petition for declaration of nullity of marriage simply because the respondent did
not subject himself to psychological evaluation.
II.
Whether or not the totality of evidence presented and the demeanor of all
the witnesses should be the basis of the determination of the merits of the
Petition." 7
The Court's Ruling

We agree with petitioner that the personal medical or psychological examination


of respondent is not a requirement for a declaration of psychological incapacity.
Nevertheless, the totality of the evidence she presented does not show such
incapacity.
Preliminary Issue:
Need for Personal Medical Examination
Petitioner contends that the testimonies and the results of various tests that were
submitted to determine respondent's psychological incapacity to perform the
obligations of marriage should not have been brushed aside by the Court of
Appeals, simply because respondent had not taken those tests himself. Petitioner
adds that the CA should have realized that under the circumstances, she had no
choice but to rely on other sources of information in order to determine the
psychological capacity of respondent, who had refused to submit himself to such
tests. aHSCcE
In Republic v. CA and Molina, 8 the guidelines governing the application and the
interpretation of psychological incapacity referred to in Article 36 of the Family
Code 9 were laid down by this Court as follows:
"1)
The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation
of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact
that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity
of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family,
recognizing it 'as the foundation of the nation.' It decrees marriage as legally
'inviolable,' thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both
the family and marriage are to be 'protected' by the state.
xxx

xxx

xxx

2)
The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or
clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts
and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires

that the incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its


manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince
the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically 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 thereof. Although no
example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application
of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root
cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature
fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and
clinical psychologists. DTIaCS
3)
The incapacity must be proven to be existing at 'the time of the
celebration' of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was existing
when the parties exchanged their 'I do's.' The manifestation of the illness need
not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such
moment, or prior thereto.
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 to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the
same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of
marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the
exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be
effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them
but not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own
children as an essential obligation of marriage.
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 peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts'
cannot be 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
words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the

person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential
to marriage.
6)
The essential marital obligations must be those embraced 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 same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such
non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by
evidence and included in the text of the decision.
7)
Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the
Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be
given great respect by our courts.
xxx

xxx

xxx

(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 be handed
down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in
the decision, briefly stating 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." 10 DSAacC
The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the
Court in Santos v. Court of Appeals: 11 "psychological incapacity must be
characterized by (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability." The
foregoing guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be
declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be "medically
or clinically identified." What is important is the presence of evidence that can
adequately establish the party's psychological condition. For indeed, 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.

Main Issue:
Totality of Evidence Presented
The main question, then, is whether the totality of the evidence presented in the
present case including the testimonies of petitioner, the common children,
petitioner's sister and the social worker was enough to sustain a finding that
respondent was psychologically incapacitated.
We rule in the negative. Although this Court is sufficiently convinced that
respondent failed to provide material support to the family and may have
resorted to physical abuse and abandonment, the totality of his acts does not
lead to a conclusion of psychological incapacity on his part. There is absolutely no
showing that his "defects" were already present at the inception of the marriage
or that they are incurable.
Verily, the behavior of respondent can be attributed to the fact that he had lost
his job and was not gainfully employed for a period of more than six years. It was
during this period that he became intermittently drunk, failed to give material and
moral support, and even left the family home. HIAEcT
Thus, his alleged psychological illness was traced only to said period and not to
the inception of the marriage. Equally important, there is no evidence showing
that his condition is incurable, especially now that he is gainfully employed as a
taxi driver.
Article 36 of the Family Code, we stress, is not to be confused with a divorce law
that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefor manifest themselves. It
refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even before the
celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to
deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial
bond one is about to assume. These marital obligations are those provided under
Articles 68 to 71, 220, 221 and 225 of the Family Code.
Neither is Article 36 to be equated with legal separation, in which the grounds
need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but on physical violence, moral

pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism,


sexual infidelity, abandonment and the like. 12 At best, the evidence presented
by petitioner refers only to grounds for legal separation, not for declaring a
marriage void. aTcIEH
Because Article 36 has been abused as a convenient divorce law this Court laid
down the procedural requirements for its invocation in Molina. Petitioner,
however, has not faithfully observed them.
In sum, this Court cannot declare the dissolution of the marriage for failure of
petitioner to show that the alleged psychological incapacity is characterized by
gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability; and for her failure to observe the
guidelines in outlined in Molina.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and assailed Decision AFFIRMED, except that
portion requiring personal medical examination as a conditio sine qua non to a
finding of psychological incapacity. No costs. EHTIDA
SO ORDERED.
Melo, Vitug, Purisima and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.
Penned by Justice Bernardo LL Salas with the concurrence of Justices
Fermin A. Martin Jr. (Division chairman) and Candido V. Rivera (member).
2.

CA Decision, pp. 12-13; rollo, pp. 38-39.

3.

CA Decision, pp. 5-7; rollo, pp. 31-33.

4.

CA Decision, pp. 10-11; rollo, 36-37.

5.
This case was deemed submitted for resolution on February 24, 2000,
upon receipt by this Court of respondent's Memorandum, which was signed by
Atty. Virgilio V. Macaraig. Petitioner's Memorandum, signed by Atty. Rita Linda V.
Jimeno, had been filed earlier on November 5, 1999.

6.

Rollo, p. 70; original in upper case.

7.

Memorandum for petitioner, p. 6; rollo, p. 70.

8.

268 SCRA 198, February 13, 1997, per Panganiban, J.

(7)
Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous
marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad;
(8)

Sexual infidelity or perversion;

(9)

Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner;

9.
"Article 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential
marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity
becomes manifest only after its solemnization.

or

"The action for declaration of nullity of the marriage under this


Article shall prescribe in ten years after its celebration."

For purposes of this Article, the term 'child' shall include a child by
nature or by adoption."

10.

Supra, pp. 209-213.

11.

240 SCRA 20, 34, January 4, 1995, per Vitug, J.

12
"Article 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the
following grounds:
(1)
Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct
directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
(2)
Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner
to change religious or political affiliation;
(3)
Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a
common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution, or
connivance in such corruption or inducement;
(4)
Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment
of more than six years, even if pardoned;
(5)

Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;

(6)

Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent;

(10)
Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable
cause for more than one year.

Copyright 2000

CD Technologies Asia Inc

[G.R. No. 112019. January 4, 1995.]


LEOUEL SANTOS, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
AND JULIA ROSARIO BEDIA-SANTOS, respondents.
Alexander G. Amor for petitioner.
J.T. Baurera for respondents.
SYLLABUS
1.
REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; DISMISSAL; ABSENCE OF CERTIFICATION OF
NON-FORUM SHOPPING, VALID GROUND. The petition should be denied not
only because of its non-compliance with Circular 28-91, which requires a
certification of non-forum shopping, but also for its lack of merit.
2.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; MARRIAGE; ANNULMENT BASED ON
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY; MERE FAILURE TO RETURN HOME FOR MORE THAN
FIVE (5) YEARS, NOT SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY.
Leouel argues that the failure of Julia to return home, or at the very least to
communicate with him, for more than five years are circumstances that clearly
show her being psychologically incapacitated to enter into married life. Until
further statutory and jurisprudential parameters are established, every
circumstance that may have some bearing on the degree, extent, and other
conditions of that incapacity must, in every case, be carefully examined and
evaluated so that no precipitate and indiscriminate nullity is peremptorily
decreed. The well-considered opinions of psychiatrists, psychologists, and persons
with expertise in psychological disciplines might be helpful or even desirable.
Marriage is not an adventure but a lifetime commitment. We should continue to
be reminded that innate in our society, then enshrined in our Civil Code, and even
now still indelible in Article 1 of the Family Code, is that "Article 1. Marriage is a
special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in
accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the
foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature,
consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation,
except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the

marriage within the limits provided by this Code." (Italics supplied.) The above
provisions express so well and so distinctly the basic nucleus of our laws on
marriage and the family, and they are no doubt the tenets we still hold on to. The
factual settings in the case at bench, in no measure at all, can come close to the
standards required to decree a nullity of marriage. Undeniably and
understandably, Leouel stands aggrieved, even desperate, in his present
situation. Regrettably, neither law nor society itself can always provide all the
specific answers to every individual problem.
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PREVAILING JURISPRUDENCE UNDER CANON LAW, AN AID
IN THE INTERPRETATION THEREOF. Although neither decisive nor even perhaps
all that persuasive for having no juridical or secular effect, the jurisprudence
under Canon Law prevailing at the time of the code's enactment, nevertheless,
cannot be dismissed as impertinent for its value as an aid, at least, to the
interpretation or construction of the codal provision.
4.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY, CONSTRUED. It should be
obvious, looking at all the foregoing disquisitions, including, and most
importantly, the deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee itself, that
the use of the phrase "psychological incapacity" under Article 36 of the Code has
not been meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as, likewise
mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities, extremely low intelligence,
immaturity, and like circumstances (cited in Fr. Artemio Baluma's "Void and
Voidable Marriages in the Family Code and their Parallels in Canon Law," quoting
from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder by the American
Psychiatric Association; Edward Hudson's "Handbook II for Marriage Nullity
Cases"). Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be taken and construed
independently of, but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts in our law
on marriage. Thus correlated, "psychological incapacity" should refer to no less
than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive
of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and
discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of
the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love,
respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that
the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological

incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly


demonstrative of an utter intensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand,
an inability of the spouse to have sexual relations with the other. This conclusion
is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which considers children conceived
prior to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void marriage to be "legitimate."
5.
ID.; ID.; ID.; OTHER FORMS OF PSYCHOSES MAY BE CONSIDERED INDICIA
OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY. The other forms of psychoses, if existing at
the inception of marriage, like the state of a party being of unsound mind or
concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism,
merely renders the marriage contract voidable pursuant to Article 46, Family
Code. If drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality should
occur only during the marriage, they become mere grounds for legal separation
under Article 55 of the Family Code. These provisions of the Code, however, do
not necessarily preclude the possibility of these various circumstances being
themselves, depending on the degree and severity of the disorder, indicia of
psychological incapacity.
ROMERO, J., concurring:
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; MARRIAGE; ANNULMENT BASED ON
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY; FAILURE TO RETURN HOME FOR MORE THAN FIVE
(5) YEARS, NOT SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR NULLITY. I agree that under the
circumstances of the case, petitioner is not entitled to have his marriage declared
a nullity on the ground of psychological incapacity of private respondent.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REASON WHY PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY WAS NOT
DEFINED. By incorporating what is now Article 36 into the Family Code, the
Revision Committee referred to above intended to add another ground to those
already listed in the Civil Code as grounds for nullifying a marriage, thus
expanding or liberalizing the same. Inherent in the inclusion of the provision on
psychological incapacity was the understanding that every petition for declaration
of nullity based on it should be treated on a case-to-case basis; hence, the
absence of a definition and an enumeration of what constitutes psychological

incapacity. Moreover, the Committee feared that the giving of examples would
limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. But
the law requires that the same be existing at the time of marriage although it be
manifested later.
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SAFEGUARDS AGAINST ABUSE. Admittedly, the
provision on psychological incapacity, just like any other provision of law, is open
to abuse. To prevent this, "the court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal
assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion
between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or
suppressed. Moreover, the judge, in interpreting the provision on a case-to-case
basis, must be guided by "experience, the findings of experts and researchers in
psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals which, although not
binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision was
taken from Canon Law."
PADILLA, J., dissenting opinion:
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; MARRIAGE; ANNULMENT BASED ON
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY; INDICATED BY LACK OF INTENTION TO COHABIT
WITH SPOUSE IN CASE AT BAR. To my mind, it is clear that private respondent
has been shown to be psychologically incapacitated to comply with at least one
essential marital obligation, i.e. that of living and cohabiting with her husband,
herein petitioner. On the other hand, it has not been shown that petitioner does
not deserve to live and cohabit with his wife, herein private respondent. A
spouse's obligation to live and cohabit with his/her partner in marriage is a basic
ground rule in marriage, unless there are overpowering compelling reasons such
as, for instance, an incurable contagious disease on the part of a spouse or
cruelty of one partner, bordering on insanity. There may also be instances when,
for economic and practical reasons, husband and wife have to live separately, but
the marital bond between the spouses always remains. Mutual love and respect
for each other would, in such cases, compel the absent spouse to at least have
regular contacts with the other to inform the latter of his/her condition and
whereabouts. In the present case, it is apparent that private respondent Julia
Rosario Bedia-Santos has no intention of cohabiting with petitioner, her husband,

or maintaining contact with him. In fact, her acts eloquently show that she does
not want her husband to know of her whereabouts and neither has she any
intention of living and cohabiting with him. To me there appears to be, on the part
of private respondent, an unmistakable indication of psychological incapacity to
comply with her essential marital obligations, although these indications were
made manifest after the celebration of the marriage. It would be a great injustice,
I believe, to petitioner for this Court to give a much too restrictive interpretation
of the law and compel the petitioner to continue to be married to a wife who for
purposes of fulfilling her marital duties has, for all practical purposes, ceased to
exist.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT A SANCTION FOR ABSOLUTE DIVORCE; EVIDENT
PURPOSE OF LAW MUST BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION IN GRANT OR DENIAL
THEREOF; BASIC PUBLIC POLICY INVOLVED. Besides, there are public policy
considerations involved in the ruling the Court makes today. Is it not, in effect,
directly or indirectly, facilitating the transformation of petitioner into a "habitual
tryster" or one forced to maintain illicit relations with another woman or women
with emerging problems of illegitimate children, simply because he is denied by
private respondent, his wife, the companionship and conjugal love which he has
sought from her and to which he is legally entitled? I do not go as far as to
suggest that Art. 36 of the Family Code is a sanction for absolute divorce but I
submit that we should not constrict it to non-recognition of its evident purpose
and thus deny to one like petitioner, an opportunity to turn a new leaf in his life
by declaring his marriage a nullity by reason of his wife's psychological incapacity
to perform an essential marital obligation.
DECISION
VITUG, J p:
Concededly a highly, if not indeed the most likely, controversial provision
introduced by the Family Code is Article 36 (as amended by E.O. No. 227 dated 17
July 1987), which declares:
"Article 36.
A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential

marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity


becomes manifest only after its solemnization."
The present petition for review on certiorari, at the instance of Leouel Santos
("Leouel"), brings into fore the above provision which is now invoked by him.
Undaunted by the decisions of the court a quo 1 and the Court of Appeals, 2
Leouel persists in beseeching its application in his attempt to have his marriage
with herein private respondent, Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos ("Julia"), declared a
nullity.
It was in Iloilo City where Leouel, who then held the rank of First Lieutenant in the
Philippine Army, first met Julia. The meeting later proved to be an eventful day for
Leouel and Julia. On 20 September 1986, the two exchanged vows before
Municipal Trial Court Judge Cornelio G. Lazaro of Iloilo City, followed, shortly
thereafter, by a church wedding. Leouel and Julia lived with the latter's parents at
the J. Bedia Compound, La Paz, Iloilo City. On 18 July 1987, Julia gave birth to a
baby boy, and he was christened Leouel Santos, Jr. The ecstasy, however, did not
last long. It was bound to happen, Leouel averred, because of the frequent
interference by Julia's parents into the young spouses' family affairs. Occasionally,
the couple would also start a "quarrel" over a number of other things, like when
and where the couple should start living independently from Julia's parents or
whenever Julia would express resentment on Leouel's spending a few days with
his own parents.
On 18 May 1988, Julia finally left for the United Sates of America to work as a
nurse despite Leouel's pleas to so dissuade her. Seven months after her
departure, or on 01 January 1989, Julia called up Leouel for the first time by long
distance telephone. She promised to return home upon the expiration of her
contract in July 1989. She never did. When Leouel got a chance to visit the United
States, where he underwent a training program under the auspices of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines from 10 April up to 25 August 1990, he desperately tried
to locate, or to somehow get in touch with, Julia but all his efforts were of no avail.
Having failed to get Julia to somehow come home, Leouel filed with the Regional
Trial Court of Negros Oriental, Branch 30, a complaint for "Voiding of Marriage
Under Article 36 of the Family Code" (docketed, Civil Case No. 9814). Summons

was served by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in Negros


Oriental. cdasia
On 31 May 1991, respondent Julia, in her answer (through counsel), opposed the
complaint and denied its allegations, claiming, in main, that it was the petitioner
who had, in fact, been irresponsible and incompetent.

The Family Code did not define the term "psychological incapacity." The
deliberations during the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee, which
has drafted the Code, can, however, provide an insight on the import of the
provision.
"'Article 35.

The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:

A possible collusion between the parties to obtain a decree of nullity of their


marriage was ruled out by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor (in its report to
the court).

'xxx

On 25 October 1991, after pre-trial conferences had repeatedly been set, albeit
unsuccessfully, by the court, Julia ultimately filed a manifestation, stating that she
would neither appear nor submit evidence.

'(7)
Those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to
understand the essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally
incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack of
incapacity is made manifest after the celebration.'cdasia

On 06 November 1991, the court a quo finally dismissed the complaint for lack of
merit. 3
Leouel appealed to the Court of Appeals. The latter affirmed the decision of the
trial court. 4
The petition should be denied not only because of its non-compliance with
Circular 28-91, which requires a certification of non-forum shopping, but also for
its lack of merit. cdasia
Leouel argues that the failure of Julia to return home, or at the very least to
communicate with him, for more than five years are circumstances that clearly
show her being psychologically incapacitated to enter into married life. In his own
words, Leouel asserts:
". . . (T)here is no leave, there is no affection for (him) because respondent Julia
Rosario Bedia-Santos failed all these years to communicate with the petitioner. A
wife who does not care to inform her husband about her whereabouts for a period
of five years, more or less, is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
essential marital obligations of marriage. Respondent Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos is
one such wife."

'Article 36.

xxx

xxx

...

"On subparagraph (7), which as lifted from the Canon Law, Justice (Jose B.L.)
Reyes suggested that they say 'wanting in sufficient use' instead of 'wanting in
the sufficient use,' but Justice (Eduardo) Caguioa preferred to say 'wanting in the
sufficient use.' On the other hand Justice Reyes proposed that they say 'wanting
in sufficient reason.' Justice Caguioa, however, pointed out that the idea is that
one is not lacking in judgment but that he is lacking in the exercise of judgment.
He added that lack of judgment would make the marriage voidable. Judge (Alicia
Sempio-) Diy remarked that lack of judgment is more serious than insufficient use
of judgment and yet the latter would make the marriage null and void and the
former only voidable. Justice Caguioa suggested that subparagraph (7) be
modified to read:
"'That contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
psychologically or mentally incapacitated to discharge the essential marital
obligations, even if such lack or incapacity is made manifest after the
celebration.'
"Justice Caguioa explained that the phrase 'was wanting in sufficient use of
reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage' refers to

defects in the mental faculties vitiating consent, which is not the idea in
subparagraph (7), but lack of appreciation of one's marital obligations.

"Justice Reyes remarked that in insanity, at the time of the marriage, it is not
apparent.

"Judge Diy raised the question: Since 'insanity' is also a psychological or mental
incapacity, why is 'insanity' only a ground for annulment and not for declaration
of nullity? In reply, Justice Caguioa explained that in insanity, there is the
appearance of consent, which is the reason why it is a ground for voidable
marriages, while subparagraph (7) does not refer to consent but to the very
essence of marital obligations.

"Justice Caguioa stated that there are two interpretations of the phrase
'psychologically or mentally incapacitated' in the first one, there is vitiation of
consent because one does not know all the consequences of the marriages, and if
he had known these completely, he might not have consented to the marriage.

"Prof. (Araceli) Baviera suggested that, in subparagraph (7), the word 'mentally'
be deleted, with which Justice Caguioa concurred. Judge Diy, however, preferred
to retain the word 'mentally.'

"Prof. Bautista stated that he is in favor of making psychological incapacity a


ground for voidable marriages since otherwise it will encourage one who really
understood the consequences of marriage to claim that he did not and to make
excuses for invalidating the marriage by acting as if he did not understand the
obligations of marriage. Dean Gupit added that it is a loose way of providing for
divorce. cdasia

"Justice Caguioa remarked that subparagraph (7) refers to psychological


impotence. Justice (Ricardo) Puno stated that sometimes a person may be
psychologically impotent with one but not with another. Justice (Leonor Ines-)
Luciano said that it is called selective impotency.
"Dean (Fortunato) Gupit stated that the confusion lies in the fact that in inserting
the Canon Law annulment in the Family Code, the Committee used a language
which describes a ground for voidable marriages under the Civil Code. Justice
Caguioa added that in Canon Law, there are no voidable marriages. Dean Gupit
said that this is precisely the reason why they should make a distinction. cdasia
"Justice Puno remarked that in Canon Law, the defects in marriage cannot be
cured.
"Justice Reyes pointed out that the problem is: Why is 'insanity' a ground for
voidable marriage, while 'psychological or mental incapacity' is a ground for void
ab initio marriages? In reply, Justice Caguioa explained that insanity is curable
and there are lucid intervals, while psychological incapacity is not.
"On another point, Justice Puno suggested that the phrase 'even if such lack or
incapacity is made manifest' be modified to read 'even if such lack or incapacity
becomes manifest.'

"xxx

"xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

"Justice Caguioa explained that his point is that in the case of incapacity by
reason of defects in the mental faculties, which is less than insanity, there is a
defect in consent and, therefore, it is clear that it should be a ground for voidable
marriage because there is the appearance of consent and it is capable of
convalidation for the simple reason that there are lucid intervals and there are
cases when the insanity is curable. He emphasized that psychological incapacity
does not refer to mental faculties and has nothing to do with consent; it refers to
obligations attendant to marriage.
"xxx

xxx

xxx

"On psychological incapacity, Prof. (Flerida Ruth P.) Romero inquired if they do not
consider it as going to the very essence of consent. She asked if they are really
removing it from consent. In reply, Justice Caguioa explained that, ultimately,
consent in general is affected but he stressed that his point is that it is not
principally a vitiation of consent since there is a valid consent. He objected to the
lumping together of the validity of the marriage celebration and the obligations

attendant to marriage, which are completely different from each other, because
they require a different capacity, which is eighteen years of age, for marriage but
in contract, it is different. Justice Puno, however, felt that psychological incapacity
is still a kind of vice of consent and that it should not be classified as a voidable
marriage which is incapable of convalidation; it should be convalidated but there
should be no prescription. In other words, as long as the defect has not been
cured, there is always a right to annul the marriage and if the defect has been
really cured, it should be a defense in the action for annulment so that when the
action for annulment is instituted, the issue can be raised that actually, although
one might have been psychologically incapacitated, at the time the action is
brought, it is no longer true that he has no concept of the consequence of
marriage. cdasia
"Prof. (Esteban) Bautista raised the question: Will not cohabitation be a defense?
In response, Justice Puno stated that even the bearing of children and
cohabitation should not be a sign that psychological incapacity has been cured.
"Prof. Romero opined that psychological incapacity is still insanity of a lesser
degree. Justice Luciano suggested that they invite a psychiatrist, who is the
expert on this matter. Justice Caguioa, however, reiterated that psychological
incapacity is not a defect in the mind but in the understanding of the
consequences of marriage, and therefore, a psychiatrist will not be a help.
"Prof. Bautista stated that, in the same manner that there is a lucid interval in
insanity, there are also momentary periods when there is an understanding of the
consequences of marriage. Justice Reyes and Dean Gupit remarked that the
ground of psychological incapacity will not apply if the marriage was contracted
at the time when there is understanding of the consequences of marriage. 5
"xxx

xxx

xxx

"Judge Diy proposed that they include physical incapacity to copulate among the
grounds for void marriages. Justice Reyes commented that in some instances the
impotence is only temporary and only with respect to a particular person. Judge
Diy stated that they can specify that it is incurable. Justice Caguioa remarked that
the term 'incurable' has a different meaning in law and in medicine. Judge Diy

stated that 'psychological incapacity' can also be cured. Justice Caguioa, however,
pointed out that 'psychological incapacity' is incurable.
"Justice Puno observed that under the present draft provision, it is enough to
show that at the time of the celebration of the marriage, one was psychologically
incapacitated so that later on if already he can comply with the essential marital
obligations, the marriage is still void ab initio. Justice Caguioa explained that since
in divorce, the psychological incapacity may occur after the marriage, in void
marriages, it has to be at the time of the celebration of the marriage. He,
however, stressed that the idea in the provision is that at the time of the
celebration of marriage, one is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
essential marital obligations, which incapacity continues and later becomes
manifest. cdasia
"Justice Puno and Judge Diy, however, pointed out that it is possible that after the
marriage, one's psychological incapacity becomes manifest but later on he is
cured. Justice Reyes and Justice Caguioa opined that the remedy in this case is to
allow him to remarry. 6
"xxx

xxx

xxx

"Justice Puno formulated the next Article as follows:


"'Article 37. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated, to comply with the essential
obligations of marriage shall likewise be void from the beginning even if such
incapacity becomes manifest after its solemnization.'
"Justice Caguioa suggested that 'even if' be substituted with 'although.' On the
other hand, Prof. Bautista proposed that the clause 'although such incapacity
becomes manifest after its solemnization' be deleted since it may encourage one
to create the manifestation of psychological incapacity. Justice Caguioa pointed
out that, as in other provisions, they cannot argue on the basis of abuse. cdasia
"Judge Diy suggested that they also include mental and physical incapacities,
which are lesser in degree than psychological incapacity. Justice Caguioa

explained that mental and physical incapacities are vices of consent while
psychological incapacity is not a species of vice of consent.

Civil Law. On the other hand, Justice Reyes and Justice Puno were concerned
about the avalanche of cases.

"Dean Gupit read what Bishop Cruz said on the matter in the minutes of their
February 9, 1984 meeting:

"Dean Gupit suggested that they put the issue to a vote, which the Committee
approved.

"'On the third ground, Bishop Cruz indicated that the phrase 'psychological or
mental impotence' is an invention of some churchmen who are moralists but not
canonists, that is why it is considered a weak phrase. He said that the Code of
Canon Law would rather express it as 'psychological or mental incapacity to
discharge . . .'

"The members voted as follows:

"Justice Caguioa remarked that they deleted the word 'mental' precisely to
distinguish it from vice of consent. He explained that 'psychological incapacity'
refers to lack of understanding of the essential obligations of marriage.
"Justice Puno reminded the members that, at the last meeting, they have decided
not to go into the classification of 'psychological incapacity' because there was a
lot of debate on it and that this is precisely the reason why they classified it as a
special case.
"At this point, Justice Puno remarked that, since there have been annulments of
marriages arising from psychological incapacity, Civil Law should not reconcile
with Canon Law because it is a new ground even under Canon Law. cdasia
"Prof. Romero raised the question: With this common provision in Civil Law and in
Canon Law, are they going to have a provision in the Family Code to the effect
that marriages annulled or declared void by the church on the ground of
psychological incapacity is automatically annulled in Civil Law? The other
members replied negatively.

"(1)

Justice Reyes, Justice Puno and Prof. Romero were for prospectivity.

"(2)
Justice Caguioa, Judge Diy, Dean Gupit, Prof. Bautista and Director Eufemio
were for retroactivity.
"(3)

Prof. Baviera abstained.

"Justice Caguioa suggested that they put in the prescriptive period of ten years
within which the action for declaration of nullity of the marriage should be filed in
court. The Committee approved the suggestion. 7
It could well be that, in sum, the Family Code Revision Committee in ultimately
deciding to adopt the provision with less specificity than expected, has, in fact, so
designed the law as to allow some resiliency in its application. Mme. Justice Alicia
V. Sempio-Diy, a member of the Code Committee, has been quoted by Mr. Justice
Josue N. Bellosillo in Salita vs. Hon. Magtolis (G.R. No. 106429, 13 June 1994);
thus: 8

"Justice Puno and Prof. Romero inquired if Article 37 should be retroactive or


prospective in application.

"The Committee did not give any examples of psychological incapacity for fear
that the giving of examples would limit the applicability of the provision under the
principle of ejusdem generis. Rather, the Committee would like the judge to
interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, in the
findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions
of church tribunals which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given
persuasive effect since the provision was taken from Canon Law."cdasia

"Judge Diy opined that she was for its retroactivity because it is their answer to
the problem of church annulments of marriages, which are still valid under the

A part of the provision is similar to Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law, 9
which reads:

"Canon 1095. They are incapable of contracting marriage:


1.

who lack sufficient use of reason;

2.
who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of judgment concerning
essential matrimonial rights and duties, to be given and accepted mutually;
3.
who for causes of psychological nature are unable to assume the essential
obligations of marriage." (Italics supplied.)
Accordingly, although neither decisive nor even perhaps all that persuasive for
having no juridical or secular effect, the jurisprudence under Canon Law
prevailing at the time of the code's enactment, nevertheless, cannot be dismissed
as impertinent for its value as an aid, at least, to the interpretation or
construction of the codal provision.
One author, Ladislas Orsy, S.J., in his treaties, 10 giving an account on how the
third paragraph of Canon 1095 has been framed, states:
"The history of the drafting of this canon does not leave any doubt that the
legislator intended, indeed, to broaden the rule. A strict and narrow norm was
proposed first:
'Those who cannot assume the essential obligations of marriage because of a
grave psycho-sexual anomaly (ob gravem anomaliam psychosexualem) are
unable to contract marriage (cf. SCH/1975, canon 297, a new canon, novus);
then a broader one followed:
'. . . because of a grave psychological anomaly (ob gravem anomaliam
psychicam) . . .' (cf. SCH/1980, canon 1049);
then the same wording was retained in the text submitted to the pope (cf.
SCH/1982, canon 1095, 3);cdasia
finally, a new version was promulgated:
'because of causes of a psychological nature (ob causas naturae psychiae)'.

"So the progress was from psycho-sexual to psychological anomaly, then the term
anomaly was altogether eliminated. It would be, however, incorrect to draw the
conclusion that the cause of the incapacity need not be some kind of
psychological disorder; after all, normal and healthy person should be able to
assume the ordinary obligations of marriage."
Fr. Orsy concedes that the term "psychological incapacity" defies any precise
definition since psychological causes can be of an infinite variety.
In a book, entitled "Canons and Commentaries on Marriage," written by Ignatius
Gramunt, Javier Hervada and LeRoy Wauck, the following explanation appears:
"This incapacity consists of the following: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to
the essentials of marriage. Some psychosexual disorders and other disorders of
personality can be the psychic cause of this defect, which is here described in
legal terms. This particular type of incapacity consists of a real inability to render
what is due by the contract. This could be compared to the incapacity of a farmer
to enter a binding contract to deliver the crops which he cannot possibly reap; (b)
this inability to commit oneself must refer to the essential obligations of marriage:
the conjugal act, the community of life and love, the rendering of mutual help, the
procreation and education of offspring; (c) the inability must be tantamount to a
psychological abnormality. The mere difficulty of assuming these obligations,
which could be overcome by normal effort, obviously does not constitute
incapacity. The canon contemplates a true psychological disorder which
incapacitates a person from giving what is due (cf. John Paul II, Address to R. Rota,
Feb. 5, 1987). However, if the marriage is to be declared invalid under this
incapacity, it must be proved not only that the person is afflicted by a
psychological defect, but that the defect did in fact deprive the person, at the
moment of giving consent, of the ability to assume the essential duties of
marriage and consequently of the possibility of being bound by these
duties."cdasia
Justice Sempio-Diy 11 cites with approval the work of Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former
Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese
of Manila (Branch I), who opines that psychological incapacity must be
characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. The

incapacity must be grave or serious such that the party would be incapable of
carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage; it must be rooted in the
history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations
may emerge only after the marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were
otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.
It should be obvious, looking at all the foregoing disquisitions, including, and most
importantly, the deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee itself, that
the use of the phrase "psychological incapacity" under Article 36 of the Code has
not been meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as, likewise
mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities, extremely low intelligence,
immaturity, and like circumstances (cited in Fr. Artemio Baluma's "Void and
Voidable Marriages in the Family Code and their Parallels in Canon Law," quoting
from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder by the American
Psychiatric Association; Edward Hudson's "Handbook II for Marriage Nullity
Cases"). Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be taken and construed
independently of, but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts in our law
on marriage. Thus correlated, "psychological incapacity" should refer to no less
than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive
of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and
discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of
the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love,
respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that
the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological
incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand,
an inability of the spouse to have sexual relations with the other. This conclusion
is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which considers children conceived
prior to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void marriage to be
"legitimate."cdasia
The other forms of psychoses, if existing at the inception of marriage, like the
state of a party being of unsound mind or concealment of drug addiction, habitual

alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism, merely renders the marriage contract


voidable pursuant to Article 46, Family Code. If drug addiction, habitual
alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality should occur only during the marriage,
they become mere grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family
Code. These provisions of the Code, however, do not necessarily preclude the
possibility of these various circumstances being themselves, depending on the
degree and severity of the disorder, indicia of psychological incapacity.
Until further statutory and jurisprudential parameters are established, every
circumstance that may have some bearing on the degree, extent, and other
conditions of that incapacity must, in every case, be carefully examined and
evaluated so that no precipitate and indiscriminate nullity is peremptorily
decreed. The well-considered opinions of psychiatrists, psychologists, and persons
with expertise in psychological disciplines might be helpful or even desirable.
Marriage is not just an adventure but a lifetime commitment. We should continue
to be reminded that innate in our society, then enshrined in our Civil Code, and
even now still indelible in Article 1 of the Family Code, is that
"Article 1.
Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man
and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of
conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social
institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and
not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property
relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code." (Italics
supplied.)
Our Constitution is no less emphatic:
Section 1.
The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the
nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total
development.
"Section 2.
Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the
family and shall be protected by the State." (Article XV, 1987 Constitution).cdasia

The above provisions express so well and so distinctly the basic nucleus of our
laws on marriage and the family, and they are no doubt the tenets we still hold on
to.
The factual settings in the case at bench, in no measure at all, can come close to
the standards required to decree a nullity of marriage. Undeniably and
understandably, Leouel stands aggrieved, even desperate, in his present
situation. Regrettably, neither law nor society itself can always provide all the
specific answers to every individual problem.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr.,
Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ ., concur.

Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno,

Romero, J ., see separate concurring opinion.


Padilla, J ., see dissenting opinion.
Feliciano, J ., is on leave.
Separate Opinions
ROMERO, J ., concurring:
I agree that under the circumstances of the case, petitioner is not entitled to have
his marriage declared a nullity on the ground of psychological incapacity of
private respondent.
However, as a member of both the Family Law Revision Committee of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Civil Code Commission of the UP Law
Center, I wish to add some observations. The letter 1 dated April 15, 1985 of then
Judge Alicia V. Sempio-Diy written in behalf of the Family Law and Civil Code
Revision Committee to then Assemblywoman Mercedes Cojuangco-Teodoro traced
the background of the inclusion of the present Article 36 in the Family Code.

"During its early meetings, the Family Law Committee had thought of including a
chapter on absolute divorce in the draft of a new Family Code (Book I of the Civil
Code) that it had been tasked by the IBP and the UP Law Center to prepare. In
fact, some members of the Committee were in favor of a no-fault divorce between
the spouses after a number of years of separation, legal or de-facto. Justice J.B.L.
Reyes was then requested to prepare a proposal for an action for dissolution of
marriage and the effects thereof based on two grounds: (a) five continuous years
of separation between the spouses, with or without a judicial decree of legal
separation, and (b) whenever a married person would have obtained a decree of
absolute divorce in another country. Actually, such a proposal is one for absolute
divorce but called by another name. Later, even the Civil Code Revision
Committee took time to discuss the proposal of Justice Reyes on this matter.
cdasia
Subsequently, however, when the Civil Code Revision Committee and Family Law
Committee started holding joint meetings on the preparation of the draft of the
New Family Code, they agreed and formulated the definition of marriage as
'a special contract of permanent partnership between a man and a woman
entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family
life. It is an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and
incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage
settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits
provided by law.'
With the above definition, and considering the Christian traditional concept of
marriage of the Filipino people as a permanent, inviolable, indissoluble social
institution upon which the family and society are founded, and also realizing the
strong opposition that any provision on absolute divorce would encounter from
the Catholic Church and the Catholic sector of our citizenry to whom the great
majority of our people belong, the two Committees in their joint meetings did not
pursue the idea of absolute divorce and instead opted for an action for judicial
declaration of invalidity of marriage based on grounds available in the Canon Law.
It was thought that such an action would not only be an acceptable alternative to
divorce but would also solve the nagging problem of church annulments of

marriages on grounds not recognized by the civil law of the State. Justice Reyes
was thus requested to again prepare a draft of provisions on such action for
celebration of invalidity of marriage. Still later, to avoid the overlapping of
provisions on void marriages as found in the present Civil Code and those
proposed by Justice Reyes on judicial declaration of invalidity of marriage on
grounds similar to the Canon Law, the two Committees now working as a Joint
Committee in the preparation of a New Family Code decided to consolidate the
present provisions on void marriages with the proposals of Justice Reyes. The
result was the inclusion of an additional kind of void marriage in the enumeration
of void marriages in the present Civil Code, to wit:

would be clear grounds for divorce, like teen-age or premature marriages;


marriage to a man who, because of some personality disorder or disturbance,
cannot support a family; the foolish or ridiculous choice of a spouse by an
otherwise perfectly normal person; marriage to a woman who refuses to cohabit
with her husband or who refuses to have children. Bishop Cruz also informed the
Committee that they have found out in tribunal work that a lot of machismo
among husbands are manifestations of their sociopathic personality anomaly, like
inflicting physical violence upon their wives, constitutional indolence or laziness,
drug dependence or addiction, and psychosexual anomaly. . . ." (Italics
supplied)cdasia

'(7)
those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to
understand the essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally
incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack or
incapacity is made manifest after the celebration.'cdasia

Clearly, by incorporating what is now Article 36 into the Family Code, the Revision
Committee referred to above intended to add another ground to those already
listed in the Civil Code as grounds for nullifying a marriage, thus expanding or
liberalizing the same. Inherent in the inclusion of the provision on psychological
incapacity was the understanding that every petition for declaration of nullity
based on it should be treated on a case-to-case basis; hence, the absence of a
definition and an enumeration of what constitutes psychological incapacity.
Moreover, the Committee feared that the giving of examples would limit the
applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. But the law
requires that the same be existing at the time of marriage although it be
manifested later.

as well as the following implementing provisions:


'Art. 32.
The absolute nullity of a marriage may be invoked or pleaded only
on the basis of final judgment declaring the marriage void, without prejudice to
the provision of Article 34.'
'Art. 33.
The action or defense for the declaration of the absolute nullity of a
marriage shall not prescribe.'
xxx

xxx

xxx

It is believed that many hopelessly broken marriages in our country today may
already be dissolved or annulled on the grounds proposed by the Joint Committee
on declaration of nullity as well as annulment of marriages, thus rendering an
absolute divorce law unnecessary. In fact, during a conference with Father Gerald
Healy of the Ateneo University as well as another meeting with Archbishop Oscar
Cruz of the Archdiocese of Pampanga, the Joint Committee was informed that
since Vatican II, the Catholic Church has been declaring marriages null and void
on the ground of 'lack of due discretion' for causes that, in other jurisdictions,

Admittedly, the provision on psychological incapacity, just like any other provision
of law, is open to abuse. To prevent this, "the court shall order the prosecuting
attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take steps to
prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not
fabricated or suppressed." 2 Moreover, the judge, in interpreting the provision on
a case-to-case basis, must be guided by "experience, the findings of experts and
researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals
which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect
since the provision was taken from Canon Law." 3
The constitutional and statutory provisions on the family 4 will remain the
lodestar which our society will hope to achieve ultimately. Therefore, the inclusion

of Article 36 is not to be taken as an abandonment of the ideal which we all


cherish. If at all, it is a recognition of the reality that some marriages, by reason of
the incapacity of one of the contracting parties, fall short of this ideal; thus, the
parties are constrained to find a way of putting an end to their union through
some legally-accepted means. cdasia
Any criticism directed at the way that judges have interpreted the provision since
its enactment as to render it easier for unhappily-married couples to separate is
addressed, not to the wisdom of the lawmakers but to the manner by which some
members of the Bench have implemented the provision. These are not
interchangeable, each being separate and distinct from the other.
PADILLA, J ., dissenting:
It is difficult to dissent from a well-written and studied opinion as Mr.
Vitug's ponencia. But, after an extended reflection on the facts of this
cannot see my way clear into holding, as the majority do, that there is no
for the declaration of nullity of the marriage between petitioner and
respondent.

Justice
case, I
ground
private

To my mind, it is clear that private respondent has been shown to be


psychologically incapacitated to comply with at least one essential marital
obligation, i.e. that of living and cohabiting with her husband, herein petitioner.
On the other hand, it has not been shown that petitioner does not deserve to live
and cohabit with his wife, herein private respondent. cdasia
There appears to be no disagreement that the term "psychological incapacity"
defies precision in definition. But, as used in Article 36 of the Family Code as a
ground for the declaration of nullity of a marriage, the intent of the framers of the
Code is evidently to expand and liberalize the grounds for nullifying a marriage,
as well pointed out by Madam Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero in her separate
opinion in this case.
While it is true that the board term "psychological incapacity" can open the doors
to abuse by couples who may wish to have an easy way out of their marriage,
there are, however, enough safeguards against this contingency, among which, is

the intervention by the State, through the public prosecutor, to guard against
collusion between the parties and/or fabrication of evidence.
In the case at bench, it has been abundantly established that private respondent
Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos exhibits specific behavior which, to my mind, shows
that she is psychologically incapacitated to fulfill her essential marital obligations,
to wit:

a.
It took her seven (7) months after she left for the United States to call up
her husband.
b.
Julia promised to return home after her job contract expired in July 1989,
but she never did and neither is there any showing that she informed her
husband (herein petitioner) of her whereabouts in the U.S.A.
c.
When petitioner went to the United States on a mission for the Philippine
Army, he exerted efforts to "touch base" with Julia; there were no similar efforts
on the part of Julia to do the same. cdasia
d.
When petitioner filed this suit, more than five (5) years had elapsed,
without Julia indicating her plans to rejoin the petitioner or her whereabouts.
e.
When petitioner filed this case in the trial court, Julia, in her answer,
claimed that it is the former who has been irresponsible and incompetent.
f.

During the trial, Julia waived her right to appear and submit evidence.

A spouse's obligation to live and cohabit with his/her partner in marriage is a


basic ground rule in marriage, unless there are overpowering compelling reasons
such as, for instance, an incurable contagious disease on the part of a spouse or
cruelty of one partner, bordering on insanity. There may also be instances when,
for economic and practical reasons, husband and wife have to live separately, but
the marital bond between the spouses always remains. Mutual love and respect
for each other would, in such cases, compel the absent spouse to at least have

regular contracts with the other to inform the latter of his/her condition and
whereabouts.
In the present case, it is apparent that private respondent Julia Rosario BediaSantos has no intention of cohabiting with petitioner, her husband, or maintaining
contact with him. In fact, her acts eloquently show that she does not want her
husband to know of her whereabouts and neither has she any intention of living
and cohabiting with him.
To me there appears to be, on the part of private respondent, an unmistakable
indication of psychological incapacity to comply with her essential marital
obligations, although these indications were made manifest after the celebration
of the marriage.
It would be a great injustice, I believe, to petitioner for this Court to give a much
too restrictive interpretation of the law and compel the petitioner to continue to
be married to a wife who for purposes of fulfilling her marital duties has, for all
practical purposes, ceased to exist.
Besides, there are public policy considerations involved in the ruling the Court
makes today. Is it not, in effect, directly or indirectly, facilitating the
transformation of petitioner into a "habitual tryster" or one forced to maintain
illicit relations with another woman or women with emerging problems of
illegitimate children, simply because he is denied by private respondent, his wife,
the companionship and conjugal love which he has sought from her and to which
he is legally entitled?
I do not go as far as to suggest that Art. 36 of the Family Code is a sanction for
absolute divorce but I submit that we should not constrict it to non-recognition of
its evident purpose and thus deny to one like petitioner, an opportunity to turn a
new leaf in his life by declaring his marriage a nullity by reason of his wife's
psychological incapacity to perform an essential marital obligation. cdasia
I therefore vote to GRANT the petition and to DECLARE the marriage between
petitioner Leouel Santos and private respondent Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos VOID
on the basis of Article 36 of the Family Code.

Footnotes
1.

Per Judge Enrique Garrovillo.

2.
Penned by Justice Jainal Rasul, concurred in by Justices Pedro Ramirez and
Ramon Mabutas, Jr.
3.

Rollo, 3742.

4.

Rollo, 1318.

5.

Deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee, July 26, 1986.

6.

Deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee, August 2, 1986.

7.

Deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee, August 9, 1986.

8.

In her "Handbook on the Family Code."

9.
1095

Marriage in Canon Law, Delaware: Michael Glazier, Inc., 1986, 129130; C

Sunt incapaces matrimonii contrahendi:


1.

qui sufficiente rationis usu carent;

2.
qui laborant gravi defectu discretionis iudicii circa iura et official
matrimonialia essentialia mutuo tradenda et acceptanda;
3.
qui ob causas naturae
essentiales assumere non valent.

psychicae

obligationes

10.

Ibid., 131132.

11.

Handbook on the Family Code, First Edition, 1988.

ROMERO, J., concurring:

matrimonii

1.
Written pursuant to the request of Assemblywoman Mercedes CojuangcoTeodoro during the March 23, 1985 joint meeting of the Family Law and Civil Code
Revision Committees at the UP Law Center for comments on P.B. 3149
(Pacificador Bill) on Divorce, P.B. No. 1086 (Monfort and Collantes Bill) on
Recognition of Church Annulments of Marriages, P.B. No. 2347 (Sitoy Bill) on
Additional Grounds for Annulment of Marriage and Legal Separation and P.B. No.
1350 (Kalaw Bill) on Equal Rights of Filipino Women which were pending before
her Sub-Committee.
2.

FAMILY CODE, Art. 48.

3.
J.A. V. SEMPIO-DIY, HANDBOOK OF THE FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
37 (1988).
4.

As quoted in the majority opinion.

C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 4 - 1 9 9 9 C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.

[G.R. No. 119190. January 16, 1997.]


CHI MING TSOI, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and GINA LAO-TSOI,
respondents.
Arturo S. Santos for petitioner.
Prisciliano I. Casis for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1.
REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS; ASSAILED
DECISION ON ANNULMENT NOT BASED THEREON WHERE JUDGMENT WAS
RENDERED AFTER TRIAL; CASE AT BAR. Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court
pertains to a judgment on the pleadings. What said provision seeks to prevent is
annulment of marriage without trial. The assailed decision was not based on such
a judgment on the pleadings. When private respondent testified under oath
before the trial court and was cross-examined by oath before the trial court and
was cross-examined by the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in the
form of a testimony. After such evidence was presented. it became incumbent
upon petitioner to present his side. He admitted that since their marriage on May
22 1988, until their separation on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual
intercourse between them. To prevent collusion between the parties is the reason
why, as stated by the petitioner, the Civil Code provides that no judgment
annulling a marriage shall be promulgated upon a stipulation of facts or by
confession of judgment (Arts. 88 and 101 [par. 2]) and the Rules of Court prohibit
such annulment without trial (Sec. 1, Rule 19). The case has reached this Court
because petitioner does not want their marriage to be annulled. This only shows
that there is no collusion between the parties. When petitioner admitted that he
and his wife (private respondent) have never had sexual contact with each other,
he must have been only telling the truth.

2.
ID.; ID.; EITHER SPOUSE MAY PETITION COURT FOR DECLARATION OF
NULLITY OF MARRIAGE. Neither the trial court nor the respondent court made a
finding on who between petitioner and private respondent refuses to have sexual
contact with the other. The fact remains, however, that there has never been
coitus between them. At any rate, since the action to declare the marriage void
may be filed by either party, i.e., even the psychologically incapacitated, the
question of who refuses to have sex with the other becomes immaterial.
3.
ID.; EVIDENCE; SENSELESS AND PROTRACTED REFUSAL OF ONE OF THE
PARTIES TO FULFILL MARITAL OBLIGATION, EQUIVALENT TO PSYCHOLOGICAL
INCAPACITY. Assuming it to be so, petitioner would have discussed with private
respondent or asked her what is ailing her, and why she balks and avoids him
everytime he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. He never did. At least,
there is nothing in the record to show that he had tried to find out or discover
what the problem with his wife could be. What he presented in evidence is his
doctor's Medical Report that there is no evidence of his impotency and he is
capable of erection. Since it is petitioner' s claim that the reason is not
psychological but perhaps physical disorder on the part of private respondent, it
became incumbent upon him to prove such a claim. "If a spouse, although
physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential marriage
obligations, and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals
attribute the causes to psychological incapacity than to stubborn refusal.
Senseless and protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Thus,
the prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her
spouse is considered a sign of psychological incapacity." Evidently, one of the
essential marital obligations under the Family Code is "To procreate children
based on the universal principle that procreation of children through sexual
cooperation is the basic end of marriage." Constant non-fulfillment of this
obligation will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage. In the
case at bar, the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the
above marital obligation is equivalent to psychological incapacity.
DECISION
TORRES, JR., J p:

Man has not invented a reliable compass by which to steer a marriage in its
journey over troubled waters. Laws are seemingly inadequate. Over time, much
reliance has been placed in the works of the unseen hand of Him who created all
things.
Who is to blame when a marriage fails?
This case was originally commenced by a distraught wife against her uncaring
husband in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 89) which decreed the
annulment of the marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity. Petitioner
appealed the decision of the trial court to respondent Court of Appeals (CA-G.R.
CV No. 42758) which affirmed the Trial Court's decision on November 29, 1994
and correspondingly denied the motion for reconsideration in a resolution dated
February 14, 1995.
The statement of the case and of the facts made by the trial court and
reproduced by the Court of Appeals 1 in its decision are as follows:
"From the evidence adduced, the following facts were preponderantly established:
"Sometime on May 22, 1988, the plaintiff married the defendant at the Manila
Cathedral, . . . Intramuros Manila, as evidenced by their Marriage Contract. (Exh.
"A")
After the celebration of their marriage and wedding reception at the South Villa,
Makati, they went and proceeded to the house defendant's mother.
"There, they slept together on the same bed in the same room for the first night
of their married life.
"It is the version of the plaintiff, that contrary to her expectations, that as
newlyweds they were supposed to enjoy making love, or having sexual
intercourse, with each other, the defendant just went to bed, slept on one side
thereof, then turned his back and went to sleep. There was no sexual intercourse
between them during the first night. The same thing happened on the second,
third and fourth nights.

"In an effort to have their honeymoon in a private place where they can enjoy
together during their first week as husband and wife, they went to Baguio City.
But, they did so together with her mother, an uncle, his mother and his nephew.
They were all invited by the defendant to join them. [T]hey stayed in Baguio City
for four (4) days. But, during this period, there was no sexual intercourse between
them, since the defendant avoided her by taking a long walk during siesta time or
by just sleeping on a rocking chair located at the living room. They slept together
in the same room and on the same bed since May 22, 1988 until March 15, 1989.
But during this period, there was no attempt of sexual intercourse between them.
[S]he claims, that she did not even see her husband's private parts nor did he see
hers.
"Because of this, they submitted themselves for medical examinations to Dr.
Eufemio Macalalag, a urologist at the Chinese General Hospital, on January 20,
1989.
"The results of their physical examinations were that she is healthy, normal and
still a virgin, while that of her husband's examination was kept confidential up to
this time. While no medicine was prescribed for her, the doctor prescribed
medications for her husband which was also kept confidential. No treatment was
given to her. For her husband, he was asked by the doctor to return but he never
did.
"The plaintiff claims, that the defendant is impotent, a closet homosexual as he
did not show his penis. She said, that she had observed the defendant using an
eyebrow pencil and sometimes the cleansing cream of his mother. And that,
according to her, the defendant married her, a Filipino citizen, to acquire or
maintain his residency status here in the country and to publicly maintain the
appearance of a normal man.
"The plaintiff is not willing to reconcile-with her husband.
"On the other hand, it is the claim of the defendant that if their marriage shall be
annulled by reason of psychological incapacity, the fault lies with his wife.

"But, he said that he does not want his marriage with his wife annulled for several
reasons, viz: (1) that he loves her very much; (2) that he has no defect on his part
and he is physically and psychologically capable; and, (3) since the relationship is
still very young and if there is any differences between the two of them, it can,
still be reconciled and that, according to him, if either one of them has some
incapabilities, there is no certainty that this will not be cured. He further claims,
that if there is any defect, it can be cured by the intervention of medical
technology or science.
"The defendant admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their
separation on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual contact between them. But,
the reason for this, according to the defendant, was that everytime he wants to
have sexual intercourse with his wife, she always avoided him and whenever he
caresses her private parts, she always removed his hands. The defendant claims,
that he forced his wife to have sex with him only once but he did not continue
because she was shaking and she did not like it. So he stopped.
"There are two (2) reasons, according to the defendant, why the plaintiff filed this
case against him, and these are: (1) that she is afraid that she will be forced to
return the pieces of jewelry of his mother, and, (2) that her husband, the
defendant, will consummate their marriage.
"The defendant insisted that their marriage will remain valid because they are still
very young and there is still a chance to overcome their differences.
"The defendant submitted himself to a physical examination. His penis was
examined by Dr. Sergio Alteza, Jr., for the purpose of finding out whether he is
impotent. As a result thereof, Dr. Alteza submitted his Doctor's Medical Report.
(Exh. "2"). It is stated there, that there is no evidence of impotency (Exh. "2-B"),
and he is capable of erection. (Exh. "2-C")
"The doctor said, that he asked the defendant to masturbate to find out whether
or not he has an erection and he found out that from the original size of two (2)
inches, or five (5) centimeters, the penis of the defendant lengthened by one (1)
inch and one centimeter. Dr. Alteza said, that the defendant had only a soft
erection which is why his penis is not in its full length. But, still is capable of

further erection, in that with his soft erection, the defendant is capable of having
sexual intercourse with a woman.
"In open Court, the Trial Prosecutor manifested that there is no collusion between
the parties and that the evidence is not fabricated." 2
After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered declaring as VOID the marriage
entered into by the plaintiff with the defendant on May 22, 1988 at the Manila
Cathedral, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Intramuros, Manila, before the
Rt. Rev. Msgr. Melencio de Vera. Without costs. Let a copy of this decision be
furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City. Let another copy be furnished
the Local Civil Registrar of Manila.
"SO ORDERED."
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
Hence, the instant petition.
Petitioner alleges that the respondent Court of Appeals erred:
I
in affirming the conclusions of the lower court that there was no sexual
intercourse between the parties without making any findings of fact.
II
in holding that the refusal of private respondent to have sexual communion with
petitioner is a psychological incapacity inasmuch as proof thereof is totally
absent.
III

in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private
respondent to have sex with each other constitutes psychological incapacity of
both.
IV
in affirming the annulment of the marriage between the parties decreed by the
lower court without fully satisfying itself that there was no collusion between
them.
We find the petition to be bereft of merit.
Petitioner contends that being the plaintiff in Civil Case No. Q-89-3141, private
respondent has the burden of proving the allegations in her complaint; that since
there was no independent evidence to prove the alleged non-coitus between the
parties, there remains no other basis for the court's conclusion except the
admission of petitioner; that public policy should aid acts intended to validate
marriage and should retard acts intended to invalidate them; that the conclusion
drawn by the trial court on the admissions and confessions of the parties in their
pleadings and in the course of the trial is misplaced since it could have been a
product of collusion; and that in actions for annulment of marriage, the material
facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved. 3
Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court reads:
"Section 1.
Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender an
issue, or otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party's
pleading, the court may, on motion of that party, direct judgment on such
pleading. But in actions for annulment of marriage or for legal separation the
material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved."
The foregoing provision pertains to a judgment on the pleadings. What said
provision seeks to prevent is annulment of marriage without trial. The assailed
decision was not based on such a judgment on the pleadings. When private
respondent testified under oath before the trial court and was cross-examined by
oath before the trial court and was cross-examined by the adverse party, she

thereby presented evidence in the form of a testimony. After such evidence was
presented, it became incumbent upon petitioner to present his side. He admitted
that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation on March 15,
1989, there was no sexual intercourse between them.
To prevent collusion between the parties is the reason why, as stated by the
petitioner, the Civil Code provides that no judgment annulling a marriage shall
be promulgated upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment (Arts. 88
and 101 [par. 2]) and the Rules of Court prohibit such annulment without trial
(Sec. 1, Rule 19). cda
The case has reached this Court because petitioner does not want their marriage
to be annulled. This only shows that there is no collusion between the parties.
When petitioner admitted that he and his wife (private respondent) have never
had sexual contact with each other, he must have been only telling the truth. We
are reproducing the relevant portion of the challenged resolution denying
petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration, penned with magisterial lucidity by
Associate Justice Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes, viz.:
"The judgment of the trial court which was affirmed by this Court is not based on
a stipulation of facts. The issue of whether or not the appellant is psychologically
incapacitated to discharge a basic marital obligation was resolved upon a review
of both
the documentary and testimonial evidence on
record. Appellant
admitted that he did not have sexual relations with his wife after almost ten
months of cohabitation, and it appears that he is not suffering from any physical
disability. Such abnormal reluctance
or unwillingness to consummate his
marriage is strongly indicative of a serious personality disorder which to the
mind of this Court clearly demonstrates an 'utter insensitivity or inability to give
meaning and significance to the marriage' within the meaning of Article 36 of
the Family Code (See Santos vs. Court of Appeals, G.R No. 112019, January 4,
1995)." 4
Petitioner further contends that respondent court erred in holding that the
alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private respondent to have sex with
each other constitutes psychological incapacity of both. He points out as error
the failure of the trial court to make "a categorical finding about the alleged

psychological incapacity and an in-depth analysis of the reasons for such refusal
which may not be necessarily due to psychological disorders" because there
might have been other reasons, i.e., physical disorders, such as aches, pains
or other discomforts, why private respondent would not want to have sexual
intercourse from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989, in a short span of 10 months.
First, it must be stated that neither the trial court nor the respondent court made
a finding on who between petitioner and private respondent refuses to have
sexual contact with the other. The fact remains, however, that there has never
been coitus between them. At any rate, since the action to declare the marriage
void may be filed by either party, i.e., even the psychologically incapacitated, the
question of who refuses to have sex with the other becomes immaterial.
Petitioner claims that there is no independent evidence on record to show that
any of the parties is suffering from psychological incapacity. Petitioner also
claims that he wanted to have sex with private respondent; that the reason for
private respondent's refusal may not be psychological but physical disorder as
stated above.
We do not agree. Assuming it to be so, petitioner would have discussed with
private respondent or asked her what is ailing her, and why she balks and avoids
him everytime he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. He never did. At
least, there is nothing in the record to show that he had tried to find out or
discover what the problem with his wife could be. What he presented in evidence
is his doctor's Medical Report that there is no evidence of his impotency and he is
capable of erection. 5 Since it is petitioner' s claim that the reason is not
psychological but perhaps physical disorder on the part of private respondent, it
became incumbent upon him to prove such a claim.
"If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her
essential marriage obligations, and the
refusal is senseless and constant,
Catholic marriage tribunals attribute the causes to psychological incapacity than
to stubborn
refusal. Senseless and protracted refusal is equivalent to
psychological incapacity. Thus, the prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual
intercourse with his or her spouse is
considered a sign of psychological
incapacity." 6

Evidently, one of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is "To
procreate children based on the universal principle that procreation of children
through sexual cooperation is
the basic end of marriage." Constant nonfulfillment of this obligation will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the
marriage. In the case at bar, the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the
parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is equivalent to psychological
incapacity.
As aptly stated by the respondent court,
"An examination of the evidence convinces Us that the husband's plea that the
wife did not want carnal intercourse with him does not inspire belief. Since he
was not physically impotent, but he refrained from sexual intercourse during the
entire time (from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989) that he occupied the same
bed with his wife, purely out of sympathy for her feelings, he deserves to be
doubted for not having asserted his rights even though she balked (Tompkins vs.
Tompkins, 111 Atl. 599, cited in I Paras, Civil Code, at p. 330). Besides, if it were
true that it is the wife who was suffering from incapacity, the fact that defendant
did not go to court and seek the declaration of nullity weakens his claim. This
case was instituted by the wife whose normal expectations of her marriage were
frustrated by her husband's inadequacy. Considering the innate modesty of the
Filipino woman, it is hard to believe that she would expose her private life to
public scrutiny and fabricate testimony against her husband if it were not
necessary to put her life in order and put to rest her marital status.
"We are not impressed by defendant's claim that what the evidence proved is the
unwillingness or lack of intention to perform the sexual act which is not
psychological
incapacity, and which can be achieved "through
proper
motivation." After almost ten months of cohabitation, the admission that the
husband is reluctant or unwilling to perform the sexual act with his wife whom he
professes to love very dearly, and who has not posed any insurmountable
resistance to his alleged approaches, is indicative of a hopeless situation, and of
a serious personality disorder that constitutes psychological incapacity to
discharge the basic marital covenants within the contemplation of the Family
Code." 7

While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live
together, observe mutual love respect and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the
sanction therefor is actually the "spontaneous, mutual
affection between
husband and wife and not any legal mandate of court order" (Cuaderno vs.
Cuaderno, 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared with another.
Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say "I
could not have cared less." This is so because an ungiven self is an unfulfilled
self. The egoist has nothing but himself. In the natural order, it is sexual intimacy
which brings spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual intimacy is a gift and a
participation in the mystery of creation. It is a function which enlivens the hope
of procreation and ensures the continuation of family relations. cda
It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private
respondent. That is a shared feeling which between husband and wife must be
experienced not only by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of
spiritual communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest
in each other's feelings at a time it is needed by the other can go a long way in
deepening the marital relationship. Marriage is definitely not for children but for
two consenting adults who view the relationship with love amor gignit amorem,
respect, sacrifice and a continuing commitment to compromise, conscious of its
value as a sublime social institution.
This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties
found themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated
marital obligations, can do no less but
sustain the studied judgment of
respondent appellate court.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING PREMISES, the assailed decision of the Court of
Appeals dated November 29, 1994 is hereby AFFIRMED in all respects and the
petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, Romero, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
Footnotes

1.
Thirteenth Division: Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes, J., ponente, Eduardo G.
Montenegro and Antonio P. Solano, JJ., concurring.
2.

Rollo, pp. 20-24.

3.

Ibid.

4.

Rollo, p. 34.

5.

Exhs. "2", "2-B" and "2-C".

6.
Psychological Incapacity, G.T. Veloso, p. 20, cited in The Family Code of
the Philippines Annotated, Pineda, 1989 ed., p. 51.
7.

Decision, pp. 11-12; Rollo, pp. 30-31.


[G.R. No. 108763. February 13, 1997.]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and


RORIDEL OLAVIANO MOLINA, respondents.
The Solicitor General for petitioner.
Juanito A. Orallo for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE; PSYCHOLOGICAL
INCAPACITY; CONFINED TO THE MOST SERIOUS CASES OF PERSONALITY
DISORDER. In Leouel Santos vs. Court of Appeals, this Court, speaking thru Mr.
Justice Jose C. Vitug, ruled that "psychological incapacity should refer to no less
than a mental (not physical) incapacity . . . and that (t)here is hardly any doubt
that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of 'psychological
incapacity' to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated." Citing Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former presiding judge of the
Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, Justice Vitug

wrote that "the psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b)
juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability."
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT A MERE OUTRIGHT REFUSAL OR NEGLECT IN
PERFORMANCE OF MARITAL OBLIGATIONS OR INCOMPATIBILITY; CASE AT BAR.
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 more of a
"difficulty," if not outright "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of some
marital obligations. Mere showing of 'irreconcilable differences" and "conflicting
personalities" in no wise constitutes psychological incapacity. It is not enough to
prove that the parties failed to meet their responsibilities and duties as married
persons; it is essential that they must be shown to be incapable of doing so, due
to some psychological (not physical) illness. The evidence adduced by respondent
merely showed that she and her husband could not get along with each other.
There had been no showing of the gravity of the problem; neither its juridical
antecedence nor its incurability. The expert testimony of Dr. Sison showed no
incurable psychiatric disorder but only incompatibility, not psychological
incapacity.
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; GUIDING PRINCIPLES IN INTERPRETATION AND
APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 36. The following guidelines in the interpretation and
application of Art. 36 of the Family Code are hereby handed down for the
guidance of the bench and the bar: (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of
the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the
existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or
clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts
and (d) clearly explained in the decision. (3) The incapacity must be proven to be
existing at "the time of the celebration" of the marriage. (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 to the other spouse,
not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex. (5) Such illness
must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the
essential obligations of marriage (6) The essential marital obligations must be
those embraced 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 same Code in regard
to parents and their children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also
be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the
decision. (7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal
of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should
be given great respect by our courts. (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 be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a
certification, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly stating 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.
PADILLA, J., Separate Statement:
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE; PSYCHOLOGICAL
INCAPACITY; EXISTENCE OF GROUND DEPEND ON THE FACTS OF THE CASE; TRIAL
JUDGE MUST TAKE PAINS IN EXAMINING FACTUAL MILLIEU AND APPELLATE COURT
MUST AVOID SUBSTITUTING ITS JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE TRIAL COURT. I
concur in the result of the decision penned by Mr. Justice Panganiban but only
because of the peculiar facts of the case. As to whether or not psychological
incapacity exists in a given case calling for annulment of a marriage, depends
crucially, more than in any field of the law, on the facts of the case. In the field of
psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment of marriage, it is trite to say
that no case is on "all fours" with another case. The trial judge must take pains in
examining the factual millieu and the appellate court must, as much as possible,
avoid substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court.
ROMERO, J., Separate Opinion:
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE; OPPOSING AND
CONFLICTING PERSONALITIES IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO PSYCHOLOGICAL
INCAPACITY. The majority opinion, overturning that of the Court of Appeals
which affirmed the Regional Trial Court ruling, upheld petitioner Solicitor General's

position that "opposing and conflicting personalities" is not equivalent to


psychological incapacity, for the latter "is not simply the neglect by the parties to
the marriage of their responsibilities and duties, but a defect in their
psychological nature which renders them incapable of performing such marital
responsibilities and duties."
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. In the present case, the alleged
personality traits of Reynaldo, the husband, did not constitute so much
"psychological incapacity" as a "difficulty," if not outright "refusal" or "neglect" in
the performance of some marital obligations. "It is not enough to prove that the
parties failed to meet their responsibilities and duties as married persons, it is
essential that they must be shown to be incapable of doing so, due to some
psychological (not physical) illness."
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; INCAPACITY SHOULD NOT BE THE RESULT OF MENTAL
ILLNESS. I would add that neither should the incapacity be the result of mental
illness. For if it were due to insanity or defects in the mental faculties short of
insanity, there is a resultant defect or vice of consent, thus rendering the
marriage annullable under Art. 45 of the Family Code.
VITUG, J., Concurring Opinion:
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE; PSYCHOLOGICAL
INCAPACITY; OTHER GROUNDS SHOULD BE READ ALONG WITH IT IN
DETERMINING ITS IMPORT. In determining the import of "psychological
incapacity" under Article 36, one must also read it along with, albeit to be taken
as distinct from, the other grounds enumerated in the Code, like Articles 35, 37,
38 and 41 that would likewise, but for distinct reasons, render the marriage void
ab initio, or Article 45 that would make the marriage merely voidable, or Article
55 that could justify a petition for legal separation. Care must be observed so that
these various circumstances are not applied so indiscriminately as if the law were
indifferent on the matter. Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be taken and
construed independently of, but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts
in our law on marriage. Thus correlated, 'psychological incapacity' should refer to
no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly
incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed

and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Article


68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe
love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt
that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of 'psychological
incapacity' to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand,
an inability of the spouse to have sexual relations with the other.

down specific guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the


Family Code.

2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; TESTS. In fine, the term psychological incapacity," to be
a ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, must be
able to pass the following tests; viz: First, the incapacity must be psychological or
mental not physical, in nature; Second, the psychological incapacity must relate
to the inability, not mere refusal, to understand assume and discharge the basic
marital obligations of living together, observing love, respect and fidelity and
rendering mutual help and support; Third, the psychologic condition must exist at
the time the marriage is contracted although its overt manifestations may occur
only thereafter; and Fourth, the mental disorder must be grave or serious and
incurable.

The Facts

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J p:
The Family Code of the Philippines provides an entirely new ground (in addition to
those enumerated in the Civil Code) to assail the validity of a marriage, namely,
"psychological incapacity." Since the Code's effectivity, our courts have been
swamped with various petitions to declare marriages void based on this ground.
Although this Court had interpreted the meaning of psychological incapacity in
the recent case of Santos vs. Court of Appeals, still many judges and lawyers find
difficulty in applying said novel provision in specific cases. In the present case and
in the context of the herein assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals, the Solicitor
General has labelled exaggerated to be sure but nonetheless expressive of his
frustration Article 36 as the "most liberal divorce procedure in the world."
Hence, this Court in addition to resolving the present case, finds the need to lay

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 challenging the


January 25, 1993 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals 2 in CA-G.R. CV No. 34858
affirming in toto the May 14, 1991 decision of the Regional Trial Court of La
Trinidad, 3 Benguet, which declared the marriage of respondent Roridel Olaviano
Molina to Reynaldo Molina void ab initio, on the ground of "psychological
incapacity" under Article 36 of the Family Code.

This case was commenced on August 16, 1990 with the filing by respondent
Roridel O. Molina of a verified petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage to
Reynaldo Molina. Essentially, the petition alleged that Roridel 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, Reynaldo showed signs of
"immaturity and irresponsibility" as a husband and a father since he preferred to
spend more time with his peers and friends on whom he squandered his money;
that he depended on his parents for aid and assistance, and was never honest
with his wife in regard to their finances, resulting in frequent quarrels between
them; that sometime in February 1986, Reynaldo was relieved of his job in Manila,
and since then Roridel had been the sole breadwinner of the family; that in
October 1986 the couple had a very intense quarrel, as a result of which their
relationship was estranged; that in March 1987, Roridel resigned from her job in
Manila and went to live with her parents in Baguio City; that a few weeks later,
Reynaldo left Roridel and their child, and had since then abandoned them; that
Reynaldo had thus shown that he was psychologically incapable of complying
with essential marital obligations and was a highly immature and habitually
quarrelsome individual who thought of himself as a king to be served; and that it
would be to the couple's best interest to have their marriage declared null and
void in order to free them from what appeared to be an incompatible marriage
from the start.
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

misunderstandings and frequent quarrels were due to (1) Roridel's strange


behavior of insisting on maintaining her group of friends even after their
marriage; (2) Roridel's refusal to perform some of her marital duties such as
cooking meals; and (3) Roridel's failure to run the household and handle their
finances.
During the pre-trial on October 17, 1990, the following were stipulated:
"1.
That the parties herein were legally married on April 14, 1985 at the
Church of St. Augustine, Manila;
2.
That out of their marriage, a child named Albert Andre Olaviano Molina
was born on July 29, 1986;
3.

That the parties are separated-in-fact for more than three years;

4.

That petitioner is not asking support for her and her child;

5.

That the respondent is not asking for damages;

6.
That the common child of the parties is in the custody of the petitioner
wife."
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 G.
Lalas, a social worker, and of Dr. Teresita Hidalgo-Sison, a psychiatrist of the
Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. She also submitted documents
marked as Exhibits "A" to "E-1." Reynaldo did not present any evidence as he
appeared only during the pre-trial conference.
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 affirmed in
toto the RTC's decision. Hence, the present recourse.
The Issue

In his petition, the Solicitor General insists that "the Court of Appeals made an
erroneous and incorrect interpretation of the phrase 'psychological incapacity' (as
provided under Art. 36 of the Family Code) and made an incorrect application
thereof to the facts of the case," adding that the appealed Decision tended "to
establish in effect the most liberal divorce procedure in the world which is
anathema to our culture."
In denying the Solicitor General's appeal, the respondent Court relied 5 5a heavily
on the trial court's findings "that the marriage between the parties broke up
because of their opposing and conflicting personalities." Then, it added its own
opinion that "the Civil Code Revision Committee (hereinafter referred to as the
Committee) intended to liberalize the application of our civil laws on personal and
family rights . . .." It concluded that:
"As a ground for annulment of marriage, We view psychological incapacity as 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
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 conduct,
observed and considered as a whole, tends to cause the union to self-destruct
because it defeats the very objectives of marriage, then there is enough reason to
leave the spouses to their individual fates.
In the case at bar, We find that the trial judge committed no indiscretion in
analyzing and deciding the instant case, as it did, hence, We find no cogent
reason to disturb the findings and conclusions thus made."
Respondent, in her Memorandum, adopts these discussions of the Court of
Appeals.
The petitioner, on the other hand, argues that "opposing and conflicting
personalities" is not equivalent to psychological incapacity, explaining that such
ground "is not simply the neglect by the parties to the marriage of their
responsibilities and duties, but a defect in their psychological nature which
renders them incapable of performing such marital responsibilities and duties."

The Court's Ruling

Yes, Your Honor.

The petition is meritorious.

There is no hope for the marriage?

In Leouel Santos vs. Court of Appeals, 6 this Court, speaking thru Mr. Justice Jose
C. Vitug, ruled that "psychological incapacity should refer to no less than a mental
(not physical) incapacity . . . and that (t)here is hardly any doubt that the
intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of 'psychological
incapacity' to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated." Citing Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former presiding judge of the
Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, 7 Justice
Vitug wrote that "the psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a)
gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability."

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

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 more of a
"difficulty," if not outright "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of some
marital obligations. Mere showing of "irreconcilable differences" and "conflicting
personalities" in no wise constitutes psychological incapacity. It is not enough to
prove that the parties failed to meet their responsibilities and duties as married
persons; it is essential that they must be shown to be incapable of doing so, due
to some psychological (not physical) illness.

In the case of Reynaldo, there is no showing that his alleged personality traits
were constitutive of psychological incapacity existing at the time of marriage
celebration. While some effort was made to prove that there was a failure to fulfill
pre-nuptial impressions of "thoughtfulness and gentleness" on Reynaldo's part
and of being "conservative, homely and intelligent" on the part of Roridel, such
failure of expectation is not indicative of antecedent psychological incapacity. If at
all, it merely shows love's temporary blindness to the faults and blemishes of the
beloved. lexlib

The evidence adduced by respondent merely showed that she and her husband
could not get along with each other. There had been no showing of the gravity of
the problem; neither its juridical antecedence nor its incurability. The expert
testimony of Dr. Sison showed no incurable psychiatric disorder but only
incompatibility, not psychological incapacity. Dr. Sison testified: 8

During its deliberations, the Court decided to go beyond merely ruling on the
facts of this case vis-a-vis existing law and jurisprudence. In view of the novelty of
Art. 36 of the Family Code and the difficulty experienced by many trial courts in
interpreting and applying it, the Court decided to invite two amici curiae, namely,
the Most Reverend Oscar V. Cruz, 9 Vicar Judicial (Presiding Judge) of the National
Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, and
Justice Ricardo C. Puno, 10 a member of the Family Code Revision Committee. The
Court takes this occasion to thank these friends of the Court for their informative
and interesting discussions during the oral argument on December 3, 1996, which
they followed up with written memoranda.

"COURT
Q
It is therefore the recommendation of the psychiatrist based on your
findings that it is better for the Court to annul (sic) the marriage?

Q
Is it also the stand of the psychiatrist that the parties are psychologically
unfit for each other but they are psychologically fit with other parties?
A

Yes, Your Honor.

Neither are they psychologically unfit for their professions?

Yes, Your Honor.


The Court has no more questions."

From their submissions and the Court's own deliberations, the following guidelines
in the interpretation and application of Art. 36 of the Family Code are hereby
handed down for the guidance of the bench and the bar:
(1)
The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation
of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact
that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity
of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, 11
recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It decrees marriage as legally
"inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both
the family and marriage are to be "protected" by the state.
The Family Code 12 echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family
and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.
(2)
The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or
clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts
and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires
that the incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its
manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince
the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically 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 thereof. Although no
example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application
of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis, 13 nevertheless such root
cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature
fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and
clinical psychologists.
(3)
The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the
celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was
existing when the parties exchanged their "I do's." The manifestation of the
illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have
attached at such moment, or prior thereto.

(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 to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the
same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of
marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the
exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be
effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them
but may not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her
own children as an essential obligation of marriage.
(5)
Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the
party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild
characterological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts"
cannot be 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
words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the
person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential
to marriage.
(6)
The essential marital obligations must be those embraced 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 same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such
non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by
evidence and included in the text of the decision.
(7)
Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the
Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be
given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was 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:
"The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable to
assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological
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 decisions
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 be handed
down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in
the decision, briefly stating 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.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C .J ., Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr. and
Torres, Jr., JJ ., concur.

Regalado, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur in the result.


Padilla, Romero, Vitug, JJ., see separate opinion.
Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J ., concurring:
I concur in the result of the decision penned by Mr. Justice Panganiban but only
because of the peculiar facts of the case. As to whether or not psychological
incapacity exists in a given case calling for annulment of a marriage, depends
crucially, more than in any field of the law, on the facts of the case. In Leouel
Santos v. Court of Appeals and Julia Rosario-Bedia Santos, G.R. No. 112019, 4
January 1995, 240 SCRA 20-36, I maintained, and I still maintain, that there was
psychological incapacity on the part of the wife to discharge the duties of a wife
in a valid marriage. The facts of the present case, after an in-depth study, do not
support a similar conclusion. Obviously, each case must be judged, not on the
basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its
own facts. In the field of psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment of
marriage, it is trite to say that no case is on "all fours" with another case. The 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.
ROMERO, J ., concurring:
The majority opinion, overturning that of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the
Regional Trial Court ruling, upheld petitioner Solicitor General's position that
"opposing and conflicting personalities" is not equivalent to psychological
incapacity, for the latter "is not simply the neglect by the parties to the marriage
of their responsibilities and duties, but a defect in their psychological nature
which renders them incapable of performing such marital responsibilities and
duties."
In the present case, the alleged personality traits of Reynaldo, the husband, did
not constitute so much "psychological incapacity" as a "difficulty," if not outright

"refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of some marital obligations. "It is not


enough to prove that the parties failed to meet their responsibilities and duties as
married persons; it is essential that they must be shown to be incapable of doing
so, due to some psychological (not physical) illness.
I would add that neither should the incapacity be the result of mental illness. For
if it were due to insanity or defects in the mental faculties short of insanity, there
is a resultant defect or vice of consent, thus rendering the marriage annullable
under Art. 45 of the Family Code.

for voidable marriage because there is the appearance of consent and it is


capable of convalidation for the simple reason that there are lucid intervals and
there are cases when the insanity is curable . . . Psychological incapacity does not
refer to mental faculties and has nothing to do with consent; it refers to
obligations attendant to marriage." 1
My own position as a member of the Committee then was that psychological
incapacity is, in a sense, insanity of a lesser degree.

At the Committee meeting of July 26, 1986, the draft provision read:

As to the proposal of Justice Caguioa to use the term "psychological or mental


impotence," Archbishop Oscar Cruz opined in the earlier February 9, 1984 session
that this term "is an invention of some churchmen who are moralists but not
canonists, that is why it is considered a weak phrase." He said that the Code of
Canon Law would rather express it as "psychological or mental incapacity to
discharge . . ." Justice Ricardo C. Puno opined that sometimes a person may be
psychologically impotent with one but not with another.

"(7)
Those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to
understand the essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally
incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack of
incapacity is made manifest after the celebration.

One of the guidelines enumerated in the majority opinion for the interpretation
and application of Art. 36 is: "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 to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against
everyone of the same sex."

The twists and turns which the ensuing discussion took finally produced the
following revised provision even before the session was over:

The Committee, through Prof. Araceli T. Barrera, considered the inclusion of the
phrase "and is incurable" but Prof. Esteban B. Bautista commented that this would
give rise to the question of how they will determine curability and Justice Caguioa
agreed that it would be more problematic. Yet the possibility that one may be
cured after the psychological incapacity becomes manifest after the marriage was
not ruled out by Justice Puno and Justice Alice Sempio-Diy. Justice Caguioa
suggested that the remedy was to allow the afflicted spouse to remarry.

That the intent of the members of the U.P. Law Center's Civil Code Revision
Committee was to exclude mental inability to understand the essential nature of
marriage and focus strictly on psychological incapacity is demonstrated in the
way the provision in question underwent revisions.

"(7)
That contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
psychologically incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even
if such lack or incapacity becomes manifest after the celebration."
Noticeably, the immediately preceding formulation above has dropped any
reference to "wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand
the essential nature or marriage" and to "mentally incapacitated." It was
explained that these phrases refer to "defects in the mental faculties vitiating
consent, which is not the idea . . . but lack of appreciation of one's marital
obligation." There being a defect in consent, "it is clear that it should be a ground

For clarity, the Committee classified the bases for determining void marriages,
viz:
1.

lack of one or more of the essential requisites of marriage as contract;

2.

reasons of public policy;

3.

special cases and special situations.

The ground of psychological incapacity was subsumed under "special cases and
special situations," hence its special treatment in Art. 36 in the Family Code as
finally enacted.
Nowhere in the Civil Code provisions on Marriage is there a ground for avoiding or
annulling marriages that even comes close to being psychological in nature.
Where consent is vitiated due to circumstances existing at the time of the
marriage, such marriage which stands valid until annulled is capable of
ratification or convalidation.
On the other hand, for reasons of public policy or lack of essential requisites,
some marriages are void from the beginning.
With the revision of Book I of the Civil Code, particularly the provisions on
Marriage, the drafters, now open to fresh winds of change in keeping with the
more permissive mores and practices of the time, took a leaf from the relatively
liberal provisions of Canon Law.
Canon 1095 which states, inter alia, that the following persons are incapable of
contracting marriage: "3. (those) who, because of causes of a psychological
nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage" provided the
model for what is now Art. 36 of the Family Code: "A marriage contracted by any
party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to
comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void
even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization." liblex
It bears stressing that unlike in Civil Law, Canon Law recognizes only two types of
marriages with respect to their validity: valid and void. Civil Law, however,
recognizes an intermediate state, the voidable or annullable marriages. When the
Ecclesiastical Tribunal "annuls" a marriage, it actually declares the marriage null
and void, i.e., it never really existed in the first place, for a valid sacramental
marriage can never be dissolved. Hence, a properly performed and consummated

marriage between two living Roman Catholics can only be nullified by the formal
annulment process which entails a full tribunal procedure with a Court selection
and a formal hearing.
Such so-called church "annulments" are not recognized by Civil Law as severing
the marriage ties as to capacitate the parties to enter lawfully into another
marriage. The grounds for nullifying civil marriage, not being congruent with
those laid down by Canon Law, the former being more strict, quite a number of
married couples have found themselves in limbo freed from the marriage
bonds in the eyes of the Catholic Church but yet unable to contract a valid civil
marriage under state laws. Heedless of civil law sanctions, some persons contract
new marriages or enter into live-in relationships.
It was precisely to provide a satisfactory solution to such anomalous situations
that the Civil Law Revision Committee decided to engraft the Canon Law concept
of psychological incapacity into the Family Code and classified the same as a
ground for declaring marriages void ab initio or totally inexistent from the
beginning.
A brief historical note on the Old Canon Law (1917). This Old Code, while it did not
provide directly for psychological incapacity, in effect recognized the same
indirectly from a combination of three old canons: "Canon #1081 required
persons to be 'capable according to law' in order to give valid consent; Canon
#1082 required that persons 'be at least not ignorant' of the major elements
required in marriage; and Canon #1087 (the force and fear category) required
that internal and external freedom be present in order for consent to be valid.
This line of interpretation produced two distinct but related grounds for
annulment, called 'lack of due discretion' and 'lack of due competence.' Lack of
due discretion means that the person did not have the ability to give valid
consent at the time of the wedding and therefore the union is invalid. Lack of due
competence means that the person was incapable of carrying out the obligations
of the promise he or she made during the wedding ceremony.
"Favorable annulment decisions by the Roman Rota in the 1950s and 1960s
involving sexual disorders such as homosexuality and nymphomania laid the
foundation for a broader approach to the kind of proof necessary for psychological

grounds for annulment. The Rota had reasoned for the first time in several cases
that the capacity to give valid consent at the time of marriage was probably not
present in persons who had displayed such problems shortly after the marriage.
The nature of this change was nothing short of revolutionary. Once the Rota itself
had demonstrated a cautious willingness to use this kind of hindsight, the way
was paved for what came after 1970. Diocesan Tribunals began to accept proof of
serious psychological problems that manifested themselves shortly after the
ceremony as proof of an inability to give valid consent at the time of the
ceremony.
"Furthermore, and equally significant, the professional opinion of a psychological
expert became increasingly important in such cases. Data about the person's
entire life, both before and after the ceremony, were presented to these experts
and they were asked to give professional opinions about a party's mental capacity
at the time of the wedding. These opinions were rarely challenged and tended to
be accepted as decisive evidence of lack of valid consent.

relationship. Rotal decisions since 1973 have refined the meaning of


psychological or psychic capacity for marriage as presupposing the development
of an adult personality; as meaning the capacity of the spouses to give
themselves to each other and to accept 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 that the spouses must have the capacity for interpersonal
relationship because marriage is more than just a physical reality but involves a
true intertwining of personalities. The fulfillment of the obligations of marriage
depends, according to Church decisions, on the strength of this interpersonal
relationship. A serious incapacity for interpersonal sharing and support is held to
impair the relationship and consequently, the ability to fulfill the essential marital
obligations. The marital capacity of one spouse is not considered in isolation but
in reference to the fundamental relationship to the other spouse. 3
Fr. Green, in an article in Catholic Mind, lists six elements necessary to the mature
marital relationship:

The Church took pains to point out that its new openness in this area did not
amount to the addition of new grounds for annulment, but rather was an
accommodation by the Church to the advances made in psychology during the
past decades. There was now the expertise to provide the all-important
connecting link between a marriage breakdown and premarital causes.

"The courts consider the following elements crucial to the marital commitment:
(1) a permanent and faithful commitment to the marriage partner; (2) openness
to children and partner; (3) stability; (4) emotional maturity; (5) financial
responsibility; (6) an ability to cope with the ordinary stresses and strains of
marriage, etc."

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 could no longer
be assumed in annulment cases that a person who could intellectually understand
the concept of marriage could necessarily give valid consent to marry. The ability
to both grasp and assume the real obligations of a mature, lifelong commitment
are now considered a necessary prerequisite to valid matrimonial consent." 2

Fr. Green goes on to speak about some of the psychological conditions that might
lead to the failure of a marriage:

Rotal decisions continued applying the concept of incipient psychological


incapacity, "not only to sexual anomalies but to all kinds of personality disorders
that incapacitate a spouse or both spouses from assuming or carrying out the
essential obligations of marriage. For marriage . . . is not merely cohabitation or
the right of the spouses to each other's body for heterosexual acts, but is, in its
totality community of the whole of life; i.e., the right to a developing lifelong

"At stake is a type of constitutional impairment precluding conjugal communion


even with the best intentions of the parties. Among the psychic factors possibly
giving rise to his or her inability to fulfill marital obligations are the following: (1)
antisocial personality with its fundamental lack of loyalty to persons or sense of
moral values; (2) hyperesthesia, where the individual has no real freedom of
sexual choice; (3) the inadequate personality where personal responses
consistently fall short of reasonable expectations.
xxx

xxx

xxx

The psychological grounds are the best approach for anyone who doubts whether
he or she has a case for an annulment on any other terms. A situation that does
not fit into any of the more traditional categories often fits very easily into the
psychological category.
As new as the psychological grounds are, experts are already detecting a shift in
their use. Whereas originally the emphasis was on the parties' inability to exercise
proper judgment at the time of the marriage (lack of due discretion), recent cases
seem to be concentrating on the parties' incapacity to assume or carry out their
responsibilities and obligations as promised (lack of due competence). An
advantage to using the ground of lack of due competence is that the at the time
the marriage was entered into civil divorce and breakup of the family almost
always is proof of someone's failure to carry out marital responsibilities as
promised at the time the marriage was entered into." 4
In the instant case, "opposing and conflicting personalities" of the spouses were
not considered equivalent to psychological incapacity. As well as in Santos v.
Court of Appeals cited in the ponencia, the Court held that the failure of the wife
to return home from the U.S. or to communicate with her husband for more than
five years is not proof of her psychological incapacity as to render the marriage a
nullity. 5 Therefore, Art. 36 is inapplicable and the marriages remain valid and
subsisting.
However in the recent case of Chi Ming Tsoi v. Court of Appeals, 6 this Court
upheld both the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals in declaring the
presence of psychological incapacity on the part of the husband. Said petitioner
husband, after ten (10) months' sleeping with his wife never had coitus with her,
a fact he did not deny but he alleged that it was due to the physical disorder of
his wife which, however, he failed to prove. Goaded by the indifference and
stubborn refusal of her husband to fulfill a basic marital obligation described as
"to procreate children based on the universal principle that procreation of children
through sexual cooperation is the basic end of marriage," the wife brought the
action in the lower court to declare the marriage null.

The Court, quoting Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former Presiding Judge of the
Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila (Branch 1) on
psychological incapacity, concluded:
"If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her
essential marriage obligations, and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic
marriage tribunals attribute the causes to psychological incapacity than to
stubborn refusal. Senseless and protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological
incapacity. Thus, the prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual intercourse
with his or her spouse is considered a sign of psychological incapacity."
We declared:
"This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties found
themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated marital
obligations, can do no less but sustain the studied judgment of respondent
appellate court."
I concur with the majority opinion that the herein marriage remains valid and
subsisting absent psychological incapacity (under Art. 36 of the Family Code) on
the part of either or both spouses.
VITUG, J ., concurring:
I fully concur with my esteemed colleague Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban in his
ponencia, and I find to be most helpful the guidelines that he prepared for the
bench and the bar in the proper appreciation of Article 36 of Executive Order No.
209 ("The Family Code of the Philippines"). The term "psychological incapacity"
was neither defined nor exemplified by the Family Code. Thus
"Art. 36.
A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential
marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity
becomes manifest only after its solemnization."
The Revision Committee, constituted under the auspices of the U.P. Law Center,
which drafted the Code explained:

"(T)he Committee would like the judge to interpret the provision on a case-to-case
basis, guided by experience, the findings of experts and researchers in
psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals which, although not
binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision was
taken from Canon Law " 1
Article 36 of the Family Code was concededly taken from Canon 1095 of the New
Code of Canon Law
"Canon 1095. (The following persons) are incapable of contracting marriage;
(those)
"1.

who lack sufficient use of reason;

"2.
who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of judgment concerning
essential matrimonial rights and duties, to be given and accepted mutually;
"3.
who for causes of psychological nature are unable to assume the essential
obligations of marriage"
that should give that much value to Canon Law jurisprudence as an aid to the
interpretation and construction of the statutory enactment. 2
The principles in the proper application of the law teach us that the several
provisions of a Code must be read like a congruent whole. Thus, in determining
the import of "psychological incapacity" under Article 36, one must also read it
along with, albeit to be taken as distinct from, the other grounds enumerated in
the Code, like Articles 35, 37, 38 and 41 that would likewise, but for distinct
reasons, render the marriage void ab initio, or Article 45 that would make the
marriage merely voidable, or Article 55 that could justify a petition for legal
separation. Care must be observed so that these various circumstances are not
applied so indiscriminately as if the law were indifferent on the matter.
I would wish to reiterate the Court's statement in Santos vs. Court of Appeals, 3
viz:

"(T)he use of the phrase psychological incapacity' under Article 36 of the Code
has not been meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as,
likewise mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities, extremely low intelligence,
immaturity, and like circumstances . . . Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be
taken and construed independently of, but must stand in conjunction with,
existing precepts in our law on marriage. Thus correlated, psychological
incapacity' should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that
causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that
concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage
which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual
obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and
support. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to
confine the meaning of 'psychological incapacity' to the most serious cases of
personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to
give meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must
exist at the time the marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision,
upon the other hand, an inability of the spouse to have sexual relations with the
other. This conclusion is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which
considers children conceived prior to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void
marriage to be legitimate.'
"The other forms of psychoses, if existing at the inception of marriage, like the
state of a party being of unsound mind or concealment of drug addiction, habitual
alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism, merely renders the marriage contract
voidable pursuant to Article 46, Family Code. If drug addiction, habitual
alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality should occur only during the marriage,
they become mere grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family
Code. These provisions of the Code, however, do not necessarily preclude the
possibility of these various circumstances being themselves, depending on the
degree and severity of the disorder, indicia of psychological incapacity." 4
In fine, the term "psychological incapacity," to be a ground for the nullity of
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, must be able to pass the following
tests; viz.:

First, the incapacity must be psychological or mental, not physical, in nature;


Second, the psychological incapacity must relate to the inability, not mere refusal,
to understand, assume and discharge the basic marital obligations of living
together, observing love, respect and fidelity and rendering mutual help and
support;
Third, the psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is contracted
although its overt manifestations may occur only thereafter; and
Fourth, the mental disorder must be grave or serious and incurable.
It may well be that the Family Code Revision Committee has envisioned Article 36,
as not a few observers would suspect, as another form of absolute divorce or, as
still others would also put it, to be an alternative to divorce; however, the fact still
remains that the language of the law has failed to carry out, even if true, any
such intendment. It might have indeed turned out for the better; if it were
otherwise, there could be good reasons to doubt the constitutionality of the
measure. The fundamental law itself, no less, has laid down in terse language its
unequivocal command on how the State should regard marriage and the family,
thus
Section 2, Article XV:
"Sec. 2.
Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the
family and shall be protected by the State."
Section 12, Article II:
"Sec. 12.
The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect
and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution . . ."
Section 1, Article XV:
"Section 1.
The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the
nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total
development." (The 1987 Constitution)

The case of Marcelino vs. Cruz, 121 SCRA 51, might here be significant not so
much for the specific issue there resolved but for the tone it has set. The Court
there has held that constitutional provisions are to be considered mandatory
unless by necessary implication, a different intention is manifest such that to
have them enforced strictly would cause more harm than by disregarding them. It
is quite clear to me that the constitutional mandate on marriage and the family
has not been meant to be simply directory in character, nor for mere expediency
or convenience, but one that demands a meaningful, not half-hearted, respect.
Footnotes
1.

Rollo, pp. 25-33.

2.
Sixteenth Division composed of J. Segundino G. Chua, ponente and
chairman; JJ., Serafin V.C. Guingona and Ricardo P. Galvez, concurring.
3.

Presided by Judge Heilia S. Mallare-Phillipps.

4.

Solemnized by Fr. Jesus G. Encinas.

5.
The Court of Appeals reproduced in its Decision a substantial portion of the
RTC Decision as follows:
"To sustain her claim that respondent is psychologically
incapacitated to comply with his marital obligations, petitioner testified that he is
immature, irresponsible, dependent, disrespectful, arrogant, a chronic liar, and an
infidel. These characteristics of respondent are based on petitioner's testimony
that the former failed to be gainfully employed after he was relieved from the
Office of the Government Corporate Counsel sometime in February, 1986, leaving
petitioner as the sole breadwinner of the family. Also when they were separated in
fact, respondent practically abandoned both petitioner-mother and son except
during the first few months of separation when respondent regularly visited his
son and gave him a monthly allowance of P1,000.00 for about two to four months.
Respondent is likewise dependent on his parents for financial aid and support as
he has no savings, preferring to spend his money with his friends and peers. A
year after their marriage, respondent informed petitioner that he bought a house

and lot at BF Homes, Paraaque for about a million pesos. They then transferred
there only for the petitioner to discover a few months later that they were
actually renting the house with the respondent's parents responsible for the
payment of the rentals. Aside from this, respondent would also lie about his salary
and ability. And that at present, respondent is living with his mistress and their
child, which fact he does not deny.
It is unfortunate that the marriage between petitioner and
respondent turned sour if we look at the background of their relationship. During
their college days, when they were still going steady, respondent observed
petitioner to be conservative, homely, and intelligent causing him to believe then
that she would make an ideal wife and mother. Likewise, petitioner fell in love
with respondent because of his thoughtfulness and gentleness. After a year,
however, they decided to break their relationship because of some differences in
their personalities. Almost five (5) years later, while they were working in Manila,
petitioner and respondent rekindled their love affair. They became very close and
petitioner was glad to observe a more mature respondent. Believing that they
know each other much better after two years of going steady, they decided to
settle down and get married. It would seem, therefore, that petitioner and
respondent knew each other well and were then prepared for married life.
During their marriage, however, the true personalities of the parties
cropped-up and dominated their life together. Unexpectedly on both their parts,
petitioner and respondent failed to respond properly to the situation. This failure
resulted in their frequent arguments and fightings. In fact, even with the
intervention and help of their parents who arranged for their possible
reconciliation, the parties could not come to terms.
It seems clear at this stage that the marriage between the parties
broke-up because of their opposing and conflicting personalties (sic). Neither of
them can accept and understand the weakness of the other. No one gives in and
instead, blame each other for whatever problem or misunderstanding/s they
encounter. In fine, respondent cannot be solely responsible for the failure of other
(sic) marriage. Rather, this resulted because both parties cannot relate to each
other as husband and wife which is unique and requisite in marriage.

5a. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a


woman with the basic objective of establishing a conjugal and family life. (Article
1, Family Code). The unique element of permanency of union signifies a
continuing, developing, and lifelong relationship between the parties. Towards this
end, the parties must fully understand and accept the (implications and
consequences of being permanently) united in marriage. And the maintenance of
this relationship demands from the parties, among others, determination to
succeed in their marriage as well as heartfelt understanding, acceptance,
cooperation, and support for each other. Thus, the Family Code requires them to
live together, to observe mutual (love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual
help and support. Failure to observe) and perform these fundamental roles of a
husband and a wife will most likely lead to the break-up of the marriage. Such is
the unfortunate situation in this case." (Decision, pp. 5-8; Original Records, pp.
70-73)
6.

240 SCRA 20, 34, January 4, 1995.

7.
Quoted from Justice Alicia Sempio-Diy, Handbook on the Family Code, First
Edition, 1988.
8.

TSN, April 6, 1991, p. 5.

9.
The National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal reviews all decisions of the
marriage tribunals of each archdiocese or diocese in the country. Aside from
heading the Appellate Tribunal, Most. Rev. Cruz is also incumbent president of the
Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop of Dagupan-Lingayen,
and holds the degrees of Doctor of Canon Law and Doctor of Divinity. Archbishop
Cruz was also Secretary-General of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines
PCP II held from January 20, 1991 to February 17, 1991, which is the rough
equivalent of a parliament or a constitutional convention in the Philippine Church,
and where the ponente, who was a Council member, had the privilege of being
overwhelmed by his keen mind and prayerful discernments.
10.
Justice Puno was a former member of the Court of Appeals, retired Minister
of Justice, author, noted civil law professor and law practitioner.

11.

"Article XV

14.
This text is taken from the Memorandum of Archbishop Cruz. On the other
hand, the text used in Santos vs. CA reads:

THE FAMILY
Section 1.
The State recognizes the Filipino Family as the foundation of
the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its
total development.
Section 2.
Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation
of the family and shall be protected by the state.
Section 3.

The State shall defend:

(1)
The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with
their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood;
(2)
The right of children to assistance, including proper care and
nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty,
exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development;
(3)

The right of the family to a family living wage and income;

(4)
The right of families or family associations to participate in
the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.
Section 4.
The family has the duty to care for its elderly members but
the state may also do so through just programs of social security.
12.
"Art. 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man
and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of
conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social
institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and
not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property
relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code."
13.

Salita vs. Magtolis, 233 SCRA 100, June 13, 1994.

"Canon 1095. They are incapable of contracting marriage:


xxx

xxx

xxx

3.
Who for causes of psychological nature are unable to
assume the essential obligations of marriage."
The difference in wording between this and that in Arch. Cruz's
Memorandum is due to the fact that the original Canon is written in Latin and
both versions are differently-worded English translations.
ROMERO, J., concurring:
1.
Justice Caguioa's explanation in the Minutes of July 26, 1986 of the Civil
Code Revision Committee of the U.P. Law Center.
2.

Zwack, Joseph P., Annulment, A Step-by-Step Guide.

3.
The Code of Canon Law, A Text and Commentary, The Canon Law Society
of America, Paulist Press, New York, 1985.
4.

Zwack, ibid., p. 47

5.

G.R. No. 112019, 240 SCRA 20 (1995).

6.

G.R. No. 119190 (1997).

VITUG, J., concurring:


1.
Mr. Justice Josue N. Bellosillo, quoting Mme. Justice Alicia V. Sempio-Diy, in
Salita vs. Hon. Magtolis, 233 SCRA 100.
2.

In Santos vs. Court of Appeals, 240 SCRA 20.

3.

Supra.

4.

At pages 34-35.
[G.R. No. 130087. September 24, 2003.]

DIANA M. BARCELONA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and TADEO R.


BENGZON, respondents.
Villanueva Bernardo & Gabionza for petitioner.
Horacio R. Makalintal, Jr. for private respondent.
SYNOPSIS
Petitioner questioned the decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the
Order of the trial court denying the Motion to Dismiss of the second Petition for
Annulment of Marriage filed by private respondent Tadeo R. Bengzon against
herein petitioner Diana M. Barcelona. The trial court ratiocinated therein that the
petitioner has violated respondent's right, thus giving rise to a cause of action
and that respondent was not guilty of forum shopping since when he filed the
second petition, the first petition was no longer pending as it has been dismissed
without prejudice. CacHES
The Court ruled that the petition was bereft of merit. The Court found that the
second petition sufficiently alleges a cause of action. It sought the declaration of
nullity of the marriage based on Article 36 of the Family Code. It stated the
ultimate facts on which respondent based his claim in accordance with Section 1,
Rule 8 of the old Rules of Court. It stated a cause of action since it stated the legal
right of respondent Tadeo, the correlative obligation of petitioner Diana, and the
act or omission of petitioner Diana in violation of the legal right.
Similarly untenable was the petitioner's contention that the second petition's
certificate of non-forum shopping which does not mention the filing of the first
petition and its dismissal without prejudice violates Circular No. 04-94. The first
petition was dismissed without prejudice at the instance of respondent Tadeo to
keep the peace between him and his grown up children. The dismissal happened
before service of answer or any responsive pleading. Clearly. there was no litis
pendentia since respondent Tadeo had already withdrawn and caused the

dismissal of the first petition when he subsequently filed the second petition.
Neither was there res judicata because the dismissal order was not a decision on
the merits but a dismissal "without prejudice."
SYLLABUS
1.
REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; CAUSE OF ACTION; ESSENTIAL
ELEMENTS. A cause of action is an act or omission of the defendant in violation
of the legal right of the plaintiff. A complain states a cause of action when it
contains three essential elements: (1) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever
means and under whatever law it arises; (2) an obligation of the defendant to
respect such right; and (3) the act or omission of the defendant violates the right
of the plaintiff.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; STATES THE ULTIMATE FACTS ON WHICH PLAINTIFF BASES HIS
CLAIM. The second petition states the ultimate facts on which respondent
bases his claim in accordance with Section 1, Rule 8 of the old Rules of Court.
Ultimate facts refer to the principal, determinative, constitutive facts upon the
existence of which the cause of action rests. The term does not refer to details of
probative matter or particulars of evidence which establish the material elements.
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; STATES THAT DEFENDANT VIOLATED THE LEGAL RIGHT OF
PLAINTIFF. The second petition states a cause of action since it states the legal
right of respondent Tadeo, the correlative obligation of petitioner Diana, and the
act or omission of petitioner Diana in violation of the legal right. In Dulay vs. Court
of Appeals, the Court held: "In determining whether the allegations of a complaint
are sufficient to support a cause of action, it must be borne in mind that the
complaint does not have to establish or allege the facts proving the existence of a
cause of action at the outset; this will have to be done at the trial on the merits of
the case (Del Bros Hotel Corporation v. CA, supra). If the allegations in a
complaint can furnish a sufficient basis by which the complaint can be
maintained, the same should not be dismissed regardless of the defenses that
may be assessed by the defendants (Rava Dev't Corp. v. CA, 211 SCRA 152
[1992] citing Consolidated Bank & Trust Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 197
SCRA 663 [1991]). To sustain a motion to dismiss for lack of cause of action, the
complaint must show that the claim for relief does not exist rather than that a

claim has been defectively stated or is ambiguous, indefinite or uncertain (Azur v.


provincial Board, 27 SCRA 50 [1969])."

dismissal of the complaint or petition. However, the Court has also previously held
that the rule of substantial compliance applies to the contents of the certification.

4.
ID.; ID.; RULES ON DECLARATION OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF VOID
MARRIAGES AND ANNULMENT OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGES; NO NEED TO ALLEGE IN
THE PETITION THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY.
Procedural rules apply to actions pending and unresolved at the time of their
passage. The obvious effect of the new Rules providing that "expert opinion need
not be alleged" in the petition is that there is also no need to allege the root
cause of the psychological incapacity. Only experts in the fields of neurological
and behavioral sciences are competent to determine the root cause of
psychological incapacity. Since the new Rules do not require the petition to allege
expert opinion on the psychological incapacity, it follows that there is also no
need to allege in the petition the root cause of the psychological incapacity.

8.
ID.; ID.; ID.; OMISSION IN THE CERTIFICATE THAT WOULD NOT CONSTITUTE
RES JUDICATA AND LITIS PENDENTIA IS NOT FATAL. In Roxas v. Court of Appeals,
the Court squarely addressed the issue of whether the omission of a statement on
the prior filing and dismissal of a case involving the same parties and issues
merits dismissal of the petition. In Roxas, the Court ruled: "xxx an omission in the
certificate of non-forum shopping about any event that would not constitute res
judicata and litis pendentia as in the case at bar, is not fatal as to merit the
dismissal and nullification of the entire proceedings considering that the evils
sought to be prevented by the said certificate are not present. It is in this light
that we ruled in Maricalum Mining Corp. v. National Labor Relations Commission
that a liberal interpretation of Supreme Court Circular No. 04-94 on non-forum
shopping would be more in keeping with the objectives of procedural rules which
is to "secure a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and
proceeding."

5.
ID.; ID.; ID.; PETITION MUST ALLEGE THE PHYSICAL MANIFESTATIONS
INDICATIVE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY. Science continues to explore,
examine and explain how our brains work, respond to and control the human
body. Scientists still do not understand everything there is to know about the root
causes of psychological disorders. The root causes of many psychological
disorders are still unknown to science even as their outward, physical
manifestations are evident. Hence, what the new Rules require the petition to
allege are the physical manifestations indicative of psychological incapacity.
6.
ID.; ID.; MOTION TO DISMISS; LACK OF CAUSE OF ACTION AS A GROUND
HYPOTHETICALLY ADMITS ALL THE FACTUAL AVERMENTS IN THE COMPLAINT. A
defendant moving to dismiss a complaint on the ground of lack of cause of action
hypothetically admits all the factual averments in the complaint. Given the
hypothetically admitted facts in the second petition, the trial court could render
judgment over the case.
7.
ID.; ID.; RULES AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING; RULE OF SUBSTANTIAL
COMPLIANCE APPLIES TO THE CONTENTS OF THE CERTIFICATION. The Court
has consistently held that a certificate of non-forum shopping not attached to the
petition or one belatedly filed or one signed by counsel and not the party himself
constitutes a violation of the requirement. Such violation can result in the

9.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; APPLIED IN CASE AT BAR. The dismissal of the first
petition precluded the eventuality of litis pendentia. The first petition's dismissal
did not also amount to res judicata. Thus, there is no need to state in the
certificate of non-forum shopping in the second petition (Civil Case No. Q-9514471) about the prior filing and dismissal of the first petition (Civil Case No. Q95-23445). The first petition was dismissed without prejudice at the instance of
respondent Tadeo to keep the peace between him and his grown up children. The
dismissal happened before service of answer or any responsive pleading. Clearly,
there is no litis pendentia since respondent Tadeo had already withdrawn and
caused the dismissal of the first petition when he subsequently filed the second
petition. Neither is there res judicata because the dismissal order was not a
decision on the merits but a dismissal "without prejudice."
10.
ID.; ID.; ID.; SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED WITH SUCH ABSOLUTE
LITERALNESS AS TO SUBVERT ITS OWN ULTIMATE AND LEGITIMATE OBJECTIVE.
Circular No. 04-94, now Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
must be interpreted and applied to achieve its purpose. The Supreme Court

promulgated the Circular to promote and facilitate the orderly administration of


justice. The Circular should not be interpreted with such absolute literalness as to
subvert its own ultimate and legitimate objective or the goal of all rules of
procedure - which is to achieve substantial justice as expeditiously as possible.

("petitioner Diana"). The case was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-95-23445 ("first
petition") before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 87. 3 On 9 May
1995, respondent Tadeo filed a Motion to Withdraw Petition which the trial court
granted in its Order dated 7 June 1995.

11.
ID.; ID.; RULES ON DECLARATION OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF VOID
MARRIAGES AND ANNULMENT OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGES; TRIAL COURT MUST
RESOLVE THE ISSUE AFTER TRIAL ON THE MERITS. We are ever mindful of the
principle that marriage is an inviolable institution and the foundation of the family
that the state cherishes and protects. In rendering this decision, this Court is not
prejudging the main issue of whether the marriage is void based on Article 36 of
the Family Code. The trial court must resolve to prove their respective allegations
and defenses. We are merely holding that, based on the allegations in the second
petition, the petition sufficiently alleges a cause of action and does not violate the
rule on forum shopping. Thus, the second petition is not subject to attack by a
motion to dismiss on these grounds. AaECSH

On 21 July 1995, respondent Tadeo filed anew a Petition for Annulment of


Marriage against petitioner Diana. This time, the case was docketed as Civil Case
No. Q-95-24471 ("second petition") before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Branch 106 ("trial court"). SHEIDC

DECISION
CARPIO, J p:
The Case
The Petition for Review before us assails the 30 May 1997 Decision, 1 as well as
the 7 August 1997 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 43393.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the Order 2 dated 21 January 1997 of the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 106, in Civil Case No. Q-95-24471. The Regional
Trial Court refused to dismiss private respondent's Petition for Annulment of
Marriage for failure to state a cause of action and for violation of Supreme Court
Administrative Circular No. 04-94. The assailed Resolution denied petitioner's
motion for reconsideration.
The Facts
On 29 March 1995, private respondent Tadeo R. Bengzon ("respondent Tadeo")
filed a Petition for Annulment of Marriage against petitioner Diana M. Barcelona

Petitioner Diana filed a Motion to Dismiss the second petition on two grounds.
First, the second petition fails to state a cause of action. Second, it violates
Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 04-94 ("Circular No. 04-94") on forum
shopping. Respondent Tadeo opposed the Motion to which petitioner Diana filed
Additional Arguments in Support of the Motion.
The trial court, through Judge Julieto P. Tabiolo, issued on 18 September 1996 an
Order ("first order") deferring resolution of the Motion until the parties ventilate
their arguments in a hearing. Petitioner Diana filed a motion for reconsideration.
However, the trial court, through Pairing Judge Rosalina L. Luna Pison, issued on
21 January 1997 an Order ("second order") denying the motion. In denying the
motion for reconsideration, Judge Pison explained that when the ground for
dismissal is the complaint's failure to state a cause of action, the trial court
determines such fact solely from the petition itself. Judge Pison held that contrary
to petitioner Diana's claim, a perusal of the allegations in the petition shows that
petitioner Diana has violated respondent Tadeo's right, thus giving rise to a cause
of action. Judge Pison also rejected petitioner Diana's claim that respondent Tadeo
is guilty of forum shopping in filing the second petition. Judge Pison explained that
when respondent Tadeo filed the second petition, the first petition (Civil Case No.
Q-95-23445) was no longer pending as it had been earlier dismissed without
prejudice.
Petitioner Diana filed a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus before
the Court of Appeals assailing the trial court's first order deferring action on the
Motion and the second order denying the motion for reconsideration on 14

February 1997. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition and denied the
motion for reconsideration.
Hence, this petition.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals agreed with petitioner Diana that the trial court in its first
order erred in deferring action on the Motion until after a hearing on whether the
complaint states a cause of action. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals pointed out
that the trial court's second order corrected the situation since in denying the
motion for reconsideration, the trial court in effect denied the Motion. The
appellate court agreed with the trial court that the allegations in the second
petition state a cause of action sufficient to sustain a valid judgment if proven to
be true.
The Court of Appeals also held that there was no violation of Circular No. 04-94.
To determine the existence of forum shopping, the elements of litis pendentia
must exist or a final judgment in one case must amount to res judicata in the
other. In this case, there is no litis pendentia because respondent Tadeo had
caused the dismissal without prejudice of the first petition before filing the second
petition. Neither is there res judicata because there is no final decision on the
merits. CcAITa
Issues
In her Memorandum, petitioner Diana raises the following issues:
I.
WHETHER THE ALLEGATIONS OF THE SECOND PETITION FOR ANNULMENT
OF MARRIAGE SUFFICIENTLY STATE A CAUSE OF ACTION;
II.
WHETHER
RESPONDENT
TADEO
VIOLATED
SUPREME
COURT
ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. 04-94 IN FAILING TO STATE THE FILING OF A
PREVIOUS PETITION FOR ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE, ITS TERMINATION AND
STATUS. 4
The Court's Ruling

The petition has no merit.


Sufficiency of Cause of Action
Petitioner Diana's contention that the second petition fails to state a cause of
action is untenable. A cause of action is an act or omission of the defendant in
violation of the legal right of the plaintiff. 5 A complaint states a cause of action
when it contains three essential elements: (1) a right in favor of the plaintiff by
whatever means and under whatever law it arises; (2) an obligation of the
defendant to respect such right; and (3) the act or omission of the defendant
violates the right of the plaintiff. 6
We find the second petition sufficiently alleges a cause of action. The petition
sought the declaration of nullity of the marriage based on Article 36 of the Family
Code. 7 The petition alleged that respondent Tadeo and petitioner Diana were
legally married at the Holy Cross Parish after a whirlwind courtship as shown by
the marriage contract attached to the petition. The couple established their
residence in Quezon City. The union begot five children, Ana Maria, born on 8
November 1964; Isabel, born on 28 October 1968; Ernesto Tadeo, born on 31
March 1970; Regina Rachelle born on 7 March 1974; and Cristina Maria born in
February 1978. The petition further alleged that petitioner Diana was
psychologically incapacitated at the time of the celebration of their marriage to
comply with the essential obligations of marriage and such incapacity subsists up
to the present time. The petition alleged the non-complied marital obligations in
this manner:
xxx

xxx

xxx

5.
During their marriage, they had frequent quarrels due to their varied
upbringing. Respondent, coming from a rich family, was a disorganized
housekeeper and was frequently out of the house. She would go to her sister's
house or would play tennis the whole day.
6.
When the family had crisis due to several miscarriages suffered by
respondent and the sickness of a child, respondent withdrew to herself and
eventually refused to speak to her husband.

7.
On November 1977, the respondent, who was five months pregnant with
Cristina Maria and on the pretext of re-evaluating her feelings with petitioner,
requested the latter to temporarily leave their conjugal dwelling. She further
insisted that she wanted to feel a little freedom from petitioner's marital authority
and influences. The petitioner argued that he could occupy another room in their
conjugal dwelling to accommodate respondent's desire, but no amount of plea
and explanation could dissuade her from demanding that the petitioner leave
their conjugal dwelling. CDAHIT
8.
In his desire to keep peace in the family and to safeguard the respondent's
pregnancy, the petitioner was compelled to leave their conjugal dwelling and
reside in a condominium located in Greenhills.
9.
This separation resulted in complete estrangement between the petitioner
and the respondent. The petitioner waived his right to the conjugal dwelling in
respondent's favor through an extrajudicial dissolution of their conjugal
partnership of gains. The separation in fact between the petitioner and the
respondent still subsists to the present time.
10.
The parties likewise agreed on the custody and support of the children.
The extrajudicial dissolution of conjugal partnership of gains is hereto attached as
Annex "C" and taken as an integral part hereof.
11.
The respondent at the time of the celebration of their marriage was
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligation of marriage
and such incapacity subsisted up to and until the present time. Such incapacity
was conclusively found in the psychological examination conducted on the
relationship between the petitioner and the respondent.
12.
Under Article 36 of the Family Code, the marriage between the petitioner
and the respondent is void ab initio and needs to be annulled. This petition is in
accordance with Article 39 thereof. DcICEa
xxx

xxx

xxx. 8

The second petition states the ultimate facts on which respondent bases his claim
in accordance with Section 1, Rule 8 of the old Rules of Court. 9 Ultimate facts
refer to the principal, determinative, constitutive facts upon the existence of
which the cause of action rests. The term does not refer to details of probative
matter or particulars of evidence which establish the material elements. 10
Petitioner Diana relies mainly 11 on the rulings in Santos v. Court of Appeals 12 as
well as in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina. 13 Santos gave life to the
phrase "psychological incapacity," a novel provision in the Family Code, by
defining the term in this wise:
. . . "psychological incapacity" should refer to no less than mental (not physical)
incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital
covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to
the marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include
their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and
render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law
has been to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious
cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or
inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychologic
condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated. . . .
Molina additionally provided procedural guidelines to assist the courts and the
parties in cases for annulment of marriages grounded on psychological incapacity.
14
Petitioner Diana argues that the second petition falls short of the guidelines set
forth in Santos and Molina. Specifically, she contends that the second petition is
defective because it fails to allege the root cause of the alleged psychological
incapacity. The second petition also fails to state that the alleged psychological
incapacity existed from the celebration of the marriage and that it is permanent
or incurable. Further, the second petition is devoid of any reference of the grave
nature of the illness to bring about the disability of the petitioner to assume the
essential obligations of marriage. Lastly, the second petition did not even state
the marital obligations which petitioner Diana allegedly failed to comply due to
psychological incapacity.

Subsequent to Santos and Molina, the Court adopted the new Rules on
Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable
Marriages ("new Rules"). 15 Specifically, Section 2, paragraph (d) of the new
Rules provides:

The second petition states a cause of action since it states the legal right of
respondent Tadeo, the correlative obligation of petitioner Diana, and the act or
omission of petitioner Diana in violation of the legal right. In Dulay v. Court of
Appeals, 17 the Court held:

SEC. 2.Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages

In determining whether the allegations of a complaint are sufficient to support a


cause of action, it must be borne in mind that the complaint does not have to
establish or allege the facts proving the existence of a cause of action at the
outset; this will have to be done at the trial on the merits of the case (Del Bros
Hotel Corporation v. CA, supra). If the allegations in a complaint can furnish a
sufficient basis by which the complaint can be maintained, the same should not
be dismissed regardless of the defenses that may be assessed by the defendants
(Rava Dev't Corp. v. CA, 211 SCRA 152 [1992] citing Consolidated Bank & Trust
Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 197 SCRA 663 [1991]). To sustain a motion to
dismiss for lack of cause of action, the complaint must show that the claim for
relief does not exist rather than that a claim has been defectively stated or is
ambiguous, indefinite or uncertain (Azur v. Provincial Board, 27 SCRA 50 [1969]). .
. . . (Emphasis supplied)

xxx

xxx

xxx.

(d)
What to allege. A petition under Article 36 of the Family Code shall
specifically allege the complete facts showing that either or both parties were
psychologically incapacitated from complying with the essential marital
obligations of marriage at the time of the celebration of marriage even if such
incapacity becomes manifest only after its celebration.
The complete facts should allege the physical manifestations, if any, as are
indicative of psychological incapacity at the time of the celebration of the
marriage but expert opinion need not be alleged. (Emphasis supplied)
Procedural rules apply to actions pending and unresolved at the time of their
passage. 16 The obvious effect of the new Rules providing that "expert opinion
need not be alleged" in the petition is that there is also no need to allege the root
cause of the psychological incapacity. Only experts in the fields of neurological
and behavioral sciences are competent to determine the root cause of
psychological incapacity. Since the new Rules do not require the petition to allege
expert opinion on the psychological incapacity, it follows that there is also no
need to allege in the petition the root cause of the psychological incapacity.
DHEcCT
Science continues to explore, examine and explain how our brains work, respond
to and control the human body. Scientists still do not understand everything there
is to know about the root causes of psychological disorders. The root causes of
many psychological disorders are still unknown to science even as their outward,
physical manifestations are evident. Hence, what the new Rules require the
petition to allege are the physical manifestations indicative of psychological
incapacity. Respondent Tadeo's second petition complies with this requirement.

A defendant moving to dismiss a complaint on the ground of lack of cause of


action hypothetically admits all the factual averments in the complaint. 18 Given
the hypothetically admitted facts in the second petition, the trial court could
render judgment over the case. HCTEDa
Forum Shopping
Similarly untenable is petitioner Diana's contention that the second petition's
certificate of non-forum shopping which does not mention the filing of the first
petition and its dismissal without prejudice violates Circular No. 04-94. 19
Petitioner Diana refers to this portion of Circular No. 04-94
1.
The plaintiff, petitioner, applicant or principal party seeking relief in the
complaint, petition, application or other initiatory pleading shall certify under oath
in such original pleading, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and
simultaneously filed therewith, to the truth of the following facts and
undertakings: (a) he has not theretofore commenced any other action or

proceeding involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals,
or any other tribunal or agency; (b) to the best of his knowledge, no action or
proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other
tribunal or agency; (c) if there is any such action or proceeding which is either
pending or may have been terminated, he must state the status thereof; and (d)
if he should thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or
is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal
or agency, he undertakes to report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the
court or agency wherein the original pleading and sworn certification
contemplated herein have been filed. 20
Petitioner Diana points out that respondent Tadeo did not disclose in his
certificate of non-forum shopping that he had previously commenced a similar
action based on the same grounds with the same prayer for relief. The certificate
of non-forum shopping should have stated the fact of termination of the first
petition or its status. ACDTcE
The Court has consistently held that a certificate of non-forum shopping not
attached to the petition or one belatedly filed or one signed by counsel and not
the party himself constitutes a violation of the requirement. Such violation can
result in the dismissal of the complaint or petition. However, the Court has also
previously held that the rule of substantial compliance applies to the contents of
the certification. 21
In Roxas v. Court of Appeals, 22 the Court squarely addressed the issue of
whether the omission of a statement on the prior filing and dismissal of a case
involving the same parties and issues merits dismissal of the petition. In Roxas,
the Court ruled:
. . . an omission in the certificate of non-forum shopping about any event that
would not constitute res judicata and litis pendentia as in the case at bar, is not
fatal as to merit the dismissal and nullification of the entire proceedings
considering that the evils sought to be prevented by the said certificate are not
present. It is in this light that we ruled in Maricalum Mining Corp. v. National Labor
Relations Commission that a liberal interpretation of Supreme Court Circular No.
04-94 on non-forum shopping would be more in keeping with the objectives of

procedural rules which is to "secure a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of


every action and proceeding."
The dismissal of the first petition precluded the eventuality of litis pendentia. The
first petition's dismissal did not also amount to res judicata. Thus, there is no
need to state in the certificate of non-forum shopping in the second petition (Civil
Case No. Q-95-24471) about the prior filing and dismissal of the first petition (Civil
Case No. Q-95-23445). AcCTaD
The first petition was dismissed without prejudice at the instance of respondent
Tadeo to keep the peace between him and his grown up children. The dismissal
happened before service of answer or any responsive pleading. Clearly, there is
no litis pendentia since respondent Tadeo had already withdrawn and caused the
dismissal of the first petition when he subsequently filed the second petition.
Neither is there res judicata because the dismissal order was not a decision on
the merits but a dismissal "without prejudice."
Circular No. 04-94, 23 now Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
must be interpreted and applied to achieve its purpose. The Supreme Court
promulgated the Circular to promote and facilitate the orderly administration of
justice. The Circular should not be interpreted with such absolute literalness as to
subvert its own ultimate and legitimate objective or the goal of all rules of
procedure which is to achieve substantial justice as expeditiously as possible.
24
A final word. We are ever mindful of the principle that marriage is an inviolable
social institution and the foundation of the family that the state cherishes and
protects. 25 In rendering this Decision, this Court is not prejudging the main issue
of whether the marriage is void based on Article 36 of the Family Code. The trial
court must resolve this issue after trial on the merits where each party can
present evidence to prove their respective allegations and defenses. We are
merely holding that, based on the allegations in the second petition, the petition
sufficiently alleges a cause of action and does not violate the rule on forum
shopping. Thus, the second petition is not subject to attack by a motion to dismiss
on these grounds.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. The assailed Decision dated 30 May 1997 as
well as the Resolution dated 7 August 1997 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 43393 is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. DaCTcA

10.

OSCAR M. HERRERA, Remedial Law 1, 1999 Ed.

SO ORDERED.

11
Petitioner Diana relied on Santos for her motion to dismiss in the trial court
and her certiorari petition in the appellate court. In her motion to reconsider the
decision of the Court of Appeals, she cited Molina.

Davide, Jr., C .J ., Vitug and Ynares-Santiago, JJ ., concur.

12.

310 Phil. 21 (1995).

Azcuna, J ., is on leave.

13.

G.R. No. 108763, 13 February 1997, 268 SCRA 198.

Footnotes

14.

Pesca v. Pesca, G.R. No. 136921, 17 April 2001, 356 SCRA 588.

1.
Penned by Associate Justice Delilah Vidallon-Magtolis, with Associate
Justices Cancio C. Garcia, and Artemio G. Tuquero concurring.

15.

Effective 15 March 2003.

2.

Penned by Pairing Judge Rosalina L. Luna Pison.

3.

Presided by Judge Elsie Ligot-Telan.

4.

Rollo, pp. 243244.

5.
Far East Bank and Trust Co. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 135548, 29
September 2000, 341 SCRA 486.
6.

Relucio v. Lopez, G.R. No. 138497, 16 January 2002, 373 SCRA 578.

7.
Article 36 of the Family Code provides: "A marriage contracted by any
party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to
comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void
even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization."
8.

Rollo, pp. 5455.

9.
Section 1.
In general. Every pleading shall contain in a methodical
and logical form, a plain, concise and direct statement of the ultimate facts on
which the party pleading relies for his claim or defense, as the case may be,
omitting the statement of mere evidentiary facts.

16.
Zulueta v. Asia Brewery, G.R. No. 138137, 8 March 2001, 354 SCRA 100;
Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Desierto, G.R. No. 140358, 8
December 2000, 347 SCRA 561.
17.

313 Phil. 8 (1995).

18.
Sta. Clara Homeowners' Association v. Gaston, G.R. No. 141961, 23
January 2002, 374 SCRA 396.
19.

Now Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

20.

Emphasis supplied by petitioner.

21.

MC Engineering, Inc. v. NLRC, 412 Phil. 614 (2001).

22.

415 Phil. 430 (2001).

23.

Preceded by Circular No. 28-91.

24.

See note 22.

25.

See Section 2, Article XV, 1987 Constitution.

Copyright 2003

CD Technologies Asia Inc

[G.R. No. 152577. September 21, 2005.]


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. CRASUS L. IYOY,
respondent.
The Solicitor General for petitioner.
Singco & Cagara Law Office for respondent.
SYLLABUS
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY; TOTALITY OF
EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY RESPONDENT MISERABLY FAILED TO ESTABLISH
ALLEGED PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY OF HIS WIFE. Using the guidelines
established by jurisprudence, this Court finds that the totality of evidence
presented by respondent Crasus failed miserably to establish the alleged
psychological incapacity of his wife Fely; therefore, there is no basis for declaring
their marriage null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines.
The only substantial evidence presented by respondent Crasus before the RTC
was his testimony, which can be easily put into question for being self-serving, in
the absence of any other corroborating evidence. He submitted only two other
pieces of evidence: (1) the Certification on the recording with the Register of
Deeds of the Marriage Contract between respondent Crasus and Fely, such
marriage being celebrated on 16 December 1961; and (2) the invitation to the
wedding of Crasus, Jr., their eldest son, in which Fely used her American
husband's surname. Even considering the admissions made by Fely herself in her
Answer to respondent Crasus's Complaint filed with the RTC, the evidence is not
enough to convince this Court that Fely had such a grave mental illness that
prevented her from assuming the essential obligations of marriage. CHATEa
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ARTICLE 36 OF THE FAMILY CODE CONTEMPLATES DOWNRIGHT
INCAPACITY OR INABILITY TO TAKE COGNIZANCE OF AND ASSUME THE BASIC
MARITAL OBLIGATIONS. It is worthy to emphasize that Article 36 of the Family

Code of the Philippines contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take


cognizance of and to assume the basic marital obligations; not a mere refusal,
neglect or difficulty, much less, ill will, on the part of the errant spouse.
Irreconcilable differences, conflicting personalities, emotional immaturity and
irresponsibility, physical abuse, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or
perversion, and abandonment, by themselves, also do not warrant a finding of
psychological incapacity under the said Article. As has already been stressed by
this Court in previous cases, Article 36 "is not to be confused with a divorce law
that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefore manifest themselves.
It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even before the
celebration of marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive
one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is
about to assume."
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; THE CHARACTERISTICS, BEHAVIOUR AND ACTS OF
RESPONDENT'S WIFE DO NOT SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISH A PSYCHOLOGICAL OR
MENTAL DEFECT THAT IS SERIOUS OR GRAVE AND WHICH HAS BEEN IN
EXISTENCE AT THE TIME OF CELEBRATION OF THE MARRIAGE, AND IS INCURABLE.
Fely's hot-temper, nagging, and extravagance; her abandonment of respondent
Crasus; her marriage to an American; and even her flaunting of her American
family and her American surname, may have hurt and embarrassed respondent
Crasus and the rest of the family. Nonetheless, the afore-described
characteristics, behavior, and acts of Fely do not satisfactorily establish a
psychological or mental defect that is serious or grave, and which has been in
existence at the time of celebration of the marriage, and is incurable. Even when
the rules have been relaxed and the personal examination of Fely by a
psychiatrist or psychologist is no longer mandatory for the declaration of nullity of
their marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, the totality
of evidence presented during trial by respondent Crasus, as the spouse seeking
the declaration of nullity of marriage, must still prove the gravity, judicial
antecedence, and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity; which, it
failed to do so herein. cCAaHD
4.
ID.; ID.; ID.; BY ITS PLAIN AND LITERAL INTERPRETATION, ARTICLE 26,
PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE FAMILY CODE IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE CASE OF

RESPONDENT AND HIS WIFE BECAUSE AT THE TIME THE LATTER OBTAINED HER
DIVORCE, SHE WAS STILL A FILIPINO CITIZEN. As it is worded, Article 26,
paragraph 2, refers to a special situation wherein one of the married couple is a
foreigner who divorces his or her Filipino spouse. By its plain and literal
interpretation, the said provision cannot be applied to the case of respondent
Crasus and his wife Fely because at the time Fely obtained her divorce, she was
still a Filipino citizen. Although the exact date was not established, Fely herself
admitted in her Answer filed before the RTC that she obtained a divorce from
respondent Crasus sometime after she left for the United States in 1984, after
which she married her American husband in 1985. In the same Answer, she
alleged that she had been an American citizen since 1988. At the time she filed
for divorce, Fely was still a Filipino citizen, and pursuant to the nationality
principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, she was still
bound by Philippine laws on family rights and duties, status, condition, and legal
capacity, even when she was already living abroad. Philippine laws, then and
even until now, do not allow and recognize divorce between Filipino spouses.
Thus, Fely could not have validly obtained a divorce from respondent Crasus.
5.
ID.; ID.; ID.; THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, AS THE PRINCIPAL LAW OFFICER
AND LEGAL DEFENDER OF THE GOVERNMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO INTERVENE ON
BEHALF OF THE REPUBLIC IN PROCEEDINGS FOR ANNULMENT AND DECLARATION
OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE. That Article 48 does not expressly mention the
Solicitor General does not bar him or his Office from intervening in proceedings
for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriages. Executive Order No. 292,
otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987, appoints the Solicitor
General as the principal law officer and legal defender of the Government. His
Office is tasked to represent the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and
instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding,
investigation or matter requiring the services of lawyers. The Office of the
Solicitor General shall constitute the law office of the Government and, as such,
shall discharge duties requiring the services of lawyers. The intent of Article 48 of
the Family Code of the Philippines is to ensure that the interest of the State is
represented and protected in proceedings for annulment and declaration of nullity
of marriages by preventing collusion between the parties, or the fabrication or
suppression of evidence; and, bearing in mind that the Solicitor General is the

principal law officer and legal defender of the land, then his intervention in such
proceedings could only serve and contribute to the realization of such intent,
rather than thwart it. AEDISC
6.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ONLY THE SOLICITOR GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO BRING OR
DEFEND ACTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OR THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES ONCE THE CASE IS BROUGHT BEFORE THE COURT OR THE COURT OF
APPEALS. The general rule is that only the Solicitor General is authorized to
bring or defend actions on behalf of the People or the Republic of the Philippines
once the case is brought before this Court or the Court of Appeals. While it is the
prosecuting attorney or fiscal who actively participates, on behalf of the State, in
a proceeding for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage before the RTC,
the Office of the Solicitor General takes over when the case is elevated to the
Court of Appeals or this Court. Since it shall be eventually responsible for taking
the case to the appellate courts when circumstances demand, then it is only
reasonable and practical that even while the proceeding is still being held before
the RTC, the Office of the Solicitor General can already exercise supervision and
control over the conduct of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal therein to better
guarantee the protection of the interests of the State.
7.
ID.; ID.; ID.; AUTHORITY OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL TO INTERVENE AND
TAKE PART IN PROCEEDINGS FOR ANNULMENT AND DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF
MARRIAGE IS WELL-SETTLED AND INDUBITABLE. This Court had already
recognized and affirmed the role of the Solicitor General in several cases for
annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages that were appealed before it,
summarized as follows in the case of Ancheta v. Ancheta In the case of
Republic v. Court of Appeals [268 SCRA 198 (1997)], this Court laid down the
guidelines in the interpretation and application of Art. 48 of the Family Code, one
of which concerns the role of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor
General to appear as counsel for the State: (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 be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a
certification, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly stating 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. [Id.,
at 213] This Court in the case of Malcampo-Sin v. Sin [355 SCRA 285 (2001)]
reiterated its pronouncement in Republic v. Court of Appeals [Supra.] regarding
the role of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear
as counsel for the State. . . . Finally, the issuance of this Court of the Rule on
Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable
Marriages, which became effective on 15 March 2003, should dispel any other
doubts of respondent Crasus as to the authority of the Solicitor General to file the
instant Petition on behalf of the State. The Rule recognizes the authority of the
Solicitor General to intervene and take part in the proceedings for annulment and
declaration of nullity of marriages before the RTC and on appeal to higher courts.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J p:
In this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,
petitioner Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the Solicitor
General, prays for the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CV No. 62539, dated 30 July 2001, 1 affirming the Judgment of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch 22, in Civil Case No. CEB-20077, dated 30
October 1998, 2 declaring the marriage between respondent Crasus L. Iyoy and
Fely Ada Rosal-Iyoy null and void on the basis of Article 36 of the Family Code of
the Philippines. DSCIEa
The proceedings before the RTC commenced with the filing of a Complaint 3 for
declaration of nullity of marriage by respondent Crasus on 25 March 1997.
According to the said Complaint, respondent Crasus married Fely on 16 December
1961 at Bradford Memorial Church, Jones Avenue, Cebu City. As a result of their
union, they had five children Crasus, Jr., Daphne, Debbie, Calvert, and Carlos
who are now all of legal ages. After the celebration of their marriage, respondent
Crasus discovered that Fely was "hot-tempered, a nagger and extravagant." In
1984, Fely left the Philippines for the United States of America (U.S.A.), leaving all
of their five children, the youngest then being only six years old, to the care of

respondent Crasus. Barely a year after Fely left for the U.S.A., respondent Crasus
received a letter from her requesting that he sign the enclosed divorce papers; he
disregarded the said request. Sometime in 1985, respondent Crasus learned,
through the letters sent by Fely to their children, that Fely got married to an
American, with whom she eventually had a child. In 1987, Fely came back to the
Philippines with her American family, staying at Cebu Plaza Hotel in Cebu City.
Respondent Crasus did not bother to talk to Fely because he was afraid he might
not be able to bear the sorrow and the pain she had caused him. Fely returned to
the Philippines several times more: in 1990, for the wedding of their eldest child,
Crasus, Jr.; in 1992, for the brain operation of their fourth child, Calvert; and in
1995, for unknown reasons. Fely continued to live with her American family in
New Jersey, U.S.A. She had been openly using the surname of her American
husband in the Philippines and in the U.S.A. For the wedding of Crasus, Jr., Fely
herself had invitations made in which she was named as "Mrs. Fely Ada Micklus."
At the time the Complaint was filed, it had been 13 years since Fely left and
abandoned respondent Crasus, and there was no more possibility of reconciliation
between them. Respondent Crasus finally alleged in his Complaint that Fely's acts
brought danger and dishonor to the family, and clearly demonstrated her
psychological incapacity to perform the essential obligations of marriage. Such
incapacity, being incurable and continuing, constitutes a ground for declaration of
nullity of marriage under Article 36, in relation to Articles 68, 70, and 72, of the
Family Code of the Philippines. ITDHSE
Fely filed her Answer and Counterclaim 4 with the RTC on 05 June 1997. She
asserted therein that she was already an American citizen since 1988 and was
now married to Stephen Micklus. While she admitted being previously married to
respondent Crasus and having five children with him, Fely refuted the other
allegations made by respondent Crasus in his Complaint. She explained that she
was no more hot-tempered than any normal person, and she may had been
indignant at respondent Crasus on certain occasions but it was because of the
latter's drunkenness, womanizing, and lack of sincere effort to find employment
and to contribute to the maintenance of their household. She could not have been
extravagant since the family hardly had enough money for basic needs. Indeed,
Fely left for abroad for financial reasons as respondent Crasus had no job and
what she was then earning as the sole breadwinner in the Philippines was

insufficient to support their family. Although she left all of her children with
respondent Crasus, she continued to provide financial support to them, as well as,
to respondent Crasus. Subsequently, Fely was able to bring her children to the
U.S.A., except for one, Calvert, who had to stay behind for medical reasons. While
she did file for divorce from respondent Crasus, she denied having herself sent a
letter to respondent Crasus requesting him to sign the enclosed divorce papers.
After securing a divorce from respondent Crasus, Fely married her American
husband and acquired American citizenship. She argued that her marriage to her
American husband was legal because now being an American citizen, her status
shall be governed by the law of her present nationality. Fely also pointed out that
respondent Crasus himself was presently living with another woman who bore
him a child. She also accused respondent Crasus of misusing the amount of
P90,000.00 which she advanced to him to finance the brain operation of their son,
Calvert. On the basis of the foregoing, Fely also prayed that the RTC declare her
marriage to respondent Crasus null and void; and that respondent Crasus be
ordered to pay to Fely the P90,000.00 she advanced to him, with interest, plus,
moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees, and litigation expenses. EATcHD
After respondent Crasus and Fely had filed their respective Pre-Trial Briefs, 5 the
RTC afforded both parties the opportunity to present their evidence. Petitioner
Republic participated in the trial through the Provincial Prosecutor of Cebu. 6
Respondent Crasus submitted the following pieces of evidence in support of his
Complaint: (1) his own testimony on 08 September 1997, in which he essentially
reiterated the allegations in his Complaint; 7 (2) the Certification, dated 13 April
1989, by the Health Department of Cebu City, on the recording of the Marriage
Contract between respondent Crasus and Fely in the Register of Deeds, such
marriage celebration taking place on 16 December 1961; 8 and (3) the invitation
to the wedding of Crasus, Jr., their eldest son, wherein Fely openly used her
American husband's surname, Micklus. 9
Fely's counsel filed a Notice, 10 and, later on, a Motion, 11 to take the deposition
of witnesses, namely, Fely and her children, Crasus, Jr. and Daphne, upon written
interrogatories, before the consular officers of the Philippines in New York and
California, U.S.A, where the said witnesses reside. Despite the Orders 12 and

Commissions 13 issued by the RTC to the Philippine Consuls of New York and
California, U.S.A., to take the depositions of the witnesses upon written
interrogatories, not a single deposition was ever submitted to the RTC. Taking into
account that it had been over a year since respondent Crasus had presented his
evidence and that Fely failed to exert effort to have the case progress, the RTC
issued an Order, dated 05 October 1998, 14 considering Fely to have waived her
right to present her evidence. The case was thus deemed submitted for decision.
Not long after, on 30 October 1998, the RTC promulgated its Judgment declaring
the marriage of respondent Crasus and Fely null and void ab initio, on the basis of
the following findings
The ground bearing defendant's psychological incapacity deserves a reasonable
consideration. As observed, plaintiff's testimony is decidedly credible. The Court
finds that defendant had indeed exhibited unmistakable signs of psychological
incapacity to comply with her marital duties such as striving for family unity,
observing fidelity, mutual love, respect, help and support. From the evidence
presented, plaintiff adequately established that the defendant practically
abandoned him. She obtained a divorce decree in the United States of America
and married another man and has establish [sic] another family of her own.
Plaintiff is in an anomalous situation, wherein he is married to a wife who is
already married to another man in another country. ACTESI
Defendant's intolerable traits may not have been apparent or manifest before the
marriage, the FAMILY CODE nonetheless allows the annulment of the marriage
provided that these were eventually manifested after the wedding. It appears to
be the case in this instance.
Certainly defendant's posture being an irresponsible wife erringly reveals her very
low regard for that sacred and inviolable institution of marriage which is the
foundation of human society throughout the civilized world. It is quite evident that
the defendant is bereft of the mind, will and heart to comply with her marital
obligations, such incapacity was already there at the time of the marriage in
question is shown by defendant's own attitude towards her marriage to plaintiff.

In sum, the ground invoked by plaintiff which is defendant's psychological


incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations which already existed
at the time of the marriage in question has been satisfactorily proven. The
evidence in herein case establishes the irresponsibility of defendant Fely Ada
Rosal Iyoy, firmly.
Going over plaintiff's testimony which is decidedly credible, the Court finds that
the defendant had indeed exhibited unmistakable signs of such psychological
incapacity to comply with her marital obligations. These are her excessive
disposition to material things over and above the marital stability. That such
incapacity was already there at the time of the marriage in question is shown by
defendant's own attitude towards her marriage to plaintiff. And for these reasons
there is a legal ground to declare the marriage of plaintiff Crasus L. Iyoy and
defendant Fely Ada Rosal Iyoy null and void ab initio. 15
Petitioner Republic, believing that the afore-quoted Judgment of the RTC was
contrary to law and evidence, filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals. The
appellate court, though, in its Decision, dated 30 July 2001, affirmed the appealed
Judgment of the RTC, finding no reversible error therein. It even offered additional
ratiocination for declaring the marriage between respondent Crasus and Fely null
and void, to wit
Defendant secured a divorce from plaintiff-appellee abroad, has remarried, and is
now permanently residing in the United States. Plaintiff-appellee categorically
stated this as one of his reasons for seeking the declaration of nullity of their
marriage. . .
xxx

xxx

xxx

Article 26 of the Family Code provides:


"Art. 26.
All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with
the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as
such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles
35(1), (4), (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38. caIACE

"WHERE A MARRIAGE BETWEEN A FILIPINO CITIZEN AND A FOREIGNER IS VALIDLY


CELEBRATED AND A DIVORCE IS THEREAFTER VALIDLY OBTAINED ABROAD BY THE
ALIEN SPOUSE CAPACITATING HIM OR HER TO REMARRY, THE FILIPINO SPOUSE
SHALL LIKEWISE HAVE CAPACITY TO REMARRY UNDER PHILIPPINE LAW."
The rationale behind the second paragraph of the above-quoted provision is to
avoid the absurd and unjust situation of a Filipino citizen still being married to his
or her alien spouse, although the latter is no longer married to the Filipino spouse
because he or she has obtained a divorce abroad. In the case at bench, the
defendant has undoubtedly acquired her American husband's citizenship and thus
has become an alien as well. This Court cannot see why the benefits of Art. 26
aforequoted can not be extended to a Filipino citizen whose spouse eventually
embraces another citizenship and thus becomes herself an alien.
It would be the height of unfairness if, under these circumstances, plaintiff would
still be considered as married to defendant, given her total incapacity to honor
her marital covenants to the former. To condemn plaintiff to remain shackled in a
marriage that in truth and in fact does not exist and to remain married to a
spouse who is incapacitated to discharge essential marital covenants, is verily to
condemn him to a perpetual disadvantage which this Court finds abhorrent and
will not countenance. Justice dictates that plaintiff be given relief by affirming the
trial court's declaration of the nullity of the marriage of the parties. 16
After the Court of Appeals, in a Resolution, dated 08 March 2002, 17 denied its
Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner Republic filed the instant Petition before
this Court, based on the following arguments/grounds
I.
Abandonment by and sexual infidelity of respondent's wife do not per se
constitute psychological incapacity. SDEHIa
II.
The Court of Appeals has decided questions of substance not in accord
with law and jurisprudence considering that the Court of Appeals committed
serious errors of law in ruling that Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Family Code is
inapplicable to the case at bar. 18

In his Comment 19 to the Petition, respondent Crasus maintained that Fely's


psychological incapacity was clearly established after a full-blown trial, and that
paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code of the Philippines was indeed
applicable to the marriage of respondent Crasus and Fely, because the latter had
already become an American citizen. He further questioned the personality of
petitioner Republic, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, to institute
the instant Petition, because Article 48 of the Family Code of the Philippines
authorizes the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to the trial court, not the
Solicitor General, to intervene on behalf of the State, in proceedings for
annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages.
After having reviewed the records of this case and the applicable laws and
jurisprudence, this Court finds the instant Petition to be meritorious.
I
The totality of evidence presented during trial is insufficient to support the finding
of psychological incapacity of Fely.
Article 36, concededly one of the more controversial provisions of the Family Code
of the Philippines, reads
ART. 36.
A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential
marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity
becomes manifest only after its solemnization.
Issues most commonly arise as to what constitutes psychological incapacity. In a
series of cases, this Court laid down guidelines for determining its existence.
DcAEIS
In Santos v. Court of Appeals, 20 the term psychological incapacity was defined,
thus
". . . [P]sychological incapacity" should refer to no less than a mental (not
physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly cognitive of the basic marital
covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to

the marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include


their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and
render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law
has been to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious
cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or
inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychological
condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated. . .
The psychological incapacity must be characterized by
(a)
Gravity It must be grave or serious such that the party would be
incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in a marriage;
(b)
Juridical Antecedence It must be rooted in the history of the party
antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only
after the marriage; and
(c)
Incurability It must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure
would be beyond the means of the party involved. 21
More definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the
Family Code of the Philippines were handed down by this Court in Republic v.
Court of Appeals and Molina, 22 which, although quite lengthy, by its significance,
deserves to be reproduced below
(1)
The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the
plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation
of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact
that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity
of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family,
recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It decrees marriage as legally
"inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both
the family and marriage are to be "protected" by the state. HaAISC
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and
emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.

(2)
The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or
clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts
and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires
that the incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its
manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince
the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically 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 thereof. Although no
example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application
of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root
cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature
fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and
clinical psychologists. 23
(3)
The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the
celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was
existing when the parties exchanged their "I do's." The manifestation of the
illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have
attached at such moment, or prior thereto.
(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 to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the
same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of
marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the
exercise of a profession or employment in a job. . .
(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 peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts"
cannot be 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
words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the

person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential
to marriage. cTIESD
(6)
The essential marital obligations must be those embraced 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 same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such
non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by
evidence and included in the text of the decision.
(7)
Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the
Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be
given great respect by our courts. . .
(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 be handed
down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in
the decision, briefly stating 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. 24
A later case, Marcos v. Marcos, 25 further clarified that there is no requirement
that the defendant/respondent spouse should be personally examined by a
physician or psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity
of marriage based on psychological incapacity. Accordingly, it is no longer
necessary to allege expert opinion in a petition under Article 36 of the Family
Code of the Philippines. 26 Such psychological incapacity, however, must be
established by the totality of the evidence presented during the trial.
Using the guidelines established by the afore-mentioned jurisprudence, this Court
finds that the totality of evidence presented by respondent Crasus failed
miserably to establish the alleged psychological incapacity of his wife Fely;
therefore, there is no basis for declaring their marriage null and void under Article
36 of the Family Code of the Philippines. HTDCAS

The only substantial evidence presented by respondent Crasus before the RTC
was his testimony, which can be easily put into question for being self-serving, in
the absence of any other corroborating evidence. He submitted only two other
pieces of evidence: (1) the Certification on the recording with the Register of
Deeds of the Marriage Contract between respondent Crasus and Fely, such
marriage being celebrated on 16 December 1961; and (2) the invitation to the
wedding of Crasus, Jr., their eldest son, in which Fely used her American
husband's surname. Even considering the admissions made by Fely herself in her
Answer to respondent Crasus's Complaint filed with the RTC, the evidence is not
enough to convince this Court that Fely had such a grave mental illness that
prevented her from assuming the essential obligations of marriage.
It is worthy to emphasize that Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines
contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to
assume the basic marital obligations; not a mere refusal, neglect or difficulty,
much less, ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. 27 Irreconcilable differences,
conflicting personalities, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, physical
abuse, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and abandonment, by
themselves, also do not warrant a finding of psychological incapacity under the
said Article. 28
As has already been stressed by this Court in previous cases, Article 36 "is not to
be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes
therefore manifest themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting
a party even before the celebration of marriage. It is a malady so grave and so
permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the
matrimonial bond one is about to assume." 29
Fely's hot-temper, nagging, and extravagance; her abandonment of respondent
Crasus; her marriage to an American; and even her flaunting of her American
family and her American surname, may have hurt and embarrassed respondent
Crasus and the rest of the family. Nonetheless, the afore-described
characteristics, behavior, and acts of Fely do not satisfactorily establish a
psychological or mental defect that is serious or grave, and which has been in
existence at the time of celebration of the marriage, and is incurable. Even when

the rules have been relaxed and the personal examination of Fely by a
psychiatrist or psychologist is no longer mandatory for the declaration of nullity of
their marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, 30 the
totality of evidence presented during trial by respondent Crasus, as spouse
seeking the declaration of nullity of marriage, must still prove the gravity, judicial
antecedence, and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity; 31 which, it
failed to do so herein. HTCAED
Moreover, this Court resolves any doubt shall be resolved in favor of the validity
of the marriage. 32 No less than the Constitution of 1987 sets the policy to
protect and strengthen the family as the basic social institution and marriage as
the foundation of the family. 33
II
Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Family Code of the
Philippines is not applicable to the case at bar.
According to Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Family Code of the Philippines
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated
and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse
capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have
capacity to remarry under Philippine law.
As it is worded, Article 26, paragraph 2, refers to a special situation wherein one
of the married couple is a foreigner who divorces his or her Filipino spouse. By its
plain and literal interpretation, the said provision cannot be applied to the case of
respondent Crasus and his wife Fely because at the time Fely obtained her
divorce, she was still a Filipino citizen. Although the exact date was not
established, Fely herself admitted in her Answer filed before the RTC that she
obtained a divorce from respondent Crasus sometime after she left for the United
States in 1984, after which she married her American husband in 1985. In the
same Answer, she alleged that she had been an American citizen since 1988. At
the time she filed for divorce, Fely was still a Filipino citizen, and pursuant to the

nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code of the Philippines,


she was still bound by Philippine laws on family rights and duties, status,
condition, and legal capacity, even when she was already living abroad. Philippine
laws, then and even until now, do not allow and recognize divorce between
Filipino spouses. Thus, Fely could not have validly obtained a divorce from
respondent Crasus. cSCTEH
III
The Solicitor General is authorized to intervene,
on behalf of the Republic, in proceedings for
annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages.
Invoking Article 48 of the Family Code of the Philippines, respondent Crasus
argued that only the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to the RTC may
intervene on behalf of the State in proceedings for annulment or declaration of
nullity of marriages; hence, the Office of the Solicitor General had no personality
to file the instant Petition on behalf of the State. Article 48 provides
ART. 48.
In all cases of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of
marriage, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to
appear on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the
parties and to take care that the evidence is not fabricated or suppressed.
That Article 48 does not expressly mention the Solicitor General does not bar him
or his Office from intervening in proceedings for annulment or declaration of
nullity of marriages. Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the
Administrative Code of 1987, appoints the Solicitor General as the principal law
officer and legal defender of the Government. 34 His Office is tasked to represent
the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities and its
officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring
the services of lawyers. The Office of the Solicitor General shall constitute the law
office of the Government and, as such, shall discharge duties requiring the
services of lawyers. 35

The intent of Article 48 of the Family Code of the Philippines is to ensure that the
interest of the State is represented and protected in proceedings for annulment
and declaration of nullity of marriages by preventing collusion between the
parties, or the fabrication or suppression of evidence; and, bearing in mind that
the Solicitor General is the principal law officer and legal defender of the land,
then his intervention in such proceedings could only serve and contribute to the
realization of such intent, rather than thwart it. DSIaAE
Furthermore, the general rule is that only the Solicitor General is authorized to
bring or defend actions on behalf of the People or the Republic of the Philippines
once the case is brought before this Court or the Court of Appeals. 36 While it is
the prosecuting attorney or fiscal who actively participates, on behalf of the State,
in a proceeding for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage before the RTC,
the Office of the Solicitor General takes over when the case is elevated to the
Court of Appeals or this Court. Since it shall be eventually responsible for taking
the case to the appellate courts when circumstances demand, then it is only
reasonable and practical that even while the proceeding is still being held before
the RTC, the Office of the Solicitor General can already exercise supervision and
control over the conduct of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal therein to better
guarantee the protection of the interests of the State.
In fact, this Court had already recognized and affirmed the role of the Solicitor
General in several cases for annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages
that were appealed before it, summarized as follows in the case of Ancheta v.
Ancheta 37
In the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals [268 SCRA 198 (1997)], this Court laid
down the guidelines in the interpretation and application of Art. 48 of the Family
Code, one of which concerns the role of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the
Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the State:
(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 be handed
down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in
the decision, briefly stating 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. [Id., at 213] IDEHCa

the period herein provided, the case will be considered submitted for decision,
with or without the memoranda. DSacAE

This Court in the case of Malcampo-Sin v. Sin [355 SCRA 285 (2001)] reiterated its
pronouncement in Republic v. Court of Appeals [Supra.] regarding the role of the
prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for
the State. . .

xxx

Finally, the issuance of this Court of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of
Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages, 38 which became effective
on 15 March 2003, should dispel any other doubts of respondent Crasus as to the
authority of the Solicitor General to file the instant Petition on behalf of the State.
The Rule recognizes the authority of the Solicitor General to intervene and take
part in the proceedings for annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages
before the RTC and on appeal to higher courts. The pertinent provisions of the
said Rule are reproduced below

Sec. 19.

xxx

(3)
The decision becomes final upon the expiration of fifteen days from notice
to the parties. Entry of judgment shall be made if no motion for reconsideration or
new trial, or appeal is filed by any of the parties, the public prosecutor, or the
Solicitor General.
xxx
Sec. 20.

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

(2)
The parties, including the Solicitor General and the public prosecutor, shall
be served with copies of the decision personally or by registered mail. If the
respondent summoned by publication failed to appear in the action, the
dispositive part of the decision shall be published once in a newspaper of general
circulation.

Sec. 5. Contents and form of petition.


xxx

Decision.

xxx

xxx

Appeal.
xxx

xxx

(4)
It shall be filed in six copies. The petitioner shall serve a copy of the
petition on the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the City or
Provincial Prosecutor, within five days from the date of its filing and submit to the
court proof of such service within the same period.

(2)
Notice of Appeal. An aggrieved party or the Solicitor General may
appeal from the decision by filing a Notice of Appeal within fifteen days from
notice of denial of the motion for reconsideration or new trial. The appellant shall
serve a copy of the notice of appeal on the adverse parties.

xxx

Given the foregoing, this Court arrives at a conclusion contrary to those of the
RTC and the Court of Appeals, and sustains the validity and existence of the
marriage between respondent Crasus and Fely. At most, Fely's abandonment,
sexual infidelity, and bigamy, give respondent Crasus grounds to file for legal
separation under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines, but not for
declaration of nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the same Code. While this
Court commiserates with respondent Crasus for being continuously shackled to
what is now a hopeless and loveless marriage, this is one of those situations

xxx

xxx

Sec. 18.
Memoranda. The court may require the parties and the public
prosecutor, in consultation with the Office of the Solicitor General, to file their
respective memoranda in support of their claims within fifteen days from the date
the trial is terminated. It may require the Office of the Solicitor General to file its
own memorandum if the case is of significant interest to the State. No other
pleadings or papers may be submitted without leave of court. After the lapse of

where neither law nor society can provide the specific answer to every individual
problem. 39

12.
Penned by Judge Pampio A. Abarintos, dated 07 November 1997 (Id., p. 51)
and 01 August 1998 (Id., p. 58).

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 62539, dated 30 July 2001, affirming the Judgment of
the RTC of Cebu City, Branch 22, in Civil Case No. CEB-20077, dated 30 October
1998, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The marriage of respondent Crasus L. Iyoy
and Fely Ada Rosal-Iyoy remains valid and subsisting. ISDCaT

13.

Id., p. 52.

14.

Id., p. 61.

15.

Supra, note 2, pp. 65-66.

16.

Supra, note 1, pp. 28-30.

SO ORDERED.
Puno, Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr. and Tinga, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.
Penned by Associate Justice Portia Alio-Hormachuelos with Acting
Presiding Justice Cancio C. Garcia and Associate Justice Mercedes Gozo-Dadole,
concurring; Rollo, pp. 23-31.

17.
Penned by Associate Justice Portia Alino-Hormachuelos with Associate
Justices Cancio C. Garcia and Mercedes Gozo-Dadole, concurring; Rollo, p. 32.
18.

Id., p. 13.

19.

Id., pp. 36-41.

20.

G.R. No. 112019, 04 January 1995, 240 SCRA 20, 24.

2.

Penned by Judge Pampio A. Abarintos, Id., pp. 63-66.

21.

Id., p9. 33-34.

3.

Records, pp. 1-3.

22.

G.R. No. 108763, 13 February 1997, 268 SCRA 198, 209-213.

4.

Id., pp. 8-13.

5.

Id., pp. 25-29, 30-32.

6.

Id., 23-24.

23.
As will be subsequently discussed in this Decision, later jurisprudence and
rules of procedure on petitions for the declaration of nullity of marriage under
Rule 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines do not require the examination of
the parties by an expert, i.e., a psychiatrist or psychologist, to establish the
psychological incapacity of either or both parties.

7.

TSN, 08 September 1997.

8.

Records, p. 36.

9.

Id., p. 37.

10.

Id., pp. 40-45.

11.

Id., pp. 48-49.

24.
The roles of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General are
now governed by the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages
and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 01-11-10-SC), which became
effective 15 March 2003. The requirement of a certification by the Solicitor
General on his agreement or opposition to the petition has been dispensed with
to avoid delay.
25.

G.R. No. 136490, 19 October 2000, 343 SCRA 755.

26.
Section 2(d) of the Rule on Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and
Annulment of Voidable Marriage (A.M. No. 01-11-10-SC) reads
Sec. 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage.

xxx

xxx

xxx

(d)
What to allege. A petition under Article 36 of the Family
Code shall specifically allege the complete facts showing that either or both
parties were psychologically incapacitated from complying with the essential
marital obligations of marriage at the time of the celebration of marriage even if
such incapacity become manifest only after its celebration.
The complete facts should allege the physical manifestation, if any,
as are indicative of psychological incapacity at the time of the celebration of the
marriage but export opinion need not be alleged.
27.

33.

Sections 1 and 2, Article XV of the Philippine Constitution of 1987.

34.

Book IV, Title III, Chapter 12, Section 34.

35.

Id., Section 35.

36.
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company v. Tonda, G.R. No. 134436, 16
August 2000, 338 SCRA 254, 265.
37.

G.R. No. 145370, 04 March 2004, 424 SCRA 725, 738-739.

38.

A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.

39.
Carating-Siayngco v. Siayngco, supra, note 28, p. 439; Dedel v. Court of
Appeals and Corpuz-Dedel, supra, note 28, p. 467; Santos v. Court of Appeals,
supra, note 20, p. 36.

Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina, supra, note 22, p. 211.

28.
Carating-Siayngco v. Siayngco, G.R. No. 158896, 27 October 2004, 441
SCRA 422; Dedel v. Court of Appeals and Corpuz-Dedel, G.R. No. 151867, 29
January 2004, 421 SCRA 461; Guillen-Pesca v. Pesca, G.R. No. 136921, 17 April
2001, 356 SCRA 588; Marcos v. Marcos, supra, note 25; Hernandez v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 126010, 08 December 1999, 320 SCRA 76.

[G.R. No. 127358. March 31, 2005.]


NOEL BUENAVENTURA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ISABEL
LUCIA SINGH BUENAVENTURA, respondents.
[G.R. No. 127449. March 31, 2005.]

29.

Marcos v. Marcos, supra, note 25, p. 765.

NOEL BUENAVENTURA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ISABEL LUCIA


SINGH BUENAVENTURA, respondents.

30.

Ibid.

Agcaoili Law Offices for I.L. S. Buenaventura.

31.

Santos v. Court of Appeals, supra, note 21.

Alicia V. Sempio-Dy and Jurado Law Office for N. Buenaventura.

32.
Carating-Siayngco v. Siayngco, supra, note 28; Republic v. Dagdag, G.R.
No. 109975, 09 February 20001, 351 SCRA 425; Marcos v. Marcos, supra, note 25;
Hernandez v. Court of Appeals, supra, note 28; Republic v. Court of Appeals and
Molina, supra, note 22.

SYLLABUS
1.
CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; MORAL DAMAGES; AWARD WITHOUT BASIS IN LAW
AND FACT; SINCE PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY MEANS THAT ONE IS TRULY
INCOGNITIVE OF THE BASIC MARITAL COVENANTS THAT ONE MUST ASSUME AND

DISCHARGE AS A CONSEQUENCE OF MARRIAGE, IT REMOVES THE BASIS FOR THE


CONTENTION THAT PETITIONER PURPOSELY DECEIVED RESPONDENT. The trial
court referred to Article 21 because Article 2219 of the Civil Code enumerates the
cases in which moral damages may be recovered and it mentions Article 21 as
one of the instances. It must be noted that Article 21 states that the individual
must willfully cause loss or injury to another. There is a need that the act is willful
and hence done in complete freedom. In granting moral damages, therefore, the
trial court and the Court of Appeals could not but have assumed that the acts on
which the moral damages were based were done willfully and freely, otherwise
the grant of moral damages would have no leg to stand on. On the other hand,
the trial court declared the marriage of the parties null and void based on Article
36 of the Family Code, due to psychological incapacity of the petitioner, Noel
Buenaventura. The Court of Appeals and the trial court considered the acts of the
petitioner after the marriage as proof of his psychological incapacity, and
therefore a product of his incapacity or inability to comply with the essential
obligations of marriage. Nevertheless, said courts considered these acts as willful
and hence as grounds for granting moral damages. It is contradictory to
characterize acts as a product of psychological incapacity, and hence beyond the
control of the party because of an innate inability, while at the same time
considering the same set of acts as willful. By declaring the petitioner as
psychologically incapacitated, the possibility of awarding moral damages on the
same set of facts was negated. The award of moral damages should be
predicated, not on the mere act of entering into the marriage, but on specific
evidence that it was done deliberately and with malice by a party who had
knowledge of his or her disability and yet willfully concealed the same. No such
evidence appears to have been adduced in this case. For the same reason, since
psychological incapacity means that one is truly incognitive of the basic marital
covenants that one must assume and discharge as a consequence of marriage, it
removes the basis for the contention that the petitioner purposely deceived the
private respondent. If the private respondent was deceived, it was not due to a
willful act on the part of the petitioner. Therefore, the award of moral damages
was without basis in law and in fact. aTCAcI
2.
ID.; ID.; ATTORNEY'S FEES; NO BASIS FOR AWARD; PETITIONER'S ACT OF
FILING THE COMPLAINT FOR ANNULMENT OF HIS MARRIAGE CANNOT BE

CONSIDERED AS UNDULY COMPELLING PRIVATE RESPONDENT TO LITIGATE. The


acts or omissions of petitioner which led the lower court to deduce his
psychological incapacity, and his act in filing the complaint for the annulment of
his marriage cannot be considered as unduly compelling the private respondent
to litigate, since both are grounded on petitioner's psychological incapacity, which
as explained above is a mental incapacity causing an utter inability to comply
with the obligations of marriage. Hence, neither can be a ground for attorney's
fees and litigation expenses. Furthermore, since the award of moral and
exemplary damages is no longer justified, the award of attorney's fees and
expenses of litigation is left without basis.
3.
ID.; FAMILY CODE; TRIAL COURT'S ORDER AWARDING RESPONDENT ONEHALF OF PETITIONER'S RETIREMENT BENEFITS AND SHARES OF STOCK
SUSTAINED BUT ON THE BASIS OF THE LIQUIDATION, PARTITION AND
DISTRIBUTION OF THE CO-OWNERSHIP AND NOT OF THE REGIME OF THE
CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF GAINS. Since the present case does not involve
the annulment of a bigamous marriage, the provisions of Article 50 in relation to
Articles 41, 42 and 43 of the Family Code, providing for the dissolution of the
absolute community or conjugal partnership of gains, as the case may be, do not
apply. Rather, the general rule applies, which is that in case a marriage is
declared void ab initio, the property regime applicable and to be liquidated,
partitioned and distributed is that of equal co-ownership. Since the properties
ordered to be distributed by the court a quo were found, both by the trial court
and the Court of Appeals, to have been acquired during the union of the parties,
the same would be covered by the co-ownership. No fruits of a separate property
of one of the parties appear to have been included or involved in said distribution.
The liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties owned in common by
the parties herein as ordered by the court a quo should, therefore, be sustained,
but on the basis of co-ownership and not of the regime of conjugal partnership of
gains.
4.
ID.; ID.; ISSUES OF CUSTODY AND SUPPORT CONSIDERED MOOT AND
ACADEMIC. As to the issue on custody of the parties over their only child, Javy
Singh Buenaventura, it is now moot since he is about to turn twenty-five years of
age on May 27, 2005 and has, therefore, attained the age of majority. With regard

to the issues on support raised in the Petition for Certiorari, these would also now
be moot, owing to the fact that the son, Javy Singh Buenaventura, as previously
stated, has attained the age of majority. cDIHES

with 12% interest per annum from the date of this decision and one-half (1/2) of
his outstanding shares of stock with Manila Memorial Park and Provident Group of
Companies;

DECISION

5)
Ordering him to give a regular support in favor of his son Javy Singh
Buenaventura in the amount of P15,000.00 monthly, subject to modification as
the necessity arises;

AZCUNA, J p:
These cases involve a petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage, which was
filed by petitioner Noel Buenaventura on July 12, 1992, on the ground of the
alleged psychological incapacity of his wife, Isabel Singh Buenaventura, herein
respondent. After respondent filed her answer, petitioner, with leave of court,
amended his petition by stating that both he and his wife were psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. In response,
respondent filed an amended answer denying the allegation that she was
psychologically incapacitated. 1

6)
Awarding the care and custody of the minor Javy Singh Buenaventura to
his mother, the herein defendant; and

On July 31, 1995, the Regional Trial Court promulgated a Decision, the dispositive
portion of which reads: cCaATD

SO ORDERED. 2

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:


1)
Declaring and decreeing the marriage entered into between plaintiff Noel
A. Buenaventura and defendant Isabel Lucia Singh Buenaventura on July 4, 1979,
null and void ab initio;
2)
Ordering the plaintiff to pay defendant moral damages in the amount of
2.5 million pesos and exemplary damages of 1 million pesos with 6% interest
from the date of this decision plus attorney's fees of P100,000.00;
3)
Ordering the plaintiff to pay the defendant expenses of litigation of
P50,000.00, plus costs;
4)
Ordering the liquidation of the assets of the conjugal partnership
property[,] particularly the plaintiff's separation/retirement benefits received from
the Far East Bank [and] Trust Company[,] by ceding, giving and paying to her fifty
percent (50%) of the net amount of P3,675,335.79 or P1,837,667.89 together

7)
Hereby authorizing the defendant to revert back to the use of her maiden
family name Singh.
Let copies of this decision be furnished the appropriate civil registry and registries
of properties. EHaCTA

Petitioner appealed the above decision to the Court of Appeals. While the case
was pending in the appellate court, respondent filed a motion to increase the
P15,000 monthly support pendente lite of their son Javy Singh Buenaventura.
Petitioner filed an opposition thereto, praying that it be denied or that such
incident be set for oral argument. 3
On September 2, 1996, the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution increasing the
support pendente lite to P20,000. 4 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration
questioning the said Resolution. 5
On October 8, 1996, the appellate court promulgated a Decision dismissing
petitioner's appeal for lack of merit and affirming in toto the trial court's decision.
6 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied. From the
abovementioned Decision, petitioner filed the instant Petition for Review on
Certiorari.
On November 13, 1996, through another Resolution, the Court of Appeals denied
petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the September 2, 1996 Resolution,

which increased the monthly support for the son. 7 Petitioner filed a Petition for
Certiorari to question these two Resolutions.
On July 9, 1997, the Petition for Review on Certiorari 8 and the Petition for
Certiorari 9 were ordered consolidated by this Court. 10
In the Petition for Review on Certiorari petitioner claims that the Court of Appeals
decided the case not in accord with law and jurisprudence, thus:

THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT REFUSED TO


SET RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR INCREASED SUPPORT FOR THE PARTIES' SON
FOR HEARING. 12
THERE WAS NO NEED FOR THE COURT OF APPEALS TO INCREASE JAVY'S MONTHLY
SUPPORT OF P15,000.00 BEING GIVEN BY PETITIONER EVEN AT PRESENT PRICES.
13

1.
WHEN IT AWARDED DEFENDANT-APPELLEE MORAL DAMAGES IN THE
AMOUNT OF P2.5 MILLION AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES OF P1 MILLION, WITH 6%
INTEREST FROM THE DATE OF ITS DECISION, WITHOUT ANY LEGAL AND MORAL
BASIS;

IN RESOLVING RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR THE INCREASE OF JAVY'S SUPPORT,


THE COURT OF APPEALS SHOULD HAVE EXAMINED THE LIST OF EXPENSES
SUBMITTED BY RESPONDENT IN THE LIGHT OF PETITIONER'S OBJECTIONS
THERETO, INSTEAD OF MERELY ASSUMING THAT JAVY IS ENTITLED TO A P5,000
INCREASE IN SUPPORT AS SAID AMOUNT IS "TOO MINIMAL." 14

2.
WHEN IT AWARDED P100,000.00 ATTORNEY'S FEES AND P50,000.00
EXPENSES OF LITIGATION, PLUS COSTS, TO DEFENDANT-APPELLEE, WITHOUT
FACTUAL AND LEGAL BASIS; ESIcaC

LIKEWISE, THE COURT OF APPEALS SHOULD HAVE GIVEN PETITIONER AN


OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE HIS PRESENT INCOME TO SHOW THAT HE CANNOT
AFFORD TO INCREASE JAVY'S SUPPORT. 15

3.
WHEN IT ORDERED PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT NOEL TO PAY DEFENDANTAPPELLEE ONE-HALF OR P1,837,667.89 OUT OF HIS RETIREMENT BENEFITS
RECEIVED FROM THE FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST CO., WITH 12% INTEREST
THEREON FROM THE DATE OF ITS DECISION, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT SAID
RETIREMENT BENEFITS ARE GRATUITOUS AND EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF NOEL,
AND ALSO TO DELIVER TO DEFENDANT-APPELLEE ONE-HALF OF HIS SHARES OF
STOCK WITH THE MANILA MEMORIAL PARK AND THE PROVIDENT GROUP OF
COMPANIES, ALTHOUGH SAID SHARES OF STOCK WERE ACQUIRED BY NOEL
BEFORE HIS MARRIAGE TO RESPONDENT ISABEL AND ARE, THEREFORE, AGAIN
HIS EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES; AND

With regard to the first issue in the main case, the Court of Appeals articulated:
AcSCaI

4.
WHEN IT AWARDED EXCLUSIVE CARE AND CUSTODY OVER THE PARTIES'
MINOR CHILD TO DEFENDANT-APPELLEE WITHOUT ASKING THE CHILD (WHO WAS
ALREADY 13 YEARS OLD AT THAT TIME) HIS CHOICE AS TO WHOM, BETWEEN HIS
TWO PARENTS, HE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE CUSTODY OVER HIS PERSON. 11
In the Petition for Certiorari, petitioner advances the following contentions:

On Assignment of Error C, the trial court, after findings of fact ascertained from
the testimonies not only of the parties particularly the defendant-appellee but
likewise, those of the two psychologists, awarded damages on the basis of
Articles 21, 2217 and 2229 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
Thus, the lower court found that plaintiff-appellant deceived the defendantappellee into marrying him by professing true love instead of revealing to her that
he was under heavy parental pressure to marry and that because of pride he
married defendant-appellee; that he was not ready to enter into marriage as in
fact his career was and always would be his first priority; that he was unable to
relate not only to defendant-appellee as a husband but also to his son, Javy, as a
father; that he had no inclination to make the marriage work such that in times of
trouble, he chose the easiest way out, that of leaving defendant-appellee and
their son; that he had no desire to keep defendant-appellee and their son as
proved by his reluctance and later, refusal to reconcile after their separation; that

the aforementioned caused defendant-appellee to suffer mental anguish, anxiety,


besmirched reputation, sleepless nights not only in those years the parties were
together but also after and throughout their separation.
Plaintiff-appellant assails the trial court's decision on the ground that unlike those
arising from a breach in ordinary contracts, damages arising as a consequence of
marriage may not be awarded. While it is correct that there is, as yet, no decided
case by the Supreme Court where damages by reason of the performance or nonperformance of marital obligations were awarded, it does not follow that no such
award for damages may be made.
Defendant-appellee, in her amended answer, specifically prayed for moral and
exemplary damages in the total amount of 7 million pesos. The lower court, in the
exercise of its discretion, found full justification of awarding at least half of what
was originally prayed for. We find no reason to disturb the ruling of the trial court.
16
The award by the trial court of moral damages is based on Articles 2217 and 21 of
the Civil Code, which read as follows: caADIC
ART. 2217.
Moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright,
serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral
damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendant's
wrongful act or omission.
ART. 21.
Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a
manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall
compensate the latter for the damage.
The trial court referred to Article 21 because Article 221917 of the Civil Code
enumerates the cases in which moral damages may be recovered and it mentions
Article 21 as one of the instances. It must be noted that Article 21 states that the
individual must willfully cause loss or injury to another. There is a need that the
act is willful and hence done in complete freedom. In granting moral damages,
therefore, the trial court and the Court of Appeals could not but have assumed

that the acts on which the moral damages were based were done willfully and
freely, otherwise the grant of moral damages would have no leg to stand on.
On the other hand, the trial court declared the marriage of the parties null and
void based on Article 36 of the Family Code, due to psychological incapacity of
the petitioner, Noel Buenaventura. Article 36 of the Family Code states:
A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only
after its solemnization.
Psychological incapacity has been defined, thus: aEHTSc
. . . no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly
incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed
and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Article
68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe
love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt
that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological
incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. . . . 18
The Court of Appeals and the trial court considered the acts of the petitioner after
the marriage as proof of his psychological incapacity, and therefore a product of
his incapacity or inability to comply with the essential obligations of marriage.
Nevertheless, said courts considered these acts as willful and hence as grounds
for granting moral damages. It is contradictory to characterize acts as a product
of psychological incapacity, and hence beyond the control of the party because of
an innate inability, while at the same time considering the same set of acts as
willful. By declaring the petitioner as psychologically incapacitated, the possibility
of awarding moral damages on the same set of facts was negated. The award of
moral damages should be predicated, not on the mere act of entering into the
marriage, but on specific evidence that it was done deliberately and with malice

by a party who had knowledge of his or her disability and yet willfully concealed
the same. No such evidence appears to have been adduced in this case.
For the same reason, since psychological incapacity means that one is truly
incognitive of the basic marital covenants that one must assume and discharge
as a consequence of marriage, it removes the basis for the contention that the
petitioner purposely deceived the private respondent. If the private respondent
was deceived, it was not due to a willful act on the part of the petitioner.
Therefore, the award of moral damages was without basis in law and in fact.
Since the grant of moral damages was not proper, it follows that the grant of
exemplary damages cannot stand since the Civil Code provides that exemplary
damages are imposed in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or
compensatory damages. 19
With respect to the grant of attorney's fees and expenses of litigation the trial
court explained, thus: ISCaDH
Regarding Attorney's fees, Art. 2208 of the Civil Code authorizes an award of
attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs, when as in
this case the plaintiff's act or omission has compelled the defendant to litigate
and to incur expenses of litigation to protect her interest (par. 2), and where the
Court deems it just and equitable that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation
should be recovered. (par. 11) 20
The Court of Appeals reasoned as follows:
On Assignment of Error D, as the award of moral and exemplary damages is fully
justified, the award of attorney's fees and costs of litigation by the trial court is
likewise fully justified. 21
The acts or omissions of petitioner which led the lower court to deduce his
psychological incapacity, and his act in filing the complaint for the annulment of
his marriage cannot be considered as unduly compelling the private respondent
to litigate, since both are grounded on petitioner's psychological incapacity, which
as explained above is a mental incapacity causing an utter inability to comply

with the obligations of marriage. Hence, neither can be a ground for attorney's
fees and litigation expenses. Furthermore, since the award of moral and
exemplary damages is no longer justified, the award of attorney's fees and
expenses of litigation is left without basis.
Anent the retirement benefits received from the Far East Bank and Trust Co. and
the shares of stock in the Manila Memorial Park and the Provident Group of
Companies, the trial court said:
The third issue that must be resolved by the Court is what to do with the assets of
the conjugal partnership in the event of declaration of annulment of the marriage.
The Honorable Supreme Court has held that the declaration of nullity of marriage
carries ipso facto a judgment for the liquidation of property (Domingo v. Court of
Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 104818, Sept. 17, 1993, 226 SCRA, pp. 572-573, 586).
Thus, speaking through Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero, it was ruled in this case:
When a marriage is declared void ab initio, the law states that the final judgment
therein shall provide for the liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties
of the spouses, the custody and support of the common children and the delivery
of their presumptive legitimes, unless such matters had been adjudicated in the
previous proceedings. ASTcEa
The parties here were legally married on July 4, 1979, and therefore, all property
acquired during the marriage, whether the acquisition appears to have been
made, contracted or registered in the name of one or both spouses, is presumed
to be conjugal unless the contrary is proved (Art. 116, New Family Code; Art. 160,
Civil Code). Art. 117 of the Family Code enumerates what are conjugal
partnership properties. Among others they are the following:
1)
Those acquired by onerous title during the marriage at the expense of the
common fund, whether the acquisition be for the partnership, or for only one of
the spouses;
2)
Those obtained from the labor, industry, work or profession of either or
both of the spouses;

3)
The fruits, natural, industrial, or civil, due or received during the marriage
from the common property, as well as the net fruits from the exclusive property of
each spouse. . . .
Applying the foregoing legal provisions, and without prejudice to requiring an
inventory of what are the parties' conjugal properties and what are the exclusive
properties of each spouse, it was disclosed during the proceedings in this case
that the plaintiff who worked first as Branch Manager and later as Vice-President
of Far East Bank & Trust Co. received separation/retirement package from the said
bank in the amount of P3,701,500.00 which after certain deductions amounting to
P26,164.21 gave him a net amount of P3,675,335.79 and actually paid to him on
January 9, 1995 (Exhs. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Not having shown debts or obligations
other than those deducted from the said retirement/separation pay, under Art.
129 of the Family Code "The net remainder of the conjugal partnership properties
shall constitute the profits, which shall be divided equally between husband and
wife, unless a different proportion or division was agreed upon in the marriage
settlement or unless there has been a voluntary waiver or forfeiture of such share
as provided in this Code." In this particular case, however, there had been no
marriage settlement between the parties, nor had there been any voluntary
waiver or valid forfeiture of the defendant wife's share in the conjugal partnership
properties. The previous cession and transfer by the plaintiff of his one-half (1/2)
share in their residential house and lot covered by T.C.T. No. S-35680 of the
Registry of Deeds of Paraaque, Metro Manila, in favor of the defendant as
stipulated in their Compromise Agreement dated July 12, 1993, and approved by
the Court in its Partial Decision dated August 6, 1993, was actually intended to be
in full settlement of any and all demands for past support. In reality, the
defendant wife had allowed some concession in favor of the plaintiff husband, for
were the law strictly to be followed, in the process of liquidation of the conjugal
assets, the conjugal dwelling and the lot on which it is situated shall, unless
otherwise agreed upon by the parties, be adjudicated to the spouse with whom
their only child has chosen to remain (Art. 129, par. 9). Here, what was done was
one-half (1/2) portion of the house was ceded to defendant so that she will not
claim anymore for past unpaid support, while the other half was transferred to
their only child as his presumptive legitime. TAScID

Consequently, nothing yet has been given to the defendant wife by way of her
share in the conjugal properties, and it is but just, lawful and fair, that she be
given one-half (1/2) share of the separation/retirement benefits received by the
plaintiff the same being part of their conjugal partnership properties having been
obtained or derived from the labor, industry, work or profession of said defendant
husband in accordance with Art. 117, par. 2 of the Family Code. For the same
reason, she is entitled to one-half (1/2) of the outstanding shares of stock of the
plaintiff husband with the Manila Memorial Park and the Provident Group of
Companies. 22
The Court of Appeals articulated on this matter as follows:
On Assignment of Error E, plaintiff-appellant assails the order of the trial court for
him to give one-half of his separation/retirement benefits from Far East Bank &
Trust Company and half of his outstanding shares in Manila Memorial Park and
Provident Group of Companies to the defendant-appellee as the latter's share in
the conjugal partnership.
On August 6, 1993, the trial court rendered a Partial Decision approving the
Compromise Agreement entered into by the parties. In the same Compromise
Agreement, the parties had agreed that henceforth, their conjugal partnership is
dissolved. Thereafter, no steps were taken for the liquidation of the conjugal
partnership.
Finding that defendant-appellee is entitled to at least half of the
separation/retirement benefits which plaintiff-appellant received from Far East
Bank & Trust Company upon his retirement as Vice-President of said company for
the reason that the benefits accrued from plaintiff-appellant's service for the bank
for a number of years, most of which while he was married to defendant-appellee,
the trial court adjudicated the same. The same is true with the outstanding shares
of plaintiff-appellant in Manila Memorial Park and Provident Group of Companies.
As these were acquired by the plaintiff-appellant at the time he was married to
defendant-appellee, the latter is entitled to one-half thereof as her share in the
conjugal partnership. We find no reason to disturb the ruling of the trial court. 23

Since the present case does not involve the annulment of a bigamous marriage,
the provisions of Article 50 in relation to Articles 41, 42 and 43 of the Family Code,
providing for the dissolution of the absolute community or conjugal partnership of
gains, as the case may be, do not apply. Rather, the general rule applies, which is
that in case a marriage is declared void ab initio, the property regime applicable
and to be liquidated, partitioned and distributed is that of equal co-ownership.
ASICDH

When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith, the share of the
party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common
children. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or
their descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving
descendants. In the absence of descendants, such share shall belong to the
innocent party. In all cases, the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the
cohabitation. SacDIE

In Valdes v. Regional Trial Court, Branch 102, Quezon City, 24 this Court
expounded on the consequences of a void marriage on the property relations of
the spouses and specified the applicable provisions of law:

This peculiar kind of co-ownership applies when a man and a woman, suffering no
legal impediment to marry each other, so exclusively live together as husband
and wife under a void marriage or without the benefit of marriage. The term
"capacitated" in the provision (in the first paragraph of the law) refers to the legal
capacity of a party to contract marriage, i.e., any "male or female of the age of
eighteen years or upwards not under any of the impediments mentioned in
Articles 37 and 38" of the Code.

The trial court correctly applied the law. In a void marriage, regardless of the
cause thereof, the property relations of the parties during the period of
cohabitation is governed by the provisions of Article 147 or Article 148, such as
the case may be, of the Family Code. Article 147 is a remake of Article 144 of the
Civil Code as interpreted and so applied in previous cases; it provides:
ART. 147.
When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each
other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of
marriage or under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by
them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their
work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.
In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while they lived
together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or
industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this Article,
a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any
property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if
the former's efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of
the household.
Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in
the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common, without the
consent of the other, until after the termination of their cohabitation.

Under this property regime, property acquired by both spouses through their work
and industry shall be governed by the rules on equal co-ownership. Any property
acquired during the union is prima facie presumed to have been obtained through
their joint efforts. A party who did not participate in the acquisition of the property
shall still be considered as having contributed thereto jointly if said party's
"efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family household." Unlike
the conjugal partnership of gains, the fruits of the couple's separate property are
not included in the co-ownership.
Article 147 of the Family Code, in substance and to the above extent, has clarified
Article 144 of the Civil Code; in addition, the law now expressly provides that
(a)
Neither party can dispose or encumber by act[s] inter vivos [of] his or her
share in co-ownership property, without the consent of the other, during the
period of cohabitation; and
(b)
In the case of a void marriage, any party in bad faith shall forfeit his or her
share in the co-ownership in favor of their common children; in default thereof or
waiver by any or all of the common children, each vacant share shall belong to
the respective surviving descendants, or still in default thereof, to the innocent

party. The forfeiture shall take place upon the termination of the cohabitation or
declaration of nullity of the marriage. aCHDAE
xxx

xxx

xxx

In deciding to take further cognizance of the issue on the settlement of the


parties' common property, the trial court acted neither imprudently nor
precipitately; a court which had jurisdiction to declare the marriage a nullity must
be deemed likewise clothed with authority to resolve incidental and consequential
matters. Nor did it commit a reversible error in ruling that petitioner and private
respondent own the "family home" and all their common property in equal shares,
as well as in concluding that, in the liquidation and partition of the property
owned in common by them, the provisions on co-ownership under the Civil Code,
not Articles 50, 51 and 52, in relation to Articles 102 and 129, of the Family Code,
should aptly prevail. The rules set up to govern the liquidation of either the
absolute community or the conjugal partnership of gains, the property regimes
recognized for valid and voidable marriages (in the latter case until the contract is
annulled), are irrelevant to the liquidation of the co-ownership that exists
between common-law spouses. The first paragraph of Article 50 of the Family
Code, applying paragraphs (2), (3), (4) and (5) of Article 43, relates only, by its
explicit terms, to voidable marriages and, exceptionally, to void marriages under
Article 40 of the Code, i.e., the declaration of nullity of a subsequent marriage
contracted by a spouse of a prior void marriage before the latter is judicially
declared void. The latter is a special rule that somehow recognizes the philosophy
and an old doctrine that void marriages are inexistent from the very beginning
and no judicial decree is necessary to establish their nullity. In now requiring for
purposes of remarriage, the declaration of nullity by final judgment of the
previously contracted void marriage, the present law aims to do away with any
continuing uncertainty on the status of the second marriage. It is not then illogical
for the provisions of Article 43, in relation to Articles 41 and 42, of the Family
Code, on the effects of the termination of a subsequent marriage contracted
during the subsistence of a previous marriage to be made applicable pro hac vice.
In all other cases, it is not to be assumed that the law has also meant to have
coincident property relations, on the one hand, between spouses in valid and
voidable marriages (before annulment) and, on the other, between common-law

spouses or spouses of void marriages, leaving to ordain, in the latter case, the
ordinary rules on co-ownership subject to the provision of Article 147 and Article
148 of the Family Code. It must be stressed, nevertheless, even as it may merely
state the obvious, that the provisions of the Family Code on the "family home,"
i.e., the provisions found in Title V, Chapter 2, of the Family Code, remain in force
and effect regardless of the property regime of the spouses. 25
Since the properties ordered to be distributed by the court a quo were found, both
by the trial court and the Court of Appeals, to have been acquired during the
union of the parties, the same would be covered by the co-ownership. No fruits of
a separate property of one of the parties appear to have been included or
involved in said distribution. The liquidation, partition and distribution of the
properties owned in common by the parties herein as ordered by the court a quo
should, therefore, be sustained, but on the basis of co-ownership and not of the
regime of conjugal partnership of gains. AECIaD
As to the issue on custody of the parties over their only child, Javy Singh
Buenaventura, it is now moot since he is about to turn twenty-five years of age on
May 27, 2005 26 and has, therefore, attained the age of majority.
With regard to the issues on support raised in the Petition for Certiorari, these
would also now be moot, owing to the fact that the son, Javy Singh Buenaventura,
as previously stated, has attained the age of majority.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 8, 1996 and its
Resolution dated December 10, 1996 which are contested in the Petition for
Review (G.R. No. 127449), are hereby MODIFIED, in that the award of moral and
exemplary damages, attorney's fees, expenses of litigation and costs are deleted.
The order giving respondent one-half of the retirement benefits of petitioner from
Far East Bank and Trust Co. and one-half of petitioner's shares of stock in Manila
Memorial Park and in the Provident Group of Companies is sustained but on the
basis of the liquidation, partition and distribution of the co-ownership and not of
the regime of conjugal partnership of gains. The rest of said Decision and
Resolution are AFFIRMED.

The Petition for Review on Certiorari (G.R. No. 127358) contesting the Court of
Appeals' Resolutions of September 2, 1996 and November 13, 1996 which
increased the support pendente lite in favor of the parties' son, Javy Singh
Buenaventura, is now MOOT and ACADEMIC and is, accordingly, DISMISSED.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

14.

Id. at 17.

15.

Id. at 20.

16.

Rollo (G.R. No. 127449), pp. 81-82.

17.
ART. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and
analogous cases:

Davide, Jr., C.J., Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago and Carpio, JJ., concur.

(1)

A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;

Footnotes

(2)

Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;

1.

Rollo (G.R. No. 127449), p. 54.

(3)

Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts;

2.

Rollo (G.R. No. 127449), p. 76.

(4)

Adultery or concubinage;

3.

Rollo (G.R. No. 127358), pp. 7-8.

(5)

Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;

4.

Id. at 136.

(6)

Illegal search;

5.

Id. at 138.

(7)

Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;

6.

Id. at 144.

(8)

Malicious prosecution;

7.

Id. at 153.

(9)

Acts mentioned in article 309;

8.

G.R. No. 127449.

9.

G.R. No. 127358.

10.

Rollo (G.R. No. 127449), p. 100.

11.

Id. at 32.

12.

Rollo (G.R. No. 127358) p. 11.

13.

Id. at 15.

(10)
32, 34, and 35.

Acts and actions referred to in articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30,

xxx

xxx

xxx

18.
Santos v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112019, 4 January 1995, 240 SCRA 20,
34. Emphasis supplied.
19.
Article 2229. Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed by way of
example or correction for the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate,
liquidated or compensatory damages.

20.

Rollo (G.R. No. 127449), p. 67.

21.

Id. at 82.

22.

Rollo (G.R. No. 127449), pp. 69-71.

23.

Id. at 82-83.

24.

G.R. No. 122749, 31 July 1996, 260 SCRA 221.

25.

Id. at 226-234. (Emphasis in the original.)

26.
Javy Singh Buenaventura was born on May 27, 1980; Rollo (G.R. No.
127449), p. 56.

Copyright 2005

C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.

[G.R. No. 167206. November 18, 2005.]


JAIME F. VILLALON, petitioner, vs. MA. CORAZON N. VILLALON,
respondent.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J p:
On July 12, 1996, petitioner Jaime F. Villalon filed a petition 1 for the annulment of
his marriage to respondent Ma. Corazon N. Villalon before the Regional Trial Court
of Pasig City where it was docketed as JDRC No. 3917 and raffled to Branch 69. As
ground therefor, petitioner cited his psychological incapacity which he claimed
existed even prior to his marriage. ECcDAH
According to petitioner, the manifestations of his psychological incapacity were:
(a) his chronic refusal to maintain harmonious family relations and his lack of
interest in having a normal married life; (b) his immaturity and irresponsibility in
refusing to accept the essential obligations of marriage as husband to his wife; (c)

his desire for other women and a life unchained from any spousal obligation; and
(d) his false assumption of the fundamental obligations of companionship and
consortium towards respondent. Petitioner thus prayed that his marriage to
respondent be declared null and void ab initio.
On September 25, 1996, respondent filed an answer 2 denying petitioner's
allegations. She asserted that her 18-year marriage to petitioner has been
"fruitful and characterized by joy, contentment and hopes for more growth in their
relationship" and that their marital squabbles were normal based on community
standards. Petitioner's success in his professional life aided him in performing his
role as husband, father, and provider. Respondent claimed that petitioner's
commitment to his paternal and marital responsibilities was beyond reproach.
On October 7, 1996, the trial court directed the prosecutor to conduct an
investigation on whether there was collusion between the parties. 3 The report
submitted to the trial court stated that there was no such collusion. 4
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) subsequently entered its appearance in
behalf of the Republic of the Philippines 5 and submitted an opposition 6 to the
petition on September 23, 1997. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued. cCSTHA
Petitioner testified that he met respondent sometime in the early seventies when
he applied for a job at Metrobank, where respondent was employed as a foreign
exchange trader. They began dating in 1975 and had a romantic relationship soon
thereafter. 7 After going steady for about two years, petitioner and respondent
were married at the San Pancracio Chapel in Paco, Manila on April 22, 1978.
Petitioner claimed that he married respondent because he believed that it was
the right time to raise a family and that she would be a good mother to his
children. 8
In the middle of 1993, petitioner decided to separate from respondent. According
to him, their marriage reached a point where there was no longer any
communication between them and their relationship became devoid of love,
affection, support and respect due to his constant urge to see other women. 9
Moreover, their relationship tended to be "one-sided" since respondent was
unresponsive and hardly ever showed her love, needs, wants and emotions. 10

Petitioner admitted that on certain occasions before his marriage, he had two
girlfriends at the same time. He also saw other women even when he became
engaged to and, later on, married respondent. 11 Respondent learned of his
affairs but reacted in a subdued manner. 12 Petitioner surmised that it was
respondent's nature to be silent and withdrawn. 13
In January 1994, petitioner left the conjugal abode and moved into an apartment
located five to ten minutes away. Before he left, he and his wife spoke to their
three children who, at that time, were 14, 8, and 6 years old, respectively. 14
Petitioner consulted a child psychologist before talking to his children. 15 He
considered himself as a good and loving father and described his relationship with
the children as "great". 16
Despite the separation, petitioner would regularly visit his children who stayed
with him on alternate weekends. He voluntarily gave monthly support to the
children and paid for their tuition fees. He also shouldered the children's medical
expenses as well as the maintenance and miscellaneous fees for the conjugal
abode. 17
Petitioner presented Dr. Natividad Dayan, a clinical psychologist, to testify on his
alleged psychological disorder of "Narcissistic Histrionic Personality Disorder" with
"Casanova Complex". Dr. Dayan described the said disorder as "a pervasive
maladaptation in terms of interpersonal and occupational functioning" with main
symptoms of "grand ideation about oneself, self-centeredness, thinking he is
unique and wanting to always be the one followed, the I personality." A person
afflicted with this disorder believes that he is entitled to gratify his emotional and
sexual feelings and thus engages in serial infidelities. Likewise, a person with
"Casanova Complex" exhibits habitual adulterous behavior and goes from one
relationship to another. 18
Dr. Dayan submitted a psychological report on both petitioner and respondent
based on clinical interviews and psychological tests. 19
Respondent testified that she first learned of her husband's infidelity in 1980. She
discovered that he was having an affair with one of her friends who worked as a
trader in her husband's company. The affair was cut short when the woman left

for the United States to work. Eventually, she and petitioner were able to rebuild
their relationship and overcome the crisis. 20
When asked about the womanizing ways of her husband, respondent averred that
she did not know whether her husband's acts could be deemed "womanizing"
since there were only two instances of infidelity which occurred 13 years apart. 21
She also theorized that petitioner wanted to have their marriage annulled so he
could marry her old friend. 22 She stated that she has not closed her doors to
petitioner but the latter would have to give up his extra-marital relationship. 23
To controvert the findings of petitioner's expert witness, respondent presented a
psychiatrist, Dr. Cecilia Villegas, who testified that Dr. Dayan's findings were
incomplete because a "team approach" was necessary in evaluating an
individual's personality. An evaluation of one's psychological capacity requires the
expertise of a psychiatrist and social worker. 24
Upon order of the trial court, the parties submitted their respective memoranda.
25 The OSG likewise filed a certification 26 pursuant to Rep. of the Phils. v. Court
of Appeals. 27 In due course, the trial court rendered judgment as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the marriage between
petitioner and respondent Ma. Corazon N. Villalon celebrated on April 22, 1978, as
null and void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of the
petitioner pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code. TCacIA
Accordingly, the conjugal assets and liabilities are hereby ordered to be liquidated
and the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains be effected in accordance
with Article 129 of the Family Code.
As petitioner manifested that he wishes to maintain the custody arrangement
now existing, the custody of the three (3) children Miguel Alberto, Fernando
Alfonso, and Ma. Joanna Victoria shall remain with the respondent subject to
visitation rights of petitioner as may be mutually agreed upon by the parties.
In order to cancel the registration of the Marriage Contract between herein parties
appearing in the Book of Marriage of the city of Manila, let copies of this Decision

be furnished to the Local Civil Registrar of Manila as well as the National Census
and Statistics Office (NCSO), CRD Legal Department, EDSA, Quezon City.
SO ORDERED. 28
Respondent and the OSG seasonably filed an appeal from the decision of the trial
court, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 74354. On March 23, 2004, the Court of
Appeals rendered a Decision, the dispositive part of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the assailed decision dated November 12,
2001 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and a new judgment entered DISMISSING the
petitioner's petition for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED. 29
Contrary to the trial court's findings, the appellate court held that petitioner failed
to prove the juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability of his alleged
psychological incapacity. Although Dr. Dayan testified that petitioner's
psychological incapacity preceded the marriage, she failed to give sufficient basis
for such a finding. Dr. Dayan also stated that parental marital instability was the
root cause of petitioner's psychological incapacity but failed to elaborate thereon
or link the two variables. Moreover, petitioner's sexual infidelity was made to
appear as symptomatic of a grave psychological disorder when, in reality, the
same merely resulted from a general dissatisfaction with the marriage. IDAaCc

and a good provider of the family. Although he engaged in marital infidelity in at


least two occasions, the same does not appear to be symptomatic of a grave
psychological disorder which rendered him incapable of performing his spousal
obligations. The same appears as the result of a general dissatisfaction with his
marriage rather than a psychological disorder rooted in petitioner's personal
history.
In Santos v. Court of Appeals, 31 the court held that psychological incapacity, as a
ground for the declaration of nullity of a marriage, must be characterized by
juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability. 32 It should
. . . [R]efer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party
to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be
assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by
Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together,
observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly
any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of
"psychological incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders
clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the
marriage is celebrated. . . . 33

The petition has no merit.

In the case at bar, although Dr. Dayan testified that petitioner suffered from
Narcissistic Histrionic Personality Disorder with Casanova Complex even before
the marriage and thus had the tendency to cheat on his wife, such conclusion was
not sufficiently backed by concrete evidence showing that petitioner indeed had
several affairs and finds it difficult to be faithful. Except for petitioner's general
claim that on certain occasions he had two girlfriends at the same time, no details
or explanations were given of such circumstances that would demonstrate
petitioner's inability to be faithful to respondent either before or at the time of the
celebration of their marriage. SDHITE

The totality of the evidence in this case does not support a finding that petitioner
is psychologically incapacitated to fulfill his marital obligations. On the contrary,
what is evident is the fact that petitioner was a good husband to respondent for a
substantial period of time prior to their separation, a loving father to their children

Similarly, we agree with the Court of Appeals that petitioner failed to establish the
incurability and gravity of his alleged psychological disorder. While Dr. Dayan
described the symptoms of one afflicted with Narcissistic Histrionic Personality
Disorder as "self-centered", "characterized by grandiose ideation" and "lack of

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the appellate court's decision


which was denied in an order dated October 28, 2004. 30 Thus, petitioner took
this recourse under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, asserting that the Court of
Appeals erred in finding that he failed to prove his psychological incapacity under
Article 36 of the Family Code.

empathy in relating to others", and one with Casanova Complex as a "serial


adulterer", the evidence on record betrays the presence of any of these
symptoms.

and that the latter did not need or want him. 37 Respondent's uncommunicative
and withdrawn nature apparently led to petitioner's discontentment with the
marital relationship. SIcTAC

Moreover, we are not convinced that petitioner is a "serial or habitual adulterer",


as he wants the court to believe. As stated by respondent herself, it cannot be
said that two instances of infidelity which occurred 13 years apart could be
deemed "womanizing", especially considering that these instances involved the
same woman. In fact, at the time of respondent's testimony, petitioner's illicit
relationship has been going on for six years. This is not consistent with the
symptoms of a person suffering from "Casanova Complex" who, according to Dr.
Dayan, is one who jumps from one relationship to another.

However, as held in Rep. of the Phils. v. Court of Appeals, 38 refusal to comply


with the essential obligations of marriage is not psychological incapacity within
the meaning of the law. The policy of the State is to protect and strengthen the
family as the basic social institution and marriage is the foundation of the family.
Thus, any doubt should be resolved in favor of validity of the marriage. 39

Sexual infidelity, by itself, is not sufficient proof that petitioner is suffering from
psychological incapacity. It must be shown that the acts of unfaithfulness are
manifestations of a disordered personality which make petitioner completely
unable to discharge the essential obligations of marriage. 34 The evidence on
record fails to convince us that petitioner's marital indiscretions are symptomatic
of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. On the contrary,
the evidence reveals that petitioner was a good husband most of the time when
he was living with respondent, a loving father to his children as well as a good
provider.
In Rep. of the Phils. v. Court of Appeals, 35 we held that the cause of the alleged
psychological incapacity must be identified as a psychological illness and its
incapacitating nature fully explained. Further
The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal,
neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or
supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the
personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really
accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage. 36
In the instant case, it appears that petitioner has simply lost his love for
respondent and has consequently refused to stay married to her. As revealed by
his own testimony, petitioner felt that he was no longer part of respondent's life

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The March 23, 2004 Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 74354 and its October 28, 2004 Resolution, are
AFFIRMED. cCHITA
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Quisumbing, Carpio and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.

RTC Records, pp. 1-4.

2.

Id. at 21-26.

3.

Id. at 27.

4.

Id. at 28.

5.

Id. at 73.

6.

Id. at 69-72.

7.

TSN, October 22, 1997, pp. 9-10.

8.

Id. at 34.

9.

Id. at 13, 14 & 16.

10.

Id. at 19, 20 & 24.

11.

Id. at 17-18.

12.

Id. at 26, 28.

13.

Id. at 30.

14.

Id. at 49.

15.

Id.

16.

TSN, November 19, 1997, p. 7.

17.

Id. at 24.

18.

TSN, August 19, 1998, pp. 12-14.

19.

Rollo, pp. 104-134.

20.

TSN, February 16, 2000, pp. 8-12.

21.

Id. at 36.

22.

Id. at 26.

23.

Id. at 31.

24.

TSN, October 1, 1999, pp. 7-16.

25.

RTC Records, pp. 374-393 & 401-407.

26.

Id. at 418-423.

27.

335 Phil. 664 (1997).

28.

Rollo, p. 103. Penned by Judge Lorifel Lacap Pahimna.

29.
Id. at 82. Penned by Associate Justice Delilah Vidallon-Magtolis and
concurred in by Associate Justices Jose L. Sabio, Jr. and Hakim S. Abdulwahid.
30.

Id. at 84.

31.

310 Phil. 21 (1995).

32.

Id. at 39.

33.

Id. at 40.

34.

Hernandez v. Court of Appeals, 377 Phil. 919, 931-932 (1999).

35.

Supra.

36.

Id. at 678.

37.

TSN, October 22, 1997, p. 30.

38.

Supra.

39.

Hernandez v. Court of Appeals, supra at 932.

Copyright 2005

C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.

ARTICLE 38
[G.R. No. 21168-21170. February 29, 1924.]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, vs.


TRINIDAD G. DE LARA Y REYES (alias TRINIDAD DE LARA Y REYES),
defendant-appellant.
J. E. Blanco and R. Nepomuceno for appellant.
Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellee.

[SEAL]
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK
MANILA, P. I.
Official Depository of the Philippine Government

SYLLABUS

Manila, P. I., April 6, 1923

WHEN EVIDENCE IS SUFFICIENT. Where on April 5, 1923, a forged check was


drawn to the order of J. U. Lim for P8,750, and on April 6th, another one was
likewise drawn for P5,600, and on April 12th, another was drawn for P9,800, and
where each of said checks was presented to the bank by the defendant the day
upon which they were drawn, and were represented as genuine, and were cashed
by the bank and the money paid to him upon the purported endorsements of the
checks by J. U. Lim to and in the name of the defendant, in the absence of a
satisfactory explanation, the uttering of the forged checks is so closely connected
with the forgery as to sustain a conviction for that crime against the defendant
who cashed the checks. This is specially true where the attempted explanation
made by the defendant tends to prove that he either committed the forgery or
that he knew the checks were forged at the time he cashed them.

Pay to J. U. Lim or Order

STATEMENT
The following information was filed against the defendant in the Court of First
Instance of Manila:
"That on or about the 6th day of April, 1923, in the City of Manila, Philippine
Islands, the said accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
and with the intent to defraud, forge and falsify a commercial document, to wit,
check No. 91009-C, by filling, writing and inserting on said check the words and
figures underlined in the following copy of the same, to wit:

Pesos Five Thousand Six Hundred no/100


J. P. HEILBRONN Co.
By AMOS G. BELLIS
Treasurer
P5,600.00
(E.F.)
(Back)
Pay to
T. G. Lara
J. U. Lim
T. G. Lara
Identification only for the signature of Mr. T. G. Lara.
M.

(Face)
[SEAL] No. 91009 C

ONGJOCO

thus causing it to appear that one Amos G. Bellis, treasurer of the 'J. P. Heilbronn
Co.' of said city, drew and issued said check No. 91009-C, dated April 6, 1923,
against the Philippine National Bank, an institution duly authorized to transact
banking business in the City of Manila, payable to one J. U. Lim or order in the
sum of five thousand six hundred pesos (5,600), when in truth and in fact, as the
said accused well knew, the said Amos G. Bellis had never participated in the
preparation and issuing of said commercial document; that on or about the 9th
day of April, 1923, in said city and once the said check was falsified and forged
the said accused, with intent to profit, willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and
knowingly indorsed, uttered, negotiated and passed the said check to the said
Philippine National Bank which, believing, as it did, the said check to be a genuine
and true one, then and there cashed the same for the said amount of five
thousand six hundred pesos which the said accused then and there received,
misapplied and misappropriated for his own use and benefit to the damage and
prejudice of the said Philippine National Bank in the said sum equivalent to and of
the value of 28,000 pesetas, Philippine currency.
"That upon the commission of the said act, the accused has already been once
convicted of the crime of estafa by final judgment of a competent court.
"Contrary to law."
Like information was filed as to another check dated April 5, 1923, for P 8,750,
which was likewise endorsed and cashed by the defendant. The same thing is true
as to another check, of date April 12, 1923, for P9,800.
After arraignment and a plea of not guilty, by agreement of the parties, the three
cases were consolidated and tried together. In each defendant was found guilty
and sentenced to eight years and one day of presidio mayor, and to pay a fine of
3,000 pesetas, with the accessories of the law, to indemnify the Philippine
National Bank in the amounts of the respective checks, and to pay the costs, from
which judgment the defendant appeals, contending that:
"I.
The trial court erred in finding that the defendant forged the checks,
Exhibits A, B and C.

"II.
The trial court erred in finding that J. U. Lim was a fictitious and nonexisting person as well as in finding that the letter Exhibit 6 had been prepared by
the defendant and by him sent to Shanghai to be mailed there to him at Manila.
"III.
The trial court erred in not finding that the defendant acted in good faith
and in not acquitting him."
DECISION
JOHNS, J p:
There is no dispute as to any one of the material facts.
April 3, 1923, an application for a book of checks Nos. 91001-C was received by
the Philippine National Bank, with the purported signature of the firm of "J. P.
Heilbronn Co., By Amos G. Bellis, Treasurer." Apparently the bank issued the check
book as requested. April 5th, 6th, and 12th, the defendant presented the checks,
known in the record as Exhibits A, B, and C, Nos. 91007, 91009, and 910011,
respectively, to the Philippine National Bank for payment. They were drawn
payable to the order of J. U. Lim, and upon their face purported to have been
drawn and signed by Amos G. Bellis, Treasurer of J. P. Heilbronn Co. They were all
cashed by, and the money paid to, the defendant by one of the paying tellers of
the bank. The signature, appearing upon each of the checks of the drawer, was a
forgery, although it purported to be, upon its face, the genuine signature of Amos
G. Bellis, the treasurer of the company.
During the trial it appeared that prior to the filing of the information, the
defendant had been previously convicted of the crime estafa. The total amount of
the three forged checks was P24,150, all of which was paid to the defendant.
The important question presented is whether or not the defendant is guilty of the
crime of forgery. There is no evidence that any one saw the defendant forge
either of the checks. Neither is there any evidence of a confession or that the
defendant was the person who applied for, and obtained, the check book from the
bank. But the evidence is conclusive that all three of the checks were forgeries.

It will be noted that the first check, April 5th, of for P8,750, the second, April 6th,
is for P5,600 and the last check, dated April 12th, is for P9,800. That is to say, on
and between April 5 and April 12, 1923, the bank paid to the defendant P24,150
on forged checks.
The defendant admits the receipt of all of the money evidenced by the forged
checks, and, as a defense, claims that he was in the employ of J. U. Lim, who
indorsed and gave the checks to him personally, with instructions to cash them at
the bank, and that he either delivered the money to Lim personally or to Suaco
upon the written order of Lim.
Quoting from appellant's brief, it is
"The theory of the defense is, in general terms, that it was J. U. Lim, his employer,
who ordered him to present said checks and collect their value, that he presented
and collected them in the fulfillment of his duties without any knowledge or
suspicion that they were forged and that he delivered all the sums collected by
him to said J. U. Lim."
According to the testimony of the defendant, J. U. Lim was stopping at the Hotel
de France in the City of Manila, and the three checks in question were drawn by
Lim and delivered to the defendant, with instructions to cash them and bring back
the money. Except as to the instructions in question, there is no evidence of any
confidential relations existing between the defendant and Lim, or that there had
ever been any previous business dealings between them. The evidence shows
that the defendant was formerly an employee in the N. & B. Stables, and it was as
an employee there that he first met Lim in a casual way and in the ordinary
course of business. A short time before the transactions in question, the
defendant was out of employment, and incidentally met Lim on the street and
told him of his situation. It was finally agreed that defendant should enter the
employ of Lim for which he would be paid P150 per month for his services. Within
a few days the checks were drawn and the money paid to the defendant. After it
was ascertained that the checks were forgeries, the defendant undertook to show
that he did not know that they were forgeries; that he was an innocent victim of
circumstances; and that he had accounted in good faith to Lim for all the money
which he received. His explanation does not carry conviction. In fact his account

of the transactions is so unusual and unreasonable as to carry conviction, that he


either was a party to the forgery or knew the checks were forgeries.
Exclusive of the testimony of the defendant himself, there is no evidence that
such a person as J. U. Lim ever existed. Yet, according to his testimony, Lim was
stopping at the Hotel de France in the City of Manila where he had some kind of a
room or office in which the checks were drawn and delivered to him. The attempt
of the defendant to prove his innocence is the very strongest evidence of his guilt.
It conclusively shows that he either personally forged the checks or that he knew
they were forged at the time he cashed them at the bank. The drawing of three
checks amounting to P24,150 within such a short period of time by one firm and
each payable to J. U. Lim, all of which were forgeries, and the cashing of them by
the defendant, under the circumstances shown in the record, was not an usual or
ordinary transaction. Business is not done that way among persons who are
comparative strangers. No prudent businessman would ever deliver or endorse
checks for that amount of money to a comparative stranger with authority to cash
them and return with the money.
According to the defendant's theory, the check of April 6th was delivered to him
by Lim, who "told him to collect it at the Philippine National Bank and to deliver
the money to his cousin Suaco if the defendant could not find him (J. U. Lim)." The
defendant cashed the check, and upon his return to the Hotel de France "he met
Suaco who delivered to him a note of J. U. Lim in which it is stated that the money
should be delivered to Suaco." to whom he delivered the money.
To say the least, the court does not believe that evidence is true. It has all of the
earmarks of a fictitious and manufactured defense.
People who have checks for that amount of money do not do business that way.
We agree with the trial court that J. U. Lim was a fictitious person, and that the
attempt of the defendant to throw the responsibility for the forged checks upon
Lim is a manufactured defense.
The appellant's counsel have filed a very able and adroit brief, but in the final
analysis the stubborn fact remains that the checks were forged, and that the

defendant either forged them or knew that they were forged at the time he
cashed them.
The facts bring the case square within the law laid down by this court in United
States vs. Castillo (6 Phil., 453), where the following statement in Wharton's
Criminal Law (vol. 1, par. 726) is quoted with approval:
"'Does the uttering a jury in convicting such a person of forgery? This question, if
nakedly put, must, like the kindred one as to the proof of larceny by evidence of
possession of stolen goods, be answered in the negative. The defendant is
presumed to be innocent until otherwise proved. In larceny this presumption is
overcome by proof that the possession is so recent that it becomes difficult to
conceive how the defendant could have got the property without being in some
way concerned in the stealing. So it is with the uttering. The uttering may be so
closely connected in time with the forging, or such close connection with the
forgers that it becomes, when so accomplished, probable proof of complicity in
the forgery.'"
In numerous decisions, this court has held that the unexplained possession of
recently stolen property is sufficient to sustain a conviction for the crime of
larceny. Here the facts are much stronger. There were three forgeries of checks
within a period of seven days, each of which was for a considerable amount of
money, and all of which were paid to the defendant, and his attempt to prove his
innocence not only fails to carry conviction, but is strong evidence of his guilt.
From the nature of the transactions, it is very apparent that the defendant had
confederates, and that one of them was an employee of the bank.
A detailed analysis of all of the evidence would not serve any useful purpose.
Suffice it to say that upon each charge, it is sufficient to prove the guilt of the
defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Attorney-General points out that the penalty for the forgery or falsification of
checks as provided by article 301 of the Penal Code, as amended by Act No.
2712, is prision correccional in its maximum degree, which is from four years, two
months and one day to six years. Because of the fact that there was present the
aggravating circumstance of the defendant's being a recidivist without any

mitigating circumstance, that the maximum period for the penalty should be
imposed under article 81, paragraph 3, in connection with article 82 of the Penal
Code, which is from five years, nine months and seventeen days to six years.
Following the recommendation of the Attorney-General, the judgment of the lower
court will be modified and reduced, and the defendant sentenced to six years of
prision correccional in each ease, or eighteen years in the three cases, with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and in all other respects, the
judgment of the lower court is affirmed, with costs. So ordered.
Araullo, C. J., Johnson, Malcolm, Avancea, Ostrand, and Romualdez, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
STREET, J., dissenting:
A careful perusal of the evidence submitted in this case leads me to believe that
this appellant is not the person who forged the checks upon which money was
taken from the Philippine National Bank upon the three occasions set forth in the
information, and it does not appear by any positive proof that he cooperated as a
principal in the commission of the forgery. It is highly probable that the chief
criminal, or criminals, whoever he or they may have been, would have used, as
they probably did in this case, as a tool to get the money out of the bank, a
person who did not have complete knowledge of all the facts and who did not in
fact participate in the commission of the forgery.
On the other hand I consider it certain that this appellant was not innocent of the
knowledge of the falsity of the three checks which he cashed; and for this reason
he is justly amenable to punishment for the crime of estafa in each of these three
cases, with the aggravating circumstance that he is a recidivist in the commission
of this offense. Upon this estimate of the crime, he should be sentenced to
imprisonment for a period ranging in each case from two years, eleven months
and eleven days to four years and two months.

C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 4 - 1 9 9 9 C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.

[A.M. No. 343-MJ. June 22, 1976.]


CORAZON NEGRE, complainant, vs. FELIX A. RIVERA, Municipal Judge of
Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, respondent.
SYNOPSIS
Respondent judge was charged in court with having performed an illegal marriage
ceremony, punishable under Article 352 of the Revised Penal Code. After
reinvestigation, the case was dismissed on motion of the fiscal, on the ground
that there was no prima facie case against respondent. Nevertheless, the
Supreme Court directed respondent to show cause why he should not be removed
or suspended from office for not having performed his duties properly (Sec. 97,
Judiciary Law), since the dismissal of the criminal charge against him did not
erase the anomally that he signed a marriage contract although the contracting
parties were not provided with a marriage license. Respondent explained that he
signed the marriage contract only for convenience and to assuage the feelings of
the mother of the supposed bride, but that he did not actually perform the
marriage ceremony because the parties had no marriage license.
After taking into account all circumstances surrounding the respondent's affixture
of his signature to the marriage contract, the Supreme Court resolved to
reprimand him.
SYLLABUS
1.
ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINTS; JUDGES; DISMISSAL OF CRIMINAL CASE,
EFFECT OF. The Supreme Court may direct a respondent judge to show cause
why he should not be removed or suspended from office for not having performed
his duties properly (Sec. 97, Judiciary Law), although the criminal charge against
him was dismissed, because the dismissal of the criminal charge does not totally
absolve him from the administrative charge.

2.
ID.; ID.; SIGNING OF MARRIAGE CONTRACT ALTHOUGH NO MARRIAGE
LICENSE HAD BEEN ISSUED. It is irregular and imprudent for a municipal judge
to sign a marriage contract where no marriage license had been issued.
RESOLUTION
AQUINO, J p:
Director Jolly R. Bugarin of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in a letter
dated December 21, 1972 recommended to Secretary of Justice Vicente Abad
Santos that Felix A. Rivera, the municipal judge of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, be
administratively charged for having performed an illegal marriage ceremony
(there was no marriage license). LLjur
The marriage was allegedly performed on September 5, 1972 between Corazon
Negre of Magsingal, Ilocos Sur (she was born on May 7, 1954) and one Amado
Orpilla, a married man and a teacher at a vocational school located at Allacapan,
Cagayan, who had allegedly raped Miss Negre in a hotel at Laoag City on August
28, 1972. Miss Negre reported the case to the NBI Regional Office at Laoag City.
She denounced Judge Rivera to the President of the Philippines in a letter dated
May 31, 1973.
On September 5, 1972, when the marriage was allegedly solemnized, Miss Negre
and Orpilla had filed applications for a marriage license with the civil registrar of
Bacarra. However, no license was issued because it turned out that Orpilla is a
married man.

He had misrepresented to Judge Rivera that he was single. The marriage contract
was already signed by the parties when it was presented to Judge Rivera. It was
postdated September 15, 1972, the expiration date of the ten-day waiting period
when the marriage license was expected to be issued.
An assistant provincial fiscal in an information dated March 31, 1973 charged
Judge Rivera in the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Norte with having performed

an illegal marriage ceremony (Criminal Case No. 183-II). The offense is punished
under article 352 of the Revised Penal Code.
The case was reinvestigated. At the reinvestigation, Judge Rivera stressed that he
signed the marriage contract without having performed any marriage ceremony.
He retained all the copies of the contract. He wanted the parties to obtain a
marriage license. He did not furnish the parties nor the local civil registrar with a
copy of the marriage contract. He did not collect the solemnization fee of two
pesos.
The fiscal filed a motion to dismiss the information on the ground that there was
no prima facie case against Judge Rivera. The Court of First Instance in its order of
May 24 dismissed the case.
In this Court's resolution of April 30, 1976 Judge Rivera directed to show cause
why he should not be removed or suspended from office for not having performed
his duties properly (sec. 97, Judiciary Law), considering that the dismissal of the
criminal charge against him did not erase the anomaly that he signed a marriage
contract although the contracting parties were not provided with a marriage
license.
The respondent in his manifestation of May 18, 1971 gave the following
explanation:
"The undersigned humbly manifests that his signing the marriage contract form
on September 5, 1972 of Amado Orpilla and Corazon Negre was done in good
faith and for convenience. On said occasion, Mrs. Rosalina Negre, mother of
Corazon Negre, pleaded for help when she said 'Judge, please solemnize the
marriage of Amado and my daughter for her protection and so that she can not
be taken advantage of', but the undersigned told her that he could not solemnize
the marriage as the two had no marriage license. After giving them some pieces
of advice regarding the rights, duties, responsibilities and obligations of people
getting married and, upon the insistence of Mrs. Rosalina Negre that Amado and
Corazon sign the marriage contract form, the undersigned allowed the two to sign
and he also affixed his signature thereon, telling all those present, however, that
the marriage will have to be solemnized after the lapse of 10 days when they

shall have obtained a marriage license. The undersigned knew fully well that the
marriage shall be solemnized on September 15, 1972 so that he kept the
incomplete marriage contract and that no copy thereof was released to the
parties because the marriage was not performed or solemnized.
"The affixing of the signature of the undersigned on the marriage contract form at
his house on September 5, 1976, was made on a worthless piece of paper
because at the time, he has not solemnized the marriage between Amado Orpilla
and Corazon Negre. There was no harm done at all.
"During all the period that the undersigned has been performing the duties of
Municipal Judge of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, since August 3, 1970 up to the present,
this is the only instance where the undersigned happened to affix his signature on
a marriage contract form before he has actually performed a marriage ceremony.
This, the undersigned did only for convenience and to assuage the feelings of
Mrs. Rosalina Negre, the aggrieved mother of Corazon Negre, and it is hoped that
same be not considered anomalous by this Honorable Court."
Respondent's explanation and the dismissal of the criminal case against him do
not totally absolve him from the charge that he acted irregularly in signing a
marriage contract although no marriage license had been issued.
He acted imprudently in signing the marriage contract seems that in doing so he
acted without malice. At the time signed the contract the parties had pending
applications for a marriage license in the office of the local civil registrar
respondent assumed that a marriage license would be issued in due course after
the expiration of ten days or on September 15, 1972. Lack of malice mitigates
respondent's negligence or indiscretion. cdrep
After taking into account all the circumstances surrounding respondent's affixture
of his signature to the marriage contract, the Court resolved to reprimand him. He
is admonished to exercise more care and circumspection in the performance of
his duties. He is warned that his commission of another irregularity in the
performance of his official duties will be dealt with more securely. A copy of this
resolution should be attached to his personal record.

SO ORDERED.
Fernando (Chairman), Barredo, Antonio and Martin, JJ., concur.

she would still be regarded as a married woman at the time she contracted her
marriage with respondent Karl Heinz Wiegel; accordingly, the marriage of
petitioner and respondent would be regarded VOID under the law.

Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.

DECISION

Martin, J., was designated to sit in the Second Division.

PARAS, J p:

ARTICLE 39
[G.R. No. L-53703. August 19, 1986.]
LILIA OLIVA WIEGEL, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE ALICIA V. SEMPIODIY (as presiding judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of
Caloocan City) and KARL HEINZ WIEGEL, respondents.
Dapucanta, Dulay & Associates for petitioner.
Siguion Reyna, Montecillo and Ongsiako Law Office for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY RELATIONS; VOID MARRIAGE; EVIDENCE THAT PRIOR
MARRIAGE WAS VITIATED BY FORCE; NEED NOT BE INTRODUCED. There is not
need for petitioner to prove that her first marriage was vitiated by force
committed against both parties because assuming this to do so, the marriage will
not be void but merely voidable (Art. 85, Civil Code), and therefore valid until
annulled. Since no annulment has yet been made, it is clear that when she
married respondent she was still validly married to her first husband,
consequently, her marriage to respondent is VOID (Art. 80, Civil Code).
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; EVIDENCE ABOUT THE EXISTING PRIOR MARRIAGE OF FIRST
SPOUSE; NEED NOT BE INTRODUCED. There is likewise no need of introducing
evidence about the existing prior marriage of her first husband at the time they
married each other, for then such a marriage though void still needs according to
this Court a judicial declaration of such fact and for all legal intents and purposes

In an action (Family Case No. 483) filed before the erstwhile Juvenile and
Domestic Relations Court of Caloocan City, herein respondent Karl Heinz Wiegel
(plaintiff therein) asked for the declaration of Nullity of his marriage (celebrated
on July, 1978 at the Holy Catholic Apostolic Christian Church Branch in Makati,
Metro Manila) with herein petitioner Lilia Oliva Wiegel (Lilia, for short, and
defendant therein) on the ground of Lilia's previous existing marriage to one
Eduardo A. Maxion, the ceremony having been performed on June 25, 1972 at our
Lady of Lourdes Church in Quezon City. Lilia, while admitting the existence of said
prior subsisting marriage claimed that said marriage was null and void, she and
the first husband Eduardo A. Maxion having been allegedly forced to enter said
marital union. In the pre-trial that ensued, the issue agreed upon by both parties
was the status of the first marriage (assuming the presence of force exerted
against both parties): was said prior marriage void or was it merely voidable?
Contesting the validity of the pre-trial order, Lilia asked the respondent court for
an opportunity to present evidence
(1)
that the first marriage was vitiated by force exercised upon both her and
the first husband; and
(2)
that the first husband was at the time of the marriage in 1972 already
married to someone else.
Respondent judge ruled against the presentation of evidence because the
existence of force exerted on both parties of the first marriage had already been
agreed upon. Hence, the present petition for certiorari assailing the following
Orders of the respondent Judge

(1)
the Order dated March 17, 1980 in which the parties were compelled to
submit the case for resolution based on "agreed facts;" and

[G.R. No. 104818. September 17, 1993.]

(2)
the Order dated April 14, 1980, denying petitioner's motion to allow her to
present evidence in her favor.

ROBERTO DOMINGO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and DELIA


SOLEDAD AVERA represented by her Attorney-in-Fact MOISES R. AVERA,
respondents.

We find the petition devoid of merit.

Jose P.O. Aliling IV for petitioner.

There is no need for petitioner to prove that her first marriage was vitiated by
force committed against both parties because assuming this to be so, the
marriage will not be void but merely voidable (Art. 85, Civil Code), and therefore
valid until annulled. Since no annulment has yet been made, it is clear that when
she married respondent she was still validly married to her first husband,
consequently, her marriage to respondent is VOID (Art. 80, Civil Code).

De Guzman, Maneses & Associates for private respondent.

There is likewise no need of introducing evidence about the existing prior


marriage of her first husband at the time they married each other, for then such a
marriage though void still needs according to this Court a judicial declaration 1 of
such fact and for all legal intents and purposes she would still be regarded as a
married woman at the time she contracted her marriage with respondent Karl
Heinz Wiegel); accordingly, the marriage of petitioner and respondent would be
regarded VOID under the law.
WHEREFORE, this petition is hereby DISMISSED, for lack of merit, and the Orders
complained of are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Feria (Chairman), Fernan, Alampay and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.

Vda. de Consuegra vs. GSIS, 37 SCRA 315.

ARTICLE 40

SYLLABUS
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY CODE; VOID MARRIAGES; JUDICIAL DECLARATION OF
NULLITY, WHEN REQUIRED. Void marriages are inexistent from the very
beginning and, I believe, no judicial decree is required to establish their nullity,
except in the following instances: (a) For purposes of remarriage pursuant to the
provision of Article 40 of the Family Code, providing that "the absolute nullity of a
previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely
of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void;" (b) A marriage
celebrated prior to the effectivity of the Family Code in case a party thereto was
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
marriage (Article 36, Family Code), where an action or defense for the declaration
of nullity prescribes ten (10) years after the Family Code took effect (Article 39,
Family Code); otherwise, the marriage is deemed unaffected by the Family Code.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; EFFECTS THEREOF. A void marriage, even without its being
judicially declared a nullity, albeit the preferability for, and justiciability (fully
discussed in the majority opinion) of, such a declaration, will not give it the status
or the consequences of a valid marriage, saving only specific instances where
certain effects of a valid marriage can still flow the void marriage. Examples of
these cases are children of void marriages under Article 36 (due to psychological
incapacity) and Article 53, in relation to Article 52 (due to failure of partition,
delivery of presumptive legitimes of children and recording thereof following the
annulment or declaration of nullity of a prior marriage), conceived or born before
the judicial declaration of nullity of such void marriages, who the law deems as
legitimate (Article 54, Family Code). In most, if not in all, other cases, a void

marriage is to be considered extant per se. Neither the conjugal partnership of


gain under the old regime nor the absolute community of property under the new
Code (absent a marriage settlement), will apply; instead, their property relations
shall be governed by the co-ownership rules under either Article 147 or Article
148 of the Family Code. I must hasten to add as a personal view, however, that
the exceptional effects on children of a void marriage because of the
psychological incapacity of a party thereto should have been extended to cover
even the personal and property relations of the spouses. Unlike the other cases of
void marriages where the grounds therefor may be established by hard facts and
with little uncertainty, the term "psychological incapacity" is so relative and
unsettling that until a judicial declaration of nullity is made its interim effects can
long and literally hang on the balance not only insofar as the spouses themselves
are concerned but also as regards third persons with whom the spouses deal.
DECISION
ROMERO, J p:
The instant petition seeks the reversal of respondent court's ruling finding no
grave abuse of discretion in the lower court's order denying petitioner's motion to
dismiss the petition for declaration of nullity of marriages and separation of
property. LLphil
On May 29, 1991, private respondent Delia Soledad A. Domingo filed a petition
before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig entitled "Declaration of Nullity of Marriage
and Separation of Property" against petitioner Roberto Domingo. The petition
which was docketed as Special Proceedings No. 1989-J alleged among others that:
they were married on November 29, 1976 at the YMCA Youth Center Bldg., as
evidenced by a Marriage Contract Registry No. 1277K-76 with Marriage License
No. 4999036 issued at Carmona, Cavite; unknown to her, he had a previous
marriage with one Emerlina dela Paz on April 25, 1969 which marriage is valid
and still existing; she came to know of the prior marriage only sometime in 1983
when Emerlina dela Paz sued them for bigamy; from January 23, 1979 up to the
present, she has been working in Saudi Arabia and she used to come to the
Philippines only when she would avail of the one-month annual vacation leave
granted by her foreign employer; since 1983 up to the present, he has been

unemployed and completely dependent upon her for support and subsistence; out
of her personal earnings, she purchased real and personal properties with a total
amount of approximately P350,000.00, which are under the possession and
administration of Roberto; sometime in June 1989, while on her one-month
vacation, she discovered that he was cohabiting with another woman; she further
discovered that he had been disposing of some of her properties without her
knowledge or consent; she confronted him about this and thereafter appointed
her brother Moises R. Avera as her attorney-in-fact to take care of her properties;
he failed and refused to turn over the possession and administration of said
properties to her brother/attorney-in-fact; and he is not authorized to administer
and possess the same on account of the nullity of their marriage. The petition
prayed that a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction be
issued enjoining Roberto from exercising any act of administration and ownership
over said properties; their marriage be declared null and void and of no force and
effect; and Delia Soledad be declared the sole and exclusive owner of all
properties acquired at the time of their void marriage and such properties be
placed under the proper management and administration of the attorney-in-fact.
Petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the petition stated no
cause of action. The marriage being void ab initio, the petition for the declaration
of its nullity is, therefore, superfluous and unnecessary. It added that private
respondent has no property which is in his possession.
On August 20, 1991, Judge Maria Alicia M. Austria issued an Order denying the
motion to dismiss for lack of merit. She explained:
"Movant argues that a second marriage contracted after a first marriage by a man
with another woman is illegal and void (citing the case of Yap v. Court of Appeals,
145 SCRA 229) and no judicial decree is necessary to establish the invalidity of a
void marriage (citing the cases of People v. Aragon, 100 Phil. 1033; People v.
Mendoza, 95 Phil. 845). Indeed, under the Yap case there is no dispute that the
second marriage contracted by respondent with herein petitioner after a first
marriage with another woman is illegal and void. However, as to whether or not
the second marriage should first be judicially declared a nullity is not an issue in

said case. In the case of Vda. de Consuegra v. GSIS, the Supreme Court ruled in
explicit terms, thus:
And with respect to the right of the second wife, this Court observed that
although the second marriage can be presumed to be void ab initio as it was
celebrated while the first marriage was still subsisting, still there is need for
judicial declaration of its nullity. (37 SCRA 316, 326).
The above ruling which is of later vintage deviated from the previous rulings of
the Supreme Court in the aforecited cases of Aragon and Mendoza.
Finally, the contention of respondent movant that petitioner has no property in his
possession is an issue that may be determined only after trial on the merits." 1
A motion for reconsideration was filed stressing the erroneous application of Vda.
de Consuegra v. GSIS
2 and the absence of justiciable controversy as to the
nullity of the marriage. On September 11, 1991, Judge Austria denied the motion
for reconsideration and gave petitioner fifteen (15) days from receipt within which
to file his answer.
Instead of filing the required answer, petitioner filed a special civil action of
certiorari and mandamus on the ground that the lower court acted with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in denying the motion to
dismiss.
On February 7, 1992, the Court of Appeals 3 dismissed the petition. It explained
that the case of Yap v. CA 4 cited by petitioner and that of Consuegra v. GSIS
relied upon by the lower court do not have relevance in the case at bar, there
being no identity of facts because these cases dealt with the successional rights
of the second wife while the instant case prays for separation of property
corollary with the declaration of nullity of marriage. It observed that the
separation and subsequent distribution of the properties acquired during the
union can be had only upon proper determination of the status of the marital
relationship between said parties, whether or not the validity of the first marriage
is denied by petitioner. Furthermore, in order to avoid duplication and multiplicity
of suits, the declaration of nullity of marriage may be invoked in this proceeding

together with the partition and distribution of the properties involved. Citing
Articles 48, 50 and 52 of the Family Code, it held that private respondent's prayer
for declaration of absolute nullity of their marriage may be raised together with
other incidents of their marriage such as the separation of their properties. Lastly,
it noted that since the Court has jurisdiction, the alleged error in refusing to grant
the motion to dismiss is merely one of law for which the remedy ordinarily would
have been to file an answer, proceed with the trial and in case of an adverse
decision, reiterate the issue on appeal. The motion for reconsideration was
subsequently denied for lack of merit. 5
Hence, this petition.
The two basic issues confronting the Court in the instant case are the following.
First, whether or not a petition for judicial declaration of a void marriage is
necessary. If in the affirmative, whether the same should be filed only for
purposes of remarriage.
Second, whether or not SP No. 1989-J is the proper remedy of private respondent
to recover certain real and personal properties allegedly belonging to her
exclusively.
Petitioner, invoking the ruling in People v. Aragon 6 and People v. Mendoza, 7
contends that SP. No. 1989-J for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Separation
of Property filed by private respondent must be dismissed for being unnecessary
and superfluous. Furthermore, under his own interpretation of Article 40 of the
Family Code, he submits that a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of
marriage is required only for purposes of remarriage. Since the petition in SP No.
1989-J contains no allegation of private respondent's intention to remarry, said
petition should, therefore, be dismissed. prcd
On the other hand, private respondent insists on the necessity of a judicial
declaration of the nullity of their marriage, not for purposes of remarriage, but in
order to provide a basis for the separation and distribution of the properties
acquired during coverture.

There is no question that the marriage of petitioner and private respondent


celebrated while the former's previous marriage with one Emerlina de la Paz was
still subsisting, is bigamous. As such, it is void from the beginning. 8 Petitioner
himself does not dispute the absolute nullity of their marriage. 9
The cases of People v. Aragon and People v. Mendoza relied upon by petitioner are
cases where the Court had earlier ruled that no judicial decree is necessary to
establish the invalidity of a void, bigamous marriage. It is noteworthy to observe
that Justice Alex Reyes, however, dissented on these occasions stating that:
"Though the logician may say that where the former marriage was void there
would be nothing to dissolve, still it is not for the spouses to judge whether that
marriage was void or not. That judgment is reserved to the courts . . ." 10
This dissenting opinion was adopted as the majority position in subsequent cases
involving the same issue. Thus, in Gomez v. Lipana, 11 the Court abandoned its
earlier ruling in the Aragon and Mendoza cases. In reversing the lower court's
order forfeiting the husband's share of the disputed property acquired during the
second marriage, the Court stated that "if the nullity, or annulment of the
marriage is the basis for the application of Article 1417, there is need for a judicial
declaration thereof, which of course contemplates an action for that purpose."
Citing Gomez v. Lipana, the Court subsequently held in Vda. de Consuegra v.
Government Service Insurance System, that "although the second marriage can
be presumed to be void ab initio as it was celebrated while the first marriage was
still subsisting, still there is need for judicial declaration of such nullity."
In Tolentino v. Paras, 12 however, the Court turned around and applied the
Aragon and Mendoza ruling once again. In granting the prayer of the first wife
asking for a declaration as the lawful surviving spouse and the correction of the
death certificate of her deceased husband, it explained that "(t)he second
marriage that he contracted with private respondent during the lifetime of his first
spouse is null and void from the beginning and of no force and effect. No judicial
decree is necessary to establish the invalidity of a void marriage."

However, in the more recent case of Wiegel v. Sempio-Diy 13 the Court reverted
to the Consuegra case and held that there was "no need of introducing evidence
about the existing prior marriage of her first husband at the time they married
each other, for then such a marriage though void still needs according to this
Court a judicial declaration of such fact and for all legal intents and purposes she
would still be regarded as a married woman at the time she contracted her
marriage with respondent Karl Heinz Wiegel."
Came the Family Code which settled once and for all the conflicting jurisprudence
on the matter. A declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage is now explicitly
required either as a cause of action or a ground for defense.
14 Where the
absolute nullity of a previous marriage is sought to be invoked for purposes of
contracting a second marriage, the sole basis acceptable in law for said projected
marriage to be free from legal infirmity is a final judgment declaring the previous
marriage void. 15
The Family Law Revision Committee and the Civil Code Revision Committee
16
which drafted what is now the Family Code of the Philippines took the position
that parties to a marriage should not be allowed to assume that their marriage is
void even if such be the fact but must first secure a judicial declaration of the
nullity of their marriage before they can be allowed to marry again. This is borne
out by the following minutes of the 152nd Joint Meeting of the Civil Code and
Family Law Committees where the present Article 40, then Art. 39, was discussed.
"B.

Article 39.

The absolute nullity of a marriage may be invoked only on the basis of a final
judgment declaring the marriage void, except as provided in Article 41.
Justice Caguioa remarked that the above provision should include not only void
but also voidable marriages. He then suggested that the above provision be
modified as follows:
The validity of a marriage may be invoked only . . .
Justice Reyes (J.B.L. Reyes), however, proposed that they say:

The validity or invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only . . .


On the other hand, Justice Puno suggested that they say:
The invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only . . .
Justice Caguioa explained that his idea is that one cannot determine for himself
whether or not his marriage is valid and that a court action is needed. Justice
Puno accordingly proposed that the provision be modified to read:
The invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only on the basis of a final judgment
annulling the marriage or declaring the marriage void, except as provided in
Article 41.
Justice Caguioa remarked that in annulment, there is no question. Justice Puno,
however, pointed out that, even if it is a judgment of annulment, they still have to
produce the judgment.
Justice Caguioa suggested that they say:
The invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only on the basis of a final judgment
declaring the marriage invalid, except as provided in Article 41.
Justice Puno raised the question: When a marriage is declared invalid, does it
include the annulment of a marriage and the declaration that the marriage is
void? Justice Caguioa replied in the affirmative. Dean Gupit added that in some
judgments, even if the marriage is annulled, it is declared void. Justice Puno
suggested that this matter be made clear in the provision.
Prof. Baviera remarked that the original idea in the provision is to require first a
judicial declaration of a void marriage and not annullable marriages, with which
the other members concurred. Judge Diy added that annullable marriages are
presumed valid until a direct action is filed to annul it, which the other members
affirmed. Justice Puno remarked that if this is so, then the phrase 'absolute nullity'
can stand since it might result in confusion if they change the phrase to
'invalidity' if what they are referring to in the provision is the declaration that the
marriage is void.

Prof. Bautista commented that they will be doing away with collateral defense as
well as collateral attack. Justice Caguioa explained that the idea in the provision is
that there should be a final judgment declaring the marriage void and a party
should not declare for himself whether or not the marriage is void, which the
other members affirmed. Justice Caguioa added that they are, therefore, trying to
avoid a collateral attack on that point. Prof. Bautista stated that there are actions
which are brought on the assumption that the marriage is valid. He then asked:
Are they depriving one of the right to raise the defense that he has no liability
because the basis of the liability is void? Prof. Bautista added that they cannot say
that there will be no judgment on the validity or invalidity of the marriage
because it will be taken up in the same proceeding. It will not be a unilateral
declaration that it is a void marriage. Justice Caguioa saw the point of Prof.
Bautista and suggested that they limit the provision to remarriage. He then
proposed that Article 39 be reworded as follows:
The absolute nullity of a marriage for purposes of remarriage may be invoked only
on the basis of final judgment . . .
Justice Puno suggested that the above be modified as follows:
The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of
establishing the validity of a subsequent marriage only on the basis of a final
judgment declaring such previous marriage void, except as provided in Article 41.
Justice Puno later modified the above as follows:
For the purpose of establishing the validity of a subsequent marriage, the
absolute nullity of a previous marriage may only be invoked on the basis of a final
judgment declaring such nullity, except as provided in Article 41.
Justice Caguioa commented that the above provision is too broad and will not
solve the objection of Prof. Bautista. He proposed that they say:
For the purpose of entering into a subsequent marriage, the absolute nullity of a
previous marriage may only be invoked on the basis of a final judgment declaring
such nullity, except as provided in Article 41.

Justice Caguioa explained that the idea in the above provision is that if one enters
into a subsequent marriage without obtaining a final judgment declaring the
nullity of a previous marriage, said subsequent marriage is void ab initio.
After further deliberation, Justice Puno suggested that they go back to the original
wording of the provision as follows:
The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of
remarriage only on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage
void, except as provided in Article 41." 17
In fact, the requirement for a declaration of absolute nullity of a marriage is also
for the protection of the spouse who, believing that his or her marriage is illegal
and void, marries again. With the judicial declaration of the nullity of his or her
first marriage, the person who marries again cannot be charged with bigamy. 18
Just over a year ago, the Court made the pronouncement that there is a necessity
for a judicial declaration of absolute nullity of a prior subsisting marriage before
contracting another in the recent case of Terre v. Terre. 19 The Court, in turning
down the defense of respondent Terre who was charged with grossly immoral
conduct consisting of contracting a second marriage and living with another
woman other than complainant while his prior marriage with the latter remained
subsisting, said that "for purposes of determining whether a person is legally free
to contract a second marriage, a judicial declaration that the first marriage was
null and void ab initio is essential."
As regards the necessity for a judicial declaration of absolute nullity of marriage,
petitioner submits that the same can be maintained only if it is for the purpose of
remarriage. Failure to allege this purpose, according to petitioner's theory, will
warrant dismissal of the same. cdrep
Article 40 of the Family Code provides:
"ART. 40.
The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for
purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such
previous marriage void." (n).

Crucial to the proper interpretation of Article 40 is the position in the provision of


the word "solely." As it is placed, the same shows that is it meant to qualify "final
judgment declaring such previous marriage void." Realizing the need for careful
craftsmanship in conveying the precise intent of the Committee members, the
provision in question, as it finally emerged, did not state "The absolute nullity of a
previous marriage may be invoked solely for purposes of remarriage . . .," in
which case "solely" would clearly qualify the phrase "for purposes of remarriage."
Had the phraseology been such, the interpretation of petitioner would have been
correct and, that is, that the absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be
invoked solely for purposes of remarriage, thus rendering irrelevant the clause
"on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void."
That Article 40 as finally formulated included the significant clause denotes that
such final judgment declaring the previous marriage void need not be obtained
only for purposes of remarriage. Undoubtedly, one can conceive of other
instances where a party might well invoke the absolute nullity of a previous
marriage for purposes other than remarriage, such as in case of an action for
liquidation, partition, distribution and separation of property between the
erstwhile spouses, as well as an action for the custody and support of their
common children and the delivery of the latter's presumptive legitimes. In such
cases, evidence needs must be adduced, testimonial or documentary, to prove
the existence of grounds rendering such a previous marriage an absolute nullity.
These need not be limited solely to an earlier final judgment of a court declaring
such previous marriage void. Hence, in the instance where a party who has
previously contracted a marriage which remains subsisting desires to enter into
another marriage which is legally unassailable, he is required by law to prove that
the previous one was an absolute nullity. But this he may do on the basis solely of
a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void.
This leads us to the question: Why the distinction? In other words, for purposes of
remarriage, why should the only legally acceptable basis for declaring a previous
marriage an absolute nullity be a final judgment declaring such previous marriage
void? Whereas, for purposes other than remarriage, other evidence is acceptable?

Marriage, a sacrosanct institution, declared by the Constitution as an "inviolable


social institution, is the foundation of the family;" as such, it "shall be protected
by the State." 20 In more explicit terms, the Family Code characterizes it as "a
special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in
accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life." 21 So
crucial are marriage and the family to the stability and peace of the nation that
their "nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject
to stipulation." 22 As a matter of policy, therefore, the nullification of a marriage
for the purpose of contracting another cannot be accomplished merely on the
basis of the perception of both parties or of one that their union is so defective
with respect to the essential requisites of a contract of marriage as to render it
void ipso jure and with no legal effect and nothing more. Were this so, this
inviolable social institution would be reduced to a mockery and would rest on very
shaky foundations indeed. And the grounds for nullifying marriage would be as
diverse and far-ranging as human ingenuity and fancy could conceive. For such a
socially significant institution, an official state pronouncement through the courts,
and nothing less, will satisfy the exacting norms of society. Not only would such
an open and public declaration by the courts definitively confirm the nullity of the
contract of marriage, but the same would be easily verifiable through records
accessible to everyone.
That the law seeks to ensure that a prior marriage is no impediment to a second
sought to be contracted by one of the parties may be gleaned from new
information required in the Family Code to be included in the application for a
marriage license, viz, "If previously married, how, when and where the previous
marriage was dissolved and annulled." 23
Reverting to the case before us, petitioner's interpretation of Art. 40 of the Family
Code is, undoubtedly, quite restrictive. Thus, his position that private
respondent's failure to state in the petition that the same is filed to enable her to
remarry will result in the dismissal of SP No. 1989-J is untenable. His
misconstruction of Art. 40 resulting from the misplaced emphasis on the term
"solely" was in fact anticipated by the members of the Committee.

"Dean Gupit commented that the word "only" may be misconstrued to refer to
"for purposes of remarriage." Judge Diy stated that "only" refers to "final
judgment." Justice Puno suggested that they say "on the basis only of a final
judgment." Prof. Baviera suggested that they use the legal term "solely" instead
of "only," which the Committee approved." 24 (Emphasis supplied).
Pursuing his previous argument that the declaration for absolute nullity of
marriage is unnecessary, petitioner suggests that private respondent should have
filed an ordinary civil action for the recovery of the properties alleged to have
been acquired during their union. In such an eventuality, the lower court would
not be acting as a mere special court but would be clothed with jurisdiction to rule
on the issues of possession and ownership. In addition, he pointed out that there
is actually nothing to separate or partition as the petition admits that all the
properties were acquired with private respondent's money.
The Court of Appeals disregarded this argument and concluded that "the prayer
for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage may be raised together with the
other incident of their marriage such as the separation of their properties."
When a marriage is declared void ab initio, the law states that the final judgment
therein shall provide for "the liquidation, partition and distribution of the
properties of the spouses, the custody and support of the common children, and
the delivery of their presumptive legitimes, unless such matters had been
adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings." 25 Other specific effects flowing
therefrom, in proper cases, are the following:
"Art. 43.

...

(2)
The absolute community of property or the conjugal partnership, as the
case may be, shall be dissolved and liquidated, but if either spouse contracted
said marriage in bad faith, his or her share of the net profits of the community
property or conjugal partnership property shall be forfeited in favor of the
common children or, if there are none, the children of the guilty spouse by a
previous marriage or, in default of children, the innocent spouse;

(3)
Donations by reason of marriage shall remain valid, except that if the
donee contracted the marriage in bad faith, such donations made to said donee
are revoked by operation of law;

Bidin and Melo, JJ ., concur.

(4)
The innocent spouse may revoke the designation of the other spouse who
acted in bad faith as a beneficiary in any insurance policy, even if such
designation be stipulated as irrevocable; and

Separate Opinions

(5)
The spouse who contracted the subsequent marriage in bad faith shall be
disqualified to inherit from the innocent spouse by testate and intestate
succession. (n).
Art. 44.
If both spouses of the subsequent marriage acted in bad faith, said
marriage shall be void ab initio and all donations by reason of marriage and
testamentary disposition made by one in favor of the other are revoked by
operation of law. (n)" 26
Based on the foregoing provisions, private respondent's ultimate prayer for
separation of property will simply be one of the necessary consequences of the
judicial declaration of absolute nullity of their marriage. Thus, petitioner's
suggestion that in order for their properties to be separated, an ordinary civil
action has to be instituted for that purpose is baseless. The Family Code has
clearly provided the effects of the declaration of nullity of marriage, one of which
is the separation of property according to the regime of property relations
governing them. It stands to reason that the lower court before whom the issue of
nullity of a first marriage is brought is likewise clothed with jurisdiction to decide
the incidental questions regarding the couple's properties. Accordingly, the
respondent court committed no reversible error in finding that the lower court
committed no grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner's motion to dismiss
SP No. 1989-J.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of respondent
Court dated February 7, 1992 and the Resolution dated March 20, 1992 are
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

Feliciano, J ., on official leave.

VITUG, J., concurring:


I concur with the opinion so well expressed by Mme. Justice Flerida Ruth P.
Romero. I should like, however, to put in a modest observation.
Void marriages are inexistent from the very beginning and, I believe, no judicial
decree is required to establish their nullity, except in the following instances:
(a)
For purposes of remarriage pursuant to the provision of Article 40 of the
Family Code; viz:
The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of
remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous
marriage void. (n)
(b)
A marriage celebrated prior to the effectivity of the Family Code in case a
party thereto was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential
marital obligations of marriage (Article 36, Family Code), where an action or
defense for the declaration of nullity prescribes ten (10) years after the Family
Code took effect (Article 39, Family Code); otherwise, the marriage is deemed
unaffected by the Family Code.
A void marriage, even without its being judicially declared a nullity, albeit the
preferability for, and justiciability (fully discussed in the majority opinion) of, such
a declaration, will not give it the status or the consequences of a valid marriage,
saving only specific instances where certain effects of a valid marriage can still
flow the void marriage. Examples of these cases are children of void marriages
under Article 36 (due to psychological incapacity) and Article 53, in relation to
Article 52 (due to failure of partition, delivery of presumptive legitimes of children
and recording thereof following the annulment or declaration of nullity of a prior

marriage), conceived or born before the judicial declaration of nullity of such void
marriages, who the law deems as legitimate (Article 54, Family Code).
In most, if not in all, other cases, a void marriage is to be considered extant per
se. Neither the conjugal partnership of gain under the old regime nor the absolute
community of property under the new Code (absent a marriage settlement), will
apply; instead, their property relations shall be governed by the co-ownership
rules under either Article 147 or Article 148 of the Family Code. I must hasten to
add as a personal view, however, that the exceptional effects on children of a
void marriage because of the psychological incapacity of a party thereto should
have been extended to cover even the personal and property relations of the
spouses. Unlike the other cases of void marriages where the grounds therefor
may be established by hard facts and with little uncertainty, the term
"psychological incapacity" is so relative and unsettling that until a judicial
declaration of nullity is made its interim effects can long and literally hang on the
balance not only insofar as the spouses themselves are concerned but also as
regards third persons with whom the spouses deal.
Footnotes
1.

Annex "C," Rollo, pp. 28-29.

2.

L-28093, January 30, 1971, 37 SCRA 315.

3.
Annex "J," Rollo, pp. 62-67, Justice Jorge S. Imperial, ponente and Justices
Luis A. Javellana and Serafin V.C. Guingona, concurring.
4.

L-40003, October 28, 1986, 145 SCRA 229.

5.

Annex "M," Rollo, p. 80.

6.

100 Phil. 1033 (1957).

7.

95 Phil. 845 (1954).

8.

CIVIL CODE, art. 80, par. 4; FAMILY CODE, arts. 35, par. 4 and 41.

9.

Rollo, pp. 102 and 106.

10.

See: Note 6 at p. 1036; Note 7 at p. 848.

11.

L-23214, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA 615, 620-621.

12.

L-43905, May 30, 1983, 122 SCRA 525.

13.

G.R. No. 53703, August 19, 1986, 143 SCRA 499.

14.

FAMILY CODE, art. 39.

15.

Id., art. 40. See also: arts. 11, 13, 42, 44, 48, 50, 52, 54, 86, 99, 147, 148.

16.
The Family Law Revision Committee of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) prepared the draft of the revision of Book I of the Civil Code of
the Philippines. After more than four years, the draft was turned over to the Civil
Code Revision Committee of the UP Law Center which reviewed and revised the
same for more than three years.
17.

August 23, 1986, pp. 4-7.

18.
J. A.V. SEMPIO-DIY, HANDBOOK OF THE FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
46 (1988).
19.

Adm. Case No. 2349, July 3, 1992, 211 SCRA 6, 11.

20.

CONST., art. XV, sec. 2.

21.

FAMILY CODE, art. 1.

22.

id.

23.

id., art. 11.

24.

See: Note 17, at p. 7.

25.

Art. 50 (2).

26.
In relation to Art. 50 (1) The effects provided for in paragraphs (2), (3),
(4) and (5) of Article 43 and in Article 44 shall also apply in proper cases to
marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled by final judgment under
Articles 40 and 45.

C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 4 - 1 9 9 9 C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.
ARTICLE 41
[G.R. No. L-23214. June 30, 1970.]
OFELIA GOMEZ, as Administratrix of the Estate of the late ISIDRA GOMEZ
Y AQUINO, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOAQUIN P. LIPANA, defendantappellant.
Marcelo Y. Hernandez for plaintiff-appellee.
Presentacion G. Santos for defendant-appellant.
SYLLABUS
1.
CIVIL LAW; FAMILY RELATIONS; MARRIAGES; ILLEGAL MARRIAGES; VOID
MARRIAGE SUBJECT TO COLLATERAL ATTACK IN INTESTATE PROCEEDINGS.
Where the marriage contracted is bigamous and null and void for being in
violation of Sec. 29 of the Marriage Law, Act 3613, which became effective on
December 4, 1929, the marriage is subject to collateral attack in the intestate
proceedings instituted by the judicial administratrix for the forfeiture of the
husband's share in the conjugal property.
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; APPLICABLE LAW. Section 30 on annullable marriages
cannot be relied upon in the instant case where a second marriage was
contracted while the first was valid and subsisting for the controlling statute is
Section 29 of Act 3613 of the Philippine Legislature, the Marriage Law, which
became effective on December 4, 1929.

3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; EXCEPTIONS; BURDEN OF PROOF. To the general rule
stated in Sec. 29 that any marriage contracted by any person during the lifetime
of his first spouse with any person other than such first spouse shall be illegal and
void from its performance, there are only two exceptions -- those mentioned in
sub-section (a) when the first marriage was annulled or dissolved and (b) when
the first spouse has been absent for seven consecutive years. The burden is on
the party invoking the exception to prove that he comes under it.
4.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; INSTANT CASE. There is no suggestion here that
the defendant's 1930 marriage to Maria Loreto Ancino had been annulled or
dissolved when he married Isidra Gomez in 1935, and there is no proof that he did
so under the conditions envisioned in sub-section (b). The defendant has not
discharged the burden to prove that he comes under the exceptions; no evidence
whatsoever having been adduced by him at the trial. Indeed, he contracted the
second marriage less than seven years after the first, and he has not shown that
his first wife was then generally considered dead or was believed by him to be so.
5.
ID.; ID.; ID.; CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP; TERMINATION;
FORFEITURE OF
GUILTY PARTY' S SHARE AS DECREED BY ART. 1417 OF THE SPANISH CIVIL CODE
NOT APPLICABLE TO THE CASE AT BAR. The facts of the case do not call for the
application of Art. 1417 of the Spanish Civil Code which decrees that the spouse
who in bad faith has given cause for nullity (of the marriage) shall have no share
in the conjugal properties. The first paragraph of the article states the two causes
for termination of the conjugal partnership: (1) dissolution of the marriage and
(2) declaration of nullity, neither of which has occurred to defendant' s first
marriage. The second paragraph of the same articles states that it is upon the
termination of the partnership by either of said causes that the forfeiture of the
share of the guilty spouse takes place. The conjugal partnership formed by virtue
of the marriage of the defendant to the deceased Isidra Gomez was dissolved by
the latter's death in 1959. By that time, Art. 1417 was no longer in force having
been eliminated in the New Civil Code, which took effect in 1950. Neither has
there been any judicial declaration of nullity of the second marriage, except
possibly in the present action filed after the dissolution by death had taken place
and when Art. 1417 of the Spanish Civil Code was no longer in force.

6.
ID., ID.; ID., ID.; ID., WIFE IN SECOND MARRIAGE IN GOOD FAITH. The
legal situation arising from the facts of the case is that while insofar as the
second wife was concerned, she having acted in good faith, her marriage
produced civil effects and gave rise just the same to the formation of a conjugal
partnership, wherein she was entitled to an equal share upon dissolution, no
action lies under Art. 1417 for the forfeiture of the husband's share in her favor,
much less in favor of her estate. The only just and equitable solution in this case
would be to recognize the right of the second wife to her share of one-half of the
property acquired by her and her husband, and consider the other half as
pertaining to the conjugal partnership of the first marriage.
DECISION
MAKALINTAL, J p:
The defendant-appellant, Joaquin P. Lipana, contracted two marriages: the first
with Maria Loreto Ancino in 1930 and the second with Isidra Gomez y Aquino in
1935. At the time of the second marriage the first was still subsisting, which fact,
however, Lipana concealed from the second wife.
On December 17, 1943 the spouses of the second marriage acquired by purchase
a piece of land in Cubao, Quezon City, for the price of P3,000.00. The Torrens title
for the property (Transfer Certificate No. 25289 of the Register of Deeds for
Quezon City) was issued on February 1, 1944, in the name of "Joaquin Lipana
married to Isidra Gomez."
On July 20, 1958 Isidra Gomez died intestate and childless, and survived only by
her sisters as the nearest relatives. On August 7, 1961 Ofelia Gomez, judicial
administratrix of her estate, commenced the present suit, praying for the
forfeiture of the husband's share in the Cubao property in favor of the said estate.
Reliance is placed on Article 1417 of the old Civil Code, the Spanish text of which
provides:
"La sociedad de gananciales concluye al disolverse el matrimonio o al ser
declarado nulo.

"El conjuge que por su mala fe hubiere eido causa de la nulidad, no tendra parte
en los bienes gananciales."
The trial court, ruling that the second marriage was void ab initio and that the
husband was the one who gave cause for its nullity, applied the aforequoted
provision and declared his interest in the disputed property forfeited in favor of
the estate of the deceased second wife.
In the present appeal by the defendant he attributed two errors to the trial court.
(1) in allowing a collateral attack on the validity of the second marriage and in
holding it to be bigamous and void ab initio; and (2) in holding that Article 1417 of
the Spanish Civil Code is applicable in this case.
The first error has not been committed. The controlling statute is Act 3613 of the
Philippine Legislature, the Marriage Law which became effective on December 4,
1929 and was in force when the two marriages were celebrated. The pertinent
provisions are as follows:
"SEC. 29.
Illegal Marriages. Any marriage subsequently contracted by any
person during the lifetime of the first spouse of such person with any person other
than such first spouse shall be illegal and void from its performance, unless;
(a)

The first marriage was annulled or dissolved;

(b)
The first spouse had been absent for seven consecutive years at the time
of the second marriage without the spouse present having news of the absentee
being alive, or the absentee being generally considered as dead and believed to
be so by the spouse present at the time of contracting such subsequent marriage,
the marriage so contracted being valid in either case until declared null and void
by a competent court.
"SEC. 30.
Annullable marriages. A marriage may be annulled for any of the
following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:
xxx

xxx

xxx

(b)
That the former husband or wife of either was living and the marriage with
such former husband or wife was then in force;

The second error bears closer analysis. Is Article 1417 of the Spanish Civil Code
applicable under the facts of this case?

xxx

There is one primordial fact which must be considered, namely, that since the
defendant's first marriage has not been dissolved or declared void the conjugal
partnership established by that marriage has not ceased. Nor has the first wife
lost or relinquished her status as putative heir of her husband under the new Civil
Code, entitled to share in his estate upon his death should she survive him.
Consequently, whether as conjugal partner in a still subsisting marriage or as
such putative heir she has an interest in the husband's share in the property here
in dispute, even if it was acquired during the second marriage, of which interest
she would be deprived if his share should be declared forfeited in favor of the
second wife.

xxx

xxx

SEC. 31.
Time for filing action for decree of nullity. The action to obtain a
decree of nullity of marriage, for causes mentioned in the preceding section, must
be commenced within the periods and by the parties as follows:
xxx

xxx

xxx

(b)
For causes mentioned in subdivision (b); by either party during the life of
the other, or by the former husband or wife.
xxx

xxx

xxx

The appellant, relying on Section 30(b) quoted above, maintains that his marriage
to Isidra Gomez was valid and could be annulled only in an action for that
purpose, which in the light of Section 31 could be filed only by either party
thereto, during the lifetime of the other, or by the former spouse.
However, it is not Section 30 but Section 29 which governs in this case,
particularly the first paragraph thereof, which says that "any marriage contracted
by any person during the lifetime of the first spouse of such person with any
person other than such first spouse shall be illegal and void from its
performance." This is the general rule, to which the only exceptions are those
mentioned in subsections (a) and (b) of the same provision.
There is no suggestion here that the defendant's 1930 marriage to Maria Loreto
Ancino had been annulled or dissolved when he married Isidra Gomez in 1935,
and there is no proof that he did so under the conditions envisioned in sub-section
(b). The burden is on the party invoking the exception to prove that be comes
under it; and the defendant has not discharged that burden at all, no evidence
whatsoever having been adduced by him at the trial. Indeed, he contracted the
second marriage less than seven years after the first, and he has not shown that
his first wife was then generally considered dead or was believed by him to be so.

There is a difference of opinion among the members of this Court as to whether


such resulting prejudice to the first wife is within the contemplation of the Spanish
Civil Code when it decrees in general terms in Article 1417 that the spouse who in
bad faith has given cause for nullity (of the marriage) shall have no share in the
conjugal properties, considering that in the present case the first marriage has
not been terminated and therefore likewise impresses the conjugal stamp of that
marriage upon whatever properties are acquired during its existence. We believe,
however, that it is not necessary to resolve that question here inasmuch as the
facts do not call for the application of Article 1417. The first paragraph of this
Article states two causes for the termination of the conjugal partnership: (1)
dissolution of the marriage and (2) declaration of nullity. Under the second
paragraph of the same Article it is upon the termination of the partnership by
either of said causes that the forfeiture of the guilty spouse takes place. Now
then, when did the conjugal partnership formed by virtue of the marriage of the
defendant to the deceased Isidra Gomez terminate? Obviously when the marriage
was dissolved by the latter's death in 1958. By that time Article 1417 was no
longer in force, having been eliminated in the new Civil Code, which took effect in
1950. The legal situation arising from these facts is that while insofar as the
second wife was concerned, she having acted in good faith, her marriage
produced civil effects and gave rise, just the same, to the formation of a conjugal
partnership wherein she was entitled to an equal share upon dissolution, 1 no

action lies under Article 1417 for the forfeiture of the husband's share in her
favor. much less in favor of her estate, with respect to which there are after all no
children, but only collateral relatives, who are entitled to succeed.
It would not do to say that since the second marriage in this case was void ab
initio the application of Article 1417 should be reckoned as of the date it was
celebrated in 1935. This article speaks from the moment of the termination of the
conjugal partnership (either by the dissolution of the marriage or by the
declaration of its nullity); and it would be self-contradictory to consider that the
conjugal partnership was formed and terminated at the same time and by the
same act, that is, by the celebration itself of the marriage. Colin y Capitant 2
comments on this provision as follows:
"Disuelven matrimonio y, por tanto, la sociedad de gananciales, la muerte de uno
de los conjuges y la declaracion de nulidad."
"En caso de declaracion de nulidad, la sociedad de gananciales se extingue al ser
declarado nulo el matrimonio, es decir, en el momento en que sea firme la
sentencia declarativa de la nulidad."
xxx

xxx

xxx

It may thus be seen that if the nullity, or annulment, of the marriage is the basis
for the application of Article 1417, there is need for a judicial declaration thereof,
which of course contemplates an action for that purpose. In the instant case,
however, the conjugal partnership formed by the second marriage was dissolved
by the death of the second wife; and there has been no judicial declaration of
nullity except possibly in this very action, filed after dissolution by death had
taken place and when Article 1417 of the Spanish Civil Code was no longer in
force.
There is, to be sure, a statement of Manresa
3 that in case of nullity it is
presumed, with respect to the spouse who acted in bad faith, that neither the
marriage nor the conjugal partnership ever existed, and hence such spouse has
no right to a share in the conjugal properties; but this legal effect of such
presumption derives from the premise that Article 1417 is still in force, and in any

event is of doubtful application if it would be in derogation of and to the prejudice


of the right of the other spouse of the first marriage in the conjugal partnership
farmed thereby, which includes properties acquired by the husband during its
existence.
The only just and equitable solution in this case would be to recognize the right of
the second wife to her husband, and consider the other half as pertaining to the
conjugal partnership of the first marriage.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint is
dismissed, without pronouncement as to costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee,
Barredo and Villamor, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.
Colin Capitant, Curso Elemental de Derecho Civil, Tomo 60, Tercera
Edicion, pag. 364; Francisco vs. Jason, 60 Phil. 442; Lao vs. Dee Tim, 45 Phil. 739,
745.
2.

Id., pag. 362, 363.

3.

Tomo 9, Cuarta Edicion, pag. 580.

C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 4 - 1 9 9 9 C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.

[G.R. No. L-14058. March 24, 1960.]


In the matter of the petition for the declaration of William Gue,
presumptively dead. ANGELINA L. GUE, petitioner and appellant, vs. THE
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, oppositor and appellee.
Virgilio V. David for appellant.
Solicitor General Edilberto Barot and Solicitor E. M. Salva for appellee.
SYLLABUS
PRESUMPTION OF DEATH; PERSON UNHEARD FROM IN SEVEN YEARS;
DECLARATION OF PRESUMPTIVE DEATH UNNECESSARY. A judicial declaration
that a person unheard from in seven years, being a presumption juris tantum
only, subject to contrary proofs, cannot reach the state of finality or become final.
Proof of actual death of the person presumed dead because he had been unheard
from in seven years, would have to be made in another proceeding to have such
particular fact finally determined. If a judicial decree declaring a person
presumptively dead, because he had not been heard from in seven years, cannot
become final and executory even after the lapse of the reglementary period
within which an appeal may be taken, for such a presumption is still disputable
and remains subject to contrary proof, then a petition for such a declaration is
useless, unnecessary, superfluous and of not benefit to the petitioner. The Court
should not waste its valuable time and be made to perform a superfluous and
meaningless act (Petition for the Presumption of death of Nicolai Szatraw, 81 Phil.,
461).
DECISION
MONTEMAYOR, J p:
This is an appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Manila, presided
by Judge Bonifacio Ysip, dismissing the petition of Angelina Gue. Involving as it
does not questions of law, the appeal was taken directly to us.

On November 20, 1957, Angelina L. Gue filed a petition in the Court of First
Instance of Manila, Civil Case No. 34303, alleging that she was married to Willian
Gue; that they had a child named Anthony L. Gue; that on January 5, 1946, her
husband left Manila where they were residing and went to Shanghai, China, but
since then, he had not been heard of, neither had he written to her, nor in anyway
communicated with her as to his whereabouts; that despite her efforts and
diligence, she failed to locate him; and that they had not acquired any property
during the marriage. She asked the court for a declaration of the presumption of
death of Willian Gue, pursuant to the provisions of Article 390 of the Civil Code of
the Philippines. After due publication and hearing, the trial court issued the order
of dismissal, which we reproduce below:
"This is a petition filed by Angelina L. Gue to declare her husband. William Gue,
presumptively dead. During the hearing of this petition, it was established by the
testimony of the petitioner that she and her husband were married on October
11, 1944 in the City of Manila before the parish pried of Tondo, Manila, as shows
in Exhibit B, the marriage contract. Her husband, who is a Chinese citizen, left the
Philippines for Shanghai on January, 1946. The petitioner joined him in Shanghai
in August of the same year. In January, 1949, the petitioner came back to the
Philippines alone with her children, on which occasion her husband promised to
follow her. However, up to the present time, said William Gue has not returned to
the Philippines. From January, 1949, the petitioner had sent letters to her husband
in Shanghai, but she never received any reply thereto. She made inquiries from
the Bureau of Immigration in 1955 and 1958 as to whether her husband had
already returned to the Philippines and she received Exhibit D and Exhibit E from
said Office, which gave no information as to the whereabouts of her husband. It
was also established by petitioner's testimony that no properties have been
acquired by said spouses during their union, and during which they begot two
children, name Eugenio and Anthony, surnamed Gue.
"With this evidence on record and considering the allegations in the petition, it is
clear that no right had been established by the petitioner upon which is judicial
decree may be predicated, and this action is not for the settlement of the estate
of the absentee, as it is clear that he did not leave any.

"In the case of 'Petition for the Presumption of Death of Nicolai Szatraw', 81 Phil.,
461, a case similar to the present, the Supreme Court held:
"The petition is not for the settlement of the estate of Nicolai Szatraw, because it
does not appear that he possessed property brought to the marriage and because
he had acquired no property during his married life with the petitioner. The rule
invoked by the latter is merely one of evidence which permits the court to
presume that a person is dead after the fact that such person had been unheard
from in seven years had been established. This presumption may arise and be
invoked and made in a case, whether in an action or in a special proceeding,
which is tried or heard by, and submitted for decision to, a special proceeding. In
this case, there is no right to be enforced nor is there a remedy prayed for by the
petitioner for the final determination of his right or status or for the ascertainment
of a particular fact (Hagans vs. Wislizenus, 42 Phil., 880), for the petition does not
pray for a declaration that the petitioner's husband is dead, but merely asks for a
declaration that he be presumed dead because he had been unheard from in
seven years. If there is any pretence at securing a declaration that the
petitioner's husband is dead, such a pretension cannot be granted because it is
unauthorized. The petition is for a declaration that the petitioner's husband is
presumptively dead. But this declaration, even if judicially made, would not
improve the petitioner's situation, because such a presumption is already
established by law. A judicial pronouncement to that effect, even if final and
executory, would still be a prima facie presumption only. It is still disputable. It is
for that reason that it cannot be the subject of a judicial pronouncement or
declaration, if it is the only question or matter involved in a case, or upon which a
competent court has to pass. The latter must decide finally the controversy the
right or status of a party or established finally a particular fact, out of which
certain rights and obligations arise or may arise, and once such controversy is
decided by a final judgment or such right or status is determined, then the
judgment on the subject of the controversy, or the decree upon the right or status
of a party or upon the existence of a particular fact, becomes res judicata, subject
to no collateral attack, except in a few rare instances especially provided by law.
It is, therefore, clear that a judicial declaration that a person is presumptively
dead, because he had been unheard from in seven years, being a presumption
juris tantum only, subject to contrary proof cannot reach the state of finality or

become final. Proof of actual death of the person presumed dead because he had
been unheard from in seven years, would have to be made in another proceeding
to have such particular fact finally determined. If a judicial decree declaring a
person presumptively dead, because he had not been heard from in seven years,
cannot become final and executory even after the lapse of the reglementary
period within which an appeal may be taken, for such a presumption is still
disputable and remains subject to contrary proof, then a petition for such a
declaration is useless, unnecessary, superfluous and of no benefit to the
petitioner. The Court should not waste its valuable time and be made to perform a
superfluous and meaningless act.
" 'Little effort is necessary to perceive that a declaration such as the one prayed
for by the petitioner, if granted, may make or lead her to believe that the marital
bonds which binds her to her husband are torn asunder, and that for that reason
she is or may feel free to enter into a new marriage contract. The framers of the
rules of court, by the presumption provided for in the rule of evidence in question,
did not intend and mean that a judicial declaration based solely upon that
presumption may be made. A petition for a declaration such as the one filed in
this case may be made in collusion with the other spouse. If that were the case,
then a decree of divorce that cannot be obtained or granted under the provisions
of the Divorce Law (Act No. 2710) could easily be secured by means of a judicial
decree declaring a person unheard from in seven years to be presumptively dead.
This is another strong reason why a petition such as the one presented in this
case should not be countenanced and allowed. What cannot be obtained directly
under the provisions of the Divorce Law could indirectly be secured under the
provisions of Rule 123, section 69 (x). Obviously, the latter must not be made to
prevail over the former.'
In view of the foregoing and the doctrine of the Supreme Court laid down in the
case above-cited, the Court hereby ordered that this case be, as it is hereby
dismissed, without pronouncement as to costs."
In her appeal, Angelina invoked the provisions of Article 390 of the New Civil
Code, which for purposes of reference, we preproduce below.

"ART. 390.
After an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not
the absentee still lives, he shall be presumed dead for all purposes, except for
those of succession.

"The Solicitor General opposed the petition on the ground that the same is not
authorized by law. After petitioner had presented her evidence, the court
sustained the opposition and dismissed the petition. Hence this appeal.

"The absentee shall not be presumed dead for the purpose of opening this
succession till after an absence of ten years. If he disappeared after the age of
seventy-five, an absence of five years shall be sufficient in order that his
succession may be opened."

"Lourdes G. Lukban, petitioner herein, contracted marriage with Francisco


Chuidian on December 10, 1933 at the Paco Catholic Church, Manila. On
December 24, of the same year, Francisco left Lourdes after a violent quarrel and
since then he has not been heard from despite diligent search made by her. She
also inquired about him from his parents and friends but no one was able to
indicate his whereabouts. She has no knowledge if he is still alive, his last known
address being Calle Merced, Paco, Manila. She believes that he is already dead
because he had been absent for more than twenty years, and because she
intends to marry again, she desires that her civil status be defined in order that
she may be relieved of any liability under the law.

She contends that under Article 191 of the Old Civil Code, which reads:
"After thirty years have elapsed since disappearance of the absentee, or since he
was last heard from, or ninety years from his birth, the judgment upon the
petition of any party lawfully interested, shall make an order declaring that such
absentee is presumed to be dead."
a person could be declared presumptively dead, but that said legal provision was
repealed by the Code of Civil Procedure and continued to be repealed by the
Rules of Court. Consequently, only a mere disputable presumption of death was
available to any party, and that the case of Nicolai Szatraw, cited by the trial
court, was decided on the law then existing, namely, the Code of Civil Procedure,
and later the new Rules of Court. However, according to appellant, with the
promulgation of the New Civil Code in 1950, particularly, Article 390 thereof, the
Courts are now authorized to declare persons presumptively dead.
In answer to her contention, the Solicitor General, as appellee herein, correctly
cites our decision in the recent case of Lourdes G. Lukban vs. Republic of the
Philippines, 98 Phil., 574; 52 Off. Gaz., No. 3, 1441, decided long after the New
Civil Code went into effect, wherein we reiterated the doctrine laid down in Nicolai
Szatraw, supra. We quote the pertinent portions of our decision in that case:
"This is a petition filed in the Court of First Instance of Rizal for a declaration that
petitioner is a widow of her husband Francisco Chuidian who is presumed to be
dead and has no legal impediment to contract a subsequent marriage.

"We believe that the petition at bar comes within the purview of our decision in
the case of Nicolai Szatraw, 46 Off. Gaz. 1st Sup. 243, wherein it was held that a
petition for judicial declaration that petitioner's husband is presumed to be dead
cannot be entertained because it is not authorized by law, and if such declaration
cannot be made in a special proceedings similar to the present, much less can the
court determine the status of petitioner as a widow since this matter must of
necessity depend upon the fact of death of the husband. This the court can
declare upon proper evidence, but not to decree that he is merely presumed to be
dead. (Nicolai Szatraw, 48 Off. Gaz., 1st Sup. 243).
"The philosophy behind the ruling that such judicial pronouncement cannot be
made in proceeding of this nature is well expressed in the case above-cited. Thus,
we there said that 'A judicial pronouncement to that effect, even if final and
executory, would still be a prima facie presumption only. It is still disputable. It is
for that reason that it cannot be the subject of a judicial pronouncement or
declaration, if it is the only question or matter involved in a case, or upon which a
competent court has to pass . . . It is, therefore, clear that a judicial declaration
that a person is presumptively dead, because he had been unheard from in seven
years, being a presumption juris tantum only, subject to contrary proof, cannot
reach the stage of finality or become final."

We deem it unnecessary to further discuss the merits of the case. The appealed
order dismissing the petition is hereby affirmed, with costs.
Pars, C. J., Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Concepcin, Reyes, J. B. L., Barrera and
Gutirrez David JJ., concur.

C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 4 - 1 9 9 9 C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.

Article 42
-none-

2.
MARRIAGE, CAPACITY TO CONTRACT. Although the doctrine laid down in
the cases of Torres, vs. Lopez (48 Phil., 772) and Sancho vs. Abella (58 Phil., 728)
relates to mental testamentary capacity, there is no reason why it should not be
applied to the mental capacity to contract marriage.
3.
LEGITIMACY; EVIDENCE; CONCLUSIVE PRESUMPTION; CASE AT BAR. The
deceased F. N. and M. M. were married on September 28, 1944. F. N., Jr., was born
on April 24, 1945, that is, two hundred eight days, or more than one hundred
eighty days, after the marriage, but less than three hundred days after the death
of F. N. which occurred on October 11, 1944. There is no question that before and
after the marriage, the deceased and M. M. cohabited. The provisions of Rule 123,
section 68(c) on conclusive presumption are so clear that they do not require
interpretation or construction, but only application.
4.
EVIDENCE; IMPOTENCY, NOT TO BE PRESUMED; DIFFERENT FROM
STERILITY. Impotency being an abnormal condition should not be presumed.
The presumption is in favor of potency. Impotency is not synonymous with
sterility.

Article 43
Article 44
[G.R. No. L-1967. May 28, 1951.]
Probate of the will of the late Faustino Neri San Jose. PAZ NERI SAN
JOSE, petitioner. MATILDE MENCIANO, in her behalf and in behalf of the
minors CARLO MAGNO NERI and FAUSTINO NERI, Jr., plaintiffs-appellees,
vs. PAZ NERI SAN JOSE and RODOLFO PELAEZ, defendants-appellants.
Claro M. Recto, Francisco R. Capistrano, Pelaez, Pelaez & Pelaez and Ernesto V.
Chavez for appellants.
Pineda, Hermosisima & Neri for appellees.
SYLLABUS
1.
PUBLIC DOCUMENT; EXECUTION; SUFFICIENCY OF PROOF. As all the four
exhibits are official and public documents, their validity can be successfully
assailed only by strong, clear, and convincing oral testimony. (Arroyo vs. Granada,
18 Phil., 484; Sy Tiangco vs. Pablo and Apao, 69 Phil., 119.)

DECISION
JUGO, J p:
In the course of the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of the deceased
Faustino Neri San Jose, Special Proceedings No. 6-A of the Court of First Instance
of Misamis Oriental, Matilde Menciano, in her behalf and in behalf of the minors
Carlo Magno Neri and Faustino Neri, Jr., filed a motion for declaration of heirs,
alleging that she is the widow of the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose, to whom
she was married according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church on
September 28, 1944, before Rev. Father Isaias Edralin, S. J.; that before the
marriage the deceased and she lived together as husband and wife, there having
been no impediment to their marriage; that as a result of their cohabitation
before the marriage the child Carlo Magno Neri was born on March 9, 1940 and
was later baptized, said child having enjoyed the status of a recognized natural
child; that their second child Faustino Neri, Jr., was born on April 24, 1945; and

that Carlo Magno Neri was legitimized by the subsequent matrimony of his
parents and Faustino Neri, Jr., is a legitimate child born in lawful wedlock.
Paz Neri San Jose, then executrix of the estate of the deceased Faustino Neri San
Jose, and Rodolfo Pelaez, designated universal heir in the will of the deceased
dated December 19, 1940, filed an amended answer with the permission of the
court, in which they denied the substantial allegations of the above-mentioned
motion for declaration of heirs and further alleged in substance that the deceased
Faustino Neri San Jose, from the year 1943, was suffering from senile dementia
caused by anemia which became worse from September 9, 1944, when the
Province of Misamis Oriental where the deceased lived was bombarded by
American planes; that the marriage between said deceased and Matilde
Menciano, if it was solemnized, was in violation of the legal provisions and
requisites, for he (the deceased) was deprived of his free will due to his age,
sickness, and bombardment, and Matilde Menciano, taking advantage of the
deceased's condition, by intrigue and threat of abandoning him, forced Neri by
means of deceit (dolo) and threat to marry her; and that the deceased was sterile,
unable to procreate, and was impotent and congenitally sterile, the same as his
brothers Anastasio, Filomeno, Pedro, and his sister Conchita, who had had no
children. The defendants also filed a counterclaim for the sum of P286,000 in
cash, and for jewels and certain properties, which, as alleged, were retained and
illegally disposed of by Matilde Menciano.
The above allegations of the parties give rise to the following issues:
(1)
Was the marriage between the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose and
Matilde Menciano valid?;
(2)
Are the children Faustino Neri, Jr. and Carlo Magno Neri the legitimate
children of the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano?; and
(3)
Did Matilde Menciano have in her possession and illegally disposed of the
cash, jewels, and certain properties above mentioned?
The marriage between the deceased and Matilde Menciano is evidenced by
Exhibit 1-C, which is an application for a marriage license, dated September 28,

1944, signed by Faustino Neri San Jose, to marry Matilde Menciano; Exhibit 1-B,
also an application for a marriage license dated September 28, 1944, signed by
Matilde Menciano, to marry Faustino Neri San Jose; Exhibit 1-D, certificate for
immediate issuance of the marriage license applied for, signed by the Acting
Local Civil Registrar and Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano; and Exhibit
1-A, the marriage contract signed by Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano
as contracting parties, Rev. Isaias Edralin, as solemnizing officer, and the
witnesses L.B. Castaos and Samson Pagan.
As all the above four exhibits are official and public documents, their validity can
be successfully assailed only by strong, clear, and convincing oral testimony.
In the case of Arroyo vs. Granada (18 Phil., 484), it was held:
"1. CANCELLATION OF INSTRUMENTS; SUFFICIENCY OF PROOF. To justify the
setting aside of an instrument solemnly executed and voluntarily delivered, upon
the ground that its execution was obtained by false and fraudulent
representations, the proof must be clear and convincing." (Syllabus).
In the case of Sy Tiangco vs. Pablo and Apao (59 Phil., 119), this Court declared:
"1. PUBLIC DOCUMENT; EXECUTION; DENIAL OF ALLEGED SIGNER; BURDEN OF
PROOF. Plaintiff's attorneys vigorously contend that when the plaintiff denied
having signed the deed, it was incumbent upon the defendants to call the
witnesses thereto. The execution of a document that has been ratified before a
notary public cannot be disproved by the mere denial of the alleged signer. No
inference unfavorable to the defendants arises from their failure to call the
subscribing witnesses." (Syllabus)
Is the oral evidence presented by the defendants of sufficient force and weight to
overcome the above official documents?
The witnesses for the defendants testified in substance that the deceased
Faustino Neri was so weak and sick that he could not even talk coherently and
intelligibly. Their testimony is too sweeping, because they refer to a general
period of time. There must have been times when the deceased may have been

unable to attend to business or even to converse on account of his sickness, and


even Father Edralin did not solemnize the marriage on a certain date on account
of the weak condition of Faustino Neri and waited for about two days to perform
the ceremony when the old man, although somewhat weak, had a clear mind.
Father Edralin's testimony is strongly corroborated by the form of the signatures
of Faustino Neri in the above mentioned Exhibits 1-A, 1-C, and 1-D. A mere glance
at those signatures will convince anyone that they could not have been written by
a man who is almost unconscious and physically and intellectually incapacitated,
as the defendants' witnesses represent him to have been. It should be noted that
his signature is complicated, containing many flourishes, such that it can not be
signed by one who is not of sound mind and of fair physical condition. He may
have been sick at that time, but not to such a degree as to render him
unconscious of what he was doing. If the signatures of the deceased in Exhibits 1A, 1-C, and 1-D are compared with each other it will be readily seen that they are
practically uniform, which could not have been accomplished by a man who is a
nervous wreck. There is no sign of trembling of the hands or fingers of the person
who affixed those signatures, which usually happens to a very sick man. In the
case of Torres et al. vs. Lopez (48 Phil., 772), this court made the following
pronouncement:
"3. ID.; ID.; TESTS OF CAPACITY. Neither old age, physical infirmities, feebleness
of mind, weakness of the memory, the appointment of a guardian, nor
eccentricities are sufficient singly or jointly to show testamentary incapacity. The
nature and rationality of the will is of some practical utility in determining
capacity. Each case rests on its own facts and must be decided by its own facts."
(Syllabus, p. 773.)
xxx

xxx

xxx

"11. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. On January 3, 1924, when the testator,
Tomas Rodriguez, made his will, he was 76 years old, physically decrepit, weak of
intellect, suffering from a loss of memory, had a guardian of his person and his
property, and was eccentric, but he still possessed that spark of reason and of
life, that strength of mind to form a fixed intention and to summon his enfeebled
thoughts to enforce that intention, which the law terms 'testamentary capacity.'

Two of the subscribing witnesses testified clearly to the regular manner in which
the will was executed, and one did not. The attending physicians and three other
doctors who were present at the execution of the will expressed opinions entirely
favorable to the capacity of the testator. Three other members of the medical
profession expressed opinions entirely unfavorable to the capacity of the testator
and certified that he was of unsound mind. Held, That Tomas Rodriguez on
January 3, 1924, possessed sufficient mentality to make a will which would meet
the legal test regarding testamentary capacity; that the proponents of the will
have carried successfully the burden of proof and have shown him of sound mind
on that date; and that it was reversible error on the part of the trial court not to
admit his will to probate." (Syllabus, p. 774)
In Sancho vs. Abella (58 Phil., 728), this court said:
"1. WILLS; PROBATE; CAPACITY TO MAKE A WILL. Neither senile debility, nor
deafness, nor blindness, nor poor memory, is by itself sufficient to establish the
presumption that the person suffering therefrom is not in the full enjoyment of his
mental faculties, when there is sufficient evidence of his mental sanity at the time
of the execution of the will.
"2. ID.; ID.; ID.; Neither the fact of her being given accommodations in a
convent, nor the presence of the parish priest, nor a priest acting as a witness,
constitutes undue influence sufficient to justify the annulment of a legacy in favor
of a bishop of a diocese, made in her will by a testatrix 88 years of age, suffering
from defective eyesight and hearing, while she is stopping in a convent within the
aforesaid diocese." (Syllabi).
Although the above doctrine relates to testamentary capacity, there is no reason
why it should not be applied to the capacity to contract marriage, which requires
the same mental condition. Consequently, the court below did not err in declaring
valid the marriage of Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano.
The next issue is whether Faustino Neri, Jr., and Carlo Magno Neri are legitimate
children of the deceased Faustino Neri and Matilde Menciano.

As above stated, the deceased Faustino Neri and Matilde Menciano were married
on September 28, 1944. Faustino Neri, Jr., was born on April 24, 1945; that is, two
hundred eight days, or more than one hundred eighty days, after the marriage,
but less than three hundred days after the death of Faustino Neri San Jose which
occurred on October 11, 1944. There is no question that before and after the
marriage, the deceased and Matilde Menciano cohabitated.
Rule 123, section 68(c), reads as follows:
"SEC. 68. Conclusive presumptions. The following are instances of conclusive
presumptions:
xxx

xxx

xxx

"(c) The issue of a wife cohabiting with her husband, who is not impotent, is
indisputably presumed to be legitimate, if not born within the one hundred and
eighty days immediately succeeding the marriage, or after the expiration of three
hundred days following its dissolution;
xxx

xxx

xxx

The above-quoted provision is so clear that it does not require interpretation or


construction, but only application.
The requirements for the conclusive presumption that Faustino Neri, Jr. is the
legitimate son of the legitimate marriage of the deceased Faustino Neri and
Matilde Menciano exist as above stated, with the possible exception of the
requisite as to potency.
Was the deceased Faustino Neri impotent during his cohabitation with Matilde
Menciano?
Impotency being an abnormal condition should not be presumed. The
presumption is in favor of potency. The best evidence that the deceased was
potent is the statement of Dr. Antonio Garcia that in order to get a specimen of
the semen of the deceased Faustino Neri for examination as to its contents of
spermatozoa, Faustino, following the doctor's advice, used a rubber sac,

commonly called "condon", and a woman. The fact that the deceased was able to
produce the specimen by said means shows conclusively that he was potent.
Impotency is not synonymous with sterility. Impotency is the physical inability to
have sexual intercourse; it is different from sterility.
"(1)
Impotence, in Medical Jurisprudence. Inability on the part of the male
organ of copulation to perform its proper function. Impotence applies only to
disorders affecting the function of the organ of copulation, while sterility applies
only to lack of fertility in the reproductive elements of either sex. (Dennis, System
of Surgery; Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Rawle's Third Revision, Vol. II, p. 1514).
"(2)

Impotentia (L.) Impotence.

"Impotentia Coeundi, inability of the male to perform the sexual act.


"Impotentia Erigendi, inability to have an erection of the penis. (The American
Illustrated Medical Dictionary, by Dorland, 20th Edition, p. 721) .
"i. Coeundi. Inability of the male to perform the sexual act. i. erigendi, impotence
due to the absence of the power of erection. (Stedman's Practical Medical
Dictionary, p. 551).
" (4)

Impotence.

"'3.
Law & Med. Incapacity for sexual intercourse.'
International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged, p. 1251).

(Webster's

New

"(5)
Impotency or Impotence. Want of power for copulation, not mere
sterility. The absence of complete power of copulation is an essential element to
constitute impotency. (31 C.J., p. 259).
"(6)
Impotence. Inability to perform the sexual act may be due to defective
organs from abnormal or incomplete development, or to deficient internal
secretions, or to disorders of the nervous system diminishing the libido.
Impotence may or may not be accompanied by sterility. (The Columbia
Encyclopedia, 877)."

Consequently, the requisite of potency also existed. The necessary conclusion is


that the child Faustino Neri, Jr., is conclusively presumed to be the legitimate son
of the deceased Faustino Neri with Matilde Menciano in lawful wedlock.
The attorney for the plaintiffs correctly objected to the evidence regarding sterility
and any other evidence as to paternity. The objection should not have been
overruled.
However, even considering the evidence as to sterility, it results that the
examinations of the semen by Drs. Garcia and Marfori in 1940, to determine the
existence of spermatozoa, do not establish that the deceased was sterile.
According to medical jurisprudence, a man may not have spermatozoa at a
certain time, but may have had it previously or may have it subsequently to the
examination. The examinations by Drs. Garcia and Marfori were made in 1940.
From that time Faustino Neri San Jose cohabited with Matilde Menciano until his
death on October 11, 1944.
Doctor Jose F. Marfori testified as follows:
"Q.

How many times did you examine his seminal fluid? A. Only once.

"Q.
In other words, from the latter part of 1940 up to his death you examined
only once his seminal fluid? A. Yes, sir. .
"Q.
Is it not a fact that you cannot determine sterility or his inability to
procreate with one examination? A. It would have been better if there was an
examination of his seminal fluid every year. .
"Q.
But the truth is that today a man may lack spermatozoa in his seminal
fluid, but much later it may appear? A. That is possible." (P. 28, t.s.n., Gaane).
It should be noted that Doctor Marfori is a nephew-in-law of the deceased
Faustino Neri.
With regard to the supposed examination made by Doctor Garcia in Cebu on
December 9, 1940, Cristobal Lopez, nephew of Faustino, testified that during said
period, December, 1940, the deceased Neri never went out of Cagayan, Oriental

Misamis. We cannot accord much weight to the testimony of Doctor Garcia that
he made the examination.
But even supposing that said doctors made such examinations, still the result is
inconclusive, for the reasons above set forth, and cannot in any way overthrow
the conclusive presumption established by Rule 123, section 68(c).
Carlo Magno Neri was born on March 9, 1940, that is, before the marriage. Both
the deceased Faustino and Matilde Menciano were free to marry without any legal
impediment. However, the court below declared that Carlo Magno Neri has not
been acknowledged as a natural child and, consequently, cannot be legitimized
by the subsequent marriage of his parents. We cannot review this finding because
the plaintiffs did not appeal.
The defendants allege that Matilde Menciano is retaining or has illegally disposed
of P286,000, genuine Philippine currency, certain jewels, and documents. The trial
court, after a careful and exhaustive review of the evidence, correctly reached the
conclusion that such allegation has not been substantiated. Let us make a short
analysis of the defendants' evidence on this point.
The principal witness for this claim was Rodolfo Pelaez, who testified that the
deceased Faustino in 1939 delivered to him the sum of P250,000 in small
denominations to be exchanged in a bank in Manila for bills of larger
denominations as P500, etc. After having exchanged it with the help of
Representative Ozamis (dead on the date of the trial), he returned to the province
and delivered the sum to the deceased Neri. On cross-examination he was not
able to say whether the bills he took to Manila in October, 1939, were treasury
certificates or bank bills; that in July, 1944, he visited Cagayan and he saw his
uncle Faustino living with Matilde Menciano and Carlo Magno Neri in the house of
a Chinaman on Calle Del Mar; that he saw the sum of P250,000 in a wooden
aparador. But when he was asked whether he actually saw the money in the
aparador, he said he was so informed by his uncle. His testimony is hearsay.
Furthermore, there is no reason why his uncle should have accounted to him for
the money. His testimony is contradicted by that of Paz Neri San Jose, his mother,
who stated that the deceased Faustino went to the house of the Chinaman on
Calle Del Mar only to fetch certain document which he had left there; that the

deceased was not living in said house; that he went there now and then to play
monte; that the deceased and herself were living in the house of one Tamparong;
that the deceased used to carry with him his money, jewels, and documents, in a
sack, wherever he went to play; that at the time of the air raid by the Americans,
the deceased went to the house on Calle Del Mar carrying the said sack, but he
returned to the house of Tamparong, leaving the sack in the house on Calle Del
Mar, but after the air raid he returned on the latter house to fetch the sack. This
testimony of Paz Neri, who was a witness for the defendants and a co-defendant
herself, contradicts in essential and important features that of Rodolfo Pelaez.
The testimony of Paz Neri would show that the deceased Neri was distrustful of
relatives and friends when his funds were concerned. P250,000 in 1939 was quite
a fortune in itself and, consisting of cash, could have been easily disposed of. In
1939 nobody believed for certain that there would be war. Why then should the
deceased have wanted to change the money for bigger denominations when he
could have deposited it in a nearby branch of the Philippine National Bank where
the deceased could have gone, for, as alleged by the defendants, he even went to
Cebu in 1940 for examination of his seminal fluid?
It was testified to by Clotilde Galarrita de Labitad that Matilde Menciano showed
to her the sum of P284,000 in genuine Philippine currency and counted the
money in her presence. This is unbelievable. Could she not have counted it
without the presence of anybody and thus avoided the danger of theft or robbery?
With regard to the jewels no satisfactory evidence was presented to prove that
Matilde Menciano misappropriated them. She received and had in her possession
a few jewels given to her by the deceased Faustino for the benefit of the children.
As to the revocation of the appointment of Paz Neri San Jose as executrix, the trial
court made a reasonable exercise of its discretion in setting it aside and
appointing Matilde Menciano administratrix, in view of the hostility between them
which would cause many incidental questions and delay in the termination of the
proceedings if Paz Neri had continued as such executrix. We see no reason for
interfering in this case with the discretion of the court.

The appellees contend that the court erred in not completely annulling the
institution of universal heir, without considering Rodolfo Pelaez as a legatee.
Inasmuch as the plaintiffs did not appeal, they are bound by the decision of the
trial court.
In view of the foregoing, the judgment appealed from is affirmed in all its parts,
with costs against the appellants. It is so ordered.
Paras, C. J., Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, Montemayor, and Bautista Angelo, JJ., concur.

C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 4 - 1 9 9 9 C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.

[G.R. No. 124005. June 28, 1999.]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. TOMAS ABLOG y
FERNANDO, defendant-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Rondaris, Rondaris & Associates for accused-appellant.
SYNOPSIS
Tomas Ablog was convicted as charged of raping his ten-year old grandniece
Christine Winda Montera and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. His conviction was based on the evidence presented by the prosecution
that Christine Winda Montera's family lived in a house abutting a wall of the
house of Tomas Ablog. Between 7:30 and 8:00 o'clock in the evening on 27 May
1995 Christine Winda Montera known as Tin-tin and her grandmother were
watching her mother washing clothes. After sometime, Tin-tin asked permission
from her grandmother to go to the comfort room which was used in common by
both families to urinate. While she was relieving herself, Tomas Ablog also entered
the comfort room. Ablog sexually abused her and he was pumping on Tin-tin

when she heard her grandmother calling for her. Finally accused Ablog pulled
himself out, stood up, and told Tin-tin to rise immediately and dress up as she
tried to put back her clothes. Then he instructed Tin-tin to step out of the room
first. As Tin-tin was going out of the room she met her mother Erlinda who also
noticed Ablog coming out of the same room while zipping up his shorts. Erlinda
became suspicious so she hurriedly took Tin-tin up to their house and told her to
sit down. She asked Tin-tin why she and her Lolo Tomas came out of the comfort
room together. Then Tin-tin tearfully narrated her ravishment by Ablog. On the
other hand, Ablog interposed impotency on account of old age as his defense. He
alleged that he was sixty-eight years old at the time of the commission of the
crime and this was complicated by his recurring and symptomatic hypertension
which limited his daily activities. AcEIHC
Hence, this appeal.
The Court rejected appellant's defense. It held that even the expert witness
appellant presented, Dr. Arnold Pasia, could not state with unequivocal conviction
that his hypertension was of a permanent nature and of such gravity that it
rendered him bereft of sexual desires and potency. On the contrary, Dr. Pasia
stressed that the hypertension that Ablog suffered was merely symptomatic and
could be healed by proper medication.
The Court had no reason to disagree with the findings of the court a quo. Great
weight is accorded to its findings as the trial judge is in the best position to assess
the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies because of his unique
opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and note their demeanor, conduct
and attitude under grueling examination. These are the most significant factors in
evaluating the sincerity of witnesses and in unearthing the truth. The appealed
decision was affirmed with modification as to the indemnity. HSTAcI
SYLLABUS
1.
CRIMINAL LAW; RAPE; IMPOTENCY AS DEFENSE MUST BE PROVED WITH
CERTAINTY. In People v. Palma, we ruled that impotency as a defense in rape
cases must be proved with certainty to overcome the presumption in favor of
potency. We even rejected that defense in People v. Olmedillo where a doctor had

examined the accused by stimulating his organ with a wisp of cotton for three (3)
minutes and there was no erection. With more reason must we reject such
defense in the face of the unsubstantiated allegation of Ablog. For at no time did
he present himself for the same kind of examination. Even the expert witness he
presented, Dr. Arnold Pasia, could not state with unequivocal conviction that his
hypertension was of a permanent nature and of such gravity that it rendered him
bereft of sexual desires and potency. On the contrary, Dr. Pasia stressed that the
hypertension that Ablog suffered was merely symptomatic and could be healed
by proper medication. cAHIaE
2.
ID.; ID.; AGE NOT CRITERION IN DETERMINING SEXUAL INTEREST.
Neither can accused-appellant invoke old age. In People v. Bahuyan, we convicted
an octogenarian of rape as we brushed aside his claim of impotency. There we
said that assuming arguendo that this was the truth, his advanced age did not
mean that sexual intercourse for him was no longer possible, as age taken alone
could not be a criterion in determining sexual interest and capability of middleaged and older people.
3.
REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; AFFIDAVITS; INFERIOR TO TESTIMONIES GIVEN
IN OPEN COURT. Failing to convince us with his allegation of impotency,
accused-appellant then attacks the credibility of the offended party, posing a
barrage of questions centered on the supposed inconsistencies in her testimony
and hoping to overwhelm us with the quantity, albeit lacking in quality, of his
contentions. Appellant places much importance on the omission by Tin-tin of the
pumping motions he allegedly made on her during the rape in her report to the
PNP. This is a stark indication on the part of the defense to harp at matters of little
import for we have always stated that affidavits ex parte are generally considered
to be inferior to testimonies given in open court. Thus, discrepancies, or
omissions as in this case, in the statements of the affiant in her affidavit and
those made by her on the witness stand do not necessarily discredit her.
4.
CRIMINAL LAW; RAPE; FRESHLY BROKEN HYMEN NOT ESSENTIAL ELEMENT
THEREOF. It is well settled that penetration, no matter how slight, or the mere
introduction of the male organ into the labia of the pudenda constitutes carnal
knowledge. Even the fact that hymenal lacerations are found to be shallow and

healed does not necessarily negate rape. A freshly broken hymen is not an
essential element of rape.
5.
REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES; FINDINGS OF
TRIAL JUDGE ACCORDED GREAT WEIGHT. We have no reason to disagree with
the findings of the court a quo. Great weight is accorded to its findings as the trial
judge is in the best position to assess the credibility of witnesses and their
testimonies because of his unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand
and note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under grueling examination.
These are the most significant factors in evaluating the sincerity of witnesses and
in unearthing the truth.
6.
ID.; ID.; PLEA OF FORGIVENESS TANTAMOUNT TO CONFESSION OF GUILT.
Taking into account altogether the numerous offers for the settlement of this
case, the plea of forgiveness by accused-appellant which was tantamount to a
confession of guilt and his admission that he could think of no possible ill motive
on the part of the Monteras in charging him with rape, we find beyond a scintilla
of doubt that he is guilty of statutory rape. DAaHET
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J p:
TOMAS ABLOG y FERNANDO was convicted of raping his ten-year old grandniece
Christine Winda Montera and sentenced to reclusion perpetua. He was also
ordered to indemnify his victim in the sum of P100,000.00. 1 He now pleads anew
for acquittal as he invokes the constitutional presumption of innocence in his
favor. He insists that the prosecution has failed to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. llcd
Christine Winda Montera's family lived in a house abutting a wall of the house of
Tomas Ablog at No. 14, Block O, Road 5, West Crame, Quezon City. The Montera
and Ablog families were living harmoniously until 27 May 1995 as will be narrated
hereunder. cdrep

Between 7:30 and 8:00 o'clock in the evening of 27 May 1995 Christine Winda
Montera nicknamed Tin-tin was sitting on a wooden bed under their house
together with her grandmother Vivian Baldo whom they fondly called Lola Bibing.
They were watching Tin-tin's mother, Erlinda Baldo Montera, who was washing
clothes at the Montera's private washing area about three (3) steps away.
After some time, Tin-tin asked permission from her Lola Bibing to go to the
comfort room which was used in common by both families to urinate. She was
allowed to go alone. While she was relieving herself she saw through the
sackcloth, which doubled as a covering and as the door of the room, her
granduncle, Tomas Ablog whom she called Lolo Tomas, coming towards the room
and lowering down the zippers of his short pants. From past experiences with him,
she already sensed his sexual intentions towards her. So, she hurriedly pulled up
her short pants but was dismayed when her Lolo Tomas suddenly called her.
Resigned to her fate and fearful of his abuse, she remained where she was. It was
then that she saw her granduncle enter the room bringing a slat of wood. In
silence, she watched as he laid it down on the rough floor.
Her Lolo Tomas then looked at her and told her to lie down on the slat of wood.
Tin-tin obliged. Then he commanded her to undress while he removed his shorts
and underpants. After discarding his underwear and seeing Tin-tin lying naked,
cowering, he told her to spread her legs. He briefly played with Tin-tin's private
parts which she referred to as her "dede" and "pepe" in her testimony. He also
kissed her immature breasts. He then placed himself on top of her and told her to
hold his flaccid penis. Afterwards he penetrated her. He was pumping on Tin-tin
when she heard her grandmother calling for her. Oblivious of her Lola Bibing's call
accused Ablog continued pumping until her Lola Bibing called for Erlinda. Finally
accused Ablog pulled himself out, stood up, and told Tin-tin to rise immediately
and dress up as she tried to put back her clothes. Then he instructed Tin-tin to
step out of the room first.
As Tin-tin was going out of the room she met her mother Erlinda who also noticed
Ablog coming out of the same room while zipping up his shorts. Erlinda became
suspicious so she hurriedly took Tin-tin up to their house and told her to sit down.
She asked Tin-tin why she and her Lolo Tomas came out of the comfort room

together. Then Tin-tin tearfully narrated her ravishment by Ablog. Erlinda told her
husband William about Tin-tins ordeal and the couple agreed to have their
daughter medically examined and to file the necessary complaint.
Tin-tin was physical examined by Dr. Owen Lebaquin of the PNP Crime Laboratory
Service at Camp Crame, Quezon City. The medico-legal findings showed shallow
and healed lacerations on the hymen at the 3:00 o'clock and 9:00 o'clock
positions and the external vaginal orifice offered strong resistance to the insertion
of the doctor's index finger. With these findings, the Monteras charged Tomas
Ablog on 31 May 1995 with statutory rape. Thereafter they were inundated with
several offers for settlement of the case from Baltazar Ablog, a nephew of the
accused, and from a certain Aida Alvarez, a townmate. William Montera himself
was approached by the accused during the investigation at PNP, Camp Crame, to
seek his forgiveness. The Monteras however never yielded. cdll
There is nothing on record to show any compelling reason to doubt the veracity of
the facts established by prosecution witnesses Dr. Owen Lebaquin, spouses
Erlinda and William Montera, and the offended party herself Christine Winda
Montera who clearly identified in open court her granduncle Tomas Ablog as her
defiler.
In the face of his positive identification by Christine, the only defense accusedappellant could offer was his alleged impotency on account of old age. He was
sixty-eight (68) years old at the time of the commission of the crime. This was
complicated, according to him, by his recurring and symptomatic hypertension
that never failed to cause him dizziness and general body debility which limited
his daily activities such that he even failed to attend a party with his friend Grego
who called on him in the morning of 27 May 1995. cdasia
Accused-appellant further claims he spent the whole day of 27 May 1995 sleeping
until his friend Alden Cristobal went to his house at about 7:00 to 8:00 o'clock in
the evening to inquire about the condition of the fighting cocks Ablog was raising
for the cockfight the next day. After Alden left, Ablog went down from his house to
the place where he kept his cocks near the common comfort room. He fed them
and checked their conditions. Then he washed his hands and feet at the nearby
faucet. While his wife Conception was checking on him from the terrace of the

second floor he filled the drum that was lying alongside the faucet with water with
the use of a hose. When Conception called him to go up he told her that the drum
was not yet full. He noticed Tin-tin inside the comfort room but did not wait for
her to come out because her grandmother was calling for her and Conception was
also calling for him. Soon thereafter, he went home and slept. After a while
Conception woke him up to ask if he did anything to Tin-tin and he simply replied,
"Anno bang ginawa ko?" Then his wife allowed him to go back to sleep.
Accused-appellant denies asking forgiveness from William Montera but admits
urging his wife Conception to file a complaint for ejectment against the Monteras
as retaliation for the charge of rape. He could not think of any reason however for
the charge against him as they and the Monteras had no quarrel at all.
The facile version of accused-appellant cannot be fortified by the testimony of his
wife which aside from being obviously biased is basically negative in nature.
Concepcion's testimony cannot prevail over the offended party's positive
identification of Tomas Ablog as her rapist.
Neither can the claim of impotency by accused-appellant be countenanced. In
People v. Palma, 2 we ruled that impotency as a defense in rape cases must be
proved with certainty to overcome the presumption in favor of potency. We even
rejected that defense in People v. Olmedillo 3 where a doctor had examined the
accused by stimulating his organ with a wisp of cotton for three (3) minutes and
there was no erection. cdphil
With more reason must we reject such defense in the face of the unsubstantiated
allegation of Ablog. For at no time did he present himself for the same kind of
examination. Even the expert witness he presented, Dr. Arnold Pasia, could not
state with unequivocal conviction that his hypertension was of a permanent
nature and of such gravity that it rendered him bereft of sexual desires and
potency. On the contrary, Dr. Pasia stressed that the hypertension that Ablog
suffered was merely symptomatic and could be healed by proper medication.
Neither can accused-appellant invoke old age. In People v. Bahuyan, 4 we
convicted an octogenarian of rape as we brushed aside his claim of impotency.
There we said that assuming arguendo that this was the truth, his advanced age
did not mean that sexual intercourse for him was no longer possible, as age taken

alone could not be a criterion in determining sexual interest and capability of


middle-aged and older people.
Failing to convince us with his allegation of impotency, accused-appellant then
attacks the credibility of the offended party, posing a barrage of questions
centered on the supposed inconsistencies in her testimony and hoping to
overwhelm us with the quantity, albeit lacking in quality, of his contentions.
Appellant places much importance on the omission by Tin-tin of the pumping
motions he allegedly made on her during the rape in her report to the PNP. This is
a stark indication on the part of the defense to harp at matters of little import for
we have always stated that affidavits ex parte are generally considered to be
inferior to testimonies given in open court. Thus, discrepancies, or omissions as in
this case, in the statements of the affiant in her affidavit and those made by her
on the witness stand do not necessarily discredit her. 5 The nitpicking continues
with the statement of Tin-tin that Ablog's penis was soft and only one and threefourths (1 3/4) to two (2) inches long. Appellant contends that the victim's
declaration is inconsistent with the findings of the medico-legal officer that the
laceration on the hymen was caused by a blunt and hard object and that the
victim's organ exhibited a strong resistance to the entry of the doctor's index
finger. prLL
We do not see any inconsistency on either point. In the matter of the condition of
the sexual organ of accused-appellant, the explanation of the Solicitor General 6
is noteworthy
Physical evidence is one of the highest degrees of proof. The description of
private complainant of appellant's penis as being soft does not merit the same
faith and credit as the testimony of Dr. Lebaquin absent showing of the
circumstances under which private complainant made her observation. Two
questions easily crop up respecting private complainant's testimony: how many
times did she observe the condition of appellant's penis, and how soft is "soft". It
may well be that private complainant observed the condition only once or just a
few times. Also, the condition private complainant described as "soft" may not be
to such a degree that penetration is impossible. Softness is relative.

Indeed, it may even be the touching by the offended party of the sexual organ of
accused-appellant which transformed its initially soft condition to hardness. Nor is
it improbable for a penis the size of one and three-fourths (1 3/4) to penetrate the
vagina of a ten-year old girl and for her vagina to still exhibit a strong resistance
to an index finger. Not only are the sizes of his penis and an index finger not too
far apart but it must also be stressed that the resistance of the hymen does not
depend on the size of the penetrated but on the laxity of the hymen itself. 7
Lest we lose sight of the fact that statutory rape as defined in Art. 335, par. (3) of
the Revised Penal Code is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman
under twelve (12) years of age, we must bear in mind that in all the arguments of
accused-appellant, nowhere was there a categorical denial to the evidence of the
prosecution that there was penetration of the labia of the victim. It is well settled
that penetration, no matter how slight, or the mere introduction of the male organ
into the labia of the pudenda constitutes carnal knowledge. 8 Even the fact that
hymenal lacerations are found to be shallow and healed does not necessarily
negate rape. A freshly broken hymen is not an essential element of rape. 9 More
so when, as in this case, the offended party had already testified on several
incidents of rape committed against her by the same accused-appellant Tomas
Ablog other than on the date of the rape under consideration. 10 Nor is the
presentation of the victim's underwear or the wooden board used during the
intercourse necessary in the prosecution of the case as incorrectly presupposed
by accused-appellant. 11 llcd
Clutching at straws, accused-appellant decries as unnatural the fact that Tin-tin
never cried in court during her testimony and claims that she testified to not
feeling any pain during the rape. A closer look at the records 12 reveals that Tintin, by way of rebuttal, indeed felt pain
Q:
When your Lola, the wife of the accused Tomas Ablog, testified in open
court, she stated before the Court that she talked to you whether your Lolo did
anything to you and you did not answer anything. You did not cry. You did not
react. What can you say about that?

A:
I was crying during that time that is why I cannot answer. What Lolo did to
me is painful. "Umiiyak po ako kaya hindi po ako nakasagot dahil masakit po ang
ginawa ng kanyng asawa sa akin".
The trial court found no reason to doubt Tin-tin's credibility when it made the
following observations 13
. . . the victim, Tin-tin, demonstrated no tell-tale signs that she was coached nor
rehearsed into giving the testimony against her Lolo Tomas. She delivered the
story of her ravishment exuding the pain of one violated. No improper motive can
be ascribed to her other than a desire to tell the truth and to tell it all. cdtai
We have no reason to disagree with the findings of the court a quo. Great weight
is accorded to its findings as the trial judge is in the best position to assess the
credibility of witnesses and their testimonies because of his unique opportunity to
observe the witnesses firsthand and note their demeanor, conduct and attitude
under grueling examination. These are the most significant factors in evaluating
the sincerity of witnesses and in unearthing the truth. 14
Taking into account altogether the numerous offers for the settlement of this
case, the plea of forgiveness by accused-appellant which was tantamount to a
confession of guilt and his admission that he could think of no possible ill motive
on the part of the Monteras in charging him with rape, we find beyond a scintilla
of doubt that he is guilty of statutory rape.
Accused-appellant is just fortunate that the relationship he abused was the very
same relationship that saved him from the death penalty. Section 11 of RA 7659
imposes the supreme penalty only on relatives by blood or affinity who are within
the third civil degree when the rape victim is under eighteen (18) years of age.
Tomas Ablog, being the husband of Tin-tin's Lola Bibing's sister, is already a fourth
civil degree relation of the offended party.
In line with recent jurisprudence, the award of P100,000.00 as civil indemnity is
reduced to P50,000.00, and conformably with our ruling in People v. Prades 15
that in crimes of rape moral damages may be additionally awarded to the victim

without need for pleading or proof of its basis, we deem it just to award to Tin-tin
another P50,000.00 for moral damages. cdll
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the appealed decision finding accusedappellant TOMAS ABLOG y FERNANDO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of raping
his ten-year old grandniece Christine Winda Montera and sentencing him to
reclusion perpetua is AFFIRMED with the modification that the civil indemnity of
P100,000.00 is reduced to P50,000.00. Another amount of P50,000.00 is awarded
to the offended party Christine Winda Montera for moral damages. No costs. cda
SO ORDERED.
Puno, Mendoza, Quisumbing and Buena, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.
Decision penned by Judge Martin S. Villarama, Jr., RTC-Br. 156, NCR, Pasig
City; Rollo, pp. 19-33.
2.

G.R. No. 69152, 23 September 1986, 144 SCRA 236.

3.

No. L-42660, 30 August 1982, 116 SCRA 193.

4.

G.R. No. 105842, 24 November 1994, 238 SCRA 330.

5.

Ibid.

6.

Rollo, pp. 142-143.

7.

TSN, 26 July 1995, p. 14.

8.

People v. De la Pea, G.R. No. 116060, 31 July 1997, 276 SCRA 558.

9.

People v. Betonio, G.R. No. 119165, 26 September 1997, 279 SCRA 532.

10.

TSN, 30 August 1995, p. 8.

11.

People v. Sarra, G.R. No. 78530, 6 March 1990, 183 SCRA 34.

12.

TSN, 23 January 1996, p. 10.

13.

See Note 1, pp. 30-31.

14.

People v. Penis, G.R. No. 127903, 9 July 1998.

15.

G.R. No. 127569, 30 July 1998, p. 19.

C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 4 - 1 9 9 9 C D T e c h n o l o g i e s A s i a, I n c.
Article 46