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SE AR CH R E SULTS FO R : DE CLAR ATI O N O F NULLI TY O F M AR R I AGE

Sexual And Marital Infidelity As A Ground For Declaration Of Nullity Of Marriage


Due To Psychological Incapacity

Almost always, any petition for declaration of nullity of a void marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity include
allegations of sexual or marital infidelity, among other grounds, on the part of the other spouses, or in some cases, by the
petitioner himself or herself. At other times, the claim is that the other party does not want to consummate the marriage,
willingly or unwillingly. In most cases, the Court denied petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage on ground of
psychological incapacity, applying the very strict guidelines in Molina vs Molina. This post aims to present a survey of cases
where the Court applied the guidelines of Molina in resolving cases that went up to it. Most decision cited are posted
previously on the blog, and you may see the entire post by clicking the hyperlink.

The recurring theme in all of these decisions which involve sexual infidelity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage for
psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code is that:

1. Sexual infidelity by itself, is not a ground for declaring a marriage void due to psychological incapacity. At most, it is a
ground for legal separation;
2. As in every allegation of psychological incapacity, the infidelity or unfaithfulness must be established as a sign or
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manifestation of a disordered personality which completely prevented the respondent or petitioner from performing the
essential obligations of marriage;
3. There must be a supervening factor that incapacitated the party from complying with the essential obligations of marriage.
4. The promiscuity or infidelity must be apparent at the inception of the marriage.

It begs the question of course, why would you marry an promiscuous man or woman in the first place. Is there infidelity before
the marriage between the parties? Marital infidelity presupposes that a marriage takes place first between the parties.

The first invocation of sexual infidelity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological
incapacity happened in the case of Hernandez vs Hernandez. There, aside from protesting that her husband was a spendthrift,
irresponsible husband, she also alleged that her husband, even after their marriage, cohabited with another woman, sired her
an illegitimate child, and even contracted venereal disease which contaminated her (ouch). This she said, constitute a ground
for dissolution of her marriage. The RTC of course denied it, ruling that sexual infidelity, among others, is a ground for legal
separation, not of psychological incapacity. Had the law intended it to be so, it would not have included the same as a ground
for legal separation. The CA agreed with the RTC, thus the hapless and hopeless petitioner elevated her case to the Supreme
Court. Which unfortunately sided with the lower court. It said:

However, private respondents alleged habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and abandonment do not by
themselves constitute grounds for finding that he is suffering from psychological incapacity within the contemplation of the
Family Code. It must be shown that these acts are manifestations of a disordered personality which make private
respondent completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state, and not merely due to
private respondents youth and self-conscious feeling of being handsome, as the appellate court held. (Underscoring
mine)

Sy vs Sy, on the other hand sang a different tune. As one of the grounds for her petition, the wife alleged that her husband
refuses to have sex with her, and instead, opts to satisfy himself rather than have sex with her. However, he had a mistress
whom he prefers to live with (kind of dense, this one). Both the RTC and the CA denied her petition. Luckily for her, she
discovered that her marriage with respondent lacked a marriage license, and it was this ground which the Supreme Court used
in granting her petition, so the issue of her husbands refusal to have sex with her never got to the pages of the Supreme Court
Reports Annotated (SCRA). While the Court noted that the issue of lack of marriage license was first raised on appeal, the

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petitioner extensively discussed the evidence in her pleadings before the lower courts.

While in Dedel vs CA, the petitioner, the husband, accused his wife of sexual infidelity, the Supreme Court noted that the
infidelity occurred only after the marriage said: The difficulty in resolving the problem lies in the fact that a personality disorder
is a very complex and elusive phenomenon which defies easy analysis and definition. In this case, respondents sexual infidelity
can hardly qualify as being mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that she could not have known the obligations she was
assuming, or knowing them, could not have given a valid assumption thereof. It appears that respondents promiscuity did not
exist prior to or at the inception of the marriage. What is, in fact, disclosed by the records is a blissful marital union at its
celebration, later affirmed in church rites, and which produced four children.

In Villalon vs Villalon, it was the petitioner who wants out of the relationship. Among other grounds, the husband confessed
to being a womanizer, which according to him, render him unfit to continue as husband to his wife. Opposing the petition, the
wife claimed that her husband is in fact, a model husband. The Supreme Court refused believe the self-confessed womaniser,
and held that:

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 respondents
testimony, petitioners 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.

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. The evidence on record fails to convince us that petitioners 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. (Citations omitted)

Is the Court trying to say in this case that the petitioner is not doing enough being a womanixer thus his petition cannot be
granted? While you may do so, you ran the risk of being charged with adultery or concubinage, or worse, violation of Republic
Act 9262 if you happen to be the husband.

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Paras vs. Paras also included sexual infidelity as a ground. In the case, the respondent sired a woman, his secretary in the law
office, and named their daughter after their (husband and wife) deceased daughter. The Court noted that although it was
established that the respondent committed infidelity, this was done long after the marriage, when lifes setbacks as well as the
wifes and her familys insolent behaviour towards the husband contributed to his behaviour:

The records indicate that the marriage between the parties had a good start, resulting in the birth of their four (4) children. The
early days of their cohabitation were blissful and harmonious. Justo was deeply in love with Rosa, even persuading his mother to
give her a dowry. They were able to build a 10-room family home and acquire several properties, thus, proving themselves to be
responsible couple. Even Rosa admitted that Justo took care of their children when they were young. Unfortunately, the passage
of time appeared to have taken its toll on their relationship. The acts committed by Justo appeared to have been the result of
irreconcilable differences between them caused by the death of their two (2) children and financial difficulties due to his
failure to win the mayoralty election and to sustain his law practice. Furthermore, the superior business acumen of Rosa, as
well as the insolent attitude of her family towards Justo, busted his ego and lowered his self-esteem.

There is no evidence that Justos defects were present at the inception of the marriage. His defects surfaced only in
the latter years when these events took place; their two children died; he lost in the election; he failed in his business ventures
and law practice; and felt the disdain of his wife and her family. Surely, these circumstances explain why Rosa filed the present
case only after almost 30 years of their marriage. (Citations omitted)

Navales vs Navales dealt with the allegations of the husband that his wife was a nyphomaniac even prior to their marriage,
one who flirts constantly with other men, and who always wore sexy dresses, and used her maiden name when talking to other
men. The RTC granted the petition, thus the wife elevated the case to the Supreme Court. In granting the wifes petition, the
Court noted the failure of the psychologist to explain the root cause of the wifes psychological incapacity warranting the
dissolution of their marriage, thus:

The Court finds that the psychological report presented in this case is insufficient to establish Nildas psychological incapacity.
In her report, Vatanagul concluded that Nilda is a nymphomaniac, an emotionally immature individual, has a borderline
personality, has strong sexual urges which are incurable, has complete denial of her actual role as a wife, has a very weak
conscience or superego, emotionally immature, a social deviant, not a good wife as seen in her infidelity on several occasions, an
alcoholic, suffers from anti-social personality disorder, fails to conform to social norms, deceitful, impulsive, irritable and
aggresive, irresponsible and vain. She further defined nymphomia as a psychiatric disorder that involves a disturbance in
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motor behavior as shown by her sexual relationship with various men other than her husband.

The report failed to specify, however, the names of the men Nilda had sexual relationship with or the circumstances
surrounding the same. As pointed out by Nilda, there is not even a single proof that she was ever involved in an illicit
relationship with a man other than her husband. Vatanagul claims, during her testimony, that in coming out with the report, she
interviewed not only Reynaldo but also Jojo Caballes, Dorothy and Lesley who were Reynaldos sister-in-law and sister,
respectively, a certain Marvin and a certain Susan. Vatanagul however, did not specify the identities of these persons, which
information were supplied by whom, and how they came upon their respective informations. Indeed, the conclusions drawn by
the report are vague, sweeping and lack sufficient factual bases. As the report lacked specificity, it failed to show the root
cause of Nildas psychological incapacity; and failed to demonstrate that there was a natal or supervening disabling
factor or an adverse integral element in Nildas character that effectively incapacitated her from accepting, and thereby
complying with, the essential marital obligations, and that her psychological or mental malady existed even before the
marriage. Hence, the Court cannot give weight to said assessment.

The standards used by the Court in assessing the sufficiency of psychological reports may be deemed very strict, but that is only
proper in view of the principle that any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage and the indissolubility
of the marital vinculum. (Citation omitted)

Dimayuga vs Dimayuga is strange, because, while the wife accused her husband of infidelity, she also implied her husband may
be gay because when they went on honeymoon, he allowed a 15-year old boy who was the son of their helper to stay with
them inside the room. The Court in reversing the lower courts finding of psychological incapacity of the husband noted:

Petitioner also failed to prove that respondents psychological incapacity was existing at the time of the celebration of their
marriage. Petitioner only cited that during their honeymoon, she found it strange that respondent allowed their 15-year old
companion, the son of one of respondents house helpers, to sleep in their room. However, respondent explained that he and
petitioner already stayed in a hotel for one night before they went to Baguio City and that they had sexual relations even
before their marriage. Respondent explained that the boy was with them to take pictures and videos of their stay in Baguio
City and had to stay with them in the room due to monetary constraints.

In sum, the totality of the evidence presented by petitioner failed to show that respondent was psychologically
incapacitated and that such incapacity was grave, incurable, and existing at the time of the solemnization of their
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marriage.

Rumbaua vs Rumabua discussed the respondents infidelity four years into the marriage: Yet again, the Court demurred:

Likewise, the respondents act of living with another woman four years into the marriage cannot automatically be equated
with a psychological disorder, especially when no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing
at the inception of marriage. In fact, petitioner herself admitted that respondent was caring and faithful when they were
going steady and for a time after their marriage; their problems only came in later.

The petitioner in Alcazar vs Alcazar made a belated attempt to include sexual infidelity as a ground for declaration of
declaration of nullity of her marriage to his husband, who abandoned him. Said the Court:

As a last-ditch effort to have her marriage to respondent declared null, petitioner pleads abandonment by and sexual
infidelity of respondent. In a Manifestation and Motion dated 21 August 2007 filed before us, petitioner claims that she was
informed by one Jacinto Fordonez, who is residing in the same barangay as respondent in Occidental Mindoro, that
respondent is living-in with another woman named Sally.

Sexual infidelity, per se, however, does not constitute psychological incapacity within the contemplation of the Family Code.
Again, petitioner must be able to establish that respondents unfaithfulness is a manifestation of a disordered
personality, which makes him completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.

In Ligeralde vs Patalinghug and Republic of the Philippines, the Court denied the protestations of the husband that his wife
is an adulterer and the same constituted psychological incapacity which render their marriage void on the ground of
psychological incapacity:

More importantly, the acts of private respondent do not even rise to the level of the psychological incapacity
that the law requires. Private respondents act of living an adulterous life cannot automatically be equated with a
psychological disorder, especially when no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already
existing at the inception of marriage. Petitioner must be able to establish that respondents unfaithfulness is a
manifestation of a disordered personality, which makes her completely unable to discharge the essential
obligations of the marital state.10

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Doubtless, the private respondent was far from being a perfect wife and a good mother. She certainly had some character
flaws. But these imperfections do not warrant a conclusion that she had a psychological malady at the time of the marriage
that rendered her incapable of fulfilling her marital and family duties and obligations. (Citations omitted)

Aside from being irresponsible and spendthrift, the husband in Toring vs Toring and Republic of the Philippines also accused
his wife of infidelity, accusing her of getting pregnant in the course of their marriage, which according to him, cannot be
attributed to him as the three sexual contacts he had with her resulted in withdrawals. This pregnancy he was able to confirm
because his wife had a miscarriage later on. Again, the Court refused to listen to the husbands protestations, noting that he
failed to prove the psychological incapacity of his wife:

Teresitas alleged infidelity, even if true, likewise does not constitute psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family
Code. In order for sexual infidelity to constitute as psychological incapacity, the respondents unfaithfulness must be
established as a manifestation of a disordered personality, completely preventing the respondent from discharging the
essential obligations of the marital state; there must be proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor that effectively
incapacitated her from complying with the obligation to be faithful to her spouse.

In our view, Ricardo utterly failed in his testimony to prove that Teresita suffered from a disordered personality of this kind.
Even Ricardos added testimony, relating to rumors of Teresitas dates with other men and her pregnancy by another man,
would not fill in the deficiencies we have observed, given the absence of an adverse integral element and link to Teresitas
allegedly disordered personality.

Moreover, Ricardo failed to prove that Teresitas alleged character traits already existed at the inception of their marriage.
Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the psychological incapacity must exist at the time of the celebration of the
marriage, even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. In the absence of this element, a marriage
cannot be annulled under Article 36.

Camacho-Reyes vs Reyes is unique. It granted the petition filed by the wife after the Court of Appeals reversed the earlier
decision of the RTC declaring the marriage between the parties null and void on the ground of psychological incapacity.
Although marital infidelity was one of the grounds of the petition, the main contention of the wife seemed to be the seeming
lack of responsibility and the sense of entitlement of the husband. All three expert witnesses opined that either or both of the
parties were psychologically incapacitated, and the Court agreed, especially with respect to the husband, who it found

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suffered from antisocial personality disorder. What saved the day for the petitioner was the exhaustive case history and
studies made by the expert witnesses of respondents psychological incapacity, even further going back to respondents
mother. In ruling that respondent indeed suffered from antisocial personality disorder, the Court said:

In the case at bar, however, even without the experts conclusions, the factual antecedents (narrative of events) alleged in the
petition and established during trial, all point to the inevitable conclusion that respondent is psychologically incapacitated to
perform the essential marital obligations.

Article 68 of the Family Code provides:

Art. 68. The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help
and support.

In this connection, it is well to note that persons with antisocial personality disorder exhibit the following clinical features:

Patients with antisocial personality disorder can often seem to be normal and even charming and ingratiating. Their histories,
however, reveal many areas of disordered life functioning. Lying, truancy, running away from home, thefts, fights, substance
abuse, and illegal activities are typical experiences that patients report as beginning in childhood. x x x Their own explanations
of their antisocial behavior make it seem mindless, but their mental content reveals the complete absence of delusions and
other signs of irrational thinking. In fact, they frequently have a heightened sense of reality testing and often impress
observers as having good verbal intelligence.

x x x Those with this disorder do not tell the truth and cannot be trusted to carry out any task or adhere to any conventional
standard of morality. x x x A notable finding is a lack of remorse for these actions; that is, they appear to lack a conscience.

In the instant case, respondents pattern of behavior manifests an inability, nay, a psychological incapacity to perform the
essential marital obligations as shown by his: (1) sporadic financial support; (2) extra-marital affairs; (3) substance abuse; (4)
failed business attempts; (5) unpaid money obligations; (6) inability to keep a job that is not connected with the family
businesses; and (7) criminal charges of estafa. (Citations omitted)

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In Agraviador vs Agraviador, it was only after almost 40 years of marriage that the husband filed his petition to declare his
marriage to his wife void. Among his reasons: the refusal of the latter to have sex with him. The wife countered that in fact it
was the husband who is unfaithful to him. Court denied the petition.

The petitioners marriage to the respondent may have 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. We stress that Article 36 of
the Family Code contemplates downright incapacity or inability to assume and fulfill the basic marital obligations, not a mere
refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less, ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. It is not to be confused with a divorce law that
cuts the marital bond at the time the grounds for divorce manifest themselves. The State, fortunately or unfortunately, has
not seen it fit to decree that divorce should be available in this country. Neither should an Article 36 declaration of nullity 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, sexual infidelity, abandonment, and the like. 1 Unless the
evidence presented clearly reveals a situation where the parties or one of them, by reason of a grave and incurable
psychological illness existing at the time the marriage was celebrated, was incapacitated to fulfill the obligations of marital life
(and thus could not then have validly entered into a marriage), then we are compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the
marital tie.

Just like in Villalon vs Villalon, Marable vs Marable is a situation where the petitioner confessed to being a womaniser,
blaming his father, another womanizer, for influencing him which made him become unfaithful to his wife. No way Jose said
the Court. Not good enough. More effort at womanizing:

Petitioner tried to make it appear that his family history of having a womanizer for a father, was one of the reasons why he
engaged in extra-marital affairs during his marriage. However, it appears more likely that he became unfaithful as a result of a
general dissatisfaction with his marriage rather than a psychological disorder rooted in his personal history. His tendency to
womanize, assuming he had such tendency, was not shown to be due to causes of a psychological nature that is grave,
permanent and incurable. In fact, the records show that when respondent learned of his affair, he immediately terminated it.
In short, petitioners marital infidelity does not appear to be symptomatic of a grave psychological disorder which rendered
him incapable of performing his spousal obligations. It has been held in various cases that sexual infidelity, by itself, is not
sufficient proof that petitioner is suffering from psychological incapacity. 2 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. 3 That not being the case with petitioner, his claim of psychological incapacity must fail. It bears stressing that
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of marriage. That not being the case with petitioner, his claim of psychological incapacity must fail. It bears stressing that
psychological incapacity must be more than just a difficulty, refusal or neglect in the performance of some marital
obligations. Rather, it is essential that the concerned party was incapable of doing so, due to some psychological illness
existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage. In Santos v. Court of Appeals, 4 the intention of the law is 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 marriag 5.

In Ochosa vs Ochosa, the petitioner was a soldier who was always out on assignments while his wife was left behind. While he
was away, according to him, his wife made the rounds of the community engaging in illicit relations, the last of which was a
corporal. When he could not bear it anymore, he brought their adopted child with him and moved out. After a long period of
time he filed the petition. Does it merit consideration? No, the Court said. While it was convinced that the wife indeed
engaged in sexual infidelity, the totality of the evidence is simply not enough to grant the declaration of nullity of their
marriage based on psychological incapacity:

We are sufficiently convinced, after a careful perusal of the evidence presented in this case, that Bona had been, on several
occasions with several other men, sexually disloyal to her spouse, Jose. Likewise, we are persuaded that Bona had indeed
abandoned Jose. However, we cannot apply the same conviction to Joses thesis that the totality of Bonas acts constituted
psychological incapacity as determined by Article 36 of the Family Code. There is inadequate credible evidence that her
defects were already present at the inception of, or prior to, the marriage. In other words, her alleged psychological
incapacity did not satisfy the jurisprudential requisite of juridical antecedence.

Kalaw vs Fernandez is unique. This was the first that the Court reversed itself in a petition for declaration of nullity of
marriage based on psychological incapacity. The court first denied the petition in 2011, but on motion for reconsideration by
the husband, the Court reversed itself. Among the grounds raised for the petition was marital infidelity on the part of the
wife, who was allegedly caught by the husband and her brother in an uncompromising position with another man in a hotel.
In the first decision, the Court said:

Even assuming arguendo that petitioner was able to prove that respondent had an extramarital affair with another man,
that one instance of sexual infidelity cannot, by itself, be equated with obsessive need for attention from other men. Sexual
infidelity per se is a ground for legal separation, but it does not necessarily constitute psychological incapacity.

Xxx
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What transpired between the parties is acrimony and, perhaps, infidelity, which may have constrained them from dedicating
the best of themselves to each other and to their children. There may be grounds for legal separation, but certainly not
psychological incapacity that voids a marriage.

In the reversed decision, the Court noted that there are public policy considerations in the ruling because by condemning the
parties to a life of togetherness despite the fact that their marriage has for all intents and purposes failed to exist, the parties
were now in effect habitual trysters with its concomitant consequence of illegitimate children because they must
satisfaction from others because the other spouse could not give them fulfilment (sounds base, but practical). This was
decided in 2015, and became the basis for talks that the Court has relaxed the requirements of Molina vs Molina.

Although the petitioner, as the plaintiff, carried the burden to prove the nullity of the marriage, the respondent, as the
defendant spouse, could establish the psychological incapacity of her husband because she raised the matter in her answer.
The courts are justified in declaring a marriage null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code regardless of whether it is the
petitioner or the respondent who imputes the psychological incapacity to the other as long as the imputation is fully
substantiated with proof. Indeed, psychological incapacity may exist in one party alone or in both of them, and if
psychological incapacity of either or both is established, the marriage has to be deemed null and void.

More than twenty (20) years had passed since the parties parted ways. By now, they must have already accepted and come to
terms with the awful truth that their marriage, assuming it existed in the eyes of the law, was already beyond repair. Both
parties had inflicted so much damage not only to themselves, but also to the lives and psyche of their own children. It would
be a greater injustice should we insist on still recognizing their void marriage, and then force them and their children to
endure some more damage. This was the very same injustice that Justice Romero decried in her erudite dissenting opinion in
Santos v. Court of Appeals:41

It would be 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.1wphi1 It is 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
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respondent, his wife, the companionship and conjugal love which he has sought from her and towhich 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 wifes psychological incapacity to perform an essential marital
obligation. In this case, the marriage never existed from the beginning because the respondent was afflicted with
psychological incapacity at and prior to the time of the marriage. Hence, the Court should not hesitate to declare the nullity of
the marriage between the parties.

Republic vs Encelan tackled the wifes abandonment of the her husband and sexual infidelity towards him. The lower courts
granted the petition but the Republic interposed its appeal. In granting the petition, the Court reiterated its earlier decisions
that sexual infidelity and abandonment by themselves are not enough to prove psychological incapacity:

In any event, sexual infidelity and abandonment of the conjugal dwelling, even if true, do not necessarily constitute
psychological incapacity; these are simply grounds for legal separation. To constitute psychological incapacity, it must be
shown that the unfaithfulness and abandonment are manifestations of a disordered personality that completely prevented
the erring spouse from discharging the essential marital obligations. No evidence on record exists to support Cesars
allegation that Lolitas infidelity and abandonment were manifestations of any psychological illness. (Citations omitted)

In Mallilin vs Republic and Jamisolamin, the husband was the petitioner, and the familiar refrain of the wifes infidelity and
sexual liaison during the marriage appeared. The Court refused to consider the marriage voice, because the husband failed to
prove the root cause of the wifes psychological incapacity:

The alleged failure of Luz to assume her duties as a wife and as a mother, as well as her emotional immaturity, irresponsibility
and infidelity, cannot rise to the level of psychological incapacity that justifies the nullification of the parties marriage. The
Court has repeatedly stressed that psychological incapacity contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take
cognizance of and to assume the basic marital obligations, not merely the refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will, on the
part of the errant spouse. Indeed, to be declared clinically or medically incurable is one thing; to refuse or be reluctant to
perform ones duties is another. Psychological incapacity refers only to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.

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As correctly found by the CA, sexual infidelity or perversion and abandonment do not, by themselves, constitute grounds for
declaring a marriage void based on psychological incapacity. Robert argues that the series of sexual indiscretion of Luz were
external manifestations of the psychological defect that she was suffering within her person, which could be considered as
nymphomania or excessive sex hunger. Other than his allegations, however, no other convincing evidence was adduced to
prove that these sexual indiscretions were considered as nymphomania, and that it was grave, deeply rooted, and incurable
within the term of psychological incapacity embodied in Article 36. To stress, Roberts testimony alone is insufficient to prove
the existence of psychological incapacity.

In Sivino A. Ligeralde v. May Ascension A. Patalinghug and the Republic of the Philippines, the Court ruled that the
respondents act of living an adulterous life cannot automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially when no
specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing at the inception of marriage. The petitioner must be
able to establish that the respondents unfaithfulness was a manifestation of a disordered personality, which made her
completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.(Citations omitted)

Sexual Intimacy Or The Lack Of It:


While the Court was very strict when dissolving a marriage on ground of psychological incapacity when sexual or marital
infidelity was invoked, one case stood out because the case involved the lack of intimacy between the wife and her husband,
who she believes, is a closet homosexual. Of course, the husband, a Chinese national, denied the allegations. While he may
have a less than sufficient dick (small, in other words) the same may still be capable of reproduction, given the right stimulus,
said he. What stimulus, only the husband knows. The Court granted the wifes petition and dissolved the marriage:

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 or 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.

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
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spiritual communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each others 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.

So there.

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September 11, 2016

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In An Action For Declaration Of Nullity Of Marriage Based On the Ground Of
Psychological Incapacity, The Question For Determination Is Whether The Guilty
Party Suffers A Grave, Incurable, And Pre-Existing Mental Incapacity That Renders
Him Truly Incognitive Of The Basic Marital Covenants

The Case:

Rosa married Justo in 1974, and their union produced four children. A the start of the their marriage, Rosa supported her family
thru her Botica, as Justo supported her sisters education. Howver, Justo lived the life of a bachelor, spending more time with
his friends than her family. When their child Cindy was diagnosed with leukaemia, it was her family who supported her
medication. When their son Raoul was electrocuted, the whole family went to the United States to assuage the grief of their
loss. However, after several months, Justo returned to the Philippines. When she came back, she found her Botica heavily in
debt; a conjugal property sold without her knowledge and consent, and even the municipal government drew fuel from their
gasoline station for free, allowed by Justo. Because of his profligate nature, her living with and siring a child with a concubine,
failure to give financial support, and being remiss in his duties as a husband and father, Rosa filed a complaint for declaration of
nullity of her marriage to Justo on the ground of psychological incapacity. She also filed a complaint for disbarment against
Justo, docketed as A.C. No. 5333. With the same premise in her petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage to Justo.

The RTC dismissed the case filed by Rosa. Justo appealed to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the Court, in A.C. No, 5333
suspended Justo from the practice of law upon a finding that he forged Rosas signature, immorality, and abandonment of his
family.

The CA, on the other hand, dismissed the appeal filed by Justo, affirming the RTC decision. The CA also noted Rosas inability to
offer the testimony of a psychologist in violation of the tenets of Republic vs CA and Molina. Thus she failed to substantiate her
allegation that her marriage to Justo was null and void on the ground of psychological incapacity. Rosa sought recourse with the
Supreme Court. She avers that the factual findings of the Court in A.C. No. 5333 are conclusive on the case, hence the CA erred
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in finding otherwise. Since she filed the petition in May, 1993, well before the Molina ruling, she could have presented a
psychologist had she been required to do so. In the alternative, her case should have been remanded to the RTC for reception
of evidence.. Justo argues that the factual findings in A.C. No 5333 is a new matter foreign and removed from the present
petition, thus the findings therein are not conclusive to this case.

The Issue:

Whether the CA is bound by the factual findings of the Court in A.C. No. 5333;

Whether a remand of the case to the RTC is proper; and,

Whether the totality of the evidence presented showed psychological incapacity on the part of Rosa.

The Ruling:

The petition is bereft of merit.

Whether the factual findings of this Court in


A.C. No. 5333 are conclusive on the present case.

Rosa, sad to say, had made much ado about nothing. A reading of the Court of Appeals Decision shows that she has no reason
to feel aggrieved. In fact, the appellate court even assumed that her charges are true, but concluded that they are insufficient
to declare the marriage void on the ground of psychological incapacity. The pertinent portion of the Decision reads:

Applying these parameters to the sifted evidence, we find that even if we assume Justos alleged infidelity, failure to
support his family and alleged abandonment of their family home are true, such traits are at best indicators that he
is unfit to become an ideal husband and father. However, by themselves, these grounds are insufficient to declare the
marriage void due to an incurable psychological incapacity. These grounds, we must emphasize, do not manifest that he was
truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that he must assume and discharge as a married person. While they may
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manifest the gravity of his alleged psychological incapacity, they do not necessarily show incurability, such that while his acts
violated the covenants of marriage, they do not necessarily show that such acts show an irreparably hopeless state of
psychological incapacity which prevents him from undertaking the basic obligations of marriage in the future. 1

The Court of Appeals pointed this out in its Resolution denying Rosas motion for reconsideration, thus:

Even as we are fully cognizant of the findings of the Supreme Court in the disbarment case appellant filed against her husband,
namely, appellees falsification of documents to obtain loans and his infidelity, these facts, by themselves, do not conclusively
establish appellees psychological incapacity as contemplated under Article 36 of the Family Code. In fact, we already went as
far as to presume the existence of such seeming depravities in appellees character in our earlier judgment.
However, as we emphasized in our Decision, the existence of such eventualities is not necessarily conclusive of an
inherent incapacity on the part of appellee to discern and perform the rudiments of marital obligations as required
under Article 36. 2

Clearly, Rosas insistence that the factual findings in A.C. No. 5333 be considered conclusive on the present case is
unmeritorious. The Court of Appeals already went as far as to presume the existence of Justos depravities, however, even
doing so could not bring about her (Rosas) desired result. As Rosas prayer for relief suggests, what she wants is for this Court to
annul her marriage on the bases of its findings in A.C. No. 5333. 3 Obviously, she is of the impression that since her charges in
A.C. No. 5333 were found to be true, justifying the suspension of Justo from the practice of law, the same charges are also
sufficient to prove his psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations.

Her premise is of course non-sequitur.

Jurisprudence abounds that administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own. They are distinct from and may
proceed independently of civil and criminal cases. The basic premise is that criminal and civil cases are altogether
different from administrative matters, such that the disposition in the first two will not inevitably govern the third
and vice versa. 4 The Courts exposition in In re Almacen 5 is instructive, thus:

x x x Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, they do not involve a trial
of an action or a suit, but are rather investigations by the Court into the conduct of one of its officers. Not being intended to
inflict punishment, [they are] in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein.

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[They] may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. Public interest is [their] primary objective, and the real question for
determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of
its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer
of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest
administration of justice by purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have prove[n] themselves
no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. In such
posture, there can thus be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor.

Accordingly, ones unfitness as a lawyer does not automatically mean ones unfitness as a husband or vice versa. 6 The
yardsticks for such roles are simply different. This is why the disposition in a disbarment case cannot be conclusive on an action
for declaration of nullity of marriage. While Rosas charges sufficiently proved Justos unfitness as a lawyer, however, they may
not establish that he is psychologically incapacitated to perform his duties as a husband. In the disbarment case, the real
question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. Its purpose is
to protect the court and the public from the misconduct of officers of the court. On the other hand, in an action for declaration
of nullity of marriage based on the ground of psychological incapacity, the question for determination is whether the guilty
party suffers a grave, incurable, and pre-existing mental incapacity that renders him truly incognitive of the basic marital
covenants. Its purpose is to free the innocent party from a meaningless marriage. In this case, as will be seen in the following
discussion, Justos acts are not sufficient to conclude that he is psychologically incapacitated, albeit such acts really fall short of
what is expected from a lawyer.

II

Whether a remand of this case to the RTC is necessary.

The presentation of an expert witness to prove psychological incapacity has its origin in Molina. 7 One of the Guidelines set forth
therein states:

(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

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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.

In the 2000 case of Marcos v. Marcos, 8 the Court clarified that the above Guideline does not require that the respondent should
be examined by a physician or psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of the nullity of marriage. What is
important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition.

Interestingly, in the same year (2000) that Marcos was decided, the Court backtracked a bit when it held in Republic v. Dagdag 9
that, the root cause of psychological incapacity must be medically or clinically identified and sufficiently proven by
experts and this requirement was not deemed complied with where no psychiatrist or medical doctor testified on the alleged
psychological incapacity of one party.

Significantly, the New Rules on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages, 10
promulgated by this Court on March 15, 2003, geared towards the relaxation of the requirement of expert opinion. Section 2,
paragraph (d) states:

(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.

In Barcelona v. Court of Appeals, 11 this Court categorically explained that under the New Rules, a petition for declaration of nullity
under Article 36 of the Family Code need not allege expert opinion on the psychological incapacity or on its root cause. What
must be alleged are the physical manifestations indicative of said incapacity. The Court further held that the New Rules,
being procedural in nature, apply to actions pending and unresolved at the time of their adoption.

12
Later, in 2005, the Court reiterated the Marcos doctrine in Republic v. Iyoy. Thus:

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A later case, Marcos v. Marcos, 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. Such psychological incapacity, however, must be established by
the totality of the evidence presented during the trial.

Significantly, the present case is exactly akin to Pesca v. Pesca. 13 Pesca stemmed from a complaint for declaration of nullity of
marriage under Article 36 filed by a battered wife sometime in April 1994. The trial court, in its Decision dated November 15, 1995,
decreed the marriage void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of the husband. The Court of Appeals
reversed the trial courts Decision, applying the Guidelines set forth in Santos v. Court of Appeals 14 and Molina. 15 When the
matter was brought to this Court, the wife argued that Santos and Molina should not have retroactive application, the
Guidelines being merely advisory and not mandatory in nature. She submitted that the proper application of Santos and Molina
warranted only a remand of her case to the trial court for further proceedings, not a dismissal. The Court declined to remand
Pesca 16 on the premise that the Santos and Molina Guidelines constitute a part of the law as of the date the statute is
enacted, thus:

The doctrine of stare decisis, ordained in Article 8 of the Civil Code, expresses that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the
law shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines. The rule follows the settled legal maxim legis interpretado legis vim
obtinet that the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has the force of law. The interpretation or
construction placed by the courts establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent of the law. The latter as so
interpreted and construed would thus constitute a part of the law as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only
when a prior ruling of this Court finds itself later overruled, and a different view is adopted, that the new doctrine may have to
be applied prospectively in favor of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith in accordance
therewith under the familiar rule of lex prospicit, non replicit.

The Court then opted to examine the evidence. It affirmed that the wife failed, both in her allegations in the complaint and in
her evidence, to make out a case of psychological incapacity on the part of her husband. The Court then concluded that
emotional immaturity and irresponsibility cannot be equated with psychological incapacity.

Applying the foregoing cases, Marcos, Barcelona, Iyoy, and Pesca, to the instant case, there is no reason to remand it to the trial
court. The records clearly show that there is sufficient evidence to establish the psychological condition of Justo.
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III

Whether the totality of evidence in the case


shows psychological incapacity on the part of Justo
as to justify the declaration of nullity of marriage.

The last issue left for this Courts consideration is whether the totality of the evidence is sufficient to sustain a finding of
psychological incapacity on the part of Justo so as to justify the dissolution of the marriage in question.

At this juncture, it is imperative that the parties be reminded of the States policy on marriage. Article XV of the Constitution
mandates that:

SEC. 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.

SEC. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.

This State policy on the inviolability of marriage has been enshrined in Article 1 of the Family Code which states that:

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.

Given the foregoing provisions of constitutional and statutory law, this Court has held fast to the position that any doubt as to
the validity of a marriage is to be resolved in favor of its validity. 17 Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio.

Of course, the law recognizes that not all marriages are made in heaven. Imperfect humans more often than not create
imperfect unions. Thus, when the imperfection is psychological in nature and renders a person incapacitated to comply with the
essential marital obligations, the State provides refuge to the aggrieved spouse under Article 36 of the Family Code which reads:

ART. 36. A marriage contracted by a party who, at the time of celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the

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essential marital obligations of marriage shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
solemnization.

18
In Molina, the Court laid down the Guidelines for the interpretation and application of Article 36, thus:

(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. x x x.

(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, were 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 dos. 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 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

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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.

(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.

19
The foregoing Guidelines incorporate the basic requirements mandated by the Court in Santos, to reiterate: psychological
incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) juridical antecedence; and (c) incurability.

A review of the complaint, as well as the testimonial and documentary evidence, shows that Rosas main grounds in seeking the
declaration of nullity of her marriage with Justo are his infidelity, profligacy which includes the falsification of her
signature in one of the loan documents, failure to support the children, and abandonment of the family. Both the
courts below found the charges unsubstantiated and untrue. However, this Court, in A.C. No. 5333 for disbarment, found the
evidence sufficient to support Rosas charges of sexual infidelity, falsification of her signature, and abandonment of family, thus:

ON THE CHARGE OF FALSIFICATION OF COMPLAINANTS SIGNATURE

The handwriting examination conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on the signatures of complainant Rosa Yap
Paras and respondent Justo de Jesus Paras vis--vis the questioned signature Rosa Y. Paras appearing in the questioned bank
loan documents, contracts of mortgage and other related instrument, yielded the following results:

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CONCLUSION:

1. The questioned and the standard sample signatures JUSTO J. PARAS were written by one and the same person.

2. The questioned and the standard sample signatures ROSA YAP PARAS were not written by one and the same person.
(Annex B, Rollo, p. 26, emphasis ours;)

The NBI did not make a categorical statement that respondent forged the signatures of complainant. However, an analysis of
the above findings lead to no other conclusion than that the questioned or falsified signatures of complainant Rosa Y. Paras
were authored by respondent as said falsified signatures were the same as the sample signatures of respondent.

To explain this anomaly, respondent presented a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) executed in his favor by complainant to
negotiate for an agricultural or crop loan from the Bais Rural Bank of Bais City. Instead of exculpating respondent, the presence
of the SPA places him in hot water. For if he was so authorized to obtain loans from the banks, then why did he have to falsify
his wifes signatures in the bank loan documents? The purpose of an SPA is to especially authorize the attorney-in-fact to sign for
and on behalf of the principal using his own name.

ON THE CHARGE OF IMMORALITY AND CONCUBINAGE

The evidence against respondent is overwhelming. The affidavit-statements of his children and three other persons who used to
work with him and have witnessed the acts indicative of his infidelity more than satisfy this Court that respondent has strayed
from the marital path. The baptismal certificate of Cyndee Rose Paras where respondent was named as the father of the child
(Annex J, Rollo, p. 108); his naming the child after his deceased first-born daughter Cyndee Rose; and his allowing Jocelyn Ching
and the child to live in their house in Dumaguete City bolster the allegation that respondent is carrying on an illicit affair with Ms.
Ching, the mother of his illegitimate child.

While this Court is convinced that the charges hurled against Justo by Rosa, such as sexual infidelity, falsification of her
signature, abandonment and inadequate support of children, are true, nonetheless, there is nothing in the records
showing that they were caused by a psychological disorder on his part. In other words, the totality of the evidence is not
sufficient to show that Justo is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations.

The records indicate that the marriage between the parties had a good start, resulting in the birth of their four (4) children. The
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early days of their cohabitation were blissful and harmonious. Justo was deeply in love with Rosa, even persuading his mother to
give her a dowry. They were able to build a 10-room family home and acquire several properties, thus, proving themselves to be
responsible couple. Even Rosa admitted that Justo took care of their children when they were young. Unfortunately, the passage
of time appeared to have taken its toll on their relationship. The acts committed by Justo appeared to have been the result of
irreconcilable differences between them caused by the death of their two (2) children and financial difficulties due to his failure
to win the mayoralty election and to sustain his law practice. Furthermore, the superior business acumen of Rosa, as well as the
insolent attitude of her family towards Justo, busted his ego and lowered his self-esteem.

There is no evidence that Justos defects were present at the inception of the marriage. His defects surfaced only in
the latter years when these events took place; their two children died; he lost in the election; he failed in his business ventures
and law practice; and felt the disdain of his wife and her family. Surely, these circumstances explain why Rosa filed the present
case only after almost 30 years of their marriage.

Equally important is that records fail to indicate that Justos defects are incurable or grave.

The following catena of cases provides an adequate basis why the marriage between Justo and Rosa should not be annulled.

In Dedel v. Court of Appeals 20 which involved a promiscuous wife who left her family to live with one of her many paramours, this
Court ruled that the acts of sexual infidelity and abandonment do not constitute psychological incapacity absent a
showing of the presence of such promiscuity at the inception of the marriage, thus:

x x x. In this case, respondents sexual infidelity can hardly qualify as being mentally or physically ill to such an extent that she
could not have known the obligations she was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given a valid assumption thereof. It
appears that respondents promiscuity did not exist prior to or at the inception of the marriage. What is, in fact,
disclosed by the records is a blissful marital union at its celebration, later affirmed in church rites, and which
produced four children.

Respondents sexual infidelity or perversion and abandonment do not by themselves constitute psychological incapacity within
the contemplation of the Family Code. Neither could her emotional immaturity and irresponsibility be equated with
psychological incapacity. It must be shown that these acts are manifestations of a disordered personality which make
respondent completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state, not merely due to her youth,

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immaturity, or sexual promiscuity.

In Carating-Siayngco v. Siayngco, 21 the wifes inability to conceive led her husband to other women so he could fulfill his ardent
wish to have a child of his own flesh and blood. This Court ruled that this is not a manifestation of psychological incapacity in the
contemplation of the Family Code. In Choa v. Choa, 22 this Court declared that a mere showing of irreconcilable differences
and conflicting personalities does not constitute psychological incapacity. And, again, in Iyoy, 23 a Filipina left her husband,
married an American and had a family by him, which she flaunted to her former husband. This Court ruled that these acts,
while embarrassing and hurting to the latter, did not satisfactorily establish a serious or grave psychological or
mental defect of an incurable nature present at the time of marriage; and that irreconcilable differences,
conflicting personalities, emotional immaturity, and irresponsibility, physical abuse, habitual alcoholism, sexual
infidelity or perversion, and abandonment per se do not warrant a finding of psychological incapacity under Article
36.

What is clear in this case is a husband who has gone astray from the path of marriage because of a conflicting relationship with
his wife and her family and repeated lifes setbacks. While these do not justify his sins, they are not sufficient to establish that he
is psychologically incapacitated.

It is worthy to emphasize that Article 36 contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and assume the
basic marital obligations, not a mere refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less, ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. 24 As this
Court repeatedly declares, Article 36 of the Family Code is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at
the time the causes thereof 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. 25

Neither should Article 36 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, sexual infidelity, and
abandonment, and the like. At best the evidence presented by petitioner refers only to grounds for legal separation, not for
declaring a marriage void. 26

In sum, this Court finds no cogent reason to reverse the ruling of the Court of Appeals. While this Court commiserates with

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Rosas plight, however, it has no choice but to apply the law. Dura lex sed lex.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 49915 are
AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:

Puno, Chief Justice, Corona, Azcuna, Garcia, JJ., concur.

FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 147824, August 2, 2007, ROSA YAP PARAS, petitioner,

vs. JUSTO J. PARAS, respondent.

1
Id., pp. 12-13.

2
Court of Appeals Resolution, id., p. 71.

3
Id., pp. 142-143; Memorandum of the Petitioner, pp. 46-47.

4
Office of the Court Administrator v. Sardido, A.M. No. MTJ-01-1370. April 25, 2003, 401 SCRA 583.

5
No. L 27654, February 18, 1970, 31 SCRA 562.

6
See also Cojuangco v. Palma, Adm. Case No. 2474, September 15, 2004, 438 SCRA 306.

7
Supra, footnote 1.

8
Supra, footnote 2.
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9
G.R. No. 109975, February 9, 2001, 351 SCRA 425.

10
A.M. No. 01-11-10-SC.

11
G.R. No. 130087, September 24, 2003, 412 SCRA 41.

12
G.R. No. 152577, September 21, 2005, 470 SCRA 508.

13
G.R. No. 136921, April 17, 2001, 356 SCRA 588.

14
G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20. In this case, the Court held that psychological incapacity must be characterized
by (a) gravity; (b) juridical antecedence; and (c) incurability.

15
Supra, footnote 1.

16
Supra, footnote 48.

17
Republic v. Court of Appeals, 335 Phil. 664 (1997).

18
Supra, Footnote 1.

19
Supra, footnote 49.

20
G.R. No. 151867, January 29, 2004, 421 SCRA 461.

21
G.R. No. 158896, October 27, 2004, 441 SCRA 422.

22
G.R. No. 143376, November 26, 2002, 392 SCRA 641.

23
Supra, footnote 47.

24
Supra, footnote 1.

25
Supra, footnote 2, citing:

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Article 68. The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help
and support. (109a)

Article 69. The husband and wife shall fix the family domicile. In case of disagreement, the court shall decide.

The court may exempt one spouse from living with the other if the latter should live abroad or there are other valid and
compelling reasons for the exemption. However, such exemption shall not apply if the same is not compatible with the
solidarity of the family. (110a)

Article 70. The spouses are jointly responsible for the support of the family. The expenses for such support and other conjugal
obligations shall be paid from the community property and, in the absence thereof, from the income or fruits of their separate
properties. In case of insufficiency or absence of said income or fruits, such obligations shall be satisfied from their separate
properties. (111a)

Article 71. The management of the household shall be the right and duty of both spouses. The expenses for such management
shall be paid in accordance with the provisions of Article 70. (115a)

26
Art. 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;

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(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; or

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

October 31, 2015

It Bears Emphasizing That The Intendment Of The Law In Requiring The Presence
Of The Solicitor General And/Or State Prosecutor In All Proceedings Of Legal
Separation And Annulment Or Declaration Of Nullity Of Marriage Is To Curtail Or
Prevent Any Possibility Of Collusion Between The Parties And To See To It That
Their Evidence Respecting The Case Is Not Fabricated

The Facts:

While blissfully married to Dita, Virgilio found out that she had been having an illicit affair with her paramour. As a result thereof,
Virgilio filed a criminal case for adultery against Dita and her paramour, resulting in their conviction. Subsequently, Virgilio filed a
petition for Declaration of Nullity of his marriage to Dita, Dissolution and Liquidation of Conjugal Partnership of Gains and
Damages, ascribing to Dita psychological incapacity. During the pendency of the case, both parties entered into a Compromise
Agreement for the partial settlement of their conjugal partnership of gains, which the respondent judge approved via a
Judgment on Compromise Agreement on January 2, 2002. Virgilio however filed a Motion To Repudiate Compromise Agreement
and reconsideration of the Judgment on Compromise Agreement, claiming that his counsel failed to apprise him properly of the
consequences of the judgment. The RTC denied the motion, hence Virgilio filed a petition for certiorari with the CA. He avers
that the RTC erred in upholding the validity of the Compromise Agreement as it was made within the cooling-off period; in
denying the motion to repudiate compromise agreement and to reconsider the judgment on compromise, and in conducting
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the proceedings without the participation of the OSG and/or the provincial prosecutor. The CA dismissed the petition however.,
holding that Ditas conviction for adultery did not deprive her of her right to share in the conjugal partnership of gains as her
conviction did not carry with it the accessory penalty of civil interdiction; Articles 43 and 63 of the Family Code do not apply, as
the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is still pending; and the participation of the OSG/provincial prosecutor is not
yet required as the merits of the declaration of nullity of marriage is yet to be decided, and his presence is merely to insure that
evidence is not fabricated and to curtail any collusion in the case. Virgilio appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Issue:

Whether or not Ditas conviction for adultery deprived her of the right to share in the conjugal partnership of gains;

Whether or not Virgilio is bound by the mistake of his counsel;

Whether or not the presence of the OSG/Provincial Prosecutor is required in the execution of the Compromise Agreement.

The Ruling:

The Petition must fail.

The essential question is whether the partial voluntary separation of property made by the spouses pending the petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage is valid.

First. The petitioner contends that the Compromise Agreement is void because it circumvents the law that prohibits the guilty
spouse, who was convicted of either adultery or concubinage, from sharing in the conjugal property. Since the respondent was
convicted of adultery, the petitioner argues that her share should be forfeited in favor of the common child under Articles
43(2 1) and 63 2 of the Family Code.

To the petitioner, it is the clear intention of the law to disqualify the spouse convicted of adultery from sharing in the conjugal
property; and because the Compromise Agreement is void, it never became final and executory.

Moreover, the petitioner cites Article 2035 3 of the Civil Code and argues that since adultery is a ground for legal separation, the
Compromise Agreement is therefore void.

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These arguments are specious. The foregoing provisions of the law are inapplicable to the instant case.

Article 43 of the Family Code refers to Article 42, to wit:

Article 42. The subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding Article 4 shall be automatically terminated by the recording of
the affidavit of reappearance of the absent spouse, unless there is a judgment annulling the previous marriage or declaring it
void ab initio.

A sworn statement of the fact and circumstances of reappearance shall be recorded in the civil registry of the residence of the
parties to the subsequent marriage at the instance of any interested person, with due notice to the spouses of the subsequent
marriage and without prejudice to the fact of reappearance being judicially determined in case such fact is disputed.

where a subsequent marriage is terminated because of the reappearance of an absent spouse; while Article 63 applies to the
effects of a decree of legal separation. The present case involves a proceeding where the nullity of the marriage is sought to be
declared under the ground of psychological capacity.

Article 2035 of the Civil Code is also clearly inapplicable. The Compromise Agreement partially divided the properties of the
conjugal partnership of gains between the parties and does not deal with the validity of a marriage or legal separation. It is not
among those that are expressly prohibited by Article 2035.

Moreover, the contention that the Compromise Agreement is tantamount to a circumvention of the law prohibiting the guilty
spouse from sharing in the conjugal properties is misplaced. Existing law and jurisprudence do not impose such disqualification.

Under Article 143 of the Family Code, separation of property may be effected voluntarily or for sufficient cause, subject to judicial
approval. The questioned Compromise Agreement which was judicially approved is exactly such a separation of property
allowed under the law. This conclusion holds true even if the proceedings for the declaration of nullity of marriage was still
pending. However, the Court must stress that this voluntary separation of property is subject to the rights of all creditors of the
conjugal partnership of gains and other persons with pecuniary interest pursuant to Article 136 of the Family Code.

Second. Petitioners claim that since the proceedings before the RTC were void in the absence of the participation of the
provincial prosecutor or solicitor, the voluntary separation made during the pendency of the case is also void. The proceedings
pertaining to the Compromise Agreement involved the conjugal properties of the spouses. The settlement had no relation to
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the questions surrounding the validity of their marriage. Nor did the settlement amount to a collusion between the parties.

Article 48 of the Family Code states:

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. (Emphasis supplied)

Section 3(e) of Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Court provides:

SEC. 3. Default; declaration of.- x x x x

xxxx

(e) Where no defaults allowed. If the defending party in action for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage or for legal
separation fails to answer, the court shall order the prosecuting attorney to investigate whether or not a collusion between the
parties exists if there is no collusion, to intervene for the State in order to see to it that the evidence submitted is not fabricated.
(Emphasis supplied

Truly, the purpose of the active participation of the Public Prosecutor or the Solicitor General 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. 5 While the appearances of the Solicitor General and/or the
Public Prosecutor are mandatory, the failure of the RTC to require their appearance does not per se nullify the Compromise
Agreement. This Court fully concurs with the findings of the CA:

x x x. It bears emphasizing that the intendment of the law in requiring the presence of the Solicitor General and/or State
prosecutor in all proceedings of legal separation and annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage is to curtail or prevent any
possibility of collusion between the parties and to see to it that their evidence respecting the case is not fabricated. In the
instant case, there is no exigency for the presence of the Solicitor General and/or the State prosecutor because as already
stated, nothing in the subject compromise agreement touched into the very merits of the case of declaration of nullity of
marriage for the court to be wary of any possible collusion between the parties. At the risk of being repetiti[ve], the compromise
agreement pertains merely to an agreement between the petitioner and the private respondent to separate their conjugal
6
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6
properties partially without prejudice to the outcome of the pending case of declaration of nullity of marriage.

Third. The conviction of adultery does not carry the accessory of civil interdiction. Article 34 of the Revised Penal Code provides
for the consequences of civil interdiction:

Art. 34. Civil Interdiction. Civil interdiction shall deprive the offender during the time of his sentence of the rights of parental
authority, or guardianship, either as to the person or property of any ward, of marital authority, of the right to manage his
property and of the right to dispose of such property by any act or any conveyance inter vivos.

Under Article 333 of the same Code, the penalty for adultery is prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods. Article
333 should be read with Article 43 of the same Code. The latter provides:

Art. 43. Prision correccional Its accessory penalties. The penalty of prision correccional shall carry with it that of suspension
from public office, from the right to follow a profession or calling, and that of perpetual special disqualification from the right of
suffrage, if the duration of said imprisonment shall exceed eighteen months. The offender shall suffer the disqualification
provided in this article although pardoned as to the principal penalty, unless the same shall have been expressly remitted in the
pardon.

It is clear, therefore, and as correctly held by the CA, that the crime of adultery does not carry the accessory penalty of civil
interdiction which deprives the person of the rights to manage her property and to dispose of such property inter vivos.

Fourth. Neither could it be said that the petitioner was not intelligently and judiciously informed of the consequential effects of
the compromise agreement, and that, on this basis, he may repudiate the Compromise Agreement. The argument of the
petitioner that he was not duly informed by his previous counsel about the legal effects of the voluntary settlement is not
convincing. Mistake or vitiation of consent, as now claimed by the petitioner as his basis for repudiating the settlement, could
hardly be said to be evident. In Salonga v. Court of Appeals, 7 this Court held:

[I]t is well-settled that the negligence of counsel binds the client. This is based on the rule that any act performed by a lawyer
within the scope of his general or implied authority is regarded as an act of his client. Consequently, the mistake or negligence of
petitioners counsel may result in the rendition of an unfavorable judgment against them.

Exceptions to the foregoing have been recognized by the Court in cases where reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives
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the client of due process of law, or when its application results in the outright deprivation of ones property through a
technicality. x x x x 8

None of these exceptions has been sufficiently shown in the present case.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the subject
Compromise Agreement is VALID without prejudice to the rights of all creditors and other persons with pecuniary interest in the
properties of the conjugal partnership of gains.

SO ORDERED.

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

YNARES-SANTIAGO, NACHURA, CHICO-NAZARIO

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. NO. 155409, June 8, 2007, VIRGILIO MAQUILAN, petitioner, vs. DITA MAQUILAN, respondent.

1
Article 43 reads:

Art. 43. The termination of the subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding Article shall produce the following effects:

xxxx

(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;
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x x x x (emphasis supplied)

2
Article 63 reads:

Art. 63. The decree of legal separation shall have the following effects:

xxxx

(2) The absolute community or the conjugal partnership shall be dissolved and liquidated but the offending spouse shall have
no right to any share of the net profits earned by the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, which shall be forfeited
in accordance with the provisions of Article 43(2);

x x x x (emphasis supplied)

3
Article 2035 reads:

Art. 2035. No compromise upon the following questions shall be valid:

(1) The civil status of persons;

(2) The validity of a marriage or a legal separation;

(3) Any ground for legal separation;

(4) Future support;

(5) The jurisdiction of courts;

(6) Future legitime. (1814a)

(emphasis supplied)

4
Article 41 reads:

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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 Articles 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.

5
See Republic v. Cuison-Melgar, G.R. No. 139676, March 31, 2006, 486 SCRA 177, 187.

6
Rollo, p. 39.

7
336 Phil. 514 (1997).

8
Id. at 526-527.

October 27, 2015

A Declaration Of Nullity Of Marriage Under Article 36 Of The Family Code Requires


The Application Of Procedural And Substantive Guidelines. While Compliance With
These Requirements Mostly Devolves Upon Petitioner, The State Is Likewise
Mandated To Actively Intervene In The Procedure

The Case:
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After a two-year courtship, Florence married Philipp, a Portuguese national, in 1987. However, in 1994, Florence filed a petition
for declaration of nullity of her marriage to Phillip on the ground of psychological incapacity. The RTC however dismissed the
petition, which the CA affirmed. On appeal to the SC, the Court noted the lack of participation of the State in the proceedings
below.

The Issue:

Whether or not a case for declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity may proceed without the
participation of the State.

The Ruling:

We note that throughout the trial in the lower court, the State did not participate in the proceedings. While Fiscal Jose Danilo C.
Jabson 1 filed with the trial court a manifestation dated November 16, 1994, stating that he found no collusion between the
parties, 2 he did not actively participate therein. Other than entering his appearance at certain hearings of the case, nothing
more was heard from him. Neither did the presiding Judge take any step to encourage the fiscal to contribute to the
proceedings.

The Family Code mandates:

ARTICLE 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 evidence is not fabricated or suppressed (italics ours).

In the cases referred to in the preceding paragraph, no judgment shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or confession of
judgment.

It can be argued that since the lower court dismissed the petition, the evil sought to be prevented (i.e., dissolution of the
marriage) did not come about, hence, the lack of participation of the State was cured. Not so. The task of protecting marriage as

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an inviolable social institution requires vigilant and zealous participation and not mere pro-forma compliance. The protection of
marriage as a sacred institution requires not just the defense of a true and genuine union but the exposure of an invalid one as
well. This is made clear by the following pronouncement:

(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, 3 briefly
stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition as the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor-General shall discharge
the equivalent function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095 (italics ours). 4

The records are bereft of any evidence that the State participated in the prosecution of the case not just at the trial level but on
appeal with the Court of Appeals as well. Other than the manifestation filed with the trial court on November 16, 1994, the
State did not file any pleading, motion or position paper, at any stage of the proceedings.

In Republic of the Philippines v. Erlinda Matias Dagdag, 5 while we upheld the validity of the marriage, we nevertheless
characterized the decision of the trial court as prematurely rendered since the investigating prosecutor was not given an
opportunity to present controverting evidence before the judgment was rendered. This stresses the importance of the
participation of the State.

Having so ruled, we decline to rule on the factual disputes of the case, this being within the province of the trial court upon
proper re-trial.

Obiter Dictum

For purposes of re-trial, we guide the parties thus: In Republic vs. Court of Appeals, 6 the guidelines in the interpretation and
application of Article 36 of the Family Code are as follows (omitting guideline [8] in the enumeration as it was already earlier
quoted):

(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
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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 (sic) 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 dos. 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 characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes.
The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not 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

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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.

The Fallo

WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 51304,
promulgated on April 30, 1998 and the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 158, Pasig City in Civil Case No. 3190, dated
June 16, 1995.

Let the case be REMANDED to the trial court for proper trial.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

PARDO, J.:

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

FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 137590, March 26, 2001, FLORENCE MALCAMPO-SIN, petitioner,

vs. PHILIPP T. SIN, respondent.

1
4th Asst. Provincial Prosecutor.

2
Regional Trial Court Record, p. 17.

3
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3
No such certification appears in the decisions of the trial court and the Court of Appeals.

4
Republic v. Court of Appeals, 335 Phil. 664, 679-680 (1997).

5
G.R. No. 109975, February 9, 2001.

6
Supra, Note 18, pp. 676-678.

October 14, 2015

Guidelines In The Interpretation And Application Of Art. 36 Of The Family Code


(Declaration Of Nullity Of Marriage On The Ground Of Psychological Incapacity)

The Case:

In her petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage to her husband Reynaldo, Roridel Molina argues that her petition should
be granted because her husband showed signs of immaturity and irresponsibility, preferring to spend more time with his friends
rather than his family; he depended on his parents for food and money; was never honest with his wife in regard to their
finances, resulting in frequent quarrels; that when he was relieved of his job, she became the sole breadwinner; he later
abandoned them. Reynaldo denied the allegations.

After trial, the RTC granted the petition, to which the Office of the Solicitor General appealed. The CA denied the OSGs appeal,
hence it elevated the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that Article 36 is the most liberal divorce procedure in the world.

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The Issue:

Whether or not the marriage between Roridel and Reynaldo should be annulled on the ground of psychological incapacity.

The Ruling:

The petition is meritorious.

In Leouel Santos vs. Court of Appeals 1 this Court, speaking thru Mr. Justice Jose C. Vitug, ruled that psychological incapacity
should refer to no less than a mental (nor 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, 2 Justice Vitug wrote that the psychological incapacity must be
characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability.

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 irreconciliable 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 (nor physical) illness.

The evidence adduced by respondent merely showed that she and her husband could nor 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: 3

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?

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A Yes, Your Honor.

Q There is no hope for the marriage?

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

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.

Q Neither are they psychologically unfit for their professions?

A Yes, Your Honor.

The Court has no more questions.

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 Reynaldos part of being conservative, homely and intelligent on the part
of Roridel, such failure of expectation is nor indicative of antecedent psychological incapacity. If at all, it merely shows loves
temporary blindness to the faults and blemishes of the beloved.

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
interpreting and applying it, the Court decided to invite two amici curiae, namely, the Most Reverend Oscar V. Cruz, 4 Vicar
Judicial (Presiding Judge) of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, and Justice
Ricardo C. Puno, 5 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.

From their submissions and the Courts 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:
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(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, 6 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.

7
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes the 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 physically 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

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example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem
generis, 8 nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature explained.
Expert evidence may be given qualified psychiatrist 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 dos. 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 characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes.
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The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, nor 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. 9

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

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

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

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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.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr., and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.

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

EN BANC, G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs. COURT OF

APPEALS and RORIDEL OLAVIANO MOLINA, respondents.

1
240 SCRA 20, 34, January 4, 1995.

2
Quoted from Justice Alicia Sempio-Diy, Handbook on the Family Code, First Edition, 1988.

3
TSN, April 6, 1991, p. 5.
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4
he National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal reviews all decisions of the marriage tribunals of each archdiocese 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.

5
Justice Puno was a former member of the Court of Appeals, retired Minister of Justice, author, noted civil law professor and the
law practitioner.

6
Article XV

THE FAMILY

Sec. 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.

Sec. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the state.

Sec. 3. The State shall defend:

(1) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious connections 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.

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Sec. 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.

7
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.

8
Salita vs. Magtolis, 233 SCRA 100, June 13, 1994.

9
This text is taken from the Memorandum of Archbishop Cruz. On the other hand, the text used in Santos v. CA reads:

Canon 1095. They are incapable of contracting marriage:

xxx xxx xxx

1. 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. Cruzs Memorandum is due to the fact that the original Canon is written
in Latin and both versions are differently-worded English translations.

October 8, 2015

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