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Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila

FIRST DIVISION
A.M. No. MTJ-02-1390

April 11, 2002(Formerly IPI No. 01-1049-MTJ)

MERCEDITA MATA ARAES, petitioner, vs.JUDGE SALVADOR M. OCCIANO, respondent.


PUNO, J.:
Petitioner Mercedita Mata Araes charges respondent judge with Gross Ignorance of the Law via a sworn
Letter-Complaint dated 23 May 2001. Respondent is the Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court of
Balatan, Camarines Sur. Petitioner alleges that on 17 February 2000, respondent judge solemnized her
marriage to her late groom Dominador B. Orobia without the requisite marriage license and at Nabua,
Camarines Sur which is outside his territorial jurisdiction.
They lived together as husband and wife on the strength of this marriage until her husband passed away.
However, since the marriage was a nullity, petitioner's right to inherit the "vast properties" left by Orobia was
not recognized. She was likewise deprived of receiving the pensions of Orobia, a retired Commodore of the
Philippine Navy.
Petitioner prays that sanctions be imposed against respondent judge for his illegal acts and unethical
misrepresentations which allegedly caused her so much hardships, embarrassment and sufferings.
On 28 May 2001, the case was referred by the Office of the Chief Justice to then Acting Court Administrator
Zenaida N. Elepao for appropriate action. On 8 June 2001, the Office of the Court Administrator required
respondent judge to comment.
In his Comment dated 5 July 2001, respondent judge averred that he was requested by a certain Juan Arroyo
on 15 February 2000 to solemnize the marriage of the parties on 17 February 2000. Having been assured that
all the documents to the marriage were complete, he agreed to solemnize the marriage in his sala at the
Municipal Trial Court of Balatan, Camarines Sur. However, on 17 February 2000, Arroyo informed him that
Orobia had a difficulty walking and could not stand the rigors of travelling to Balatan which is located almost 25
kilometers from his residence in Nabua. Arroyo then requested if respondent judge could solemnize the
marriage in Nabua, to which request he acceded.
Respondent judge further avers that before he started the ceremony, he carefully examined the documents
submitted to him by petitioner. When he discovered that the parties did not possess the requisite marriage
license, he refused to solemnize the marriage and suggested its resetting to another date. However, due to the
earnest pleas of the parties, the influx of visitors, and the delivery of provisions for the occasion, he proceeded
to solemnize the marriage out of human compassion. He also feared that if he reset the wedding, it might
aggravate the physical condition of Orobia who just suffered from a stroke. After the solemnization, he
reiterated the necessity for the marriage license and admonished the parties that their failure to give it would
render the marriage void. Petitioner and Orobia assured respondent judge that they would give the license to
him in the afternoon of that same day. When they failed to comply, respondent judge followed it up with Arroyo
but the latter only gave him the same reassurance that the marriage license would be delivered to his sala at
the Municipal Trial Court of Balatan, Camarines Sur.
Respondent judge vigorously denies that he told the contracting parties that their marriage is valid despite the
absence of a marriage license. He attributes the hardships and embarrassment suffered by the petitioner as
due to her own fault and negligence.
On 12 September 2001, petitioner filed her Affidavit of Desistance dated 28 August 2001 with the Office of the
Court Administrator. She attested that respondent judge initially refused to solemnize her marriage due to the
want of a duly issued marriage license and that it was because of her prodding and reassurances that he
eventually solemnized the same. She confessed that she filed this administrative case out of rage. However,
after reading the Comment filed by respondent judge, she realized her own shortcomings and is now bothered
by her conscience.
Reviewing the records of the case, it appears that petitioner and Orobia filed their Application for Marriage
License on 5 January 2000. It was stamped in this Application that the marriage license shall be issued on 17
January 2000. However, neither petitioner nor Orobia claimed it.
It also appears that the Office of the Civil Registrar General issued a Certification that it has no record of such
marriage that allegedly took place on 17 February 2000. Likewise, the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of
Nabua, Camarines Sur issued another Certification dated 7 May 2001 that it cannot issue a true copy of the
Marriage Contract of the parties since it has no record of their marriage.
On 8 May 2001, petitioner sought the assistance of respondent judge so the latter could communicate with the

Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Nabua, Camarines Sur for the issuance of her marriage license.
Respondent judge wrote the Local Civil Registrar of Nabua, Camarines Sur. In a letter dated 9 May 2001, a
Clerk of said office, Grace T. Escobal, informed respondent judge that their office cannot issue the marriage
license due to the failure of Orobia to submit the Death Certificate of his previous spouse.
The Office of the Court Administrator, in its Report and Recommendation dated 15 November 2000, found the
respondent judge guilty of solemnizing a marriage without a duly issued marriage license and for doing so
outside his territorial jurisdiction. A fine of P5,000.00 was recommended to be imposed on respondent judge.
We agree.
Under the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, or B.P. 129, the authority of the regional trial court judges and
judges of inferior courts to solemnize marriages is confined to their territorial jurisdiction as defined by the
Supreme Court.1wphi1.nt
The case at bar is not without precedent. In Navarro vs. Domagtoy,1 respondent judge held office and had
jurisdiction in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Sta. Monica-Burgos, Surigao del Norte. However, he
solemnized a wedding at his residence in the municipality of Dapa, Surigao del Norte which did not fall within
the jurisdictional area of the municipalities of Sta. Monica and Burgos. We held that:
"A priest who is commissioned and allowed by his local ordinance to marry the faithful is authorized to do so
only within the area or diocese or place allowed by his Bishop. An appellate court Justice or a Justice of this
Court has jurisdiction over the entire Philippines to solemnize marriages, regardless of the venue, as long as
the requisites of the law are complied with. However, judges who are appointed to specific jurisdictions,
may officiate in weddings only within said areas and not beyond. Where a judge solemnizes a marriage
outside his court's jurisdiction, there is a resultant irregularity in the formal requisite laid down in
Article 3, which while it may not affect the validity of the marriage, may subject the officiating official to
administrative liability."2 (Emphasis supplied.)
In said case, we suspended respondent judge for six (6) months on the ground that his act of solemnizing a
marriage outside his jurisdiction constitutes gross ignorance of the law. We further held that:
"The judiciary should be composed of persons who, if not experts, are at least, proficient in the law they are
sworn to apply, more than the ordinary laymen. They should be skilled and competent in understanding and
applying the law. It is imperative that they be conversant with basic legal principles like the ones involved in the
instant case. x x x While magistrates may at times make mistakes in judgment, for which they are not
penalized, the respondent judge exhibited ignorance of elementary provisions of law, in an area which has
greatly prejudiced the status of married persons."3
In the case at bar, the territorial jurisdiction of respondent judge is limited to the municipality of Balatan,
Camarines Sur. His act of solemnizing the marriage of petitioner and Orobia in Nabua, Camarines Sur
therefore is contrary to law and subjects him to administrative liability. His act may not amount to gross
ignorance of the law for he allegedly solemnized the marriage out of human compassion but nonetheless, he
cannot avoid liability for violating the law on marriage.
Respondent judge should also be faulted for solemnizing a marriage without the requisite marriage license. In
People vs. Lara,4 we held that a marriage which preceded the issuance of the marriage license is void, and
that the subsequent issuance of such license cannot render valid or even add an iota of validity to the
marriage. Except in cases provided by law, it is the marriage license that gives the solemnizing officer the
authority to solemnize a marriage. Respondent judge did not possess such authority when he solemnized the
marriage of petitioner. In this respect, respondent judge acted in gross ignorance of the law.
Respondent judge cannot be exculpated despite the Affidavit of Desistance filed by petitioner. This Court has
consistently held in a catena of cases that the withdrawal of the complaint does not necessarily have the legal
effect of exonerating respondent from disciplinary action. Otherwise, the prompt and fair administration of
justice, as well as the discipline of court personnel, would be undermined. 5 Disciplinary actions of this nature
do not involve purely private or personal matters. They can not be made to depend upon the will of every
complainant who may, for one reason or another, condone a detestable act. We cannot be bound by the
unilateral act of a complainant in a matter which involves the Court's constitutional power to discipline judges.
Otherwise, that power may be put to naught, undermine the trust character of a public office and impair the
integrity and dignity of this Court as a disciplining authority.6
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Salvador M. Occiano, Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court of
Balatan, Camarines Sur, is fined P5,000.00 pesos with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or
similar offense in the future will be dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila


THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 105540 July 5, 1993
IRENEO G. GERONIMO, petitioner, vs.COURT OF APPEALS and ANTONIO ESMAN, respondents.
Benjamin M. Dacanay for the petitioner.
Alfredo G. Ablaza for respondent.
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 33850 1 which affirmed the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 68, Pasig, Metro
Manila in Special Proceeding No. 10036 declaring valid the marriage between Graciana Geronimo and Antonio
A. Esman and appointing the latter as the administrator of the estate of the deceased Graciana Geronimo.
The findings of fact of the trial court, adopted by the public respondent Court of Appeals, are as follows:
This will resolve Ireneo Geronimo's petition for letter of administration of the estate of Graciana GeronimoEsman.
On June 29, 1987, a petition was filed by petitioner naming as one of the heirs oppositor Antonio A. Esman and
describing the latter as "husband of the deceased". On April 4, 1988, an amended petition was filed by
petitioner naming as one of the surviving heirs Antonio A. Esman and now describing the latter as the "live-in
partner of the deceased" after finding out that the marriage between oppositor and the decedent was a "nullity
for want of a marriage license".
It is undisputed that the decedent died on June 2, 1987 without a will leaving no descendants nor ascendants.
She was survived by her two brothers Tomas and Ireneo, her nephew Salvador and her husband-oppositor
Antonio A. Esman. . . . However, the husband's capacity to inherit and administer the property of the decedent
is now being questioned in view of the discovery by the petitioner that the marriage between oppositor and the
decedent was celebrated without a marriage license.
The principal issue now which has to be resolved by this Court before it can appoint a judicial administrator is
whether or not the marriage between Graciana Geronimo and Antonio A. Esman was valid.
Petitioner contends that the marriage between her (sic) deceased sister and oppositor Antonio A. Esman was
null and void since there was no marriage license issued to the parties at the time the marriage was
celebrated. In fact, petitioner contends that a certification issued by the Local Civil Registrar of Pateros shows
that the marriage license number was not stated in the marriage contract (Exh. "I"); and that the marriage
contract itself does now (sic) show the number of the marriage license issued (Exh. "J"). Moreover, marriage
license number 5038770 which was issued to the deceased and the oppositor by the Civil Registrar of Pateros,
Rizal was not really issued to Pateros before the marriage was celebrated but to Pasig in October 1959.
On the other hand, oppositor contends that the arguments raised by petitioner are mere concoctions; that a
close scrutiny of the aforementioned documents (Exh. "I" and "J") would show that except for the phrases "not
stated" and "not recorded" the two certified copies of the marriage contract issued by the Civil Registrar of
Pateros, Rizal (now Metro Manila) and the Parish Church of San Roque were the same as the certified copy of
the marriage contract which was attached to the original petition which named the oppositor as the husband of
the deceased; that petitioner simply asked that these phrases be incorporated to suit his ulterior motive; that
even the omission of the marriage license number on the Registry of Marriages in the Local Civil Registrar is
not fatal in itself and is not conclusive proof that no marriage license was actually signed on January 7, 1955 to
Graciana Geronimo and Antonio A. Esman; and that the marriage license form issued to the Municipality of
Pateros are printed by the Bureau of Printing with serialized numbers and distributed to various provinces or
municipalities thru proper requisitions which serial numbers even if already used in the printing of the marriage
license forms in the past years are used again in the printing of the same forms in the succeeding years.
Various witnesses were presented by oppositor to prove that indeed the deceased and oppositor were married.
David Montenegro, an employee of the National Archives & Records Section, testified that a copy of the
marriage contract between Antonio A. Esman and Graciana Geronimo celebrated on January 7, 1955, is on file
with their office.
Msgr. Moises Andrade, parish priest of Barasoain, Malolos, Bulacan, testified that he was asked to come over
to teach in Guadalupe seminary and stayed in Pasig as assistant priest of the parish of Immaculate
Concepcion from 1975 to 1983. Here, he came to know the spouses Graciana Geronimo and Antonio A.
Esman whom he attended to spirituality, conducted mass for, gave communion, and visited them socially. He
had occasions to go to the couple's garment business, Gragero Lingerie, and observed that the couple were
quite close with each other and with the people working in their business.

Marciana Cuevas, assistant supervisor of the couple's garment business testified that she was aware of the
marriage which took place between Graciana Geronimo and Antonio A. Esman; that they lived together as
husband and wife in Bambang, Pasig, after the wedding; and that is the oppositor who has been successfully
supervising the lingerie business after the death of Graciana Geronimo.
Julie Reyes, supply officer of the governor's office testified that she is in charge of all accountable forms being
taken in the fourteen (14) municipalities of the province of Rizal which include marriage licenses; and pad no.
83 covering marriage licenses nos. 5038751 to 5038800 was taken by the Municipality of Pateros way back in
October 9, 1953.
Florenciana Santos, assistant local civil registrar of Pateros, Metro Manila, testified that in the entry of marriage
book of Pateros, particularly page no. 23 of book no. 2 and reg. no. 51, there is no column for the marriage
license; that they started putting the marriage license only in 1980; that they have a copy of the questioned
marriage contract in which the marriage license number is recorded; and that the records of 1959 were lost
during a typhoon, but they sent a copy of the marriage contract to the archives section.
Oppositor Antonio A. Esman testified that he was married to Graciana Geronimo on January 7, 1955 in Pateros
and were (sic) issued marriage license no. 5038770; and that he was introduced by the deceased to the public
as her lawful husband. (Decision, pp. 1-3) 2
In affirming the judgment of the trial court, the public respondent stated:
It may be conceded that [Exhibits "I" and "J"] of the petitioner-appellant do not bear the number of the marriage
license relative to the marriage of Graciana Geronimo and the herein oppositor-appellee. But at best, such
non-indication of the number could only serve to prove that the number was not recorded. It could not be
accepted as convincing proof of non-issuance of the required marriage license. On the other hand, the
marriage license number (No. 5038776, [sic] dated January 7, 1955) does appear in the certified archives copy
of the marriage contract (Exhibit 7 and sub-markings). The non-indication of the license number in the certified
copies presented by the petitioner-appellant could not be deemed as fatal vis-a-vis the issue of the validity of
the marriage in question because there is nothing in the law which requires that the marriage license number
would (sic) be indicated in the marriage contract itself. 3
Unfazed by his successive defeats, and maintaining his adamantine stand that the marriage between Graciana
Geronimo and Antonio Esman is void, and, perforce, the latter had no right to be appointed as the
administrator of the estate of the former, the petitioner artfully seeks to avoid any factual issue by now posing
the following question in this petition: "Can there be a valid marriage where one of the essential requisites
license is absent?" Doubtless, the query has been framed so as to apparently present a question of law. In
reality, however, the question assumes that there was no marriage license, which is, of course, a factual
contention. Both the trial court and the public respondent found and ruled otherwise.
In BPI Credit Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 4 which collated representative cases on the rule of
conclusiveness of the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals and the exceptions thereto, we stated:
Settled is the rule that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules
of Court. The jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought to it from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing
and revising errors of law imputed to it, its findings of fact being conclusive. It is not the function of this Court to
analyze or weigh such evidence all over again, its jurisdiction being limited to reviewing errors of law that might
have been committed by the lower court. Barring, therefore, a showing that the findings complained of are
totally devoid of support in the record, or that they are so glaringly erroneous as to constitute serious abuse of
discretion, they must stand.
There are, however, exceptions to this rule, namely:
(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises and conjectures; (2) When the
inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) When there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4)
When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) When the findings of facts are conflicting; (6)
When the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is
contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7) When the findings of the Court of Appeals are
contrary to those of the trial court; (8) When the findings of endings of fact are conclusions without citation of
specific evidence on which they are based; (9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the
petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; and (10) When the finding of fact of the
Court of Appeals is premised on the supposed absence of evidence and is contradicted by the evidence on
record.
Petitioner fails to convince us that the instant case falls under any of the above exceptions.
On this score alone, the petition must inevitably fail. However, if only to disabuse the mind of the petitioner, we
shall proceed to discuss the issue regarding the alleged absence of a marriage license.

Petitioner contends that there was no marriage license obtained by the spouses Esman because the copies of
the marriage contract he presented (Exhibits "I" and "J") did not state the marriage license number. The flaw in
such reasoning is all too obvious. Moreover, this was refuted by the respondent when he presented a copy of
the marriage contract on file with the National Archives and Records Section (Exhibit "7") where the marriage
license number (No. 5038770, dated 7 January 1955) does appear. Petitioner tried to assail this piece of
evidence by presenting Exhibit "V," a certification of the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Pasay City that
Marriage License No. 5038770 was issued on 1 October 1976 in favor of Edwin G. Tolentino and Evangelina
Guadiz. This was sufficiently explained by the Court of Appeals thus:
It is a known fact, and it is of judicial notice, that all printed accountable forms of the Government like the
Marriage License (Municipal Form 95-A) come from the National Printing Office and are printed with serial
numbers. These forms are distributed upon proper requisition by the city/municipal treasurers concerned. But
the serial numbers printed or used in a particular year are the same numbers used in the succeeding years
when the same forms are again printed for distribution. However, the distribution of the serially-numbered
forms do not follow the same pattern.
This is exactly what happened to Marriage License No. 5038770 which the appellant refused to acknowledge.
Thus, it appears that while marriage License No. 5038770 was requisitioned and received by the Municipality
of Pateros on October 09, 1953 thru the Office of the Provincial Treasurer of Rizal (as explained by Mrs. Julita
Reyes and borne out by Exhibits "1" and "2") and later used by Antonio A. Esman and Graciana Geronimo in
their marriage on January 07, 1955, another, marriage license bearing the same number (No. 5038770) was
also issued to the municipality of Pasig in October, 1959 (Exhibit "L-1"). Subsequently, still another marriage
license bearing No. 503877() was also issued to the Treasurer of Pasay City on June 29, 1976 (Exhibit "U-1")
that was used by a certain Edwin G. Tolentino and Evangelina Guadiz (Exhibit "V"). (Appellee's Brief, pp. 3132) 5
At most, the evidence adduced by the petitioner could only serve to prove the non-recording of the marriage
license number but certainly not the non-issuance of the license itself.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED and the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Feliciano, Bidin, Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila


SPECIAL FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 165424

June 9, 2009

LESTER BENJAMIN S. HALILI, Petitioner, vs.CHONA M. SANTOS-HALILI and THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
RESOLUTION
CORONA, J.:
This resolves the motion for reconsideration of the April 16, 2008 resolution of this Court denying petitioners
petition for review on certiorari (under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court). The petition sought to set aside the
January 26, 2004 decision1 and September 24, 2004 resolution2 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 60010.
Petitioner Lester Benjamin S. Halili filed a petition to declare his marriage to respondent Chona M. SantosHalili null and void on the basis of his psychological incapacity to perform the essential obligations of marriage
in the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Pasig City, Branch 158.
He alleged that he wed respondent in civil rites thinking that it was a "joke." After the ceremonies, they never
lived together as husband and wife, but maintained the relationship. However, they started fighting constantly a
year later, at which point petitioner decided to stop seeing respondent and started dating other women.
Immediately thereafter, he received prank calls telling him to stop dating other women as he was already a
married man. It was only upon making an inquiry that he found out that the marriage was not "fake."
Eventually, the RTC found petitioner to be suffering from a mixed personality disorder, particularly dependent
and self-defeating personality disorder, as diagnosed by his expert witness, Dr. Natividad Dayan. The court a
quo held that petitioners personality disorder was serious and incurable and directly affected his capacity to
comply with his essential marital obligations to respondent. It thus declared the marriage null and void.3
On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the decision of the trial court on the ground that the totality of the
evidence presented failed to establish petitioners psychological incapacity. Petitioner moved for
reconsideration. It was denied.
The case was elevated to this Court via a petition for review under Rule 45. We affirmed the CAs decision and
resolution upholding the validity of the marriage.
Petitioner then filed this motion for reconsideration reiterating his argument that his marriage to respondent
ought to be declared null and void on the basis of his psychological incapacity. He stressed that the evidence
he presented, especially the testimony of his expert witness, was more than enough to sustain the findings and
conclusions of the trial court that he was and still is psychologically incapable of complying with the essential
obligations of marriage.
We grant the motion for reconsideration.
In the recent case of Te v. Yu-Te and the Republic of the Philippines, 4 this Court reiterated that courts should
interpret the provision on psychological incapacity (as a ground for the declaration of nullity of a marriage) on a
case-to-case basis guided by experience, the findings of experts and researchers in psychological
disciplines and by decisions of church tribunals.
Accordingly, we emphasized that, by the very nature of Article 36, courts, despite having the primary task and
burden of decision-making, must consider as essential the expert opinion on the psychological and mental
disposition of the parties.5
In this case, the testimony6 of petitioners expert witness revealed that petitioner was suffering from dependent
personality disorder. Thus:
Q. Dr. Dayan, going back to the examinations and interviews which you conducted, can you briefly tell this
court your findings [and] conclusions?
A. Well, the petitioner is suffering from a personality disorder. It is a mixed personality disorder from selfdefeating personality disorder to [dependent] personality disorder and this is brought about by [a] dysfunctional
family that petitioner had. He also suffered from partner relational problem during his marriage with Chona.
There were lots of fights and it was not truly a marriage, sir.

Q. Now, what made you conclude that Lester is suffering from psychological incapacity to handle the essential
obligations of marriage?
A. Sir, for the reason that his motivation for marriage was very questionable. It was a very impulsive decision. I
dont think he understood what it meant to really be married and after the marriage, there was no
consummation, there was no sexual intercourse, he never lived with the respondent. And after three months he
refused to see or talk with the respondent and afterwards, I guess the relationship died a natural death, and he
never thought it was a really serious matter at all.
xx xx xx
Q. Likewise, you stated here in your evaluation that Lester Halili and respondent suffered from a grave lack of
discretionary judgment. Can you expound on this?
A. xx xx I dont think they truly appreciate the civil [rites which] they had undergone. [It was] just a spur of the
moment decision that they should get married xx xx I dont think they truly considered themselves married.
xx xx xx
Q. Now [from] what particular portion of their marriage were you able to conclude xx xx that petitioner and
respondent are suffering from psychological incapacity?
A. xx xx they never lived together[.] [T]hey never had a residence, they never consummated the marriage.
During the very short relationship they had, there were frequent quarrels and so there might be a problem also
of lack of respect [for] each other and afterwards there was abandonment.
In Te, this Court defined dependent personality disorder7 as
[a] personality disorder characterized by a pattern of dependent and submissive behavior. Such individuals
usually lack self-esteem and frequently belittle their capabilities; they fear criticism and are easily hurt by
others comments. At times they actually bring about dominance by others through a quest for overprotection.
Dependent personality disorder usually begins in early adulthood. Individuals who have this disorder may be
unable to make everyday decisions without advice or reassurance from others, may allow others to make most
of their important decisions (such as where to live), tend to agree with people even when they believe they are
wrong, have difficulty starting projects or doing things on their own, volunteer to do things that are demeaning
in order to get approval from other people, feel uncomfortable or helpless when alone and are often
preoccupied with fears of being abandoned.1avvphil
In her psychological report,8 Dr. Dayan stated that petitioners dependent personality disorder was evident in
the fact that petitioner was very much attached to his parents and depended on them for decisions. 9
Petitioners mother even had to be the one to tell him to seek legal help when he felt confused on what action
to take upon learning that his marriage to respondent was for real.10
Dr. Dayan further observed that, as expected of persons suffering from a dependent personality disorder,
petitioner typically acted in a self-denigrating manner and displayed a self-defeating attitude. This submissive
attitude encouraged other people to take advantage of him. 11 This could be seen in the way petitioner allowed
himself to be dominated, first, by his father who treated his family like robots 12 and, later, by respondent who
was as domineering as his father.13 When petitioner could no longer take respondents domineering ways, he
preferred to hide from her rather than confront her and tell her outright that he wanted to end their marriage.14
Dr. Dayan traced petitioners personality disorder to his dysfunctional family life, to wit:15
Q. And what might be the root cause of such psychological incapacity?
A. Sir, I mentioned awhile ago that Lesters family is dysfunctional. The father was very abusive, very
domineering. The mother has been very unhappy and the children never had affirmation. They might [have
been] x x x given financial support because the father was [a] very affluent person but it was never an intact
family. x x x The wife and the children were practically robots. And so, I would say Lester grew up, not having
self-confidence, very immature and somehow not truly understand[ing] what [it] meant to be a husband, what
[it] meant to have a real family life.
Ultimately, Dr. Dayan concluded that petitioners personality disorder was grave and incurable and already
existent at the time of the celebration of his marriage to respondent.16
It has been sufficiently established that petitioner had a psychological condition that was grave and incurable
and had a deeply rooted cause. This Court, in the same Te case, recognized that individuals with diagnosable
personality disorders usually have long-term concerns, and thus therapy may be long-term. 17 Particularly,

personality disorders are "long-standing, inflexible ways of behaving that are not so much severe mental
disorders as dysfunctional styles of living. These disorders affect all areas of functioning and, beginning in
childhood or adolescence, create problems for those who display them and for others."18
From the foregoing, it has been shown that petitioner is indeed suffering from psychological incapacity that
effectively renders him unable to perform the essential obligations of marriage. Accordingly, the marriage
between petitioner and respondent is declared null and void.
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is hereby GRANTED. The April 16, 2008 resolution of this Court
and the January 26, 2004 decision and September 24, 2004 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 60010 are SET ASIDE.
The decision of the Regional Trial Court, Pasig City, Branch 158 dated April 17, 1998 is hereby REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila


THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 173138

December 1, 2010

NOEL B. BACCAY, Petitioner, vs.MARIBEL C. BACCAY and REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Respondents.
DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, assails
the Decision1 dated August 26, 2005 and Resolution2 dated June 13, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG.R. CV No. 74581. The CA reversed the February 5, 2002 Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Manila, Branch 38, which declared the marriage of petitioner Noel B. Baccay (Noel) and Maribel CalderonBaccay (Maribel) void on the ground of psychological incapacity under Article 36 4 of the Family Code of the
Philippines.
The undisputed factual antecedents of the case are as follows:
Noel and Maribel were schoolmates at the Mapua Institute of Technology where both took up Electronics and
Communications Engineering. Sometime in 1990, they were introduced by a mutual friend and became close
to one another. Noel courted Maribel, but it was only after years of continuous pursuit that Maribel accepted
Noels proposal and the two became sweethearts. Noel considered Maribel as the snobbish and hard-to-get
type, which traits he found attractive.5
Noels family was aware of their relationship for he used to bring Maribel to their house. Noel observed that
Maribel was inordinately shy when around his family so to bring her closer to them, he always invited Maribel
to attend family gatherings and other festive occasions like birthdays, Christmas, and fiesta celebrations.
Maribel, however, would try to avoid Noels invitations and whenever she attended those occasions with Noels
family, he observed that Maribel was invariably aloof or snobbish. Not once did she try to get close to any of his
family members. Noel would talk to Maribel about her attitude towards his family and she would promise to
change, but she never did.
Around 1997, Noel decided to break up with Maribel because he was already involved with another woman. He
tried to break up with Maribel, but Maribel refused and offered to accept Noels relationship with the other
woman so long as they would not sever their ties. To give Maribel some time to get over their relationship, they
still continued to see each other albeit on a friendly basis.
Despite their efforts to keep their meetings strictly friendly, however, Noel and Maribel had several romantic
moments together. Noel took these episodes of sexual contact casually since Maribel never demanded
anything from him except his company. Then, sometime in November 1998, Maribel informed Noel that she
was pregnant with his child. Upon advice of his mother, Noel grudgingly agreed to marry Maribel. Noel and
Maribel were immediately wed on November 23, 1998 before Judge Gregorio Dayrit, the Presiding Judge of
the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City.
After the marriage ceremony, Noel and Maribel agreed to live with Noels family in their house at Rosal, Pagasa, Quezon City. During all the time she lived with Noels family, Maribel remained aloof and did not go out of
her way to endear herself to them. She would just come and go from the house as she pleased. Maribel never
contributed to the familys coffer leaving Noel to shoulder all expenses for their support. Also, she refused to
have any sexual contact with Noel.
Surprisingly, despite Maribels claim of being pregnant, Noel never observed any symptoms of pregnancy in
her. He asked Maribels office mates whether she manifested any signs of pregnancy and they confirmed that
she showed no such signs. Then, sometime in January 1999, Maribel did not go home for a day, and when she
came home she announced to Noel and his family that she had a miscarriage and was confined at the Chinese
General Hospital where her sister worked as a nurse.
Noel confronted her about her alleged miscarriage sometime in February 1999. The discussion escalated into
an intense quarrel which woke up the whole household. Noels mother tried to intervene but Maribel shouted
"Putang ina nyo, wag kayo makialam" at her. Because of this, Noels mother asked them to leave her house.
Around 2:30 a.m., Maribel called her parents and asked them to pick her up. Maribel left Noels house and did
not come back anymore. Noel tried to communicate with Maribel but when he went to see her at her house
nobody wanted to talk to him and she rejected his phone calls.6
On September 11, 2000 or after less than two years of marriage, Noel filed a petition 7 for declaration of nullity
of marriage with the RTC of Manila. Despite summons, Maribel did not participate in the proceedings. The trial

proceeded after the public prosecutor manifested that no collusion existed between the parties. Despite a
directive from the RTC, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) also did not submit a certification manifesting
its agreement or opposition to the case.8
On February 5, 2002, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of Noel. The dispositive portion of the decision
reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the marriage of the parties hereto celebrated on
November 23, 1998 at the sala of Judge Gregorio Dayrit of the Metropolitan Trial Court in Quezon City as
NULL and VOID.
The Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City and the Chief of the National Statistics Office are hereby directed to
record and enter this decree into the marriage records of the parties in their respective marriage registers.
The absolute community property of the parties is hereby dissolved and, henceforth, they shall be governed by
the property regime of complete separation of property.
With costs against respondent.
SO ORDERED.9
The RTC found that Maribel failed to perform the essential marital obligations of marriage, and such failure was
due to a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder characterized by juridical antecedence,
gravity and incurability as determined by a clinical psychologist. The RTC cited the findings of Nedy L. Tayag, a
clinical psychologist presented as witness by Noel, that Maribel was a very insecure person. She entered into
the marriage not because of emotional desire for marriage but to prove something, and her attitude was
exploitative particularly in terms of financial rewards. She was emotionally immature, and viewed marriage as a
piece of paper and that she can easily get rid of her husband without any provocation.10
On appeal by the OSG, the CA reversed the decision of the RTC, thus:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila Branch 38 declaring
as null and void the marriage between petitioner-appellee and respondent is hereby REVERSED. Accordingly,
the instant Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.11
The appellate court held that Noel failed to establish that Maribels supposed Narcissistic Personality Disorder
was the psychological incapacity contemplated by law and that it was permanent and incurable. Maribels
attitudes were merely mild peculiarities in character or signs of ill-will and refusal or neglect to perform marital
obligations which did not amount to psychological incapacity, said the appellate court. The CA noted that
Maribel may have failed or refused to perform her marital obligations but such did not indicate incapacity. The
CA stressed that the law requires nothing short of mental illness sufficient to render a person incapable of
knowing the essential marital obligations.12
The CA further held that Maribels refusal to have sexual intercourse with Noel did not constitute a ground to
find her psychologically incapacitated under Article 36 of the Family Code. As Noel admitted, he had numerous
sexual relations with Maribel before their marriage. Maribel therefore cannot be said to be incapacitated to
perform this particular obligation and that such incapacity existed at the time of marriage.13
Incidentally, the CA held that the OSG erred in saying that what Noel should have filed was an action to annul
the marriage under Article 45 (3)14 of the Family Code. According to the CA, Article 45 (3) involving consent to
marriage vitiated by fraud is limited to the instances enumerated under Article 46 15 of the Family Code.
Maribels misrepresentation that she was pregnant to induce Noel to marry her was not the fraud contemplated
under Article 45 (3) as it was not among the instances enumerated under Article 46.16
On June 13, 2006, the CA denied Noels motion for reconsideration. It held that Maribels personality disorder
is not the psychological incapacity contemplated by law. Her refusal to perform the essential marital obligations
may be attributed merely to her stubborn refusal to do so. Also, the manifestations of the Narcissistic
Personality Disorder had no connection with Maribels failure to perform her marital obligations. Noel having
failed to prove Maribels alleged psychological incapacity, any doubts should be resolved in favor of the
existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.17
Hence, the present petition raising the following assignment of errors:
I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN HOLDING
THAT THE CASE OF CHI MING TSOI vs. COURT OF APPEALS DOES NOT FIND APPLICATION IN THE
INSTANT CASE.

II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN HOLDING
THAT THE RESPONDENT IS NOT SUFFERING FROM NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER; AND
THAT HER FAILURE TO PERFORM HER ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATIONS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY.18
The issue to be resolved is whether the marriage between the parties is null and void under Article 36 of the
Family Code.
Petitioner Noel contends that the CA failed to consider Maribels refusal to procreate as psychological
incapacity. Insofar as he was concerned, the last time he had sexual intercourse with Maribel was before the
marriage when she was drunk. They never had any sexual intimacy during their marriage. Noel claims that if a
spouse senselessly and constantly refuses to perform his or her marital obligations, Catholic marriage tribunals
attribute the causes to psychological incapacity rather than to stubborn refusal. He insists that the CA should
not have considered the pre-marital sexual encounters between him and Maribel in finding that the latter was
not psychologically incapacitated to procreate through marital sexual cooperation. He argues that making love
for procreation and consummation of the marriage for the start of family life is different from "plain, simple and
casual sex." He further stresses that Maribel railroaded him into marrying her by seducing him and later
claiming that she was pregnant with his child. But after their marriage, Maribel refused to consummate their
marriage as she would not be sexually intimate with him.19
Noel further claims that there were other indicia of Maribels psychological incapacity and that she consistently
exhibited several traits typical of a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder before and during
their marriage. He points out that Maribel would only mingle with a few individuals and never with Noels family
even if they lived under one (1) roof. Maribel was also arrogant and haughty. She was rude and disrespectful to
his mother and was also "interpersonally exploitative" as shown by her misrepresentation of pregnancy to force
Noel to marry her. After marriage, Maribel never showed respect and love to Noel and his family. She displayed
indifference to his emotional and sexual needs, but before the marriage she would display unfounded jealousy
when Noel was visited by his friends. This same jealousy motivated her to deceive him into marrying her.
Lastly, he points out that Maribels psychological incapacity was proven to be permanent and incurable with the
root cause existing before the marriage. The psychologist testified that persons suffering from Narcissistic
Personality Disorder were unmotivated to participate in therapy session and would reject any form of
psychological help rendering their condition long lasting if not incurable. Such persons would not admit that
their behavioral manifestations connote pathology or abnormality. The psychologist added that Maribels
psychological incapacity was deeply rooted within her adaptive system since early childhood and manifested
during adult life. Maribel was closely attached to her parents and mingled with only a few close individuals. Her
close attachment to her parents and their over-protection of her turned her into a self-centered, self-absorbed
individual who was insensitive to the needs of others. She developed the tendency not to accept rejection or
failure.20
On the other hand, the OSG maintains that Maribels refusal to have sexual intercourse with Noel did not
constitute psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code as her traits were merely mild
peculiarities in her character or signs of ill-will and refusal or neglect to perform her marital obligations. The
psychologist even admitted that Maribel was capable of entering into marriage except that it would be difficult
for her to sustain one. Also, it was established that Noel and Maribel had sexual relations prior to their
marriage. The OSG further pointed out that the psychologist was vague as to how Maribels refusal to have
sexual intercourse with Noel constituted Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The petition lacks merit.
Article 36 of the Family Code provides:
ART. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such
incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.
The Court held in Santos v. Court of Appeals21 that the phrase "psychological incapacity" is not meant to
comprehend all possible cases of psychoses. It refers to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that
causes a party to be truly noncognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and
discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as expressed by Article 68 22 of the Family Code, include their
mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. The
intendment of the law has been to confine it to the most serious of cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.
In Republic of the Phils. v. Court of Appeals,23 the Court laid down the guidelines in resolving petitions for
declaration of nullity of marriage, based on Article 36 of the Family Code, to wit:
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be

resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This
is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the
family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the foundation of the
nation." It decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the
parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected" by the state.
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes their
permanence, inviolability and solidarity.
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in
the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the
Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its manifestations
and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was
mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was
assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Although no example of such
incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem
generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating
nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
(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.1avvphi1 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 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. x x x.
xxxx
(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. (Emphasis ours.)
In this case, the totality of evidence presented by Noel was not sufficient to sustain a finding that Maribel was
psychologically incapacitated. Noels evidence merely established that Maribel refused to have sexual
intercourse with him after their marriage, and that she left him after their quarrel when he confronted her about
her alleged miscarriage. He failed to prove the root cause of the alleged psychological incapacity and establish
the requirements of gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability. As correctly observed by the CA, the report
of the psychologist, who concluded that Maribel was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder traceable
to her experiences during childhood, did not establish how the personality disorder incapacitated Maribel from
validly assuming the essential obligations of the marriage. Indeed, the same psychologist even testified that
Maribel was capable of entering into a marriage except that it would be difficult for her to sustain one. 24 Mere
difficulty, it must be stressed, is not the incapacity contemplated by law.

The Court emphasizes that the burden falls upon petitioner, not just to prove that private respondent suffers
from a psychological disorder, but also that such psychological disorder renders her "truly incognitive of the
basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage." 25
Psychological incapacity must be more than just a "difficulty," a "refusal," or a "neglect" in the performance of
some marital obligations. An unsatisfactory marriage is not a null and void marriage. As we stated in Marcos v.
Marcos:26
Article 36 of the Family Code, we stress, is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at
the time the causes therefor manifest themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party
even before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of
awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. x x x.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 74581 is
AFFIRMED and UPHELD.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila


SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 119190 January 16, 1997
CHI MING TSOI, petitioner, vs.COURT OF APPEALS and GINA LAO-TSOI, respondents.
TORRES, JR., J.:
Man has not invented a reliable compass by which to steer a marriage in its journey over troubled waters.
Laws are seemingly inadequate. Over time, much reliance has been placed in the works of the unseen hand of
Him who created all things.
Who is to blame when a marriage fails?
This case was originally commenced by a distraught wife against her uncaring husband in the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City (Branch 89) which decreed the annulment of the marriage on the ground of psychological
incapacity. Petitioner appealed the decision of the trial court to respondent Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No.
42758) which affirmed the Trial Court's decision November 29, 1994 and correspondingly denied the motion for
reconsideration in a resolution dated February 14, 1995.
The statement of the case and of the facts made by the trial court and reproduced by the Court of Appeals 1 its
decision are as follows:
From the evidence adduced, the following acts were preponderantly established:
Sometime on May 22, 1988, the plaintiff married the defendant at the Manila Cathedral, . . . Intramuros Manila,
as evidenced by their Marriage Contract. (Exh. "A")
After the celebration of their marriage and wedding reception at the South Villa, Makati, they went and
proceeded to the house of defendant's mother.
There, they slept together on the same bed in the same room for the first night of their married life.
It is the version of the plaintiff, that contrary to her expectations, that as newlyweds they were supposed to
enjoy making love, or having sexual intercourse, with each other, the defendant just went to bed, slept on one
side thereof, then turned his back and went to sleep . There was no sexual intercourse between them during
the first night. The same thing happened on the second, third and fourth nights.
In an effort to have their honeymoon in a private place where they can enjoy together during their first week as
husband and wife, they went to Baguio City. But, they did so together with her mother, an uncle, his mother
and his nephew. They were all invited by the defendant to join them. [T]hey stayed in Baguio City for four (4)
days. But, during this period, there was no sexual intercourse between them, since the defendant avoided her
by taking a long walk during siesta time or by just sleeping on a rocking chair located at the living room. They
slept together in the same room and on the same bed since May 22, 1988 until March 15, 1989. But during this
period, there was no attempt of sexual intercourse between them. [S]he claims, that she did not: even see her
husband's private parts nor did he see hers.
Because of this, they submitted themselves for medical examinations to Dr. Eufemio Macalalag, a urologist at
the Chinese General Hospital, on January 20, 1989.
The results of their physical examinations were that she is healthy, normal and still a virgin, while that of her
husband's examination was kept confidential up to this time. While no medicine was prescribed for her, the
doctor prescribed medications for her husband which was also kept confidential. No treatment was given to
her. For her husband, he was asked by the doctor to return but he never did.
The plaintiff claims, that the defendant is impotent, a closet homosexual as he did not show his penis. She
said, that she had observed the defendant using an eyebrow pencil and sometimes the cleansing cream of his
mother. And that, according to her, the defendant married her, a Filipino citizen, to acquire or maintain his
residency status here in the country and to publicly maintain the appearance of a normal man.
The plaintiff is not willing to reconcile with her husband.
On the other hand, it is the claim of the defendant that if their marriage shall be annulled by reason of
psychological incapacity, the fault lies with his wife.
But, he said that he does not want his marriage with his wife annulled for several reasons, viz: (1) that he loves
her very much; (2) that he has no defect on his part and he is physically and psychologically capable; and, (3)

since the relationship is still very young and if there is any differences between the two of them, it can still be
reconciled and that, according to him, if either one of them has some incapabilities, there is no certainty that
this will not be cured. He further claims, that if there is any defect, it can be cured by the intervention of medical
technology or science.
The defendant admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation on March 15, 1989,
there was no sexual contact between them. But, the reason for this, according to the defendant, was that
everytime he wants to have sexual intercourse with his wife, she always avoided him and whenever he
caresses her private parts, she always removed his hands. The defendant claims, that he forced his wife to
have sex with him only once but he did not continue because she was shaking and she did not like it. So he
stopped.
There are two (2) reasons, according to the defendant , why the plaintiff filed this case against him, and these
are: (1) that she is afraid that she will be forced to return the pieces of jewelry of his mother, and, (2) that her
husband, the defendant, will consummate their marriage.
The defendant insisted that their marriage will remain valid because they are still very young and there is still a
chance to overcome their differences.
The defendant submitted himself to a physical examination. His penis was examined by Dr. Sergio Alteza, Jr.,
for the purpose of finding out whether he is impotent . As a result thereof, Dr. Alteza submitted his Doctor's
Medical Report. (Exh. "2"). It is stated there, that there is no evidence of impotency (Exh. "2-B"), and he is
capable of erection. (Exh. "2-C")
The doctor said, that he asked the defendant to masturbate to find out whether or not he has an erection and
he found out that from the original size of two (2) inches, or five (5) centimeters, the penis of the defendant
lengthened by one (1) inch and one centimeter. Dr. Alteza said, that the defendant had only a soft erection
which is why his penis is not in its full length. But, still is capable of further erection, in that with his soft
erection, the defendant is capable of having sexual intercourse with a woman.
In open Court, the Trial Prosecutor manifested that there is no collusion between the parties and that the
evidence is not fabricated." 2
After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered declaring as VOID the marriage entered into by the plaintiff with
the defendant on May 22, 1988 at the Manila Cathedral, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Intramuros,
Manila, before the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Melencio de Vera. Without costs. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the
Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City. Let another copy be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Manila.
SO ORDERED.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
Hence, the instant petition.
Petitioner alleges that the respondent Court of Appeals erred:
I
in affirming the conclusions of the lower court that there was no sexual intercourse between the parties without
making any findings of fact.
II
in holding that the refusal of private respondent to have sexual communion with petitioner is a psychological
incapacity inasmuch as proof thereof is totally absent.
III
in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private respondent to have sex with each other
constitutes psychological incapacity of both.
IV
in affirming the annulment of the marriage between the parties decreed by the lower court without fully
satisfying itself that there was no collusion between them.

We find the petition to be bereft of merit.


Petitioner contends that being the plaintiff in Civil Case No. Q-89-3141, private respondent has the burden of
proving the allegations in her complaint; that since there was no independent evidence to prove the alleged
non-coitus between the parties, there remains no other basis for the court's conclusion except the admission of
petitioner; that public policy should aid acts intended to validate marriage and should retard acts intended to
invalidate them; that the conclusion drawn by the trial court on the admissions and confessions of the parties in
their pleadings and in the course of the trial is misplaced since it could have been a product of collusion; and
that in actions for annulment of marriage, the material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved. 3
Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court reads:
Section 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits the
material allegations of the adverse party's pleading, the court may, on motion of that party, direct judgment on
such pleading. But in actions for annulment of marriage or for legal separation the material facts alleged in the
complaint shall always be proved.
The foregoing provision pertains to a judgment on the pleadings. What said provision seeks to prevent is
annulment of marriage without trial. The assailed decision was not based on such a judgment on the
pleadings. When private respondent testified under oath before the trial court and was cross-examined by oath
before the trial court and was cross-examined by the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in form of
a testimony. After such evidence was presented, it be came incumbent upon petitioner to present his side. He
admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation on March 15, 1989, there was no
sexual intercourse between them.
To prevent collusion between the parties is the reason why, as stated by the petitioner, the Civil Code provides
that no judgment annulling a marriage shall be promulgated upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of
judgment (Arts. 88 and 101[par. 2]) and the Rules of Court prohibit such annulment without trial (Sec. 1, Rule
19).
The case has reached this Court because petitioner does not want their marriage to be annulled. This only
shows that there is no collusion between the parties. When petitioner admitted that he and his wife (private
respondent) have never had sexual contact with each other, he must have been only telling the truth. We are
reproducing the relevant portion of the challenged resolution denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration,
penned with magisterial lucidity by Associate Justice Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes, viz:
The judgment of the trial court which was affirmed by this Court is not based on a stipulation of facts. The issue
of whether or not the appellant is psychologically incapacitated to discharge a basic marital obligation was
resolved upon a review of both the documentary and testimonial evidence on record. Appellant admitted that
he did not have sexual relations with his wife after almost ten months of cohabitation, and it appears that he is
not suffering from any physical disability. Such abnormal reluctance or unwillingness to consummate his
marriage is strongly indicative of a serious personality disorder which to the mind of this Court clearly
demonstrates an 'utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage' within the
meaning of Article 36 of the Family Code (See Santos vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112019, January 4,
1995). 4
Petitioner further contends that respondent court erred in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner
and the private respondent to have sex with each other constitutes psychological incapacity of both. He points
out as error the failure of the trial court to make "a categorical finding about the alleged psychological
incapacity and an in-depth analysis of the reasons for such refusal which may not be necessarily due to
physchological disorders" because there might have been other reasons, i.e., physical disorders, such as
aches, pains or other discomforts, why private respondent would not want to have sexual intercourse from
May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989, in a short span of 10 months.
First, it must be stated that neither the trial court nor the respondent court made a finding on who between
petitioner and private respondent refuses to have sexual contact with the other. The fact remains, however,
that there has never been coitus between them. At any rate, since the action to declare the marriage void may
be filed by either party, i.e., even the psychologically incapacitated, the question of who refuses to have sex
with the other becomes immaterial.
Petitioner claims that there is no independent evidence on record to show that any of the parties is suffering
from phychological incapacity. Petitioner also claims that he wanted to have sex with private respondent; that
the reason for private respondent's refusal may not be psychological but physical disorder as stated above.
We do not agree. Assuming it to be so, petitioner could have discussed with private respondent or asked her
what is ailing her, and why she balks and avoids him everytime he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her.
He never did. At least, there is nothing in the record to show that he had tried to find out or discover what the
problem with his wife could be. What he presented in evidence is his doctor's Medical Report that there is no

evidence of his impotency and he is capable of erection. 5 Since it is petitioner's claim that the reason is not
psychological but perhaps physical disorder on the part of private respondent, it became incumbent upon him
to prove such a claim.
If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential marriage obligations,
and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals attribute the causes to psychological
incapacity than to stubborn refusal. Senseless and protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity.
Thus, the prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse is considered a sign
of psychological incapacity. 6
Evidently, one of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is "To procreate children based on the
universal principle that procreation of children through sexual cooperation is the basic end of marriage."
Constant non- fulfillment of this obligation will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage. In the
case at bar, the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is
equivalent to psychological incapacity.
As aptly stated by the respondent court,
An examination of the evidence convinces Us that the husband's plea that the wife did not want carnal
intercourse with him does not inspire belief. Since he was not physically impotent, but he refrained from sexual
intercourse during the entire time (from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989) that he occupied the same bed with
his wife, purely out of sympathy for her feelings, he deserves to be doubted for not having asserted his right
seven though she balked (Tompkins vs. Tompkins, 111 Atl. 599, cited in I Paras, Civil Code, at p. 330).
Besides, if it were true that it is the wife was suffering from incapacity, the fact that defendant did not go to
court and seek the declaration of nullity weakens his claim. This case was instituted by the wife whose normal
expectations of her marriage were frustrated by her husband's inadequacy. Considering the innate modesty of
the Filipino woman, it is hard to believe that she would expose her private life to public scrutiny and fabricate
testimony against her husband if it were not necessary to put her life in order and put to rest her marital status.
We are not impressed by defendant's claim that what the evidence proved is the unwillingness or lack of
intention to perform the sexual act, which is not phychological incapacity, and which can be achieved "through
proper motivation." After almost ten months of cohabitation, the admission that the husband is reluctant or
unwilling to perform the sexual act with his wife whom he professes to love very dearly, and who has not posed
any insurmountable resistance to his alleged approaches, is indicative of a hopeless situation, and of a serious
personality disorder that constitutes psychological incapacity to discharge the basic marital covenants within
the contemplation of the Family Code. 7
While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect
and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the sanction therefor is actually the "spontaneous, mutual affection between
husband and wife and not any legal mandate 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 spiritual communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each
other's feelings at a time it is needed by the other can go a long way in deepening the marital relationship.
Marriage is definitely not for children but for two consenting adults who view the relationship with love amor
gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing commitment to compromise, conscious of its value as a
sublime social institution.
This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties found themselves trapped in its mire
of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated marital obligations, can do no less but sustain the studied judgment of
respondent appellate court.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING PREMISES , the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated November
29, 1994 is hereby AFFIRMED in all respects and the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, Romero, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila


THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 136490

October 19, 2000

BRENDA B. MARCOS, petitioner, vs.WILSON G. MARCOS, respondent.


DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Psychological incapacity, as a ground for declaring the nullity of a marriage, may be established by the totality
of evidence presented. There is no requirement, however, that the respondent should be examined by a
physician or a psychologist as a conditio sine qua non for such declaration.
The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the July 24, 1998
Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 55588, which disposed as follows:
"WHEREFORE, the contested decision is set aside and the marriage between the parties is hereby declared
valid."2
Also challenged by petitioner is the December 3, 1998 CA Resolution denying her Motion for Reconsideration.
Earlier, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) had ruled thus:
"WHEREFORE, the marriage between petitioner Brenda B. Marcos and respondent Wilson G. Marcos,
solemnized on September 6, 1982 in Pasig City is declared null and void ab initio pursuant to Art. 36 of the
Family Code. The conjugal properties, if any, is dissolved [sic] in accordance with Articles 126 and 129 of the
same Code in relation to Articles 50, 51 and 52 relative to the delivery of the legitime of [the] parties' children.
In the best interest and welfare of the minor children, their custody is granted to petitioner subject to the
visitation rights of respondent.
"Upon finality of this Decision, furnish copy each to the Office of the Civil Registrar of Pasig City where the
marriage was solemnized, the National Census and Statistics Office, Manila and the Register of Deeds of
Mandaluyong City for their appropriate action consistent with this Decision.
"SO ORDERED."
The Facts
The facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows:
"It was established during the trial that the parties were married twice: (1) on September 6, 1982 which was
solemnized by Judge Eriberto H. Espiritu at the Municipal Court of Pasig (Exh. A); and (2) on May 8, 1983
which was solemnized by Rev. Eduardo L. Eleazar, Command Chaplain, at the Presidential Security Command
Chapel in Malacaang Park, Manila (Exh. A-1). Out of their marriage, five (5) children were born (Exhs. B, C,
D, E and F).
"Appellant Wilson G. Marcos joined the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1973. Later on, he was transferred
to the Presidential Security Command in Malacaang during the Marcos Regime. Appellee Brenda B. Marcos,
on the other hand, joined the Women's Auxilliary Corps under the Philippine Air Force in 1978. After the Edsa
Revolution, both of them sought a discharge from the military service.
"They first met sometime in 1980 when both of them were assigned at the Malacaang Palace, she as an
escort of Imee Marcos and he as a Presidential Guard of President Ferdinand Marcos. Through telephone
conversations, they became acquainted and eventually became sweethearts.
"After their marriage on September 6, 1982, they resided at No. 1702 Daisy Street, Hulo Bliss, Mandaluyong, a
housing unit which she acquired from the Bliss Development Corporation when she was still single.
"After the downfall of President Marcos, he left the military service in 1987 and then engaged in different
business ventures that did not however prosper. As a wife, she always urged him to look for work so that their
children would see him, instead of her, as the head of the family and a good provider. Due to his failure to
engage in any gainful employment, they would often quarrel and as a consequence, he would hit and beat her.
He would even force her to have sex with him despite her weariness. He would also inflict physical harm on
their children for a slight mistake and was so severe in the way he chastised them. Thus, for several times

during their cohabitation, he would leave their house. In 1992, they were already living separately.
"All the while, she was engrossed in the business of selling "magic uling" and chickens. While she was still in
the military, she would first make deliveries early in the morning before going to Malacaang. When she was
discharged from the military service, she concentrated on her business. Then, she became a supplier in the
Armed Forces of the Philippines until she was able to put up a trading and construction company, NS Ness
Trading and Construction Development Corporation.
"The 'straw that broke the camel's back' took place on October 16, 1994, when they had a bitter quarrel. As
they were already living separately, she did not want him to stay in their house anymore. On that day, when
she saw him in their house, she was so angry that she lambasted him. He then turned violent, inflicting
physical harm on her and even on her mother who came to her aid. The following day, October 17, 1994, she
and their children left the house and sought refuge in her sister's house.
"On October 19, 1994, she submitted herself [to] medical examination at the Mandaluyong Medical Center
where her injuries were diagnosed as contusions (Exh. G, Records, 153).
"Sometime in August 1995, she together with her two sisters and driver, went to him at the Bliss unit in
Mandaluyong to look for their missing child, Niko. Upon seeing them, he got mad. After knowing the reason for
their unexpected presence, he ran after them with a samurai and even [beat] her driver.
"At the time of the filing of this case, she and their children were renting a house in Camella, Paraaque, while
the appellant was residing at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong.
"In the case study conducted by Social Worker Sonia C. Millan, the children described their father as cruel and
physically abusive to them (Exh. UU, Records, pp. 85-100).
"The appellee submitted herself to psychologist Natividad A. Dayan, Ph.D., for psychological evaluation (Exh.
YY, Records, pp. 207-216), while the appellant on the other hand, did not.
"The court a quo found the appellant to be psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations
mainly because of his failure to find work to support his family and his violent attitude towards appellee and
their children, x x x."3
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Reversing the RTC, the CA held that psychological incapacity had not been established by the totality of the
evidence presented. It ratiocinated in this wise:
"Essential in a petition for annulment is the allegation of the root cause of the spouse's psychological
incapacity which should also be medically or clinically identified, sufficiently proven by experts and clearly
explained in the decision. The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the
marriage and shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. It must also be grave enough to bring
about the disability of the parties to assume the essential obligations of marriage as set forth in Articles 68 to
71 and Articles 220 to 225 of the Family Code and such non-complied marital obligations must similarly be
alleged in the petition, established by evidence and explained in the decision.
"In the case before us, the appellant was not subjected to any psychological or psychiatric evaluation. The
psychological findings about the appellant by psychiatrist Natividad Dayan were based only on the interviews
conducted with the appellee. Expert evidence by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists is essential if
only to prove that the parties were or any one of them was mentally or psychically ill to be truly incognitive of
the marital obligations he or she was assuming, or as would make him or her x x x unable to assume them. In
fact, he offered testimonial evidence to show that he [was] not psychologically incapacitated. The root cause of
his supposed incapacity was not alleged in the petition, nor medically or clinically identified as a psychological
illness or sufficiently proven by an expert. Similarly, there is no evidence at all that would show that the
appellant was suffering from an incapacity which [was] psychological or mental - not physical to the extent that
he could not have known the obligations he was assuming: that the incapacity [was] grave, ha[d] preceded the
marriage and [was] incurable."4
Hence, this Petition.5
Issues
In her Memorandum,6 petitioner presents for this Court's consideration the following issues:
"I. Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals could set aside the findings by the Regional Trial Court of
psychological incapacity of a respondent in a Petition for declaration of nullity of marriage simply because the
respondent did not subject himself to psychological evaluation.

II. Whether or not the totality of evidence presented and the demeanor of all the witnesses should be the basis
of the determination of the merits of the Petition."7
The Court's Ruling
We agree with petitioner that the personal medical or psychological examination of respondent is not a
requirement for a declaration of psychological incapacity. Nevertheless, the totality of the evidence she
presented does not show such incapacity.
Preliminary Issue: Need for Personal Medical Examination
Petitioner contends that the testimonies and the results of various tests that were submitted to determine
respondent's psychological incapacity to perform the obligations of marriage should not have been brushed
aside by the Court of Appeals, simply because respondent had not taken those tests himself. Petitioner adds
that the CA should have realized that under the circumstances, she had no choice but to rely on other sources
of information in order to determine the psychological capacity of respondent, who had refused to submit
himself to such tests.
In Republic v. CA and Molina,8 the guidelines governing the application and the interpretation of psychological
incapacity referred to in Article 36 of the Family Code9 were laid down by this Court as follows:
"1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be
resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This
is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the
family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, recognizing it 'as the foundation of the
nation.' It decrees marriage as legally 'inviolable,' thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the
parties. Both the family and marriage are to be 'protected' by the state.
xxx

xxx

xxx

2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in
the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the
Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological - not physical, although its manifestations
and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was
mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was
assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Although no example of such
incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem
generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating
nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at 'the time of the celebration' of the marriage. The evidence
must show that the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their 'I do's.' The manifestation of the
illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or prior
thereto.
4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability
may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against
everyone of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage
obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in
a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to
cure them but not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an
essential obligation of marriage.
5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential
obligations of marriage. Thus, 'mild characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional
outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability,
not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling
factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the
person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.
6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as
regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and
their children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence
and included in the text of the decision.
7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the
Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts.

xxx

xxx

xxx

(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel
for the state. No decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be
quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the case may be,
to the petition. The Solicitor General, along with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such
certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed submitted for resolution of the court. The
Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon
1095."10
The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court in Santos v. Court of
Appeals:11 "psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence, and (c)
incurability." The foregoing guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared
psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be "medically or clinically identified." What is
important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the party's psychological condition. For
indeed, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then
actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to.
Main Issue: Totality of Evidence Presented
The main question, then, is whether the totality of the evidence presented in the present case -- including the
testimonies of petitioner, the common children, petitioner's sister and the social worker -- was enough to
sustain a finding that respondent was psychologically incapacitated.
We rule in the negative. Although this Court is sufficiently convinced that respondent failed to provide material
support to the family and may have resorted to physical abuse and abandonment, the totality of his acts does
not lead to a conclusion of psychological incapacity on his part. There is absolutely no showing that his
"defects" were already present at the inception of the marriage or that they are incurable.
Verily, the behavior of respondent can be attributed to the fact that he had lost his job and was not gainfully
employed for a period of more than six years. It was during this period that he became intermittently drunk,
failed to give material and moral support, and even left the family home.
Thus, his alleged psychological illness was traced only to said period and not to the inception of the marriage.
Equally important, there is no evidence showing that his condition is incurable, especially now that he is
gainfully employed as a taxi driver.
Article 36 of the Family Code, we stress, is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at
the time the causes therefor manifest themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party
even before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of
awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. These marital
obligations are those provided under Articles 68 to 71, 220, 221 and 225 of the Family Code.
Neither is Article 36 to be equated with legal separation, in which the grounds need not be rooted in
psychological incapacity but on physical violence, moral pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug
addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity, abandonment and the like. 12 At best, the evidence presented by
petitioner refers only to grounds for legal separation, not for declaring a marriage void.
Because Article 36 has been abused as a convenient divorce law, this Court laid down the procedural
requirements for its invocation in Molina. Petitioner, however, has not faithfully observed them.
In sum, this Court cannot declare the dissolution of the marriage for failure of petitioner to show that the
alleged psychological incapacity is characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability; and for her
failure to observe the guidelines outlined in Molina.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and assailed Decision AFFIRMED, except that portion requiring
personal medical examination as a conditio sine qua non to a finding of psychological incapacity. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melo, (Chairman), Vitug, Purisima, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila


FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 162368

July 17, 2006

MA. ARMIDA PEREZ-FERRARIS, petitioner, vs.BRIX FERRARIS, respondent.


RESOLUTION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This resolves the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Ma. Armida Perez-Ferraris of the Resolution
dated June 9, 2004 denying the petition for review on certiorari of the Decision and Resolution of the Court of
Appeals dated April 30, 2003 and February 24, 2004, respectively, for failure of the petitioner to sufficiently
show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error.
On February 20, 2001, the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 151 rendered a Decision 1 denying the
petition for declaration of nullity of petitioner's marriage with Brix Ferraris. The trial court noted that suffering
from epilepsy does not amount to psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Civil Code and the evidence
on record were insufficient to prove infidelity. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in an Order 2
dated April 20, 2001 where the trial court reiterated that there was no evidence that respondent is mentally or
physically ill to such an extent that he could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing
them, could not have given valid assumption thereof.
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed 3 in toto the judgment of the trial court. It held that
the evidence on record did not convincingly establish that respondent was suffering from psychological
incapacity or that his "defects" were incurable and already present at the inception of the marriage. 4 The Court
of Appeals also found that Dr. Dayan's testimony failed to establish the substance of respondent's
psychological incapacity; that she failed to explain how she arrived at the conclusion that the respondent has a
mixed personality disorder; that she failed to clearly demonstrate that there was a natal or supervening
disabling factor or an adverse integral element in respondent's character that effectively incapacitated him from
accepting and complying with the essential marital obligations.5
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied6 for lack of merit; thus, she filed a petition for review on
certiorari with this Court. As already stated, the petition for review was denied for failure of petitioner to show
that the appellate tribunal committed any reversible error.
Petitioner filed the instant motion for reconsideration. 7 The Court required respondent Brix Ferraris to file
comment8 but failed to comply; thus, he is deemed to have waived the opportunity to file comment. Further, the
Court directed the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on petitioner's motion for reconsideration
which it complied on March 2, 2006.
After considering the arguments of both the petitioner and the OSG, the Court resolves to deny petitioner's
motion for reconsideration.
The issue of whether or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling for annulment of marriage
depends crucially, more than in any field of the law, on the facts of the case. 9 Such factual issue, however, is
beyond the province of this Court to review. It is not the function of the Court to analyze or weigh all over again
the evidence or premises supportive of such factual determination. 10 It is a well-established principle that
factual findings of the trial court, when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding on this Court, 11 save for
the most compelling and cogent reasons, like when the findings of the appellate court go beyond the issues of
the case, run contrary to the admissions of the parties to the case, or fail to notice certain relevant facts which,
if properly considered, will justify a different conclusion; or when there is a misappreciation of facts, 12 which are
unavailing in the instant case.
The term "psychological incapacity" to be a ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family
Code, refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even before the celebration of the marriage. It is
a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the
matrimonial bond one is about to assume.13 As all people may have certain quirks and idiosyncrasies, or
isolated characteristics associated with certain personality disorders, there is hardly any doubt that the
intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious cases
of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage.14 It is for this reason that the Court relies heavily on psychological experts for its
understanding of the human personality. However, the root cause must be identified as a psychological illness
and its incapacitating nature must be fully explained,15 which petitioner failed to convincingly demonstrate.
As aptly held by the Court of Appeals:

Simply put, the chief and basic consideration in the resolution of marital annulment cases is the presence of
evidence that can adequately establish respondent's psychological condition. Here, appellant contends that
there is such evidence. We do not agree. Indeed, the evidence on record did not convincingly establish that
respondent was suffering from psychological incapacity. There is absolutely no showing that his "defects" were
already present at the inception of the marriage, or that those are incurable.
Quite apart from being plainly self-serving, petitioner's evidence showed that respondent's alleged failure to
perform his so-called marital obligations was not at all a manifestation of some deep-seated, grave, permanent
and incurable psychological malady. To be sure, the couple's relationship before the marriage and even during
their brief union (for well about a year or so) was not all bad. During that relatively short period of time,
petitioner was happy and contented with her life in the company of respondent. In fact, by petitioner's own
reckoning, respondent was a responsible and loving husband. x x x. Their problems began when petitioner
started doubting respondent's fidelity. It was only when they started fighting about the calls from women that
respondent began to withdraw into his shell and corner, and failed to perform his so-called marital obligations.
Respondent could not understand petitioner's lack of trust in him and her constant naggings. He thought her
suspicions irrational. Respondent could not relate to her anger, temper and jealousy. x x x.
xxxx
At any rate, Dr. Dayan did not explain how she arrived at her diagnosis that respondent has a mixed
personality disorder called "schizoid," and why he is the "dependent and avoidant type." In fact, Dr. Dayan's
statement that one suffering from such mixed personality disorder is dependent on others for decision x x x
lacks specificity; it seems to belong to the realm of theoretical speculation. Also, Dr. Dayan's information that
respondent had extramarital affairs was supplied by the petitioner herself. Notably, when asked as to the root
cause of respondent's alleged psychological incapacity, Dr. Dayan's answer was vague, evasive and
inconclusive. She replied that such disorder "can be part of his family upbringing" x x x. She stated that there
was a history of respondent's parents having difficulties in their relationship. But this input on the supposed
problematic history of respondent's parents also came from petitioner. Nor did Dr. Dayan clearly demonstrate
that there was really "a natal or supervening disabling factor" on the part of respondent, or an "adverse integral
element" in respondent's character that effectively incapacitated him from accepting, and, thereby complying
with, the essential marital obligations. Of course, petitioner likewise failed to prove that respondent's supposed
psychological or mental malady existed even before the marriage. All these omissions must be held up against
petitioner, for the reason that upon her devolved the onus of establishing nullity of the marriage. Indeed, any
doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage and the indissolubility of the marital vinculum.16
We find respondent's alleged mixed personality disorder, the "leaving-the-house" attitude whenever they
quarreled, the violent tendencies during epileptic attacks, the sexual infidelity, the abandonment and lack of
support, and his preference to spend more time with his band mates than his family, are not rooted on some
debilitating psychological condition but a mere refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of
marriage.
In Republic v. Court of Appeals,17 where therein respondent preferred to spend more time with his friends than
his family on whom he squandered his money, depended on his parents for aid and assistance, and was
dishonest to his wife regarding his finances, the Court held that the psychological defects spoken of were more
of a "difficulty," if not outright "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of some marital obligations and that a
mere showing of irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities in no wise constitute psychological
incapacity; it is not enough to prove that the parties failed to meet their responsibilities and duties as married
persons; it is essential that they must be shown to be incapable of doing so, due to some psychological, not
physical, illness.
Also, we held in Hernandez v. Court of Appeals18 that habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and
abandonment do not by themselves constitute grounds for declaring a marriage void based on psychological
incapacity.
While petitioner's marriage with the respondent failed and appears to be without hope of reconciliation, the
remedy however is not always to have it declared void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity. An
unsatisfactory marriage, however, is not a null and void marriage. 19 No less than the Constitution recognizes
the sanctity of marriage and the unity of the family; it decrees marriage as legally "inviolable" and protects it
from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected" by the state.20
Thus, in determining the import of "psychological incapacity" under Article 36, it must be read in conjunction
with, although to be taken as distinct from Articles 35, 21 37,22 38,23 and 4124 that would likewise, but for different
reasons, render the marriage void ab initio, or Article 4525 that would make the marriage merely voidable, or
Article 55 that could justify a petition for legal separation. Care must be observed so that these various
circumstances are not applied so indiscriminately as if the law were indifferent on the matter. 26 Article 36 should
not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefor manifest
themselves.27 Neither it is to be equated with legal separation, in which the grounds need not be rooted in
psychological incapacity but on physical violence, moral pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug
addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity, abandonment and the like.28

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration of the Resolution dated June 9, 2004
denying the petition for review on certiorari for failure of the petitioner to sufficiently show that the Court of
Appeals committed any reversible error, is DENIED WITH FINALITY.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila


THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 155800

March 10, 2006

LEONILO ANTONIO Petitioner, vs.MARIE IVONNE F. REYES, Respondent.


DECISION
TINGA, J.:
Statistics never lie, but lovers often do, quipped a sage. This sad truth has unsettled many a love transformed
into matrimony. Any sort of deception between spouses, no matter the gravity, is always disquieting. Deceit to
the depth and breadth unveiled in the following pages, dark and irrational as in the modern noir tale, dims any
trace of certitude on the guilty spouses capability to fulfill the marital obligations even more.
The Petition for Review on Certiorari assails the Decision1 and Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals dated 29
November 2001 and 24 October 2002. The Court of Appeals had reversed the judgment 3 of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Makati declaring the marriage of Leonilo N. Antonio (petitioner) and Marie Ivonne F. Reyes
(respondent), null and void. After careful consideration, we reverse and affirm instead the trial court.
Antecedent Facts
Petitioner and respondent met in August 1989 when petitioner was 26 years old and respondent was 36 years
of age. Barely a year after their first meeting, they got married before a minister of the Gospel 4 at the Manila
City Hall, and through a subsequent church wedding 5 at the Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish, Bagong Ilog, Pasig,
Metro Manila on 6 December 1990. 6 Out of their union, a child was born on 19 April 1991, who sadly died five
(5) months later.
On 8 March 1993,7 petitioner filed a petition to have his marriage to respondent declared null and void. He
anchored his petition for nullity on Article 36 of the Family Code alleging that respondent was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. He asserted that respondents incapacity
existed at the time their marriage was celebrated and still subsists up to the present.8
As manifestations of respondents alleged psychological incapacity, petitioner claimed that respondent
persistently lied about herself, the people around her, her occupation, income, educational attainment and
other events or things, 9 to wit:
(1) She concealed the fact that she previously gave birth to an illegitimate son, 10 and instead introduced the
boy to petitioner as the adopted child of her family. She only confessed the truth about the boys parentage
when petitioner learned about it from other sources after their marriage.11
(2) She fabricated a story that her brother-in-law, Edwin David, attempted to rape and kill her when in fact, no
such incident occurred.12
(3) She misrepresented herself as a psychiatrist to her obstetrician, Dr. Consuelo Gardiner, and told some of
her friends that she graduated with a degree in psychology, when she was neither.13
(4) She claimed to be a singer or a free-lance voice talent affiliated with Blackgold Recording Company
(Blackgold); yet, not a single member of her family ever witnessed her alleged singing activities with the group.
In the same vein, she postulated that a luncheon show was held at the Philippine Village Hotel in her honor
and even presented an invitation to that effect14 but petitioner discovered per certification by the Director of
Sales of said hotel that no such occasion had taken place.15
(5) She invented friends named Babes Santos and Via Marquez, and under those names, sent lengthy letters
to petitioner claiming to be from Blackgold and touting her as the "number one moneymaker" in the commercial
industry worth P2 million.16 Petitioner later found out that respondent herself was the one who wrote and sent
the letters to him when she admitted the truth in one of their quarrels. 17 He likewise realized that Babes Santos
and Via Marquez were only figments of her imagination when he discovered they were not known in or
connected with Blackgold.18
(6) She represented herself as a person of greater means, thus, she altered her payslip to make it appear that
she earned a higher income. She bought a sala set from a public market but told petitioner that she acquired it
from a famous furniture dealer.19 She spent lavishly on unnecessary items and ended up borrowing money
from other people on false pretexts.20
(7) She exhibited insecurities and jealousies over him to the extent of calling up his officemates to monitor his
whereabouts. When he could no longer take her unusual behavior, he separated from her in August 1991. He

tried to attempt a reconciliation but since her behavior did not change, he finally left her for good in November
1991.21
In support of his petition, petitioner presented Dr. Dante Herrera Abcede (Dr. Abcede), a psychiatrist, and Dr.
Arnulfo V.
Lopez (Dr. Lopez), a clinical psychologist, who stated, based on the tests they conducted, that petitioner was
essentially a normal, introspective, shy and conservative type of person. On the other hand, they observed that
respondents persistent and constant lying
to petitioner was abnormal or pathological. It undermined the basic relationship that should be based on love,
trust and respect.22 They further asserted that respondents extreme jealousy was also pathological. It reached
the point of paranoia since there was no actual basis for her to suspect that petitioner was having an affair with
another woman. They concluded based on the foregoing that respondent was psychologically incapacitated to
perform her essential marital obligations.23
In opposing the petition, respondent claimed that she performed her marital obligations by attending to all the
needs of her husband. She asserted that there was no truth to the allegation that she fabricated stories, told
lies and invented personalities.24 She presented her version, thus:
(1) She concealed her child by another man from petitioner because she was afraid of losing her husband.25
(2) She told petitioner about Davids attempt to rape and kill her because she surmised such intent from
Davids act of touching her back and ogling her from head to foot.26
(3) She was actually a BS Banking and Finance graduate and had been teaching psychology at the Pasig
Catholic School for two (2) years.27
(4) She was a free-lance voice talent of Aris de las Alas, an executive producer of Channel 9 and she had done
three (3) commercials with McCann Erickson for the advertisement of Coca-cola, Johnson & Johnson, and
Traders Royal Bank. She told petitioner she was a Blackgold recording artist although she was not under
contract with the company, yet she reported to the Blackgold office after office hours. She claimed that a
luncheon show was indeed held in her honor at the Philippine Village Hotel on 8 December 1979.28
(5) She vowed that the letters sent to petitioner were not written by her and the writers thereof were not
fictitious. Bea Marquez Recto of the Recto political clan was a resident of the United States while Babes
Santos was employed with Saniwares.29
(6) She admitted that she called up an officemate of her husband but averred that she merely asked the latter
in a diplomatic matter if she was the one asking for chocolates from petitioner, and not to monitor her
husbands whereabouts.30
(7) She belied the allegation that she spent lavishly as she supported almost ten people from her monthly
budget of P7,000.00.31
In fine, respondent argued that apart from her non-disclosure of a child prior to their marriage, the other lies
attributed to her by petitioner were mostly hearsay and unconvincing. Her stance was that the totality of the
evidence presented is not sufficient for a finding of psychological incapacity on her part.32
In addition, respondent presented Dr. Antonio Efren Reyes (Dr. Reyes), a psychiatrist, to refute the allegations
anent her psychological condition. Dr. Reyes testified that the series of tests conducted by his assistant, 33
together with the screening procedures and the Comprehensive Psycho-Pathological Rating Scale (CPRS) he
himself conducted, led him to conclude that respondent was not psychologically incapacitated to perform the
essential marital obligations. He postulated that regressive behavior, gross neuroticism, psychotic tendencies,
and poor control of impulses, which are signs that might point to the presence of disabling trends, were not
elicited from respondent.34
In rebuttal, Dr. Lopez asseverated that there were flaws in the evaluation conducted by Dr. Reyes as (i) he was
not the one who administered and interpreted respondents psychological evaluation, and (ii) he made use of
only one instrument called CPRS which was not reliable because a good liar can fake the results of such test.35
After trial, the lower court gave credence to petitioners evidence and held that respondents propensity to lying
about almost anythingher occupation, state of health, singing abilities and her income, among othershad
been duly established. According to the trial court, respondents fantastic ability to invent and fabricate stories
and personalities enabled her to live in a world of make-believe. This made her psychologically incapacitated
as it rendered her incapable of giving meaning and significance to her marriage. 36 The trial court thus declared
the marriage between petitioner and respondent null and void.

Shortly before the trial court rendered its decision, the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Manila
annulled the Catholic marriage of the parties, on the ground of lack of due discretion on the part of the
parties.37 During the pendency of the appeal before the Court of Appeals, the Metropolitan Tribunals ruling was
affirmed with modification by both the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, which held instead that only
respondent was impaired by a lack of due discretion. 38 Subsequently, the decision of the National Appellate
Matrimonial Tribunal was upheld by the Roman Rota of the Vatican.39
Petitioner duly alerted the Court of Appeals of these rulings by the Catholic tribunals. Still, the appellate court
reversed the RTCs judgment. While conceding that respondent may not have been completely honest with
petitioner, the Court of Appeals nevertheless held that the totality of the evidence presented was insufficient to
establish respondents psychological incapacity. It declared that the requirements in the case of Republic v.
Court of Appeals40 governing the application and interpretation of psychological incapacity had not been
satisfied.
Taking exception to the appellate courts pronouncement, petitioner elevated the case to this Court. He
contends herein that the evidence conclusively establish respondents psychological incapacity.
In considering the merit of this petition, the Court is heavily influenced by the credence accorded by the RTC to
the factual allegations of petitioner.41 It is a settled principle of civil procedure that the conclusions of the trial
court regarding the credibility of witnesses are entitled to great respect from the appellate courts because the
trial court had an opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses while giving testimony which may indicate
their candor or lack thereof.42 The Court is likewise guided by the fact that the Court of Appeals did not dispute
the veracity of the evidence presented by petitioner. Instead, the appellate court concluded that such evidence
was not sufficient to establish the psychological incapacity of respondent.43
Thus, the Court is impelled to accept the factual version of petitioner as the operative facts. Still, the crucial
question remains as to whether the state of facts as presented by petitioner sufficiently meets the standards
set for the declaration of nullity of a marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. These standards were
definitively laid down in the Courts 1997 ruling in Republic v. Court of Appeals44 (also known as the Molina
case45), and indeed the Court of Appeals cited the Molina guidelines in reversing the RTC in the case at bar. 46
Since Molina was decided in 1997, the Supreme Court has yet to squarely affirm the declaration of nullity of
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. 47 In fact, even before Molina was handed down, there was only
one case, Chi Ming Tsoi v. Court of Appeals,48 wherein the Court definitively concluded that a spouse was
psychologically incapacitated under Article 36.
This state of jurisprudential affairs may have led to the misperception that the remedy afforded by Article 36 of
the Family Code is hollow, insofar as the Supreme Court is concerned. 49 Yet what Molina and the succeeding
cases did ordain was a set of guidelines which, while undoubtedly onerous on the petitioner seeking the
declaration of nullity, still leave room for a decree of nullity under the proper circumstances. Molina did not
foreclose the grant of a decree of nullity under Article 36, even as it raised the bar for its allowance.
Legal Guides to Understanding Article 36
Article 36 of the Family Code states that "[a] marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage,
shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization." 50 The concept of
psychological incapacity as a ground for nullity of marriage is novel in our body of laws, although mental
incapacity has long been recognized as a ground for the dissolution of a marriage.
The Spanish Civil Code of 1889 prohibited from contracting marriage persons "who are not in the full
enjoyment of their reason at the time of contracting marriage." 51 Marriages with such persons were ordained as
void,52 in the same class as marriages with underage parties and persons already married, among others. A
partys mental capacity was not a ground for divorce under the Divorce Law of 1917, 53 but a marriage where
"either party was of unsound mind" at the time of its celebration was cited as an "annullable marriage" under
the Marriage Law of 1929.54 Divorce on the ground of a spouses incurable insanity was permitted under the
divorce law enacted during the Japanese occupation.55 Upon the enactment of the Civil Code in 1950, a
marriage contracted by a party of "unsound mind" was classified under Article 85 of the Civil Code as a
voidable marriage.56 The mental capacity, or lack thereof, of the marrying spouse was not among the grounds
for declaring a marriage void ab initio.57 Similarly, among the marriages classified as voidable under Article 45
(2) of the Family Code is one contracted by a party of unsound mind.58
Such cause for the annulment of marriage is recognized as a vice of consent, just like insanity impinges on
consent freely given which is one of the essential requisites of a contract. 59 The initial common consensus on
psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code was that it did not constitute a specie of vice of
consent. Justices Sempio-Diy and Caguioa, both members of the Family Code revision committee that drafted
the Code, have opined that psychological incapacity is not a vice of consent, and conceded that the spouse
may have given free and voluntary consent to a marriage but was nonetheless incapable of fulfilling such rights
and obligations.60 Dr. Tolentino likewise stated in the 1990 edition of his commentaries on the Family Code that
this "psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations does not affect the consent to the

marriage."61
There were initial criticisms of this original understanding of Article 36 as phrased by the Family Code
committee. Tolentino opined that "psychologically incapacity to comply would not be
juridically different from physical incapacity of consummating the marriage, which makes the marriage only
voidable under Article 45 (5) of the Civil Code x x x [and thus] should have been a cause for annulment of the
marriage only."62 At the same time, Tolentino noted "[it] would be different if it were psychological incapacity to
understand the essential marital obligations, because then this would amount to lack of consent to the
marriage."63 These concerns though were answered, beginning with Santos v. Court of Appeals,64 wherein the
Court, through Justice Vitug, acknowledged that "psychological incapacity should refer to no less than a mental
(not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that
concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage."65
The notion that psychological incapacity pertains to the inability to understand the obligations of marriage, as
opposed to a mere inability to comply with them, was further affirmed in the Molina66 case. Therein, the Court,
through then Justice (now Chief Justice) Panganiban observed that "[t]he evidence [to establish psychological
incapacity] must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically ill to such
extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not
have given valid assumption thereto."67 Jurisprudence since then has recognized that psychological incapacity
"is a malady so grave and permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the
matrimonial bond one is about to assume."68
It might seem that this present understanding of psychological incapacity deviates from the literal wording of
Article 36, with its central phase reading "psychologically incapacitated to comply
with the essential marital obligations of marriage." 69 At the same time, it has been consistently recognized by
this Court that the intent of the Family Code committee was to design the law as to allow some resiliency in its
application, by avoiding specific examples that would limit the applicability of the provision under the principle
of ejusdem generis. Rather, the preference of the revision committee was for "the judge to interpret the
provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, in the findings of experts and researchers in
psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals which, although not binding on
the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision was taken from Canon Law."70
We likewise observed in Republic v. Dagdag:71
Whether or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling for annulment of a marriage, depends
crucially, more than in any field of the law, on the facts of the case. Each case must be judged, not on the basis
of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its own facts. In regard to
psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment of marriage, it is trite to say that no case is on "all fours"
with another case. The trial judge must take pains in examining the factual milieu and the appellate court must,
as much as possible, avoid substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court.72
The Court thus acknowledges that the definition of psychological incapacity, as intended by the revision
committee, was not cast in intractable specifics. Judicial understanding of psychological incapacity may be
informed by evolving standards, taking into account the particulars of each case, current trends in
psychological and even canonical thought, and experience. It is under the auspices of the deliberate ambiguity
of the framers that the Court has developed the Molina rules, which have been consistently applied since 1997.
Molina has proven indubitably useful in providing a unitary framework that guides courts in adjudicating
petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. At the same time, the Molina guidelines are not set in stone,
the clear legislative intent mandating a case-to-case perception of each situation, and Molina itself arising from
this evolutionary understanding of Article 36. There is no cause to disavow Molina at present, and indeed the
disposition of this case shall rely primarily on that precedent. There is need though to emphasize other
perspectives as well which should govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36.
Of particular notice has been the citation of the Court, first in Santos then in Molina, of the considered opinion
of canon law experts in the interpretation of psychological incapacity. This is but unavoidable, considering that
the Family Code committee had bluntly acknowledged that the concept of psychological incapacity was derived
from canon law,73 and as one member admitted, enacted as a solution to the problem of marriages already
annulled by the Catholic Church but still existent under civil law.74 It would be disingenuous to disregard the
influence of Catholic Church doctrine in the formulation and subsequent understanding of Article 36, and the
Court has expressly acknowledged that interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of
the local Church, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts. 75 Still, it must be
emphasized that the Catholic Church is hardly the sole source of influence in the interpretation of Article 36.
Even though the concept may have been derived from canon law, its incorporation into the Family Code and
subsequent judicial interpretation occurred in wholly secular progression. Indeed, while Church thought on
psychological incapacity is merely persuasive on the trial courts, judicial decisions of this Court interpreting
psychological incapacity are binding on lower courts.76

Now is also opportune time to comment on another common legal guide utilized in the adjudication of petitions
for declaration of nullity under Article 36. All too frequently, this Court and lower courts, in denying petitions of
the kind, have favorably cited Sections 1 and 2, Article XV of the Constitution, which respectively state that
"[t]he State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its
solidarity and actively promote its total developmen[t]," and that "[m]arriage, as an inviolable social institution,
is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State." These provisions highlight the importance
of the family and the constitutional protection accorded to the institution of marriage.
But the Constitution itself does not establish the parameters of state protection to marriage as a social
institution and the foundation of the family. It remains the province of the legislature to define all legal aspects
of marriage and prescribe the strategy and the modalities to protect it, based on whatever socio-political
influences it deems proper, and subject of course to the qualification that such legislative enactment itself
adheres to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This being the case, it also falls on the legislature to put into
operation the constitutional provisions that protect marriage and the family. This has been accomplished at
present through the enactment of the Family Code, which defines marriage and the family, spells out the
corresponding legal effects, imposes the limitations that affect married and family life, as well as prescribes the
grounds for declaration of nullity and those for legal separation. While it may appear that the judicial denial of a
petition for declaration of nullity is reflective of the constitutional mandate to protect marriage, such action in
fact merely enforces a statutory definition of marriage, not a constitutionally ordained decree of what marriage
is. Indeed, if circumstances warrant, Sections 1 and 2 of Article XV need not be the only constitutional
considerations to be taken into account in resolving a petition for declaration of nullity.
Indeed, Article 36 of the Family Code, in classifying marriages contracted by a psychologically incapacitated
person as a nullity, should be deemed as an implement of this constitutional protection of marriage. Given the
avowed State interest in promoting marriage as the foundation of the family, which in turn serves as the
foundation of the nation, there is a corresponding interest for the State to defend against marriages ill-equipped
to promote family life. Void ab initio marriages under Article 36 do not further the initiatives of the State
concerning marriage and family, as they promote wedlock among persons who, for reasons independent of
their will, are not capacitated to understand or comply with the essential obligations of marriage.
These are the legal premises that inform us as we decide the present petition.
Molina Guidelines As Applied in This Case
As stated earlier, Molina established the guidelines presently recognized in the judicial disposition of petitions
for nullity under Article 36. The Court has consistently applied Molina since its promulgation in 1997, and the
guidelines therein operate as the general rules. They warrant citation in full:
1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved
in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted
in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus,
our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the foundation of the nation." It
decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both
the family and marriage are to be "protected" by the state.
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes their
permanence, inviolability and solidarity.
2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in
the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the
Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychologicalnot physical, although its manifestations
and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was
mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was
assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Although no example of such
incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem
generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating
nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the celebration" of the marriage. The evidence
must show that the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their "I 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 not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an

essential obligation of marriage.


5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential
obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional
outbursts" cannot be accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability,
not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling
factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the
person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.
6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as
regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and
their children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence
and included in the text of the decision.
7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the
Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article
36 was taken by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law,
which became effective in 1983 and which provides:
"The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable to assume the essential
obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological nature."
Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the
religious faith of our people, it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight
should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. Ideallysubject to our law on evidencewhat is
decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed civilly void.77
Molina had provided for an additional requirement that the Solicitor General issue a certification stating his
reasons for his agreement or opposition to the petition.78 This requirement however was dispensed with
following the implementation of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, or the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void
Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages.79 Still, Article 48 of the Family Code mandates that the
appearance of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned be on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent
collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. Obviously,
collusion is not an issue in this case, considering the consistent vigorous opposition of respondent to the
petition for declaration of nullity. In any event, the fiscals participation in the hearings before the trial court is
extant from the records of this case.
As earlier noted, the factual findings of the RTC are now deemed binding on this Court, owing to the great
weight accorded to the opinion of the primary trier of facts, and the refusal of the Court of Appeals to dispute
the veracity of these facts. As such, it must be considered that respondent had consistently lied about many
material aspects as to her character and personality. The question remains whether her pattern of fabrication
sufficiently establishes her psychological incapacity, consistent with Article 36 and generally, the Molina
guidelines.
We find that the present case sufficiently satisfies the guidelines in Molina.
First. Petitioner had sufficiently overcome his burden in proving the psychological incapacity of his spouse.
Apart from his own testimony, he presented witnesses who corroborated his allegations on his wifes behavior,
and certifications from Blackgold Records and the Philippine Village Hotel Pavillon which disputed
respondents claims pertinent to her alleged singing career. He also presented two (2) expert witnesses from
the field of psychology who testified that the aberrant behavior of respondent was tantamount to psychological
incapacity. In any event, both courts below considered petitioners evidence as credible enough. Even the
appellate court acknowledged that respondent was not totally honest with petitioner.80
As in all civil matters, the petitioner in an action for declaration of nullity under Article 36 must be able to
establish the cause of action with a preponderance of evidence. However, since the action cannot be
considered as a non-public matter between private parties, but is impressed with State interest, the Family
Code likewise requires the participation of the State, through the prosecuting attorney, fiscal, or Solicitor
General, to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated
or suppressed. Thus, even if the petitioner is able establish the psychological incapacity of respondent with
preponderant evidence, any finding of collusion among the parties would necessarily negate such proofs.
Second. The root cause of respondents psychological incapacity has been medically or clinically identified,
alleged in the complaint, sufficiently proven by experts, and clearly explained in the trial courts decision. The
initiatory complaint alleged that respondent, from the start, had exhibited unusual and abnormal behavior "of
peren[n]ially telling lies, fabricating ridiculous stories, and inventing personalities and situations," of writing
letters to petitioner using fictitious names, and of lying about her actual occupation, income, educational
attainment, and family background, among others.81

These allegations, initially characterized in generalities, were further linked to medical or clinical causes by
expert witnesses from the field of psychology. Petitioner presented two (2) such witnesses in particular. Dr.
Abcede, a psychiatrist who had headed the department of psychiatry of at least two (2) major hospitals, 82
testified as follows:
WITNESS:
Given that as a fact, which is only based on the affidavit provided to me, I can say that there are a couple of
things that [are] terribly wrong with the standards. There are a couple of things that seems (sic) to be repeated
over and over again in the affidavit. One of which is the persistent, constant and repeated lying of the
"respondent"; which, I think, based on assessment of normal behavior of an individual, is abnormal or
pathological. x x x
ATTY. RAZ: (Back to the witness)
Q- Would you say then, Mr. witness, that because of these actuations of the respondent she is then incapable
of performing the basic obligations of her marriage?
A- Well, persistent lying violates the respect that one owes towards another. The lack of concern, the lack of
love towards the person, and it is also something that endangers human relationship. You see, relationship is
based on communication between individuals and what we generally communicate are our thoughts and
feelings. But then when one talks and expresse[s] their feelings, [you] are expected to tell the truth. And
therefore, if you constantly lie, what do you think is going to happen as far as this relationship is concerned.
Therefore, it undermines that basic relationship that should be based on love, trust and respect.
Q- Would you say then, Mr. witness, that due to the behavior of the respondent in constantly lying and
fabricating stories, she is then incapable of performing the basic obligations of the marriage?
xxx
ATTY. RAZ: (Back to the witness)
Q- Mr. witness, based on the testimony of Mr. Levy Mendoza, who is the third witness for the petitioner,
testified that the respondent has been calling up the petitioners officemates and ask him (sic) on the activities
of the petitioner and ask him on the behavior of the petitioner. And this is specifically stated on page six (6) of
the transcript of stenographic notes, what can you say about this, Mr. witness?
A- If an individual is jealous enough to the point that he is paranoid, which means that there is no actual basis
on her suspect (sic) that her husband is having an affair with a woman, if carried on to the extreme, then that is
pathological. That is not abnormal. We all feel jealous, in the same way as we also lie every now and then; but
everything that is carried out in extreme is abnormal or pathological. If there is no basis in reality to the fact that
the husband is having an affair with another woman and if she persistently believes that the husband is having
an affair with different women, then that is pathological and we call that paranoid jealousy.
Q- Now, if a person is in paranoid jealousy, would she be considered psychologically incapacitated to perform
the basic obligations of the marriage?
A- Yes, Maam.83
The other witness, Dr. Lopez, was presented to establish not only the psychological incapacity of respondent,
but also the psychological capacity of petitioner. He concluded that respondent "is [a] pathological liar, that [she
continues] to lie [and] she loves to fabricate about herself."84
These two witnesses based their conclusions of psychological incapacity on the case record, particularly the
trial transcripts of respondents testimony, as well as the supporting affidavits of petitioner. While these
witnesses did not personally examine respondent, the Court had already held in Marcos v. Marcos85 that
personal examination of the subject by the physician is not required for the spouse to be declared
psychologically incapacitated.86 We deem the methodology utilized by petitioners witnesses as sufficient basis
for their medical conclusions. Admittedly, Drs. Abcede and Lopezs common conclusion of respondents
psychological incapacity hinged heavily on their own acceptance of petitioners version as the true set of facts.
However, since the trial court itself accepted the veracity of petitioners factual premises, there is no cause to
dispute the conclusion of psychological incapacity drawn therefrom by petitioners expert witnesses.
Also, with the totality of the evidence presented as basis, the trial court explicated its finding of psychological
incapacity in its decision in this wise:
To the mind of the Court, all of the above are indications that respondent is psychologically incapacitated to
perform the essential obligations of marriage. It has been shown clearly from her actuations that respondent

has that propensity for telling lies about almost anything, be it her occupation, her state of health, her singing
abilities, her income, etc. She has this fantastic ability to invent and fabricate stories and personalities. She
practically lived in a world of make believe making her therefore not in a position to give meaning and
significance to her marriage to petitioner. In persistently and constantly lying to petitioner, respondent
undermined the basic tenets of relationship between spouses that is based on love, trust and respect. As
concluded by the psychiatrist presented by petitioner, such repeated lying is abnormal and pathological and
amounts to psychological incapacity.87
Third. Respondents psychological incapacity was established to have clearly existed at the time of and even
before the celebration of marriage. She fabricated friends and made up letters from fictitious characters well
before she married petitioner. Likewise, she kept petitioner in the dark about her natural childs real parentage
as she only confessed when the latter had found out the truth after their marriage.
Fourth. The gravity of respondents psychological incapacity is sufficient to prove her disability to assume the
essential obligations of marriage. It is immediately discernible that the parties had shared only a little over a
year of cohabitation before the exasperated petitioner left his wife. Whatever such circumstance speaks of the
degree of tolerance of petitioner, it likewise supports the belief that respondents psychological incapacity, as
borne by the record, was so grave in extent that any prolonged marital life was dubitable.
It should be noted that the lies attributed to respondent were not adopted as false pretenses in order to induce
petitioner into marriage. More disturbingly, they indicate a failure on the part of respondent to distinguish truth
from fiction, or at least abide by the truth. Petitioners witnesses and the trial court were emphatic on
respondents inveterate proclivity to telling lies and the pathologic nature of her mistruths, which according to
them, were revelatory of respondents inability to understand and perform the essential obligations of marriage.
Indeed, a person unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality would similarly be unable to comprehend
the legal nature of the marital bond, much less its psychic meaning, and the corresponding obligations
attached to marriage, including parenting. One unable to adhere to reality cannot be expected to adhere as
well to any legal or emotional commitments.
The Court of Appeals somehow concluded that since respondent allegedly tried her best to effect a
reconciliation, she had amply exhibited her ability to perform her marital obligations. We are not convinced.
Given the nature of her psychological condition, her willingness to remain in the marriage hardly banishes nay
extenuates her lack of capacity to fulfill the essential marital obligations. Respondents ability to even
comprehend what the essential marital obligations are is impaired at best. Considering that the evidence
convincingly disputes respondents ability to adhere to the truth, her avowals as to her commitment to the
marriage cannot be accorded much credence.
At this point, it is worth considering Article 45(3) of the Family Code which states that a marriage may be
annulled if the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, and Article 46 which enumerates the
circumstances constituting fraud under the previous article, clarifies that "no other misrepresentation or deceit
as to character, health, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for
the annulment of marriage." It would be improper to draw linkages between misrepresentations made by
respondent and the misrepresentations under Articles 45 (3) and 46. The fraud under Article 45(3) vitiates the
consent of the spouse who is lied to, and does not allude to vitiated consent of the lying spouse. In this case,
the misrepresentations of respondent point to her own inadequacy to cope with her marital obligations, kindred
to psychological incapacity under Article 36.
Fifth. Respondent is evidently unable to comply with the essential marital obligations as embraced by Articles
68 to 71 of the Family Code. Article 68, in particular, enjoins the spouses to live together, observe mutual love,
respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support. As noted by the trial court, it is difficult to see how an
inveterate pathological liar would be able to commit to the basic tenets of relationship between spouses based
on love, trust and respect.
Sixth. The Court of Appeals clearly erred when it failed to take into consideration the fact that the marriage of
the parties was annulled by the Catholic Church. The appellate court apparently deemed this detail totally
inconsequential as no reference was made to it anywhere in the assailed decision despite petitioners efforts to
bring the matter to its attention.88 Such deliberate ignorance is in contravention of Molina, which held that
interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines,
while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts.
As noted earlier, the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Manila decreed the invalidity of the marriage in
question in a Conclusion89 dated 30 March 1995, citing the "lack of due discretion" on the part of respondent. 90
Such decree of nullity was affirmed by both the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, 91 and the Roman Rota
of the Vatican.92 In fact, respondents psychological incapacity was considered so grave that a restrictive
clause93 was appended to the sentence of nullity prohibiting respondent from contracting another marriage
without the Tribunals consent.
In its Decision dated 4 June 1995, the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal pronounced:

The JURISRPRUDENCE in the Case maintains that matrimonial consent is considered ontologically defective
and wherefore judicially ineffective when elicited by a Part Contractant in possession and employ of a
discretionary judgment faculty with a perceptive vigor markedly inadequate for the practical understanding of
the conjugal Covenant or serious impaired from the correct appreciation of the integral significance and
implications of the marriage vows.
The FACTS in the Case sufficiently prove with the certitude required by law that based on the depositions of
the Partes in Causa and premised on the testimonies of the Common and Expert Witnesse[s], the
Respondent made the marriage option in tenure of adverse personality constracts that were markedly
antithetical to the substantive content and implications of the Marriage Covenant, and that seriously
undermined the integrality of her matrimonial consent in terms of its deliberative component. In other
words, afflicted with a discretionary faculty impaired in its practico-concrete judgment formation on
account of an adverse action and reaction pattern, the Respondent was impaired from eliciting a
judicially binding matrimonial consent. There is no sufficient evidence in the Case however to prove as well
the fact of grave lack of due discretion on the part of the Petitioner.94
Evidently, the conclusion of psychological incapacity was arrived at not only by the trial court, but also by
canonical bodies. Yet, we must clarify the proper import of the Church rulings annulling the marriage in this
case. They hold sway since they are drawn from a similar recognition, as the trial court, of the veracity of
petitioners allegations. Had the trial court instead appreciated respondents version as correct, and the
appellate court affirmed such conclusion, the rulings of the Catholic Church on this matter would have
diminished persuasive value. After all, it is the factual findings of the judicial trier of facts, and not that of the
canonical courts, that are accorded significant recognition by this Court.
Seventh. The final point of contention is the requirement in Molina that such psychological incapacity be shown
to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. It was on this score that the Court of Appeals reversed the
judgment of the trial court, the appellate court noting that it did not appear certain that respondents condition
was incurable and that Dr. Abcede did not testify to such effect.95
Petitioner points out that one month after he and his wife initially separated, he returned to her, desiring to
make their marriage work. However, respondents aberrant behavior remained unchanged, as she continued to
lie, fabricate stories, and maintained her excessive jealousy. From this fact, he draws the conclusion that
respondents condition is incurable.
From the totality of the evidence, can it be definitively concluded that respondents condition is incurable? It
would seem, at least, that respondents psychosis is quite grave, and a cure thereof a remarkable feat.
Certainly, it would have been easier had petitioners expert witnesses characterized respondents condition as
incurable. Instead, they remained silent on whether the psychological incapacity was curable or incurable.
But on careful examination, there was good reason for the experts taciturnity on this point.
The petitioners expert witnesses testified in 1994 and 1995, and the trial court rendered its decision on 10
August 1995. These events transpired well before Molina was promulgated in 1997 and made explicit the
requirement that the psychological incapacity must be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or
incurable. Such requirement was not expressly stated in Article 36 or any other provision of the Family Code.
On the other hand, the Court in Santos, which was decided in January 1995, began its discussion by first citing
the deliberations of the Family Code committee, 96 then the opinion of canonical scholars, 97 before arriving at its
formulation of the doctrinal definition of psychological incapacity.98 Santos did refer to Justice Caguioas opinion
expressed during the deliberations that "psychological incapacity is incurable," 99 and the view of a former
presiding judge of the Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Manila that psychological
incapacity must be characterized "by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability." 100 However, in
formulating the doctrinal rule on psychological incapacity, the Court in Santos omitted any reference to
incurability as a characteristic of psychological incapacity.101
This disquisition is material as Santos was decided months before the trial court came out with its own ruling
that remained silent on whether respondents psychological incapacity was incurable. Certainly, Santos did not
clearly mandate that the incurability of the psychological incapacity be established in an action for declaration
of nullity. At least, there was no jurisprudential clarity at the time of the trial of this case and the subsequent
promulgation of the trial courts decision that required a medical finding of incurability. Such requisite arose
only with Molina in 1997, at a time when this case was on appellate review, or after the reception of evidence.
We are aware that in Pesca v. Pesca,102 the Court countered an argument that Molina and Santos should not
apply retroactively
with the observation that the interpretation or construction placed by the courts of a law constitutes a part of
that law as of the date the statute in enacted.103 Yet we approach this present case from utterly practical
considerations. The requirement that psychological incapacity must be shown to be medically or clinically

permanent or incurable is one that necessarily cannot be divined without expert opinion. Clearly in this case,
there was no categorical averment from the expert witnesses that respondents psychological incapacity was
curable or incurable simply because there was no legal necessity yet to elicit such a declaration and the
appropriate question was not accordingly propounded to him. If we apply Pesca without deep reflection, there
would be undue prejudice to those cases tried before Molina or Santos, especially those presently on appellate
review, where presumably the respective petitioners and their expert witnesses would not have seen the need
to adduce a diagnosis of incurability. It may hold in those cases, as in this case, that the psychological
incapacity of a spouse is actually incurable, even if not pronounced as such at the trial court level.
We stated earlier that Molina is not set in stone, and that the interpretation of Article 36 relies heavily on a
case-to-case perception. It would be insensate to reason to mandate in this case an expert medical or clinical
diagnosis of incurability, since the parties would have had no impelling cause to present evidence to that effect
at the time this case was tried by the RTC more than ten (10) years ago. From the totality of the evidence, we
are sufficiently convinced that the incurability of respondents psychological incapacity has been established by
the petitioner. Any lingering doubts are further dispelled by the fact that the Catholic Church tribunals, which
indubitably consider incurability as an integral requisite of psychological incapacity, were sufficiently convinced
that respondent was so incapacitated to contract marriage to the degree that annulment was warranted.
All told, we conclude that petitioner has established his cause of action for declaration of nullity under Article 36
of the Family Code. The RTC correctly ruled, and the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the trial court.
There is little relish in deciding this present petition, pronouncing as it does the marital bond as having been
inexistent in the first place. It is possible that respondent, despite her psychological state, remains in love with
petitioner, as exhibited by her persistent challenge to the petition for nullity. In fact, the appellate court placed
undue emphasis on respondents avowed commitment to remain in the marriage. Yet the Court decides these
cases on legal reasons and not vapid sentimentality. Marriage, in legal contemplation, is more than the
legitimatization of a desire of people in love to live together.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the RTC dated 10 August 1995, declaring the
marriage between petitioner and respondent NULL and VOID under Article 36 of the Family Code, is
REINSTATED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila


FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 151867

January 29, 2004

DAVID B. DEDEL, Petitioner, vs.COURT OF APPEALS and SHARON L. CORPUZ-DEDEL a.k.a. JANE
IBRAHIM, Respondents.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Oppositor-Respondent.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Petitioner David B. Dedel met respondent Sharon L. Corpuz Dedel while he was working in the advertising
business of his father. The acquaintance led to courtship and romantic relations, culminating in the exchange
of marital vows before the City Court of Pasay on September 28, 1966. 1 The civil marriage was ratified in a
church wedding on May 20, 1967.2
The union produced four children, namely: Beverly Jane, born on September 18, 1968; 3 Stephanie Janice born
on September 9, 1969;4 Kenneth David born on April 24, 1971; 5 and Ingrid born on October 20, 1976. 6 The
conjugal partnership, nonetheless, acquired neither property nor debt.
Petitioner avers that during the marriage, Sharon turned out to be an irresponsible and immature wife and
mother. She had extra-marital affairs with several men: a dentist in the Armed Forces of the Philippines; a
Lieutenant in the Presidential Security Command and later a Jordanian national.
Sharon was once confirmed in the Manila Medical City for treatment by Dr. Lourdes Lapuz, a clinical
psychiatrist. Petitioner alleged that despite the treatment, Sharon did not stop her illicit relationship with the
Jordanian national named Mustafa Ibrahim, whom she married and with whom she had two children. However,
when Mustafa Ibrahim left the country, Sharon returned to petitioner bringing along her two children by Ibrahim.
Petitioner accepted her back and even considered the two illegitimate children as his own. Thereafter, on
December 9, 1995, Sharon abandoned petitioner to join Ibrahim in Jordan with their two children. Since then,
Sharon would only return to the country on special occasions.
Finally, giving up all hope of a reconciliation with Sharon, petitioner filed on April 1, 1997 a petition seeking the
declaration of nullity of his marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity, as defined in Article 36 of the
Family Code, before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 149. Summons was effected by publication
in the Pilipino Star Ngayon, a newspaper of general circulation in the country considering that Sharon did not
reside and could not be found in the Philippines.7
Petitioner presented Dr. Natividad A. Dayan, who testified that she conducted a psychological evaluation of
petitioner and found him to be conscientious, hardworking, diligent, a perfectionist who wants all tasks and
projects completed up to the final detail and who exerts his best in whatever he does.
On the other hand, Dr. Dayan declared that Sharon was suffering from Anti-Social Personality Disorder
exhibited by her blatant display of infidelity; that she committed several indiscretions and had no capacity for
remorse, even bringing with her the two children of Mustafa Ibrahim to live with petitioner. Such immaturity and
irresponsibility in handling the marriage like her repeated acts of infidelity and abandonment of her family are
indications of Anti-Social Personality Disorder amounting to psychological incapacity to perform the essential
obligations of marriage.8
After trial, judgment was rendered, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the civil and church marriages between DAVID B. DEDEL and
SHARON L. CORPUZ celebrated on September 28, 1966 and May 20, 1967 are hereby declared null and void
on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of the respondent to perform the essential obligations of
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.
Accordingly, the conjugal partnership of gains existing between the parties is dissolved and in lieu thereof a
regime of complete separation of property between the said spouses is established in accordance with the
pertinent provisions of the Family Code, without prejudice to rights previously acquired by creditors.
Let a copy of this Decision be duly recorded in the proper civil and property registries in accordance with Article
52 of the Family Code.
SO ORDERED.9

Respondent Republic of the Philippines, through the Solicitor General, appealed alleging that
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION DESPITE THE ABSENCE OF A VALID
GROUND FOR DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT THE CHURCH MARRIAGE BETWEEN PETITIONER IS
NULL AND VOID.
III
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RENDERING A DECISION WITHOUT A CERTIFICATION HAVING BEEN
ISSUED BY THE SOLICITOR GENERAL AS REQUIRED IN THE MOLINA CASE.
The Court of Appeals recalled and set aside the judgment of the trial court and ordered dismissal of the petition
for declaration of nullity of marriage.10
Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated January 8, 2002. 11 Hence, the instant
petition.
Petitioner contends that the appellate court gravely abused its discretion and manifestly erred in its conclusion
that the: (1) respondent was not suffering from psychological incapacity to perform her marital obligations; (2)
psychological incapacity of respondent is not attended by gravity, juridical antecedence and permanence or
incurability; and (3) totality of evidence submitted by the petitioner falls short to prove psychological incapacity
suffered by respondent.
The main question for resolution is whether or not the totality of the evidence presented is enough to sustain a
finding that respondent is psychologically incapacitated. More specifically, does the aberrant sexual behavior of
respondent adverted to by petitioner fall within the term "psychological incapacity?"
In Santos v. Court of Appeals,12 it was ruled:
x x x "psychological incapacity" should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a
party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged
by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed in Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual
obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any
doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most
serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity of inability to give meaning
and significance to the marriage. This psychological condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.
The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand, an inability of the spouse to have sexual relations
with the other. This conclusion is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which considers children
conceived prior to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void marriage to be "legitimate."
The other forms of psychoses, if existing at the inception of marriage, like the state of a party being of unsound
mind or concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism, merely renders the
marriage contract voidable pursuant to Article 46, Family Code. If drug addiction, habitual alcoholism,
lesbianism or homosexuality should occur only during the marriage, they become mere grounds for legal
separation under Article 55 of the Family Code. These provisions, however, do not necessarily preclude the
possibility of these various circumstances being themselves, depending on the degree and severity of the
disorder, indicia of psychological incapacity.
Until further statutory and jurisprudential parameters are established, every circumstance that may have some
bearing on the degree, extent and other conditions of that incapacity must, in every case, be carefully
examined and evaluated so that no precipitate and indiscriminate nullity is peremptorily decreed. The wellconsidered opinion of psychiatrists, psychologists and persons with expertise in psychological disciplines might
be helpful or even desirable.13
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.14 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.15 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, immaturity16 or sexual promiscuity.
At best, the circumstances relied upon by petitioner are grounds for legal separation under Article 55 17 of the
Family Code. However, we pointed out in Marcos v. Marcos18 that Article 36 is not to be equated with legal
separation in which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but on physical violence, moral
pressure, civil interdiction, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity, abandonment and the like. In
short, the evidence presented by petitioner refers only to grounds for legal separation, not for declaring a
marriage void.
We likewise agree with the Court of Appeals that the trial court has no jurisdiction to dissolve the church
marriage of petitioner and respondent. The authority to do so is exclusively lodged with the Ecclesiastical Court
of the Roman Catholic Church.
All told, we find no cogent reason to disturb the ruling of the appellate court.1wphi1 We cannot deny the grief,
frustration and even desperation of petitioner in his present situation. Regrettably, there are circumstances, like
in this case, where neither law nor society can provide the specific answers to every individual problem. 19
While we sympathize with petitioners marital predicament, our first and foremost duty is to apply the law no
matter how harsh it may be.20
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 60406, which ordered the dismissal of Civil Case No. 97-467 before the Regional Trial Court of
Makati, Branch 149, is AFFIRMED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Panganiban, and Carpio, JJ., concur.Azcuna, J., on official leave.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila


SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 103047 September 2, 1994
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs.COURT OF APPEALS AND ANGELINA M. CASTRO,
respondents.
Parungao, Abesamis, Eleazar & Pulgar Law Offices for private respondent.
PUNO, J.:
The case at bench originated from a petition filed by private respondent Angelina M. Castro in the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City seeking a judicial declaration of nullity of her marriage to Edwin F. Cardenas. 1 As
ground therefor, Castro claims that no marriage license was ever issued to them prior to the solemnization of
their marriage.
Despite notice, defendant Edwin F. Cardenas failed to file his answer. Consequently, he was declared in
default. Trial proceeded in his absence.
The controlling facts are undisputed:
On June 24, 1970, Angelina M. Castro and Edwin F. Cardenas were married in a civil ceremony performed by
Judge Pablo M. Malvar, City Court Judge of Pasay City. The marriage was celebrated without the knowledge of
Castro's parents. Defendant Cardenas personally attended to the processing of the documents required for the
celebration of the marriage, including the procurement of the marriage, license. In fact, the marriage contract
itself states that marriage license no. 3196182 was issued in the name of the contracting parties on June 24,
1970 in Pasig, Metro Manila.
The couple did not immediately live together as husband and wife since the marriage was unknown to Castro's
parents. Thus, it was only in March 1971, when Castro discovered she was pregnant, that the couple decided
to live together. However, their cohabitation lasted only for four (4) months. Thereafter, the couple parted ways.
On October 19, 1971, Castro gave birth. The baby was adopted by Castro's brother, with the consent of
Cardenas.
The baby is now in the United States. Desiring to follow her daughter, Castro wanted to put in order her marital
status before leaving for the States. She thus consulted a lawyer, Atty. Frumencio E. Pulgar, regarding the
possible annulment of her marriage. Through her lawyer's efforts, they discovered that there was no marriage
license issued to Cardenas prior to the celebration of their marriage.
As proof, Angelina Castro offered in evidence a certification from the Civil Register of Pasig, Metro Manila. It
reads:
February 20, 1987
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
This is to certify that the names EDWIN F. CARDENAS and ANGELINA M. CASTRO who were allegedly
married in the Pasay City Court on June 21, 1970 under an alleged (s)upportive marriage license no. 3196182
allegedly issued in the municipality on June 20, 1970 cannot be located as said license no. 3196182 does not
appear from our records.
Issued upon request of Mr. Ed Atanacio.
(Sgd) CENONA D. QUINTOSSenior Civil Registry Officer
Castro testified that she did not go to the civil registrar of Pasig on or before June 24, 1970 in order to apply for
a license. Neither did she sign any application therefor. She affixed her signature only on the marriage contract
on June 24, 1970 in Pasay City.
The trial court denied the petition. 2 It held that the above certification was inadequate to establish the alleged
non-issuance of a marriage license prior to the celebration of the marriage between the parties. It ruled that the
"inability of the certifying official to locate the marriage license is not conclusive to show that there was no
marriage license issued."
Unsatisfied with the decision, Castro appealed to respondent appellate court. She insisted that the certification
from the local civil registrar sufficiently established the absence of a marriage license.

As stated earlier, respondent appellate court reversed the Decision of the trial court. 3 It declared the marriage
between the contracting parties null and void and directed the Civil Registrar of Pasig to cancel the subject
marriage contract.
Hence this petition for review on certiorari.
Petitioner Republic of the Philippines urges that respondent appellate court erred when it ruled that the
certification issued by the civil registrar that marriage license no. 3196182 was not in their record adequately
proved that no such license was ever issued. Petitioner also faults the respondent court for relying on the selfserving and uncorroborated testimony of private respondent Castro that she had no part in the procurement of
the subject marriage license. Petitioner thus insists that the certification and the uncorroborated testimony of
private respondent are insufficient to overthrow the legal presumption regarding the validity of a marriage.
Petitioner also points that in declaring the marriage between the parties as null and void, respondent appellate
court disregarded the presumption that the solemnizing officer, Judge Pablo M. Malvar, regularly performed his
duties when he attested in the marriage contract that marriage license no. 3196182 was duly presented to him
before the solemnization of the subject marriage.
The issues, being interrelated, shall be discussed jointly.
The core issue presented by the case at bench is whether or not the documentary and testimonial evidence
presented by private respondent are sufficient to establish that no marriage license was issued by the Civil
Registrar of Pasig prior to the celebration of the marriage of private respondent to Edwin F. Cardenas.
We affirm the impugned Decision.
At the time the subject marriage was solemnized on June 24, 1970, the law governing marital relations was the
New Civil Code. The law 4 provides that no marriage shall be solemnized without a marriage license first
issued by a local civil registrar. Being one of the essential requisites of a valid marriage, absence of a license
would render the marriage void ab initio. 5
Petitioner posits that the certification of the local civil registrar of due search and inability to find a record or
entry to the effect that marriage license no. 3196182 was issued to the parties is not adequate to prove its nonissuance.
We hold otherwise. The presentation of such certification in court is sanctioned by Section 29, Rule 132 of the
Rules of Court, viz.:
Sec. 29. Proof of lack of record. A written statement signed by an officer having custody of an official record
or by his deputy, that after diligent search, no record or entry of a specified tenor is found to exist in the records
of his office, accompanied by a certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that the records of his
office contain no such record or entry.
The above Rule authorized the custodian of documents to certify that despite diligent search, a particular
document does not exist in his office or that a particular entry of a specified tenor was not to be found in a
register. As custodians of public documents, civil registrars are public officers charged with the duty, inter alia,
of maintaining a register book where they are required to enter all applications for marriage licenses, including
the names of the applicants, the date the marriage license was issued and such other relevant data. 6
The certification of "due search and inability to find" issued by the civil registrar of Pasig enjoys probative
value, he being the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the issuance of a
marriage license. Unaccompanied by any circumstance of suspicion and pursuant to Section 29, Rule 132 of
the Rules of Court, a certificate of "due search and inability to find" sufficiently proved that his office did not
issue marriage license no. 3196182 to the contracting parties.
The fact that private respondent Castro offered only her testimony in support of her petition is, in itself, not a
ground to deny her petition. The failure to offer any other witness to corroborate her testimony is mainly due to
the peculiar circumstances of the case. It will be remembered that the subject marriage was a civil ceremony
performed by a judge of a city court. The subject marriage is one of those commonly known as a "secret
marriage" a legally non-existent phrase but ordinarily used to refer to a civil marriage celebrated without the
knowledge of the relatives and/or friends of either or both of the contracting parties. The records show that the
marriage between Castro and Cardenas was initially unknown to the parents of the former.
Surely, the fact that only private respondent Castro testified during the trial cannot be held against her. Her
husband, Edwin F. Cardenas, was duly served with notice of the proceedings and a copy of the petition.
Despite receipt thereof, he chose to ignore the same. For failure to answer, he was properly declared in
default. Private respondent cannot be faulted for her husband's lack of interest to participate in the
proceedings. There was absolutely no evidence on record to show that there was collusion between private

respondent and her husband Cardenas.


It is noteworthy to mention that the finding of the appellate court that the marriage between the contracting
parties is null and void for lack of a marriage license does not discount the fact that indeed, a spurious
marriage license, purporting to be issued by the civil registrar of Pasig, may have been presented by Cardenas
to the solemnizing officer.
In fine, we hold that, under the circumstances of the case, the documentary and testimonial evidence
presented by private respondent Castro sufficiently established the absence of the subject marriage license.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DENIED there being no showing of any reversible error committed by
respondent appellate court.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado and Mendoza, JJ., concur.