Santos v. CA, 240 SCRA 20
FACTS: Leouel and Julia were married on September 20, 1986. They were first married before the MTC in Iloilo.
Shortly, they married in a church. They lived with Julia’s parents. Soon, she gave birth to their first child. Some
disagreements the couple had was the issue of living independently from Julia’s parents. On 18 May 1988, Julia
finally left for USA to work as a nurse. Julia, via phone call, promised to return home upon the expiration of her
contract in July 1989. She never did. When Leouel got a chance to visit the United States, where he underwent a
training program of AFP, he desperately tried to locate, or to somehow get in touch with, Julia but all his efforts
were of no avail. Having failed to get Julia to come home, Leouel filed with the RTC a complaint for voiding their
marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity. RTC dismissed the complaint. CA affirmed the dismissal.
Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: W/N Julia’s failure to return home or at the very least to communicate with him, for more than five years are
circumstances that clearly show her being psychologically incapacitated
HELD: No. Justice Sempio-Diy opined that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b)
juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. The incapacity must be grave or serious such that the party would be
incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage; it must be rooted in the history of the party
antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and it must be
incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved. 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.
The case at bar can ,in no measure at all, come close to the standards required to decree a nullity of marriage.
SANTOS vs. CA AND JULIA ROSARIO BEDIA-SANTOS
G.R. No. 112019 January 4, 1995
FACTS: Leouel Santos, a First Lieutenant in the Philippine Army, met Julia in Iloilo. The two got married in 1986
before a municipal trial court followed shortly thereafter, by a church wedding. The couple lived with Julia’s parents
at the J. Bedia Compound. Julia gave birth to a baby boy in 1987 and was named as Leouel Santos Jr. Occasionally,
the couple will quarrel over a number of things aside from the interference of Julia’s parents into their family affairs.
Julia left in 1988 to work in US as a nurse despite Leouel’s pleas to dissuade her. Seven months after her departure,
she called her husband and promised to return home upon the expiration of her contract in July 1989 but she never
did. Leouel got a chance to visit US where he underwent a training program under AFP, he desperately tried to
locate or somehow get in touch with Julia but all his efforts were of no avail.
Leouel filed a complaint to have their marriage declared void under Article 36 of the Family Code. He argued that
failure of Julia to return home or to communicate with him for more than 5 years are circumstances that show her
being psychologically incapacitated to enter into married life.
ISSUE: Whether their marriage can be considered void under Article 36 of the Family Code.
HELD: The intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of psychological incapacity to the most serious
cases of personal disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. This condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.
Undeniably and understandably, Leouel stands aggrieved, even desperate, in his present situation. Regrettably,
neither law nor society itself can always provide all the specific answers to every individual problem. Wherefore, his
petition was denied.
psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. The
incapacity must be grave or serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties
required in marriage; it must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt
manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure
would be beyond the means of the party involved.
Republic vs. CA and Molina
Republic v. CA and Molina
GR 108763, 13 February 1997
Roridel Olaviano was married to Reynaldo Molina on 14 April 1985 in Manila, and gave birth to a son a year after.
Reynaldo showed signs of “immaturity and irresponsibility” on the early stages of the marriage, observed from his
tendency to spend time with his friends and squandering his money with them, from his dependency from his
parents, and his dishonesty on matters involving his finances. Reynaldo was relieved of his job in 1986, Roridel
became the sole breadwinner thereafter. In March 1987, Roridel resigned from her job in Manila and proceeded to
Baguio City. Reynaldo left her and their child a week later. The couple is separated-in-fact for more than three years.
On 16 August 1990, Roridel filed a verified petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage to Reynaldo Molina.
Evidence for Roridel consisted of her own testimony, that of two of her friends, a social worker, and a psychiatrist of
the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. Reynaldo did not present any evidence as he appeared only during
the pre-trial conference. On 14 May 1991, the trial court rendered judgment declaring the marriage void. The
Solicitor General appealed to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals denied the appeals and affirmed in toto the
RTC’s decision. Hence, the present recourse.
Issue: Whether opposing or conflicting personalities should be construed as psychological incapacity
The Court of Appeals erred in its opinion the Civil Code Revision Committee intended to liberalize the application
of Philippine civil laws on personal and family rights, and holding psychological incapacity as a broad range of
mental and behavioral conduct on the part of one spouse indicative of how he or she regards the marital union, his or
her personal relationship with the other spouse, as well as his or her conduct in the long haul for the attainment of
the principal objectives of marriage; where said conduct, observed and considered as a whole, tends to cause the
union to self-destruct because it defeats the very objectives of marriage, warrants the dissolution of the marriage.
The Court reiterated its ruling in Santos v. Court of Appeals, where psychological incapacity should refer to no less
than a mental (not physical) incapacity, existing at the time the marriage is celebrated, and that 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. Psychological incapacity must be characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence, and
incurability. In the present case, there is no clear showing to us that the psychological defect spoken of is an
incapacity; but appears to be more of a “difficulty,” if not outright “refusal” or “neglect” in the performance of some
marital obligations. Mere showing of “irreconcilable differences” and “conflicting personalities” in no wise
constitutes psychological incapacity.
The Court, in this case, promulgated the guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family
Code, removing any visages of it being the most liberal divorce procedure in the world: (1) The burden of proof
belongs to the plaintiff; (2) the root cause of psychological incapacity must be medically or clinically identified,
alleged in the complaint, sufficiently proven by expert, and clearly explained in the decision; (3) The incapacity
must be proven existing at the time of the celebration of marriage; (4) the incapacity must be clinically or medically
permanent or incurable; (5) such illness must be grave enough; (6) the essential marital obligation must be embraced
by Articles 68 to 71 of the Family Code as regards husband and wife, and Articles 220 to 225 of the same code as
regards parents and their children; (7) interpretation made by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the
Catholic Church, and (8) the trial must order the fiscal and the Solicitor-General to appeal as counsels for the State.
The Supreme Court granted the petition, and reversed and set aside the assailed decision; concluding that the
marriage of Roridel Olaviano to Reynaldo Molina subsists and remains valid.
Republic v. Molina, G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997
FACTS: Roridel and Reynaldo were married on April 14, 1985 and begot a son. After a year of marriage, Reynaldo
showed signs of "immaturity and irresponsibility" as a husband and a father since 1) he preferred to spend more time
with his peers and friends on whom he squandered his money; 2) he depended on his parents for aid and assistance;
and 3) he was never honest with his wife in regard to their finances, resulting in frequent quarrels between them.
When Reynaldo was relieved from his job, Roridel had been the sole breadwinner of the family. In October 1986 the
couple had a very intense quarrel, as a result of which their relationship was estranged. In March 1987, Roridel
resigned from her job in Manila and went to live with her parents in Baguio City. A few weeks later, Reynaldo left
Roridel and their child, and had since then abandoned them. Reynaldo admitted that he and Roridel could no longer
live together as husband and wife, but contended that their misunderstandings and frequent quarrels were due to (1)
Roridel's strange behavior of insisting on maintaining her group of friends even after their marriage; (2) Roridel's
refusal to perform some of her marital duties such as cooking meals; and (3) Roridel's failure to run the household
and handle their finances. On 16 August 1990, Roridel filed a petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage to
Reynaldo Molina. Evidence for Roridel consisted of her own testimony, that of two of her friends, a social worker,
and a psychiatrist of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. Reynaldo did not present any evidence as he
appeared only during the pre-trial conference. RTC declared the marriage void. The Solicitor General appealed to
the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals denied the appeals and affirmed in toto the RTC’s decision. Hence, this
ISSUE: W/N psychological incapacity on the part of Reynaldo has been established
HELD: The marriage between Roridel and Reynaldo subsists and remains valid. What constitutes psychological
incapacity is not mere showing of irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities. It is indispensable that the
parties must exhibit inclinations which would not meet the essential marital responsibilities and duties due to some
psychological illness. Reynaldo’s action at the time of the marriage did not manifest such characteristics that would
comprise grounds for psychological incapacity. The evidence shown by Roridel merely showed that she and her
husband cannot get along with each other and had not shown gravity of the problem neither its juridical antecedence
nor its incurability. In addition, the expert testimony by Dr Sison showed no incurable psychiatric disorder but only
incompatibility which is not considered as psychological incapacity.
8 Guidelines (Psychological Incapacity)
1. The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff.
2. The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the
complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision.
3. The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the celebration" of the marriage.
4. Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable
5. Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of
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.
7. Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines,
while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts.
8. The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the
TORING vs. TORING GR 165321 Aug 3, 2010
FACTS: A and B were husband and wife. B filed a petition for annulment before the RTC. He claimed that A was
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage prior to, at the time of, and
subsequent to the celebration of their marriage.
Ricardo offered; the psychological evaluation of his expert witness, psychiatrist. Dr Albaran testified A had
Narcissistic Personality Disorder that rendered her psychologically incapacitated to fulfill her essential marital
obligations based on the information she gathered from her psychological evaluation on B and the couple’s son, C.
The doctor did not personally examine A. B alleged that A was an adulteress and a squanderer.
The RTC annulled the marriage. The CA reversed saying that RTC failed to specifically point out the root illness or
defect that caused A’s psychological incapacity, and likewise failed to show that the incapacity already existed at the
time of celebration of marriage. The CA found that the conclusions from Dr. Albaran’s psychological evaluation do
not appear to have been drawn from well-rounded and fair sources, and dwelt mostly on hearsay statements and
rumors. Likewise, the CA found that Ricardo’s allegations on A’s overspending and infidelity do not constitute
adequate grounds for declaring the marriage null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code.
ISSUE: Whether the RTC was correct in declaring the nullity of the marriage.
RULING: No, the RTC was wrong. CA decision affirmed.
According to Molina case, the definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of this article are the
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in
favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the
complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. 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.
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Furthermore, such
incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to
(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of
marriage. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much
less ill will.
(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.
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines,
while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts.
The intent of the law to confine the application of Article 36 of the Family Code to the most serious cases of
personality disorders; these are the disorders that result in the utter insensitivity or inability of the afflicted party to
give meaning and significance to the marriage he or she contracted.
In the present case and guided by these standards, we find the totality of the petitioner’s evidence to be insufficient
to prove that A was psychologically incapacitated to perform her duties as a wife.
Though the law does not require that the allegedly incapacitated spouse be personally examined by a physician or by
a psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage under Article 36. However, it is
still essential – although from sources other than the respondent spouse – to show his or her personality profile, or its
approximation, at the time of marriage; the root cause of the inability to appreciate the essential obligations of
marriage; and the gravity, permanence and incurability of the condition.
In the present case, the only other party outside of the spouses who was ever asked to give statements for purposes
of A’s psychological evaluation was C, the spouses’ eldest son who would not have been very reliable as a witness
because he could not have been there when the spouses were married and could not have been expected to know
what was happening between his parents until long after his birth.
Of more serious consequence, fatal to Ricardo’s cause, is the failure of Dr. Albaran’s psychological evaluation to
fully explain the details – i.e., the what, how, when, where and since when – of Teresita’s alleged Narcissistic
Personality Disorder. Dr. Albaran never explained, too, the incapacitating nature of Teresita’s alleged personality
disorder, and how it related to the essential marital obligations that she failed to assume. Neither did the good doctor
adequately explain in her psychological evaluation how grave and incurable was A’s psychological disorder.
B failed to discharge the burden of proof to show that TA suffered from psychological incapacity; thus, his petition
for annulment of marriage must fail.
We reiterate that irreconcilable differences, sexual infidelity or perversion, emotional immaturity and
irresponsibility, and the like, do not by themselves warrant a finding of psychological incapacity, as the same may
only be due to a person’s difficulty, refusal or neglect to undertake the obligations of marriage that is not rooted in
some psychological illness that Article 36 of the Family Code addresses.
B also failed to show the adverse integral element and link to A’s allegedly disordered personality. Moreover,B
failed to prove that A’s alleged character traits already existed at the inception of their marriage.
Finally, the root cause of the psychological incapacity needs to be alleged in a petition for annulment under Article
36 of the Family Code. What is not required is the expert opinion to prove the root cause of the psychological
incapacity. CA decision affirmed.
Camacho-Reyes v. Reyes, G.R. No. 185286, Aug. 18, 2010
FACTS: Petitioner Maria Socorro Camacho-Reyes met respondent Ramon Reyes at the UP Diliman, in 1972 when
they were both 19 years old. Petitioner enjoyed respondent’s style of courtship which included dining out, unlike
other couples their age who were restricted by a university student’s budget. At that time, respondent held a job in
the family business, the Aristocrat Restaurant. Petitioner’s good impression of the respondent was not diminished by
the latter’s habit of cutting classes, not even by her discovery that respondent was taking marijuana. On December 5,
1976, petitioner and respondent got married. They lived with Ramon’s parents and they were supported by them.
They had a child which made their financial difficulties worse. All the business ventures of Ramon were
unsuccessful and Socorro became the breadwinner of the family. To make things worse, despite the fact that Socorro
would undergo an operation for removal of a cyst, respondent remained unconcerned and unattentive; and simply
read the newspaper, and played dumb when petitioner requested that he accompany her as she was wheeled into the
operating room. They tried to attend counseling sessions but nothing has changed. Sometime in 1996, petitioner
confirmed that respondent was having an extra-marital affair. RTC granted the petition. CA reversed. Hence, this
ISSUE: W/N Ramon is psychologically incapacitated
HELD: Yes. Marriage is null and void. The lack of personal examination and interview of the respondent, or any
other person diagnosed with personality disorder, does not per se invalidate the testimonies of the doctors. Neither
do their findings automatically constitute hearsay that would result in their exclusion as evidence. In the instant case,
respondent’s pattern of behavior manifests an inability, nay, a psychological incapacity to perform the essential
marital obligations as shown by his: (1) sporadic financial support; (2) extra-marital affairs; (3) substance abuse; (4)
failed business attempts; (5) unpaid money obligations; (6) inability to keep a job that is not connected with the
family businesses; and (7) criminal charges of estafa.
Agraviador vs Agraviador G.R. No. 170729 December 8, 2010
Enrique first met Erlinda in 1971 at a beerhouse where Erlinda worked. Their meeting led to a courtship, became
sweethearts and soon entered into a common-law relationship, and finally got married in 1973.
In 2001, Enrique filed a petition to have his marriage with Erlinda null and void under Article 36 of the Family
Code. He alleged that Erlinda was psychologically incapacitated to exercise the essential obligations of marriage. He
claimed that she was carefree and irresponsible, refused to do household chores, had extramarital affairs, did not
take care of their sick child, consulted a witch doctor, and refused to use the family name in her activities.
Enrique, aside from his testimony, also presented a certified true copy of their marriage contract and the psychiatric
evaluation report of Dr. Patac. In his psychiatric evaluation report, Dr. Patac found Erlinda unable to fulfill the
essential obligations of marriage as she manifested inflexible maladaptive behavior even at the time before their
marriage. In his conclusion stated that Erlinda is suffering from a Mixed Personality Disorder where there is no
definite treatment for such illness.
Erlinda moved to dismiss the petition. The RTC denied her motion and took side on Enrique.
Whether or not Enrique can invoke Article 36 of the Family Code as the basis to nullify his marriage to Erlinda.
No. Psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code do not involve a species of vice of consent. The
spouse may have given free and voluntary consent to a marriage but was, nonetheless, incapable of fulfilling such
rights and obligations. Psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligation does not affect the
consent to the marriage.
The totality of Enriques's evidence is insufficient to prove Erlinda's psychological incapacity. Her refusal or
unwillingness to perform certain marital obligations, and a number of unpleasant personality traits such as
immaturity, irresponsibility, and unfaithfulness do not rise to the level of psychological incapacity that the law
Dr. Patac's psychiatric evaluation report do not hold sufficient amount in proving that Erlinda was psychological
incapacitated to perform the essential marital duties. Dr. Patac did not personally evaluate and examine Erlinda, as
he relied only on the information fed by Enrique, the partie's second child and household helper.
Baccay vs Baccay and Republic G.R. No. 173138
Noel and Maribel were sweethearts. He found Maribel's snobbish and hard-to get traits attractive.
Around 1997, he decided to break up with Maribel because he was already involved with another woman. They
agreed to see each other on a friendly basis but the two had several romantic episodes.
In November 1998, Maribel informed Noel that she was pregnant with his child. Upon advice of his mother, Noel
grudgingly married Maribel. The two lived on Noel's family. Maribel remained aloof and didn't contribute to his
family's coffer. She refused to have sex with him.
Sometime in 1999, Noel and Maribel had an intense quarrel about Maribel's alleged miscarriage causing the latter to
leave the house and never came back.
Noel filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage with the RTC of Manila. RTC declared the marriage null
and void on the ground of Maribel's alleged psychological incapacity. Nedy L. Tayag, a clinical psychologist who
presented as Noel's witness, found Maribel unable to perform the essential marital obligations of marriage due to a
Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Whether or not the marriage between Noel and Maribel null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code.
No. Noel failed to provide sufficient evidence to sustain a finding that Maribel was psychologically incapacitated.
Noel's 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.
failed to establish that Maribel's alleged Narcissistic Personality Disorder incapacitated her from validly assuming
the essential obligations of the marriage. The same psychologist even testified that Maribel was capable of entering
into marriage except that it would be difficult for her to sustain one. Mere difficulty, it must be stressed, is not the
incapacity contemplated under the Article 36 of the Family Code.
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.
Kalaw v. Fernandez, G.R. No. 166357, September 19, 2011
FACTS: Tyrone Kalaw and Malyn Fernandez got married in 1976. After the birth of their 4th child, Tyrone had an
affair with Jocelyn Quejano. In May 1985, Malyn left the conjugal home and her four children with Tyrone.
Meanwhile, Tyrone started living with Jocelyn, and they had three more children. In 1990, Tyrone went to the
United States (US) with Jocelyn and their children. On July 6, 1994, nine years since the de facto separation from
his wife, Tyrone filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage based on Article 36 of the Family Code. He
alleged that Malyn was psychologically incapacitated to perform and comply with the essential marital obligations at
the time of the celebration of their marriage. He alleged that 1) She leaves the children without proper care and
attention as she played mahjong all day and all night; 2) She leaves the house to party with male friends and returned
in the early hours of the following day; and 3) She committed adultery on June 9, 1985 in Hyatt Hotel with one
Benjie whom he saw half-naked in the hotel room. Tyrone presented a psychologist, Dr. Cristina Gates (Dr. Gates),
and a Catholic canon law expert, Fr. Gerard Healy, S.J. (Fr. Healy), to testify on Malyn’s psychological incapacity.
Dr. Gates explained that Malyn suffers from Narcissistic Personalityu Disorder and that it “may have been evident
even prior to her marriage” because it is rooted in her family background and upbringing. Fr. Healy concluded that
Malyn was psychologically incapacitated to perform her marital duties. He explained that her psychological
incapacity is rooted in her role as the breadwinner of her family. This role allegedly inflated Malyn’s ego to the point
that her needs became priority, while her kids’ and husband’s needs became secondary.
ISSUE: Whether Tyrone has sufficiently proven that Maly nsuffers from psychological incapacity
HELD: No. He presented the testimonies of two supposed expert witnesses who concluded that respondent is
psychologically incapacitated, but the conclusions of these witnesses were premised on the alleged acts or behavior
of respondent which had not been sufficiently proven. No proof whatsoever was presented to prove her visits to
beauty salons or her frequent partying with friends. Malyn’s sexual infidelity was also not proven because she was
only dating other men. Even assuming that she had an extramarital affair with another man, sexual infidelity cannot
be equated with obsessive need for attention from other men. Sexual infidelity per se is a ground for legal
separation, but it does not necessarily constitute psychological incapacity.
G.R. No. 171557 : February 12, 2014
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,v. RODOLFO O. DE GRACIA, Respondent.
Rodolfo and Natividad were married on February 15, 1969 at the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer in Salug, Zamboanga
del Norte.They lived in Dapaon, Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte and have two (2) children, namely, Ma. Reynilda
R. De Gracia (Ma. Reynilda) and Ma. Rizza R. De Gracia (Ma. Rizza), who were born on August 20, 1969 and
January 15, 1972, respectively.
Rodolfo filed a verified complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage (complaint) before the RTC, alleging that
Natividad was psychologically incapacitated to comply with her essential marital obligations.
In support of his complaint, Rodolfo testified, among others, that he first met Natividad when they were students and
he was forced to marry her barely three (3) months into their courtship in light of her accidental pregnancy.At the
time of their marriage, he was 21 years old, while Natividad was 18 years of age. He had no stable job and merely
worked in the gambling cockpits as "kristo" and "bangkero sa hantak." When he decided to join and train with the
army,Natividad left their conjugal home and sold their house without his consent. Thereafter, Natividad moved to
Dipolog City where she lived with a certain Engineer Terez (Terez), and bore him a child named Julie Ann Terez.
After cohabiting with Terez, Natividad contracted a second marriage with another man named Antonio Mondarez
and has lived since then with the latter in Cagayan de Oro City.From the time Natividad abandoned them in 1972,
Rodolfo was left to take care of Ma. Reynilda and Ma. Rizzaand he exerted earnest efforts to save their marriage
which, however, proved futile because of Natividads psychological incapacity that appeared to be incurable.
Both parties underwent psychological examination. Dr. Zalsos stated that both Rodolfo and Natividad were
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations, finding that both parties suffered
from "utter emotional immaturity which is unusual and unacceptable behavior considered as deviant from persons
who abide by established norms of conduct.
The OSG, representing petitioner Republic of the Philippines (Republic), filed an oppositionto the complaint,
contending that the acts committed by Natividad did not demonstrate psychological incapacity as contemplated by
law, but are mere grounds for legal separation under the Family Code.
The RTC declared the marriage between Rodolfo and Natividad void on the ground of psychological incapacity.
Accordingly, it concluded that Natividad could not have known, much more comprehend the marital obligations she
was assuming, or, knowing them, could not have given a valid assumption thereof.
The Republic appealed to the CA, averring that there was no showing that Natividads personality traits constituted
psychological incapacity as envisaged under Article 36 of the Family Code, and that the testimony of the expert
witness was not conclusive upon the court.
The CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC, finding that while Natividads emotional immaturity, irresponsibility and
promiscuity by themselves do not necessarily equate to psychological incapacity, "their degree or severity, as duly
testified to by Dr. Zalsos, has sufficiently established a case of psychological disorder so profound as to render
Natividad incapacitated to perform her essential marital obligations."
The Republic moved for reconsideration which was, however, denied hence, the instant petition for review on
ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in sustaining the RTCs finding of psychological incapacity.
HELD: The Court of Appeals decision is overruled
CIVIL LAW Psychological incapacity
"Psychological incapacity," as a ground to nullify a marriage under Article 36of the Family Code, should refer to no
less than a mental not merely 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 68of the Family Code, among others, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love,
respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been
to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.
Keeping with these principles, the Court, in Dedel v. CA, 466 Phil. 226) held that therein respondents emotional
immaturity and irresponsibility could not be equated with psychological incapacity as it was not shown that these
acts are manifestations of a disordered personality which make her completely unable to discharge the essential
marital obligations of the marital state, not merely due to her youth, immaturity or sexual promiscuity. Based on the
evidence presented, there exists insufficient factual or legal basis to conclude that Natividads emotional immaturity,
irresponsibility, or even sexual promiscuity, can be equated with psychological incapacity.
The RTC, as affirmed by the CA, heavily relied on the psychiatric evaluation report of Dr. Zalsos which does not,
however, explain in reasonable detail how Natividads condition could be characterized as grave, deeply-rooted, and
incurable within the parameters of psychological incapacity jurisprudence. Aside from failing to disclose the types
of psychological tests which she administered on Natividad, Dr. Zalsos failed to identify in her report the root cause
of Natividad's condition and to show that it existed at the time of the parties' marriage. Neither was the gravity or
seriousness of Natividad's behavior in relation to her failure to perform the essential marital obligations sufficiently
described in Dr. Zalsos's report. Further, the finding contained therein on the incurability of Natividad's condition
remains unsupported by any factual or scientific basis and, hence, appears to be drawn out as a bare conclusion and
even self-serving. In the same vein, Dr. Zalsos's testimony during trial, which is essentially a reiteration of her
report, also fails to convince the Court of her conclusion that Natividad was psychologically incapacitated. Verily,
although expert opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological temperament of parties are usually
given considerable weight by the courts, the existence of psychological incapacity must still be proven by
independent evidence. After poring over the records, the Court, however, does not find any such evidence sufficient
enough to uphold the court a quo's nullity declaration.
To the Court's mind, Natividad's refusal to live with Rodolfo and to assume her duties as wife and mother as well as
her emotional immaturity, irresponsibility and infidelity do not rise to the level of psychological incapacity that
would justify the nullification of the parties' marriage. Indeed, to be declared clinically or medically incurable is one
thing; to refuse or be reluctant to perform one's duties is another. Psychological incapacity refers only to the most
serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage. In the final analysis, the Court does not perceive a disorder of this nature to exist in the
present case. Thus, for these reasons, coupled too with the recognition that marriage is an inviolable social
institution and the foundation of the family.
The petition is granted.