Leouel Santos vs CA
Leouel Santos vs. CA
GR No. 112019, January 4, 1995
Leouel, 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
ISSUE: Whether their marriage can be considered void under Article 36 of the Family Code.
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.
Chi Ming Tsoi vs CA
Chi Ming Tsoi vs. CA
GR No. 119190, January 16, 1997
Chi Ming Tsoi and Gina Lao Tsoi was married in 1988. After the celebration of their wedding,
they proceed to the house of defendant’s mother. There was no sexual intercourse between them
during their first night and same thing happened until their fourth night. In an effort to have their
honeymoon in a private place, they went to Baguio but Gina’s relatives went with them. Again,
there was no sexual intercourse since the defendant avoided by taking a long walk during siesta
or sleeping on a rocking chair at the living room. Since May 1988 until March 1989 they slept
together in the same bed but no attempt of sexual intercourse between them. Because of this,
they submitted themselves for medical examination to a urologist in Chinese General Hospital in
1989. The result of the physical examination of Gina was disclosed, while that of the husband
was kept confidential even the medicine prescribed. There were allegations that the reason why
Chi Ming Tsoi married her is to maintain his residency status here in the country. Gina does not
want to reconcile with Chi Ming Tsoi and want their marriage declared void on the ground of
psychological incapacity. On the other hand, the latter does not want to have their marriage
annulled because he loves her very much, he has no defect on his part and is physically and
psychologically capable and since their relationship is still young, they can still overcome their
differences. Chi Ming Tsoi submitted himself to another physical examination and the result was
there is not evidence of impotency and he is capable of erection.
ISSUE: Whether Chi Ming Tsoi’s refusal to have sexual intercourse with his wife constitutes
The abnormal reluctance or unwillingness to consummate his marriage is strongly indicative of a
serious personality disorder which to the mind of the Supreme Court clearly demonstrates an
utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance tot the marriage within the
meaning of Article 36 of the Family Code.
If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential marital
obligations and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals attribute the
causes to psychological incapacity than to stubborn refusal. Furthermore, one of the essential
marital obligations under the Family Code is to procreate children thus constant non-fulfillment
of this obligation will finally destroy the integrity and wholeness of the marriage.
Republic vs CA and Molina
Republic vs. CA and Molina
G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997
The case at bar challenges the decision of CA affirming the marriage of the
respondent Roridel Molina to Reynaldo Molina void in the ground of psychological
incapacity. The couple got married in 1985, after a year, Reynaldo manifested signs
of immaturity and irresponsibility both as husband and a father preferring to spend
more time with friends whom he squandered his money, depends on his parents for
aid and assistance and was never honest with his wife in regard to their finances. In
1986, the couple had an intense quarrel and as a result their relationship was
estranged. Roridel quit her work and went to live with her parents in Baguio City in
1987 and a few weeks later, Reynaldo left her and their child. Since then he
ISSUE: Whether or not the marriage is void on the ground of psychological
The marriage between Roridel and Reynaldo subsists and remains valid. What
constitutes psychological incapacity is not mere showing of irreconcilable
differences and confliction personalities. It is indispensable that the parties must
exhibit inclinations which would not meet the essential marital responsibilites 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.
The following are the guidelines as to the grounds of psychological incapacity laid
set forth in this case:
burden of proof to show nullity belongs to the plaintiff
root causes of the incapacity must be medically and clinically inclined
such incapacity should be in existence at the time of the marriage
such incapacity must be grave so as to disable the person in complying with
the essentials of marital obligations of marriage
such incapacity must be embraced in Art. 68-71 as well as Art 220, 221 and
225 of the Family Code
decision of the National Matrimonial Appellate Court or the Catholic Church
must be respected
court shall order the prosecuting attorney and the fiscal assigned to it to act
on behalf of the state.
GR No 126010 December 8, 1999
Petitioner: Lucita Estrella Hernandez
Respondent: CA and Mario C. Hernandez
Nature of the CASE: petition for review on certiorari of the decision of CA
Ponente: Mendoza, J.
Issue: WON the marriage of petitioner and private respondent should be annulled on
ground of private respondent’s psychological incapacity
1) CA affirming the decision of RTC which dismissed the petition for annulment of
2) January 1, 1981: petitioner and private respondent married (Silang Catholic
3) Three children born: Maie (may 3, 1982); Lyra (May 22, 1985) and Marian (June
4) July 10, 1992: filed complaint RTC Br 18 tagaytay City annulment of marriage on
the ground of
- Private respondent failed to perform his obligation to support family and contribute
management of household
- Devoting most of time engaging in drinking sprees w/ friends
- Cohabited with other women though married with whom he had illegitimate
- Because of his promiscuity private respondent endangered her health by infecting
sexually transmitted disease
- PR irresponsible. Immature and unprepared for duties of married life
- Ordered to give support to their three children P9000 every month; she be
custody of their children and she be adjudged sole owner of parcel of land (Don
Subd, BUcal dasmarinas Cavite) as well as jeep which private respondent took with
when he left conjugal home on June 12, 1992
- Not close to their children
6) Met in 1977 at Phil Christian University (petitioner 5 years older than respondentteacher and
- Respondent continued studies after marriage supported by parents and petitioner
- Aside form her salary augmented their income by doing sideline businesses
- Respondent left but received again by the petitioner to save their marriage
- Smoking, drinking, gambling and womanizing became worse
- Once beaten by husband when she confronted her about Tess –confined at De LA
University Medical Center (cerebral concussion)
- Oct 1992; petitioner learned that respondent left for middle east and since then
whereabouts had been unknown
RTC DECISION: dismissing the petition for annulment of marriage
- What were mentioned were not ground for annulment but for legal separation (art
CA: affirmed decision of RTC (January 30, 1996) – quoted Santos vs CA
- Acts and attitudes complained happened after the marriage and there is no proof
same have already existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage to
psychological incapacity under Art 36 of FC
DECISION OF SC: Petition is DENIED, decision of CA AFFIRMED.
1) Differentiated Voidable (Art 46) , Void marriage and legal separation (Art 55)
2) Petitioner failed to establish the fact that at the time of the marriage respondent
from a psychological defect which in fact deprived him of the ability to assume the
duties of marriage and its concomitant responsibilities
3) Quoted Republic vs CA: root cause of psychological incapacity….
4) Expert testimony should have been presented
5) Separate proceeding for other contentions (custody, support etc)
MARCOS V. MARCOS
Plaintiff Brenda B. Marcos married Wilson Marcos in 1982 and they had five children.
Alleging that the husband failed to provide material support to the family and have
resorted to physical abuse and abandonment, Brenda filed a case for the nullity of
the marriage for psychological incapacity. The RTC declared the marriage null and
void under Art. 36 which was however reversed by CA.
Whether personal medical or psychological examination of the respondent by a
physician is a requirement for a declaration of psychological incapacity.
Whether the totality of evidence presented in this case show psychological
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 be examined by a physician or a psychologist as a condition
sine qua non for such declaration. 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. In sum, this
Court cannot declare the dissolution of the marriage for failure of the petitioner to
show that the alleged psychological incapacity is characterized by gravity, juridical
antecedence and incurabilty and for her failure to observe the guidelines as outline
in Republic v. CA and Molina.
REPUBLIC VS. DAGDAG 351 SCRA 425
On September 7, 1975, Erlinda Matias, 16 years old, married Avelino Parangan
Dagdag, 20 years old, at the Iglesia Filipina Independent Church in Cuyapo, Nueva
Ecija. The marriage certificate was issued by the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of
the Municipality of on October 20, 1988. Erlinda and Avelino begot two children. The
birth certificates were issued by the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of the
Municipality of Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija also on October 20, 1988. A week after the
wedding, Avelino started leaving his family without explanation. He would disappear
for months, suddenly re-appear for a few months, and then disappear again. During
the times when he was with his family, he indulged in drinking sprees with friends
and would return home drunk. He would force his wife to submit to sexual
intercourse and if she refused, he would inflict physical injuries to her.
In October 1993, he left his family again and that was the last that they heard from
him. Erlinda learned that Avelino was imprisoned for some crime, and that he
escaped from jail and remains at large to-date. In July 1990, Erlinda filed with the
RTC of Olongapo City a petition for judicial declaration of nullity of marriage on the
ground of psychological incapacity. Since Avelino could not be located, summons
was served by publication in the Olongapo News, a newspaper of general
circulation. On the date set for presentation of evidence, only Erlinda and her
counsel appeared. Erlinda testified and presented her sister-in-law as her only
The trial court issued an Order giving the investigating prosecutor until January 2,
1991 to manifest in writing whether or not he would present controverting evidence,
and stating that should he fail to file said manifestation, the case would be deemed
submitted for decision. The Investigating Prosecutor conducted an investigation and
found that there was no collusion between the parties.
However, he intended to intervene in the case to avoid fabrication of
evidence. Without waiting for the investigating prosecutor’s manifestation, the trial
court declared the marriage of Erlinda and Avelino void under Article 36. The
investigating prosecutor filed a Motion to Set Aside Judgment on the ground that the
decision was prematurely rendered since he was given until January 2, 1991 to
manifest whether he was presenting controverting evidence. The Office of the
Solicitor General likewise filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision on the
ground that the same is not in accordance with the evidence and the law. Since the
trial court denied the Motion for Reconsideration, the Solicitor General appealed to
the CA. The CA affirmed the decision of the trial court holding that “Avelino Dagdag
is psychologically incapacitated not only because he failed to perform the duties
and obligations of a married person but because he is emotionally immature and
irresponsible, an alcoholic, and a criminal.”
Did the CA correctly declare the marriage as null and void under Article 36 of the
Family Code, on the ground that the husband suffers from psychological incapacity,
as he is emotionally immature and irresponsible, a habitual alcoholic, and a fugitive
Whether or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling for annulment
of a marriage, depends crucially, more than in any field of 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.
In REPUBLIC VS. MOLINA (268 SCRA 198), the Court laid down the GUIDELINES in
the interpretation of Article 36 of the Family Code.
Taking into consideration these guidelines, it is evident that Erlinda failed to comply
with the above-mentioned evidentiary requirements. Erlinda failed to comply with
guideline number 2 which requires that the root cause of psychological incapacity
must be medically or clinically proven by experts, since no psychiatrist or medical
doctor testified as to the alleged psychological incapacity of her husband. Further,
the allegation that the husband is a fugitive from justice was not sufficiently proven.
In fact, the crime for which he was arrested was not even alleged. The investigating
prosecutor was likewise not given an opportunity to present controverting evidence
since the trial court’s decision was prematurely rendered.
Republic vs Quintero-Hamano
Republic vs. Quintero-Hamano
GR No. 149498, May 20, 2004
Lolita Quintero-Hamano filed a complaint in 1996 for declaration of nullity of her
marriage with Toshio Hamano, a Japanese national, on the ground of psychological
incapacity. She and Toshio started a common-law relationship in Japan and lived in
the Philippines for a month. Thereafter, Toshio went back to Japan and stayed there
for half of 1987. Lolita then gave birth on November 16, 1987.
In 1988, Lolita and Toshio got married in MTC-Bacoor, Cavite. After a month of their
marriage, Toshio returned to Japan and promised to return by Christmas to celebrate
the holidays with his family. Toshio sent money for two months and after that he
stopped giving financial support. She wrote him several times but never
respondent. In 1991, she learned from her friend that Toshio visited the country but
did not bother to see her nor their child.
Toshio was no longer residing at his given address thus summons issued to him
remained unserved. Consequently, in 1996, Lolita filed an ex parte motion for leave
to effect service of summons by publication. The motion was granted and the
summons, accompanied by a copy of the petition, was published in a newspaper of
general circulation giving Toshio 15 days to file his answer. Toshio filed to respond
after the lapse of 60 days from publication, thus, Lolita filed a motion to refer the
case to the prosecutor for investigation.
ISSUE: Whether Toshio was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital
The Court is mindful of the 1987 Constitution to protect and strengthen the family
as basic autonomous social institution and marriage as the foundation of the family.
Thus, any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage.
Toshio’s act of abandonment was doubtlessly irresponsible but it was never alleged
nor proven to be due to some kind of psychological illness. Although as rule, actual
medical examinations are not needed, it would have greatly helped Lolita had she
presented evidence that medically or clinically identified Toshio’s illness. This could
have been done through an expert witness. It is essential that a person show
incapability of doing marital obligation due to some psychological, not physical
illness. Hence, Toshio was not considered as psychologically incapacitated.
Antonio vs Reyes
Antonio vs. Reyes
GR No. 155800, March 10, 2006
Leonilo Antonio, 26 years of age, and Marie Ivonne Reyes, 36 years of age met in
1989. Barely a year after their first meeting, they got married at Manila City Hall
and then a subsequent church wedding at Pasig in December 1990. A child was
born but died 5 months later. Reyes persistently lied about herself, the people
around her, her occupation, income, educational attainment and other events or
things. She even did not conceal bearing an illegitimate child, which she
represented to her husband as adopted child of their family. They were separated in
August 1991 and after attempt for reconciliation, he finally left her for good in
November 1991. Petitioner then filed in 1993 a petition to have his marriage with
Reyes declared null and void anchored in Article 36 of the Family Code.
ISSUE: Whether Antonio can impose Article 36 of the Family Code as basis for
declaring their marriage null and void.
Psychological incapacity pertains to the inability to understand the obligations of
marriage as opposed to a mere inability to comply with them. The petitioner, aside
from his own testimony presented a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist who
attested that constant lying and extreme jealousy of Reyes is abnormal and
pathological and corroborated his allegations on his wife’s behavior, which amounts
to psychological incapacity. Respondent’s fantastic ability to invent, fabricate
stories and letters of fictitious characters enabled her to live in a world of makebelieve that made her psychologically incapacitated as it rendered her incapable of
giving meaning and significance to her marriage. The root causes of Reyes’
psychological incapacity have been medically or clinically identified that was
sufficiently proven by experts. The gravity of respondent’s psychological incapacity
was considered so grave that a restrictive clause was appended to the sentence of
nullity prohibited by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal from contracting
marriage without their consent. It would be difficult for an inveterate pathological
liar to commit the basic tenets of relationship between spouses based on love, trust
and respect. Furthermore, Reyes’ case is incurable considering that petitioner tried
to reconcile with her but her behavior remain unchanged.
Hence, the court conclude that petitioner has established his cause of action for
declaration of nullity under Article 36 of the Family Code.
Republic v. Tanyag-San Jose, 517 SCRA 123, Feb. 6, 2007
FACTS: Manolito San Jose and Laila Tanyag-San Jose got married and had two children. For
nine years, the couple stayed with Manolito’s parents. Manolito was jobless and was hooked
to gambling and drugs. As for Laila, she sold fish at the wet market of Taguig. On August 20,
1998, Laila left Manolito and transferred to her parents’ house. On March 9, 1999, Laila filed
a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity.
Testifying for Laila, Dr. Nedy Tayag, a clinical psychologist at the National Center for Mental
Health, declared that from the psychological test and clinical interview she conducted on
Laila, she found Manolito, whom she did not personally examine, to be psychologically
incapacitated to perform the duties of a husband. RTC denied Lalila’s petition. CA reversed
ISSUE: W/N Manolito is psychologically incapacitated
HELD: 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 the awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one
is about to assume. The report of Dr. Tayag shows that her conclusion about Manolito‘s
psychological incapacity was based on the information supplied by Laila which she found to
be ―factual. Undoubtedly, the doctor‘s conclusion is hearsay. It is unscientific and
unreliable. Dr. Tayag's Psychological Report does not even show that the alleged anti-social
personality disorder of Manolito was already present at the inception of the marriage or that
it is incurable. Neither does it explain the incapacitating nature of the alleged disorder nor
identify its root cause. It merely states that "such disorder is considered to be grave and is
deeply immersed within the system and continues to influence the individual until the later
stage of life." Manolito's alleged psychological incapacity is thus premised on his being
jobless and a drug user, as well as his inability to support his family and his refusal or
unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Manolito's state or condition
or attitude has not been shown, however, to be a malady or disorder rooted on some
incapacitating or debilitating psychological condition.
Almelor vs RTC – Las piñas
Manuel married Leonida in 1989. They are both medical practitioners. They begot 3 children. 11
years later, Leonida sought to annul her marriage with Manuel claiming that Manuel is
psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations. Leonida testified that
Manuel is a harsh disciplinarian and that his policy towards their children are often
unconventional and was the cause of their frequent fight. Manuel has an unreasonable way of
imposing discipline towards their children but is remarkably so gentle towards his mom. He is
more affectionate towards his mom and this is a factor which is unreasonable for Leonida.
Further, Leonida also testified that Manuel is a homosexual as evidenced by his unusual
closeness to his male companions and that he concealed his homosexuality from Leonida prior to
their marriage. She once caught Manuel talking to a man affectionately over the phone and she
confirmed all her fear when she saw Manuel kiss a man. The RTC ruled that their marriage is
null and void not because of PI but rather due to fraud by reason of Manuel’s concealment of his
homosexuality (Art 45 of the FC). The CA affirmed the RTC’s decision.
ISSUE: Whether or not the marriage between the two can be declared as null and void due to
fraud by reason of Manuel’s concealment of his homosexuality.
HELD: The SC emphasized that homosexuality per se is not a ground to nullify a marriage. It is
the concealment of homosexuality that would. In the case at bar however, it is not proven that
Manuel is a homosexual. The lower court should not have taken the public’s perception against
Manuel’s sexuality. His peculiarities must not be ruled by the lower court as an indication of his
homosexuality for those are not conclusive and are not sufficient enough to prove so. Even
granting that Manuel is indeed a homosexual, there was nothing in the complaint or anywhere in
the case was it alleged and proven that Manuel hid such sexuality from Leonida and that
Leonida’s consent had been vitiated by such.
Te vs Te
Te vs. Te
GR No. 161793, February 13, 2009
Petitioner Edward Te first met respondent Rowena Te in a gathering organized by the
Filipino-Chinese association in their college. Initially, he was attracted to Rowena’s
close friend but, as the latter already had a boyfriend, the young man decided to
court Rowena, which happened in January 1996. It was Rowena who asked that
they elope but Edward refused bickering that he was young and jobless. Her
persistence, however, made him relent. They left Manila and sailed to Cebu that
month; he, providing their travel money of P80,000 and she, purchasing the boat
They decided to go back to Manila in April 1996. Rowena proceeded to her uncle’s
house and Edward to his parents’ home. Eventually they got married but without a
marriage license. Edward was prohibited from getting out of the house
unaccompanied and was threatened by Rowena and her uncle. After a month,
Edward escaped from the house, and stayed with his parents. Edward’s parents
wanted them to stay at their house but Rowena refused and demanded that they
have a separate abode. In June 1996, she said that it was better for them to live
separate lives and they then parted ways.
After four years in January 2000, Edward filed a petition for the annulment of his
marriage to Rowena on the basis of the latter’s psychological incapacity.
ISSUE: Whether the marriage contracted is void on the ground of psychological
The parties’ whirlwind relationship lasted more or less six months. They met in
January 1996, eloped in March, exchanged marital vows in May, and parted ways in
June. The psychologist who provided expert testimony found both parties
psychologically incapacitated. Petitioner’s behavioral pattern falls under the
classification of dependent personality disorder, and respondent’s, that of the
narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder
There is no requirement that the person to be declared psychologically
incapacitated be personally examined by a physician, if the totality of evidence
presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity. Verily, the
evidence must show a link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest
psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself.
The presentation of expert proof presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment
of the parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis of a grave,
severe and incurable presence of psychological incapacity.
Indeed, petitioner, afflicted with dependent personality disorder, cannot assume
the essential marital obligations of living together, observing love, respect and
fidelity and rendering help and support, for he is unable to make everyday decisions
without advice from others, and allows others to make most of his important
decisions (such as where to live). As clearly shown in this case, petitioner followed
everything dictated to him by the persons around him. He is insecure, weak and
gullible, has no sense of his identity as a person, has no cohesive self to speak of,
and has no goals and clear direction in life.
As for the respondent, her being afflicted with antisocial personality disorder makes
her unable to assume the essential marital obligations on account for her disregard
in the rights of others, her abuse, mistreatment and control of others without
remorse, and her tendency to blame others. Moreover, as shown in this case,
respondent is impulsive and domineering; she had no qualms in manipulating
petitioner with her threats of blackmail and of committing suicide.
Both parties being afflicted with grave, severe and incurable psychological
incapacity, the precipitous marriage that they contracted on April 23, 1996 is thus,
declared null and void.
Azcueta vs Republic
Facts: Marietta Azcueta (Marietta) filed a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of her
marriage to Rodolfo Azcueta (Rodolfo) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Marietta averred
that Rodolfo was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of
marriage. Marietta complained that despite her encouragement, Rodolfo never bothered to look
for a job and always depended on his mother for financial assistance and for his decisions. It was
Rodolfo’s mother who found them a room near the Azcueta home and paid the monthly rental.
Rodolfo also pretended to have found work and gave Marietta money which actually came from
Rodolfo’s mother. When Marietta confronted him, Rodolfo cried like a child and told her his
parents could support their needs. They had sex only once a month which Marietta never
enjoyed. When they discussed this, Rodolfo told Marietta that sex was sacred and should not be
enjoyed or abused. Rodolfo also told her he was not ready for a child. When Marietta asked
Rodolfo if they could move to another place, he did not agree and she was forced to leave and
see if he would follow her. He did not.
Rodolfo’s first cousin, who at one time lived with Rodolfo’s family, corroborated Marietta’s
testimony that Rodolfo was not gainfully employed and relied on the allowance given by his
mother who also paid the rentals for the room the couple lived in. The psychiatrist who examined
Marietta testified that she found the latter to be mature, independent, focused, responsible, had a
direction and ambition in life, and was not psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties
and responsibilities of marriage. Based on information gathered from Marietta, the same
psychiatrist found Rodolfo to be suffering from Dependent Personality Disorder characterized by
loss of self-confidence, constant self-doubt, inability to make his own decisions and dependency
on other people. The psychiatrist explained that the root cause of the disorder was a crossidentification with Rodolfo’s mother who was the dominant figure in the family considering that
Rodolfo’s father, a seaman, wasalways out of the house. She added that the problem began
during the early stages of Rodolfo’s life but manifested only after his marriage. She stated that
the problem was severe, because he would not be able take on the responsibilities of a spouse,
and incurable, because it began in early development and had been deeply ingrained in his
personality. She, thus,concluded that Rodolfo was psychologically incapacitated to perform his
marital duties and responsibilities.
Rodolfo failed to appear and file an answer despite service of summons on him. The City
Prosecutor found no collusion between the parties. Based on the evidence presented by Marietta,
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) declared the marriage void ab initio.
The Solicitor General appealed the RTC’s decision, arguing that the psychiatric report was based
solely on the information given by Marietta, and there was no showing that the alleged
psychological disorder was present at the start of the marriage or that it was grave, permanent
and incurable.The Court of Appeals reversed the RTC’s decision. Marietta, thus, brought the case
to the Supreme Court on a petition for review on certiorari.
Issue: Whether or not Rodolfo is psychologically incapacitated to justify a declaration that his
marriage to Marrieta is void ab initio under Article 36 of the Family Code.
Held: Rodolfo was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital duties because of his
Dependent Personality Disorder. His marriage to Marietta was declared void ab initio.
Marietta sufficiently discharged her burden to prove her husband’s psychological incapacity. As
held in Marcos vs. Marcos [397 Phil. 840 (2000)], there is no requirement that the respondent
spouse should be personally examined by a physician or psychologist as a condition sine qua non
for the declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity. What matters is
whether the totality of evidence presented is adequate to sustain a finding of psychological
incapacity. Marietta’s testimony was corroborated in material points by Rodolfo’s close relative,
and supported by the psychiatrist’s testimony linking the manifestations of Rodolfo’s
psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. 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. Since the trial court itself accepted the veracity of Marietta’s factual premises, there is no
cause to dispute the conclusion of psychological incapacity drawn therefrom by her expert
The root cause of Rodolfo’s psychological incapacity was alleged in the petition, medically or
clinically identified, sufficiently proven by testimony of an expert witness with more than 40
years experience in the field of psychology and psychological incapacity, and clearly explained
in the trial court’s decision. As held in Te vs. Te (G.R. No. 161793, 13 February 2009), “(b)y the
very nature of Article 36, courts, despite having the primary task and burden of decision-making,
must not discount but, instead, must consider as decisive evidence the expert opinion on the
psychological and mental temperaments of the parties.”
Rodolfo’s psychological incapacity was also established to have clearly existed at the time of and
even before the celebration of marriage. Witnesses were united in testifying that from the start of
the marriage, Rodolfo’s irresponsibility, overdependence on his mother and abnormal sexual
reticence were already evident. These manifestations of Rodolfo’s Dependent Personality
Disorder must have existed even prior to the marriage being rooted in his early development and
a by-product of his upbringing and family life.
Furthermore, Rodolfo’s psychological incapacity had been shown to be grave so as to render him
unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage. The Court of Appeals’ opinion that
Rodolfo’s requests for financial assistance from his mother might have been due to
embarrassment for failing to contribute to the family coffers and that his motive for not wanting
a child was a “responsible” realization since he was unemployed, were dismissed by the High
Court for being speculative and unsupported by evidence. The Supreme Court likewise disagreed
with the Court of Appeals’ finding that Rodolfo’s irresponsibility and overdependence on his
mother could be attributed to immaturity, noting that at the time of his marriage, Rodolfo was
almost 29 years old. Also, the expert testimony identified a grave clinical or medical cause
for Rodolfo’s abnormal behavior – Dependent Personality Disorder.
A person afflicted with Dependent Personality Disorder cannot assume the essential marital
obligations of living together, observing love, respect and fidelity and rendering help and
support, for he is unable to make everyday decisions without advice from others, allows others to
make most of his importantdecisions (such as where to live), tends to agree with people even
when he believes they are wrong, has difficulty doing things on his own, volunteers to do things
that are demeaning in order to get approval from other people, feels uncomfortable or helpless
when alone and is often preoccupied with fears of being abandoned. (Te vs. Te, supra)
One who is unable to support himself, much less a wife; one who cannot independently make
decisions regarding even the most basic matters that spouses face every day; and one who cannot
contribute to the material, physical and emotional well-being of his spouse, is psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the marital obligations within the meaning of Article 36 of the
This is not to say, however, that anyone diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder is
automatically deemed psychologically incapacitated to perform his/her marital obligations. The
court must evaluate the facts, as guided by expert opinion, and carefully examine the type of
disorder and the gravity thereof before declaring the nullity of a marriage under Article 36.
Finally, it has been established that Rodolfo’s condition is incurable, having been deeply
ingrained in his system since his early years.
FACTS: 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 decision and September 24, 2004 resolution
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. Santos-Halili 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.
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 the Supreme 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.
ISSUE: Whether or not, psychological incapacity of the petitioner is a sufficient ground for the
nullity of marriage. Whether or not decision of the Regional Trial Court should be reinstated.
HELD: 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.
In Te, this Court defined dependent personality disorder 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.
In her psychological report, 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.
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.
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
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
The decision of the Regional Trial Court, Pasig City, Branch 158 dated April 17, 1998 is