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Ong vs.

Case Digest
Petitioner: Ong Eng Kiam a.k.a. William Ong
Respondent: Lucita Ong

William Ong and Lucita Ong have been married for more than 20 years when Lucita filed a complaint for Legal Separation
under Article 55 par. (1) of the Family Code*. Lucita alleged that since their third year of marriage, her husband William
subjected her to physical violence (he would slap her, kick her, pull her hair, and bang her head against the concrete wall),
and would should expletives at her. He was also violent towards their three children, scolding them or using his belt buckle to
beat them. One day after a violent quarrel, William hit Lucita on several different parts of her body, pointed a gun at her, and
asked her to leave the house, which she did.
Lucitas statements about Williams abusive behavior were corroborated by her sister, Linda Lim. Dr. Vicente Elinzano,
whom Lucita consulted the day after she left her conjugal home, also testified about her injuries.
The trial court granted Lucitas petition for legal separation; the CA affirmed. William then filed this petition for review on
certiorari on the CA decision.
William denied all of Lucitas allegations, saying that he never inflicted physical harm on her or their children. He also
argued that:
o The real motive of Lucita and her family in filing the complaint is to deprive him of his control and ownership over
his conjugal properties with Lucita;
o The CA overlooked some facts of the case which warrant an exception to the general rule that questions of fact
cannot be the subject for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court**;
o The CA erred in relying on the testimonies of Lucita, her sister, and their parents doctor, Dr. Elinzano, since their
testimonies are tainted with relationship and fraud; and
o Since Lucita abandoned the family home, she has also given a ground for legal separation and therefore should NOT
be granted one, pursuant to Art. 56, par. (4) of the FC***.

WON Lucita Ong should be granted a decree on legal separation.
The claim that the real motive of Lucita in filing the case is for her family to take control of the conjugal properties is absurd.
Lucita left because of her husbands repeated physical violence and grossly abusive conduct. She can derive no personal gain
from pushing for the financial interests of her family at the expense of her marriage of 20 years and the companionship of her
husband and children.
The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Questions of fact cannot be the subject of a petition for review under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, with exceptions. Petitioner failed to show that the case falls under any of the exceptions.
The assessment of the trial court regarding the credibility of witnesses is given great respect. Relationship alone is not enough
to discredit and label a witnesss testimony as biased and unworthy of credence. Witnesses Linda Lim and Dr. Elinzano gave
detailed and straightforward testimonies; the Court finds that their testimonies are not tainted with bias.
The abandonment referred to by the FC is abandonment without justifiable cause for more than one year. Lucita left William
due to his abusive conduct such does not constitute abandonment contemplated in the said provision.
PETITION DENIED; Lucita should be granted a decree of legal separation.

*Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:
(1) Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
**The only instances when [the Supreme] Court reviews findings of fact are:
(11) When the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would justify
a different conclusion
*** Art. 56. The petition for legal separation shall be denied on any of the following grounds:
(4) Where both parties have given ground for legal separation.