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G.R.No.170022.January9,2013.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs.


CESARENCELAN,respondent.
Civil Law; Marriages; Annulment of Marriage; Psychological
Incapacity; The Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that
psychological incapacity contemplates downright incapacity or
inability to take cognizance of and to assume the basic marital
obligations; not merely the refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less
ill will, on the part of the errant spouse.Article 36 of the Family
Codegovernspsycho
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*SECONDDIVISION.

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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Encelan

logicalincapacityasagroundfordeclarationofnullityofmarriage.
It provides that [a] marriage contracted by any party who, at the
timeofthecelebration,waspsychologicallyincapacitatedtocomply
withtheessentialmaritalobligationsofmarriage,shalllikewisebe
void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
solemnization. In interpreting this provision, we have repeatedly
stressed that psychological incapacity contemplates downright
incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume
the basic marital obligations;notmerelytherefusal,neglector
difficulty, much less ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. The
plaintiffbearstheburdenofprovingthejuridicalantecedence(i.e.,
theexistenceatthetimeofthecelebrationofmarriage),gravityand
incurabilityoftheconditionoftheerrantspouse.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Sexual Infidelity; Abandonment of
Conjugal Dwelling; Sexual infidelity and abandonment of the
conjugal dwelling, even if true, do not necessarily constitute
psychological incapacity; these are simply grounds for legal
separation.Sexual infidelity and abandonment of the conjugal
dwelling, even if true, do not necessarily constitute psychological
incapacity; these are simply grounds for legal separation. To
constitute psychological incapacity, it must be shown that the
unfaithfulnessandabandonmentaremanifestationsofadisordered
personality that completely prevented the erring spouse from
dischargingtheessentialmaritalobligations.Noevidenceonrecord
exists to support Cesars allegation that Lolitas infidelity and
abandonmentweremanifestationsofanypsychologicalillness.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Aside from the time element

involved, a wifes psychological fitness as a spouse cannot simply be


equated with her professional/work relationship; workplace
obligations and responsibilities are poles apart from their marital
counterparts.Cesar mistakenly relied on Dr. Flores psychological
evaluation report on Lolita to prove her alleged psychological
incapacity. The psychological evaluation, in fact, established that
Lolita did not suffer from any major psychiatric illness. Dr. Flores
observation on Lolitas interpersonal problems with coworkers, to
ourmind,doesnotsufficeasaconsiderationfortheconclusionthat
shewasat the time of her marriagepsychologicallyincapacitated
to enter into a marital union with Cesar. Aside from the time
element involved, a wifes psychological fitness as a spouse cannot
simplybeequated
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Republic vs. Encelan


with her professional/work relationship; workplace obligations and
responsibilities are poles apart from their marital counterparts.
While both spring from human relationship, their relatedness and
relevancetooneanothershouldbefullyestablishedforthemtobe
compared or to serve as measures of comparison with one another.
Tobesure,theevaluationreportDr.Florespreparedandsubmitted
cannot serve this purpose. Dr. Flores further belief that Lolitas
refusaltogowithCesarabroadsignifiedareluctancetoworkouta
good marital relationship is a mere generalization unsupported by
facts and is, in fact, a rash conclusion that this Court cannot
support.
Same; Same; Marriage is an inviolable social institution
protected by the State. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of its
existence and continuation and against its dissolution and
nullity.Onceagain,westressthatmarriageisaninviolablesocial
institution protected by the State. Any doubt should be resolved in
favor of its existence and continuation and against its dissolution
andnullity.Itcannotbedissolvedatthewhimofthepartiesnorby
transgressionsmadebyonepartytotheotherduringthemarriage.

PETITIONforreviewoncertiorariofanamendeddecision
oftheCourtofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
The Solicitor General forpetitioner.
Pablito A. Carpio forrespondent.
BRION,J.:
Weresolvethepetitionforreviewoncertiorari1filedby
petitioner Republic of the Philippines challenging the
October7,2005amendeddecision2oftheCourtofAppeals
(CA)that
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1UnderRule45ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure;Rollo,pp.937.
2Pennedby Associate Justice Elvi John S. Asuncion, and concurred
in by Associate Justices Godardo A. Jacinto and Lucas P. Bersamin
(nowamemberofthisCourt);id.,atpp.3942.

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Republic vs. Encelan

reconsidereditsMarch22,2004decision3(original decision)
in CAG.R. CV No. 75583. In its original decision, the CA
set aside the June 5, 2002 decision4 of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 47, in Civil Case No. 95
74257, which declared the marriage of respondent Cesar
Encelan to Lolita CastilloEncelan null and void on the
groundofthelatterspsychologicalincapacity.
The Factual Antecedents
OnAugust25,1979,CesarmarriedLolita5andtheunion
bore two children, Maricar and Manny.6 To support his
family, Cesar went to work in Saudi Arabia on May 15,
1984.OnJune12,1986,Cesar,whilestillinSaudiArabia,
learned that Lolita had been having an illicit affair with
Alvin Perez. Sometime in 1991,7 Lolita allegedly left the
conjugalhomewithherchildrenandlivedwithAlvin.Since
then, Cesar and Lolita had been separated. On June 16,
1995,CesarfiledwiththeRTCapetitionagainstLolitafor
the declaration of the nullity of his marriage based on
Lolitaspsychologicalincapacity.8
Lolita denied that she had an affair with Alvin; she
contended that Alvin used to be an associate in her
promotions business. She insisted that she is not
psychologically incapacitated and that she left their home
because of irreconcilable differences with her motherin
law.9
_______________
3Id.,atpp.4350.
4Records,pp.436438;pennedbyJudgeNimfaCuestaVilches.
5Id.,atp.6.
6Id.,atpp.78.
7Id.,atpp.2and73.Alsostatedas1989and1990inotherparts
oftherecordandtheTSN;Rollo,pp.44and92;TSN,August22,1996,
p.36;records,p.119.
8Records,pp.14.
9 Id.,atpp.165167andpp.313318.
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At the trial, Cesar affirmed his allegations of Lolitas
infidelity and subsequent abandonment of the family
home.10 He testified that he continued to provide financial
supportforLolitaandtheirchildrenevenafterhelearnedof
herillicitaffairwithAlvin.11
Cesarpresentedthepsychologicalevaluationreport12on
LolitapreparedbyDr.FaredaFatimaFloresoftheNational
CenterforMentalHealth.Dr.FloresfoundthatLolitawas

not suffering from any form of major psychiatric


illness[,]13 but had been unable to provide the
expectationsexpectedofherforagoodandlastingmarital
relationship;14 her transferring from one job to the other
depictssomeinterpersonalproblemswithcoworkersaswell
as her impatience in attaining her ambitions;15 and her
refusal to go with her husband abroad signifies her
reluctance to work out a good marital and family
relationship.16
The RTC Ruling
InitsJune5,2002decision,17theRTCdeclaredCesars
marriage to Lolita void, finding sufficient basis to declare
Lolita psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
essentialmaritalobligations.
Thepetitioner,throughtheOfficeoftheSolicitorGeneral
(OSG),appealedtotheCA.
_______________
10Id.,atpp.115119.
11Id.,atpp.104114.
12Id.,atpp.243245.
13Id.,atp.245.
14Ibid.
15Ibid.
16Ibid.
17Supranote4.
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Republic vs. Encelan

The CA Ruling
TheCAoriginally setasidetheRTCsverdict,finding
that Lolitas abandonment of the conjugal dwelling and
infidelity were not serious cases of personality
disorder/psychological illness. Lolita merely refused to
complywithhermaritalobligationswhichshewascapable
of doing. The CA significantly observed that infidelity is
onlyagroundforlegalseparation,notforthedeclarationof
thenullityofamarriage.
Cesarsoughtreconsideration19oftheCAsdecisionand,
in due course, attained his objective. The CA set aside its
original decision and entered another, which affirmed the
RTCsdecision.Initsamendeddecision,20theCAfoundtwo
circumstances indicative of Lolitas serious psychological
incapacity that resulted in her gross infidelity: (1) Lolitas
unwarranted refusal to perform her marital obligations to
Cesar; and (2) Lolitas willful and deliberate act of
abandoningtheconjugaldwelling.
TheOSGthenfiledthepresentpetition.
18

The Petition
TheOSGarguesthatDr.Florespsychologicalevaluation
reportdidnotdisclosethatLolitahadbeensufferingfroma

psychological illness nor did it establish its juridical


antecedence, gravity and incurability; infidelity and
abandonment do not constitute psychological incapacity,
butaremerelygroundsforlegalseparation.
The Case for the Respondent
Cesar submits that Lolitas infidelity and refusal to
perform her marital obligations established her grave and
incurablepsychologicalincapacity.
_______________
18Supranote2.
19CARollo,pp.8793.
20Supranote2.
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The Issue
Thecasepresentstousthelegalissueofwhetherthere
exists sufficient basis to nullify Cesars marriage to Lolita
onthegroundofpsychologicalincapacity.
The Courts Ruling
We grant the petition. No sufficient basis exists to
annul Cesars marriage to Lolita on the ground of
psychological incapacity.
Applicable Law and Jurisprudence
on Psychological Incapacity
Article 36 of the Family Code governs psychological
incapacityasagroundfordeclarationofnullityofmarriage.
Itprovidesthat[a]marriagecontractedbyanypartywho,
at the time of the celebration, was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital
obligationsofmarriage,shalllikewisebevoidevenifsuch
incapacitybecomesmanifestonlyafteritssolemnization.
In interpreting this provision, we have repeatedly
stressed that psychological incapacity contemplates
downright incapacity or inability to take
cognizance of and to assume the basic marital
obligations;21notmerelytherefusal,neglectordifficulty,
much less ill will, on the part of the errant spouse.22 The
plaintiffbearstheburdenofproving
_______________
21 Kalaw v. Fernandez, G.R. No. 166357, September 19, 2011, 657
SCRA822,836837.
22 Agraviador v. AmparoAgraviador, G.R. No. 170729, December 8,
2010,637SCRA519,538;Toring v. Toring, G.R. No. 165321, August 3,
2010, 626 SCRA 389, 405; Paz v. Paz, G.R. No. 166579, February 18,
2010,613SCRA195,205;Navales v. Navales,G.R.No.167523,June27,
2008, 556 SCRA 272, 288; Paras v. Paras, G.R. No. 147824, August 2,
2007,529SCRA81,106;Republic of the Phils. v.
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Republic vs. Encelan

the juridical antecedence (i.e., the existence at the time of


thecelebrationofmarriage),gravityandincurabilityofthe
conditionoftheerrantspouse.23
Cesar failed to prove Lolitas
psychological incapacity
In this case, Cesars testimony failed to prove Lolitas
allegedpsychologicalincapacity.Cesartestifiedonthedates
when he learned of Lolitas alleged affair and her
subsequent abandonment of their home,24 as well as his
continued financial support to her and their children even
afterhelearnedoftheaffair,25buthemerelymentionedin
passing Lolitas alleged affair with Alvin and her
abandonmentoftheconjugaldwelling.
In any event, sexual infidelity and abandonment of the
conjugaldwelling,eveniftrue,donotnecessarilyconstitute
psychologicalincapacity;thesearesimplygroundsforlegal
separation.26Toconstitutepsychologicalincapacity,itmust
be
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Iyoy, 507 Phil. 485, 502; 470 SCRA 508, 525 (2005); and Rep. of the
Phils. v. Court of Appeals,335Phil.664,678;268SCRA198,211(1997).
23Kalaw v. Fernandez,supra note 21, at p. 823; Republic v. Galang,
G.R. No. 168335, June 6, 2011, 650 SCRA 524, 544; DimayugaLaurena
v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 159220, September 22, 2008, 566 SCRA
154, 161162; Republic v. CabantugBaguio, G.R. No. 171042, June 30,
2008,556SCRA711,725;Hernandez v. Court of Appeals, 377 Phil. 919,
932;320SCRA76,87(1999);andRep. of the Phils. v. Court of Appeals,
supra,atp.676;p.208.
24Supranote10.
25Supranote11.
26 The Family Code, Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be
filedonanyofthefollowinggrounds:
xxxx
(8)Sexualinfidelityorperversion;
xxxx
(10)Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable
causeformorethanoneyear.
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shown that the unfaithfulness and abandonment are
manifestations of a disordered personality that completely
preventedtheerringspousefromdischargingtheessential
marital obligations.27 No evidence on record exists to
support Cesars allegation that Lolitas infidelity and
abandonment were manifestations of any psychological
illness.
Cesar mistakenly relied on Dr. Flores psychological
evaluation report on Lolita to prove her alleged
psychological incapacity. The psychological evaluation, in

fact, established that Lolita did not suffer from any major
psychiatric illness.28 Dr. Flores observation on Lolitas
interpersonalproblemswithcoworkers,29toourmind,does
notsufficeasaconsiderationfortheconclusionthatshewas
at the time of her marriagepsychologicallyincapacitated
to enter into a marital union with Cesar. Aside from the
time element involved, a wifes psychological fitness as a
spousecannotsimplybeequatedwithherprofessional/work
relationship; workplace obligations and responsibilities are
poles apart from their marital counterparts. While both
spring from human relationship, their relatedness and
relevance to one another should be fully established for
themtobecomparedortoserveasmeasuresofcomparison
with one another. To be sure, the evaluation report Dr.
Flores prepared and submitted cannot serve this purpose.
Dr. Flores further belief that Lolitas refusal to go with
Cesar abroad signified a reluctance to work out a good
maritalrelationship30isameregeneralizationunsupported
by facts and is, in fact, a rash conclusion that this Court
cannotsupport.
Insum,wefindthatCesarfailedtoprovetheexistenceof
Lolitaspsychologicalincapacity;thus,theCAcommitteda
reversibleerrorwhenitreconsidereditsoriginaldecision.
_______________
27Toring v. Toring,supranote22,atp.406.
28Supranote13.
29Supranote15.
30Supra note16.
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Republic vs. Encelan

Once again, we stress that marriage is an inviolable


socialinstitution31protectedbytheState.Anydoubtshould
be resolved in favor of its existence and continuation and
againstitsdissolutionandnullity.32Itcannotbedissolved
at the whim of the parties nor by transgressions made by
onepartytotheotherduringthemarriage.
WHEREFORE,weGRANTthepetitionandSETASIDE
the October 7, 2005 amended decision of the Court of
Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 75583. Accordingly, we
DISMISS respondent Cesar Encelans petition for
declaration of nullity of his marriage to Lolita Castillo
Encelan.
Costsagainsttherespondent.
SOORDERED.
Carpio (Chairperson), Del Castillo, Perez and Perlas
Bernabe, JJ.,concur.
Petition granted, amended decision set aside.
Notes.Sexual infidelity, per se, does not constitute
psychological incapacity within the contemplation of the
FamilyCode.(Alcazar vs. Alcazar,603SCRA 604[2009])

Psychological incapacity must refer to no less than a


mentalincapacitythatcausesapartytobetrulyincognitive
of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be
assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage.
(Marable vs. Marable,639SCRA 557[2011])
o0o
_______________
31Bolos v. Bolos,G.R.No.186400,October20,2010,634SCRA429,
439; and CamachoReyes v. Reyes, G.R. No. 185286, August 18, 2010,
628SCRA461,464.
32 Ochosa v. Alana, G.R. No. 167459, January 26, 2011, 640 SCRA
517, 524; Republic v. CabantugBaguio, supra note 23, at p. 727; and
Rep. of the Phils. v. Court of Appeals, supranote23,atp.676;p.209.

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