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9/12/2016

G.R. No. 137590

TodayisMonday,September12,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
FIRSTDIVISION
G.R.No.137590March26,2001
FLORENCEMALCAMPOSIN,petitioner,
vs.
PHILIPPT.SIN,respondent.
PARDO,J.:
TheFamilyCodeemphasizesthepermanentnatureofmarriage,hailingitasthefoundationofthefamily.1Itisthis
inviolability which is central to our traditional and religious concepts of morality and provides the very bedrock on
whichoursocietyfindsstability.2Marriageisimmutableandwhenbothspousesgivetheirconsenttoenterit,their
consentbecomesirrevocable,unchangedevenbytheirindependentwills.
However, this inviolability depends on whether the marriage exists and is valid. If it is void ab initio, the
"permanence"oftheunionbecomesirrelevant,andtheCourtcanstepintodeclareitso.Article36oftheFamily
Codeisthejustification.3 Where it applies and is duly proven, a judicial declaration can free the parties from the
rights,obligations,burdensandconsequencesstemmingfromtheirmarriage.
AdeclarationofnullityofmarriageunderArticle36oftheFamilyCoderequirestheapplicationofproceduraland
substantive guidelines. While compliance with these requirements mostly devolves upon petitioner, the State is
likewise mandated to actively intervene in the procedure. Should there be noncompliance by the State with its
statutoryduty,thereisaneedtoremandthecasetothelowercourtforpropertrial.
TheCase
WhatisbeforetheCourt4isanappealfromadecisionoftheCourtofAppeals5whichaffirmedthedecisionofthe
RegionalTrialCourt,Branch158,PasigCity6dismissingpetitionerFlorenceMalcampoSin's(hereafter"Florence")
petitionfordeclarationofnullityofmarriageduetopsychologicalincapacityforinsufficiencyofevidence.
TheFacts
OnJanuary4,1987,afteratwoyearcourtshipandengagement,FlorenceandrespondentPhilippT.Sin(hereafter
"Philipp"),aPortugesecitizen,weremarriedatSt.JudeCatholicParishinSanMiguel,Manila.7
On September 20, 1994, Florence filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 158, Pasig City, a complaint for
"declaration of nullity of marriage" against Philipp.8 Trial ensued and the parties presented their respective
documentaryandtestimonialevidence.
OnJune16,1995,thetrialcourtdismissedFlorence'spetition.9
OnDecember19,1995,FlorencefiledwiththetrialcourtanoticeofappealtotheCourtofAppeals.10
Afterdueproceedings,onApril30,1998,theCourtofAppealspromulgateditsdecision,thedispositiveportionof
whichreads:
"IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision appealed from is
AFFIRMED.CostagainsttheAppellant."11
On June 23, 1998, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for reconsideration of the aforequoted
decision.12
OnJanuary19,1999,theCourtofAppealsdeniedpetitioner'smotionforreconsideration.13
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Hence,thisappeal.14
TheCourt'sRuling
We note that throughout the trial in the lower court, the State did not participate in the proceedings. While Fiscal
JoseDaniloC.Jabson15filedwiththetrialcourtamanifestationdatedNovember16,1994,statingthathefoundno
collusionbetweentheparties,16hedidnotactivelyparticipatetherein.Otherthanenteringhisappearanceatcertain
hearingsofthecase,nothingmorewasheardfromhim.NeitherdidthepresidingJudgetakeanysteptoencourage
thefiscaltocontributetotheproceedings.
TheFamilyCodemandates:
"ARTICLE48.Inallcasesofannulmentordeclarationofabsolutenullityofmarriage,theCourtshallorderthe
prosecutingattorneyorfiscalassignedtoittoappearonbehalfoftheStatetotakestepstopreventcollusion
betweenthepartiesandtotakecarethatevidenceisnotfabricatedorsuppressed(italicsours).
"Inthecasesreferredtointheprecedingparagraph,nojudgmentshallbebaseduponastipulationoffactsor
confessionofjudgment."
Itcanbearguedthatsincethelowercourtdismissedthepetition,theevilsoughttobeprevented(i.e.,dissolutionof
the marriage) did not come about, hence, the lack of participation of the State was cured. Not so. The task of
protectingmarriageasaninviolablesocialinstitutionrequiresvigilantandzealousparticipationandnotmerepro
forma compliance. The protection of marriage as a sacred institution requires not just the defense of a true and
genuineunionbuttheexposureofaninvalidoneaswell.Thisismadeclearbythefollowingpronouncement:
"(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as
counsel for the state. No decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification,
whichwillbequotedinthedecision,17brieflystatingthereinhisreasonsforhisagreementoroppositionas
thecasemaybe,tothepetition.TheSolicitorGeneralshalldischargetheequivalentfunctionofthedefensor
vinculicontemplatedunderCanon1095(italicsours)."18
TherecordsarebereftofanyevidencethattheStateparticipatedintheprosecutionofthecasenotjustatthetrial
level but on appeal with the Court of Appeals as well. Other than the "manifestation" filed with the trial court on
November16,1994,theStatedidnotfileanypleading,motionorpositionpaper,atanystageoftheproceedings.
In Republic of the Philippines v. Erlinda Matias Dagdag,19 while we upheld the validity of the marriage, we
nevertheless characterized the decision of the trial court as "prematurely rendered" since the investigating
prosecutorwasnotgivenanopportunitytopresentcontrovertingevidencebeforethejudgmentwasrendered.This
stressestheimportanceoftheparticipationoftheState.
Havingsoruled,wedeclinetoruleonthefactualdisputesofthecase,thisbeingwithintheprovinceofthetrialcourt
uponproperretrial.
ObiterDictum
For purposes of retrial, we guide the parties thus: In Republic vs. Court of Appeals,20 the guidelines in the
interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code are as follows (omitting guideline [8] in the
enumerationasitwasalreadyearlierquoted):
"(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be
resolvedinfavoroftheexistenceandcontinuationofthemarriageandagainstitsdissolutionandnullity.This
isrootedinthefactthatbothourConstitutionandourlawscherishthevalidityofmarriageandunityofthe
family.Thus,ourConstitutiondevotesanentireArticleontheFamily,recognizingit"asthefoundationofthe
nation." It decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the
parties. Both the family and marriage are to be "protected" by the state. The Family Code echoes this
constitutionaledictonmarriageandthefamilyandemphasizestheirpermanence,inviolabilityandsolidarity.
"(2)Therootcauseofthepsychologicalincapacitymustbe:a)medicallyorclinicallyidentified,b)allegedin
the complaint, c) sufficiently proven by experts and d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the
FamilyCoderequiresthattheincapacitymustbepsychologicalnotphysical,althoughitsmanifestations
and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of them,
wasmentallyorpsychically(sic)illtosuchanextentthatthepersoncouldnothaveknowntheobligationshe
wasassuming,orknowingthem,couldnothavegivenvalidassumptionthereof.Althoughnoexampleofsuch
incapacityneedbegivenheresoasnottolimittheapplicationoftheprovisionundertheprincipleofejusdem
generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating
naturefullyexplained.Expertevidencemaybegivenbyqualifiedpsychiatristsandclinicalpsychologists.
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"(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the celebration" of the marriage. The
evidencemustshowthattheillnesswasexistingwhenthepartiesexchangedtheir"Ido's."Themanifestation
oftheillnessneednotbeperceivableatsuchtime,buttheillnessitselfmusthaveattachedatsuchmoment,
orpriorthereto.
"(4)Suchincapacitymustalsobeshowntobemedicallyorclinicallypermanentorincurable.Suchincurability
may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against
everyone of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage
obligations,notnecessarilytothosenotrelatedtomarriage,liketheexerciseofaprofessionoremployment
inajob.Hence,apediatricianmaybeeffectiveindiagnosingillnessesofchildrenandprescribingmedicineto
curethembutmaynotbepsychologicallycapacitatedtoprocreate,bearandraisehis/herownchildrenasan
essentialobligationofmarriage.
"(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential
obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional
outbursts"cannotbeacceptedasrootcauses.Theillnessmustbeshownasdownrightincapacityorinability,
not refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling
factorintheperson,anadverseintegralelementinthepersonalitystructurethateffectivelyincapacitatesthe
personfromreallyacceptingandtherebycomplyingwiththeobligationsessentialtomarriage.
"(6)TheessentialmaritalobligationsmustbethoseembracedbyArticles68upto71oftheFamilyCodeas
regardsthehusbandandwifeaswellasArticles220,221and225ofthesameCodeinregardtoparentsand
theirchildren.Suchnoncompliedmaritalobligation(s)mustalsobestatedinthepetition,provenbyevidence
andincludedinthetextofthedecision.
"(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the
Philippines,whilenotcontrollingordecisive,shouldbegivengreatrespectbyourcourts."
TheFallo
WHEREFORE,theCourtREVERSESandSETSASIDEtheappealeddecisionoftheCourtofAppealsinCAG.R.
CVNo.51304,promulgatedonApril30,1998andthedecisionoftheRegionalTrialCourt,Branch158,PasigCity
inCivilCaseNo.3190,datedJune16,1995.
LetthecasebeREMANDEDtothetrialcourtforpropertrial.
Nocosts.
SOORDERED.
Davide,Jr.,C.J.,Puno,KapunanandYnaresSantiago,JJ.,concur.

Footnotes
1Article1,FamilyCodeofthePhilippines.
2ArticleXV,Section1,"TheStaterecognizestheFilipinofamilyasthefoundationofthenation.Accordingly,

it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development." Section 2, "Marriage, as an
inviolablesocialinstitution,isthefoundationofthefamilyandshallbeprotectedbytheState."
3 Article 36, Family Code of the Philippines, "A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the

celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage,
shalllikewisebevoidevenifsuchincapacitybecomesmanifestonlyafteritssolemnization.
4ViaanappealunderRule45,1997RulesofCivilProcedure,asamended.
5InCAG.R.CVNo.51304,promulgatedonApril30,1998,Callejo,Sr.,ponente,UmaliandGuttierez,JJ.,

(nowanAssociateJusticeofthisCourt),concurring.
6InCivilCaseNo.3190,datedJune16,1995,JudgeJoseS.Hernandez,presiding.
7RegionalTrialCourtRecord,p.37.
8Petition,Rollo,p.16.
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9RegionalTrialCourtRecord,pp.8183.
10DocketedasCAG.R.CVNo.51304,CARollo,p.3.
11Petition,Annex"A",Rollo,p.45.
12Petition,Rollo,p.15.
13Petition,Rollo,p.16CARollo,p.142.
14OnAugust30,1999,weresolvedtogiveduecoursetothepetition,Rollo,p.144.
154thAsst.ProvincialProsecutor.
16RegionalTrialCourtRecord,p.17.
17NosuchcertificationappearsinthedecisionsofthetrialcourtandtheCourtofAppeals.
18Republicv.CourtofAppeals,335Phil.664,679680(1997).
19G.R.No.109975,February9,2001.
20Supra,Note18,pp.676678.
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