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SE AR CH R E SULTS FO R : R E SP O NDE NT NO T R E Q UI R E D TO BE I NTE R V I E W E D I N NULLI TY O F M AR R I AGE

To Consider Church Annulments As Additional Grounds For Nullity Of Marriage


Under Article 36 Would Be Legislating From The Bench

The Case:

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To bolster his petition for declaration of nullity of his marriage to Luz on the ground of psychological incapacity, Robert alleged
that (1) it was he who did the cleaning of the room because Luz did not know how to keep order; (2) it was her mother who
prepared their meal while her sister was the one who washed their clothes because she did not want her polished nails
destroyed; (3) it was also her sister who took care of their children while she spent her time sleeping and looking at the mirror;
(4) when she resumed her schooling, she dated different men; (5) he received anonymous letters reporting her loitering with
male students; (6) when he was not home, she would receive male visitors; (7) a certain Romy Padua slept in their house when
he was away; and (6) she would contract loans without his knowledge. At first, Luz denied the allegations and insisted it was
Robert who was psychologically incapacitated. Later events would show that Luz recanted her testimony, waived custody of
her minor son to Robert, and prayed that the CA grant Roberts petition.

The RTC granted the petition, but the Republic appealed, insisting that hat the real cause of the marital discord was the sexual
infidelity of Luz. Such ground, the OSG contended, should not result in the nullification of the marriage under the law, but
merely constituted a ground for legal separation.

The CA granted the Republics appeal, noting that apart from his self-serving declarations, the evidence adduced by Robert fell
short of establishing the fact that at the time of their marriage, Luz was suffering from a psychological defect which in fact
deprived [her] of the ability to assume the essential duties of marriage and its concomitant responsibilities.

Robert appealed to the Supreme Court. He pointed out that even the Catholic Churchs matrimonial tribunals found Luz lacked
due discretion necessitating the dissolution of their church marriage. The absence of psychological testing on Luz pointed out
by the CA did not detract nor deviate from the fact that he had sufficiently proven the psychological incapacity of Luz with her
sexual promiscuity and lack of homemaking ability.

The Ruling:

The main issue is whether the totality of the evidence adduced proves that Luz was psychologically incapacitated to comply
with the essential obligations of marriage warranting the annulment of their marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.

The petition is bereft of merit.

A petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article 36 of the Family Code which provides:
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Art. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with
the essential marital obligation of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
solemnization. Psychological incapacity, as a ground to nullify a marriage under Article 36 of 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 68 of 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 a 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. 1

Psychological incapacity as required by Article 36 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 only emerge after the marriage. It must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of
the party involved. 2

In Republic v. Court of Appeals and Eduardo C. De Quintos, Jr., 3 the Court reiterated the well-settled guidelines in resolving
petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage, embodied in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina, 4 based on Article 36 of the
Family Code. Thus:

(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. x x x.

xxxx

(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. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity
must be psychological not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. x x x.

xxxx

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(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage. x x x.

xxxx

(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. x x x.

xxxx

(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 cannot be accepted as root causes.
x x x.

xxxx

(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. Such non-complied marital
obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.

(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.

x x x.

xxxx

(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. x x x.

Guided by these pronouncements, the Court is of the considered view that Roberts evidence failed to establish the
psychological incapacity of Luz.

First, the testimony of Robert failed to overcome the burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage. Other than his self-
serving testimony, no other evidence was adduced to show the alleged incapacity of Luz. He presented no other witnesses to
corroborate his allegations on her behavior. Thus, his testimony was self-serving and had no serious value as evidence.

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Second, the root cause of the alleged psychological incapacity of Luz was not medically or clinically identified, and sufficiently
proven during the trial. Based on the records, Robert failed to prove that her disposition of not cleaning the room, preparing
their meal, washing the clothes, and propensity for dating and receiving different male visitors, was grave, deeply rooted, and
incurable within the parameters of jurisprudence on psychological incapacity.

The alleged failure of Luz to assume her duties as a wife and as a mother, as well as her emotional immaturity, irresponsibility
and infidelity, cannot rise to the level of psychological incapacity that justifies the nullification of the parties marriage. The 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. 5 Indeed, to be declared clinically or medically incurable is one thing; to refuse or be reluctant to perform ones 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. 6

As correctly found by the CA, sexual infidelity or perversion and abandonment do not, by themselves, constitute grounds for
declaring a marriage void based on psychological incapacity. Robert argues that the series of sexual indiscretion of Luz were
external manifestations of the psychological defect that she was suffering within her person, which could be considered as
nymphomania or excessive sex hunger. Other than his allegations, however, no other convincing evidence was adduced to
prove that these sexual indiscretions were considered as nymphomania, and that it was grave, deeply rooted, and incurable
within the term of psychological incapacity embodied in Article 36. To stress, Roberts testimony alone is insufficient to prove the
existence of psychological incapacity.

In Sivino A. Ligeralde v. May Ascension A. Patalinghug and the Republic of the Philippines, 7 the Court ruled that the
respondents act of living an adulterous life cannot automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially when no
specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing at the inception of marriage. The petitioner must be
able to establish that the respondents unfaithfulness was a manifestation of a disordered personality, which made her
completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.

Third, the psychological report of Villanueva, Guidance Psychologist II of the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Cagayan
deOro City, was insufficient to prove the psychological in capacity of Luz. There was nothing in the records that would indicate
that Luz had either been interviewed or was subjected to a psychological examination. The finding as to her psychological
incapacity was based entirely on hearsay and the self-serving information provided by Robert.
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Fourth, the decision of the Metropolitan Tribunal is insufficient to prove the psychological incapacity of Luz. Although it is true
that in the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina, 8 the Court stated that interpretations given by the NAMT of the
Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts, still it is subject
to the law on evidence. Thus:

Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our
people, it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should be given to decisions of such
appellate tribunal. Ideally subject to our law on evidence what is decreed as [canonically] invalid should be decreed civilly void
x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

Pertinently, Rule 132, Section 34 of the Rules of Evidence provides:

The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. The purpose of which the evidence is offered must be
specified.

In this regard, the belated presentation of the decision of the NAMT cannot be given value since it was not offered during the
trial, and the Court has in no way of ascertaining the evidence considered by the same tribunal.

Granting that it was offered and admitted, it must be pointed out that the basis of the declaration of nullity of marriage by the
NAMT was not the third paragraph of Canon 1095 which mentions causes of a psychological nature similar to Article 36 of the
Family Code, but the second paragraph of Canon 1095 which refers to those who suffer from grave lack of discretion of
judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted. For clarity, the pertinent
portions of the NAMT decision are as follows:

The FACTS on the Case prove with the certitude required by law that based on the deposition of the petitioner the respondent
understandably ignored the proceedings completely for which she was duly cited for Contempt of Court and premised on the
substantially concordant testimonies of the Witnesses, the woman Respondent demonstrated in the external forum through
her action and reaction patterns, before and after the marriage-in-fact, her grave lack of due discretion in judgement for
marriage intents and purposes basically by reason of her immaturity of judgement as manifested by her emotional ambivalence
x x x.

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WHEREFORE, this COLLEGIAL COURT OF APPEALS, having invoked the Divine Name and having in mind the Law, the
Jurisprudence and the Facts pertaining to the Case, hereby declares and decrees the confirmation of the nullity decision
rendered by the Metropolitan Tribunal of First Instance for the Archdiocese of Manil on the Marriage Case MALLILIN
JAMISOLAMIN with Prot. N. 63/2000 on the ground provided by Canon 1095 par. 2CIC on the part of the woman Respondent
but NOT on the part of the man Petitioner for lack of evidence. (Emphases and underscoring supplied) 9

In Santos v. Santos, 10 the Court referred to the deliberations during the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee, which
drafted the Code, to provide an insight on the import of Article 36 of the Family Code. It went out to state that a part of the
provision is similar to the third paragraph of Canon 1095 of the Code of Canon Law, which reads:

Canon 1095. The following are incapable of contracting marriage:

1. those who lack sufficient use of reason;

2. those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations to
be mutually given and accepted;

3. those who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of
marriage.(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

In Najera v. Najera, 11 the Court was also confronted with a similar issue of whether to consider an annulment by the NAMT as
also covering psychological incapacity, the only ground recognized in our law. In the said case, the NAMT decision was also
based on the second paragraph of Canon 1095. The Court ruled that it was not similar to, and only annulments under the third
paragraph of, Canon 1095 should be considered. Elucidating, the Court wrote: Petitioners argument is without merit.

In its Decision dated February 23, 2004, the Court of Appeals apparently did not have the opportunity to consider the decision
of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Court of Appeals considered the Matrimonial
Tribunals decision in its Resolution dated August 5, 2004 when it resolved petitioners motion for reconsideration. In the said
Resolution, the Court of Appeals took cognizance of the very same issues now raised before this Court and correctly held that
petitioners motion for reconsideration was devoid of merit. It stated:

The Decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal dated July 2, 2002, which was forwarded to this Court only on
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February 11, 2004, reads as follows:

[T]he FACTS collated from party complainant and reliable witnesses which include a sister-in-law of Respondent (despite
summons from the Court dated June14, 1999, he did not appear before the Court, in effect waiving his right to be heard, hence,
trial in absentia followed) corroborate and lead this Collegiate Court to believe with moral certainty required by law and
conclude that the husband-respondent upon contracting marriage suffered from grave lack of due discretion of judgment,
thereby rendering nugatory his marital contract: First, his family was dysfunctional in that as a child, he saw the break-up of the
marriage of his own parents; his own two siblings have broken marriages; Second, he therefore grew up with a domineering
mother with whom [he] identified and on whom he depended for advice; Third, he was according to his friends, already into
drugs and alcohol before marriage; this affected his conduct of bipolar kind: he could be very quiet but later very talkative,
peaceful but later hotheaded even violent, he also was aware of the infidelity of his mother who now lives with her paramour,
also married and a policeman; Finally, into marriage, he continued with his drugs and alcohol abuse until one time he came
home very drunk and beat up his wife and attacked her with a bolo that wounded her; this led to final separation.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court of Second Instance, having invoked the Divine Name and having considered the
pertinent Law and relevant Jurisprudence to the Facts of the Case hereby proclaims, declares and decrees the confirmation of
the sentence from the Court a quo in favor of the nullity of marriage on the ground contemplated under Canon 1095, 2 of the
1983 Code of Canon Law.

However, records of the proceedings before the Trial Court show that, other than herself, petitioner-appellant offered the
testimonies of the following persons only, to wit: Aldana Celedonia (petitioner-appellants mother), Sonny de la Cruz (member,
PNP, Bugallon, Pangasinan), and Ma. Cristina R. Gates (psychologist). Said witnesses testified, in particular, to the unfaithful night
of July 1, 1994 wherein the respondent allegedly made an attempt on the life of the petitioner. But unlike the hearing and finding
before the Matrimonial Tribunal, petitioner-appellants sister-in-law and friends of the opposing parties were never presented
before said Court. As to the contents and veracity of the latters testimonies, this Court is without any clue. True, in the case of
Republic v. Court of Appeals, et al. (268 SCRA 198), the Supreme Court held that the 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. However, the Highest Tribunal expounded as follows:

Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our
people, it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should be given to decisions of such
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appellate tribunal. Ideally subject to our law on evidence what is decreed as [canonically] invalid should be decreed civilly void
x x x.

And in relation thereto, Rule 132, Sec. 34 of the Rules of Evidence states:

The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. The purpose of which the evidence is offered must be
specified.

Given the preceding disquisitions, petitioner-appellant should not expect us to give credence to the Decision of the National
Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal when, apparently, it was made on a different set of evidence of which We have no way of
ascertaining their truthfulness. Furthermore, it is an elementary rule that judgments must be based on the evidence presented
before the court (Manzano vs. Perez, 362 SCRA 430 [2001]). And based on the evidence on record, We find no ample reason to
reverse or modify the judgment of the Trial Court.[31]

Santos v. Santos 12 cited the deliberations during the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee, which drafted the Code,
to provide an insight on the import of Article 36 of the Family Code. It stated that a part of the provision is similar to the third
paragraph of Canon 1095 of the Code of Canon Law, which reads:

Canon 1095. The following are incapable of contracting marriage:

1. those who lack sufficient use of reason;

2. those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations to
be mutually given and accepted;

3. those who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage.

It must be pointed out that in this case, the basis of the declaration of nullity of marriage by the National Appellate Matrimonial
Tribunal is not the third paragraph of Canon 1095 which mentions causes of a psychological nature, but the second paragraph
of Canon 1095 which refers to those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning essential matrimonial
rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted. For clarity, the pertinent portion of the decision of the National
Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal reads:
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The FACTS collated from party complainant and reliable witnesses which include a sister-in-law of Respondent (despite
summons from the Court dated June 14, 1999, he did not appear before the Court, in effect waiving his right to be heard, hence,
trial in absentia followed) corroborate and lead this Collegiate Court to believe with moral certainty required by law and
conclude that the husband-respondent upon contacting marriage suffered from grave lack of due discretion of judgment,
thereby rendering nugatory his marital contract x x x.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court of Second Instance, having invoked the Divine Name and having considered the
pertinent Law and relevant Jurisprudence to the Facts of the Case hereby proclaims, declares and decrees the confirmation of
the sentence from the Court a quo in favor of the nullity of marriage on the ground contemplated under Canon 1095, 2 of the
1983 Code of Canon Law. x x x.

Hence, even if, as contended by petitioner, the factual basis of the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal is
similar to the facts established by petitioner before the trial court, the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal
confirming the decree of nullity of marriage by the court a quo is not based on the psychological incapacity of respondent.
Petitioner, therefore, erred in stating that the conclusion of Psychologist Cristina Gates regarding the psychological incapacity of
respondent is supported by the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal.

In fine, the Court of Appeals did not err in affirming the Decision of the RTC. (Emphases in the original; Underscoring supplied)

Hence, Roberts reliance on the NAMT decision is misplaced. To repeat, the decision of the NAMT was based on the second
paragraph of Canon 1095 which refers to those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning essential
matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted, a cause not of psychological nature under Article 36 of
the Family Code. A cause of psychological nature similar to Article 36 is covered by the third paragraph of Canon 1095 of the
Code of Canon Law 13, which for ready reference reads:

Canon 1095. The following are incapable of contracting marriage:

xxxx

1. those who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage.

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To hold that annulment of marriages decreed by the NAMT under the second paragraph of Canon 1095 should also be covered
would be to expand what the lawmakers did not intend to include. What would prevent members of other religious groups
from invoking their own interpretation of psychological incapacity? Would this not lead to multiple, if not inconsistent,
interpretations?

To consider church annulments as additional grounds for annulment under Article 36 would be legislating from the bench. As
stated in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina, 14 interpretations given by the NAMT of the Catholic Church in the Philippines
are given great respect by our courts, but they are not controlling or decisive.

In Republic v. Galang, 15 it was written that the Constitution set out a policy of protecting and strengthening the family as the
basic social institution, and the marriage was the foundation of the family. Marriage, as an inviolable institution protected by the
State, cannot be dissolved at the whim of the parties. In petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage, the burden of proof to
show the nullity of marriage lies with the plaintiff. Unless the evidence presented clearly reveals a situation where the parties, or
one of them, could not have validly entered into a marriage by reason of a grave and serious psychological illness existing at the
time it was celebrated, the Court is compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the marital tie.

In fine, the Court holds that the CA decided correctly. Petitioner Robert failed to adduce sufficient and convincing evidence to
prove the alleged psychological incapacity of Luz.

As asserted by the OSG, the allegations of the petitioner make a case for legal separation. Hence, this decision is without
prejudice to an action for legal separation if a party would want to pursue such proceedings. In this disposition, the Court
cannot decree a legal separation because in such proceedings, there are matters and consequences like custody and separation
of properties that need to be considered and settled.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 78303-MIN, dated November 20,
2009, and its Resolution, dated June 1, 2010, are hereby AFFIRMED, without prejudice.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


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Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

ANTONIO T. CARPIO, VELASCO, JR., DEL CASTILLO, LEONEN

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 192718, February 18, 2015, ROBERT F. MALLILIN,

Petitioner, vs. LUZ G. JAMESOLAMIN and the REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,

Respondents.

1
Republic v. Garcia, G.R. No. 171557, February 12, 2014.

2
Ligarde v. Patalinghug, G.R. No. 168796, April 15, 2010, 618 SCRA 315, 320321.

3
G.R. No. 159594, November 12, 2012, 685 SCRA 33, 42-43.

4
335 Phil. 664, 676 678 (1997).

5
Republic v. Encelan, G.R. No. 170022, January 9, 2013, 668 SCRA 215, 221.

6
Republic v. Gracia, supra note 7.

7
Supra note 8, at 322.

8
Supra note 10, at 679.

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9
Rollo, p. 83.

10
310 Phil. 21, 37 (1995).

11
609 Phil. 316, 336 (2009), also citing Santos v. Santos, supra.

12
Supra note 16.

13
Supra note 16.

14
Supra note 10, at 679.

15
G.R. No. 168335, June 6, 2011, 650 SCRA 524, 543-544.

December 5, 2015

A Husbands Alleged Immaturity, Deceitfulness And Lack Of Remorse For His


Dishonesty And Lack Of Affection Did Not Necessarily Constitute Psychological
Incapacity

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The Case:

When they married each other, Dominic and Arabella at first depended upon their parents for support. When Arabella gave
birth to their first born, Dominic had to borrow funds from Arabellas best friend ti settle the hospital bill. Because Dominic was
jobless, Arabella took on various jobs to support their family. Thus she shouldered all the familys expenses. Eventually,
Dominic was hired to sell Colliers Encyclopedia and as a car salesman but his income was irregular. In I994, she discovered his
affair with Zaida, a co-employee. He gifted her with a car, but she shouldered the cars insurance, which he did not pay anyway;
she was later forced to bear the burden of paying the cars balance, as he did not pay for the car. When he was fired from
employment, his troubles began. He was charged with violation of BP 22 and estafa and was jailed. She discovered he also
swindled several of his clients. She asked him to leave, and refused his offer of reconciliation. In August, 1998, she filed a petition
to delate their marriage void on ground of psychological incapacity. The RTC granted it, but the Republic appealed to the CA.
The appellate court granted the appeal, hence Arabella appealed to the Supreme Court. She assails the CAs refusal to be bound
by the expert testimony and psychiatric evaluation she had presented in the trial of the case, and the CAs reliance on the
pronouncements in Dagdag, Hernandez and Pesca, supra. She contends that the report on the psychiatric evaluation
conducted by Dr. Samson more than complied with the requirements prescribed in Santos v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 112019,
January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20) and Molina. She insists that the CA should have applied the ruling in Marcos v. Marcos (G.R. No.
136490, October 19, 2000, 343 SCRA 755) to the effect that personal medical or psychological examination was not a requirement
for a declaration of psychological incapacity.

The Ruling:

The appeal has no merit.

We consider the CAs refusal to accord credence and weight to the psychiatric report to be well taken and warranted. The CA
correctly indicated that the ill-feelings that she harbored towards Dominic, which she admitted during her consultation with Dr.
Samson, furnished the basis to doubt the findings of her expert witness; that such findings were one-sided, because Dominic
was not himself subjected to an actual psychiatric evaluation by petitioners expert; and that he also did not participate in the
proceedings; and that the findings and conclusions on his psychological profile by her expert were solely based on the self-
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serving testimonial descriptions and characterizations of him rendered by petitioner and her witnesses.

Moreover, Dr. Samson conceded that there was the need for her to resort to other people in order to verify the facts derived
from petitioner about Dominics psychological profile considering the ill-feelings she harbored towards him. It turned out,
however, that the only people she interviewed about Dominic were those whom petitioner herself referred, as the following
testimony indicated:

Fiscal Zalameda

Q: So youre saying that the petitioner have an ill-feeling towards the respondent? At the time you interviewed?

A: Yes, Sir, during the first interview.

Q: How about during the subsequent interview?

A: During the subsequent interview more or less the petitioner was able to talk regarding her marital problems which is
uncomfort(able), so she was able to adapt, she was able to condition herself regarding her problems, Sir.

Q: But the ill-feeling was still there?

A: But the feeling was still there, Sir.

Q: Now, considering that this ill feeling of the petitioner insofar as the respondent is concerned, would you say that the
petitioner would only tell you information negative against the respondent?

A: Yes, may be Sir. But I do try to conduct or verify other people the facts given to me by the petitioner, Sir.

Q: And these other people were also people given to you or the name are given to you by the petitioner, Madame Witness?

1
A: Yes, Sir.

In fine, the failure to examine and interview Dominic himself naturally cast serious doubt on Dr. Samsons findings. The CA rightly
refused to accord probative value to the testimony of such expert for being avowedly given to show compliance with the
requirements set in Santos and Molina for the establishment of Dominics psychological incapacity.
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The CAs reliance on Dagdag, Hernandez and Pesca was not misplaced. It is easy to see why.

In Dagdag, we ruled that Erlinda failed to comply with guideline No. 2 which requires that the root cause of psychological
incapacity must be medically or clinically identified and sufficiently proven by experts, since no psychiatrist or medical doctor
testified as to the alleged psychological incapacity of her husband. 2 But here, the experts testimony on Dominics
psychological profile did not identify, much less prove, the root cause of his psychological incapacity because said expert did not
examine Dominic in person before completing her report but simply relied on other peoples recollection and opinion for that
purpose.

In Hernandez, we ruminated that:

xxx expert testimony should have been presented to establish the precise cause of private respondents psychological
incapacity, if any, in order to show that it existed at the inception of the marriage. The burden of proof to show the nullity of the
marriage rests upon petitioner. The Court is mindful of the policy of the 1987 Constitution to protect and strengthen the family
as the 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. 3

but the expert evidence submitted here did not establish the precise cause of the supposed psychological incapacity of Dominic,
much less show that the psychological incapacity existed at the inception of the marriage.

The Court in Pesca observed that:

At all events, petitioner has utterly failed, both in her allegations in the complaint and in her evidence, to make out a case of
psychological incapacity on the part of respondent, let alone at the time of solemnization of the contract, so as to warrant a
declaration of nullity of the marriage.

4
Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, invoked by her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity.

Apparent from the aforecited pronouncements is that it was not the absence of the medical experts testimony alone that was
crucial but rather petitioners failure to satisfactorily discharge the burden of showing the existence of psychological incapacity
at the inception of the marriage. In other words, the totality of the evidence proving such incapacity at and prior to the time of

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5
the marriage was the crucial consideration, as the Court has reminded in Ting v. Velez-Ting:

By the very nature of cases involving the application of Article 36, it is logical and understandable to give weight to the expert
opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological temperament of parties in order to determine the root cause,
juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability of the psychological incapacity. However, such opinions, while highly advisable, are
not conditions sine qua non in granting petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. At best, courts must treat such opinions
as decisive but not indispensable evidence in determining the merits of a given case. In fact, if the totality of evidence presented
is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical or psychological examination of the person
concerned need not be resorted to. The trial court, as in any other given case presented before it, must always base its decision
not solely on the expert opinions furnished by the parties but also on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of the
proceedings.

Petitioners view that the Court in Marcos stated that the personal medical or psychological examination of respondent spouse
therein was not a requirement for the declaration of his psychological incapacity 6 is not entirely accurate. To be clear, the
statement in Marcos ran as follows:

The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court in Santos v. Court of Appeals:
psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. The foregoing
guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root
cause may be medically or clinically identified. What is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the
partys psychological condition. For indeed, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological
incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to.

In light of the foregoing, even if the expert opinions of psychologists are not conditions sine qua non in the granting of petitions
for declaration of nullity of marriage, the actual medical examination of Dominic was to be dispensed with only if the totality of
evidence presented was enough to support a finding of his psychological incapacity. This did not mean that the presentation of
any form of medical or psychological evidence to show the psychological incapacity would have automatically ensured the
granting of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. What was essential, we should emphasize herein, was the
presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition, as the Court said in Marcos.

But where, like here, the parties had the full opportunity to present the professional and expert opinions of psychiatrists tracing

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the root cause, gravity and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity, then the opinions should be presented and be
weighed by the trial courts in order to determine and decide whether or not to declare the nullity of the marriages.

It bears repeating that the trial courts, as in all the other cases they try, must always base their judgments not solely on the
expert opinions presented by the parties but on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of their proceedings. 7

We find the totality of the evidence adduced by petitioner insufficient to prove that Dominic was psychologically unfit to
discharge the duties expected of him as a husband, and that he suffered from such psychological incapacity as of the date of the
marriage. Accordingly, the CA did not err in dismissing the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.

We have time and again held that psychological incapacity should refer to no less than a mental, not physical, incapacity that
causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that must concomitantly be assumed and discharged by the
parties to the marriage that, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together,
to observe love, respect and fidelity, and to render help and support. We have also held 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. To qualify as psychological
incapacity as a ground for nullification of marriage, a persons psychological affliction must be grave and serious as to indicate an
utter incapacity to comprehend and comply with the essential objects of marriage, including the rights and obligations between
husband and wife. The affliction must be shown to exist at the time of marriage, and must be incurable.

Accordingly, the RTCs findings that Dominics psychological incapacity was characterized by gravity, antecedence and
incurability could not stand scrutiny. The medical report failed to show that his actions indicated a psychological affliction of
such a grave or serious nature that it was medically or clinically rooted. His alleged immaturity, deceitfulness and lack of remorse
for his dishonesty and lack of affection did not necessarily constitute psychological incapacity. His inability to share or to take
responsibility or to feel remorse over his misbehavior or to share his earnings with family members, albeit indicative of
immaturity, was not necessarily a medically rooted psychological affliction that was incurable. Emotional immaturity and
irresponsibility did not equate with psychological incapacity. 8 Nor were his supposed sexual infidelity and criminal offenses
manifestations of psychological incapacity. If at all, they would constitute a ground only for an action for legal separation under
Article 55 of the Family Code.

Finally, petitioner contends that the Courts Resolution in A.M. No. 02-11-10 rendered appeals by the OSG no longer required,

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and that the appeal by the OSG was a mere superfluity that could be deemed to have become functus officio if not totally
disregarded. 9

The contention is grossly erroneous and unfounded. The Resolution nowhere stated that appeals by the OSG were no longer
required. On the contrary, the Resolution explicitly required the OSG to actively participate in all stages of the proceedings, to
wit:

a) The petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition on the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the City or Provincial
Prosecutor, within five days from the date of its filing and submit to the court proof of such service within the same period. 10

b) The court may require the parties and the public prosecutor, in consultation with the Office of the Solicitor General, to file
their respective memoranda support of their claims within fifteen days from the date the trial is terminated. It may require the
Office of the Solicitor General to file its own memorandum if the case is of significant interest to the State. No other pleadings or
papers may be submitted without leave of court. After the lapse of the period herein provided, the case will be considered
submitted for decision, with or without the memoranda. 11

c) The parties, including the Solicitor General and the public prosecutor, shall be served with copies of the decision personally or
by registered mail. If the respondent summoned by publication failed to appear in the action, the dispositive part of the decision
shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation 12.

d) The decision becomes final upon the expiration of fifteen days from notice to the parties.1wphi1 Entry of judgment shall be
made if no motion for reconsideration or new trial, or appeal is filed by any of the parties, the public prosecutor, or the Solicitor
General. 13

e) An aggrieved party or the Solicitor General may appeal from the decision by filing a Notice of Appeal within fifteen days from
notice of denial of the motion for reconsideration or new trial. The appellant shall serve a copy of the notice of appeal on the
adverse parties. 14

The obvious intent of the Resolution was to require the OSG to appear as counsel for the State in the capacity of a defensor
vinculi (i.e., defender of the marital bond) to oppose petitions for, and to appeal judgments in favor of declarations of nullity of
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, thereby ensuring that only the meritorious cases for the declaration of nullity of
marriages based on psychological incapacity-those sufficiently evidenced by gravity, incurability and juridical antecedence-
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would succeed.

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari; and AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on March 19, 2003
in CA-G.R. CV No. 68615.

The petitioner shall pay the costs of suit.

SO ORDERED.

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO, LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, VILLARAMA, JR., REYES

FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 157649, November 12, 2012, ARABELLE J. MENDOZA,

Petitioner, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and DOMINIC C. MENDOZA, Respondents.

1
TSN, May 26, 1999, pp. 25-26.

2
Supra note 13, at 434-435.

3
Supra note 14, at 88.

4
Supra note 15, at 594.

5
G.R. No. 166562, March 31, 2009, 582 SCRA 694, 709.

6
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6
Rollo, p. 8.

7
Id.

8
Pesca v. Pesca, supra note 15, at 594.

9
Rollo, p. 9.

10
A.M. No. 02-11-10, Section 5, paragraph 4.

11
Id., Section 18.

12
Id., Section 19, paragraph 2.

13
Id., Section 19, paragraph 3.

14
Id., Section 20, paragraph 2.

December 3, 2015

We Have Stressed Time And Again That Article 36 Of The Family Code Is Not To Be
Confused With A Divorce Law That Cuts The Marriage Bond At The Time The
Causes Therefore Manifest Themselves

The Case:

As a young lieutenant in the AFP, Jose met Bona, a college drop-out. Their relationship blossomed into marriage and they were
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wed in Basilan. As they begot no offspring, they adopted as their own a neglected and abandoned baby girl they named
Ramona Celeste Alano Ochosa. In the course of his military career, Jose was assigned to different areas, but Bona preferred to
stay in Basilan. She did not visit him either in his places of assignment. In 1985, he became Battalion Commander of the Security
and Escort Group, and Bona stayed with him at his quarters. He was implicated in the 1987 coup attempt, hence he was
incarcerated. It was then that he learned that Bona slept with his driver, Corporal Gagarin. They were caught by his military
aide, Demetrio Bajet. When he confronted Bona and Corporal Gagarin about the incident, the two admitted to the incident. He
then told Bona to move out of the quarters. She did, taking Ramona with her. In 1994, Ramona left Bona and stayed with him.
He had been taking care of Ramona since then. Jose thus filed a petition for declaration of nullity of his marriage to Bona due to
psychological incapacity. The RTC granted it, and expectedly, the OSG appealed to the CA, which granted it. Jose elevated his
case to the Supreme Court.

The Ruling:

The petition is without merit.

The petition for declaration of nullity of marriage which Jose filed in the trial court hinges on Article 36 of the Family Code, to wit:

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, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
solemnization.

In the landmark case of Santos v. Court of Appeals, 1 we observed 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 marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were
otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.

Soon after, incorporating the three basic requirements of psychological incapacity as mandated in Santos, we laid down in
Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina 2 the following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family
Code:

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(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. This is rooted in the fact that both our
Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire
Article on the Family, recognizing it as the foundation of the 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 constitutional edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and
solidarity.

(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. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity
must be psychological not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must
convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or physically ill to such an extent that the person could not
have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Although no
example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem
generis, nevertheless 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. The evidence must show that
the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their I dos. The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at
such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or prior thereto.

(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability 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, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the
exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and
prescribing medicine to cure them but may not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children
as an essential obligation of marriage.

(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 outburst cannot be accepted as root causes.

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The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other
words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure
that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.

(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Article 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. Such non-complied marital
obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.

(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. It is clear that Article 36 was taken by the Family Code
Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 and which provides:

The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage due
to causes of psychological nature.

Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our
people, it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should be given to decisions of such
appellate tribunal. Ideally subject to our law on evidence what is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed civilly
void.

This is one instance where, in view of the evident source and purpose of the Family Code provision, contemporaneous religious
interpretation is to be given persuasive effect. Here, the State and the Church while remaining independent, separate and
apart from each other shall walk together in synodal cadence towards the same goal of protecting and cherishing marriage
and the family as the inviolable base of the nation.

(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, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly
stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along with
the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed
submitted for resolution of the court. The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor vinculi
contemplated under Canon 1095. 3 (Citations omitted.)

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In Marcos v. Marcos, 4 we previously held that the foregoing guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to
be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be medically or clinically identified. What is important is
the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition. For, indeed, if the totality of evidence
presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person concerned
need not be resorted to.

It is also established in jurisprudence that from these requirements arise the concept that Article 36 of the Family Code does not
really dissolve a marriage; it simply recognizes that there never was any marriage in the first place because the affliction
already then existing was so grave and permanent as to deprive the afflicted party of awareness of the duties and
responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she was to assume or had assumed. 5

A little over a decade since the promulgation of the Molina guidelines, we made a critical assessment of the same in Ngo Te v. Yu-
Te, 6 to wit:

In hindsight, it may have been inappropriate for the Court to impose a rigid set of rules, as the one in Molina, in resolving all
cases of psychological incapacity. Understandably, the Court was then alarmed by the deluge of petitions for the dissolution of
marital bonds, and was sensitive to the OSGs exaggeration of Article 36 as the most liberal divorce procedure in the world. The
unintended consequences of Molina, however, has taken its toll on people who have to live with deviant behavior, moral
insanity and sociopathic personality anomaly, which, like termites, consume little by little the very foundation of their families,
our basic social institutions. Far from what was intended by the Court, Molina has become a strait-jacket, forcing all sizes to fit
into and be bound by it. Wittingly or unwittingly, the Court, in conveniently applying Molina, has allowed diagnosed sociopaths,
schizophrenics, nymphomaniacs, narcissists and the like, to continuously debase and pervert the sanctity of marriage. Ironically,
the Roman Rota has annulled marriages on account of the personality disorders of the said individuals. 7

However, our critique did not mean that we had declared an abandonment of the Molina doctrine. On the contrary, we simply
declared and, thus, clarified in the same Te case that there is a need to emphasize other perspectives as well which should
govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. Furthermore, we reiterated in the same case the
principle that each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according
to its own facts. And, to repeat for emphasis, courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis; guided by
experience, the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals. 8

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In the case at bar, the trial court granted the petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage on the basis of Dr. Elizabeth
Rondains testimony 9 and her psychiatric evaluation report 10 as well as the individual testimonies of Jose 11 and his military
aides Mrs. Gertrudes Himpayan Padernal 12 and Corporal Demetrio Bajet. 13

We are sufficiently convinced, after a careful perusal of the evidence presented in this case, that Bona had been, on several
occasions with several other men, sexually disloyal to her spouse, Jose. Likewise, we are persuaded that Bona had indeed
abandoned Jose. However, we cannot apply the same conviction to Joses thesis that the totality of Bonas acts constituted
psychological incapacity as determined by Article 36 of the Family Code. There is inadequate credible evidence that her defects
were already present at the inception of, or prior to, the marriage. In other words, her alleged psychological incapacity did not
satisfy the jurisprudential requisite of juridical antecedence.

With regard to Bonas sexual promiscuity prior to her marriage to Jose, we have only the uncorroborated testimony of Jose
made in open court to support this allegation. To quote the pertinent portion of the transcript:

Q: So, what was the reason why you have broken with your wife after several years

A: Well, I finally broke up with my wife because I can no longer bear the torture because of the gossips that she had an affair with
other men, and finally, when I have a chance to confront her she admitted that she had an affair with other men.

Q: With other men. And, of course this her life with other men of course before the marriage you have already known

A: Yes, your honor.

Q: So, that this gossips because you said that you thought that this affair would go to end after your marriage?

A: Yes, I was thinking about that.

Q: So, that after several years she will not change so thats why you cant bear it anymore?

14
A: Yes, maam.

Dr. Rondains testimony and psychiatric evaluation report do not provide evidentiary support to cure the doubtful veracity of
Joses one-sided assertion. Even if we take into account the psychiatrists conclusion that Bona harbors a Histrionic Personality
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Disorder that existed prior to her marriage with Jose and this mental condition purportedly made her helplessly prone to
promiscuity and sexual infidelity, the same cannot be taken as credible proof of antecedence since the method by which such
an inference was reached leaves much to be desired in terms of meeting the standard of evidence required in determining
psychological incapacity.

The psychiatrists findings on Bonas personality profile did not emanate from a personal interview with the subject herself as
admitted by Dr. Rondain in court, as follows:

Q: How about, you mentioned that the petitioner came for psychological test, how about the respondent, did she come for
interview and test?

A: No, maam.

Q: Did you try to take her for such?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: And what did she tell you, did she come for an interview?

15
A: There was no response, maam.

As a consequence thereof, Dr. Rondain merely relied on her interview with Jose and his witness, Mrs. Padernal, as well as the
court record of the testimonies of other witnesses, to wit:

Q: And you said you did interviews. Who did the interview?

A: I interviewed Mr. Ochosa and their witness Padernal, maam.

Q: When you say Padernal are you referring to Gertrudes Himpayan Padernal who testified in this court?

A: Yes, maam.

xxxx

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Q: Other than the interviews what else did you do in order to evaluate members of the parties?

A: I also interviewed (sic) the transcript of stenographic notes of the testimonies of other witnesses, maam.

xxxx

Q: Was there also a psychological test conducted on the respondent?

A: Yes, your honor.

Q: It was on the basis of the psychological test in which you based your evaluation report?

16
A: It was based on the psychological test conducted and clinical interview with the other witnesses, your Honor.

Verily, Dr. Rondain evaluated Bonas psychological condition indirectly from the information gathered solely from Jose and his
witnesses. This factual circumstance evokes the possibility that the information fed to the psychiatrist is tainted with bias for
Joses cause, in the absence of sufficient corroboration.

Even if we give the benefit of the doubt to the testimonies at issue since the trial court judge had found them to be credible
enough after personally witnessing Jose and the witnesses testify in court, we cannot lower the evidentiary benchmark with
regard to information on Bonas pre-marital history which is crucial to the issue of antecedence in this case because we have
only the word of Jose to rely on. In fact, Bonas dysfunctional family portrait which brought about her Histrionic Personality
Disorder as painted by Dr. Rondain was based solely on the assumed truthful knowledge of Jose, the spouse who has the most
to gain if his wife is found to be indeed psychologically incapacitated. No other witness testified to Bonas family history or her
behavior prior to or at the beginning of the marriage. Both Mrs. Padernal and Corporal Bajet came to know Bona only during
their employment in petitioners household during the marriage. It is undisputed that Jose and Bona were married in 1973 while
Mrs. Padernal and Corporal Bajet started to live with petitioners family only in 1980 and 1986, respectively.

We have previously held that, in employing a rigid and stringent level of evidentiary scrutiny to cases like this, we do not suggest
that a personal examination of the party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated is mandatory; jurisprudence holds that this
type of examination is not a mandatory requirement. While such examination is desirable, we recognize that it may not be
practical in all instances given the oftentimes estranged relations between the parties. For a determination though of a partys

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complete personality profile, information coming from persons with personal knowledge of the juridical antecedents may be
helpful. This is an approach in the application of Article 36 that allows flexibility, at the same time that it avoids, if not totally
obliterate, the credibility gaps spawned by supposedly expert opinion based entirely on doubtful sources of information. 17

However, we have also ruled in past decisions that to make conclusions and generalizations on a spouses psychological
condition based on the information fed by only one side, similar to what we have pointed out in the case at bar, is, to the Courts
mind, not different from admitting hearsay evidence as proof of the truthfulness of the content of such evidence. 18

Anent the accusation that, even at the inception of their marriage, Bona did not wish to be with Jose as a further manifestation
of her psychological incapacity, we need only to look at the testimonial records of Jose and his witnesses to be convinced
otherwise, to wit:

JOSE OCHOSAS TESTIMONY:

Q: How long did you stay with your wife?

A: We were married in 1973 and we separated in 1988 but in all those years there were only few occasions that we were staying
together because most of the time Im in the field.

Q: Now, you said most of the time you were in the field, did you not your wife come with you in any of your assignments?

A: Never, but sometimes she really visited me and stayed for one (1) day and then

Q: And, where did your wife stayed when she leaves you?

A: She was staying with her mother in Basilan.

Q: Where were you assigned most of the time?

A: I was assigned in Davao, Zamboanga, Cotabato, Basilan.

Q: And, of course she would come to your place every now and then because it is not very far

A: No, maam, once in a while only.


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Q: Did you not go home to your conjugal home?

A: I have a chanced also to go home because we were allowed to at least three (3) days every other month.

Q: So, if you start from the marriage up to 1988 so that is 16 years you were supposed to have been living together?

19
A: No, actually in 19 middle of 1987 because in 1987 I was in x x x.

GERTRUDES PADERNALS TESTIMONY:

Q: Now, do you know when they lived together as husband and wife?

A: 1979.

Q: And you said that you have known the petitioner and the respondent in this case because in fact, you lived with them
together in the same quarters. Does the quarters have different rooms?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: But very near each other?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: You know them because of the proximity of the quarters?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: It was only during this 1980 to 1983, three (3) years that you lived together that you have a chance to be with the spouses?

xxxx

A: Since 1980 to 1983 we lived together in the same house.

xxxx
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Q: Now, Madam Witness, after 1983, where did you reside together with your husband?

A: In Cagayan de Oro and in 1986 we came back to Manila, in Fort Bonifacio.

Q: You mean, in the same house where petitioner and the respondent lived together?

A: Yes. Maam.

Q: How long did you live in the house where the petitioner and the respondent stay?

A: Twelve years now since 1983 to 1995.

Q: Where was the petitioner working at that time, from 1982 to 1995?

A: He is a soldier, a Colonel.

Q: Do you know where he was assigned during this time?

A: Yes, maam, G-3.

Q: May we know where this G-3 is?

A: Fort Bonifacio, maam.

Q: What about the wife, where does she stay?

20
A: At Fort Bonifacio, in their house.

DR. ELIZABETH E. RONDAINS TESTIMONY:

Q: Now, they got married in 1973, am I correct?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: But the matter of the work or assignment of the petitioner, he was assigned in different Provinces or Barangays in the
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Philippines?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: Now, when the wife or the respondent in this case did not go with the husband in different places of his assignment did you
ask her why what was the reason why she did not like to go those places?

A: She just did not want to. The wife did not go with him because by transferring from one place to another, she just dont
want to go, she just wanted to stay in Basilan where her hometown is, maam.

Q: Did the petitioner herein tell you why the respondent dont want to go with him?

A: Yes, I asked, the answer of the petitioner was she simply did not want to go with him because she did not want him to be
appointed to far away places.

Q: And would it be that since she did not like to go with the husband in some far away different assignments she also assumed
that the assignments were in this war regions they were always fighting considering the place in Basilan they were in fighting
atmosphere?

A: It is possible but he was transferred to Manila and she also refused to stay in Manila, maam.

Q: When was that that she refused to come to Manila?

A: I think, sometime in 1983, maam. She did not follow immediately. She stayed with him only for four (4) months, maam.

Q: Now, do you know if the petitioner and the respondent were living together as husband and wife for this period of time
during the relationship?

A: Yes, maam. After their marriage I believe their relationship was good for a few months until he was transferred to Julu. I
believe during that time when they were together the husband was giving an attention to her. The husband was always there
and when the husband transferred to Basilan, the attention was not there anymore, maam. 21

It is apparent from the above-cited testimonies that Bona, contrary to Joses assertion, had no manifest desire to abandon Jose

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at the beginning of their marriage and was, in fact, living with him for the most part of their relationship from 1973 up to the
time when Jose drove her away from their conjugal home in 1988. On the contrary, the record shows that it was Jose who was
constantly away from Bona by reason of his military duties and his later incarceration. A reasonable explanation for Bonas
refusal to accompany Jose in his military assignments in other parts of Mindanao may be simply that those locations were
known conflict areas in the seventies. Any doubt as to Bonas desire to live with Jose would later be erased by the fact that Bona
lived with Jose in their conjugal home in Fort Bonifacio during the following decade.

In view of the foregoing, the badges of Bonas alleged psychological incapacity, i.e., her sexual infidelity and abandonment, can
only be convincingly traced to the period of time after her marriage to Jose and not to the inception of the said marriage.

We have stressed time and again that Article 36 of the Family Code is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital
bond at the time the causes therefore manifest themselves. It 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 awareness of the duties
and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. These marital obligations are those provided under
Articles 68 to 71, 220, 221 and 225 of the Family Code. 22

While we are not insensitive to petitioners suffering in view of the truly appalling and shocking behavior of his wife, still, we are
bound by judicial precedents regarding the evidentiary requirements in psychological incapacity cases that must be applied to
the present case.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

CORONA, VELASCO, JR., DEL CASTILLO, PEREZ

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FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 167459, January 26, 2011, JOSE REYNALDO B. OCHOSA,

Petitioner, vs. BONA J. ALANO and REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

1
310 Phil. 21, 39 (1995).

2
335 Phil. 664 (1997).

3
Id. at 676-680.

4
397 Phil. 840, 850 (2000).

5
Toring v. Toring, G.R. No. 165321, August 3, 2010.

6
G.R. No. 161793, February 13, 2009, 579 SCRA 193.

7
Id. at 224-225.

8
Id. at 228.

9
TSN, September 14, 1998.

10
Records, pp. 70-74.

11
TSN, March 3, 1998.

12
TSN, July 1, 1998.

13
TSN, August 21, 1998.
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14
TSN, March 3, 1998, p. 8.

15
TSN, September 14, 1998, p. 8.

16
Id. at 6-17.

17
Suazo v. Suazo, G.R. No. 164493, March 12, 2010.

18
Padilla-Rumbaua v. Rumbaua, G.R. No. 166738, August 14, 2009, 596 SCRA 157, 181.

19
TSN, March 3, 1998, pp. 9-10.

20
TSN, July 1, 1998, pp. 7-10.

21
TSN, September 14, 1998, pp. 13-15.

22
Marcos v. Marcos, supra note 10 at 857.

November 27, 2015

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

The Case:
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Ramon is a scion of the Reyes family, the family that owns the Aristocrat Restaurant. Ma. Socorro was his one-time classmate at
UP when he cross-enrolled at UP Diliman. Ma. Socorro was taken in by Rodolfos unconventional ways, and the fact that he did
not live on an average students budget. Rodolfo was then holding a job at the Aristocrat. Only Socorro finisher studies, Rodolfo
having opted to work in the family business. After marriage, their financial difficulties started. The allowance of P1,500 from
Rodolfo stopped. When she asked him why, Rodolfo averred he resigned from the family business to start his own. Indeed, he
started a business supplying seafood to Aristocrat and other restaurants, which business took him away from the family for
long periods of time. Rodolfo simply did not communicate with him, and she endured solely supporting the family. To prod him
into more responsibility, she convinced him to move away fem her in-laws, to which he agreed. However, the arrangement did
not work. She continued to be the lone breadwinner, while Rodolfos business ventures floundered. Despite this, Rodolfo
continued to be indifferent towards his family. When she suffered a miscarriage, Rodolfo did not even comfort him. When she
gave birth to their son, Rodolfo came home as if nothing happened, not even asking her where she got the money to pay for the
hospital bills. The last straw was when she was operated on for a cyst and Rodolfo did not even care. She found out that
Rodolfo had an affair with a secretary. Not only was he indifferent and uncaring, he also was unfaithful. She filed a petition for
declaration of nullity of her marriage to Rodolfo. The latter denied psychological incapacity. The RTC granted the petition,
basing its decision on the assessment of Dr. Natividad Dayan and Dr. Estrella Magno and a psychiatrist, Dr. Cecilia Vargas. The
CA however disagreed. Socorro sought recourse with the Supreme Court.

The Ruling:

Essentially, petitioner raises the singular issue of whether the marriage between the parties is void ab initio on the ground of
both parties psychological incapacity, as provided in Article 36 of the Family Code.

In declaring the marriage null and void, the RTC relied heavily on the oral and documentary evidence obtained from the three (3)
experts i.e., Doctors Magno, Dayan and Villegas. The RTC ratiocinated, thus:

After a careful evaluation of the entire evidence presented, the Court finds merit in the petition.

Article 36 of the Family Code reads:

A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the

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essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after
solemnization.

and Art. 68 of the same Code provides:

The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and
support.

Similarly, Articles 69-71 further define the mutual obligations of a marital partner towards each other and Articles 220, 225 and
271 of the Family Code express the duties of parents toward their children.

Article 36 does not define what psychological incapacity means. It left the determination of the same solely to the Court on a
case to case basis.

xxxx

Taking into consideration the explicit guidelines in the determination of psychological incapacity in conjunction to the totality of
the evidence presented, with emphasis on the pervasive pattern of behaviors of the respondent and outcome of the
assessment/diagnos[is] of expert witnesses, Dra. Dayan, Dra. Mango and Dra. Villegas on the psychological condition of the
respondent, the Court finds that the marriage between the parties from its inception has a congenital infirmity termed
psychological incapacity which pertains to the inability of the parties to effectively function emotionally, intellectually and
socially towards each other in relation to their essential duties to mutually observe love, fidelity and respect as well as to
mutually render help and support, (Art. 68 Family Code). In short, there was already a fixed niche in the psychological
constellation of respondent which created the death of his marriage. There is no reason to entertain any slightest doubt on the
truthfulness of the personality disorder of the respondent.

The three expert witnesses have spoken. They were unanimous in their findings that respondent is suffering from personality
disorder which psychologically incapacitated him to fulfill his basic duties to the marriage. Being professionals and hav[ing]
solemn duties to their profession, the Court considered their assessment/diagnos[is] as credible or a product of an honest
evaluation on the psychological status of the respondent. This psychological incapacity of the respondent, in the uniform words
of said three (3) expert witnesses, is serious, incurable and exists before his marriage and renders him a helpless victim of his
structural constellation. It is beyond the respondents impulse control. In short, he is weaponless or powerless to restrain
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himself from his consistent behaviors simply because he did not consider the same as wrongful. This is clearly manifested from
his assertion that nothing was wrong in his marriage with the petitioner and considered their relationship as a normal one. In
fact, with this belief, he lent deaf ears to counseling and efforts extended to them by his original family members to save his
marriage. In short, he was blind and too insensitive to the reality of his marital atmosphere. He totally disregarded the feelings
of petitioner who appeared to have been saturated already that she finally revealed her misfortunes to her sister-in-law and
willingly submitted to counseling to save their marriage. However, the hard position of the respondent finally constrained her to
ask respondent to leave the conjugal dwelling. Even the siblings of the respondent were unanimous that separation is the
remedy to the seriously ailing marriage of the parties. Respondent confirmed this stand of his siblings.

xxxx

The process of an ideal atmosphere demands a give and take relationship and not a one sided one. It also requires surrender to
the fulfillment of the essential duties to the marriage which must naturally be observed by the parties as a consequence of their
marriage. Unfortunately, the more than 21 years of marriage between the parties did not create a monument of marital
integrity, simply because the personality disorder of the respondent which renders him psychologically incapacitated to fulfill his
basic duties to his marriage, is deeply entombed in his structural system and cure is not possible due to his belief that there is
nothing wrong with them.

The checkered life of the parties is not solely attributable to the respondent. Petitioner, too, is to be blamed. Dra. Villegas was
firm that she, too, is afflicted with psychological incapacity as her personality cannot be harmonized with the personality of the
respondent. They are poles apart. Petitioner is a well-organized person or a perfectionist while respondent is a free spirited or
carefree person. Thus, the weakness of the respondent cannot be catered by the petitioner and vice-versa.

Resultantly, the psychological incapacities of both parties constitute the thunder bolt or principal culprit on their inability to
nurture and reward their marital life with meaning and significance. So much so that it is a pity that though their marriage is
intact for 21 years, still it is an empty kingdom due to their psychological incapacity which is grave, incurable and has origin from
unhealthy event in their growing years.

Both parties to the marriage are protected by the law. As human beings, they are entitled to live in a peaceful and orderly
environment conducive to a healthy life. In fact, Article 72 of the Family Code provides remedy to any party aggrieved by their
marital reality. The case of the parties is already a settled matter due to their psychological incapacity. In the words of Dra.

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Magno, their marriage, at the very inception, was already at the funeral parlor. Stated differently, there was no life at all in their
marriage for it never existed at all. The Court finds that with this reality, both parties suffer in agony by continuously sustaining a
marriage that exists in paper only. Hence, it could no longer chain or jail the parties whose marriage remains in its crib with its
boots and diaper due to factors beyond the physical, emotional, intellectual and social ability of the parties to sustain. 1

In a complete turnaround, albeit disposing of the case through a divided decision, the appellate court diverged from the findings
of the RTC in this wise:

On the basis of the guidelines [in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina] vis--vis the totality of evidence presented by herein
[petitioner], we find that the latter failed to sufficiently establish the alleged psychological incapacity of her husband, as well as of
herself. There is thus no basis for declaring the nullity of their marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.

[Petitioner] presented several expert witnesses to show that [respondent] is psychologically incapacitated. Clinical psychologist
Dayan diagnosed [respondent] as purportedly suffering from Mixed Personality Disorder (Schizoid Narcissistic and Anti-Social
Personality Disorder). Further, clinical psychologist Magno found [respondent] to be suffering from an Antisocial Personality
Disorder with narcissistic and dependent features, while Dr. Villegas diagnosed [respondent] to be suffering from Personality
Disorder of the anti-social type, associated with strong sense of Inadequacy especially along masculine strivings and narcissistic
features.

Generally, expert opinions are regarded, not as conclusive, but as purely advisory in character. A court may place whatever
weight it chooses upon such testimonies. It may even reject them, if it finds that they are inconsistent with the facts of the case
or are otherwise unreasonable. In the instant case, neither clinical psychologist Magno nor psychiatrist Dr. Villegas conducted a
psychological examination on the [respondent].

Undoubtedly, the assessment and conclusion made by Magno and Dr. Villegas are hearsay. They are unscientific and
unreliable as they have no personal knowledge of the psychological condition of the [respondent] as they never personally
examined the [respondent] himself.

xxxx

[I]t can be gleaned from the recommendation of Dayan that the purported psychological incapacity of [respondent] is not
incurable as the [petitioner] would like this Court to think. It bears stressing that [respondent] was referred to Dayan for
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psychological evaluation to determine benchmarks of current psychological functioning. The undeniable fact is that based on
Dayans personal examination of the [respondent], the assessment procedures used, behavioral observations made,
background information gathered and interpretation of psychological data, the conclusion arrived at is that there is a way to
help the [respondent] through individual therapy and counseling sessions.

Even granting arguendo that the charges cast by the [petitioner] on [respondent], such as his failure to give regular support,
substance abuse, infidelity and come and go attitude are true, the totality of the evidence presented still falls short of
establishing that [respondent] is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations within the
contemplation of Article 36 of the Family Code.

xxxx

In the case at bar, we hold that the court a quos findings regarding the [respondents] alleged mixed personality disorder, his
come and go attitude, failed business ventures, inadequate/delayed financial support to his family, sexual infidelity,
insensitivity to [petitioners] feelings, irresponsibility, failure to consult [petitioner] on his business pursuits, unfulfilled promises,
failure to pay debts in connection with his failed business activities, taking of drugs, etc. are not rooted on some debilitating
psychological condition but on serious marital difficulties/differences and mere refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential
obligations of marriage. [Respondents] defects were not present at the inception of marriage. They were even able to live in
harmony in the first few years of their marriage, which bore them two children xxx. In fact, [petitioner] admitted in her Amended
Petition that initially they lived comfortably and [respondent] would give his salary in keeping with the tradition in most Filipino
households, but the situation changed when [respondent] resigned from the family-owned Aristocrat Restaurant and
thereafter, [respondent] failed in his business ventures. It appears, however, that [respondent] has been gainfully employed
with Marigold Corporation, Inc. since 1998, which fact was stipulated upon by the [petitioner].

xxxx

As regards the purported psychological incapacity of [petitioner], Dr. Villegas Psychiatric Report states that [petitioner]
manifested inadequacies along her affective sphere, that made her less responsive to the emotional needs of her husband,
who needed a great amount of it, rendering her relatively psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties and
responsibilities of marriage.

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However, a perusal of the Amended Petition shows that it failed to specifically allege the complete facts showing that petitioner
was psychologically incapacitated from complying with the essential marital obligations of marriage at the time of celebration
[thereof] even if such incapacity became manifest only after its celebration xxx. In fact, what was merely prayed for in the said
Amended Petition is that judgment be rendered declaring the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent solemnized
on 04 December 1976 to be void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of the respondent at the time of
the celebration of marriage x x x.

xxxx

What is evident is that [petitioner] really encountered a lot of difficulties in their marriage. However, it is jurisprudentially settled
that psychological incapacity must be more than just a difficulty, a refusal or a neglect in the performance of some marital
obligations, it is essential that they must be shown to be incapable of doing so, due to some psychological illness existing at the
time of the celebration of the marriage.

While [petitioners] marriage with [respondent] failed and appears to be without hope of reconciliation, the remedy, however, is
not always to have it declared void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity. An unsatisfactory marriage, however, is
not a null and void marriage. No less than the Constitution recognizes the sanctity of marriage and the unity of the family; it
decrees marriage as legally inviolable and protects it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage
are to be protected by the State.

Thus, in determining the import of psychological incapacity under Article 36, it must be read in conjunction with, although to
be taken as distinct from Articles 35, 37, 38 and 41 that would likewise, but for different reasons, render the marriage void ab
initio, or Article 45 that would make the marriage merely voidable, or Article 55 that could justify a petition for legal separation.
Care must be observed so that these various circumstances are not applied so indiscriminately as if the law were indifferent on
the matter. Article 36 should not be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefor
manifest themselves. x x x

It remains settled that the State has a high stake in the preservation of marriage rooted in its recognition of the sanctity of
married life and its mission to protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. Hence, any doubt
should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. 2

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After a thorough review of the records of the case, we cannot subscribe to the appellate courts ruling that the psychological
incapacity of respondent was not sufficiently established. We disagree with its decision declaring the marriage between the
parties as valid and subsisting. Accordingly, we grant the petition.

Santos v. Court of Appeals 3 solidified the jurisprudential foundation of the principle that the factors characterizing
psychological incapacity to perform the essential marital obligations are: (1) gravity, (2) juridical antecedence, and (3) incurability.
We explained:

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. 4

As previously adverted to, the three experts were one in diagnosing respondent with a personality disorder, to wit:

1. Dra. Cecilia C. Villegas

PSYCHODYNAMICS OF THE CASE

[Petitioner] is the second among 6 siblings of educated parents. Belonging to an average social status, intellectual achievement
is quite important to the family values (sic). All children were equipped with high intellectual potentials (sic) which made their
parents proud of them. Father was disabled, but despite his handicap, he was able to assume his financial and emotional
responsibilities to his family and to a limited extent, his social functions (sic). Despite this, he has been described as the unseen
strength in the family.

Mother [of petitioner] was [actively involved] in activities outside the home. Doing volunteer and community services, she was
not the demonstrative, affectionate and the emotional mother (sic). Her love and concern came in the form of positive
attitudes, advices (sic) and encouragements (sic), but not the caressing, sensitive and soothing touches of an emotional reaction
(sic). Psychological home environment did not permit one to nurture a hurt feeling or depression, but one has to stand up and
to help himself (sic). This trained her to subjugate (sic) emotions to reasons.

Because of her high intellectual endowment, she has easy facilities for any undertakings (sic). She is organized, planned (sic),
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reliable, dependable, systematic, prudent, loyal, competent and has a strong sense of duty (sic). But emotionally, she is not as
sensitive. Her analytical resources and strong sense of objectivity predisposed her to a superficial adjustments (sic). She acts on
the dictates of her mind and reason, and less of how she feels (sic). The above qualities are perfect for a leader, but less effective
in a heterosexual relationship, especially to her husband, who has deep seated sense of inadequacy, insecurity, low self esteem
and self-worth despite his intellectual assets (sic). Despite this, [petitioner] remained in her marriage for more than 20 years,
trying to reach out and lending a hand for better understanding and relationship (sic). She was hoping for the time when others,
like her husband would make decision for her (sic), instead of being depended upon. But the more [petitioner] tried to
compensate for [respondents] shortcomings, the bigger was the discrepancy in their coping mechanisms (sic). At the end,
[petitioner] felt unloved, unappreciated, uncared for and she characterized their marriage as very much lacking in relationship
(sic).

On the other hand, [respondent] is the 9th of 11 siblings and belonged to the second set of brood (sic), where there were less
bounds (sic) and limitations during his growing up stage. Additionally, he was acknowledged as the favorite of his mother, and
was described to have a close relationship with her. At an early age, he manifested clinical behavior of conduct disorder and was
on marijuana regularly. Despite his apparent high intellectual potentials (sic), he felt that he needed a push to keep him going.
His being a free spirit, attracted [petitioner], who adored him for being able to do what he wanted, without being bothered by
untraditional, unacceptable norms and differing ideas from other people. He presented no guilt feelings, no remorse, no anxiety
for whatever wrongdoings he has committed. His studies proved too much of a pressure for him, and quit at the middle of his
course, despite his apparent high intellectual resources (sic).

His marriage to [petitioner] became a bigger pressure. Trying to prove his worth, he quit work from his family employment and
ventured on his own. With no much planning and project study, his businesses failed. This became the sources (sic) of their
marital conflicts, the lack of relationships (sic) and consultations (sic) with each other, his negativistic attitudes (sic) and sarcasm,
stubbornness and insults, his spitting at her face which impliedly meant you are nothing as compared to me were in reality, his
defenses for a strong sense of inadequacy (sic).

As described by [petitioner], he is intelligent and has bright ides. However, this seemed not coupled with emotional attributes
such as perseverance, patience, maturity, direction, focus, adequacy, stability and confidence to make it work. He complained
that he did not feel the support of his wife regarding his decision to go into his own business. But when he failed, the more he
became negativistic and closed to suggestions especially from [petitioner]. He was too careful not to let go or make known his
strong sense of inadequacy, ambivalence, doubts, lack of drive and motivation or even feelings of inferiority, for fear of rejection
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strong sense of inadequacy, ambivalence, doubts, lack of drive and motivation or even feelings of inferiority, for fear of rejection
or loss of pride. When things did not work out according to his plans, he suppressed his hostilities in negative ways, such as
stubbornness, sarcasm or drug intake.

His decision making is characterized by poor impulse control, lack of insight and primitive drives. He seemed to feel more
comfortable in being untraditional and different from others. Preoccupation is centered on himself, (sic) an unconscious wish for
the continuance of the gratification of his dependency needs, (sic) in his mother-son relationship. From this stems his difficulties
in heterosexual relationship with his wife, as pressures, stresses, (sic) demands and expectations filled up in (sic) up in their
marital relationship. Strong masculine strivings is projected.

For an intelligent person like [respondent], he may sincerely want to be able to assume his duties and responsibilities as a
husband and father, but because of a severe psychological deficit, he was unable to do so.

Based on the clinical data presented, it is the opinion of the examiner, that [petitioner] manifested inadequacies along her
affective sphere, that made her less responsive to the emotional needs of her husband, who needed a great amount of it,
rendering her relatively psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties and responsibilities of marriage. [Respondent], on
the other hand, has manifested strong clinical evidences (sic), that he is suffering from a Personality Disorder, of the antisocial
type, associated with strong sense of Inadequacy along masculine strivings and narcissistic features that renders him
psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties and responsibilities of marriage. This is characterized by his inability to
conform to the social norms that ordinarily govern many aspects of adolescent and adult behavior. His being a free spirit
associated with no remorse, no guilt feelings and no anxiety, is distinctive of this clinical condition. His prolonged drug intake
[marijuana] and maybe stronger drugs lately, are external factors to boost his ego.

The root cause of the above clinical conditions is due to his underlying defense mechanisms, or the unconscious mental
processes, that the ego uses to resolve conflicts. His prolonged and closed attachments to his mother encouraged cross
identification and developed a severe sense of inadequacy specifically along masculine strivings. He therefore has to camouflage
his weakness, in terms of authority, assertiveness, unilateral and forceful decision making, aloofness and indifference, even if it
resulted to antisocial acts. His narcissistic supplies rendered by his mother was not resolved (sic).

It existed before marriage, but became manifest only after the celebration, due to marital demands and stresses. It is considered
as permanent in nature because it started early in his psychological development, and therefore became so engrained into his
personality structures (sic). It is considered as severe in degree, because it hampered, interrupted and interfered with his normal
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5
functioning related to heterosexual adjustments. (emphasis supplied)

1. Dr. Natividad A. Dayan

Adolfo and Mandy[, respondent]s brothers, referred [respondent] to the clinic. According to them, respondent has not really
taken care of his wife and children. He does not seem to have any direction in life. He seems to be full of bright ideas and good at
starting things but he never gets to accomplish anything. His brothers are suspecting (sic) that until now [respondent] is still
taking drugs. There are times when they see that [respondent] is not himself. He likes to bum around and just spends the day at
home doing nothing. They wish that hed be more responsible and try to give priority to his family. [Petitioner,] his wife[,] is the
breadwinner of the family because she has a stable job. [Respondent]s brothers learned from friends that [petitioner] is really
disappointed with him. She has discussed things with him but he always refused to listen. She does not know what to do with
him anymore. She has grown tired of him.

When [respondent] was asked about his drug problem, he mentioned that he stopped taking it in 1993. His brothers think that
he is not telling the truth. It is so hard for [respondent] to stop taking drugs when he had been hooked to it for the past 22
years. When [respondent] was also asked what his problems are at the moment, he mentioned that he feels lonely and
distressed. He does not have anyone to talk to. He feels that he and his wife [have] drifted apart. He wants to be close to
somebody and discuss things with this person but he is not given the chance. He also mentioned that one of his weak points is
that he is very tolerant of people[,] that is why he is taken advantage of most of the time. He wants to avoid conflict so hed
rather be submissive and compliant. He does not want to hurt anyone [or] to cause anymore pain. He wants to make other
people happy.

xxxx

Interpretation of Psychological Data

A. Intellectual / Cognitive Functioning

xxxx

B. Vocational Preference

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xxxx

C. Socio Emotional Functioning

xxxx

In his relationships with people, [respondent] is apt to project a reserved, aloof and detached attitude. [Respondent] exhibits
withdrawal patterns. He has deep feelings of inadequacy. Due to a low self-esteem, he tends to feel inferior and to exclude
himself from association with others. He feels that he is different and as a result is prone to anticipate rejections. Because of
the discomfort produced by these feelings, he is apt to avoid personal and social involvement, which increases his
preoccupation with himself and accentuates his tendency to withdraw from interpersonal contact. [Respondent] is also apt to
be the less dominant partner. He feels better when he has to follow than when he has to take the lead. A self-contained
person[,] he does not really need to interact with others in order to enjoy life and to be able to move on. He has a small need of
companionship and is most comfortable alone. He, too[,] feels uncomfortable in expressing his more tender feelings for fear of
being hurt. Likewise, he maybe very angry within but he may choose to repress this feeling. [Respondents] strong need for
social approval, which could have stemmed from some deep seated insecurities makes him submissive and over [compliant]. He
tends to make extra effort to please people. Although at times[, he] already feels victimized and taken advantage of, he still
tolerates abusive behavior for fear of interpersonal conflicts. Despite

his [dis]illusion with people, he seeks to minimize dangers of indifference and disapproval [of] others. Resentments are
suppressed. This is likely to result in anger and frustrations which is likewise apt to be repressed.

There are indications that [respondent] is[,] at the moment[,] experiencing considerable tension and anxiety. He is prone to fits
of apprehension and nervousness. Likewise, he is also entertaining feelings of hopelessness and is preoccupied with negative
thought. He feels that he is up in the air but with no sound foundation. He is striving [for] goals which he knows he will never be
able to attain. Feeling discouraged and distressed, he has difficulty concentrating and focusing on things which he needs to
prioritize. He has many plans but he cant accomplish anything because he is unable to see which path to take. This feeling of
hopelessness is further aggravated by the lack of support from significant others.

Diagnostic Impression

Axis I : Drug Dependence


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Axis II : Mixed Personality Disorder

[Schizoid, Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder]

Axis III : None

Axis IV : Psychosocial and Environmental Problems:

Severe

He seems to be very good at planning and starting things but is unable to accomplish anything; unable to give priority to the
needs of his family; in social relationships.

6
Axis V : Global Assessment of Functioning Fair (Emphasis supplied)

1. Dr. Estrella T. Tiongson-Magno

Summary and Conclusion

From the evidence available from [petitioners] case history and from her psychological assessment, and despite the non-
cooperation of the respondent, it is possible to infer with certainty the nullity of this marriage. Based on the information
available about the respondent, he suffers from [an] antisocial personality disorder with narcissistic and dependent features
that renders him too immature and irresponsible to assume the normal obligations of a marriage. As for the petitioner, she is a
good, sincere, and conscientious person and she has tried her best to provide for the needs of her children. Her achievements in

this regard are praiseworthy. But she is emotionally immature and her comprehension of human situations is very shallow for a
woman of her academic and professional competence. And this explains why she married RRR even when she knew he was a
pothead, then despite the abuse, took so long to do something about her situation.

Diagnosis for [petitioner]:

Axis I Partner Relational Problem

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Axis II Obsessive Compulsive Personality Style with Self-Defeating features

Axis III No diagnosis

Axis IV Psychosocial Stressors-Pervasive Family Discord (spouses immaturity, drug abuse, and infidelity)

Severity: 4-severe

Diagnosis for [respondent]

Axis I Partner Relational Problem

Axis II Antisocial Personality Disorder with marked narcissistic, aggressive sadistic and dependent features

Axis III No diagnosis

Axis IV Psychosocial Stressors-Pervasive Family Discord (successful wife)

Severity: 4 (severe)

xxxx

One has to go back to [respondents] early childhood in order to understand the root cause of his antisocial personality
disorder. [Respondent] grew up the ninth child in a brood of 11. His elder siblings were taken cared of by his grandmother.
[Respondents] father was kind, quiet and blind and [respondent] was [reared] by his mother. Unfortunately, [respondents]
mother grew up believing that she was not her mothers favorite child, so she felt api, treated like poor relations.
[Respondents] mothers reaction to her perceived rejection was to act outwith poor impulse control and poor mood
regulation (spent money like water, had terrible temper tantrums, etc.). Unwittingly, his mother became [respondents] role
model.

However, because [respondent] had to get on with the business of living, he learned to use his good looks and his charms, and
learned to size up the weaknesses of others, to lie convincingly and to say what people wanted to hear (esp. his deprived
mother who liked admiration and attention, his siblings from whom he borrowed money, etc.). In the process, his ability to love

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and to empathize with others was impaired so that he cannot sustain a relationship with one person for a long time, which is
devastating in a marriage.

[Respondents] narcissistic personality features were manifested by his self-centeredness (e.g. moved to Mindoro and lived there
for 10 years, leaving his family in Manila); his grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g. he would just come and go, without
telling his wife his whereabouts, etc.); his sense of entitlement (e.g. felt entitled to a mistress because [petitioner] deprived him of
his marital rights, etc.); interpersonally exploitative (e.g. let his wife spend for all the maintenance needs of the family, etc.); and
lack of empathy (e.g. when asked to choose between his mistress and his wife, he said he would think about it, etc.) The
aggressive sadistic personality features were manifested whom he has physically, emotionally and verbally abusive [of] his wife
when high on drugs; and his dependent personality features were manifested by his need for others to assume responsibility
for most major areas of his life, and in his difficulty in doing things on his own.

[Respondent], diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder with marked narcissistic features and aggressive sadistic and
dependent features, is psychologically incapacitated to fulfill the essential obligations of marriage: to love, respect and render
support for his spouse and children. A personality disorder is not curable as it is permanent and stable over time.

From a psychological viewpoint, therefore, there is evidence that the marriage of [petitioner] and [respondent is] null and void
from the very beginning. (emphasis supplied) 7

Notwithstanding these telling assessments, the CA rejected, wholesale, the testimonies of Doctors Magno and Villegas for being
hearsay since they never personally examined and interviewed the respondent.

We do not agree with the CA.

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.

For one, marriage, by its very definition, 8 necessarily involves only two persons. The totality of the behavior of one spouse
during the cohabitation and marriage is generally and genuinely witnessed mainly by the other. In this case, the experts testified
on their individual assessment of the present state of the parties marriage from the perception of one of the parties, herein
petitioner. Certainly, petitioner, during their marriage, had occasion to interact with, and experience, respondents pattern of
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behavior which she could then validly relay to the clinical psychologists and the psychiatrist.

For another, the clinical psychologists and psychiatrists assessment were not based solely on the narration or personal
interview of the petitioner. Other informants such as respondents own son, siblings and in-laws, and sister-in-law (sister of
petitioner), testified on their own observations of respondents behavior and interactions with them, spanning the period of
time they knew him. 9 These were also used as the basis of the doctors assessments.

The recent case of Lim v. Sta. Cruz-Lim, 10 citing The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM
IV), 11 instructs us on the general diagnostic criteria for personality disorders:

A. An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individuals
culture. This pattern is manifested in two (2) or more of the following areas:

(1) cognition (i.e., ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people, and events)

(2) affectivity (i.e., the range, intensity, liability, and appropriateness of emotional response)

(3) interpersonal functioning

(4) impulse control

B. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations.

C. The enduring pattern leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of
functioning.

D. The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back at least to adolescence or early adulthood.

E. The enduring pattern is not better accounted for as a manifestation or a consequence of another mental disorder.

F. The enduring pattern is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (i.e., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a
general medical condition (e.g., head trauma).

Specifically, the DSM IV outlines the diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder:
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A. There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by
three (or more) of the following:

(1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are
grounds for arrest

(2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure

(3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead

(4) irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults

(5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others

(6) consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations

(7) lack of remorse as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

B. The individual is at least 18 years.

C. There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years.

12
D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

Within their acknowledged field of expertise, doctors can diagnose the psychological make up of a person based on a number of
factors culled from various sources. A person afflicted with a personality disorder will not necessarily have personal knowledge
thereof. In this case, considering that a personality disorder is manifested in a pattern of behavior, self-diagnosis by the
respondent consisting only in his bare denial of the doctors separate diagnoses, does not necessarily evoke credence and
cannot trump the clinical findings of experts.

The CA declared that, based on Dr. Dayans findings and recommendation, the psychological incapacity of respondent is not
incurable.

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The appellate court is mistaken.

A recommendation for therapy does not automatically imply curability. In general, recommendations for therapy are given by
clinical psychologists, or even psychiatrists, to manage behavior. In Kaplan and Saddocks textbook entitled Synopsis of
Psychiatry, 13 treatment, ranging from psychotherapy to pharmacotherapy, for all the listed kinds of personality disorders are
recommended. In short, Dr. Dayans recommendation that respondent should undergo therapy does not necessarily negate the
finding that respondents psychological incapacity is incurable.

Moreover, Dr. Dayan, during her testimony, categorically declared that respondent is psychologically incapacitated to perform
the essential marital obligations. 14 As aptly stated by Justice Romero in her separate opinion in the ubiquitously cited case of
Republic v. Court of Appeals & Molina: 15

[T]he professional opinion of a psychological expert became increasingly important in such cases. Data about the persons entire
life, both before and after the ceremony, were presented to these experts and they were asked to give professional opinions
about a partys mental capacity at the time of the wedding. These opinions were rarely challenged and tended to be accepted as
decisive evidence of lack of valid consent.

[Because] of advances made in psychology during the past decades. There was now the expertise to provide the all-important
connecting link between a marriage breakdown and premarital causes.

In sum, we find points of convergence & consistency in all three reports and the respective testimonies of Doctors Magno,
Dayan and Villegas, i.e.: (1) respondent does have problems; and (2) these problems include chronic irresponsibility; inability to
recognize and work towards providing the needs of his family; several failed business attempts; substance abuse; and a trail of
unpaid money obligations.

It is true that a clinical psychologists or psychiatrists diagnoses that a person has personality disorder is not automatically
believed by the courts in cases of declaration of nullity of marriages. Indeed, a clinical psychologists or psychiatrists finding of a
personality disorder does not exclude a finding that a marriage is valid and subsisting, and not beset by one of the parties or
both parties psychological incapacity.

On more than one occasion, we have rejected an experts opinion concerning the supposed psychological incapacity of a
party. 16 In Lim v. Sta. Cruz-Lim, 17 we ruled that, even without delving into the non-exclusive list found in Republic v. Court of
18 19
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Appeals & Molina, 18 the stringent requisites provided in Santos v. Court of Appeals 19 must be independently met by the party
alleging the nullity of the marriage grounded on Article 36 of the Family Code. We declared, thus:

It was folly for the trial court to accept the findings and conclusions of Dr. Villegas with nary a link drawn between the
psychodynamics of the case and the factors characterizing the psychological incapacity. Dr. Villegas sparse testimony does not
lead to the inevitable conclusion that the parties were psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital
obligations. Even on questioning from the trial court, Dr. Villegas testimony did not illuminate on the parties alleged personality
disorders and their incapacitating effect on their marriage x x x.

Curiously, Dr. Villegas global conclusion of both parties personality disorders was not supported by psychological tests properly
administered by clinical psychologists specifically trained in the tests use and interpretation. The supposed personality
disorders of the parties, considering that such diagnoses were made, could have been fully established by psychometric and
neurological tests which are designed to measure specific aspects of peoples intelligence, thinking, or personality.

xxxx

The expert opinion of a psychiatrist arrived at after a maximum of seven (7) hours of interview, and unsupported by separate
psychological tests, cannot tie the hands of the trial court and prevent it from making its own factual finding on what happened
in this case. The probative force of the testimony of an expert does not lie in a mere statement of his theory or opinion, but
rather in the assistance that he can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for his criterion and the
reasons upon which the logic of his conclusion is founded.

In the case at bar, however, even without the experts conclusions, the factual antecedents (narrative of events) alleged in the
petition and established during trial, all point to the inevitable conclusion that respondent is psychologically incapacitated to
perform the essential marital obligations.

Article 68 of the Family Code provides:

Art. 68. The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and
support.

In this connection, it is well to note that persons with antisocial personality disorder exhibit the following clinical features:
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Patients with antisocial personality disorder can often seem to be normal and even charming and ingratiating. Their histories,
however, reveal many areas of disordered life functioning. Lying, truancy, running away from home, thefts, fights, substance
abuse, and illegal activities are typical experiences that patients report as beginning in childhood. x x x Their own explanations of
their antisocial behavior make it seem mindless, but their mental content reveals the complete absence of delusions and other
signs of irrational thinking. In fact, they frequently have a heightened sense of reality testing and often impress observers as
having good verbal intelligence.

x x x Those with this disorder do not tell the truth and cannot be trusted to carry out any task or adhere to any conventional
standard of morality. x x x A notable finding is a lack of remorse for these actions; that is, they appear to lack a conscience. 20

In the instant case, respondents 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.

On the issue of the petitioners purported psychological incapacity, we agree with the CAs ruling thereon:

A perusal of the Amended Petition shows that it failed to specifically allege the complete facts showing that petitioner was
psychologically incapacitated from complying with the essential marital obligations of marriage at the time of the celebration of
marriage even if such incapacity became manifest only after its celebration x x x. In fact, what was merely prayed for in the said
Amended Petition is that judgment be rendered declaring the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent solemnized
on 04 December 1976 to be void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of the respondent at the time of
the celebration of the marriage x x x

At any rate, even assuming arguendo that [petitioners] Amended Petition was indeed amended to conform to the evidence, as
provided under Section 5, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court, Dr. Villegas finding that [petitioner] is supposedly suffering from an
Inadequate Personality [Disorder] along the affectional area does not amount to psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the
Family Code. Such alleged condition of [petitioner] is not a debilitating psychological condition that incapacitates her from
complying with the essential marital obligations of marriage. In fact, in the Psychological Evaluation Report of clinical
psychologist Magno, [petitioner] was given a glowing evaluation as she was found to be a good, sincere, and conscientious
person and she has tried her best to provide for the needs of her children. Her achievements in this regard are praiseworthy.
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Even in Dr. Villegas psychiatric report, it was stated that [petitioner] was able to remain in their marriage for more than 20 years
trying to reach out and lending a hand for better understanding and relationship. With the foregoing evaluation made by no
less than [petitioners] own expert witnesses, we find it hard to believe that she is psychologically incapacitated within the
contemplation of Article 36 of the Family Code. 21

All told, it is wise to be reminded of the caveat articulated by Justice Teodoro R. Padilla in his separate statement in Republic v.
Court of Appeals and Molina: 22

x x x Each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its
own facts. In the field of 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 fine, given the factual milieu of the present case and in light of the foregoing disquisition, we find ample basis to conclude that
respondent was psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations at the time of his marriage to the
petitioner.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CA -G.R. CV No. 89761 is REVERSED. The decision of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 89, Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-01-44854 declaring the marriage between petitioner and
respondent NULL and VOID under Article 36 of the Family Code is REINSTATED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

ANTONIO T. CARPIO, PERALTA, ABAD, MENDOZA

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 185286, August 18, 2010, MA. SOCORRO CAMACHO-REYES,
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Petitioner, vs. RAMON REYES, Respondent.

1
Id. at 257-260.

2
Id. at 38-44.

3
G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20.

4
Rollo, pp. 33-34.

5
Id. at 413-416.

6
Id. at 390-397.

7
Id. at 372-375.

8
Article 1 of the Family Code.

Art. 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for
the establishment of conjugal and family life. x x x

9
Rollo, pp. 243, 248-249.

10
G.R. No. 176464, February 4, 2010.

11
Quick Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM IV-TR, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

12
See Kaplan and Saddocks Synopsis of Psychiatry and Psychology Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry (8th ed.), p. 785.

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13
See Kaplan and Saddocks Synopsis of Psychiatry and Psychology Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry (8th ed.), 1998.

14
Rollo, pp. 243-247.

15
G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997, 268 SCRA 198, 219.

16
Padilla-Rumabaua v. Rumbaua, G.R. No. 166738, August 14, 2009, 596 SCRA 157; Paz v. Paz, G.R. No. 166579, February 18, 2010.

17
Supra note 18.

18
Supra.

19
Supra note 11.

20
Supra note 20.

21
Rollo, p. 43

22
Supra note 23, at 214.

November 20, 2015

A Judge Should Not Substitute His Own Psychological Assessment Of The Parties
For That Of The Psychologist Or The Psychiatrist. However, A Judge Has the
Bounden Duty To Rule On What The Law Is, As Applied To A Certain Set Of Facts

The Case:
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Man meets woman, whirlwind romance and marriage, the marriage goes awry. So goes the story of Edward and Ma. Cheryl.
After their wedding, the couple took up residence with Edwards grandparents, who provided all living, household, and medical
expenses for the family. For working in the family distillery, Edward was paid P6,000.00. The set up rankled Ma. Cheryl, who
wants to live separately from Edwards family. In October, 1990, Ma. Cheryl caught Edward in an uncompromising situation with
the stay-in caregiver of Edwards grandmother, which Cheryl duly reported in the police blotter and landed in the front pages of
daily newspapers, which humiliated Edwards family. Ma. Cheryl finally left Edward, brining along their three children. On
October 29, 1999, Edward filed a petition for declaration of nullity of his marriage to Ma. Cheryl on the ground of psychological
incapacity, which he subsequently amended to include himself as psychologically incapacitated. Basing on the Psychiatric
Report, the RTC declared Edwards marriage to Ma. Cheryl null and void as both of them were psychologically incapacitated. The
CA, however, disagreed. Edward appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Ruling:

We deny the petition.

The seminal ruling in Santos v. Court of Appeals 1 cites three (3) factors characterizing psychological incapacity to perform the
essential marital obligations: (1) gravity, (2) juridical antecedence, (3) incurability. We expounded on the foregoing, to wit:

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.

Given the foregoing stringent requisites and without going into the non-exclusive list found in Republic v. Court of Appeals, 2
petitioner, as the party alleging his own psychological incapacity and that of his spouse, had the special albatross to prove that
he and his wife were suffering from the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. 3

Instead, petitioner presented the Psychiatric Report of Dr. Villegas, the conclusions drawn are reprinted in full:

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PSYCHODYNAMICS OF THE CASE:

Edward is of Chinese descent, born and grew up in a Philippine environment. He was raised and educated in Philippine school.
However, despite his prominent Filipino exposure, his immediate family still practice a strong cultural Chinese tradition within
his home. Very clannish, all family members has to stay in one roof, in a communal style of living, with the elders in this case, the
grandparents are recognized as the authority. Most of the family members tend to rebel, but at the end, tendency to be
submissive and passive were developed. But despite physical closeness, Edward did not build close attachments to his parents.
The father was exceptionally temperamental and moody, while the mother was extremely asocial, isolated, withdrawn and
seclusive, that repelled him from both of them.

Surrogate parenting from his grandparents satisfied his dependency needs. He developed into a kind, obedient, submissive and
passive adult, which became the center of jealousy and rivalry among the siblings. Under stressful situation, he became
depressed and had suicidal intentions. He felt so secure with his grandparents, that he subordinated his needs to them. He
allowed them to assume responsibilities for major areas of his life, as in his family decision and independence. He has difficulty
expressing disagreements with others, especially with his wife, because of fear of loss of support or approval. So that even an
abusive spouse may be tolerated for long periods, in order not to disturb the sense of attachments. A persevering worker, he
had difficulties initiating change due to lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities, rather than lack of motivation or energy.
Within 10 years in marriage, he tried hard to grant his wifes wishes, but to no avail. His wife left him in October, 1990 together
with their three children, whom he missed very much. The death of his grandfather in 1994 was a big blow to him, but he finds
solace and security in visiting his grave every Sunday since then.

On the other hand, Cheryl was initially congenial, which lasted only for a short period of time. Later, her immaturity interfered
with her behavioral pattern and adjustment. Apparently, she could not recognize realities in their family set-up and will insist on
her fantasized wishes. When not granted, shell go into tantrums, moodiness, anger, hostilities, exhibitions and dramatizations,
just to get attention and to emphasize her wants. Her attention-getting devices will be endless and her suggestibility to the
influence of others is very fertile.

Based on the family background, pattern of behavior, and outcome of their marriage, clinical evidence showed that Mr. Edward
Lim is suffering from a Dependent Personality Disorder, while Cheryl is suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder associated
with immaturity, that render both of them psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties and responsibilities of marriage.

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The root cause of the above clinical condition on the part of Edward was due to overindulgence and overprotection of his
surrogate parents, that left no room for him to develop his own abilities, encouraging too much dependence, lack of self-
confidence, self-doubt, passivity, pessimism, and depression. How much of the Dependent Disorder was due to developmental
defect and how much was due to strong Chinese culture and traditions, will be difficult to assess.

On the part of Cheryl, the root cause was due to unsatisfied dependency needs that finds gratification in adult stage, in the form
of attention-seeking devices, manifested in her clinical symptoms. Both existed prior to marriage, but became obviously
manifested only after the celebration, due to marital stresses and demands. Both disorders are considered permanent and
incurable, because they started early in their developmental stage and therefore became so engrained in their personality
structure. Both are severe and grave in degree, because they hampered their normal functioning, specifically related to a difficult
heterosexual adjustment. 4

In addition, Dr. Villegas testified in the lower court as to the findings contained in the Psychiatric Report. Thus, on direct
examination, Dr. Villegas testimony consisted of the following:

Q- Can you tell the Court how you happened to know the petitioner?

A- He was referred to me by his counsel for psychological and psychiatric evaluation related to his application for nullity of
marriage in this Honorable Court, maam.

Q- And were you able to actually conduct an examination for the purposes that you have stated?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- How many times were you able to examine or meet the petitioner?

A- I met him three (3x) times, maam. That was on January 10, January 14 and January 17, year 2000.

Q- And is there any other witness or person that you have met for the purpose of evaluating the behavior and personality of
petitioner?

A- Yes, maam. I was able to interview a long time employee that they have in their company in the person of Mrs. Emmy Adato
who herself know the petitioner since he was eight (8) years old, maam.
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xxxx

Q- Do you affirm before this Honorable Court the conclusions that you have arrived at to be correct?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- And what was the conclusion after you conducted the evaluation of the character of petitioner, as well as that of the
respondent?

A- After my intensive interview about the circumstances of their marriage, family background of the petitioner and also the
family background of the respondent, it is the opinion of the examiner that the petitioner Mr. Edward Lim is suffering from
DEPENDENT PERSONALITY DISORDER that renders him psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties and responsibilities
of marriage, maam. On the other hand, based on the informations and clinical data gathered from the petitioner and my other
informant, Ms. Emmy Adato, it is the opinion of the examiner that the respondent is suffering from HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY
DISORDER associated with an immaturity that renders her psychologically incapacitated to perform the duties and
responsibilities of marriage.

Q- In your capacity as expert, a psychiatrist of forty (40) years, can you conclude that this deficiencies or defects that you found
are sufficient ground to nullify the marriage under Article 36?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- Do you conclude also these deficiencies are continuous and permanent?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- Would you conclude therefore would you consider it as valid ground for the annulment of the marriage?

5
A- Yes, maam.

On cross examination by the prosecutor, Dr. Villegas testified as follows:

Q- Doctor, you have testified that it was only the petitioner whom you have examined and evaluated with (sic)?
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A- Yes, maam.

Q- And the other person whom you have interviewed was the employee of the petitioner?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- No other person whom you have interviewed?

A- None, maam.

Q- You did not interview the surrogate parents of petitioner?

A- No, maam.

Q- Did you attempt to communicate with the respondent of this case for the purpose of interviewing her?

A- Yes, maam. [A]nd I have made this through the petitioner who has contacted his children in Cagayan De Oro, maam.

Q- So you are telling us, Doctor, that the respondent is in Cagayan De Oro?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- And despite your invitation, she did not appear to you?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- So based from your Report on the circumstances of marriage, the information regarding the marriage of parties in this case
came from the petitioner?

A- Yes, sir.

Q- And the family background you have made on Cheryl, the respondent also came from the petitioner?

A- Yes, maam.
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Q- And the interview you have made on Adato, the employee of petitioner, she gave you some background of the respondent
here?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- But most of the informations you have gathered from her were pertaining to the petitioner?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- So practically, the evaluation you have made were based on the interview only on both the employee and the petitioner
himself?

A- Yes, maam.

Q- You did not conduct a series of tests to determine or evaluate further?

A- No, maam.

Q- You have not collaborated with any psychologists so as to get some psychological evaluation on petitioner?

A- No, maam. But the clearer picture of the case presented to me is a very clear picture already of the psychiatric disorder which
did not necessitated (sic) the assistance of a psychologist because it is obvious, the signs and symptoms are obviously
manifested by the parties.

Q- How many times did you meet the petitioner?

A- Three (3) times maam.

Q- And the duration of interview or examination on petitioner is how long?

A- It lasted for about one and a half hours to two and a half hours.

Q- For each session?

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A- For each session.

Q- So you were able to examine him for a duration of six (6) hours, more or less. In the six (6) or seven (7) hours, you were able
to make the conclusions which you have made in your report?

A- Yes, maam. A psychiatric interview is a very structured interview

Q- When did you find out that you dont have to resort to psychological evaluation?

A- Even on my interview, I already kn[e]w that I will not be referring this case to a psychological evaluation because the signs and
symptoms are already very clear.

Q- What are these signs and symptoms?

A- The family background, for example, which gave the rootcause, of this case are very, very typical ground that can bring
about

Q- Did you not have any suspicion that the petitioner might be giving you some informations which would given (sic) some
presumption to nullifying his marriage?

A- I have no basis to doubt that kind of information that he might be lying. During the one and a half to two hours of interview
based on his reactions, the way he answers me, the way he grimaces and also, his statements that he has been giving me are
very sincere on his part, that he even, despite the fact that that happened already about eleven years ago, I could still appreciate
how much he feels, so devastated, so frustrated and disappointed about family life.

Q- You made a conclusion about the personality of both the petitioner and the respondent. Would you say that even if
petitioner would marry again, the same manifestations would exist in the second marriage?

A- It would depend again on the personality profile of the would be partner that he will be having. So it is not really absolute in
his case, in a personality profile, but it would again depend on the personality profile of the would-be partner that he will be
having, maam. 6

It was folly for the trial court to accept the findings and conclusions of Dr. Villegas with nary a link drawn between the
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psychodynamics of the case and the factors characterizing the psychological incapacity. Dr. Villegas sparse testimony does not
lead to the inevitable conclusion that the parties were psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital
obligations. Even on questioning from the trial court, Dr. Villegas testimony did not illuminate on the parties alleged personality
disorders and their incapacitating effect on their marriage:

Q- Doctora, you gave a conclusion that the respondent is suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder associated with
immaturity. Did you discover the antecedents of this disorder?

A- Yes, your honor.

Q- What did you find out?

A- I found out from her family background that the parents were separated. She lived with a stepfather and therefore their
family relationship were only preoccupied by earning a living and no attention were given to the children. When the children
were growing up, specifically Cheryl (interrupted).

Q- By the way, who supplied you this information?

A- The petitioner.

Q- You never discussed the matter with the respondent or any of her relatives, except the husband?

A- None, maam.

Q- Now, you have interviewed Mr. Lim three (3) times. What tests did you give to him aside from the interview?

A- I did not give him any test because a psychological examination is given by a psychologist who acts as a laboratory aide to a
psychiatrist and therefore, if there are some doubts in our clinical interviews, that is the time we refer the case to a psychologist
for a sort of clarification in our clinical interviews.

Q- As far as the gravity of the disorder of petitioner is concerned do you have any suggestions as to the cure of the same?

A- Because the psychological/psychiatric incapacity has been formed or developed during his early years of development, I

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would say that it is ingrained in his personality and therefore, no amount of psychiatric assistance or medicines can help him
improve his personality, your honor.7

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM IV), 8 provides general diagnostic criteria for
personality disorders:

A. An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individuals
culture. This pattern is manifested in two (2) or more of the following areas:

(1) cognition (i.e., ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people, and events)

(2) affectivity (i.e., the range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response)

(3) interpersonal functioning

(4) impulse control

B. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations.

C. The enduring pattern leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of
functioning.

D. The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back at least to adolescence or early adulthood.

E. The enduring pattern is not better accounted for as a manifestation or a consequence of another mental disorder.

F. The enduring pattern is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (i.e., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a
general medical condition (e.g., head trauma).

The alleged personality disorders of the parties have the following specified diagnostic criteria:

301.6 DEPENDENT PERSONALITY DISORDER

A pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation,
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beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others;

(2) needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life;

(3) has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval. Note: do not include
realistic fears of retribution;

(4) has difficulty intiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities
rather than a lack of motivation or energy);

(5) goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are
unpleasant;

(6) feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself;

(7) urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends;

(8) is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself.

301.5 HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER

A pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of
contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention;

(2) interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior;

(3) displays rapidly shifting and shallow expressing of emotions;

(4) consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self;

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(5) has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail;

(6) shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion;

(7) is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances; and

(8) considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.

Significantly, nowhere in Dr. Villegas Psychiatric Report and in her testimony does she link particular acts of the parties to the
DSM IVs list of criteria for the specific personality disorders.

Curiously, Dr. Villegas global conclusion of both parties personality disorders was not supported by psychological tests properly
administered by clinical psychologists specifically trained in the tests use and interpretation. The supposed personality
disorders of the parties, considering that such diagnoses were made, could have been fully established by psychometric and
neurological tests which are designed to measure specific aspects of peoples intelligence, thinking, or personality. 9

Concededly, a copy of DSM IV, or any of the psychology textbooks, does not transform a lawyer or a judge into a professional
psychologist. A judge should not substitute his own psychological assessment of the parties for that of the psychologist or the
psychiatrist. However, a judge has the bounden duty to rule on what the law is, as applied to a certain set of facts. Certainly, as
in all other litigations involving technical or special knowledge, a judge must first and foremost resolve the legal question based
on law and jurisprudence.

The expert opinion of a psychiatrist arrived at after a maximum of seven (7) hours of interview, and unsupported by separate
psychological tests, cannot tie the hands of the trial court and prevent it from making its own factual finding on what happened
in this case. The probative force of the testimony of an expert does not lie in a mere statement of his theory or opinion, but
rather in the assistance that he can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for his criterion and the
reasons upon which the logic of his conclusion is founded. 10

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 74822 is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

NACHURA, J.:
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ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

CARPIO, CORONA, VELASCO, JR., PERALTA

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 176464, February 4, 2010, EDWARD N. LIM,

Petitioner, vs. MA. CHERYL STA. CRUZ-LIM, Respondent.

1
G.R No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20, 33-34.

2
G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997, 268 SCRA 198.

3
Santos v. Court of Appeals, supra note 9, at 34.

4
Records, pp. 134-136.

5
Id. at 143-148. (Emphasis supplied.)

6
Id. at 148-154. (Emphasis supplied.)

7
Id. at 155-157.

8
Quick Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM IV-TR, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

9
See Kaplan and Saddocks Synopsis of Psychiatry and Psychology Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry (8th ed.), p. 193.

10
Dizon v. Tuazon, G.R. No. 172167, July 9, 2008, 557 SCRA 487.
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Dizon v. Tuazon, G.R. No. 172167, July 9, 2008, 557 SCRA 487.

November 12, 2015

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