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Ong Eng Kiam a.k.a.

William Ong vs Lucita Ong


G.R. No. 153206 October 23, 2006

Grounds for Legal Separation

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

FACTS. Lucita Ong filed a complaint for Legal separation under Article 55 par. (1) of
the Family Code after having been married for more than 20 years with her husband
William Ong.

Lucita alleged that since their third year of marriage, her husband William subjected
her and as well as their children to physical violence. She experienced different forms of
abuse like slapping, kicking, pulling her hair and banging her head against the concrete
wall. Meanwhile, her children were beaten using a belt buckle.

On one occasion, after a violent quarrel, William hit Lucita on several different parts
of her body, pointed a gun at her and asked her to leave the house which she did.

Lucitas statements about Williams abusive behavior were corroborated by her


sister Linda Lim. Dr. Vicente Elinzan whom Lucita consulted the day after she left her
conjugal home also testified about her injuries.

TRIAL COURT. Granted petition for legal separation


CA. Affirmed trial court decision.

PETITIONERS CONTENTION: He denied all of Lucitas allegations and that he


never inflicted physical harm on her or their children. He argued that the real motive of
Lucita and her family in filing the complaint is to deprive him of his control and ownership
over his conjugal properties with Lucita.
ISSUE. Should Lucita Ong be granted a decree on legal separation

HELD. YES. The Family Code defines marriage and the family; spells out the
corresponding legal effects; imposes the limitations that affect married and family life; as
well as prescribes the grounds for declaration of nullity and those for legal separation.
Lucita has adequately proven the presence of a ground for legal separation.

As correctly observed by the trial court, William himself admitted that there was no
day that he did not quarrel with his wife and he blames her for being negligent of her wifely
duties and for not reporting to him the wrongdoings of their children.

Lucita and her sister, Linda Lim, also gave numerous accounts of the instances when
William displayed violent temper against Lucita and their children. The assessment of the
trial court regarding the credibility of witnesses is given great respect. Relationship alone is
not enough to discredit and label a witness testimony as biased and unworthy of credence.

The claim that the real motive of Lucita in filing the case is for her family to take
control of the conjugal properties is absurd. Lucita left because of her husbands repeated
physical violence and grossly abusive conduct. That the physical violence and grossly
abusive conduct were brought to bear upon Lucita have been duly established. He can
derive no personal gain from pushing for the financial interests of her family at the expense
of her marriage of 20 years and the companionship of her husband and children.