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TORING V. TORING Petitioner: Ricardo P. Toring Respondent: Teresita M.

Toring and the Republic of the Philippines Facts: This instant case is an appeal from the May 31, 2004 decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the August 10, 2001 decision of the Quezon City RTC branch 106 nullifying the marriage of the petitioner to the respondent on the ground of psychological incapacity. In 1978, Ricardo was introduced to Teresita. Though the latter is 5 years his senior, he immediately fell in love with her; and after 3 months of courthship they became sweethearts. On September 4, 1974, Ricardo and Teresita got married before Hon. Remigio Zari of City Court of QC. They begot 3 children, Richardson, Rachel Ann, and Ric Jayson. On February 1, 1999, Ricardo filed a petition for annulment on the ground of psychological incapacity under Art. 36 of the Family Code. He alleged that Teresita is a squanderer and an adultress. Ricardo worked as a seaman. He would regularly send money to Teresita to cover their family expenses and the children's tuition fees. However, Teresita, he alleged, is adept in managing their finances. (She left the utility bills and the children's tuition fees unsettled; failed paying for their house's amortization; asked Ricardo to pay debts everytime he comes home; failed to remit her earnings for reselling plasticware.) Ricardo likewise accused her of infidelity and suspected that she was pregnant with another man's child. He reasoned that their 3 sexual encounters were characterized by "withdrawals"; so the child couldn't be his. He also heard of rumors that whenever he is away Teresita represented herself as single and went out on dates with other men. To support these allegations, Dr. Cecilia Albaran explained that a major factor that contributed to the demise of their marriage was Teresita's Narcissistic Personality Disorder that rendered her incapacitated to fulfill her essential marital obligations. She based her diagnosis solely on her psychological evaluation of Ricardo and his son Richarson. The OSG opposed Ricardo's petition and argued that the evidence adduced did not clinically identify and sufficiently prove the medical cause of the alleged psychological incapacity. Neither did the evidence indicate that the alleged psychological incapacity existed prior to or at the time of marriage, nor that the incapacity was grave and incurable. The RTC granted Ricardo's petition and nullified Ricardo's marriage to Teresita. CA however reversed this decision because the petitioner failed to satisfy the guidelines in Republic v. CA and Molina. The RTC failed to specifically point out the root illness or defect that caused Teresitas psychological incapacity, and likewise failed to show that the incapacity already existed at the time of celebration of marriage. The CA found that the conclusions from Dr. Albarans psychological evaluation do not appear to have been drawn from well-rounded and fair sources, and dwelt mostly on hearsay statements and rumors. Likewise, the CA found that Ricardos allegations on Teresitas overspending and infidelity

do not constitute adequate grounds for declaring the marriage null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code. These allegations, even if true, could only effectively serve as grounds for legal separation or a criminal charge for adultery. Ricardo on the other hand opined that alleging the root cause in a petition for annulment under Article 36 of the Family Code is no longer necessary, citing Barcelona v. Court of Appeals. Issue: w/n the CA erred in reversing the RTC decision which nullified their marriage. Held: Court ruled that the CA did not err in reversing the RTC decision. 1. They said that the guidlines set forth in the Molina and Santos case are still controlling. Ricardo misinterpreted Barcelona v. CA. In the leading case of Santos v. Court of Appeals, et al. it was held that psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability, to be sufficient basis to annul a marriage. The 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 concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage." The Court further expounded on Article 36 of the Family Code in Molina and laid down definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of this article. (see Molino guidelines in PAFR book) (that it is also one-sided and based on hear-say cannot be discounted) 2. Expert's diagnosis The psychological diagnosis of Dr. Alberan on Teresito failed to prove that Teresita's psychological disorder is related to or is the cause of her failure to fulfill her marital obligations. It also failed to expose the root cause of said disorder, and that it was present prior and/or during the celebration of their marriage, and that the same is of such grravity and incurability. Although the testimony of an expert is not an indispensible requirement in nullifying marriage, the court still gives considerable weight to it. And in lieu of the experts findings, the totality of the evidences aduced by the petitioner should satisfy the guidelines in the Molina case i.e. should show the root cause, gravity, etc. Ricardo's allegation fail to satisfy the guidelines. it was not shown from the totality of evidences and Ricardo's testimony that Teresita's spendthrift attitued and alleged infidelity constitute psychological incapacity; or is caused by his Narcissistic Personality disorder. important points: - Molina and Santos case still controlling -alleging the rootcause in petition is important (Section 2. of Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (Rules); however, in lieu thereof the totality of evidences should reveal the rootcause. (as in the case of Barcelo v. CA where the physical

manifestation of the psychological incapacity is blatant.)