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[G.R. No. 179620, August 26, 2008] MANUEL G. ALMELOR, PETITIONER, VS. THE HON.

REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF LAS PINAS CITY AND LEONIDA T. ALMELOR, RESPONDENT. MATERIAL FACTS:

Petitioner Manuel G. Almelor (Manuel) and respondent Leonida Trinidad (Leonida) were married on January 29, 1989. Their union bore three children. Manuel and Leonida are both medical practitioners, an anesthesiologist and a pediatrician, respectively. After eleven (11) years of marriage, Leonida filed a petition with the RTC in Las Pias City to annul their marriage on the ground that Manuel was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations. Leonida testified that Manuel is a harsh disciplinarian and that his policy towards their children is often unconventional and was the cause of their frequent fight. Manuel has an unreasonable way of imposing discipline towards their children but is remarkably so gentle towards his mom. He is more affectionate towards his mom and this is a factor which is unreasonable for Leonida. Another testimonial made by Leonida against Manuel is that the latter is a homosexual evidenced by his unusual closeness to his male companions and that he concealed his homosexuality to Leonida before their marriage has been perfected. Manuel was also caught once talking to a man affectionately over the phone and it was confirmed that Manuel really is a homosexual when he was caught kissing a man on the lips. The Regional Trial Court ruled that their marriage is null and void not because of Manuels Psychological Incapacity but for the fraud that by reason of the latters concealment of his sexuality. The Court of Appeals affirmed with the RTCs decision.

ISSUE: Whether or not the marriage between the two can be declared as null and void due to fraud by reason of Manuels concealment of his homosexuality. RULING:

Number 3 of Article 45 of The Family Code of the Philippines which states that, A marriage may be annulled for the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage. That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife. Number 4 of Article 46 of the Family Code which also states that, Concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, or homosexuality or lesbianism existing at the time of the marriage.

APPLICATION: The Supreme Court stressed that homosexuality per se is not a ground to nullify a marriage. It is the concealment of homosexuality that would. In the case on the other hand, it is not proven that Manuel is a homosexual. The lower court should not have taken the publics perception against Manuels sexuality. His peculiarities must not be ruled by the lower court as an indication of his homosexuality for those are not conclusive and are not sufficient enough to prove so. Even granting that Manuel is indeed a homosexual, there was nothing in the complaint or anywhere in the case was it alleged and proven that Manuel hid such sexuality from Leonida and that Leonidas consent had been vitiated by such. CONCLUSION: The petition is granted for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) denying the petition for annulment of judgment and affirming in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). The appealed decision is reversed and set aside and the petition in the trial court to annul the marriage is dismissed.