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A.

Void marriages ii. No license [Art. 35 (3), FC], except: marriages exempt from license requirement (Arts. 27-34, FC)

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 103047 September 2, 1994 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND ANGELINA M. CASTRO, respondents. Parungao, Abesamis, Eleazar & Pulgar Law Offices for private respondent.

PUNO, J.: The case at bench originated from a petition filed by private respondent Angelina M. Castro in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City seeking a judicial declaration of nullity of her marriage to Edwin F. Cardenas. 1 As ground therefor, Castro claims that no marriage license was ever issued to them prior to the solemnization of their marriage. Despite notice, defendant Edwin F. Cardenas failed to file his answer. Consequently, he was declared in default. Trial proceeded in his absence. The controlling facts are undisputed: On June 24, 1970, Angelina M. Castro and Edwin F. Cardenas were married in a civil ceremony performed by Judge Pablo M. Malvar, City Court Judge of Pasay City. The marriage was celebrated without the knowledge of Castro's parents. Defendant Cardenas personally attended to the processing of the documents required for the celebration of the marriage, including the procurement of the marriage, license. In fact, the marriage contract itself states that marriage license no. 3196182 was issued in the name of the contracting parties on June 24, 1970 in Pasig, Metro Manila. The couple did not immediately live together as husband and wife since the marriage was unknown to Castro's parents. Thus, it was only in March 1971, when Castro discovered she was pregnant, that the couple decided to live together. However, their cohabitation lasted only for four (4) months. Thereafter, the couple parted ways. On October 19, 1971, Castro gave birth. The baby was adopted by Castro's brother, with the consent of Cardenas. The baby is now in the United States. Desiring to follow her daughter, Castro wanted to put in order her marital status before leaving for the States. She thus consulted a lawyer, Atty.

Frumencio E. Pulgar, regarding the possible annulment of her marriage. Through her lawyer's efforts, they discovered that there was no marriage license issued to Cardenas prior to the celebration of their marriage. As proof, Angelina Castro offered in evidence a certification from the Civil Register of Pasig, Metro Manila. It reads: February 20, 1987 TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: This is to certify that the names EDWIN F. CARDENAS and ANGELINA M. CASTRO who were allegedly married in the Pasay City Court on June 21, 1970 under an alleged (s)upportive marriage license no. 3196182 allegedly issued in the municipality on June 20, 1970 cannot be located as said license no.3196182 does not appear from our records. Issued upon request of Mr. Ed Atanacio. (Sgd) CENONA D. QUINTOS Senior Civil Registry Officer Castro testified that she did not go to the civil registrar of Pasig on or before June 24, 1970 in order to apply for a license. Neither did she sign any application therefor. She affixed her signature only on the marriage contract on June 24, 1970 in Pasay City. The trial court denied the petition. 2 It held that the above certification was inadequate to establish the alleged non-issuance of a marriage license prior to the celebration of the marriage between the parties. It ruled that the "inability of the certifying official to locate the marriage license is not conclusive to show that there was no marriage license issued." Unsatisfied with the decision, Castro appealed to respondent appellate court. She insisted that the certification from the local civil registrar sufficiently established the absence of a marriage license. As stated earlier, respondent appellate court reversed the Decision of the trial court. 3 It declared the marriage between the contracting parties null and void and directed the Civil Registrar of Pasig to cancel the subject marriage contract. Hence this petition for review on certiorari. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines urges that respondent appellate court erred when it ruled that the certification issued by the civil registrar that marriage license no. 3196182 was not in their record adequately proved that no such license was ever issued. Petitioner also faults the respondent court for relying on the self-serving and uncorroborated testimony of private respondent Castro that she had no part in the procurement of the subject marriage license. Petitioner thus insists that the certification and the uncorroborated testimony of private respondent are insufficient to overthrow the legal presumption regarding the validity of a marriage.

Petitioner also points that in declaring the marriage between the parties as null and void, respondent appellate court disregarded the presumption that the solemnizing officer, Judge Pablo M. Malvar, regularly performed his duties when he attested in the marriage contract that marriage license no. 3196182 was duly presented to him before the solemnization of the subject marriage. The issues, being interrelated, shall be discussed jointly. The core issue presented by the case at bench is whether or not the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by private respondent are sufficient to establish that no marriage license was issued by the Civil Registrar of Pasig prior to the celebration of the marriage of private respondent to Edwin F. Cardenas. We affirm the impugned Decision. At the time the subject marriage was solemnized on June 24, 1970, the law governing marital relations was the New Civil Code. The law 4 provides that no marriage shall be solemnized without a marriage license first issued by a local civil registrar. Being one of the essential requisites of a valid marriage, absence of a license would render the marriage void ab initio. 5 Petitioner posits that the certification of the local civil registrar of due search and inability to find a record or entry to the effect that marriage license no. 3196182 was issued to the parties is not adequate to prove its non-issuance. We hold otherwise. The presentation of such certification in court is sanctioned by Section 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, viz.: Sec. 29. Proof of lack of record. A written statement signed by an officer having custody of an official record or by his deputy, that after diligent search, no record or entry of a specified tenor is found to exist in the records of his office, accompanied by a certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that the records of his office contain no such record or entry. The above Rule authorized the custodian of documents to certify that despite diligent search, a particular document does not exist in his office or that a particular entry of a specified tenor was not to be found in a register. As custodians of public documents, civil registrars are public officers charged with the duty, inter alia, of maintaining a register book where they are required to enter all applications for marriage licenses, including the names of the applicants, the date the marriage license was issued and such other relevant data. 6 The certification of "due search and inability to find" issued by the civil registrar of Pasig enjoys probative value, he being the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the issuance of a marriage license. Unaccompanied by any circumstance of suspicion and pursuant to Section 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, a certificate of "due search and inability to find" sufficiently proved that his office did not issue marriage license no. 3196182 to the contracting parties. The fact that private respondent Castro offered only her testimony in support of her petition is, in itself, not a ground to deny her petition. The failure to offer any other witness

to corroborate her testimony is mainly due to the peculiar circumstances of the case. It will be remembered that the subject marriage was a civil ceremony performed by a judge of a city court. The subject marriage is one of those commonly known as a "secret marriage" a legally non-existent phrase but ordinarily used to refer to a civil marriage celebrated without the knowledge of the relatives and/or friends of either or both of the contracting parties. The records show that the marriage between Castro and Cardenas was initially unknown to the parents of the former. Surely, the fact that only private respondent Castro testified during the trial cannot be held against her. Her husband, Edwin F. Cardenas, was duly served with notice of the proceedings and a copy of the petition. Despite receipt thereof, he chose to ignore the same. For failure to answer, he was properly declared in default. Private respondent cannot be faulted for her husband's lack of interest to participate in the proceedings. There was absolutely no evidence on record to show that there was collusion between private respondent and her husband Cardenas. It is noteworthy to mention that the finding of the appellate court that the marriage between the contracting parties is null and void for lack of a marriage license does not discount the fact that indeed, a spurious marriage license, purporting to be issued by the civil registrar of Pasig, may have been presented by Cardenas to the solemnizing officer. In fine, we hold that, under the circumstances of the case, the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by private respondent Castro sufficiently established the absence of the subject marriage license. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DENIED there being no showing of any reversible error committed by respondent appellate court. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

FIRST DIVISION [G.R. No. 133778. March 14, 2000] ENGRACE NIAL for Herself and as Guardian ad Litem of the minors BABYLINE NIAL, INGRID NIAL, ARCHIE NIAL & PEPITO NIAL, JR., petitioners, vs. NORMA BAYADOG, respondent. Ncmmis DECISION YNARES_SANTIAGO, J.: May the heirs of a deceased person file a petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage after his death? Pepito Nial was married to Teodulfa Bellones on September 26, 1974. Out of their marriage were born herein petitioners. Teodulfa was shot by Pepito resulting in her death

on April 24, 1985. One year and 8 months thereafter or on December 11, 1986, Pepito and respondent Norma Badayog got married without any marriage license. In lieu thereof, Pepito and Norma executed an affidavit dated December 11, 1986 stating that they had lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and were thus exempt from securing a marriage license. On February 19, 1997, Pepito died in a car accident. After their fathers death, petitioners filed a petition for declaration of nullity of the marriage of Pepito to Norma alleging that the said marriage was void for lack of a marriage license. The case was filed under the assumption that the validity or invalidity of the second marriage would affect petitioners successional rights. Norma filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that petitioners have no cause of action since they are not among the persons who could file an action for "annulment of marriage" under Article 47 of the Family Code. Judge Ferdinand J. Marcos of the Regional Trial Court of Toledo City, Cebu, Branch 59, dismissed the petition after finding that the Family Code is "rather silent, obscure, insufficient" to resolve the following issues: (1) Whether or not plaintiffs have a cause of action against defendant in asking for the declaration of the nullity of marriage of their deceased father, Pepito G. Nial, with her specially so when at the time of the filing of this instant suit, their father Pepito G. Nial is already dead; (2) Whether or not the second marriage of plaintiffs deceased father with defendant is null and void ab initio; (3) Whether or not plaintiffs are estopped from assailing the validity of the second marriage after it was dissolved due to their fathers death.[1] Thus, the lower court ruled that petitioners should have filed the action to declare null and void their fathers marriage to respondent before his death, applying by analogy Article 47 of the Family Code which enumerates the time and the persons who could initiate an action for annulment of marriage.[2] Hence, this petition for review with this Court grounded on a pure question of law. Scnc m This petition was originally dismissed for non-compliance with Section 11, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, and because "the verification failed to state the basis of petitioners averment that the allegations in the petition are true and correct." It was thus treated as an unsigned pleading which produces no legal effect under Section 3, Rule 7, of the 1997 Rules.[3] However, upon motion of petitioners, this Court reconsidered the dismissal and reinstated the petition for review.[4] The two marriages involved herein having been solemnized prior to the effectivity of the Family Code (FC), the applicable law to determine their validity is the Civil Code which was the law in effect at the time of their celebration.[5] A valid marriage license is a requisite of marriage under Article 53 of the Civil Code,[6] the absence of which renders the marriage void ab initio pursuant to Article 80(3)[7] in relation to Article 58.[8] The requirement and issuance of marriage license is the States demonstration of its involvement and participation in every marriage, in the maintenance of which the general public is interested.[9] This interest proceeds from the constitutional mandate that the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and of affording protection to the family as a basic "autonomous social institution."[10] Specifically, the Constitution considers marriage as an "inviolable social institution," and is the foundation of family life which shall be

protected by the State.[11] This is why the Family Code considers marriage as "a special contract of permanent union"[12] and case law considers it "not just an adventure but a lifetime commitment."[13] However, there are several instances recognized by the Civil Code wherein a marriage license is dispensed with, one of which is that provided in Article 76,[14] referring to the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together and exclusively with each other as husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period of at least five years before the marriage. The rationale why no license is required in such case is to avoid exposing the parties to humiliation, shame and embarrassment concomitant with the scandalous cohabitation of persons outside a valid marriage due to the publication of every applicants name for a marriage license. The publicity attending the marriage license may discourage such persons from legitimizing their status.[15] To preserve peace in the family, avoid the peeping and suspicious eye of public exposure and contain the source of gossip arising from the publication of their names, the law deemed it wise to preserve their privacy and exempt them from that requirement. Sdaa miso There is no dispute that the marriage of petitioners father to respondent Norma was celebrated without any marriage license. In lieu thereof, they executed an affidavit stating that "they have attained the age of majority, and, being unmarried, have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years, and that we now desire to marry each other."[16] The only issue that needs to be resolved pertains to what nature of cohabitation is contemplated under Article 76 of the Civil Code to warrant the counting of the five year period in order to exempt the future spouses from securing a marriage license. Should it be a cohabitation wherein both parties are capacitated to marry each other during the entire five-year continuous period or should it be a cohabitation wherein both parties have lived together and exclusively with each other as husband and wife during the entire fiveyear continuous period regardless of whether there is a legal impediment to their being lawfully married, which impediment may have either disappeared or intervened sometime during the cohabitation period? Working on the assumption that Pepito and Norma have lived together as husband and wife for five years without the benefit of marriage, that five-year period should be computed on the basis of a cohabitation as "husband and wife" where the only missing factor is the special contract of marriage to validate the union. In other words, the fiveyear common-law cohabitation period, which is counted back from the date of celebration of marriage, should be a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of the marriage. This 5-year period should be the years immediately before the day of the marriage and it should be a period of cohabitation characterized by exclusivity meaning no third party was involved at any time within the 5 years and continuity that is unbroken. Otherwise, if that continuous 5-year cohabitation is computed without any distinction as to whether the parties were capacitated to marry each other during the entire five years, then the law would be sanctioning immorality and encouraging parties to have common law relationships and placing them on the same footing with those who lived faithfully with their spouse. Marriage being a special relationship must be respected as such and its requirements must be strictly observed. The presumption that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife is based on the approximation of the requirements of the law. The parties should not be afforded any excuse to not comply with every single requirement and later use the same missing element as a pre-conceived escape ground to nullify their marriage. There should be no exemption from securing a marriage license unless the circumstances clearly fall within the ambit of the exception. It

should be noted that a license is required in order to notify the public that two persons are about to be united in matrimony and that anyone who is aware or has knowledge of any impediment to the union of the two shall make it known to the local civil registrar.[17] The Civil Code provides: Article 63: "x x x. This notice shall request all persons having knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to advice the local civil registrar thereof. x x x." Article 64: "Upon being advised of any alleged impediment to the marriage, the local civil registrar shall forthwith make an investigation, examining persons under oath. x x x" Sdaad This is reiterated in the Family Code thus: Article 17 provides in part: "x x x. This notice shall request all persons having knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to advise the local civil registrar thereof. x x x." Article 18 reads in part: "x x x. In case of any impediment known to the local civil registrar or brought to his attention, he shall note down the particulars thereof and his findings thereon in the application for a marriage license. x x x." This is the same reason why our civil laws, past or present, absolutely prohibited the concurrence of multiple marriages by the same person during the same period. Thus, any marriage subsequently contracted during the lifetime of the first spouse shall be illegal and void,[18] subject only to the exception in cases of absence or where the prior marriage was dissolved or annulled. The Revised Penal Code complements the civil law in that the contracting of two or more marriages and the having of extramarital affairs are considered felonies, i.e., bigamy and concubinage and adultery.[19] The law sanctions monogamy. In this case, at the time of Pepito and respondents marriage, it cannot be said that they have lived with each other as husband and wife for at least five years prior to their wedding day. From the time Pepitos first marriage was dissolved to the time of his marriage with respondent, only about twenty months had elapsed. Even assuming that Pepito and his first wife had separated in fact, and thereafter both Pepito and respondent had started living with each other that has already lasted for five years, the fact remains that their five-year period cohabitation was not the cohabitation contemplated by law. It should be in the nature of a perfect union that is valid under the law but rendered imperfect only by the absence of the marriage contract. Pepito had a subsisting marriage at the time when he started cohabiting with respondent. It is immaterial that when they lived with each other, Pepito had already been separated in fact from his lawful spouse. The subsistence of the marriage even where there was actual severance of the filial companionship between the spouses cannot make any cohabitation by either spouse with any third party as being one as "husband and wife". Scs daad Having determined that the second marriage involved in this case is not covered by the exception to the requirement of a marriage license, it is void ab initio because of the absence of such element.

The next issue to be resolved is: do petitioners have the personality to file a petition to declare their fathers marriage void after his death? Contrary to respondent judges ruling, Article 47 of the Family Code[20] cannot be applied even by analogy to petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. The second ground for annulment of marriage relied upon by the trial court, which allows "the sane spouse" to file an annulment suit "at any time before the death of either party" is inapplicable. Article 47 pertains to the grounds, periods and persons who can file an annulment suit, not a suit for declaration of nullity of marriage. The Code is silent as to who can file a petition to declare the nullity of a marriage. Voidable and void marriages are not identical. A marriage that is annulable is valid until otherwise declared by the court; whereas a marriage that is void ab initio is considered as having never to have taken place[21] and cannot be the source of rights. The first can be generally ratified or confirmed by free cohabitation or prescription while the other can never be ratified. A voidable marriage cannot be assailed collaterally except in a direct proceeding while a void marriage can be attacked collaterally. Consequently, void marriages can be questioned even after the death of either party but voidable marriages can be assailed only during the lifetime of the parties and not after death of either, in which case the parties and their offspring will be left as if the marriage had been perfectly valid.[22] That is why the action or defense for nullity is imprescriptible, unlike voidable marriages where the action prescribes. Only the parties to a voidable marriage can assail it but any proper interested party may attack a void marriage. Void marriages have no legal effects except those declared by law concerning the properties of the alleged spouses, regarding co-ownership or ownership through actual joint contribution,[23] and its effect on the children born to such void marriages as provided in Article 50 in relation to Article 43 and 44 as well as Article 51, 53 and 54 of the Family Code. On the contrary, the property regime governing voidable marriages is generally conjugal partnership and the children conceived before its annulment are legitimate. Sup rema Contrary to the trial courts ruling, the death of petitioners father extinguished the alleged marital bond between him and respondent. The conclusion is erroneous and proceeds from a wrong premise that there was a marriage bond that was dissolved between the two. It should be noted that their marriage was void hence it is deemed as if it never existed at all and the death of either extinguished nothing. Jurisprudence under the Civil Code states that no judicial decree is necessary in order to establish the nullity of a marriage.[24] "A void marriage does not require a judicial decree to restore the parties to their original rights or to make the marriage void but though no sentence of avoidance be absolutely necessary, yet as well for the sake of good order of society as for the peace of mind of all concerned, it is expedient that the nullity of the marriage should be ascertained and declared by the decree of a court of competent jurisdiction."[25] "Under ordinary circumstances, the effect of a void marriage, so far as concerns the conferring of legal rights upon the parties, is as though no marriage had ever taken place. And therefore, being good for no legal purpose, its invalidity can be maintained in any proceeding in which the fact of marriage may be material, either direct or collateral, in any civil court between any parties at any time, whether before or after the death of either or both the husband and the wife, and upon mere proof of the facts rendering such marriage void, it will be disregarded or treated as non-existent by the courts." It is not like a voidable marriage which cannot be collaterally attacked except in direct proceeding instituted during the lifetime of the parties so that on the death of either, the marriage cannot be impeached, and is made good ab initio.[26] But Article 40 of

the Family Code expressly provides that there must be a judicial declaration of the nullity of a previous marriage, though void, before a party can enter into a second marriage[27] and such absolute nullity can be based only on a final judgment to that effect. [28] For the same reason, the law makes either the action or defense for the declaration of absolute nullity of marriage imprescriptible.[29] Corollarily, if the death of either party would extinguish the cause of action or the ground for defense, then the same cannot be considered imprescriptible. Juris However, other than for purposes of remarriage, no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. For other purposes, such as but not limited to determination of heirship, legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child, settlement of estate, dissolution of property regime, or a criminal case for that matter, the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. This is without prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. When such need arises, a final judgment of declaration of nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry. The clause "on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void" in Article 40 of the Family Code connotes that such final judgment need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Order of the Regional Trial Court, Toledo City, Cebu, Branch 59, dismissing Civil Case No. T-639, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The said case is ordered REINSTATED. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., (Chairman), Puno, and Kapunan, JJ., concur. Sc juris Pardo, J., on official business abroad. Psychological incapacity (Art. 36, FC) Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 94053 March 17, 1993 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. GREGORIO NOLASCO, respondent. The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Warloo G. Cardenal for respondent.

RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.: On 5 August 1988, respondent Gregorio Nolasco filed before the Regional Trial Court of Antique, Branch 10, a petition for the declaration of presumptive death of his wife Janet Monica Parker, invoking Article 41 of the Family Code. The petition prayed that respondent's wife be declared presumptively dead or, in the alternative, that the marriage be declared null and void. 1 The Republic of the Philippines opposed the petition through the Provincial Prosecutor of Antique who had been deputized to assist the Solicitor-General in the instant case. The Republic argued, first, that Nolasco did not possess a "well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead," 2 and second, Nolasco's attempt to have his marriage annulled in the same proceeding was a "cunning attempt" to circumvent the law on marriage. 3 During trial, respondent Nolasco testified that he was a seaman and that he had first met Janet Monica Parker, a British subject, in a bar in England during one of his ship's port calls. From that chance meeting onwards, Janet Monica Parker lived with respondent Nolasco on his ship for six (6) months until they returned to respondent's hometown of San Jose, Antique on 19 November 1980 after his seaman's contract expired. On 15 January 1982, respondent married Janet Monica Parker in San Jose, Antique, in Catholic rites officiated by Fr. Henry van Tilborg in the Cathedral of San Jose. Respondent Nolasco further testified that after the marriage celebration, he obtained another employment contract as a seaman and left his wife with his parents in San Jose, Antique. Sometime in January 1983, while working overseas, respondent received a letter from his mother informing him that Janet Monica had given birth to his son. The same letter informed him that Janet Monica had left Antique. Respondent claimed he then immediately asked permission to leave his ship to return home. He arrived in Antique in November 1983. Respondent further testified that his efforts to look for her himself whenever his ship docked in England proved fruitless. He also stated that all the letters he had sent to his missing spouse at No. 38 Ravena Road, Allerton, Liverpool, England, the address of the bar where he and Janet Monica first met, were all returned to him. He also claimed that he inquired from among friends but they too had no news of Janet Monica. On cross-examination, respondent stated that he had lived with and later married Janet Monica Parker despite his lack of knowledge as to her family background. He insisted that his wife continued to refuse to give him such information even after they were married. He also testified that he did not report the matter of Janet Monica's disappearance to the Philippine government authorities. Respondent Nolasco presented his mother, Alicia Nolasco, as his witness. She testified that her daughter-in-law Janet Monica had expressed a desire to return to England even before she had given birth to Gerry Nolasco on 7 December 1982. When asked why her daughterin-law might have wished to leave Antique, respondent's mother replied that Janet Monica

never got used to the rural way of life in San Jose, Antique. Alicia Nolasco also said that she had tried to dissuade Janet Monica from leaving as she had given birth to her son just fifteen days before, but when she (Alicia) failed to do so, she gave Janet Monica P22,000.00 for her expenses before she left on 22 December 1982 for England. She further claimed that she had no information as to the missing person's present whereabouts. The trial court granted Nolasco's petition in a Judgment dated 12 October 1988 the dispositive portion of which reads: Wherefore, under Article 41, paragraph 2 of the Family Code of the Philippines (Executive Order No. 209, July 6, 1987, as amended by Executive Order No. 227, July 17, 1987) this Court hereby declares as presumptively dead Janet Monica Parker Nolasco, without prejudice to her reappearance. 4 The Republic appealed to the Court of Appeals contending that the trial court erred in declaring Janet Monica Parker presumptively dead because respondent Nolasco had failed to show that there existed a well founded belief for such declaration. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision, holding that respondent had sufficiently established a basis to form a belief that his absent spouse had already died. The Republic, through the Solicitor-General, is now before this Court on a Petition for Review where the following allegations are made: 1. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial court's finding that there existed a well-founded belief on the part of Nolasco that Janet Monica Parker was already dead; and 2. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial Court's declaration that the petition was a proper case of the declaration of presumptive death under Article 41, Family Code. 5 The issue before this Court, as formulated by petitioner is "[w]hether or not Nolasco has a well-founded belief that his wife is already dead." 6 The present case was filed before the trial court pursuant to Article 41 of the Family Code which provides that: Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present had a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provision of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient. For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse. (Emphasis supplied).

When Article 41 is compared with the old provision of the Civil Code, which it superseded, 7 the following crucial differences emerge. Under Article 41, the time required for the presumption to arise has been shortened to four (4) years; however, there is need for a judicial declaration of presumptive death to enable the spouse present to remarry. 8 Also, Article 41 of the Family Code imposes a stricter standard than the Civil Code: Article 83 of the Civil Code merely requires either that there be no news that such absentee is still alive; or the absentee is generally considered to be dead andbelieved to be so by the spouse present, or is presumed dead under Article 390 and 391 of the Civil Code. 9 The Family Code, upon the other hand, prescribes as "well founded belief" that the absentee is already dead before a petition for declaration of presumptive death can be granted. As pointed out by the Solicitor-General, there are four (4) requisites for the declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code: 1. That the absent spouse has been missing for four consecutive years, or two consecutive years if the disappearance occurred where there is danger of death under the circumstances laid down in Article 391, Civil Code; 2. That the present spouse wishes to remarry; 3. That the present spouse has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead; and 4. That the present spouse files a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee. 10 Respondent naturally asserts that he had complied with all these requirements. 11 Petitioner's argument, upon the other hand, boils down to this: that respondent failed to prove that he had complied with the third requirement, i.e., the existence of a "wellfounded belief" that the absent spouse is already dead. The Court believes that respondent Nolasco failed to conduct a search for his missing wife with such diligence as to give rise to a "well-founded belief" that she is dead. United States v. Biasbas, 12 is instructive as to degree of diligence required in searching for a missing spouse. In that case, defendant Macario Biasbas was charged with the crime of bigamy. He set-up the defense of a good faith belief that his first wife had already died. The Court held that defendant had not exercised due diligence to ascertain the whereabouts of his first wife, noting that: While the defendant testified that he had made inquiries concerning the whereabouts of his wife, he fails to state of whom he made such inquiries. He did not even write to the parents of his first wife, who lived in the Province of Pampanga, for the purpose of securing information concerning her whereabouts. He admits that he had a suspicion only that his first wife was dead. He admits that the only basis of his suspicion was the fact that she had been absent. . . . 13

In the case at bar, the Court considers that the investigation allegedly conducted by respondent in his attempt to ascertain Janet Monica Parker's whereabouts is too sketchy to form the basis of a reasonable or well-founded belief that she was already dead. When he arrived in San Jose, Antique after learning of Janet Monica's departure, instead of seeking the help of local authorities or of the British Embassy, 14 he secured another seaman's contract and went to London, a vast city of many millions of inhabitants, to look for her there. Q After arriving here in San Jose, Antique, did you exert efforts to inquire the whereabouts of your wife? A Yes, Sir. Court: How did you do that? A I secured another contract with the ship and we had a trip to London and I went to London to look for her I could not find her (sic). 15 (Emphasis supplied) Respondent's testimony, however, showed that he confused London for Liverpool and this casts doubt on his supposed efforts to locate his wife in England. The Court of Appeal's justification of the mistake, to wit: . . . Well, while the cognoscente (sic) would readily know the geographical difference between London and Liverpool, for a humble seaman like Gregorio the two places could mean one place in England, the port where his ship docked and where he found Janet. Our own provincial folks, every time they leave home to visit relatives in Pasay City, Kalookan City, or Paraaque, would announce to friends and relatives, "We're going to Manila." This apparent error in naming of places of destination does not appear to be fatal. 16 is not well taken. There is no analogy between Manila and its neighboring cities, on one hand, and London and Liverpool, on the other, which, as pointed out by the SolicitorGeneral, are around three hundred fifty (350) kilometers apart. We do not consider that walking into a major city like Liverpool or London with a simple hope of somehow bumping into one particular person there which is in effect what Nolasco says he did can be regarded as a reasonably diligent search. The Court also views respondent's claim that Janet Monica declined to give any information as to her personal background even after she had married respondent 17 too convenient an excuse to justify his failure to locate her. The same can be said of the loss of the alleged letters respondent had sent to his wife which respondent claims were all returned to him. Respondent said he had lost these returned letters, under unspecified circumstances. Neither can this Court give much credence to respondent's bare assertion that he had inquired from their friends of her whereabouts, considering that respondent did not identify those friends in his testimony. The Court of Appeals ruled that since the prosecutor failed to rebut this evidence during trial, it is good evidence. But this kind of evidence cannot, by its nature, be rebutted. In any case, admissibility is not synonymous with

credibility. 18 As noted before, there are serious doubts to respondent's credibility. Moreover, even if admitted as evidence, said testimony merely tended to show that the missing spouse had chosen not to communicate with their common acquaintances, and not that she was dead. Respondent testified that immediately after receiving his mother's letter sometime in January 1983, he cut short his employment contract to return to San Jose, Antique. However, he did not explain the delay of nine (9) months from January 1983, when he allegedly asked leave from his captain, to November 1983 when be finally reached San Jose. Respondent, moreover, claimed he married Janet Monica Parker without inquiring about her parents and their place of residence. 19Also, respondent failed to explain why he did not even try to get the help of the police or other authorities in London and Liverpool in his effort to find his wife. The circumstances of Janet Monica's departure and respondent's subsequent behavior make it very difficult to regard the claimed belief that Janet Monica was dead a well-founded one. In Goitia v. Campos-Rueda,
20

the Court stressed that:

. . . Marriage is an institution, the maintenance of which in its purity the public is deeply interested. It is a relationship for life and the parties cannot terminate it at any shorter period by virtue of any contract they make. . . . . 21 (Emphasis supplied) By the same token, the spouses should not be allowed, by the simple expedient of agreeing that one of them leave the conjugal abode and never to return again, to circumvent the policy of the laws on marriage. The Court notes that respondent even tried to have his marriage annulled before the trial court in the same proceeding. In In Re Szatraw, 22 the Court warned against such collusion between the parties when they find it impossible to dissolve the marital bonds through existing legal means. While the Court understands the need of respondent's young son, Gerry Nolasco, for maternal care, still the requirements of the law must prevail. Since respondent failed to satisfy the clear requirements of the law, his petition for a judicial declaration of presumptive death must be denied. The law does not view marriage like an ordinary contract. Article 1 of the Family Code emphasizes that. . . . 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. It is the foundation of the family and aninviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code. (Emphasis supplied) In Arroyo, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,
23

the Court stressed strongly the need to protect.

. . . the basic social institutions of marriage and the family in the preservation of which the State bas the strongest interest; the public policy here involved is of the most fundamental kind. In Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution there is set forth the following basic state policy:

The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. . . . The same sentiment bas been expressed in the Family Code of the Philippines in Article 149: The family, being the foundation of the nation, is a basic social institution which public policy cherishes and protects. Consequently, family relations are governed by law and no custom, practice or agreement destructive of the family shall be recognized or given effect. 24 In fine, respondent failed to establish that he had the well-founded belief required by law that his absent wife was already dead that would sustain the issuance of a court order declaring Janet Monica Parker presumptively dead. WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 23 February 1990, affirming the trial court's decision declaring Janet Monica Parker presumptively dead is hereby REVERSED and both Decisions are hereby NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Costs against respondent. Bidin, Davide, Jr., Romero and Melo, JJ., concur. Gutierrez, Jr. J., is on leave.

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 109975. February 9, 2001]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, DAGDAG, respondent. DECISION QUISUMBING, J.:

vs. ERLINDA

MATIAS

For review on certiorari is the decision[1]of the Court of Appeals dated April 22, 1993, in CA-G.R. CV No. 34378, which affirmed the decision of the Regi onal Trial Court of Olongapo City in Civil Case No. 380-0-90 declaring the marriage of Erlinda Matias Dagdag and Avelino Dagdag void under Article 36 of the Family Code. On September 7, 1975, Erlinda Matias, 16 years old, married Avelino Parangan Dagdag, 20 years old, at the Iglesia Filipina Independent Church in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija. [2] The marriage certificate was issued by the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of the Municipality of Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, on October 20, 1988.

Erlinda and Avelino begot two children, namely: Avelyn M. Dagdag, born on January 16, 1978; and Eden M. Dagdag, born on April 21, 1982.[3] Their birth certificates were issued by the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of the Municipality of Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, also on October 20, 1988. Erlinda and Avelino lived in a house in District 8, Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, located at the back of the house of their in-laws.[4] A week after the wedding, Avelino started leaving his family without explanation. He would disappear for months, suddenly reappear for a few months, then disappear again. During the times when he was with his family, he indulged in drinking sprees with friends and would return home drunk. He would force his wife to submit to sexual intercourse and if she refused, he would inflict physical injuries on her.[5] On October 1993, he left his family again and that was the last they heard from him. Erlinda was constrained to look for a job in Olongapo City as a manicurist to support herself and her children. Finally, Erlinda learned that Avelino was imprisoned for some crime,[6] and that he escaped from jail on October 22, 1985.[7] A certification therefor dated February 14, 1990, was issued by Jail Warden Orlando S. Limon. Avelino remains at-large to date. On July 3, 1990, Erlinda filed with the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City a petition for judicial declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code.[8] Since Avelino could not be located, summons was served by publication in the Olongapo News, a newspaper of general circulation, on September 3, 10, and 17, 1990.[9] Subsequently, a hearing was conducted to establish jurisdictional facts. Thereafter, on December 17, 1990, the date set for presentation of evidence, only Erlinda and her counsel appeared. Erlinda testified and presented her sister-in-law, Virginia Dagdag, as her only witness. Virginia testified that she is married to the brother of Avelino. She and her husband live in Olongapo City but they spend their vacations at the house of Avelinos parents in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija. She testified that Erlinda and Avelino always quarrelled, and that Avelino never stayed for long at the couples house. She knew that Avelino had been gone for a long time now, and that she pitied Erlinda and the children.[10] Thereafter, Erlinda rested her case. The trial court issued an Order giving the investigating prosecutor until January 2, 1991, to manifest in writing whether or not he would present controverting evidence, and stating that should he fail to file said manifestation, the case would be deemed submitted for decision. In compliance with the Order, the investigating prosecutor conducted an investigation and found that there was no collusion between the parties. However, he intended to intervene in the case to avoid fabrication of evidence.[11] On December 27, 1990, without waiting for the investigating prosecutors manifestation dated December 5, 1990, the trial court rendered a decision[12]declaring the marriage of Erlinda and Avelino void under Article 36 of the Family Code, disposing thus: WHEREFORE, and viewed from the foregoing considerations, the Court hereby declares the marriage celebrated at Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija between Erlinda Matias and Avelino Dagdag on 7 September 1975 to be null and void. The Local Civil Registrar of Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija is hereby ordered to enter into his Book of Marriage this declaration after this decision shall have become final and executory.

SO ORDERED. On January 29, 1991, the investigating prosecutor filed a Motion to Set Aside Judgment on the ground that the decision was prematurely rendered since he was given until January 2, 1991 to manifest whether he was presenting controverting evidence. The Office of the Solicitor General likewise filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision on the ground that the same is not in accordance with the evidence and the law. After requiring Erlinda to comment, the trial court denied the Motion for Reconsideration in an Order dated August 21, 1991 as follows:[13] This resolves the Motion for Reconsideration of the Decision of this Honorable Court dated December 27, 1990 filed by the Solicitor-General. The observation of the movant is to the effect that Mere alcoholism and abusiveness are not enough to show psychological incapacity. Nor is abandonment. These are common in marriage. There must be showing that these traits, stemmed from psychological incapacity existing at the time of celebration of the marriage. In the case at bar, the abandonment is prolonged as the husband left his wife and children since 1983. The defendant, while in jail escaped and whose present whereabouts are unknown. He failed to support his family for the same period of time, actuations clearly indicative of the failure of the husband to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage defined and enumerated under Article 68 of the Family Code. These findings of facts are uncontroverted. Defendants character traits, by their nature, existed at the time of marriage and became manifest only after the marriage. In rerum natura, these traits are manifestations of lack of marital responsibility and appear now to be incurable. Nothing can be graver since the family members are now left to fend for themselves. Contrary to the opinion of the Solicitor-General, these are not common in marriage. Let it be said that the provisions of Article 36 of the New Family Code, to assuage the sensibilities of the more numerous church, is a substitute for divorce (See: Sempio Diy, New Family Code, p. 36) in order to dissolve marriages that exist only in name. WHEREFORE, and the foregoing considered, the motion for Reconsideration aforecited is DENIED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED The Solicitor General appealed to the Court of Appeals, raising the sole assignment of error that: THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DECLARING APPELLEES MARRIAGE TO AVELINO DAGDAG NULL AND VOID ON THE GROUND OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY OF THE LATTER, PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 36 OF THE FAMILY CODE, THE PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY OF THE NATURE CONTEMPLATED BY THE LAW NOT HAVING BEEN PROVEN TO EXIST.[14] On April 22, 1993, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision[15] affirming the decision of the trial court, disposing thus:

Avelino Dagdag is psychologically incapacitated not only because he failed to perform the duties and obligations of a married person but because he is emotionally immature and irresponsible, an alcoholic, and a criminal. Necessarily, the plaintiff is now endowed with the right to seek the judicial declaration of nullity of their marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. Defendants constant non-fulfillment of any of such obligations is continously (sic) destroying the integrity or wholeness of his marriage with the plaintiff. (Pineda, The Family Code of the Philippines Annotated, 1992 Ed., p. 46).[16] Hence, the present petition for review,[17] filed by the Solicitor General. The Solicitor General contends that the alleged psychological incapacity of Avelino Dagdag is not of the nature contemplated by Article 36 of the Family Code. According to him, the Court of Appeals made an erroneous and incorrect interpretation of the phrase psychological incapacity and an incorrect application thereof to the facts of the case. Respondent, in her Comment, insists that the facts constituting psychological incapacity were proven by preponderance of evidence during trial. At issue is whether or not the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly declared the marriage as null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code, on the ground that the husband suffers from psychological incapacity as he is emotionally immature and irresponsible, a habitual alcoholic, and a fugitive from justice. Article 36 of the Family Code provides 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. Whether or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling for annulment of a marriage, depends crucially, more than in any field of the law, on the facts of the case. Each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its own facts. In regard to 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.[18] In Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina,[19] the Court laid down the following GUIDELINES in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code: (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. x x x (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 psychically 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 (Salita vs. Magtolis, 233 SCRA 100, June 13, 1994), 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 outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes. 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 Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code[20] as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code[21] 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 (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.[22] Taking into consideration these guidelines, it is evident that Erlinda failed to comply with the above-mentioned evidentiary requirements. 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. Further, the allegation that the husband is a fugitive from justice was not sufficiently proven. In fact, the crime for which he was arrested was not even alleged. The investigating prosecutor was likewise not given an opportunity to present controverting evidence since the trial courts decision was prematurely rendered. In the case of Hernandez v. Court of Appeals,[23] we affirmed the dismissal of the trial court and Court of Appeals of the petition for annulment on the ground of dearth of the evidence presented. We further explained therein that Moreover, 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. (Art. II, Sec. 12, Art. XV, Secs. 1-2) Thus, any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage. (citing Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, supra.)[24] WHEREFORE, the present petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals dated April 22, 1993, in CA-G.R. CV No. 34378 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. Bellosillo (Chairman), Mendoza, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. 112019 January 4, 1995 LEOUEL SANTOS, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND JULIA ROSARIO BEDIASANTOS, respondents.

VITUG, J.: Concededly a highly, if not indeed the most likely, controversial provision introduced by the Family Code is Article 36 (as amended by E.O. No. 227 dated 17 July 1987), which declares:

Art. 36. 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. The present petition for review on certiorari, at the instance of Leouel Santos ("Leouel"), brings into fore the above provision which is now invoked by him. Undaunted by the decisions of the court a quo 1 and the Court of Appeal, 2Leouel persists in beseeching its application in his attempt to have his marriage with herein private respondent, Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos ("Julia"), declared a nullity. It was in Iloilo City where Leouel, who then held the rank of First Lieutenant in the Philippine Army, first met Julia. The meeting later proved to be an eventful day for Leouel and Julia. On 20 September 1986, the two exchanged vows before Municipal Trial Court Judge Cornelio G. Lazaro of Iloilo City, followed, shortly thereafter, by a church wedding. Leouel and Julia lived with the latter's parents at the J. Bedia Compound, La Paz, Iloilo City. On 18 July 1987, Julia gave birth to a baby boy, and he was christened Leouel Santos, Jr. The ecstasy, however, did not last long. It was bound to happen, Leouel averred, because of the frequent interference by Julia's parents into the young spouses family affairs. Occasionally, the couple would also start a "quarrel" over a number of other things, like when and where the couple should start living independently from Julia's parents or whenever Julia would express resentment on Leouel's spending a few days with his own parents. On 18 May 1988, Julia finally left for the United Sates of America to work as a nurse despite Leouel's pleas to so dissuade her. Seven months after her departure, or on 01 January 1989, Julia called up Leouel for the first time by long distance telephone. She promised to return home upon the expiration of her contract in July 1989. She never did. When Leouel got a chance to visit the United States, where he underwent a training program under the auspices of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from 01 April up to 25 August 1990, he desperately tried to locate, or to somehow get in touch with, Julia but all his efforts were of no avail. Having failed to get Julia to somehow come home, Leouel filed with the regional trial Court of Negros Oriental, Branch 30, a complaint for "Voiding of marriage Under Article 36 of the Family Code" (docketed, Civil Case No. 9814). Summons was served by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in Negros Oriental. On 31 May 1991, respondent Julia, in her answer (through counsel), opposed the complaint and denied its allegations, claiming, in main, that it was the petitioner who had, in fact, been irresponsible and incompetent. A possible collusion between the parties to obtain a decree of nullity of their marriage was ruled out by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor (in its report to the court). On 25 October 1991, after pre-trial conferences had repeatedly been set, albeit unsuccessfully, by the court, Julia ultimately filed a manifestation, stating that she would neither appear nor submit evidence. On 06 November 1991, the court a quo finally dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. 3

Leouel appealed to the Court of Appeal. The latter affirmed the decision of the trial court. 4 The petition should be denied not only because of its non-compliance with Circular 28-91, which requires a certification of non-shopping, but also for its lack of merit. Leouel argues that the failure of Julia to return home, or at the very least to communicate with him, for more than five years are circumstances that clearly show her being psychologically incapacitated to enter into married life. In his own words, Leouel asserts: . . . (T)here is no leave, there is no affection for (him) because respondent Julia Rosario Bedia-Santos failed all these years to communicate with the petitioner. A wife who does not care to inform her husband about her whereabouts for a period of five years, more or less, is psychologically incapacitated. The family Code did not define the term "psychological incapacity." The deliberations during the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee, which has drafted the Code, can, however, provide an insight on the import of the provision. Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning: xxx xxx xxx Art. 36. . . . (7) Those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the celebration. On subparagraph (7), which as lifted from the Canon Law, Justice (Jose B.L.) Reyes suggested that they say "wanting in sufficient use," but Justice (Eduardo) Caguioa preferred to say "wanting in the sufficient use." On the other hand, Justice Reyes proposed that they say "wanting in sufficient reason." Justice Caguioa, however, pointed out that the idea is that one is not lacking in judgment but that he is lacking in the exercise of judgment. He added that lack of judgment would make the marriage voidable. Judge (Alicia Sempio-) Diy remarked that lack of judgment is more serious than insufficient use of judgment and yet the latter would make the marriage null and void and the former only voidable. Justice Caguioa suggested that subparagraph (7) be modified to read: "That contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the celebration." Justice Caguioa explained that the phrase "was wanting in sufficient use of reason of judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage" refers to defects in the mental faculties vitiating consent, which is

not the idea in subparagraph (7), but lack of appreciation of one's marital obligations. Judge Diy raised the question: Since "insanity" is also a psychological or mental incapacity, why is "insanity" only a ground for annulment and not for declaration or nullity? In reply, Justice Caguioa explained that in insanity, there is the appearance of consent, which is the reason why it is a ground for voidable marriages, while subparagraph (7) does not refer to consent but to the very essence of marital obligations. Prof. (Araceli) Baviera suggested that, in subparagraph (7), the word "mentally" be deleted, with which Justice Caguioa concurred. Judge Diy, however, prefers to retain the word "mentally." Justice Caguioa remarked that subparagraph (7) refers to psychological impotence. Justice (Ricardo) Puno stated that sometimes a person may be psychologically impotent with one but not with another. Justice (Leonor Ines-) Luciano said that it is called selective impotency. Dean (Fortunato) Gupit stated that the confusion lies in the fact that in inserting the Canon Law annulment in the Family Code, the Committee used a language which describes a ground for voidable marriages under the Civil Code. Justice Caguioa added that in Canon Law, there are voidable marriages under the Canon Law, there are no voidable marriages Dean Gupit said that this is precisely the reason why they should make a distinction. Justice Puno remarked that in Canon Law, the defects in marriage cannot be cured. Justice Reyes pointed out that the problem is: Why is "insanity" a ground for void ab initio marriages? In reply, Justice Caguioa explained that insanity is curable and there are lucid intervals, while psychological incapacity is not. On another point, Justice Puno suggested that the phrase "even if such lack or incapacity is made manifest" be modified to read "even if such lack or incapacity becomes manifest." Justice Reyes remarked that in insanity, at the time of the marriage, it is not apparent. Justice Caguioa stated that there are two interpretations of the phrase "psychological or mentally incapacitated" in the first one, there is vitiation of consent because one does not know all the consequences of the marriages, and if he had known these completely, he might not have consented to the marriage. xxx xxx xxx Prof. Bautista stated that he is in favor of making psychological incapacity a ground for voidable marriages since otherwise it will encourage one who really understood the consequences of marriage to claim that he did not and to

make excuses for invalidating the marriage by acting as if he did not understand the obligations of marriage. Dean Gupit added that it is a loose way of providing for divorce. xxx xxx xxx Justice Caguioa explained that his point is that in the case of incapacity by reason of defects in the mental faculties, which is less than insanity, there is a defect in consent and, therefore, it is clear that it should be a ground for voidable marriage because there is the appearance of consent and it is capable of convalidation for the simple reason that there are lucid intervals and there are cases when the insanity is curable. He emphasized that psychological incapacity does not refer to mental faculties and has nothing to do with consent; it refers to obligations attendant to marriage. xxx xxx xxx On psychological incapacity, Prof. (Flerida Ruth P.) Romero inquired if they do not consider it as going to the very essence of consent. She asked if they are really removing it from consent. In reply, Justice Caguioa explained that, ultimately, consent in general is effected but he stressed that his point is that it is not principally a vitiation of consent since there is a valid consent. He objected to the lumping together of the validity of the marriage celebration and the obligations attendant to marriage, which are completely different from each other, because they require a different capacity, which is eighteen years of age, for marriage but in contract, it is different. Justice Puno, however, felt that psychological incapacity is still a kind of vice of consent and that it should not be classified as a voidable marriage which is incapable of convalidation; it should be convalidated but there should be no prescription. In other words, as long as the defect has not been cured, there is always a right to annul the marriage and if the defect has been really cured, it should be a defense in the action for annulment so that when the action for annulment is instituted, the issue can be raised that actually, although one might have been psychologically incapacitated, at the time the action is brought, it is no longer true that he has no concept of the consequence of marriage. Prof. (Esteban) Bautista raised the question: Will not cohabitation be a defense? In response, Justice Puno stated that even the bearing of children and cohabitation should not be a sign that psychological incapacity has been cured. Prof. Romero opined that psychological incapacity is still insanity of a lesser degree. Justice Luciano suggested that they invite a psychiatrist, who is the expert on this matter. Justice Caguioa, however, reiterated that psychological incapacity is not a defect in the mind but in the understanding of the consequences of marriage, and therefore, a psychiatrist will not be a help. Prof. Bautista stated that, in the same manner that there is a lucid interval in insanity, there are also momentary periods when there is an understanding of the consequences of marriage. Justice Reyes and Dean Gupit remarked that the ground of psychological incapacity will not apply if the marriage was

contracted at the time when there is understanding of the consequences of marriage. 5 xxx xxx xxx Judge Diy proposed that they include physical incapacity to copulate among the grounds for void marriages. Justice Reyes commented that in some instances the impotence that in some instances the impotence is only temporary and only with respect to a particular person. Judge Diy stated that they can specify that it is incurable. Justice Caguioa remarked that the term "incurable" has a different meaning in law and in medicine. Judge Diy stated that "psychological incapacity" can also be cured. Justice Caguioa, however, pointed out that "psychological incapacity" is incurable. Justice Puno observed that under the present draft provision, it is enough to show that at the time of the celebration of the marriage, one was psychologically incapacitated so that later on if already he can comply with the essential marital obligations, the marriage is still void ab initio. Justice Caguioa explained that since in divorce, the psychological incapacity may occur after the marriage, in void marriages, it has to be at the time of the celebration of marriage. He, however, stressed that the idea in the provision is that at the time of the celebration of the marriage, one is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations, which incapacity continues and later becomes manifest. Justice Puno and Judge Diy, however, pointed out that it is possible that after the marriage, one's psychological incapacity become manifest but later on he is cured. Justice Reyes and Justice Caguioa opined that the remedy in this case is to allow him to remarry. 6 xxx xxx xxx Justice Puno formulated the next Article as follows: Art. 37. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated, to comply with the essential obligations of marriage shall likewise be void from the beginning even if such incapacity becomes manifest after its solemnization. Justice Caguioa suggested that "even if" be substituted with "although." On the other hand, Prof. Bautista proposed that the clause "although such incapacity becomes manifest after its solemnization" be deleted since it may encourage one to create the manifestation of psychological incapacity. Justice Caguioa pointed out that, as in than other provisions, they cannot argue on the basis of abuse. Judge Diy suggested that they also include mental and physical incapacities, which are lesser in degree psychological incapacity. Justice Caguioa explained

that mental and physical incapacities are vices of consent while psychological incapacity is not a species of vice or consent. Dean Gupit read what Bishop Cruz said on the matter in the minutes of their February 9, 1984 meeting: "On the third ground, Bishop Cruz indicated that the phrase "psychological or mental impotence" is an invention of some churchmen who are moralists but not canonists, that is why it is considered a weak phrase. He said that the Code of Canon Law would rather express it as "psychological or mental incapacity to discharge . . ." Justice Caguioa remarked that they deleted the word "mental" precisely to distinguish it from vice of consent. He explained that "psychological incapacity" refers to lack of understanding of the essential obligations of marriage. Justice Puno reminded the members that, at the last meeting, they have decided not to go into the classification of "psychological incapacity" because there was a lot of debate on it and that this is precisely the reason why they classified it as a special case. At this point, Justice Puno, remarked that, since there having been annulments of marriages arising from psychological incapacity, Civil Law should not reconcile with Canon Law because it is a new ground even under Canon Law. Prof. Romero raised the question: With this common provision in Civil Law and in Canon Law, are they going to have a provision in the Family Code to the effect that marriages annulled or declared void by the church on the ground of psychological incapacity is automatically annulled in Civil Law? The other members replied negatively. Justice Puno and Prof. Romero inquired if Article 37 should be retroactive or prospective in application. Justice Diy opined that she was for its retroactivity because it is their answer to the problem of church annulments of marriages, which are still valid under the Civil Law. On the other hand, Justice Reyes and Justice Puno were concerned about the avalanche of cases. Dean Gupit suggested that they put the issue to a vote, which the Committee approved. The members voted as follows: (1) Justice Reyes, Justice Puno and Prof. Romero were for prospectivity. (2) Justice Caguioa, Judge Diy, Dean Gupit, Prof. Bautista and Director Eufemio were for retroactivity.

(3) Prof. Baviera abstained. Justice Caguioa suggested that they put in the prescriptive period of ten years within which the action for declaration of nullity of the marriage should be filed in court. The Committee approved the suggestion. 7 It could well be that, in sum, the Family Code Revision Committee in ultimately deciding to adopt the provision with less specificity than expected, has in fact, so designed the law as to allow some resiliency in its application. Mme. Justice Alicia V. Sempio-Diy, a member of the Code Committee, has been quoted by Mr. Justice Josue N. Bellosillo in Salita vs. Hon.Magtolis (G.R. No. 106429, 13 June 1994); thus: 8 The Committee did not give any examples of psychological incapacity for fear that the giving of examples would limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. Rather, the Committee would like the judge to 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 which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision was taken from Canon Law. A part of the provision is similar to Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law, 9 which reads: Canon 1095. They are incapable of contracting marriage: 1. who lack sufficient use of reason; 2. who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of judgment concerning essentila matrimonial rights and duties, to be given and accepted mutually; 3. who for causes of psychological nature are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage. (Emphasis supplied.) Accordingly, although neither decisive nor even perhaps all that persuasive for having no juridical or secular effect, the jurisprudence under Canon Law prevailing at the time of the code's enactment, nevertheless, cannot be dismissed as impertinent for its value as an aid, at least, to the interpretation or construction of the codal provision. One author, Ladislas Orsy, S.J., in his treaties, 10 giving an account on how the third paragraph of Canon 1095 has been framed, states: The history of the drafting of this canon does not leave any doubt that the legislator intended, indeed, to broaden the rule. A strict and narrow norm was proposed first: Those who cannot assume the essential obligations of marriage because of a grave psycho-sexual anomaly (ob gravem anomaliam psychosexualem) are unable to contract marriage (cf.SCH/1975, canon 297, a new canon, novus); then a broader one followed:

. . . because of a grave psychological anomaly (ob gravem anomaliam psychicam) . . . (cf. SCH/1980, canon 1049); then the same wording was retained in the text submitted to the pope (cf. SCH/1982, canon 1095, 3); finally, a new version was promulgated: because of causes of a psychological nature (ob causas naturae psychiae). So the progress was from psycho-sexual to psychological anomaly, then the term anomaly was altogether eliminated. it would be, however, incorrect to draw the conclusion that the cause of the incapacity need not be some kind of psychological disorder; after all, normal and healthy person should be able to assume the ordinary obligations of marriage. Fr. Orsy concedes that the term "psychological incapacity" defies any precise definition since psychological causes can be of an infinite variety. In a book, entitled "Canons and Commentaries on Marriage," written by Ignatius Gramunt, Javier Hervada and LeRoy Wauck, the following explanation appears: This incapacity consists of the following: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage. Some psychosexual disorders and other disorders of personality can be the psychic cause of this defect, which is here described in legal terms. This particular type of incapacity consists of a real inability to render what is due by the contract. This could be compared to the incapacity of a farmer to enter a binding contract to deliver the crops which he cannot possibly reap; (b) this inability to commit oneself must refer to theessential obligations of marriage: the conjugal act, the community of life and love, the rendering of mutual help, the procreation and education of offspring; (c) the inability must be tantamount to a psychological abnormality. The mere difficulty of assuming these obligations, which could be overcome by normal effort, obviously does not constitute incapacity. The canon contemplates a true psychological disorder which incapacitates a person from giving what is due (cf. John Paul II, Address to R. Rota, Feb. 5, 1987). However, if the marriage is to be declared invalid under this incapacity, it must be proved not only that the person is afflicted by a psychological defect, but that the defect did in fact deprive the person, at the moment of giving consent, of the ability to assume the essential duties of marriage and consequently of the possibility of being bound by these duties. Justice Sempio-Diy 11 cites with approval the work of Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila (Branch 1), who opines 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 the marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.

It should be obvious, looking at all the foregoing disquisitions, including, and most importantly, the deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee itself, that the use of the phrase "psychological incapacity" under Article 36 of the Code has not been meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as, likewise mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities, extremely low intelligence, immaturity, and like circumstances (cited in Fr. Artemio Baluma's "Void and Voidable Marriages in the Family Code and their Parallels in Canon Law," quoting from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder by the American Psychiatric Association; Edward Hudson's "Handbook II for Marriage Nullity Cases"). Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be taken and construed independently of, but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts in our law on marriage. Thus correlated, "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 which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any 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 intensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. This pschologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated. The law does not evidently envision, upon the other hand, an inability of the spouse to have sexual relations with the other. This conclusion is implicit under Article 54 of the Family Code which considers children conceived prior to the judicial declaration of nullity of the void marriage to be "legitimate." The other forms of psychoses, if existing at the inception of marriage, like the state of a party being of unsound mind or concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism, merely renders the marriage contractvoidable pursuant to Article 46, Family Code. If drug addiction, habitual alcholism, lesbianism or homosexuality should occur only during the marriage, they become mere grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code. These provisions of the Code, however, do not necessarily preclude the possibility of these various circumstances being themselves, depending on the degree and severity of the disorder, indicia of psychological incapacity. Until further statutory and jurisprudential parameters are established, every circumstance that may have some bearing on the degree, extent, and other conditions of that incapacity must, in every case, be carefully examined and evaluated so that no precipitate and indiscriminate nullity is peremptorily decreed. The well-considered opinions of psychiatrists, psychologists, and persons with expertise in psychological disciplines might be helpful or even desirable. Marriage is not an adventure but a lifetime commitment. We should continue to be reminded that innate in our society, then enshrined in our Civil Code, and even now still indelible in Article 1 of the Family Code, is that Art. 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the

property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code. (Emphasis supplied.) Our Constitution is no less emphatic: Sec. 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development. Sec. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State. (Article XV, 1987 Constitution). The above provisions express so well and so distinctly the basic nucleus of our laws on marriage and the family, and they are doubt the tenets we still hold on to. The factual settings in the case at bench, in no measure at all, can come close to the standards required to decree a nullity of marriage. Undeniably and understandably, Leouel stands aggrieved, even desperate, in his present situation. Regrettably, neither law nor society itself can always provide all the specific answers to every individual problem. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J., Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur. Feliciano, J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 119190 January 16, 1997 CHI MING TSOI, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and GINA LAO-TSOI, respondents.

TORRES, JR., J.:

Man has not invented a reliable compass by which to steer a marriage in its journey over troubled waters. Laws are seemingly inadequate. Over time, much reliance has been placed in the works of the unseen hand of Him who created all things. Who is to blame when a marriage fails? This case was originally commenced by a distraught wife against her uncaring husband in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 89) which decreed the annulment of the marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity. Petitioner appealed the decision of the trial court to respondent Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No. 42758) which affirmed the Trial Court's decision November 29, 1994 and correspondingly denied the motion for reconsideration in a resolution dated February 14, 1995. The statement of the case and of the facts made by the trial court and reproduced by the Court of Appeals 1 its decision are as follows: From the evidence adduced, the following acts were preponderantly established: Sometime on May 22, 1988, the plaintiff married the defendant at the Manila Cathedral, . . . Intramuros Manila, as evidenced by their Marriage Contract. (Exh. "A") After the celebration of their marriage and wedding reception at the South Villa, Makati, they went and proceeded to the house of defendant's mother. There, they slept together on the same bed in the same room for the first night of their married life. It is the version of the plaintiff, that contrary to her expectations, that as newlyweds they were supposed to enjoy making love, or having sexual intercourse, with each other, the defendant just went to bed, slept on one side thereof, then turned his back and went to sleep . There was no sexual intercourse between them during the first night. The same thing happened on the second, third and fourth nights. In an effort to have their honeymoon in a private place where they can enjoy together during their first week as husband and wife, they went to Baguio City. But, they did so together with her mother, an uncle, his mother and his nephew. They were all invited by the defendant to join them. [T]hey stayed in Baguio City for four (4) days. But, during this period, there was no sexual intercourse between them, since the defendant avoided her by taking a long walk during siesta time or by just sleeping on a rocking chair located at the living room. They slept together in the same room and on the same bed since May 22, 1988 until March 15, 1989. But during this period, there was no attempt of sexual intercourse between them. [S]he claims, that she did not: even see her husband's private parts nor did he see hers. Because of this, they submitted themselves for medical examinations to Dr. Eufemio Macalalag, a urologist at the Chinese General Hospital, on January 20, 1989. The results of their physical examinations were that she is healthy, normal and still a virgin, while that of her husband's examination was kept confidential up to this time. While no medicine was prescribed for her, the doctor prescribed medications for her

husband which was also kept confidential. No treatment was given to her. For her husband, he was asked by the doctor to return but he never did. The plaintiff claims, that the defendant is impotent, a closet homosexual as he did not show his penis. She said, that she had observed the defendant using an eyebrow pencil and sometimes the cleansing cream of his mother. And that, according to her, the defendant married her, a Filipino citizen, to acquire or maintain his residency status here in the country and to publicly maintain the appearance of a normal man. The plaintiff is not willing to reconcile with her husband. On the other hand, it is the claim of the defendant that if their marriage shall be annulled by reason of psychological incapacity, the fault lies with his wife. But, he said that he does not want his marriage with his wife annulled for several reasons, viz: (1) that he loves her very much; (2) that he has no defect on his part and he is physically and psychologically capable; and, (3) since the relationship is still very young and if there is any differences between the two of them, it can still be reconciled and that, according to him, if either one of them has some incapabilities, there is no certainty that this will not be cured. He further claims, that if there is any defect, it can be cured by the intervention of medical technology or science. The defendant admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual contact between them. But, the reason for this, according to the defendant, was that everytime he wants to have sexual intercourse with his wife, she always avoided him and whenever he caresses her private parts, she always removed his hands. The defendant claims, that he forced his wife to have sex with him only once but he did not continue because she was shaking and she did not like it. So he stopped. There are two (2) reasons, according to the defendant , why the plaintiff filed this case against him, and these are: (1) that she is afraid that she will be forced to return the pieces of jewelry of his mother, and, (2) that her husband, the defendant, will consummate their marriage. The defendant insisted that their marriage will remain valid because they are still very young and there is still a chance to overcome their differences. The defendant submitted himself to a physical examination. His penis was examined by Dr. Sergio Alteza, Jr., for the purpose of finding out whether he is impotent . As a result thereof, Dr. Alteza submitted his Doctor's Medical Report. (Exh. "2"). It is stated there, that there is no evidence of impotency (Exh. "2-B"), and he is capable of erection. (Exh. "2-C") The doctor said, that he asked the defendant to masturbate to find out whether or not he has an erection and he found out that from the original size of two (2) inches, or five (5) centimeters, the penis of the defendant lengthened by one (1) inch and one centimeter. Dr. Alteza said, that the defendant had only a soft erection which is why his penis is not in its full length. But, still is capable of further erection, in that

with his soft erection, the defendant is capable of having sexual intercourse with a woman. In open Court, the Trial Prosecutor manifested that there is no collusion between the parties and that the evidence is not fabricated." 2 After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads: ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered declaring as VOID the marriage entered into by the plaintiff with the defendant on May 22, 1988 at the Manila Cathedral, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Intramuros, Manila, before the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Melencio de Vera. Without costs. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City. Let another copy be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. SO ORDERED. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision. Hence, the instant petition. Petitioner alleges that the respondent Court of Appeals erred: I in affirming the conclusions of the lower court that there was no sexual intercourse between the parties without making any findings of fact. II in holding that the refusal of private respondent to have sexual communion with petitioner is a psychological incapacity inasmuch as proof thereof is totally absent. III in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private respondent to have sex with each other constitutes psychological incapacity of both. IV in affirming the annulment of the marriage between the parties decreed by the lower court without fully satisfying itself that there was no collusion between them. We find the petition to be bereft of merit. Petitioner contends that being the plaintiff in Civil Case No. Q-89-3141, private respondent has the burden of proving the allegations in her complaint; that since there was no independent evidence to prove the alleged non-coitus between the parties, there remains no other basis for the court's conclusion except the admission of petitioner; that public policy should aid acts intended to validate marriage and should retard acts intended to invalidate them; that the conclusion drawn by the trial court on the admissions and

confessions of the parties in their pleadings and in the course of the trial is misplaced since it could have been a product of collusion; and that in actions for annulment of marriage, the material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved. 3 Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court reads: Section 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party's pleading, the court may, on motion of that party, direct judgment on such pleading. But in actions for annulment of marriage or for legal separation the material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved. The foregoing provision pertains to a judgment on the pleadings. What said provision seeks to prevent is annulment of marriage without trial. The assailed decision was not based on such a judgment on the pleadings. When private respondent testified under oath before the trial court and was cross-examined by oath before the trial court and was crossexamined by the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in form of a testimony. After such evidence was presented, it be came incumbent upon petitioner to present his side. He admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual intercourse between them. To prevent collusion between the parties is the reason why, as stated by the petitioner, the Civil Code provides that no judgment annulling a marriage shall be promulgated upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment (Arts. 88 and 101[par. 2]) and the Rules of Court prohibit such annulment without trial (Sec. 1, Rule 19). The case has reached this Court because petitioner does not want their marriage to be annulled. This only shows that there is no collusion between the parties. When petitioner admitted that he and his wife (private respondent) have never had sexual contact with each other, he must have been only telling the truth. We are reproducing the relevant portion of the challenged resolution denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration, penned with magisterial lucidity by Associate Justice Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes, viz: The judgment of the trial court which was affirmed by this Court is not based on a stipulation of facts. The issue of whether or not the appellant is psychologically incapacitated to discharge a basic marital obligation was resolved upon a review of both the documentary and testimonial evidence on record. Appellant admitted that he did not have sexual relations with his wife after almost ten months of cohabitation, and it appears that he is not suffering from any physical disability. Such abnormal reluctance or unwillingness to consummate his marriage is strongly indicative of a serious personality disorder which to the mind of this Court clearly demonstrates an 'utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage' within the meaning of Article 36 of the Family Code (See Santos vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995). 4 Petitioner further contends that respondent court erred in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private respondent to have sex with each other constitutes psychological incapacity of both. He points out as error the failure of the trial court to make "a categorical finding about the alleged psychological incapacity and an in-depth analysis of the reasons for such refusal which may not be necessarily due to physchological disorders" because there might have been other reasons, i.e., physical

disorders, such as aches, pains or other discomforts, why private respondent would not want to have sexual intercourse from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989, in a short span of 10 months. First, it must be stated that neither the trial court nor the respondent court made a finding on who between petitioner and private respondent refuses to have sexual contact with the other. The fact remains, however, that there has never been coitus between them. At any rate, since the action to declare the marriage void may be filed by either party, i.e., even the psychologically incapacitated, the question of who refuses to have sex with the other becomes immaterial. Petitioner claims that there is no independent evidence on record to show that any of the parties is suffering from phychological incapacity. Petitioner also claims that he wanted to have sex with private respondent; that the reason for private respondent's refusal may not be psychological but physical disorder as stated above. We do not agree. Assuming it to be so, petitioner could have discussed with private respondent or asked her what is ailing her, and why she balks and avoids him everytime he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. He never did. At least, there is nothing in the record to show that he had tried to find out or discover what the problem with his wife could be. What he presented in evidence is his doctor's Medical Report that there is no evidence of his impotency and he is capable of erection. 5 Since it is petitioner's claim that the reason is not psychological but perhaps physical disorder on the part of private respondent, it became incumbent upon him to prove such a claim. If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential marriage obligations, and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals attribute the causes to psychological incapacity than to stubborn refusal. Senseless and protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Thus, the prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse is considered a sign of psychological incapacity.6 Evidently, one of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is "To procreate children based on the universal principle that procreation of children through sexual cooperation is the basic end of marriage." Constant non- fulfillment of this obligation will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage. In the case at bar, the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is equivalent to psychological incapacity. As aptly stated by the respondent court, An examination of the evidence convinces Us that the husband's plea that the wife did not want carnal intercourse with him does not inspire belief. Since he was not physically impotent, but he refrained from sexual intercourse during the entire time (from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989) that he occupied the same bed with his wife, purely out of symphaty for her feelings, he deserves to be doubted for not having asserted his right seven though she balked (Tompkins vs. Tompkins, 111 Atl. 599, cited in I Paras, Civil Code, at p. 330). Besides, if it were true that it is the wife was suffering from incapacity, the fact that defendant did not go to court and seek the declaration of nullity weakens his claim. This case was instituted by the wife whose normal expectations of her marriage were frustrated by her husband's inadequacy.

Considering the innate modesty of the Filipino woman, it is hard to believe that she would expose her private life to public scrutiny and fabricate testimony against her husband if it were not necessary to put her life in order and put to rest her marital status. We are not impressed by defendant's claim that what the evidence proved is the unwillingness or lack of intention to perform the sexual act, which is not phychological incapacity, and which can be achieved "through proper motivation." After almost ten months of cohabitation, the admission that the husband is reluctant or unwilling to perform the sexual act with his wife whom he professes to love very dearly, and who has not posed any insurmountable resistance to his alleged approaches, is indicative of a hopeless situation, and of a serious personality disorder that constitutes psychological incapacity to discharge the basic marital covenants within the contemplation of the Family Code. 7 While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the sanction therefor is actually the "spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and wife and not any legal mandate or court order" (Cuaderno vs. Cuaderno 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared with another. Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say "I could not have cared less." This is so because an ungiven self is an unfulfilled self. The egoist has nothing but himself. In the natural order, it is sexual intimacy which brings spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual intimacy is a gift and a participation in the mystery of creation. It is a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the continuation of family relations. It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private respondent. That is a shared feeling which between husband and wife must be experienced not only by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each other's feelings at a time it is needed by the other can go a long way in deepening the marital relationship. Marriage is definitely not for children but for two consenting adults who view the relationship with love amor gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing commitment to compromise, conscious of its value as a sublime social institution. This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties found themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated marital obligations, can do no less but sustain the studied judgment of respondent appellate court. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING PREMISES , the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated November 29, 1994 is hereby AFFIRMED in all respects and the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED. Regalado, Romero, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 136490. October 19, 2000]

BRENDA B. MARCOS, petitioner, vs. WILSON G. MARCOS, respondent. DECISION PANGANIBAN, J.: Psychological incapacity, as a ground for declaring the nullity of a marriage, may be established by the totality of evidence presented. There is no requirement, however, that the respondent should be examined by a physician or a psychologist as a conditio sine qua non for such declaration.
The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the July 24, 1998 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 55588, which disposed as follows: "WHEREFORE, the contested decision is set aside and the marriage between the parties is hereby declared valid."[2] Also challenged by petitioner is the December 3, 1998 CA Resolution denying her Motion for Reconsideration. Earlier, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) had ruled thus: "WHEREFORE, the marriage between petitioner Brenda B. Marcos and respondent Wilson G. Marcos, solemnized on September 6, 1982 in Pasig City is declared null and void ab initio pursuant to Art. 36 of the Family Code. The conjugal properties, if any, is dissolved [sic] in accordance with Articles 126 and 129 of the same Code in relation to Articles 50, 51 and 52 relative to the delivery of the legitime of [the] parties' children. In the best interest and welfare of the minor children, their custody is granted to petitioner subject to the visitation rights of respondent. "Upon finality of this Decision, furnish copy each to the Office of the Civil Registrar of Pasig City where the marriage was solemnized, the National Census and Statistics Office, Manila and the Register of Deeds of Mandaluyong City for their appropriate action consistent with this Decision. "SO ORDERED."
The Facts

The facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows:

"It was established during the trial that the parties were married twice: (1) on September 6, 1982 which was solemnized by Judge Eriberto H. Espiritu at the Municipal Court of Pasig (Exh. A); and (2) on May 8, 1983 which was solemnized by Rev. Eduardo L. Eleazar, Command Chaplain, at the Presidential Security Command Chapel in Malacaang Park, Manila (Exh. A-1). Out of their marriage, five (5) children were born (Exhs. B, C, D, E and F). "Appellant Wilson G. Marcos joined the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1973. Later on, he was transferred to the Presidential Security Command in Malacaang during the Marcos Regime. Appellee Brenda B. Marcos, on the other hand, joined the Women's Auxilliary Corps under the Philippine Air Force in 1978. After the Edsa Revolution, both of them sought a discharge from the military service. "They first met sometime in 1980 when both of them were assigned at the Malacaang Palace, she as an escort of Imee Marcos and he as a Presidential Guard of President Ferdinand Marcos. Through telephone conversations, they became acquainted and eventually became sweethearts. "After their marriage on September 6, 1982, they resided at No. 1702 Daisy Street, Hulo Bliss, Mandaluyong, a housing unit which she acquired from the Bliss Development Corporation when she was still single. "After the downfall of President Marcos, he left the military service in 1987 and then engaged in different business ventures that did not however prosper. As a wife, she always urged him to look for work so that their children would see him, instead of her, as the head of the family and a good provider. Due to his failure to engage in any gainful employment, they would often quarrel and as a consequence, he would hit and beat her. He would even force her to have sex with him despite her weariness. He would also inflict physical harm on their children for a slight mistake and was so severe in the way he chastised them. Thus, for several times during their cohabitation, he would leave their house. In 1992, they were already living separately. "All the while, she was engrossed in the business of selling "magic uling" and chickens. While she was still in the military, she would first make deliveries early in the morning before going to Malacaang. When she was discharged from the military service, she concentrated on her business. Then, she became a supplier in the Armed Forces of the Philippines until she was able to put up a trading and construction company, NS Ness Trading and Construction Development Corporation. "The 'straw that broke the camel's back' took place on October 16, 1994, when they had a bitter quarrel. As they were already living separately, she did not want him to stay in their house anymore. On that day, when she saw him in their house, she was so angry that she lambasted him. He then turned violent, inflicting physical harm on her and even on her mother who came to her aid. The following day, October 17, 1994, she and their children left the house and sought refuge in her sister's house. "On October 19, 1994, she submitted herself [to] medical examination at the Mandaluyong Medical Center where her injuries were diagnosed as contusions (Exh. G, Records, 153). "Sometime in August 1995, she together with her two sisters and driver, went to him at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong to look for their missing child, Niko. Upon seeing them, he

got mad. After knowing the reason for their unexpected presence, he ran after them with a samurai and even [beat] her driver. "At the time of the filing of this case, she and their children were renting a house in Camella, Paraaque, while the appellant was residing at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong. "In the case study conducted by Social Worker Sonia C. Millan, the children described their father as cruel and physically abusive to them (Exh. UU, Records, pp. 85-100). "The appellee submitted herself to psychologist Natividad A. Dayan, Ph.D., for psychological evaluation (Exh. YY, Records, pp. 207-216), while the appellant on the other hand, did not. "The court a quo found the appellant to be psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations mainly because of his failure to find work to support his family and his violent attitude towards appellee and their children, x x x."[3]
Ruling of the Court of Appeals

Reversing the RTC, the CA held that psychological incapacity had not been established by the totality of the evidence presented. It ratiocinated in this wise: "Essential in a petition for annulment is the allegation of the root cause of the spouse's psychological incapacity which should also be medically or clinically identified, sufficiently proven by experts and clearly explained in the decision. The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage and shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. It must also be grave enough to bring about the disability of the parties to assume the essential obligations of marriage as set forth in Articles 68 to 71 and Articles 220 to 225 of the Family Code and such non-complied marital obligations must similarly be alleged in the petition, established by evidence and explained in the decision. "In the case before us, the appellant was not subjected to any psychological or psychiatric evaluation. The psychological findings about the appellant by psychiatrist Natividad Dayan were based only on the interviews conducted with the appellee. Expert evidence by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists is essential if only to prove that the parties were or any one of them was mentally or psychically ill to be truly incognitive of the marital obligations he or she was assuming, or as would make him or her x x x unable to assume them. In fact, he offered testimonial evidence to show that he [was] not psychologically incapacitated. The root cause of his supposed incapacity was not alleged in the petition, nor medically or clinically identified as a psychological illness or sufficiently proven by an expert. Similarly, there is no evidence at all that would show that the appellant was suffering from an incapacity which [was] psychological or mental - not physical to the extent that he could not have known the obligations he was assuming: that the incapacity [was] grave, ha[d] preceded the marriage and [was] incurable."[4] Hence, this Petition.[5]

Issues

In her Memorandum,[6] petitioner presents for this Court's consideration the following issues: "I. Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals could set aside the findings by the Regional Trial Court of psychological incapacity of a respondent in a Petition for declaration of nullity of marriage simply because the respondent did not subject himself to psychological evaluation. II. Whether or not the totality of evidence presented and the demeanor of all the witnesses should be the basis of the determination of the merits of the Petition."[7]
The Court's Ruling

We agree with petitioner that the personal medical or psychological examination of respondent is not a requirement for a declaration ofpsychological incapacity. Nevertheless, the totality of the evidence she presented does not show such incapacity.
Preliminary Issue: Need for Personal Medical Examination

Petitioner contends that the testimonies and the results of various tests that were submitted to determine respondent's psychological incapacity to perform the obligations of marriage should not have been brushed aside by the Court of Appeals, simply because respondent had not taken those tests himself. Petitioner adds that the CA should have realized that under the circumstances, she had no choice but to rely on other sources of information in order to determine the psychological capacity of respondent, who had refused to submit himself to such tests. In Republic v. CA and Molina,[8] the guidelines governing the application and the interpretation of psychological incapacity referred to in Article 36 of the Family Code[9] were laid down by this Court as follows: "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. xxxxxxxxx 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 psychically 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 do's.' 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 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 outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes. 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 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 noncomplied 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. xxxxxxxxx (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 the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095."[10]

function

of

The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court in Santos v. Court of Appeals:[11] "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 party's 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.
Main Issue: Totality of Evidence Presented

The main question, then, is whether the totality of the evidence presented in the present case -- including the testimonies of petitioner, the common children, petitioner's sister and the social worker -- was enough to sustain a finding that respondent was psychologically incapacitated. We rule in the negative. Although this Court is sufficiently convinced that respondent failed to provide material support to the family and may have resorted to physical abuse and abandonment, the totality of his acts does not lead to a conclusion of psychological incapacity on his part.There is absolutely no showing that his "defects" were already present at the inception of the marriage or that they are incurable. Verily, the behavior of respondent can be attributed to the fact that he had lost his job and was not gainfully employed for a period of more than six years. It was during this period that he became intermittently drunk, failed to give material and moral support, and even left the family home. Thus, his alleged psychological illness was traced only to said period and not to the inception of the marriage. Equally important, there is no evidence showing that his condition is incurable, especially now that he is gainfully employed as a taxi driver. Article 36 of the Family Code, we stress, is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefor 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. Neither is Article 36 to be equated with legal separation, in which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but on physical violence, moral pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity, abandonment and the like.[12]At best, the evidence presented by petitioner refers only to grounds for legal separation, not for declaring a marriage void. Because Article 36 has been abused as a convenient divorce law, this Court laid down the procedural requirements for its invocation inMolina. Petitioner, however, has not faithfully observed them.

In sum, this Court cannot declare the dissolution of the marriage for failure of petitioner to show that the alleged psychological incapacity is characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability; and for her failure to observe the guidelines outlined in Molina. WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and assailed Decision AFFIRMED, except that portion requiring personal medical examination as a conditio sine qua non to a finding of psychological incapacity. No costs. SO ORDERED. Melo, (Chairman), Vitug, Purisima, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.R. No. 155800 March 10, 2006

LEONILO ANTONIO Petitioner, vs. MARIE IVONNE F. REYES, Respondent. DECISION TINGA, J.: Statistics never lie, but lovers often do, quipped a sage. This sad truth has unsettled many a love transformed into matrimony. Any sort of deception between spouses, no matter the gravity, is always disquieting. Deceit to the depth and breadth unveiled in the following pages, dark and irrational as in the modern noir tale, dims any trace of certitude on the guilty spouses capability to fulfill the marital obligations even more. The Petition for Review on Certiorari assails the Decision1 and Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals dated 29 November 2001 and 24 October 2002. The Court of Appeals had reversed the judgment3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati declaring the marriage of Leonilo N. Antonio (petitioner) and Marie Ivonne F. Reyes (respondent), null and void. After careful consideration, we reverse and affirm instead the trial court. Antecedent Facts Petitioner and respondent met in August 1989 when petitioner was 26 years old and respondent was 36 years of age. Barely a year after their first meeting, they got married before a minister of the Gospel4 at the Manila City Hall, and through a subsequent church wedding5 at the Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish, Bagong Ilog, Pasig, Metro Manila on 6 December 1990.6Out of their union, a child was born on 19 April 1991, who sadly died five (5) months later.

On 8 March 1993,7 petitioner filed a petition to have his marriage to respondent declared null and void. He anchored his petition for nullity on Article 36 of the Family Code alleging that respondent was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. He asserted that respondents incapacity existed at the time their marriage was celebrated and still subsists up to the present.8 As manifestations of respondents alleged psychological incapacity, petitioner claimed that respondent persistently lied about herself, the people around her, her occupation, income, educational attainment and other events or things, 9 to wit: (1) She concealed the fact that she previously gave birth to an illegitimate son,10 and instead introduced the boy to petitioner as the adopted child of her family. She only confessed the truth about the boys parentage when petitioner learned about it from other sources after their marriage.11 (2) She fabricated a story that her brother-in-law, Edwin David, attempted to rape and kill her when in fact, no such incident occurred.12 (3) She misrepresented herself as a psychiatrist to her obstetrician, Dr. Consuelo Gardiner, and told some of her friends that she graduated with a degree in psychology, when she was neither.13 (4) She claimed to be a singer or a free-lance voice talent affiliated with Blackgold Recording Company (Blackgold); yet, not a single member of her family ever witnessed her alleged singing activities with the group. In the same vein, she postulated that a luncheon show was held at the Philippine Village Hotel in her honor and even presented an invitation to that effect14 but petitioner discovered per certification by the Director of Sales of said hotel that no such occasion had taken place.15 (5) She invented friends named Babes Santos and Via Marquez, and under those names, sent lengthy letters to petitioner claiming to be from Blackgold and touting her as the "number one moneymaker" in the commercial industry worth P2 million.16 Petitioner later found out that respondent herself was the one who wrote and sent the letters to him when she admitted the truth in one of their quarrels.17 He likewise realized that Babes Santos and Via Marquez were only figments of her imagination when he discovered they were not known in or connected with Blackgold.18 (6) She represented herself as a person of greater means, thus, she altered her payslip to make it appear that she earned a higher income. She bought a sala set from a public market but told petitioner that she acquired it from a famous furniture dealer.19 She spent lavishly on unnecessary items and ended up borrowing money from other people on false pretexts.20 (7) She exhibited insecurities and jealousies over him to the extent of calling up his officemates to monitor his whereabouts. When he could no longer take her unusual behavior, he separated from her in August 1991. He tried to attempt a reconciliation but since her behavior did not change, he finally left her for good in November 1991.21 In support of his petition, petitioner presented Dr. Dante Herrera Abcede (Dr. Abcede), a psychiatrist, and Dr. Arnulfo V.

Lopez (Dr. Lopez), a clinical psychologist, who stated, based on the tests they conducted, that petitioner was essentially a normal, introspective, shy and conservative type of person. On the other hand, they observed that respondents persistent and constant lying to petitioner was abnormal or pathological. It undermined the basic relationship that should be based on love, trust and respect.22 They further asserted that respondents extreme jealousy was also pathological. It reached the point of paranoia since there was no actual basis for her to suspect that petitioner was having an affair with another woman. They concluded based on the foregoing that respondent was psychologically incapacitated to perform her essential marital obligations.23 In opposing the petition, respondent claimed that she performed her marital obligations by attending to all the needs of her husband. She asserted that there was no truth to the allegation that she fabricated stories, told lies and invented personalities.24 She presented her version, thus: (1) She concealed her child by another man from petitioner because she was afraid of losing her husband.25 (2) She told petitioner about Davids attempt to rape and kill her because she surmised such intent from Davids act of touching her back and ogling her from head to foot.26 (3) She was actually a BS Banking and Finance graduate and had been teaching psychology at the Pasig Catholic School for two (2) years.27 (4) She was a free-lance voice talent of Aris de las Alas, an executive producer of Channel 9 and she had done three (3) commercials with McCann Erickson for the advertisement of Coca-cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Traders Royal Bank. She told petitioner she was a Blackgold recording artist although she was not under contract with the company, yet she reported to the Blackgold office after office hours. She claimed that a luncheon show was indeed held in her honor at the Philippine Village Hotel on 8 December 1979.28 (5) She vowed that the letters sent to petitioner were not written by her and the writers thereof were not fictitious. Bea Marquez Recto of the Recto political clan was a resident of the United States while Babes Santos was employed with Saniwares.29 (6) She admitted that she called up an officemate of her husband but averred that she merely asked the latter in a diplomatic matter if she was the one asking for chocolates from petitioner, and not to monitor her husbands whereabouts.30 (7) She belied the allegation that she spent lavishly as she supported almost ten people from her monthly budget ofP7,000.00.31 In fine, respondent argued that apart from her non-disclosure of a child prior to their marriage, the other lies attributed to her by petitioner were mostly hearsay and unconvincing. Her stance was that the totality of the evidence presented is not sufficient for a finding of psychological incapacity on her part.32 In addition, respondent presented Dr. Antonio Efren Reyes (Dr. Reyes), a psychiatrist, to refute the allegations anent her psychological condition. Dr. Reyes testified that the series of tests conducted by his assistant,33 together with the screening procedures and the

Comprehensive Psycho-Pathological Rating Scale (CPRS) he himself conducted, led him to conclude that respondent was not psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations. He postulated that regressive behavior, gross neuroticism, psychotic tendencies, and poor control of impulses, which are signs that might point to the presence of disabling trends, were not elicited from respondent.34 In rebuttal, Dr. Lopez asseverated that there were flaws in the evaluation conducted by Dr. Reyes as (i) he was not the one who administered and interpreted respondents psychological evaluation, and (ii) he made use of only one instrument called CPRS which was not reliable because a good liar can fake the results of such test.35 After trial, the lower court gave credence to petitioners evidence and held that respondents propensity to lying about almost anythingher occupation, state of health, singing abilities and her income, among othershad been duly established. According to the trial court, respondents fantastic ability to invent and fabricate stories and personalities enabled her to live in a world of make-believe. This made her psychologically incapacitated as it rendered her incapable of giving meaning and significance to her marriage.36 The trial court thus declared the marriage between petitioner and respondent null and void. Shortly before the trial court rendered its decision, the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Manila annulled the Catholic marriage of the parties, on the ground of lack of due discretion on the part of the parties.37 During the pendency of the appeal before the Court of Appeals, the Metropolitan Tribunals ruling was affirmed with modification by both the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, which held instead that only respondent was impaired by a lack of due discretion.38 Subsequently, the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal was upheld by the Roman Rota of the Vatican.39 Petitioner duly alerted the Court of Appeals of these rulings by the Catholic tribunals. Still, the appellate court reversed the RTCs judgment. While conceding that respondent may not have been completely honest with petitioner, the Court of Appeals nevertheless held that the totality of the evidence presented was insufficient to establish respondents psychological incapacity. It declared that the requirements in the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals40 governing the application and interpretation of psychological incapacity had not been satisfied. Taking exception to the appellate courts pronouncement, petitioner elevated the case to this Court. He contends herein that the evidence conclusively establish respondents psychological incapacity. In considering the merit of this petition, the Court is heavily influenced by the credence accorded by the RTC to the factual allegations of petitioner.41 It is a settled principle of civil procedure that the conclusions of the trial court regarding the credibility of witnesses are entitled to great respect from the appellate courts because the trial court had an opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses while giving testimony which may indicate their candor or lack thereof.42 The Court is likewise guided by the fact that the Court of Appeals did not dispute the veracity of the evidence presented by petitioner. Instead, the appellate court concluded that such evidence was not sufficient to establish the psychological incapacity of respondent.43

Thus, the Court is impelled to accept the factual version of petitioner as the operative facts. Still, the crucial question remains as to whether the state of facts as presented by petitioner sufficiently meets the standards set for the declaration of nullity of a marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. These standards were definitively laid down in the Courts 1997 ruling in Republic v. Court of Appeals44 (also known as the Molina case45), and indeed the Court of Appeals cited theMolina guidelines in reversing the RTC in the case at bar.46 Since Molina was decided in 1997, the Supreme Court has yet to squarely affirm the declaration of nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.47 In fact, even before Molinawas handed down, there was only one case, Chi Ming Tsoi v. Court of Appeals,48 wherein the Court definitively concluded that a spouse was psychologically incapacitated under Article 36. This state of jurisprudential affairs may have led to the misperception that the remedy afforded by Article 36 of the Family Code is hollow, insofar as the Supreme Court is concerned.49 Yet what Molina and the succeeding cases did ordain was a set of guidelines which, while undoubtedly onerous on the petitioner seeking the declaration of nullity, still leave room for a decree of nullity under the proper circumstances. Molina did not foreclose the grant of a decree of nullity under Article 36, even as it raised the bar for its allowance. Legal Guides to Understanding Article 36 Article 36 of the Family Code states that "[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."50 The concept of psychological incapacity as a ground for nullity of marriage is novel in our body of laws, although mental incapacity has long been recognized as a ground for the dissolution of a marriage. The Spanish Civil Code of 1889 prohibited from contracting marriage persons "who are not in the full enjoyment of their reason at the time of contracting marriage."51 Marriages with such persons were ordained as void,52 in the same class as marriages with underage parties and persons already married, among others. A partys mental capacity was not a ground for divorce under the Divorce Law of 1917,53 but a marriage where "either party was of unsound mind" at the time of its celebration was cited as an "annullable marriage" under the Marriage Law of 1929.54 Divorce on the ground of a spouses incurable insanity was permitted under the divorce law enacted during the Japanese occupation.55 Upon the enactment of the Civil Code in 1950, a marriage contracted by a party of "unsound mind" was classified under Article 85 of the Civil Code as a voidable marriage.56 The mental capacity, or lack thereof, of the marrying spouse was not among the grounds for declaring a marriage void ab initio.57 Similarly, among the marriages classified as voidable under Article 45 (2) of the Family Code is one contracted by a party of unsound mind.58 Such cause for the annulment of marriage is recognized as a vice of consent, just like insanity impinges on consent freely given which is one of the essential requisites of a contract.59 The initial common consensus on psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code was that it did not constitute a specie of vice of consent. Justices SempioDiy and Caguioa, both members of the Family Code revision committee that drafted the Code, have opined that psychological incapacity is not a vice of consent, and conceded that the spouse may have given free and voluntary consent to a marriage but was nonetheless incapable of fulfilling such rights and obligations.60 Dr. Tolentino likewise stated in the 1990 edition of his commentaries on the Family Code that this "psychological

incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations does not affect the consent to the marriage."61 There were initial criticisms of this original understanding of Article 36 as phrased by the Family Code committee. Tolentino opined that "psychologically incapacity to comply would not be juridically different from physical incapacity of consummating the marriage, which makes the marriage only voidable under Article 45 (5) of the Civil Code x x x [and thus] should have been a cause for annulment of the marriage only."62 At the same time, Tolentino noted "[it] would be different if it were psychological incapacity to understand the essential marital obligations, because then this would amount to lack of consent to the marriage."63 These concerns though were answered, beginning with Santos v. Court of Appeals,64 wherein the Court, through Justice Vitug, acknowledged 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 concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage."65 The notion that psychological incapacity pertains to the inability to understand the obligations of marriage, as opposed to a mere inability to comply with them, was further affirmed in the Molina66 case. Therein, the Court, through then Justice (now Chief Justice) Panganiban observed that "[t]he evidence [to establish psychological incapacity] must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically ill to such extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereto."67 Jurisprudence since then has recognized that psychological incapacity "is a malady so grave and permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume."68 It might seem that this present understanding of psychological incapacity deviates from the literal wording of Article 36, with its central phase reading "psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage."69 At the same time, it has been consistently recognized by this Court that the intent of the Family Code committee was to design the law as to allow some resiliency in its application, by avoiding specific examples that would limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. Rather, the preference of the revision committee was for "the judge to interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, in the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision was taken from Canon Law."70 We likewise observed in Republic v. Dagdag:71 Whether or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling for annulment of a marriage, depends crucially, more than in any field of the law, on the facts of the case. Each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its own facts. In regard to 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.72 The Court thus acknowledges that the definition of psychological incapacity, as intended by the revision committee, was not cast in intractable specifics. Judicial understanding of psychological incapacity may be informed by evolving standards, taking into account the particulars of each case, current trends in psychological and even canonical thought, and experience. It is under the auspices of the deliberate ambiguity of the framers that the Court has developed the Molinarules, which have been consistently applied since 1997. Molina has proven indubitably useful in providing a unitary framework that guides courts in adjudicating petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. At the same time, theMolina guidelines are not set in stone, the clear legislative intent mandating a case-tocase perception of each situation, and Molina itself arising from this evolutionary understanding of Article 36. There is no cause to disavow Molina at present, and indeed the disposition of this case shall rely primarily on that precedent. There is need though to emphasize other perspectives as well which should govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. Of particular notice has been the citation of the Court, first in Santos then in Molina, of the considered opinion of canon law experts in the interpretation of psychological incapacity. This is but unavoidable, considering that the Family Code committee had bluntly acknowledged that the concept of psychological incapacity was derived from canon law,73 and as one member admitted, enacted as a solution to the problem of marriages already annulled by the Catholic Church but still existent under civil law.74 It would be disingenuous to disregard the influence of Catholic Church doctrine in the formulation and subsequent understanding of Article 36, and the Court has expressly acknowledged that interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the local Church, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts.75 Still, it must be emphasized that the Catholic Church is hardly the sole source of influence in the interpretation of Article 36. Even though the concept may have been derived from canon law, its incorporation into the Family Code and subsequent judicial interpretation occurred in wholly secular progression. Indeed, while Church thought on psychological incapacity is merely persuasive on the trial courts, judicial decisions of this Court interpreting psychological incapacity are binding on lower courts.76 Now is also opportune time to comment on another common legal guide utilized in the adjudication of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. All too frequently, this Court and lower courts, in denying petitions of the kind, have favorably cited Sections 1 and 2, Article XV of the Constitution, which respectively state that "[t]he State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total developmen[t]," and that "[m]arriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State." These provisions highlight the importance of the family and the constitutional protection accorded to the institution of marriage. But the Constitution itself does not establish the parameters of state protection to marriage as a social institution and the foundation of the family. It remains the province of the legislature to define all legal aspects of marriage and prescribe the strategy and the modalities to protect it, based on whatever socio-political influences it deems proper, and

subject of course to the qualification that such legislative enactment itself adheres to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This being the case, it also falls on the legislature to put into operation the constitutional provisions that protect marriage and the family. This has been accomplished at present through the enactment of the Family Code, which 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. While it may appear that the judicial denial of a petition for declaration of nullity is reflective of the constitutional mandate to protect marriage, such action in fact merely enforces a statutory definition of marriage, not a constitutionally ordained decree of what marriage is. Indeed, if circumstances warrant, Sections 1 and 2 of Article XV need not be the only constitutional considerations to be taken into account in resolving a petition for declaration of nullity. Indeed, Article 36 of the Family Code, in classifying marriages contracted by a psychologically incapacitated person as a nullity, should be deemed as an implement of this constitutional protection of marriage. Given the avowed State interest in promoting marriage as the foundation of the family, which in turn serves as the foundation of the nation, there is a corresponding interest for the State to defend against marriages illequipped to promote family life. Void ab initio marriages under Article 36 do not further the initiatives of the State concerning marriage and family, as they promote wedlock among persons who, for reasons independent of their will, are not capacitated to understand or comply with the essential obligations of marriage. These are the legal premises that inform us as we decide the present petition. Molina Guidelines As Applied in This Case As stated earlier, Molina established the guidelines presently recognized in the judicial disposition of petitions for nullity under Article 36. The Court has consistently applied Molina since its promulgation in 1997, and the guidelines therein operate as the general rules. They warrant citation in full: 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 psychologicalnot 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 psychically 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 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 outbursts" cannot be accepted as root causes. 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 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. 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. Ideallysubject to our law on evidencewhat is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed civilly void.77

Molina had provided for an additional requirement that the Solicitor General issue a certification stating his reasons for his agreement or opposition to the petition.78 This requirement however was dispensed with following the implementation of A.M. No. 02-1110-SC, or the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages.79 Still, Article 48 of the Family Code mandates that the appearance of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned be on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. Obviously, collusion is not an issue in this case, considering the consistent vigorous opposition of respondent to the petition for declaration of nullity. In any event, the fiscals participation in the hearings before the trial court is extant from the records of this case. As earlier noted, the factual findings of the RTC are now deemed binding on this Court, owing to the great weight accorded to the opinion of the primary trier of facts, and the refusal of the Court of Appeals to dispute the veracity of these facts. As such, it must be considered that respondent had consistently lied about many material aspects as to her character and personality. The question remains whether her pattern of fabrication sufficiently establishes her psychological incapacity, consistent with Article 36 and generally, the Molina guidelines. We find that the present case sufficiently satisfies the guidelines in Molina. First. Petitioner had sufficiently overcome his burden in proving the psychological incapacity of his spouse. Apart from his own testimony, he presented witnesses who corroborated his allegations on his wifes behavior, and certifications from Blackgold Records and the Philippine Village Hotel Pavillon which disputed respondents claims pertinent to her alleged singing career. He also presented two (2) expert witnesses from the field of psychology who testified that the aberrant behavior of respondent was tantamount to psychological incapacity. In any event, both courts below considered petitioners evidence as credible enough. Even the appellate court acknowledged that respondent was not totally honest with petitioner.80 As in all civil matters, the petitioner in an action for declaration of nullity under Article 36 must be able to establish the cause of action with a preponderance of evidence. However, since the action cannot be considered as a non-public matter between private parties, but is impressed with State interest, the Family Code likewise requires the participation of the State, through the prosecuting attorney, fiscal, or Solicitor General, to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. Thus, even if the petitioner is able establish the psychological incapacity of respondent with preponderant evidence, any finding of collusion among the parties would necessarily negate such proofs. Second. The root cause of respondents psychological incapacity has been medically or clinically identified, alleged in the complaint, sufficiently proven by experts, and clearly explained in the trial courts decision. The initiatory complaint alleged that respondent, from the start, had exhibited unusual and abnormal behavior "of peren[n]ially telling lies, fabricating ridiculous stories, and inventing personalities and situations," of writing letters to petitioner using fictitious names, and of lying about her actual occupation, income, educational attainment, and family background, among others.81

These allegations, initially characterized in generalities, were further linked to medical or clinical causes by expert witnesses from the field of psychology. Petitioner presented two (2) such witnesses in particular. Dr. Abcede, a psychiatrist who had headed the department of psychiatry of at least two (2) major hospitals,82 testified as follows: WITNESS: Given that as a fact, which is only based on the affidavit provided to me, I can say that there are a couple of things that [are] terribly wrong with the standards. There are a couple of things that seems (sic) to be repeated over and over again in the affidavit. One of which is the persistent, constant and repeated lying of the "respondent"; which, I think, based on assessment of normal behavior of an individual, is abnormal or pathological. x x x ATTY. RAZ: (Back to the witness) Q- Would you say then, Mr. witness, that because of these actuations of the respondent she is then incapable of performing the basic obligations of her marriage? A- Well, persistent lying violates the respect that one owes towards another. The lack of concern, the lack of love towards the person, and it is also something that endangers human relationship. You see, relationship is based on communication between individuals and what we generally communicate are our thoughts and feelings. But then when one talks and expresse[s] their feelings, [you] are expected to tell the truth. And therefore, if you constantly lie, what do you think is going to happen as far as this relationship is concerned. Therefore, it undermines that basic relationship that should be based on love, trust and respect. Q- Would you say then, Mr. witness, that due to the behavior of the respondent in constantly lying and fabricating stories, she is then incapable of performing the basic obligations of the marriage? xxx ATTY. RAZ: (Back to the witness) Q- Mr. witness, based on the testimony of Mr. Levy Mendoza, who is the third witness for the petitioner, testified that the respondent has been calling up the petitioners officemates and ask him (sic) on the activities of the petitioner and ask him on the behavior of the petitioner. And this is specifically stated on page six (6) of the transcript of stenographic notes, what can you say about this, Mr. witness? A- If an individual is jealous enough to the point that he is paranoid, which means that there is no actual basis on her suspect (sic) that her husband is having an affair with a woman, if carried on to the extreme, then that is pathological. That is not abnormal. We all feel jealous, in the same way as we also lie every now and then; but everything that is carried out in extreme is abnormal or pathological. If there is no basis in reality to the fact that the husband is having an affair with another woman and if she persistently believes that the husband is having an affair with different women, then that is pathological and we call that paranoid jealousy.

Q- Now, if a person is in paranoid jealousy, would she be considered psychologically incapacitated to perform the basic obligations of the marriage? A- Yes, Maam.83 The other witness, Dr. Lopez, was presented to establish not only the psychological incapacity of respondent, but also the psychological capacity of petitioner. He concluded that respondent "is [a] pathological liar, that [she continues] to lie [and] she loves to fabricate about herself."84 These two witnesses based their conclusions of psychological incapacity on the case record, particularly the trial transcripts of respondents testimony, as well as the supporting affidavits of petitioner. While these witnesses did not personally examine respondent, the Court had already held in Marcos v. Marcos85 that personal examination of the subject by the physician is not required for the spouse to be declared psychologically incapacitated.86 We deem the methodology utilized by petitioners witnesses as sufficient basis for their medical conclusions. Admittedly, Drs. Abcede and Lopezs common conclusion of respondents psychological incapacity hinged heavily on their own acceptance of petitioners version as the true set of facts. However, since the trial court itself accepted the veracity of petitioners factual premises, there is no cause to dispute the conclusion of psychological incapacity drawn therefrom by petitioners expert witnesses. Also, with the totality of the evidence presented as basis, the trial court explicated its finding of psychological incapacity in its decision in this wise: To the mind of the Court, all of the above are indications that respondent is psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential obligations of marriage. It has been shown clearly from her actuations that respondent has that propensity for telling lies about almost anything, be it her occupation, her state of health, her singing abilities, her income, etc. She has this fantastic ability to invent and fabricate stories and personalities. She practically lived in a world of make believe making her therefore not in a position to give meaning and significance to her marriage to petitioner. In persistently and constantly lying to petitioner, respondent undermined the basic tenets of relationship between spouses that is based on love, trust and respect. As concluded by the psychiatrist presented by petitioner, such repeated lying is abnormal and pathological and amounts to psychological incapacity.87 Third. Respondents psychological incapacity was established to have clearly existed at the time of and even before the celebration of marriage. She fabricated friends and made up letters from fictitious characters well before she married petitioner. Likewise, she kept petitioner in the dark about her natural childs real parentage as she only confessed when the latter had found out the truth after their marriage. Fourth. The gravity of respondents psychological incapacity is sufficient to prove her disability to assume the essential obligations of marriage. It is immediately discernible that the parties had shared only a little over a year of cohabitation before the exasperated petitioner left his wife. Whatever such circumstance speaks of the degree of tolerance of petitioner, it likewise supports the belief that respondents psychological incapacity, as borne by the record, was so grave in extent that any prolonged marital life was dubitable.

It should be noted that the lies attributed to respondent were not adopted as false pretenses in order to induce petitioner into marriage. More disturbingly, they indicate a failure on the part of respondent to distinguish truth from fiction, or at least abide by the truth. Petitioners witnesses and the trial court were emphatic on respondents inveterate proclivity to telling lies and the pathologic nature of her mistruths, which according to them, were revelatory of respondents inability to understand and perform the essential obligations of marriage. Indeed, a person unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality would similarly be unable to comprehend the legal nature of the marital bond, much less its psychic meaning, and the corresponding obligations attached to marriage, including parenting. One unable to adhere to reality cannot be expected to adhere as well to any legal or emotional commitments. The Court of Appeals somehow concluded that since respondent allegedly tried her best to effect a reconciliation, she had amply exhibited her ability to perform her marital obligations. We are not convinced. Given the nature of her psychological condition, her willingness to remain in the marriage hardly banishes nay extenuates her lack of capacity to fulfill the essential marital obligations. Respondents ability to even comprehend what the essential marital obligations are is impaired at best. Considering that the evidence convincingly disputes respondents ability to adhere to the truth, her avowals as to her commitment to the marriage cannot be accorded much credence. At this point, it is worth considering Article 45(3) of the Family Code which states that a marriage may be annulled if the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, and Article 46 which enumerates the circumstances constituting fraud under the previous article, clarifies that "no other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, health, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage." It would be improper to draw linkages between misrepresentations made by respondent and the misrepresentations under Articles 45 (3) and 46. The fraud under Article 45(3) vitiates the consent of the spouse who is lied to, and does not allude to vitiated consent of the lying spouse. In this case, the misrepresentations of respondent point to her own inadequacy to cope with her marital obligations, kindred to psychological incapacity under Article 36. Fifth. Respondent is evidently unable to comply with the essential marital obligations as embraced by Articles 68 to 71 of the Family Code. Article 68, in particular, enjoins the spouses to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support. As noted by the trial court, it is difficult to see how an inveterate pathological liar would be able to commit to the basic tenets of relationship between spouses based on love, trust and respect. Sixth. The Court of Appeals clearly erred when it failed to take into consideration the fact that the marriage of the parties was annulled by the Catholic Church. The appellate court apparently deemed this detail totally inconsequential as no reference was made to it anywhere in the assailed decision despite petitioners efforts to bring the matter to its attention.88Such deliberate ignorance is in contravention of Molina, which held that 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. As noted earlier, the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Manila decreed the invalidity of the marriage in question in a Conclusion89 dated 30 March 1995, citing the

"lack of due discretion" on the part of respondent.90 Such decree of nullity was affirmed by both the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal,91 and the Roman Rota of the Vatican.92 In fact, respondents psychological incapacity was considered so grave that a restrictive clause93 was appended to the sentence of nullity prohibiting respondent from contracting another marriage without the Tribunals consent. In its Decision dated 4 June 1995, the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal pronounced: The JURISRPRUDENCE in the Case maintains that matrimonial consent is considered ontologically defective and wherefore judicially ineffective when elicited by a Part Contractant in possession and employ of a discretionary judgment faculty with a perceptive vigor markedly inadequate for the practical understanding of the conjugal Covenant or serious impaired from the correct appreciation of the integral significance and implications of the marriage vows. The FACTS in the Case sufficiently prove with the certitude required by law that based on the depositions of the Partes in Causa and premised on the testimonies of the Common and Expert Witnesse[s], the Respondent made the marriage option in tenure of adverse personality constracts that were markedly antithetical to the substantive content and implications of the Marriage Covenant, and that seriously undermined the integrality of her matrimonial consent in terms of its deliberative component. In other words, afflicted with a discretionary faculty impaired in its practico-concrete judgment formation on account of an adverse action and reaction pattern, the Respondent was impaired from eliciting a judicially binding matrimonial consent. There is no sufficient evidence in the Case however to prove as well the fact of grave lack of due discretion on the part of the Petitioner.94 Evidently, the conclusion of psychological incapacity was arrived at not only by the trial court, but also by canonical bodies. Yet, we must clarify the proper import of the Church rulings annulling the marriage in this case. They hold sway since they are drawn from a similar recognition, as the trial court, of the veracity of petitioners allegations. Had the trial court instead appreciated respondents version as correct, and the appellate court affirmed such conclusion, the rulings of the Catholic Church on this matter would have diminished persuasive value. After all, it is the factual findings of the judicial trier of facts, and not that of the canonical courts, that are accorded significant recognition by this Court. Seventh. The final point of contention is the requirement in Molina that such psychological incapacity be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. It was on this score that the Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the trial court, the appellate court noting that it did not appear certain that respondents condition was incurable and that Dr. Abcede did not testify to such effect.95 Petitioner points out that one month after he and his wife initially separated, he returned to her, desiring to make their marriage work. However, respondents aberrant behavior remained unchanged, as she continued to lie, fabricate stories, and maintained her excessive jealousy. From this fact, he draws the conclusion that respondents condition is incurable.

From the totality of the evidence, can it be definitively concluded that respondents condition is incurable? It would seem, at least, that respondents psychosis is quite grave, and a cure thereof a remarkable feat. Certainly, it would have been easier had petitioners expert witnesses characterized respondents condition as incurable. Instead, they remained silent on whether the psychological incapacity was curable or incurable. But on careful examination, there was good reason for the experts taciturnity on this point. The petitioners expert witnesses testified in 1994 and 1995, and the trial court rendered its decision on 10 August 1995. These events transpired well before Molina was promulgated in 1997 and made explicit the requirement that the psychological incapacity must be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Such requirement was not expressly stated in Article 36 or any other provision of the Family Code. On the other hand, the Court in Santos, which was decided in January 1995, began its discussion by first citing the deliberations of the Family Code committee,96 then the opinion of canonical scholars,97 before arriving at its formulation of the doctrinal definition of psychological incapacity.98 Santos did refer to Justice Caguioas opinion expressed during the deliberations that "psychological incapacity is incurable,"99 and the view of a former presiding judge of the Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Manila that psychological incapacity must be characterized "by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability."100 However, in formulating the doctrinal rule on psychological incapacity, the Court in Santos omitted any reference to incurability as a characteristic of psychological incapacity.101 This disquisition is material as Santos was decided months before the trial court came out with its own ruling that remained silent on whether respondents psychological incapacity was incurable. Certainly, Santos did not clearly mandate that the incurability of the psychological incapacity be established in an action for declaration of nullity. At least, there was no jurisprudential clarity at the time of the trial of this case and the subsequent promulgation of the trial courts decision that required a medical finding of incurability. Such requisite arose only with Molina in 1997, at a time when this case was on appellate review, or after the reception of evidence. We are aware that in Pesca v. Pesca,102 the Court countered an argument that Molina and Santos should not apply retroactively with the observation that the interpretation or construction placed by the courts of a law constitutes a part of that law as of the date the statute in enacted.103 Yet we approach this present case from utterly practical considerations. The requirement that psychological incapacity must be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable is one that necessarily cannot be divined without expert opinion. Clearly in this case, there was no categorical averment from the expert witnesses that respondents psychological incapacity was curable or incurable simply because there was no legal necessity yet to elicit such a declaration and the appropriate question was not accordingly propounded to him. If we applyPesca without deep reflection, there would be undue prejudice to those cases tried before Molina or Santos, especially those presently on appellate review, where presumably the respective petitioners and their expert witnesses would not have seen the need to adduce a diagnosis of incurability. It may hold in those cases, as in this case, that

the psychological incapacity of a spouse is actually incurable, even if not pronounced as such at the trial court level. We stated earlier that Molina is not set in stone, and that the interpretation of Article 36 relies heavily on a case-to-case perception. It would be insensate to reason to mandate in this case an expert medical or clinical diagnosis of incurability, since the parties would have had no impelling cause to present evidence to that effect at the time this case was tried by the RTC more than ten (10) years ago. From the totality of the evidence, we are sufficiently convinced that the incurability of respondents psychological incapacity has been established by the petitioner. Any lingering doubts are further dispelled by the fact that the Catholic Church tribunals, which indubitably consider incurability as an integral requisite of psychological incapacity, were sufficiently convinced that respondent was so incapacitated to contract marriage to the degree that annulment was warranted. All told, we conclude that petitioner has established his cause of action for declaration of nullity under Article 36 of the Family Code. The RTC correctly ruled, and the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the trial court. There is little relish in deciding this present petition, pronouncing as it does the marital bond as having been inexistent in the first place. It is possible that respondent, despite her psychological state, remains in love with petitioner, as exhibited by her persistent challenge to the petition for nullity. In fact, the appellate court placed undue emphasis on respondents avowed commitment to remain in the marriage. Yet the Court decides these cases on legal reasons and not vapid sentimentality. Marriage, in legal contemplation, is more than the legitimatization of a desire of people in love to live together. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the RTC dated 10 August 1995, declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent NULL and VOID under Article 36 of the Family Code, is REINSTATED. No costs. SO ORDERED Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. 162368 July 17, 2006

MA. ARMIDA PEREZ-FERRARIS, petitioner, vs. BRIX FERRARIS, respondent. RESOLUTION YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: This resolves the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Ma. Armida Perez-Ferraris of the Resolution dated June 9, 2004 denying the petition for review on certiorari of the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated April 30, 2003 and February 24,

2004, respectively, for failure of the petitioner to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error. On February 20, 2001, the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 151 rendered a Decision1 denying the petition for declaration of nullity of petitioner's marriage with Brix Ferraris. The trial court noted that suffering from epilepsy does not amount to psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Civil Code and the evidence on record were insufficient to prove infidelity. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in an Order2 dated April 20, 2001 where the trial court reiterated that there was no evidence that respondent is mentally or physically ill to such an extent that he could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed3 in toto the judgment of the trial court. It held that the evidence on record did not convincingly establish that respondent was suffering from psychological incapacity or that his "defects" were incurable and already present at the inception of the marriage.4 The Court of Appeals also found that Dr. Dayan's testimony failed to establish the substance of respondent's psychological incapacity; that she failed to explain how she arrived at the conclusion that the respondent has a mixed personality disorder; that she failed to clearly demonstrate that there was a natal or supervening disabling factor or an adverse integral element in respondent's character that effectively incapacitated him from accepting and complying with the essential marital obligations.5 Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied6 for lack of merit; thus, she filed a petition for review on certiorari with this Court. As already stated, the petition for review was denied for failure of petitioner to show that the appellate tribunal committed any reversible error. Petitioner filed the instant motion for reconsideration.7 The Court required respondent Brix Ferraris to file comment8 but failed to comply; thus, he is deemed to have waived the opportunity to file comment. Further, the Court directed the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on petitioner's motion for reconsideration which it complied on March 2, 2006. After considering the arguments of both the petitioner and the OSG, the Court resolves to deny petitioner's motion for reconsideration. The issue of whether or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling for annulment of marriage depends crucially, more than in any field of the law, on the facts of the case.9 Such factual issue, however, is beyond the province of this Court to review. It is not the function of the Court to analyze or weigh all over again the evidence or premises supportive of such factual determination.10 It is a well-established principle that factual findings of the trial court, when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding on this Court,11 save for the most compelling and cogent reasons, like when the findings of the appellate court go beyond the issues of the case, run contrary to the admissions of the parties to the case, or fail to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly considered, will justify a different conclusion; or when there is a misappreciation of facts,12 which are unavailing in the instant case.

The term "psychological incapacity" to be a ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, 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.13 As all people may have certain quirks and idiosyncrasies, or isolated characteristics associated with certain personality disorders, there is hardly any 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.14 It is for this reason that the Court relies heavily on psychological experts for its understanding of the human personality. However, the root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature must be fully explained,15 which petitioner failed to convincingly demonstrate. As aptly held by the Court of Appeals: Simply put, the chief and basic consideration in the resolution of marital annulment cases is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish respondent's psychological condition. Here, appellant contends that there is such evidence. We do not agree. Indeed, the evidence on record did not convincingly establish that respondent was suffering from psychological incapacity. There is absolutely no showing that his "defects" were already present at the inception of the marriage, or that those are incurable. Quite apart from being plainly self-serving, petitioner's evidence showed that respondent's alleged failure to perform his so-called marital obligations was not at all a manifestation of some deep-seated, grave, permanent and incurable psychological malady. To be sure, the couple's relationship before the marriage and even during their brief union (for well about a year or so) was not all bad. During that relatively short period of time, petitioner was happy and contented with her life in the company of respondent. In fact, by petitioner's own reckoning, respondent was a responsible and loving husband. x x x. Their problems began when petitioner started doubting respondent's fidelity. It was only when they started fighting about the calls from women that respondent began to withdraw into his shell and corner, and failed to perform his so-called marital obligations. Respondent could not understand petitioner's lack of trust in him and her constant naggings. He thought her suspicions irrational. Respondent could not relate to her anger, temper and jealousy. x x x. xxxx At any rate, Dr. Dayan did not explain how she arrived at her diagnosis that respondent has a mixed personality disorder called "schizoid," and why he is the "dependent and avoidant type." In fact, Dr. Dayan's statement that one suffering from such mixed personality disorder is dependent on others for decision x x x lacks specificity; it seems to belong to the realm of theoretical speculation. Also, Dr. Dayan's information that respondent had extramarital affairs was supplied by the petitioner herself. Notably, when asked as to the root cause of respondent's alleged psychological incapacity, Dr. Dayan's answer was vague, evasive and inconclusive. She replied that such disorder "can be part of his family upbringing" x x x. She stated that there was a history of respondent's parents having difficulties in their

relationship. But this input on the supposed problematic history of respondent's parents also came from petitioner. Nor did Dr. Dayan clearly demonstrate that there was really "a natal or supervening disabling factor" on the part of respondent, or an "adverse integral element" in respondent's character that effectively incapacitated him from accepting, and, thereby complying with, the essential marital obligations. Of course, petitioner likewise failed to prove that respondent's supposed psychological or mental malady existed even before the marriage. All these omissions must be held up against petitioner, for the reason that upon her devolved the onus of establishing nullity of the marriage. Indeed, any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage and the indissolubility of the marital vinculum.16 We find respondent's alleged mixed personality disorder, the "leaving-the-house" attitude whenever they quarreled, the violent tendencies during epileptic attacks, the sexual infidelity, the abandonment and lack of support, and his preference to spend more time with his band mates than his family, are not rooted on some debilitating psychological condition but a mere refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage. In Republic v. Court of Appeals,17 where therein respondent preferred to spend more time with his friends than his family on whom he squandered his money, depended on his parents for aid and assistance, and was dishonest to his wife regarding his finances, the Court held that the psychological defects spoken of were more of a "difficulty," if not outright "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of some marital obligations and that a mere showing of irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities in no wise constitute psychological incapacity; it is not enough to prove that the parties failed to meet their responsibilities and duties as married persons; it is essential that they must be shown to be incapable of doing so, due to some psychological, not physical, illness. Also, we held in Hernandez v. Court of Appeals18 that habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and abandonment do not by themselves constitute grounds for declaring a marriage void based on psychological incapacity. While petitioner's marriage with the 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.19 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.20 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 35,21 37,22 38,23 and 4124 that would likewise, but for different reasons, render the marriage void ab initio, or Article 4525 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.26 Article 36 should not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefor manifest themselves.27 Neither it is to be equated with legal separation, in which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but on physical violence,

moral pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity, abandonment and the like.28 WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration of the Resolution dated June 9, 2004 denying the petition for review on certiorari for failure of the petitioner to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error, is DENIED WITH FINALITY. SO ORDERED. Panganiban, C.J., Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., Chico-Nazario, J.J., concur. FIRST DIVISION [G.R. No. 173294, February 27, 2008] RENNE ENRIQUE BIER, G.R. No. 173294 Petitioner, vs. MA. LOURDES A. BIER and THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. DECISION CORONA, J.: This petition for review on certiorari[1] seeks to set aside the March 20, 2006 decision[2] and July 3, 2006 resolution[3] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 66952. Petitioner Renne Enrique E. Bier met respondent Ma. Lourdes A. Bier through his sister. Their courtship, which blossomed as a result of the exchange of long distance calls between them, lasted six months. Back then, petitioner observed respondent to be a very sweet and thoughtful person. This, he said, made him fall in love with her. On July 26, 1992, six months after their first meeting, they were married at the UST Santissimo Rosario Parish Church. Everything went well for the first three years of their marriage. Respondent was everything petitioner could hope for in a wife sweet, loving and caring. She also took good care of the house. As petitioner was based in Saudi Arabia as an electronics technician at Saudia Airlines, the parties decided to maintain two residences, one in the Philippines and another in Saudi Arabia. They took turns shuttling between the two countries just so they could spend time together. The couple started experiencing marital problems after three years of marriage. According to petitioner, respondent ceased to be the person he knew and married. She started becoming aloof towards him and began to spend more time with her friends than with him, refusing even to have sexual relations with him for no apparent reason. She became an alcoholic and a chain-smoker. She also started neglecting her husband's needs and the upkeep of their home, and became an absentee wife. After being gone from their home for days on end, she would return without bothering to account for her absence. As a result, they frequently quarreled. Finally, on April 10, 1997, respondent suddenly left for the United States. Petitioner has not heard from her since. On April 1, 1998, petitioner instituted in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 89, a petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground that

respondent was psychologically incapacitated to fulfill her essential marital obligations to petitioner. It was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-98-33993. Per sheriff's return, summons was served through substituted service as personal service proved futile. Respondent, however, did not file an answer. Thereafter, the RTC ordered Assistant City Prosecutor Edgardo T. Paragua to investigate if there was collusion between the parties and to intervene for the State to see to it that evidence was not fabricated. Assistant City Prosecutor Paragua manifested that, since both parties failed to appear before him, he was unable to make a ruling on the issue of collusion and determine if the evidence was fabricated. After petitioner filed his pre-trial brief, Prosecutor Paragua filed a second manifestation stating that petitioner had appeared before him and that, after investigation, he was convinced that there was no collusion between the parties and that the evidence was not fabricated. At pre-trial, only petitioner appeared. As respondent failed to attend the same, the RTC declared her to have waived the pre-trial. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued. Again, respondent did not take part in the proceedings. Petitioner filed a written offer of exhibits which was admitted by the trial court. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a certification and manifested its disfavor towards declaring the marriage null and void. It argued that no persuasive evidence was presented warranting the grant of the petition, specially since petitioner failed to comply with the guidelines laid down in Republic v. CA and Molina[4] (Molina). After trial, the trial court rendered judgment[5] granting the petition: WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring as VOID, based upon the respondent's psychological incapacity, the marriage contracted on July 26, 1992 between Renne Enrique E. Bier and Ma. Lourdes A. Bier. As such, their property relations shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership pursuant to Article 147 of the Family Code. Henceforth, their property relations shall be governed by the regime of complete separation of property. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Civil Registrar General, National Census and Statistics Office and the Local Civil Registrar of Manila, ordering them to attach a copy of this Decision to the Marriage Contract of herein petitioner and respondent on file with respective office. With costs against the respondent. SO ORDERED. Respondent Republic of the Philippines, through the OSG, appealed the decision of the RTC to the CA, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 66952. The CA held that petitioner failed to comply with the guidelines laid down in Molina as the root cause of respondent's psychological incapacity was not medically or clinically identified. Worse, the same was not even alleged in the petition filed in the court a quo. As such, it granted the appeal and reversed the decision of the trial court. The dispositive portion of the assailed decision[6] read:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is GRANTED. The Decision dated 06 March 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 89 in Civil Case No. Q-9833993, which declared as void the marriage between appellee and respondent, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The marriage of Renne Enrique E. Bier and respondent Ma. Lourdes A. Bier remains valid and subsisting. No costs. SO ORDERED. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the CA decision. The same was denied. Hence, this recourse. Petitioner contends that the guidelines enunciated in Molina, specifically its directive that the root cause of the psychological incapacity must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained, and that it must be proven to be existing at the inception of the marriage, need not be strictly complied with as Molina itself stated the guidelines were merely handed down for the guidance of the bench and bar and were not meant to be a checklist of requirements in deciding cases involving psychological incapacity. Furthermore, even assumingarguendo that the Molina doctrine should be applied, the RTC erred in ruling that he failed to comply therewith. The petition must fail. Preliminarily, we must pass upon petitioners argument that the finding of the trial court on the existence or non-existence of psychological incapacity is final and binding on us absent any showing that its factual findings and evaluation of the evidence were clearly and manifestly erroneous.[7] Petitioners position is of course the general rule. In the instant case, however, it is the exception to the general rule which must be applied; the court a quo clearly erred in granting the petition. It stated in the body of its decision that: While this Court agrees with the observation of the Office of the Solicitor General that the juridical antecedence of the psychological disorder and its root cause were not established, the same will not serve as a hindrance for the Court to declare that respondent is indeed suffering from a psychological incapacity. The failure of the Psychological Report to identify the root cause of respondent's psychological incapacity is not a fatal flaw that will prevent the Court from declaring a marriage a nullity based on psychological incapacity. (Emphasis supplied) The trial court apparently overlooked the fact that this Court has been consistent in holding that if a petition for nullity based on psychological incapacity is to be given due course, its gravity, root cause, incurability and the fact that it existed prior to or at the time of celebration of the marriage must always be proved.[8] As early as Santos v. CA, et al.,[9] we already held that: [P]sychological 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 the marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved. xxx This psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated. xxx (Emphasis supplied) These must be strictly complied with as the granting of a petition for nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity must be confined 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.[10] This is specially so since the Family Code does not define psychological incapacity. The determination thereof is left solely to the discretion of the courts and must be made on a case-to-case basis.[11] Also, even if Molina was never meant to be a checklist of the requirements in deciding cases involving Article 36 (psychological incapacity) of the Family Code, a showing of the gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability of the party's psychological incapacity and its existence at the inception of the marriage cannot be dispensed with. In Marcos v. Marcos (Marcos),[12] a case cited by petitioner to support his argument that the totality of evidence presented was enough to prove the existence of respondent's psychological incapacity, this Court reiterated that: The [Molina] 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 party's 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. xxx xxx xxx [t]he totality of his acts does not lead to a conclusion of psychological incapacity on his part. There is absolutely no showing that his defects were already present at the inception of the marriage or that they are incurable. (Emphasis supplied) Furthermore, the 2005 case of Republic v. Iyoy [13] held that even if Marcos (2000) relaxed the rules such that the personal examination of the party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated by a psychiatrist or psychologist is no longer mandatory for the declaration of nullity of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, the totality of evidence must still prove the gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity. Failure in this regard will spell the failure of the petition. From the foregoing, one can conclude that petitioner's insistence that Marcoseffectively overturned the need to present evidence on the aforesaid requirements has no merit. Thus, unless the law itself or the Court provides otherwise, these requirements must be established before a petition for nullity of the marriage based on psychological incapacity can be granted. We hold that the trial court's decision to declare the parties' marriage void ab initio by reason of respondent's psychological incapacity was clearly and manifestly erroneous as it overlooked the need to show the gravity, root cause and incurability of respondent's psychological incapacity and that it was already present at the inception of the marriage. Be that as it may, the main question that begs to be answered in the instant case is whether the totality of the evidence presented was enough to establish that respondent was psychologically incapacitated to perform her essential marital obligations. We rule in the negative. Petitioner had the burden of proving the nullity of his marriage with respondent.[14]He failed to discharge it.

The evidence for petitioner consisted of his own testimony and that of his brother, Roderico Bier. He also presented as evidence a psychological report written by Dr. Nedy Tayag, a clinical psychologist, who also testified on the matters contained therein. Dr. Tayag's report, which found respondent to be suffering from psychological incapacity, particularly a narcissistic personality disorder, relied only on the information fed by petitioner. This was admitted by petitioner in his petition for review on certiorari and memorandum filed in this Court. In both instances, petitioner reasoned out that the personal examination of respondent was impossible as her whereabouts were unknown despite diligent efforts on his part to find her. Consequently, Dr. Tayag's report was really hearsay evidence since she had no personal knowledge of the alleged facts she was testifying on. Her testimony should have thus been dismissed for being unscientific and unreliable.[15] Furthermore, as already stated, the report also failed to identify the root cause of respondent's narcissistic personality disorder and to prove that it existed at the inception of the marriage. It merely concluded that: This extremely egocentric attitude manifest a person suffering Narcissistic Personality Disorder that is considered to be severe, incurable and deeply rooted with her functioning. Thus, making herself psychologically incapacitated so as to comply with the essential marital functions. Although there is no requirement that a party to be declared psychologically incapacitated should be personally examined by a physician or a psychologist (as a condition sine qua non), there is nevertheless still a need to prove the psychological incapacity through independent evidence adduced by the person alleging said disorder.[16] In the case at bar, petitioner was able to establish that respondent was remiss in her duties as a wife and had become a happy-go-lucky woman who failed to attend to her husband's needs and who eventually abandoned him. However, the totality of her acts, as testified to by petitioner and his brother, was not tantamount to a psychological incapacity, as petitioner would have us believe. Habitual alcoholism, chain-smoking, failure or refusal to meet one's duties and responsibilities as a married person and eventual abandonment of a spouse do not suffice to nullify a marriage on the basis of psychological incapacity, if not shown to be due to some psychological (as opposed to physical) illness.
[17]

The undeniable fact is that the marriage, according to petitioner's own evidence, was off to a good start. According to him, respondent used to be a sweet, loving and caring wife who took good care of him and their home. She even willingly consented to the difficult living arrangement of taking turns in going back and forth between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia just so they could be together. Perhaps it was this unusual arrangement which took a heavy toll on their relationship. They barely saw and spent time with each other. Respondent could have gotten used to petitioners absence. And although absence can indeed make the heart grow fonder, the opposite can just as well be true: out of sight, out of mind. The couple drifted apart and respondent obviously fell out of love with petitioner. Nevertheless, we agree with the CA that the change in respondent's feelings towards petitioner could hardly be described as a psychological illness. It was not enough that respondent, the party adverted to as psychologically incapacitated to comply with her marital obligations, had difficulty or was unwilling to perform the same. Proof of a natal or

supervening disabling factor, an adverse integral element in respondent's personality structure that effectively incapacitated her from complying with her essential marital obligations,[18] had to be shown. This petitioner failed to do. Consequently, we are unconvinced that respondent's condition was rooted in some incapacitating or debilitating disorder. Even if we assume the correctness of petitioner's contention that the Molina guidelines are not set in stone, there is still no reason to disavow the same as the facts and circumstances in this case do not warrant a deviation therefrom. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The March 20, 2006 decision and July 3, 2006 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66952 are AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. THIRD DIVISION EDWARD KENNETH NGO TE, Petitioner, - versus ROWENA ONG GUTIERREZ YUTE, Respondent, REPUBLIC OF THEPHILIPPINES, Oppositor. G.R. No. 161793 Present: YNARES-SANTIAGO, J., Chairperson, AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, CHICO-NAZARIO, NACHURA, and PERALTA, JJ. Promulgated: February 13, 2009

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DECISION NACHURA, J.:

Far from novel is the issue involved in this petition. Psychological incapacity, since its incorporation in our laws, has become a clichd subject of discussion in our jurisprudence. The Court treats this case, however, with much ado, it having realized that current jurisprudential doctrine has unnecessarily imposed a perspective by which

psychological incapacity should be viewed, totally inconsistent with the way the concept was formulatedfree in form and devoid of any definition. For the resolution of the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the August 5, 2003 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 71867. The petition further assails the January 19, 2004 Resolution[2] denying the motion for the reconsideration of the challenged decision. The relevant facts and proceedings follow. Petitioner Edward Kenneth Ngo Te first got a glimpse of respondent Rowena Ong Gutierrez Yu-Te in a gathering organized by the Filipino-Chinese association in their college. Edward was then initially attracted to Rowenas close friend; but, as the latter already had a boyfriend, the young man decided to court Rowena. That was in January 1996, when petitioner was a sophomore student and respondent, a freshman.[3] Sharing similar angst towards their families, the two understood one another and developed a certain degree of closeness towards each other. In March 1996, or around three months after their first meeting, Rowena asked Edward that they elope. At first, he refused, bickering that he was young and jobless. Her persistence, however, made him relent. Thus, they left Manila and sailed toCebu that month; he, providing their travel money and she, purchasing the boat ticket.[4] However, Edwards P80,000.00 lasted for only a month. Their pension house accommodation and daily sustenance fast depleted it. And they could not find a job. In April 1996, they decided to go back to Manila. Rowena proceeded to her uncles house and Edward to his parents home. As his family was abroad, and Rowena kept on telephoning him, threatening him that she would commit suicide, Edward agreed to stay with Rowena at her uncles place.[5] On April 23, 1996, Rowenas uncle brought the two to a court to get married. He was then 25 years old, and she, 20.[6] The two then continued to stay at her uncles place where Edward was treated like a prisonerhe was not allowed to go out unaccompanied. Her uncle also showed Edward his guns and warned the latter not to leave Rowena.[7] At one point, Edward was able to call home and talk to his brother who suggested that they should stay at their parents home and live with them. Edward relayed this to Rowena who, however, suggested that he should get his inheritance so that they could live on their own. Edward talked to his father about this, but the patriarch got mad, told Edward that he would be disinherited, and insisted that Edward must go home.[8]

After a month, Edward escaped from the house of Rowenas uncle, and stayed with his parents. His family then hid him from Rowena and her family whenever they telephoned to ask for him.[9] In June 1996, Edward was able to talk to Rowena. Unmoved by his persistence that they should live with his parents, she said that it was better for them to live separate lives. They then parted ways.[10] After almost four years, or on January 18, 2000, Edward filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 106, for the annulment of his marriage to Rowena on the basis of the latters psychological incapacity. This was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-00-39720.[11] As Rowena did not file an answer, the trial court, on July 11, 2000, ordered the Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) ofQuezon City to investigate whether there was collusion between the parties.[12] In the meantime, on July 27, 2000, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) entered its appearance and deputized the OCP to appear on its behalf and assist it in the scheduled hearings.[13] On August 23, 2000, the OCP submitted an investigation report stating that it could not determine if there was collusion between the parties; thus, it recommended trial on the merits.[14] The clinical psychologist who examined petitioner found both parties psychologically incapacitated, and made the following findings and conclusions: BACKGROUND DATA & BRIEF MARITAL HISTORY: EDWARD KENNETH NGO TE is a [29-year-old] Filipino male adult born and baptized Born Again Christian at Manila. He finished two years in college at AMA Computer College last 1994 and is currently unemployed. He is married to and separated from ROWENA GUTIERREZ YU-TE. He presented himself at my office for a psychological evaluation in relation to his petition for Nullification of Marriage against the latter by the grounds of psychological incapacity. He is now residing at 181 P. Tuazon Street, Quezon City. Petitioner got himself three siblings who are now in business and one deceased sister. Both his parents are also in the business world by whom he [considers] as generous, hospitable, and patient. This said virtues are said to be handed to each of the family member. He generally considers himself to be quiet and simple. He clearly remembers himself to be afraid of meeting people. After 1994, he tried his luck in being a Sales Executive of Mansfield International Incorporated. And because of job incompetence, as well as being quiet and loner, he did not stay long in the job until 1996. His interest lie[s] on

becoming a full servant of God by being a priest or a pastor. He [is] said to isolate himself from his friends even during his childhood days as he only loves to read the Bible and hear its message. Respondent is said to come from a fine family despite having a lazy father and a disobedient wife. She is said to have not finish[ed] her collegiate degree and shared intimate sexual moments with her boyfriend prior to that with petitioner. In January of 1996, respondent showed her kindness to petitioner and this became the foundation of their intimate relationship. After a month of dating, petitioner mentioned to respondent that he is having problems with his family. Respondent surprisingly retorted that she also hates her family and that she actually wanted to get out of their lives. From that [time on], respondent had insisted to petitioner that they should elope and live together. Petitioner hesitated because he is not prepared as they are both young and inexperienced, but she insisted that they would somehow manage because petitioner is rich. In the last week of March 1996, respondent seriously brought the idea of eloping and she already bought tickets for the boat going to Cebu. Petitioner reluctantly agreed to the idea and so they eloped to Cebu. The parties are supposed to stay at the house of a friend of respondent, but they were not able to locate her, so petitioner was compelled to rent an apartment. The parties tried to look for a job but could not find any so it was suggested by respondent that they should go back and seek help from petitioners parents. When the parties arrived at the house of petitioner, all of his whole family was all out of the country so respondent decided to go back to her home for the meantime while petitioner stayed behind at their home. After a few days of separation, respondent called petitioner by phone and said she wanted to talk to him. Petitioner responded immediately and when he arrived at their house, respondent confronted petitioner as to why he appeared to be cold, respondent acted irrationally and even threatened to commit suicide. Petitioner got scared so he went home again. Respondent would call by phone every now and then and became angry as petitioner does not know what to do. Respondent went to the extent of threatening to file a case against petitioner and scandalize his family in the newspaper. Petitioner asked her how he would be able to make amends and at this point in time[,] respondent brought the idea of marriage. Petitioner[,] out of frustration in life[,] agreed to her to pacify her. And so on April 23, 1996, respondents uncle brought the parties to Valenzuela[,] and on that very same day[,] petitioner was made to sign the Marriage Contract before the Judge. Petitioner actually never applied for any Marriage License. Respondent decided that they should stay first at their house until after arrival of the parents of petitioner. But when the parents of petitioner arrived, respondent refused to allow petitioner to go home. Petitioner was threatened in so many ways with her uncle showing to him many guns. Respondent even threatened that if he should persist in going home, they will commission their military friends to harm his family. Respondent even made petitioner sign a declaration that if he should perish, the authorities should look for him at his parents[ and relatives[ ] ] houses. Sometime in June of 1996, petitioner was able to escape and he went

home. He told his parents about his predicament and they forgave him and supported him by giving him military escort. Petitioner, however, did not inform them that he signed a marriage contract with respondent. When they knew about it[,] petitioner was referred for counseling. Petitioner[,] after the counseling[,] tried to contact respondent. Petitioner offered her to live instead to[sic] the home of petitioners parents while they are still studying. Respondent refused the idea and claimed that she would only live with him if they will have a separate home of their own and be away from his parents. She also intimated to petitioner that he should already get his share of whatever he would inherit from his parents so they can start a new life. Respondent demanded these not knowing [that] the petitioner already settled his differences with his own family. When respondent refused to live with petitioner where he chose for them to stay, petitioner decided to tell her to stop harassing the home of his parents. He told her already that he was disinherited and since he also does not have a job, he would not be able to support her. After knowing that petitioner does not have any money anymore, respondent stopped tormenting petitioner and informed petitioner that they should live separate lives. The said relationship between Edward and Rowena is said to be undoubtedly in the wreck and weakly-founded. The break-up was caused by both parties[] unreadiness to commitment and their young age. He was still in the state of finding his fate and fighting boredom, while she was still egocentrically involved with herself. TESTS ADMINISTERED: Revised Beta Examination Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test Draw A Person Test Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test Sachs Sentence Completion Test MMPI TEST RESULTS & EVALUATION: Both petitioner and respondent are dubbed to be emotionally immature and recklessly impulsive upon swearing to their marital vows as each of them was motivated by different notions on marriage. Edward Kenneth Ngo Te, the petitioner in this case[,] is said to be still unsure and unready so as to commit himself to marriage. He is still founded to be on the search of what he wants in life. He is absconded as an introvert as he is not really sociable and displays a lack of interest in social interactions and mingling with other individuals. He is seen too akin to this kind of lifestyle that he finds it boring and uninteresting to commit himself to a relationship especially to that of respondent, as aggravated by her dangerously aggressive moves. As he is more of the reserved and timid type of person, as he prefer to be religiously attached and spend a solemn time alone.

ROWENA GUTIERREZ YU-TE, the respondent, is said to be of the aggressive-rebellious type of woman. She is seen to be somewhat exploitative in her [plight] for a life of wealth and glamour. She is seen to take move on marriage as she thought that her marriage with petitioner will bring her good fortune because he is part of a rich family. In order to have her dreams realized, she used force and threats knowing that [her] husband is somehow weak-willed. Upon the realization that there is really no chance for wealth, she gladly finds her way out of the relationship. REMARKS: Before going to marriage, one should really get to know himself and marry himself before submitting to marital vows. Marriage should not be taken out of intuition as it is profoundly a serious institution solemnized by religious and law. In the case presented by petitioner and respondent[,] (sic) it is evidently clear that both parties have impulsively taken marriage for granted as they are still unaware of their own selves. He is extremely introvert to the point of weakening their relationship by his weak behavioral disposition. She, on the other hand[,] is extremely exploitative and aggressive so as to be unlawful, insincere and undoubtedly uncaring in her strides toward convenience. It is apparent that she is suffering the grave, severe, and incurable presence of Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder that started since childhood and only manifested during marriage. Both parties display psychological incapacities that made marriage a big mistake for them to take.[15]

The trial court, on July 30, 2001, rendered its Decision[16] declaring the marriage of the parties null and void on the ground that both parties were psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations.[17] The Republic, represented by the OSG, timely filed its notice of appeal.[18] On review, the appellate court, in the assailed August 5, 2003 Decision [19] in CA-G.R. CV No. 71867, reversed and set aside the trial courts ruling.[20] It ruled that petitioner failed to prove the psychological incapacity of respondent. The clinical psychologist did not personally examine respondent, and relied only on the information provided by petitioner. Further, the psychological incapacity was not shown to be attended by gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability. In sum, the evidence adduced fell short of the requirements stated in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina[21] needed for the declaration of nullity of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.[22] The CA faulted the lower court for rendering the decision without the required certification of the OSG briefly stating therein the OSGs reasons for its agreement with or opposition to, as the case may be, the petition.[23] The CA later denied petitioners motion for reconsideration in the likewise assailed January 19, 2004 Resolution.[24]

Dissatisfied, petitioner filed before this Court the instant petition for review on certiorari. On June 15, 2005, the Court gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective memoranda.[25] In his memorandum,[26] petitioner argues that the CA erred in substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court. He posits that the RTC declared the marriage void, not only because of respondents psychological incapacity, but rather due to both parties psychological incapacity. Petitioner also points out that there is no requirement for the psychologist to personally examine respondent. Further, he avers that the OSG is bound by the actions of the OCP because the latter represented it during the trial; and it had been furnished copies of all the pleadings, the trial court orders and notices.[27] For its part, the OSG contends in its memorandum,[28] that the annulment petition filed before the RTC contains no statement of the essential marital obligations that the parties failed to comply with. The root cause of the psychological incapacity was likewise not alleged in the petition; neither was it medically or clinically identified. The purported incapacity of both parties was not shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. And the clinical psychologist did not personally examine the respondent. Thus, the OSG concludes that the requirements in Molina[29] were not satisfied.[30] The Court now resolves the singular issue of whether, based on Article 36 of the Family Code, the marriage between the parties is null and void.[31] I. We begin by examining the provision, tracing its origin and charting the development of jurisprudence interpreting it. Article 36 of the Family Code[32] provides: Article 36. 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.

As borne out by the deliberations of the Civil Code Revision Committee that drafted the Family Code, Article 36 was based on grounds available in the Canon Law. Thus, Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero elucidated in her separate opinion in Santos v. Court of Appeals:[33] However, as a member of both the Family Law Revision Committee of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Civil Code Revision Commission

of the UP Law Center, I wish to add some observations. The letter dated April 15, 1985 of then Judge Alicia V. Sempio-Diy written in behalf of the Family Law and Civil Code Revision Committee to then Assemblywoman Mercedes Cojuangco-Teodoro traced the background of the inclusion of the present Article 36 in the Family Code. During its early meetings, the Family Law Committee had thought of including a chapter on absolute divorce in the draft of a new Family Code (Book I of the Civil Code) that it had been tasked by the IBP and the UP Law Center to prepare. In fact, some members of the Committee were in favor of a no-fault divorce between the spouses after a number of years of separation, legal or de facto. Justice J.B.L. Reyes was then requested to prepare a proposal for an action for dissolution of marriage and the effects thereof based on two grounds: (a) five continuous years of separation between the spouses, with or without a judicial decree of legal separation, and (b) whenever a married person would have obtained a decree of absolute divorce in another country. Actually, such a proposal is one for absolute divorce but called by another name. Later, even the Civil Code Revision Committee took time to discuss the proposal of Justice Reyes on this matter. Subsequently, however, when the Civil Code Revision Committee and Family Law Committee started holding joint meetings on the preparation of the draft of the New Family Code, they agreed and formulated the definition of marriage as a special contract of permanent partnership between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by law. With the above definition, and considering the Christian traditional concept of marriage of the Filipino people as a permanent, inviolable, indissoluble social institution upon which the family and society are founded, and also realizing the strong opposition that any provision on absolute divorce would encounter from the Catholic Church and the Catholic sector of our citizenry to whom the great majority of our people belong, the two Committees in their joint meetings did not pursue the idea of absolute divorce and, instead, opted for an action for judicial declaration of invalidity of marriage based on grounds available in the Canon Law. It was thought that such an action would not only be an acceptable alternative to divorce but would also solve the nagging problem of church annulments of marriages on grounds not recognized by the civil law of the State. Justice Reyes was,

thus, requested to again prepare a draft of provisions on such action for celebration of invalidity of marriage. Still later, to avoid the overlapping of provisions on void marriages as found in the present Civil Code and those proposed by Justice Reyes on judicial declaration of invalidity of marriage on grounds similar to the Canon Law, the two Committees now working as a Joint Committee in the preparation of a New Family Code decided to consolidate the present provisions on void marriages with the proposals of Justice Reyes. The result was the inclusion of an additional kind of void marriage in the enumeration of void marriages in the present Civil Code, to wit: (7) those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack or incapacity is made manifest after the celebration. as well as the following implementing provisions: Art. 32. The absolute nullity of a marriage may be invoked or pleaded only on the basis of a final judgment declaring the marriage void, without prejudice to the provision of Article 34. Art. 33. The action or defense for the declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage shall not prescribe. xxx xxx xxx

It is believed that many hopelessly broken marriages in our country today may already be dissolved or annulled on the grounds proposed by the Joint Committee on declaration of nullity as well as annulment of marriages, thus rendering an absolute divorce law unnecessary. In fact, during a conference with Father Gerald Healy of the Ateneo University, as well as another meeting with Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the Archdiocese of Pampanga, the Joint Committee was informed that since Vatican II, the Catholic Church has been declaring marriages null and void on the ground of lack of due discretion for causes that, in other jurisdictions, would be clear grounds for divorce, like teen-age or premature marriages; marriage to a man who, because of some personality disorder or disturbance, cannot support a family; the foolish or ridiculous choice of a spouse by an otherwise perfectly normal person; marriage to a woman who refuses to cohabit with her husband or who refuses to have children. Bishop Cruz also informed the Committee that they have found out in tribunal work that a lot of machismo among husbands are manifestations of their sociopathic personality anomaly, like inflicting physical violence upon their wives, constitutional indolence or laziness, drug dependence or addiction, and psychosexual anomaly.[34]

In her separate opinion in Molina,[35] she expounded: At the Committee meeting of July 26, 1986, the draft provision read: (7) Those marriages contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the celebration. The twists and turns which the ensuing discussion took finally produced the following revised provision even before the session was over: (7) That contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations, even if such lack or incapacity becomes manifest after the celebration. Noticeably, the immediately preceding formulation above has dropped any reference to wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage and to mentally incapacitated. It was explained that these phrases refer to defects in the mental faculties vitiating consent, which is not the idea . . . but lack of appreciation of one's marital obligation. There being a defect in consent, it is clear that it should be a ground for voidable marriage because there is the appearance of consent and it is capable of convalidation for the simple reason that there are lucid intervals and there are cases when the insanity is curable . . . Psychological incapacity does not refer to mental faculties and has nothing to do with consent; it refers to obligations attendant to marriage. My own position as a member of the Committee then was that psychological incapacity is, in a sense, insanity of a lesser degree. As to the proposal of Justice Caguioa to use the term psychological or mental impotence, Archbishop Oscar Cruz opined in the earlier February 9, 1984 session that this term is an invention of some churchmen who are moralists but not canonists, that is why it is considered a weak phrase. He said that the Code of Canon Law would rather express it as psychological or mental incapacity to discharge . . . Justice Ricardo C. Puno opined that sometimes a person may be psychologically impotent with one but not with another. One of the guidelines enumerated in the majority opinion for the interpretation and application of Art. 36 is: 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.

The Committee, through Prof. Araceli T. Barrera, considered the inclusion of the phrase and is incurable but Prof. Esteban B. Bautista commented that this would give rise to the question of how they will determine curability and Justice Caguioa agreed that it would be more problematic. Yet, the possibility that one may be cured after the psychological incapacity becomes manifest after the marriage was not ruled out by Justice Puno and Justice Alice Sempio-Diy. Justice Caguioa suggested that the remedy was to allow the afflicted spouse to remarry. For clarity, the Committee classified the bases for determining void marriages, viz.: 1. contract; 2. 3. lack of one or more of the essential requisites of marriage as reasons of public policy; special cases and special situations.

The ground of psychological incapacity was subsumed under special cases and special situations, hence, its special treatment in Art. 36 in the Family Code as finally enacted. Nowhere in the Civil Code provisions on Marriage is there a ground for avoiding or annulling marriages that even comes close to being psychological in nature. Where consent is vitiated due to circumstances existing at the time of the marriage, such marriage which stands valid until annulled is capable of ratification or convalidation. On the other hand, for reasons of public policy or lack of essential requisites, some marriages are void from the beginning. With the revision of Book I of the Civil Code, particularly the provisions on Marriage, the drafters, now open to fresh winds of change in keeping with the more permissive mores and practices of the time, took a leaf from the relatively liberal provisions of Canon Law. Canon 1095 which states, inter alia, that the following persons are incapable of contracting marriage: 3. (those) who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage provided the model for what is now Art. 36 of the Family Code: 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. It bears stressing that unlike in Civil Law, Canon Law recognizes only two types of marriages with respect to their validity: valid and void. Civil Law, however, recognizes an intermediate state, the voidable or annullable marriages. When the Ecclesiastical Tribunal annuls a marriage, it actually declares the marriage null and void, i.e., it never really existed in the first

place, for a valid sacramental marriage can never be dissolved. Hence, a properly performed and consummated marriage between two living Roman Catholics can only be nullified by the formal annulment process which entails a full tribunal procedure with a Court selection and a formal hearing. Such so-called church annulments are not recognized by Civil Law as severing the marriage ties as to capacitate the parties to enter lawfully into another marriage. The grounds for nullifying civil marriage, not being congruent with those laid down by Canon Law, the former being more strict, quite a number of married couples have found themselves in limbofreed from the marriage bonds in the eyes of the Catholic Church but yet unable to contract a valid civil marriage under state laws. Heedless of civil law sanctions, some persons contract new marriages or enter into live-in relationships. It was precisely to provide a satisfactory solution to such anomalous situations that the Civil Law Revision Committee decided to engraft the Canon Law concept of psychological incapacity into the Family Codeand classified the same as a ground for declaring marriages void ab initio or totally inexistent from the beginning. A brief historical note on the Old Canon Law (1917). This Old Code, while it did not provide directly for psychological incapacity, in effect, recognized the same indirectly from a combination of three old canons: Canon #1081 required persons to be capable according to law in order to give valid consent; Canon #1082 required that persons be at least not ignorant of the major elements required in marriage; and Canon #1087 (the force and fear category) required that internal and external freedom be present in order for consent to be valid. This line of interpretation produced two distinct but related grounds for annulment called lack of due discretion and lack of due competence. Lack of due discretion means that the person did not have the ability to give valid consent at the time of the wedding and, therefore, the union is invalid. Lack of due competence means that the person was incapable of carrying out the obligations of the promise he or she made during the wedding ceremony. Favorable annulment decisions by the Roman Rota in the 1950s and 1960s involving sexual disorders such as homosexuality and nymphomania laid the foundation for a broader approach to the kind of proof necessary for psychological grounds for annulment. TheRota had reasoned for the first time in several cases that the capacity to give valid consent at the time of marriage was probably not present in persons who had displayed such problems shortly after the marriage. The nature of this change was nothing short of revolutionary. Once the Rotaitself had demonstrated a cautious willingness to use this kind of hindsight, the way was paved for what came after 1970. Diocesan Tribunals began to accept proof of serious psychological problems that manifested themselves shortly after the ceremony as proof of an inability to give valid consent at the time of the ceremony.[36]

Interestingly, the Committee did not give any examples of psychological incapacity for fear that by so doing, it might limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. The Committee desired that the 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 which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision itself was taken from the Canon Law.[37] The law is then so designed as to allow some resiliency in its application.[38] Yet, as held in Santos,[39] the phrase psychological incapacity is not meant to comprehend all possible cases of psychoses. It refers to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly noncognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as expressed by Article 68[40] of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity; and render help and support. The intendment of the law has been to confine it to the most serious of cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.[41] This interpretation is, in fact, consistent with that in Canon Law, thus: 3.5.3.1. The Meaning of Incapacity to Assume. A sharp conceptual distinction must be made between the second and third paragraphs of C.1095, namely between the grave lack of discretionary judgment and the incapacity to assume the essential obligation. Mario Pompedda, a rotal judge, explains the difference by an ordinary, if somewhat banal, example. Jose wishes to sell a house to Carmela, and on the assumption that they are capable according to positive law to enter such contract, there remains the object of the contract, viz, the house. The house is located in a different locality, and prior to the conclusion of the contract, the house was gutted down by fire unbeknown to both of them. This is the hypothesis contemplated by the third paragraph of the canon. The third paragraph does not deal with the psychological process of giving consent because it has been established a priori that both have such a capacity to give consent, and they both know well the object of their consent [the house and its particulars]. Rather, C.1095.3 deals with the object of the consent/contract which does not exist. The contract is invalid because it lacks its formal object. The consent as a psychological act is both valid and sufficient. The psychological act, however, is directed towards an object which is not available. Urbano Navarrete summarizes this distinction: the third paragraph deals not with the positing of consent but with positing the object of consent. The person may be capable of positing a free act of consent, but he is not capable of fulfilling the responsibilities he assumes as a result of the consent he elicits. Since the address of Pius XII to the auditors of the Roman Rota in 1941 regarding psychic incapacity with respect to marriage arising from

pathological conditions, there has been an increasing trend to understand as ground of nullity different from others, the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage, especially the incapacity which arises from sexual anomalies. Nymphomania is a sample which ecclesiastical jurisprudence has studied under this rubric. The problem as treated can be summarized, thus: do sexual anomalies always and in every case imply a grave psychopathological condition which affects the higher faculties of intellect, discernment, and freedom; or are there sexual anomalies that are purely so that is to say, they arise from certain physiological dysfunction of the hormonal system, and they affect the sexual condition, leaving intact the higher faculties however, so that these persons are still capable of free human acts. The evidence from the empirical sciences is abundant that there are certain anomalies of a sexual nature which may impel a person towards sexual activities which are not normal, either with respect to its frequency [nymphomania, satyriasis] or to the nature of the activity itself [sadism, masochism, homosexuality]. However, these anomalies notwithstanding, it is altogether possible that the higher faculties remain intact such that a person so afflicted continues to have an adequate understanding of what marriage is and of the gravity of its responsibilities. In fact, he can choose marriage freely. The question though is whether such a person can assume those responsibilities which he cannot fulfill, although he may be able to understand them. In this latter hypothesis, the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage issues from the incapacity to posit the object of consent, rather than the incapacity to posit consent itself. Ecclesiastical jurisprudence has been hesitant, if not actually confused, in this regard. The initial steps taken by church courts were not too clear whether this incapacity is incapacity to posit consent or incapacity to posit the object of consent. A case c. Pinna, for example, arrives at the conclusion that the intellect, under such an irresistible impulse, is prevented from properly deliberating and its judgment lacks freedom. This line of reasoning supposes that the intellect, at the moment of consent, is under the influence of this irresistible compulsion, with the inevitable conclusion that such a decision, made as it was under these circumstances, lacks the necessary freedom. It would be incontrovertible that a decision made under duress, such as this irresistible impulse, would not be a free act. But this is precisely the question: is it, as a matter of fact, true that the intellect is always and continuously under such an irresistible compulsion? It would seem entirely possible, and certainly more reasonable, to think that there are certain cases in which one who is sexually hyperaesthetic can understand perfectly and evaluate quite maturely what marriage is and what it implies; his consent would be juridically ineffective for this one reason that he cannot posit the object of consent, the exclusive jus in corpus to be exercised in a normal way and with usually regularity. It would seem more correct to say that the consent may indeed be free, but is juridically ineffective because the party is consenting to an object that he cannot deliver. The house he is selling was gutted down by fire. 3.5.3.2. Incapacity as an Autonomous Ground. Sabattani seems to have seen his way more clearly through this tangled mess, proposing as he did a clear conceptual distinction between the inability to give consent on the one

hand, and the inability to fulfill the object of consent, on the other. It is his opinion that nymphomaniacs usually understand the meaning of marriage, and they are usually able to evaluate its implications. They would have no difficulty with positing a free and intelligent consent. However, such persons, capable as they are of eliciting an intelligent and free consent, experience difficulty in another sphere: delivering the object of the consent. Anne, another rotal judge, had likewise treated the difference between the act of consenting and the act of positing the object of consent from the point of view of a person afflicted with nymphomania. According to him, such an affliction usually leaves the process of knowing and understanding and evaluating intact. What it affects is the object of consent: the delivering of the goods. 3.5.3.3 Incapacity as Incapacity to Posit the Object of Consent. From the selected rotal jurisprudence cited, supra, it is possible to see a certain progress towards a consensus doctrine that the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage (that is to say, the formal object of consent) can coexist in the same person with the ability to make a free decision, an intelligent judgment, and a mature evaluation and weighing of things. The decision coram Sabattani concerning a nymphomaniac affirmed that such a spouse can have difficulty not only with regard to the moment of consent but also, and especially, with regard to the matrimonium in facto esse. The decision concludes that a person in such a condition is incapable of assuming the conjugal obligation of fidelity, although she may have no difficulty in understanding what the obligations of marriage are, nor in the weighing and evaluating of those same obligations. Prior to the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law in 1983, it was not unusual to refer to this ground as moral impotence or psychic impotence, or similar expressions to express a specific incapacity rooted in some anomalies and disorders in the personality. These anomalies leave intact the faculties of the will and the intellect. It is qualified as moral or psychic, obviously to distinguish it from the impotence that constitutes the impediment dealt with by C.1084. Nonetheless, the anomalies render the subject incapable of binding himself in a valid matrimonial pact, to the extent that the anomaly renders that person incapable of fulfilling the essential obligations. According to the principle affirmed by the long tradition of moral theology: nemo ad impossibile tenetur. xxxx 3.5.3.5 Indications of Incapacity. There is incapacity when either or both of the contractants are not capable of initiating or maintaining this consortium. One immediately thinks of those cases where one of the parties is so self-centered [e.g., a narcissistic personality] that he does not even know how to begin a union with the other, let alone how to maintain and sustain such a relationship. A second incapacity could be due to the fact that the spouses are incapable of beginning or maintaining a heterosexual consortium, which goes to the very substance of matrimony. Another incapacity could arise when a spouse is unable to concretize the good of himself or of the other party. The canon speaks, not of the bonum partium,but of the bonum conjugum. A spouse who is capable only of realizing or contributing to the

good of the other party qua persona rather than qua conjunx would be deemed incapable of contracting marriage. Such would be the case of a person who may be quite capable of procuring the economic good and the financial security of the other, but not capable of realizing the bonum conjugale of the other. These are general strokes and this is not the place for detained and individual description. A rotal decision c. Pinto resolved a petition where the concrete circumstances of the case concerns a person diagnosed to be suffering from serious sociopathy. He concluded that while the respondent may have understood, on the level of the intellect, the essential obligations of marriage, he was not capable of assuming them because of his constitutional immorality. Stankiewicz clarifies that the maturity and capacity of the person as regards the fulfillment of responsibilities is determined not only at the moment of decision but also and especially during the moment of execution of decision. And when this is applied to constitution of the marital consent, it means that the actual fulfillment of the essential obligations of marriage is a pertinent consideration that must be factored into the question of whether a person was in a position to assume the obligations of marriage in the first place. When one speaks of the inability of the party to assume and fulfill the obligations, one is not looking at matrimonium in fieri, but also and especially at matrimonium in facto esse. In [the] decision of 19 Dec. 1985, Stankiewicz collocated the incapacity of the respondent to assume the essential obligations of marriage in the psychic constitution of the person, precisely on the basis of his irresponsibility as regards money and his apathy as regards the rights of others that he had violated. Interpersonal relationships are invariably disturbed in the presence of this personality disorder. A lack of empathy (inability to recognize and experience how others feel) is common. A sense of entitlement, unreasonable expectation, especially favorable treatment, is usually present. Likewise common is interpersonal exploitativeness, in which others are taken advantage of in order to achieve ones ends. Authors have made listings of obligations considered as essential matrimonial obligations. One of them is the right to the communio vitae. This and their corresponding obligations are basically centered around the good of the spouses and of the children. Serious psychic anomalies, which do not have to be necessarily incurable, may give rise to the incapacity to assume any, or several, or even all of these rights. There are some cases in which interpersonal relationship is impossible. Some characteristic features of inability for interpersonal relationships in marriage include affective immaturity, narcissism, and antisocial traits. Marriage and Homosexuality. Until 1967, it was not very clear under what rubric homosexuality was understood to be invalidating of marriage that is to say, is homosexuality invalidating because of the inability to evaluate the responsibilities of marriage, or because of the inability to fulfill its obligations. Progressively, however, rotal jurisprudence began to understand it as incapacity to assume the obligations of marriage so that by 1978, Parisella was able to consider, with charity, homosexuality as an autonomous

ground of nullity. This is to say that a person so afflicted is said to be unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage. In this same rotal decision, the object of matrimonial consent is understood to refer not only to the jus in corpus but also the consortium totius vitae. The third paragraph of C.1095 [incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage] certainly seems to be the more adequate juridical structure to account for the complex phenomenon that homosexuality is. The homosexual is not necessarily impotent because, except in very few exceptional cases, such a person is usually capable of full sexual relations with the spouse. Neither is it a mental infirmity, and a person so afflicted does not necessarily suffer from a grave lack of due discretion because this sexual anomaly does not by itself affect the critical, volitive, and intellectual faculties. Rather, the homosexual person is unable to assume the responsibilities of marriage because he is unable to fulfill this object of the matrimonial contract. In other words, the invalidity lies, not so much in the defect of consent, as in the defect of the object of consent. 3.5.3.6 Causes of Incapacity. A last point that needs to be addressed is the source of incapacity specified by the canon: causes of a psychological nature. Pompedda proffers the opinion that the clause is a reference to the personality of the contractant. In other words, there must be a reference to the psychic part of the person. It is only when there is something in the psyche or in the psychic constitution of the person which impedes his capacity that one can then affirm that the person is incapable according to the hypothesis contemplated by C.1095.3. A person is judged incapable in this juridical sense only to the extent that he is found to have something rooted in his psychic constitution which impedes the assumption of these obligations. A bad habit deeply engrained in ones consciousness would not seem to qualify to be a source of this invalidating incapacity. The difference being that there seems to be some freedom, however remote, in the development of the habit, while one accepts as given ones psychic constitution. It would seem then that the law insists that the source of the incapacity must be one which is not the fruit of some degree of freedom.[42]

Conscious of the laws intention that it is the courts, on a case-to-case basis, that should determine whether a party to a marriage is psychologically incapacitated, the Court, in sustaining the lower courts judgment of annulment in Tuason v. Court of Appeals,[43] ruled that the findings of the trial court are final and binding on the appellate courts.[44] Again, upholding the trial courts findings and declaring that its decision was not a judgment on the pleadings, the Court, inTsoi v. Court of Appeals,[45] explained that when private respondent testified under oath before the lower court and was cross-examined by the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in the form of testimony. Importantly, the Court, aware of parallel decisions of Catholic marriage tribunals, ruled that the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the marital obligation of procreating children is equivalent to psychological incapacity.

The resiliency with which the concept should be applied and the case-to-case basis by which the provision should be interpreted, as so intended by its framers, had, somehow, been rendered ineffectual by the imposition of a set of strict standards inMolina, [46] thus: From their submissions and the Court's own deliberations, the following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Art. 36 of the Family Code are hereby handed down for the guidance of the bench and the bar: (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 psychologicalnot 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 psychically 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 do's. 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 characterological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes. 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 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. 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 evidencewhat 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 Churchwhile remaining independent, separate and apart from each othershall 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.[47]

Noteworthy is that in Molina, while the majority of the Courts membership concurred in the ponencia of then Associate Justice (later Chief Justice) Artemio V. Panganiban, three justices concurred in the result and another threeincluding, as aforesaid, Justice Romerotook pains to compose their individual separate opinions. Then Justice Teodoro R. Padilla even emphasized that each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predelictions 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.[48] Predictably, however, in resolving subsequent cases,[49] the Court has applied the aforesaid standards, without too much regard for the laws clear intention that each case is to be treated differently, as 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. 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.[50]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.[51] The Court need not worry about the possible abuse of the remedy provided by Article 36, for there are ample safeguards against this contingency, among which is the intervention by the State, through the public prosecutor, to guard against collusion between the parties and/or fabrication of evidence.[52] The Court should rather be alarmed

by the rising number of cases involving marital abuse, child abuse, domestic violence and incestuous rape. In dissolving marital bonds on account of either partys psychological incapacity, the Court is not demolishing the foundation of families, but it is actually protecting the sanctity of marriage, because it refuses to allow a person afflicted with a psychological disorder, who cannot comply with or assume the essential marital obligations, from remaining in that sacred bond. It may be stressed that the infliction of physical violence, constitutional indolence or laziness, drug dependence or addiction, and psychosexual anomaly are manifestations of a sociopathic personality anomaly.[53] Let it be noted that in Article 36, there is no marriage to speak of in the first place, as the same is void from the very beginning.[54] To indulge in imagery, the declaration of nullity under Article 36 will simply provide a decent burial to a stillborn marriage. The prospect of a possible remarriage by the freed spouses should not pose too much of a concern for the Court. First and foremost, because it is none of its business. And second, because the judicial declaration of psychological incapacity operates as a warning or a lesson learned. On one hand, the normal spouse would have become vigilant, and never again marry a person with a personality disorder. On the other hand, a would-be spouse of the psychologically incapacitated runs the risk of the latters disorder recurring in their marriage. Lest it be misunderstood, we are not suggesting the abandonment of Molina in this case. We simply declare that, as aptly stated by Justice Dante O. Tinga in Antonio v. Reyes,[55] there is need to emphasize other perspectives as well which should govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. At the risk of being redundant, we reiterate once more 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. II. We now examine the instant case. The parties whirlwind relationship lasted more or less six (6) months. They met in January 1996, eloped in March, exchanged marital vows in May, and parted ways in June. The psychologist who provided expert testimony found both parties psychologically incapacitated. Petitioners behavioral pattern falls under the classification of dependent

personality disorder, and respondents, that of the narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder.[56] By the very nature of Article 36, courts, despite having the primary task and burden of decision-making, must not discount but, instead, must consider as decisive evidence the expert opinion on the psychological and mental temperaments of the parties.[57] Justice Romero explained this in Molina, as follows: Furthermore, and equally significant, the professional opinion of a psychological expert became increasingly important in such cases. Data about the person's entire life, both before and after the ceremony, were presented to these experts and they were asked to give professional opinions about a party's 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. The Church took pains to point out that its new openness in this area did not amount to the addition of new grounds for annulment, but rather was an accommodation by the Church to the 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. During the 1970s, the Church broadened its whole idea of marriage from that of a legal contract to that of a covenant. The result of this was that it could no longer be assumed in annulment cases that a person who could intellectually understand the concept of marriage could necessarily give valid consent to marry. The ability to both grasp and assume the real obligations of a mature, lifelong commitment are now considered a necessary prerequisite to valid matrimonial consent. Rotal decisions continued applying the concept of incipient psychological incapacity, not only to sexual anomalies but to all kinds of personality disorders that incapacitate a spouse or both spouses from assuming or carrying out the essential obligations of marriage. For marriage . . . is not merely cohabitation or the right of the spouses to each other's body for heterosexual acts, but is, in its totality the right to the community of the whole of life; i.e., the right to a developing lifelong relationship. Rotal decisions since 1973 have refined the meaning of psychological or psychic capacity for marriage as presupposing the development of an adult personality; as meaning the capacity of the spouses to give themselves to each other and to accept the other as a distinct person; that the spouses must be other oriented since the obligations of marriage are rooted in a self-giving love; and that the spouses must have the capacity for interpersonal relationship because marriage is more than just a physical reality but involves a true intertwining of personalities. The fulfillment of the obligations of marriage depends, according to Church decisions, on the strength of this

interpersonal relationship. A serious incapacity for interpersonal sharing and support is held to impair the relationship and consequently, the ability to fulfill the essential marital obligations. The marital capacity of one spouse is not considered in isolation but in reference to the fundamental relationship to the other spouse. Fr. Green, in an article in Catholic Mind, lists six elements necessary to the mature marital relationship: The courts consider the following elements crucial to the marital commitment: (1) a permanent and faithful commitment to the marriage partner; (2) openness to children and partner; (3) stability; (4) emotional maturity; (5) financial responsibility; (6) an ability to cope with the ordinary stresses and strains of marriage, etc. Fr. Green goes on to speak about some of the psychological conditions that might lead to the failure of a marriage: At stake is a type of constitutional impairment precluding conjugal communion even with the best intentions of the parties. Among the psychic factors possibly giving rise to his or her inability to fulfill marital obligations are the following: (1) antisocial personality with its fundamental lack of loyalty to persons or sense of moral values; (2) hyperesthesia, where the individual has no real freedom of sexual choice; (3) the inadequate personality where personal responses consistently fall short of reasonable expectations. xxxx The psychological grounds are the best approach for anyone who doubts whether he or she has a case for an annulment on any other terms. A situation that does not fit into any of the more traditional categories often fits very easily into the psychological category. As new as the psychological grounds are, experts are already detecting a shift in their use. Whereas originally the emphasis was on the parties' inability to exercise proper judgment at the time of the marriage (lack of due discretion), recent cases seem to be concentrating on the parties' incapacity to assume or carry out their responsibilities and obligations as promised (lack of due competence). An advantage to using the ground of lack of due competence is that at the time the marriage was entered into civil divorce and breakup of the family almost always is proof of someone's failure to carry out marital responsibilities as promised at the time the marriage was entered into.[58]

Hernandez v. Court of Appeals[59] emphasizes the importance of presenting expert testimony to establish the precise cause of a partys psychological incapacity, and to show that it existed at the inception of the marriage. And as Marcos v. Marcos[60]asserts, there is no requirement that the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated be personally examined by a physician, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity.[61] Verily, the evidence must show a link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. This is not to mention, but we mention nevertheless for emphasis, that the presentation of expert proof presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis of a grave, severe and incurable presence of psychological incapacity.[62] Parenthetically, the Court, at this point, finds it fitting to suggest the inclusion in the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages,[63] an option for the trial judge to refer the case to a court-appointed psychologist/expert for an independent assessment and evaluation of the psychological state of the parties. This will assist the courts, who are no experts in the field of psychology, to arrive at an intelligent and judicious determination of the case. The rule, however, does not dispense with the parties prerogative to present their own expert witnesses. Going back, in the case at bench, the psychological assessment, which we consider as adequate, produced the findings that both parties are afflicted with personality disordersto repeat, dependent personality disorder for petitioner, and narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder for respondent. We note that The Encyclopedia of Mental Health discusses personality disorders as follows A group of disorders involving behaviors or traits that are characteristic of a persons recent and long-term functioning. Patterns of perceiving and thinking are not usually limited to isolated episodes but are deeply ingrained, inflexible, maladaptive and severe enough to cause the individual mental stress or anxieties or to interfere with interpersonal relationships and normal functioning. Personality disorders are often recognizable by adolescence or earlier, continue through adulthood and become less obvious in middle or old age. An individual may have more than one personality disorder at a time. The common factor among individuals who have personality disorders, despite a variety of character traits, is the way in which the disorder leads to pervasive problems in social and occupational adjustment. Some individuals with personality disorders are perceived by others as overdramatic, paranoid, obnoxious or even criminal, without an awareness of their behaviors. Such qualities may lead to trouble getting along with other people, as well as difficulties in other areas of life and often a tendency to blame others for their

problems. Other individuals with personality disorders are not unpleasant or difficult to work with but tend to be lonely, isolated or dependent. Such traits can lead to interpersonal difficulties, reduced self-esteem and dissatisfaction with life. Causes of Personality Disorders Different mental health viewpoints propose a variety of causes of personality disorders. These include Freudian, genetic factors, neurobiologic theories and brain wave activity. Freudian Sigmund Freud believed that fixation at certain stages of development led to certain personality types. Thus, some disorders as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3d ed., rev.) are derived from his oral, anal and phallic character types. Demanding and dependent behavior (dependent and passive-aggressive) was thought to derive from fixation at the oral stage. Characteristics of obsessionality, rigidity and emotional aloofness were thought to derive from fixation at the anal stage; fixation at the phallic stage was thought to lead to shallowness and an inability to engage in intimate relationships. However, later researchers have found little evidence that early childhood events or fixation at certain stages of development lead to specific personality patterns. Genetic Factors Researchers have found that there may be a genetic factor involved in the etiology of antisocial and borderline personality disorders; there is less evidence of inheritance of other personality disorders. Some family, adoption and twin studies suggest that schizotypal personality may be related to genetic factors. Neurobiologic Theories In individuals who have borderline personality, researchers have found that low cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) negatively correlated with measures of aggression and a past history of suicide attempts. Schizotypal personality has been associated with low platelet monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity and impaired smooth pursuit eye movement. Brain Wave Activity Abnormalities in electroencephalograph (EEG) have been reported in antisocial personality for many years; slow wave is the most widely reported abnormality. A study of borderline patients reported that 38 percent had at least marginal EEG abnormalities, compared with 19 percent in a control group. Types of Disorders According to the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3d ed., rev., 1987), or DSM-III-R, personality disorders are categorized into three major clusters: Cluster A: Paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders. Individuals who have these disorders often appear to have odd or eccentric habits and traits.

Cluster B: Antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders. Individuals who have these disorders often appear overly emotional, erratic and dramatic. Cluster C: Avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive and passiveaggressive personality disorders. Individuals who have these disorders often appear anxious or fearful. The DSM-III-R also lists another category, personality disorder not otherwise specified, that can be used for other specific personality disorders or for mixed conditions that do not qualify as any of the specific personality disorders. Individuals with diagnosable personality disorders usually have longterm concerns, and thus therapy may be long-term.[64] Dependent personality disorder is characterized in the following manner A personality disorder characterized by a pattern of dependent and submissive behavior. Such individuals usually lack self-esteem and frequently belittle their capabilities; they fear criticism and are easily hurt by others comments. At times they actually bring about dominance by others through a quest for overprotection. Dependent personality disorder usually begins in early adulthood. Individuals who have this disorder may be unable to make everyday decisions without advice or reassurance from others, may allow others to make most of their important decisions (such as where to live), tend to agree with people even when they believe they are wrong, have difficulty starting projects or doing things on their own, volunteer to do things that are demeaning in order to get approval from other people, feel uncomfortable or helpless when alone and are often preoccupied with fears of being abandoned.
[65]

and antisocial personality disorder described, as follows Characteristics include a consistent pattern of behavior that is intolerant of the conventional behavioral limitations imposed by a society, an inability to sustain a job over a period of years, disregard for the rights of others (either through exploitiveness or criminal behavior), frequent physical fights and, quite commonly, child or spouse abuse without remorse and a tendency to blame others. There is often a faade of charm and even sophistication that masks disregard, lack of remorse for mistreatment of others and the need to control others. Although characteristics of this disorder describe criminals, they also may befit some individuals who are prominent in business or politics whose

habits of self-centeredness and disregard for the rights of others may be hidden prior to a public scandal. During the 19th century, this type of personality disorder was referred to as moral insanity. The term described immoral, guiltless behavior that was not accompanied by impairments in reasoning. According to the classification system used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3d ed., rev. 1987), anti-social personality disorder is one of the four dramatic personality disorders, the others being borderline, histrionic and narcissistic.[66]

The seriousness of the diagnosis and the gravity of the disorders considered, the Court, in this case, finds as decisive the psychological evaluation made by the expert witness; and, thus, rules that the marriage of the parties is null and void on ground of both parties psychological incapacity. We further consider that the trial court, which had a firsthand view of the witnesses deportment, arrived at the same conclusion. Indeed, petitioner, who is afflicted with dependent personality disorder, cannot assume the essential marital obligations of living together, observing love, respect and fidelity and rendering help and support, for he is unable to make everyday decisions without advice from others, allows others to make most of his important decisions (such as where to live), tends to agree with people even when he believes they are wrong, has difficulty doing things on his own, volunteers to do things that are demeaning in order to get approval from other people, feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone and is often preoccupied with fears of being abandoned.[67] As clearly shown in this case, petitioner followed everything dictated to him by the persons around him. He is insecure, weak and gullible, has no sense of his identity as a person, has no cohesive self to speak of, and has no goals and clear direction in life. Although on a different plane, the same may also be said of the respondent. Her being afflicted with antisocial personality disorder makes her unable to assume the essential marital obligations. This finding takes into account her disregard for the rights of others, her abuse, mistreatment and control of others without remorse, her tendency to blame others, and her intolerance of the conventional behavioral limitations imposed by society.[68] Moreover, as shown in this case, respondent is impulsive and domineering; she had no qualms in manipulating petitioner with her threats of blackmail and of committing suicide.

Both parties being afflicted with grave, severe and incurable psychological incapacity, the precipitous marriage which they contracted on April 23, 1996 is thus, declared null and void. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The August 5, 2003 Decision and the January 19, 2004 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 71867 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the Decision, dated July 30, 2001, REINSTATED. SO ORDERED.

Judicial declaration of nullity (Art. 40, FC) Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 104818 September 17, 1993 ROBERTO DOMINGO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and DELIA SOLEDAD AVERA represented by her Attorney-inFact MOISES R. AVERA,respondents. Jose P.O. Aliling IV for petitioner. De Guzman, Meneses & Associates for private respondent.

ROMERO, J.: The instant petition seeks the reversal of respondent court's ruling finding no grave abuse of discretion in the lower court's order denying petitioner's motion to dismiss the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage and separation of property. On May 29, 1991, private respondent Delia Soledad A. Domingo filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig entitled "Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Separation of Property" against petitioner Roberto Domingo. The petition which was docketed as Special Proceedings No. 1989-J alleged among others that: they were married on November 29, 1976 at the YMCA Youth Center Bldg., as evidenced by a Marriage Contract Registry No. 1277K-76 with Marriage License No. 4999036 issued at Carmona, Cavite; unknown to her, he had a previous marriage with one Emerlina dela Paz on April 25, 1969 which marriage is

valid and still existing; she came to know of the prior marriage only sometime in 1983 when Emerlina dela Paz sued them for bigamy; from January 23 1979 up to the present, she has been working in Saudi Arabia and she used to come to the Philippines only when she would avail of the one-month annual vacation leave granted by her foreign employer since 1983 up to the present, he has been unemployed and completely dependent upon her for support and subsistence; out of her personal earnings, she purchased real and personal properties with a total amount of approximately P350,000.00, which are under the possession and administration of Roberto; sometime in June 1989, while on her onemonth vacation, she discovered that he was cohabiting with another woman; she further discovered that he had been disposing of some of her properties without her knowledge or consent; she confronted him about this and thereafter appointed her brother Moises R. Avera as her attorney-in-fact to take care of her properties; he failed and refused to turn over the possession and administration of said properties to her brother/attorney-in-fact; and he is not authorized to administer and possess the same on account of the nullity of their marriage. The petition prayed that a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction be issued enjoining Roberto from exercising any act of administration and ownership over said properties; their marriage be declared null and void and of no force and effect; and Delia Soledad be declared the sole and exclusive owner of all properties acquired at the time of their void marriage and such properties be placed under the proper management and administration of the attorney-in-fact. Petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the petition stated no cause of action. The marriage being void ab initio, the petition for the declaration of its nullity is, therefore, superfluous and unnecessary. It added that private respondent has no property which is in his possession. On August 20, 1991, Judge Maria Alicia M. Austria issued an Order denying the motion to dismiss for lack of merit. She explained: Movant argues that a second marriage contracted after a first marriage by a man with another woman is illegal and void (citing the case of Yap v. Court of Appeals, 145 SCRA 229) and no judicial decree is necessary to establish the invalidity of a void marriage (citing the cases of People v. Aragon, 100 Phil. 1033; People v. Mendoza, 95 Phil. 845). Indeed, under the Yap case there is no dispute that the second marriage contracted by respondent with herein petitioner after a first marriage with another woman is illegal and void. However, as to whether or not the second marriage should first be judicially declared a nullity is not an issue in said case. In the case of Vda. de Consuegra v. GSIS, the Supreme Court ruled in explicit terms, thus: And with respect to the right of the second wife, this Court observed that although the second marriage can be presumed to be void ab initio as it was celebrated while the first marriage was still subsisting, still there is need for judicial declaration of its nullity. (37 SCRA 316, 326) The above ruling which is of later vintage deviated from the previous rulings of the Supreme Court in the aforecited cases of Aragon and Mendoza.

Finally, the contention of respondent movant that petitioner has no property in his possession is an issue that may be determined only after trial on the merits. 1 A motion for reconsideration was filed stressing the erroneous application of Vda. de Consuegra v. GSIS 2 and the absence of justiciable controversy as to the nullity of the marriage. On September 11, 1991, Judge Austria denied the motion for reconsideration and gave petitioner fifteen (15) days from receipt within which to file his answer. Instead of filing the required answer, petitioner filed a special civil action of certiorari and mandamus on the ground that the lower court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in denying the motion to dismiss. On February 7, 1992, the Court of Appeals 3 dismissed the petition. It explained that the case of Yap v. CA 4 cited by petitioner and that of Consuegra v. GSIS relied upon by the lower court do not have relevance in the case at bar, there being no identity of facts because these cases dealt with the successional rights of the second wife while the instant case prays for separation of property corollary with the declaration of nullity of marriage. It observed that the separation and subsequent distribution of the properties acquired during the union can be had only upon proper determination of the status of the marital relationship between said parties, whether or not the validity of the first marriage is denied by petitioner. Furthermore, in order to avoid duplication and multiplicity of suits, the declaration of nullity of marriage may be invoked in this proceeding together with the partition and distribution of the properties involved. Citing Articles 48, 50 and 52 of the Family Code, it held that private respondent's prayer for declaration of absolute nullity of their marriage may be raised together with other incidents of their marriage such as the separation of their properties. Lastly, it noted that since the Court has jurisdiction, the alleged error in refusing to grant the motion to dismiss is merely one of law for which the remedy ordinarily would have been to file an answer, proceed with the trial and in case of an adverse decision, reiterate the issue on appeal. The motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied for lack of merit. 5 Hence, this petition. The two basic issues confronting the Court in the instant case are the following. First, whether or not a petition for judicial declaration of a void marriage is necessary. If in the affirmative, whether the same should be filed only for purposes of remarriage. Second, whether or not SP No. 1989-J is the proper remedy of private respondent to recover certain real and personal properties allegedly belonging to her exclusively. Petitioner, invoking the ruling in People v. Aragon 6 and People v. Mendoza, 7 contends that SP. No. 1989-J for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Separation of Property filed by private respondent must be dismissed for being unnecessary and superfluous. Furthermore, under his own interpretation of Article 40 of the Family Code, he submits that a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage is required only for purposes of remarriage. Since the petition in SP No. 1989-J contains no allegation of private respondent's intention to remarry, said petition should therefore, be dismissed.

On the other hand, private respondent insists on the necessity of a judicial declaration of the nullity of their marriage, not for purposes of remarriage, but in order to provide a basis for the separation and distribution of the properties acquired during coverture. There is no question that the marriage of petitioner and private respondent celebrated while the former's previous marriage with one Emerlina de la Paz was still subsisting, is bigamous. As such, it is from the beginning. 8 Petitioner himself does not dispute the absolute nullity of their marriage. 9 The cases of People v. Aragon and People v. Mendoza relied upon by petitioner are cases where the Court had earlier ruled that no judicial decree is necessary to establish the invalidity of a void, bigamous marriage. It is noteworthy to observe that Justice Alex Reyes, however, dissented on these occasions stating that: Though the logician may say that where the former marriage was void there would be nothing to dissolve, still it is not for the spouses to judge whether that marriage was void or not. That judgment is reserved to the courts. . . . 10 This dissenting opinion was adopted as the majority position in subsequent cases involving the same issue. Thus, inGomez v. Lipana, 11 the Court abandoned its earlier ruling in the Aragon and Mendoza cases. In reversing the lower court's order forfeiting the husband's share of the disputed property acquired during the second marriage, the Court stated that "if the nullity, or annulment of the marriage is the basis for the application of Article 1417, there is need for a judicial declaration thereof, which of course contemplates an action for that purpose." Citing Gomez v. Lipana, the Court subsequently held in Vda. de Consuegra v. Government Service Insurance System, that "although the second marriage can be presumed to be void ab initio as it was celebrated while the first marriage was still subsisting, still there is need for judicial declaration of such nullity." In Tolentino v. Paras, 12 however, the Court turned around and applied the Aragon and Mendoza ruling once again. In granting the prayer of the first wife asking for a declaration as the lawful surviving spouse and the correction of the death certificate of her deceased husband, it explained that "(t)he second marriage that he contracted with private respondent during the lifetime of his first spouse is null and void from the beginning and of no force and effect. No judicial decree is necessary to establish the invalidity of a void marriage." However, in the more recent case of Wiegel v. Sempio-Diy 13 the Court reverted to the Consuegra case and held that there was "no need of introducing evidence about the existing prior marriage of her first husband at the time they married each other, for then such a marriage though void still needs according to this Court a judicial declaration of such fact and for all legal intents and purposes she would still be regarded as a married woman at the time she contracted her marriage with respondent Karl Heinz Wiegel." Came the Family Code which settled once and for all the conflicting jurisprudence on the matter. A declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage is now explicitly required either as a cause of action or a ground for defense. 14 Where the absolute nullity of a previous marriage is sought to be invoked for purposes of contracting a second marriage, the sole

basis acceptable in law for said projected marriage be free from legal infirmity is a final judgment declaring the previous marriage void. 15 The Family Law Revision Committee and the Civil Code Revision Committee 16 which drafted what is now the Family Code of the Philippines took the position that parties to a marriage should not be allowed to assume that their marriage is void even if such be the fact but must first secure a judicial declaration of the nullity of their marriage before they can be allowed to marry again. This is borne out by the following minutes of the 152nd Joint Meeting of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees where the present Article 40, then Art. 39, was discussed. B. Article 39. The absolute nullity of a marriage may be invoked only on the basis of a final judgment declaring the marriage void, except as provided in Article 41. Justice Caguioa remarked that the above provision should include not only void but also voidable marriages. He then suggested that the above provision be modified as follows: The validity of a marriage may be invoked only . . . Justice Reyes (J.B.L. Reyes), however, proposed that they say: The validity or invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only . . . On the other hand, Justice Puno suggested that they say: The invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only . . . Justice Caguioa explained that his idea is that one cannot determine for himself whether or not his marriage is valid and that a court action is needed. Justice Puno accordingly proposed that the provision be modified to read: The invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only on the basis of a final judgment annulling the marriage or declaring the marriage void, except as provided in Article 41. Justice Caguioa remarked that in annulment, there is no question. Justice Puno, however, pointed out that, even if it is a judgment of annulment, they still have to produce the judgment. Justice Caguioa suggested that they say: The invalidity of a marriage may be invoked only on the basis of a final judgment declaring the marriage invalid, except as provided in Article 41.

Justice Puno raised the question: When a marriage is declared invalid, does it include the annulment of a marriage and the declaration that the marriage is void? Justice Caguioa replied in the affirmative. Dean Gupit added that in some judgments, even if the marriage is annulled, it is declared void. Justice Puno suggested that this matter be made clear in the provision. Prof. Baviera remarked that the original idea in the provision is to require first a judicial declaration of a void marriage and not annullable marriages, with which the other members concurred. Judge Diy added that annullable marriages are presumed valid until a direct action is filed to annul it, which the other members affirmed. Justice Puno remarked that if this is so, then the phrase "absolute nullity" can stand since it might result in confusion if they change the phrase to "invalidity" if what they are referring to in the provision is the declaration that the marriage is void. Prof. Bautista commented that they will be doing away with collateral defense as well as collateral attack. Justice Caguioa explained that the idea in the provision is that there should be a final judgment declaring the marriage void and a party should not declare for himself whether or not the marriage is void, while the other members affirmed. Justice Caguioa added that they are, therefore, trying to avoid a collateral attack on that point. Prof. Bautista stated that there are actions which are brought on the assumption that the marriage is valid. He then asked: Are they depriving one of the right to raise the defense that he has no liability because the basis of the liability is void? Prof. Bautista added that they cannot say that there will be no judgment on the validity or invalidity of the marriage because it will be taken up in the same proceeding. It will not be a unilateral declaration that, it is a void marriage. Justice Caguioa saw the point of Prof. Bautista and suggested that they limit the provision to remarriage. He then proposed that Article 39 be reworded as follows: The absolute nullity of a marriage for purposes of remarriage may be invoked only on the basis of final judgment . . . Justice Puno suggested that the above be modified as follows: The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of establishing the validity of a subsequent marriage only on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void, except as provided in Article 41. Justice Puno later modified the above as follows: For the purpose of establishing the validity of a subsequent marriage, the absolute nullity of a previous marriage may only be invoked on the basis of a final judgment declaring such nullity, except as provided in Article 41. Justice Caguioa commented that the above provision is too broad and will not solve the objection of Prof. Bautista. He proposed that they say:

For the purpose of entering into a subsequent marriage, the absolute nullity of a previous marriage may only be invoked on the basis of a final judgment declaring such nullity, except as provided in Article 41. Justice Caguioa explained that the idea in the above provision is that if one enters into a subsequent marriage without obtaining a final judgment declaring the nullity of a previous marriage, said subsequent marriage is void ab initio. After further deliberation, Justice Puno suggested that they go back to the original wording of the provision as follows: The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage only on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void, except as provided in Article 41. 17 In fact, the requirement for a declaration of absolute nullity of a marriage is also for the protection of the spouse who, believing that his or her marriage is illegal and void, marries again. With the judicial declaration of the nullity of his or her first marriage, the person who marries again cannot be charged with bigamy. 18 Just over a year ago, the Court made the pronouncement that there is a necessity for a declaration of absolute nullity of a prior subsisting marriage before contracting another in the recent case of Terre v. Terre. 19 The Court, in turning down the defense of respondent Terre who was charged with grossly immoral conduct consisting of contracting a second marriage and living with another woman other than complainant while his prior marriage with the latter remained subsisting, said that "for purposes of determining whether a person is legally free to contract a second marriage, a judicial declaration that the first marriage was null and void ab initio is essential." As regards the necessity for a judicial declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, petitioner submits that the same can be maintained only if it is for the purpose of remarriage. Failure to allege this purpose, according to petitioner's theory, will warrant dismissal of the same. Article 40 of the Family Code provides: Art. 40. The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. (n) Crucial to the proper interpretation of Article 40 is the position in the provision of the word "solely." As it is placed, the same shows that it is meant to qualify "final judgment declaring such previous marriage void." Realizing the need for careful craftsmanship in conveying the precise intent of the Committee members, the provision in question, as it finally emerged, did not state "The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked solely for purposes of remarriage . . .," in which case "solely" would clearly qualify the phrase "for purposes of remarriage." Had the phraseology been such, the interpretation of petitioner would have been correct and, that is, that the absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked solely for purposes of remarriage, thus rendering

irrelevant the clause "on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void." That Article 40 as finally formulated included the significant clause denotes that such final judgment declaring the previous marriage void need not be obtained only for purposes of remarriage. Undoubtedly, one can conceive of other instances where a party might well invoke the absolute nullity of a previous marriage for purposes other than remarriage, such as in case of an action for liquidation, partition, distribution and separation of property between the erstwhile spouses, as well as an action for the custody and support of their common children and the delivery of the latters' presumptive legitimes. In such cases, evidence needs must be adduced, testimonial or documentary, to prove the existence of grounds rendering such a previous marriage an absolute nullity. These need not be limited solely to an earlier final judgment of a court declaring such previous marriage void. Hence, in the instance where a party who has previously contracted a marriage which remains subsisting desires to enter into another marriage which is legally unassailable, he is required by law to prove that the previous one was an absolute nullity. But this he may do on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. This leads us to the question: Why the distinction? In other words, for purposes of remarriage, why should the only legally acceptable basis for declaring a previous marriage an absolute nullity be a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void? Whereas, for purposes other than remarriage, other evidence is acceptable? Marriage, a sacrosanct institution, declared by the Constitution as an "inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family;" as such, it "shall be protected by the State." 20 In more explicit terms, the Family Code characterizes it as "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." 21 So crucial are marriage and the family to the stability and peace of the nation that their "nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation . . ." 22 As a matter of policy, therefore, the nullification of a marriage for the purpose of contracting another cannot be accomplished merely on the basis of the perception of both parties or of one that their union is so defective with respect to the essential requisites of a contract of marriage as to render it void ipso jure and with no legal effect and nothing more. Were this so, this inviolable social institution would be reduced to a mockery and would rest on very shaky foundations indeed. And the grounds for nullifying marriage would be as diverse and far-ranging as human ingenuity and fancy could conceive. For such a social significant institution, an official state pronouncement through the courts, and nothing less, will satisfy the exacting norms of society. Not only would such an open and public declaration by the courts definitively confirm the nullity of the contract of marriage, but the same would be easily verifiable through records accessible to everyone. That the law seeks to ensure that a prior marriage is no impediment to a second sought to be contracted by one of the parties may be gleaned from new information required in the Family Code to be included in the application for a marriage license, viz, "If previously married, how, when and where the previous marriage was dissolved and annulled." 23 Reverting to the case before us, petitioner's interpretation of Art. 40 of the Family Code is, undoubtedly, quite restrictive. Thus, his position that private respondent's failure to state in the petition that the same is filed to enable her to remarry will result in the dismissal of

SP No. 1989-J is untenable. His misconstruction of Art. 40 resulting from the misplaced emphasis on the term "solely" was in fact anticipated by the members of the Committee. Dean Gupit commented the word "only" may be misconstrued to refer to "for purposes of remarriage." Judge Diy stated that "only" refers to "final judgment." Justice Puno suggested that they say "on the basis only of a final judgment." Prof. Baviera suggested that they use the legal term "solely" instead of "only," which the Committee approved. 24 (Emphasis supplied) Pursuing his previous argument that the declaration for absolute nullity of marriage is unnecessary, petitioner suggests that private respondent should have filed an ordinary civil action for the recovery of the properties alleged to have been acquired during their union. In such an eventuality, the lower court would not be acting as a mere special court but would be clothed with jurisdiction to rule on the issues of possession and ownership. In addition, he pointed out that there is actually nothing to separate or partition as the petition admits that all the properties were acquired with private respondent's money. The Court of Appeals disregarded this argument and concluded that "the prayer for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage may be raised together with the other incident of their marriage such as the separation of their properties." When a marriage is declared void ab initio, the law states that the final judgment therein shall provide for "the liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, the custody and support of the common children, and the delivery of their presumptive legitimes, unless such matters had been adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings." 25 Other specific effects flowing therefrom, in proper cases, are the following: Art. 43. xxx xxx xxx (2) The absolute community of property or the conjugal partnership, as the case may be, shall be dissolved and liquidated, but if either spouse contracted said marriage in bad faith, his or her share of the net profits of the community property or conjugal partnership property shall be forfeited in favor of the common children or, if there are none, the children of the guilty spouse by a previous marriage or, in default of children, the innocent spouse; (3) Donations by reason of marriage shall remain valid, except that if the donee contracted the marriage in bad faith, such donations made to said donee are revoked by operation of law; (4) The innocent spouse may revoke the designation of the other spouse who acted in bad faith as a beneficiary in any insurance policy, even if such designation be stipulated as irrevocable; and (5) The spouse who contracted the subsequent marriage in bad faith shall be disqualified to inherit from the innocent spouse by testate and intestate succession. (n) Art. 44. If both spouses of the subsequent marriage acted in bad faith, said marriage shall be void ab initio and all donations by reason of marriage and

testamentary disposition made by one in favor of the other are revoked by operation of law. (n) 26 Based on the foregoing provisions, private respondent's ultimate prayer for separation of property will simply be one of the necessary consequences of the judicial declaration of absolute nullity of their marriage. Thus, petitioner's suggestion that in order for their properties to be separated, an ordinary civil action has to be instituted for that purpose is baseless. The Family Code has clearly provided the effects of the declaration of nullity of marriage, one of which is the separation of property according to the regime of property relations governing them. It stands to reason that the lower court before whom the issue of nullity of a first marriage is brought is likewise clothed with jurisdiction to decide the incidental questions regarding the couple's properties. Accordingly, the respondent court committed no reversible error in finding that the lower court committed no grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner's motion to dismiss SP No. 1989-J. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of respondent Court dated February 7, 1992 and the Resolution dated March 20, 1992 are AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. Bidin and Melo, JJ., concur. Feliciano, J., is on leave. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. L-53703 August 19, 1986 LILIA OLIVA WIEGEL, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE ALICIA V. SEMPIO-DIY (as presiding judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Caloocan City) and KARL HEINZ WIEGEL, respondents. Dapucanta, Dulay & Associates for petitioner. Siguion Reyna, Montecillo and Ongsiako Law Office for private respondent.

PARAS, J.: In an action (Family Case No. 483) filed before the erstwhile Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Caloocan City, herein respondent Karl Heinz Wiegel (plaintiff therein) asked for the declaration of Nullity of his marriage (celebrated on July, 1978 at the Holy Catholic Apostolic Christian Church Branch in Makati, Metro Manila) with herein petitioner Lilia Oliva Wiegel (Lilia, for short, and defendant therein) on the ground of Lilia's previous existing marriage to one Eduardo A. Maxion, the ceremony having been performed on June

25, 1972 at our Lady of Lourdes Church in Quezon City. Lilia, while admitting the existence of said prior subsisting marriage claimed that said marriage was null and void, she and the first husband Eduardo A. Maxion having been allegedly forced to enter said marital union. In the pre-trial that ensued, the issue agreed upon by both parties was the status of the first marriage (assuming the presence of force exerted against both parties): was said prior marriage void or was it merely voidable? Contesting the validity of the pre-trial order, Lilia asked the respondent court for an opportunity to present evidence(1) that the first marriage was vitiated by force exercised upon both her and the first husband; and (2) that the first husband was at the time of the marriage in 1972 already married to someone else. Respondent judge ruled against the presentation of evidence because the existence of force exerted on both parties of the first marriage had already been agreed upon. Hence, the present petition for certiorari assailing the following Orders of therespondent Judge(1) the Order dated March 17, 1980 in which the parties were compelled to submit the case for resolution based on "agreed facts;" and (2) the Order dated April 14, 1980, denying petitioner's motion to allow her to present evidence in her favor. We find the petition devoid of merit. There is no need for petitioner to prove that her first marriage was vitiated by force committed against both parties because assuming this to be so, the marriage will not be void but merely viodable (Art. 85, Civil Code), and therefore valid until annulled. Since no annulment has yet been made, it is clear that when she married respondent she was still validly married to her first husband, consequently, her marriage to respondent is VOID (Art. 80, Civil Code). There is likewise no need of introducing evidence about the existing prior marriage of her first husband at the time they married each other, for then such a marriage though void still needs according to this Court a judicial declaration 1 of such fact and for all legal intents and purposes she would still be regarded as a married woman at the time she contracted her marriage with respondent Karl Heinz Wiegel); accordingly, the marriage of petitioner and respondent would be regarded VOID under the law. WHEREFORE, this petition is hereby DISMISSED, for lack of merit, and the Orders complained of are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED. Feria (Chairman), Fernan Alampay and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 122749 July 31, 1996 ANTONIO A. S. VALDEZ, petitioner, vs. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 102, QUEZON CITY, and CONSUELO M. GOMEZVALDEZ, respondents.

VITUG, J.:p The petition for new bewails, purely on the question of law, an alleged error committed by the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. Q-92-12539. Petitioner avers that the court a quo has failed to apply the correct law that should govern the disposition of a family dwelling in a situation where a marriage is declared void ab initio because of psychological incapacity on the part of either or both parties in the contract. The pertinent facts giving rise to this incident are, by large, not in dispute. Antonio Valdez and Consuelo Gomez were married on 05 January 1971. Begotten during the marriage were five children. In a petition, dated 22 June 1992, Valdez sought the declaration of nullity of the marriage pursuant to Article 36 of the Family code (docketed Civil Case No. Q-92-12539, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 102). After the hearing the parties following the joinder of issues, the trial court, 1 in its decision of 29 July 1994, granted the petition, viz: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: (1) The marriage of petitioner Antonio Valdez and respondent Consuelo GomezValdez is hereby declared null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code on the ground of their mutual psychological incapacity to comply with their essential marital obligations; (2) The three older children, Carlos Enrique III, Antonio Quintin and Angela Rosario shall choose which parent they would want to stay with. Stella Eloisa and Joaquin Pedro shall be placed in the custody of their mother, herein respondent Consuelo Gomez-Valdes. The petitioner and respondent shall have visitation rights over the children who are in the custody of the other.

(3) The petitioner and the respondent are directed to start proceedings on the liquidation of their common propertiesas defined by Article 147 of the Family Code, and to comply with the provisions of Articles 50, 51, and 52 of the same code, within thirty (30) days from notice of this decision. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, for proper recording in the registry of marriages. 2 (Emphasis ours.) Consuelo Gomez sought a clarification of that portion of the decision directing compliance with Articles 50, 51 and 52 of the Family Code. She asserted that the Family Code contained no provisions on the procedure for the liquidation of common property in "unions without marriage." Parenthetically, during the hearing of the motion, the children filed a joint affidavit expressing their desire to remain with their father, Antonio Valdez, herein petitioner. In an order, dated 05 May 1995, the trial court made the following clarification: Consequently, considering that Article 147 of the Family Code explicitly provides that the property acquired by both parties during their union, in the absence of proof to the contrary, are presumed to have been obtained through the joint efforts of the parties and will be owned by them in equal shares, plaintiff and defendant will own their "family home" and all their properties for that matter in equal shares. In the liquidation and partition of properties owned in common by the plaintiff and defendant, the provisions on ownership found in the Civil Code shall apply. 3 (Emphasis supplied.) In addressing specifically the issue regarding the disposition of the family dwelling, the trial court said: Considering that this Court has already declared the marriage between petitioner and respondent as null and voidab initio, pursuant to Art. 147, the property regime of petitioner and respondent shall be governed by the rules on ownership. The provisions of Articles 102 and 129 of the Family Code finds no application since Article 102 refers to the procedure for the liquidation of the conjugal partnership property and Article 129 refers to the procedure for the liquidation of the absolute community of property. 4 Petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the order. The motion was denied on 30 October 1995. In his recourse to this Court, petitioner submits that Articles 50, 51 and 52 of the Family Code should be held controlling: he argues that: I Article 147 of the Family Code does not apply to cases where the parties are psychologically incapacitated. II

Articles 50, 51 and 52 in relation to Articles 102 and 129 of the Family Code govern the disposition of the family dwelling in cases where a marriage is declared void ab initio, including a marriage declared void by reason of the psychological incapacity of the spouses. III Assuming arguendo that Article 147 applies to marriages declared void ab initio on the ground of the psychological incapacity of a spouse, the same may be read consistently with Article 129. IV It is necessary to determine the parent with whom majority of the children wish to stay. 5 The trial court correctly applied the law. In a void marriage, regardless of the cause thereof, the property relations of the parties during the period of cohabitation is governed by the provisions of Article 147 or Article 148, such as the case may be, of the Family Code. Article 147 is a remake of Article 144 of the Civil Code as interpreted and so applied in previous cases; 6 it provides: Art. 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership. In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this Article, a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof in the former's efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household. Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common, without the consent of the other, until after the termination of their cohabitation. When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith, the share of the party in bad faith in the ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the innocent party. In all cases, the forfeiture shall take place upon the termination of the cohabitation. This particular kind of co-ownership applies when a man and a woman, suffering no illegal impediment to marry each other, so exclusively live together as husband and wife under a void marriage or without the benefit of marriage. The term "capacitated" in the provision (in the first paragraph of the law) refers to the legal capacity of a party to contract marriage,i.e., any "male or female of the age of eighteen years or upwards not under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 37 and 38" 7 of the Code.

Under this property regime, property acquired by both spouses through their work and industry shall be governed by the rules on equal co-ownership. Any property acquired during the union is prima facie presumed to have been obtained through their joint efforts. A party who did not participate in the acquisition of the property shall be considered as having contributed thereto jointly if said party's "efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family household." 8 Unlike the conjugal partnership of gains, the fruits of the couple's separate property are not included in the co-ownership. Article 147 of the Family Code, in the substance and to the above extent, has clarified Article 144 of the Civil Code; in addition, the law now expressly provides that (a) Neither party can dispose or encumber by act intervivos his or her share in coownership property, without consent of the other, during the period of cohabitation; and (b) In the case of a void marriage, any party in bad faith shall forfeit his or her share in the co-ownership in favor of their common children; in default thereof or waiver by any or all of the common children, each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving descendants, or still in default thereof, to the innocent party. The forfeiture shall take place upon the termination of the cohabitation 9 or declaration of nullity of the marriage. 10 When the common-law spouses suffer from a legal impediment to marry or when they do not live exclusively with each other (as husband and wife), only the property acquired by both of them through their actual joint contribution of money, property or industry shall be owned in common and in proportion to their respective contributions. Such contributions and corresponding shares, however, are prima facie presumed to be equal. The share of any party who is married to another shall accrue to the absolute community or conjugal partnership, as the case may be, if so existing under a valid marriage. If the party who has acted in bad faith is not validly married to another, his or her share shall be forfeited in the manner already heretofore expressed. 11 In deciding to take further cognizance of the issue on the settlement of the parties' common property, the trial court acted neither imprudently nor precipitately; a court which has jurisdiction to declare the marriage a nullity must be deemed likewise clothed in authority to resolve incidental and consequential matters. Nor did it commit a reversible error in ruling that petitioner and private respondent own the "family home" and all their common property in equal shares, as well as in concluding that, in the liquidation and partition of the property owned in common by them, the provisions on co-ownership under the Civil Code, not Articles 50, 51 and 52, in relation to Articles 102 and 129, 12 of the Family Code, should aptly prevail. The rules set up to govern the liquidation of either the absolute community or the conjugal partnership of gains, the property regimes recognized for valid and voidable marriages (in the latter case until the contract is annulled), are irrelevant to the liquidation of the co-ownership that exists between common-law spouses. The first paragraph of Articles 50 of the Family Code, applying paragraphs (2), (3), (4) and 95) of Article 43, 13 relates only, by its explicit terms, to voidablemarriages and, exceptionally, to void marriages under Article 40 14 of the Code, i.e., the declaration of nullity of a subsequent marriage contracted by a spouse of a prior void marriage before the latter is judicially declared void. The latter is a special rule that somehow recognizes the philosophy and an old doctrine that void marriages are inexistent from the very beginning and no judicial decree is necessary to establish their nullity. In now requiring for purposes of remarriage, the declaration of nullity by final judgment of the previously contracted void marriage, the present law aims to do away with any continuing

uncertainty on the status of the second marriage. It is not then illogical for the provisions of Article 43, in relation to Articles 41 15 and 42, 16 of the Family Code, on the effects of the termination of a subsequent marriage contracted during the subsistence of a previous marriage to be made applicable pro hac vice. In all other cases, it is not to be assumed that the law has also meant to have coincident property relations, on the one hand, between spouses in valid and voidable marriages (before annulment) and, on the other, between common-law spouses or spouses of void marriages, leaving to ordain, on the latter case, the ordinary rules on co-ownership subject to the provisions of the Family Code on the "family home," i.e., the provisions found in Title V, Chapter 2, of the Family Code, remain in force and effect regardless of the property regime of the spouses. WHEREFORE, the questioned orders, dated 05 May 1995 and 30 October 1995, of the trial court are AFFIRMED. No costs. Padilla, Kapunan and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur. Bellosillo, J., is on leave. Effect if both spouses of subsequent marriage in bad faith (Art. 44, FC) Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. 132529. February 2, 2001 SUSAN NICDAO CARIO, petitioner, vs. SUSAN YEE CARIO, respondent. DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: The issue for resolution in the case at bar hinges on the validity of the two marriages contracted by the deceased SPO4 Santiago S. Cario, whose death benefits is now the subject of the controversy between the two Susans whom he married. 1wphi1.nt Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 51263, which affirmed in toto the decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 87, in Civil Case No. Q-93-18632. During the lifetime of the late SPO4 Santiago S. Cario, he contracted two marriages, the first was on June 20, 1969, with petitioner Susan Nicdao Cario (hereafter referred to as Susan Nicdao), with whom he had two offsprings, namely, Sahlee and Sandee Cario; and the second was on November 10, 1992, with respondent Susan Yee Cario (hereafter referred to as Susan Yee), with whom he had no children in their almost ten year cohabitation starting way back in 1982.

In 1988, SPO4 Santiago S. Cario became ill and bedridden due to diabetes complicated by pulmonary tuberculosis. He passed away on November 23, 1992, under the care of Susan Yee, who spent for his medical and burial expenses. Both petitioner and respondent filed claims for monetary benefits and financial assistance pertaining to the deceased from various government agencies. Petitioner Susan Nicdao was able to collect a total of P146,000.00 from MBAI, PCCUI, Commutation, NAPOLCOM, [and] Pag-ibig, 3 while respondent Susan Yee received a total of P21,000.00 from GSIS Life, Burial (GSIS) and burial (SSS). 4 On December 14, 1993, respondent Susan Yee filed the instant case for collection of sum of money against petitioner Susan Nicdao praying, inter alia, that petitioner be ordered to return to her at least one-half of the one hundred forty-six thousand pesos (P146,000.00) collectively denominated as death benefits which she (petitioner) received from MBAI, PCCUI, Commutation, NAPOLCOM, [and] Pag-ibig. Despite service of summons, petitioner failed to file her answer, prompting the trial court to declare her in default. Respondent Susan Yee admitted that her marriage to the deceased took place during the subsistence of, and without first obtaining a judicial declaration of nullity of, the marriage between petitioner and the deceased. She, however, claimed that she had no knowledge of the previous marriage and that she became aware of it only at the funeral of the deceased, where she met petitioner who introduced herself as the wife of the deceased. To bolster her action for collection of sum of money, respondent contended that the marriage of petitioner and the deceased is void ab initio because the same was solemnized without the required marriage license. In support thereof, respondent presented: 1) the marriage certificate of the deceased and the petitioner which bears no marriage license number; 5 and 2) a certification dated March 9, 1994, from the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan, Metro Manila, which reads This is to certify that this Office has no record of marriage license of the spouses SANTIAGO CARINO (sic) and SUSAN NICDAO, who are married in this municipality on June 20, 1969. Hence, we cannot issue as requested a true copy or transcription of Marriage License number from the records of this archives. This certification is issued upon the request of Mrs. Susan Yee Cario for whatever legal purpose it may serve. 6 On August 28, 1995, the trial court ruled in favor of respondent, Susan Yee, holding as follows: WHEREFORE, the defendant is hereby ordered to pay the plaintiff the sum of P73,000.00, half of the amount which was paid to her in the form of death benefits arising from the death of SPO4 Santiago S. Cario, plus attorneys fees in the amount of P5,000.00, and costs of suit. IT IS SO ORDERED. 7 On appeal by petitioner to the Court of Appeals, the latter affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. Hence, the instant petition, contending that: I.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE FINDINGS OF THE LOWER COURT THAT VDA. DE CONSUEGRA VS. GSIS IS APPLICABLE TO THE CASE AT BAR. II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN APPLYING EQUITY IN THE INSTANT CASE INSTEAD OF THE CLEAR AND UNEQUIVOCAL MANDATE OF THE FAMILY CODE. III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THE CASE OF VDA. DE CONSUEGRA VS GSIS TO HAVE BEEN MODIFIED, AMENDED AND EVEN ABANDONED BY THE ENACTMENT OF THE FAMILY CODE. 8 Under Article 40 of the Family Code, the absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. Meaning, where the absolute nullity of a previous marriage is sought to be invoked for purposes of contracting a second marriage, the sole basis acceptable in law, for said projected marriage to be free from legal infirmity, is a final judgment declaring the previous marriage void. 9However, for purposes other than remarriage, no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. For other purposes, such as but not limited to the determination of heirship, legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child, settlement of estate, dissolution of property regime, or a criminal case for that matter, the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even after the death of the parties thereto, and even in a suit not directly instituted to question the validity of said marriage, so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. 10 In such instances, evidence must be adduced, testimonial or documentary, to prove the existence of grounds rendering such a previous marriage an absolute nullity. These need not be limited solely to an earlier final judgment of a court declaring such previous marriage void. 11 It is clear therefore that the Court is clothed with sufficient authority to pass upon the validity of the two marriages in this case, as the same is essential to the determination of who is rightfully entitled to the subject death benefits of the deceased. Under the Civil Code, which was the law in force when the marriage of petitioner Susan Nicdao and the deceased was solemnized in 1969, a valid marriage license is a requisite of marriage, 12 and the absence thereof, subject to certain exceptions, 13 renders the marriage void ab initio. 14 In the case at bar, there is no question that the marriage of petitioner and the deceased does not fall within the marriages exempt from the license requirement. A marriage license, therefore, was indispensable to the validity of their marriage. This notwithstanding, the records reveal that the marriage contract of petitioner and the deceased bears no marriage license number and, as certified by the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan, Metro Manila, their office has no record of such marriage license. In Republic v. Court of Appeals, 15 the Court held that such a certification is adequate to prove the nonissuance of a marriage license. Absent any circumstance of suspicion, as in the present case, the certification issued by the local civil registrar enjoys probative value, he being

the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the issuance of a marriage license. Such being the case, the presumed validity of the marriage of petitioner and the deceased has been sufficiently overcome. It then became the burden of petitioner to prove that their marriage is valid and that they secured the required marriage license. Although she was declared in default before the trial court, petitioner could have squarely met the issue and explained the absence of a marriage license in her pleadings before the Court of Appeals and this Court. But petitioner conveniently avoided the issue and chose to refrain from pursuing an argument that will put her case in jeopardy. Hence, the presumed validity of their marriage cannot stand. It is beyond cavil, therefore, that the marriage between petitioner Susan Nicdao and the deceased, having been solemnized without the necessary marriage license, and not being one of the marriages exempt from the marriage license requirement, is undoubtedly void ab initio. It does not follow from the foregoing disquisition, however, that since the marriage of petitioner and the deceased is declared void ab initio, the death benefits under scrutiny would now be awarded to respondent Susan Yee. To reiterate, under Article 40 of the Family Code, for purposes of remarriage, there must first be a prior judicial declaration of the nullity of a previous marriage, though void, before a party can enter into a second marriage, otherwise, the second marriage would also be void. Accordingly, the declaration in the instant case of nullity of the previous marriage of the deceased and petitioner Susan Nicdao does not validate the second marriage of the deceased with respondent Susan Yee. The fact remains that their marriage was solemnized without first obtaining a judicial decree declaring the marriage of petitioner Susan Nicdao and the deceased void. Hence, the marriage of respondent Susan Yee and the deceased is, likewise, void ab initio. One of the effects of the declaration of nullity of marriage is the separation of the property of the spouses according to the applicable property regime. 16 Considering that the two marriages are void ab initio, the applicable property regime would not be absolute community or conjugal partnership of property, but rather, be governed by the provisions of Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code on Property Regime of Unions Without Marriage. Under Article 148 of the Family Code, which refers to the property regime of bigamous marriages, adulterous relationships, relationships in a state of concubine, relationships where both man and woman are married to other persons, multiple alliances of the same married man, 17 ... [O]nly the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions ... In this property regime, the properties acquired by the parties through their actual joint contribution shall belong to the co-ownership. Wages and salaries earned by each party belong to him or her exclusively. Then too, contributions in the form of care of the home, children and household, or spiritual or moral inspiration, are excluded in this regime. 18

Considering that the marriage of respondent Susan Yee and the deceased is a bigamous marriage, having been solemnized during the subsistence of a previous marriage then presumed to be valid (between petitioner and the deceased), the application of Article 148 is therefore in order. The disputed P146,000.00 from MBAI [AFP Mutual Benefit Association, Inc.], NAPOLCOM, Commutation, Pag-ibig, and PCCUI, are clearly renumerations, incentives and benefits from governmental agencies earned by the deceased as a police officer. Unless respondent Susan Yee presents proof to the contrary, it could not be said that she contributed money, property or industry in the acquisition of these monetary benefits. Hence, they are not owned in common by respondent and the deceased, but belong to the deceased alone and respondent has no right whatsoever to claim the same. By intestate succession, the said death benefits of the deceased shall pass to his legal heirs. And, respondent, not being the legal wife of the deceased is not one of them. As to the property regime of petitioner Susan Nicdao and the deceased, Article 147 of the Family Code governs. This article applies to unions of parties who are legally capacitated and not barred by any impediment to contract marriage, but whose marriage is nonetheless void for other reasons, like the absence of a marriage license. Article 147 of the Family Code reads Art. 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership. In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this Article, a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the formers efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household. xxx When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith, the share of the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving descendants. In the absence of descendants, such share shall belong to the innocent party. In all cases, the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the cohabitation. In contrast to Article 148, under the foregoing article, wages and salaries earned by either party during the cohabitation shall be owned by the parties in equal shares and will be divided equally between them, even if only one party earned the wages and the other did not contribute thereto. 19 Conformably, even if the disputed death benefits were earned by the deceased alone as a government employee, Article 147 creates a co-ownership in respect thereto, entitling the petitioner to share one-half thereof. As there is no allegation of bad faith in the present case, both parties of the first marriage are presumed to be in good faith. Thus, one-half of the subject death benefits under scrutiny shall go to the

petitioner as her share in the property regime, and the other half pertaining to the deceased shall pass by, intestate succession, to his legal heirs, namely, his children with Susan Nicdao. In affirming the decision of the trial court, the Court of Appeals relied on the case of Vda. de Consuegra v. Government Service Insurance System, 20 where the Court awarded onehalf of the retirement benefits of the deceased to the first wife and the other half, to the second wife, holding that: ... [S]ince the defendants first marriage has not been dissolved or declared void the conjugal partnership established by that marriage has not ceased. Nor has the first wife lost or relinquished her status as putative heir of her husband under the new Civil Code, entitled to share in his estate upon his death should she survive him. Consequently, whether as conjugal partner in a still subsisting marriage or as such putative heir she has an interest in the husbands share in the property here in dispute.... And with respect to the right of the second wife, this Court observed that although the second marriage can be presumed to be void ab initio as it was celebrated while the first marriage was still subsisting, still there is need for judicial declaration of such nullity. And inasmuch as the conjugal partnership formed by the second marriage was dissolved before judicial declaration of its nullity, [t]he only just and equitable solution in this case would be to recognize the right of the second wife to her share of one-half in the property acquired by her and her husband, and consider the other half as pertaining to the conjugal partnership of the first marriage. 21 It should be stressed, however, that the aforecited decision is premised on the rule which requires a prior and separate judicial declaration of nullity of marriage. This is the reason why in the said case, the Court determined the rights of the parties in accordance with their existing property regime. In Domingo v. Court of Appeals, 22 however, the Court, construing Article 40 of the Family Code, clarified that a prior and separate declaration of nullity of a marriage is an all important condition precedent only for purposes of remarriage. That is, if a party who is previously married wishes to contract a second marriage, he or she has to obtain first a judicial decree declaring the first marriage void, before he or she could contract said second marriage, otherwise the second marriage would be void. The same rule applies even if the first marriage is patently void because the parties are not free to determine for themselves the validity or invalidity or their marriage. However, for purposes other than to remarry, like for filing a case for collection of sum of money anchored on a marriage claimed to be valid, no prior and separate judicial declaration of nullity is necessary. All that a party has to do is to present evidence, testimonial or documentary, that would prove that the marriage from which his or her rights flow is in fact valid. Thereupon, the court, if material to the determination of the issues before it, will rule on the status of the marriage involved and proceed to determine the rights of the parties in accordance with the applicable laws and jurisprudence. Thus, in Nial v. Bayadog, 23 the Court explained: [T]he court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. This is without prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. When such need arises, a final judgment of declaration of nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry. The clause on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage

void in Article 40 of the Family Code connoted that such final judgment need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 51263 which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City ordering petitioner to pay respondent the sum of P73,000.00 plus attorneys fees in the amount of P5,000.00, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The complaint in Civil Case No. Q-9318632, is hereby DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs.1wphi1.nt SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman), Kapunan, and Pardo, JJ., concur. Puno J., on official leave. THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 137110. August 1, 2000]

VINCENT PAUL G. MERCADO a.k.a. VINCENT G. MERCADO, petitioner, vs. CONSUELO TAN, respondent. DECISION PANGANIBAN, J.: A judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage is necessary before a subsequent one can be legally contracted. One who enters into a subsequent marriage without first obtaining such judicial declaration is guilty of bigamy. This principle applies even if the earlier union is characterized by statute as void. The Case Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the July 14, 1998 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA)[1] in CA-GR CR No. 19830 and its January 4, 1999 Resolution denying reconsideration. The assailed Decision affirmed the ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City in Criminal Case No. 13848, which convicted herein petitioner of bigamy as follows: WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of accused Dr. Vincent Paul G. Mercado a.k.a. Dr. Vincent G. Mercado of the crime of Bigamy punishable under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code to have been proven beyond reasonable doubt, [the court hereby renders] judgment imposing upon him a prison term of three (3) years, four (4) months and fifteen (15) days of prision correccional, as minimum of his indeterminate sentence, to eight (8) years and twenty-one (21) days of prision mayor, as maximum, plus accessory penalties provided by law.

Costs against accused.[2] The Facts The facts are quoted by Court of Appeals (CA) from the trial courts judgment, as follows: From the evidence adduced by the parties, there is no dispute that accused Dr. Vincent Mercado and complainant Ma. Consuelo Tan got married on June 27, 1991 before MTCC-Bacolod City Br. 7 Judge Gorgonio J. Ibaez [by reason of] which a Marriage Contract was duly executed and signed by the parties. As entered in said document, the status of accused was single. There is no dispute either that at the time of the celebration of the wedding with complainant, accused was actually a married man, having been in lawful wedlock with Ma. Thelma Oliva in a marriage ceremony solemnized on April 10, 1976 by Judge Leonardo B. Caares, CFI-Br. XIV, Cebu City per Marriage Certificate issued in connection therewith, which matrimony was further blessed by Rev. Father Arthur Baur on October 10, 1976 in religious rites at the Sacred Heart Church, Cebu City. In the same manner, the civil marriage between accused and complainant was confirmed in a church ceremony on June 29, 1991 officiated by Msgr. Victorino A. Rivas, Judicial Vicar, Diocese of Bacolod City. Both marriages were consummated when out of the first consortium, Ma. Thelma Oliva bore accused two children, while a child, Vincent Paul, Jr. was sired by accused with complainant Ma. Consuelo Tan. On October 5, 1992, a letter-complaint for bigamy was filed by complainant through counsel with the City Prosecutor of Bacolod City, which eventually resulted [in] the institution of the present case before this Court against said accused, Dr. Vincent G. Mercado, on March 1, 1993 in an Information dated January 22, 1993. On November 13, 1992, or more than a month after the bigamy case was lodged in the Prosecutors Office, accused filed an action for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage against Ma. Thelma V. Oliva in RTC-Br. 22, Cebu City, and in a Decision dated May 6, 1993 the marriage between Vincent G. Mercado and Ma. Thelma V. Oliva was declared null and void. Accused is charged [with] bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code for having contracted a second marriage with herein complainant Ma. Consuelo Tan on June 27, 1991 when at that time he was previously united in lawful marriage with Ma. Thelma V. Oliva on April 10, 1976 at Cebu City, without said first marriage having been legally dissolved. As shown by the evidence and admitted by accused, all the essential elements of the crime are present, namely: (a) that the offender has been previously legally married; (2) that the first marriage has not been legally dissolved or in case the spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; (3) that he contract[ed] a second or subsequent marriage; and (4) that the second or subsequent marriage ha[d] all the essential requisites for validity. x x x While acknowledging the existence of the two marriage[s], accused posited the defense that his previous marriage ha[d] been judicially declared null and void and that the private complainant had knowledge of the first marriage of accused. It is an admitted fact that when the second marriage was entered into with Ma. Consuelo Tan on June 27, 1991, accuseds prior marriage with Ma. Thelma V. Oliva was subsisting, no judicial action having yet been initiated or any judicial declaration obtained as to the

nullity of such prior marriage with Ma. Thelma V. Oliva. Since no declaration of the nullity of his first marriage ha[d] yet been made at the time of his second marriage, it is clear that accused was a married man when he contracted such second marriage with complainant on June 27, 1991. He was still at the time validly married to his first wife.[3] Ruling of the Court of Appeals Agreeing with the lower court, the Court of Appeals stated: Under Article 40 of the Family Code, the absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. But here, the final judgment declaring null and void accuseds previous marriage came not before the celebration of the second marriage, but after, when the case for bigamy against accused was already tried in court. And what constitutes the crime of bigamy is the act of any person who shall contract a second subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved.[4] Hence, this Petition.[5] The Issues In his Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues: A Whether or not the element of previous legal marriage is present in order to convict petitioner. B Whether or not a liberal interpretation in favor of petitioner of Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code punishing bigamy, in relation to Articles 36 and 40 of the Family Code, negates the guilt of petitioner. C Whether or not petitioner is entitled to an acquittal on the basis of reasonable doubt.[6] The Courts Ruling The Petition is not meritorious. Main Issue:Effect of Nullity of Previous Marriage

Petitioner was convicted of bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, which provides: The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings. The elements of this crime are as follows: 1. That the offender has been legally married;

2. That the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; 3. That he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; 4. That the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity.[7] When the Information was filed on January 22, 1993, all the elements of bigamy were present. It is undisputed that petitioner married Thelma G. Oliva on April 10, 1976 in Cebu City. While that marriage was still subsisting, he contracted a second marriage, this time with Respondent Ma. Consuelo Tan who subsequently filed the Complaint for bigamy. Petitioner contends, however, that he obtained a judicial declaration of nullity of his first marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, thereby rendering it void ab initio. Unlike voidable marriages which are considered valid until set aside by a competent court, he argues that a void marriage is deemed never to have taken place at all.[8] Thus, he concludes that there is no first marriage to speak of. Petitioner also quotes the commentaries[9] of former Justice Luis Reyes that it is now settled that if the first marriage is void from the beginning, it is a defense in a bigamy charge. But if the first marriage is voidable, it is not a defense. Respondent, on the other hand, admits that the first marriage was declared null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code, but she points out that that declaration came only after the Information had been filed. Hence, by then, the crime had already been consummated. She argues that a judicial declaration of nullity of a void previous marriage must be obtained before a person can marry for a subsequent time. We agree with the respondent. To be sure, jurisprudence regarding the need for a judicial declaration of nullity of the previous marriage has been characterized as conflicting.[10] In People v. Mendoza,[11] a bigamy case involving an accused who married three times, the Court ruled that there was no need for such declaration. In that case, the accused contracted a second marriage during the subsistence of the first. When the first wife died, he married for the third time. The second wife then charged him with bigamy. Acquitting him, the Court held that the second marriage was void ab initio because it had been contracted while the first marriage was still in effect. Since the second marriage was obviously void and illegal, the Court ruled that there was no need for a judicial declaration of its nullity. Hence, the accused did not commit bigamy when he married for the third time. This ruling was affirmed by the Court in People v. Aragon,[12] which involved substantially the same facts.

But in subsequent cases, the Court impressed the need for a judicial declaration of nullity. In Vda de Consuegra v. GSIS,[13] Jose Consuegra married for the second time while the first marriage was still subsisting. Upon his death, the Court awarded one half of the proceeds of his retirement benefits to the first wife and the other half to the second wife and her children, notwithstanding the manifest nullity of the second marriage. It held: And with respect to the right of the second wife, this Court observes that although the second marriage can be presumed to be void ab initio as it was celebrated while the first marriage was still subsisting, still there is need for judicial declaration of such nullity. In Tolentino v. Paras,[14] however, the Court again held that judicial declaration of nullity of a void marriage was not necessary. In that case, a man married twice. In his Death Certificate, his second wife was named as his surviving spouse. The first wife then filed a Petition to correct the said entry in the Death Certificate. The Court ruled in favor of the first wife, holding that the second marriage that he contracted with private respondent during the lifetime of the first spouse is null and void from the beginning and of no force and effect. No judicial decree is necessary to establish the invalidity of a void marriage. In Wiegel v. Sempio-Diy,[15] the Court stressed the need for such declaration. In that case, Karl Heinz Wiegel filed an action for the declaration of nullity of his marriage to Lilia Olivia Wiegel on the ground that the latter had a prior existing marriage. After pretrial, Lilia asked that she be allowed to present evidence to prove, among others, that her first husband had previously been married to another woman. In holding that there was no need for such evidence, the Court ruled: x x x There is likewise no need of introducing evidence about the existing prior marriage of her first husband at the time they married each other, for then such a marriage though void still needs, according to this Court, a judicial declaration of such fact and for all legal intents and purposes she would still be regarded as a married woman at the time she contracted her marriage with respondent Karl Heinz Wiegel; x x x. Subsequently, in Yap v. CA,[16] the Court reverted to the ruling in People v. Mendoza, holding that there was no need for such declaration of nullity. In Domingo v. CA,[17] the issue raised was whether a judicial declaration of nullity was still necessary for the recovery and the separation of properties of erstwhile spouses. Ruling in the affirmative, the Court declared: The Family Code has settled once and for all the conflicting jurisprudence on the matter. A declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage is now explicitly required either as a cause of action or a ground for defense; in fact, the requirement for a declaration of absolute nullity of a marriage is also for the protection of the spouse who, believing that his or her marriage is illegal and void, marries again. With the judicial declaration of the nullity of his or her first marriage, the person who marries again cannot be charged with bigamy.[18] Unlike Mendoza and Aragon, Domingo as well as the other cases herein cited was not a criminal prosecution for bigamy. Nonetheless,Domingo underscored the need for a judicial declaration of nullity of a void marriage on the basis of a new provision of the Family Code, which came into effect several years after the promulgation of Mendoza and Aragon. In Mendoza and Aragon, the Court relied on Section 29 of Act No. 3613 (Marriage Law), which provided: Illegal marriages. Any marriage subsequently contracted by any person during the lifetime of the first spouse shall be illegal and void from its performance, unless:

(a) The first marriage was annulled or dissolved; (b) The first spouse had been absent for seven consecutive years at the time of the second marriage without the spouse present having news of the absentee being alive, or the absentee being generally considered as dead and believed to be so by the spouse present at the time of contracting such subsequent marriage, the marriage as contracted being valid in either case until declared null and void by a competent court." The Court held in those two cases that the said provision plainly makes a subsequent marriage contracted by any person during the lifetime of his first spouse illegal and void from its performance, and no judicial decree is necessary to establish its invalidity, as distinguished from mere annulable marriages.[19] The provision appeared in substantially the same form under Article 83 of the 1950 Civil Code and Article 41 of the Family Code. However, Article 40 of the Family Code, a new provision, expressly requires a judicial declaration of nullity of the previous marriage, as follows: ART. 40. The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such marriage void. In view of this provision, Domingo stressed that a final judgment declaring such marriage void was necessary. Verily, the Family Code andDomingo affirm the earlier ruling in Wiegel. Thus, a Civil Law authority and member of the Civil Code Revision Commitee has observed: [Article 40] is also in line with the recent decisions of the Supreme Court that the marriage of a person may be null and void but there is need of a judicial declaration of such fact before that person can marry again; otherwise, the second marriage will also be void (Wiegel v. Sempio-Diy, Aug. 19/86, 143 SCRA 499, Vda. De Consuegra v. GSIS, 37 SCRA 315). This provision changes the old rule that where a marriage is illegal and void from its performance, no judicial decree is necessary to establish its validity (People v. Mendoza, 95 Phil. 843; People v. Aragon, 100 Phil. 1033).[20] In this light, the statutory mooring of the ruling in Mendoza and Aragon that there is no need for a judicial declaration of nullity of a void marriage -- has been cast aside by Article 40 of the Family Code. Such declaration is now necessary before one can contract a second marriage. Absent that declaration, we hold that one may be charged with and convicted of bigamy. The present ruling is consistent with our pronouncement in Terre v. Terre,[21] which involved an administrative Complaint against a lawyer for marrying twice. In rejecting the lawyers argument that he was free to enter into a second marriage because the first one was void ab initio, the Court ruled: for purposes of determining whether a person is legally free to contract a second marriage, a judicial declaration that the first marriage was null and void ab initio is essential. The Court further noted that the said rule was cast into statutory form by Article 40 of the Family Code. Significantly, it observed that the second marriage, contracted without a judicial declaration that the first marriage was void, was bigamous and criminal in character. Moreover, Justice Reyes, an authority in Criminal Law whose earlier work was cited by petitioner, changed his view on the subject in view of Article 40 of the Family Code and

wrote in 1993 that a person must first obtain a judicial declaration of the nullity of a void marriage before contracting a subsequent marriage:[22] It is now settled that the fact that the first marriage is void from the beginning is not a defense in a bigamy charge. As with a voidable marriage, there must be a judicial declaration of the nullity of a marriage before contracting the second marriage. Article 40 of the Family Code states that x x x. The Code Commission believes that the parties to a marriage should not be allowed to assume that their marriage is void, even if such is the fact, but must first secure a judicial declaration of nullity of their marriage before they should be allowed to marry again. x x x. In the instant case, petitioner contracted a second marriage although there was yet no judicial declaration of nullity of his first marriage. In fact, he instituted the Petition to have the first marriage declared void only after complainant had filed a letter-complaint charging him with bigamy. By contracting a second marriage while the first was still subsisting, he committed the acts punishable under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. That he subsequently obtained a judicial declaration of the nullity of the first marriage was immaterial. To repeat, the crime had already been consummated by then. Moreover, his view effectively encourages delay in the prosecution of bigamy cases; an accused could simply file a petition to declare his previous marriage void and invoke the pendency of that action as a prejudicial question in the criminal case. We cannot allow that. Under the circumstances of the present case, he is guilty of the charge against him. Damages In her Memorandum, respondent prays that the Court set aside the ruling of the Court of Appeals insofar as it denied her claim of damages and attorneys fees.[23] Her prayer has no merit. She did not appeal the ruling of the CA against her; hence, she cannot obtain affirmative relief from this Court.[24] In any event, we find no reason to reverse or set aside the pertinent ruling of the CA on this point, which we quote hereunder: We are convinced from the totality of the evidence presented in this case that Consuelo Tan is not the innocent victim that she claims to be; she was well aware of the existence of the previous marriage when she contracted matrimony with Dr. Mercado. The testimonies of the defense witnesses prove this, and we find no reason to doubt said testimonies. xxx xxx xxx

Indeed, the claim of Consuelo Tan that she was not aware of his previous marriage does not inspire belief, especially as she had seen that Dr. Mercado had two (2) children with him. We are convinced that she took the plunge anyway, relying on the fact that the first wife would no longer return to Dr. Mercado, she being by then already living with another man. Consuelo Tan can therefore not claim damages in this case where she was fully conscious of the consequences of her act. She should have known that she would suffer humiliation in the event the truth [would] come out, as it did in this case, ironically

because of her personal instigation. If there are indeed damages caused to her reputation, they are of her own willful making.[25] WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED. Melo, (Chairman), Purisima, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur. Vitug, J., see concurring and dissenting opinion. Impotence [Art. 45 (5), FC] Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-12790 August 31, 1960

JOEL JIMENEZ, plaintiff-appellee, vs. REMEDIOS CAIZARES, defendant. Republic of the Philippines, intervenor-appellant. Acting Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor Pacifico P. de Castro for appellant. Climaco, Ascarraga and Silang for appellee. PADILLA, J.: In a complaint filed on 7 June 1955 in the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga the plaintiff Joel Jimenez prays for a decree annulling his marriage to the defendant Remedios Caizares contracted on 3 August 1950 before a judge of the municipal court of Zamboanga City, upon the ground that the office of her genitals or vagina was to small to allow the penetration of a male organ or penis for copulation; that the condition of her genitals as described above existed at the time of marriage and continues to exist; and that for that reason he left the conjugal home two nights and one day after they had been married. On 14 June 1955 the wife was summoned and served a copy of the complaint. She did not file an answer. On 29 September 1956, pursuant to the provisions of article 88 of the Civil Code, the Court directed the city attorney of Zamboanga to inquire whether there was a collusion, to intervene for the State to see that the evidence for the plaintiff is not a frame-up, concocted or fabricated. On 17 December 1956 the Court entered an order requiring the defendant to submit to a physical examination by a competent lady physician to determine her physical capacity for copulation and to submit, within ten days from receipt of the order, a medical certificate on the result thereof. On 14 March 1957 the defendant was granted additional five days from notice to comply with the order of 17 December 1956 with warning that her failure to undergo medical examination and submit

the required doctor's certificate would be deemed lack of interest on her part in the case and that judgment upon the evidence presented by her husband would be rendered. After hearing, at which the defendant was not present, on 11 April 1957 the Court entered a decree annulling the marriage between the plaintiff and the defendant. On 26 April 1957 the city attorney filed a motion for reconsideration of the decree thus entered, upon the ground, among others, that the defendant's impotency has not been satisfactorily established as required by law; that she had not been physically examined because she had refused to be examined; that instead of annulling the marriage the Court should have punished her for contempt of court and compelled her to undergo a physical examination and submit a medical certificate; and that the decree sought to be reconsidered would open the door to married couples, who want to end their marriage to collude or connive with each other by just alleging impotency of one of them. He prayed that the complaint be dismissed or that the wife be subjected to a physical examination. Pending resolution of his motion, the city attorney timely appealed from the decree. On 13 May 1957 the motion for reconsideration was denied. The question to determine is whether the marriage in question may be annulled on the strength only of the lone testimony of the husband who claimed and testified that his wife was and is impotent. The latter did not answer the complaint, was absent during the hearing, and refused to submit to a medical examination. Marriage in this country is an institution in which the community is deeply interested. The state has surrounded it with safeguards to maintain its purity, continuity and permanence. The security and stability of the state are largely dependent upon it. It is the interest of each and every member of the community to prevent the bringing about of a condition that would shake its foundation and ultimately lead to its destruction. The incidents of the status are governed by law, not by will of the parties. The law specifically enumerates the legal grounds, that must be proved to exist by indubitable evidence, to annul a marriage. In the case at bar, the annulment of the marriage in question was decreed upon the sole testimony of the husband who was expected to give testimony tending or aiming at securing the annulment of his marriage he sought and seeks. Whether the wife is really impotent cannot be deemed to have been satisfactorily established, becase from the commencement of the proceedings until the entry of the decree she had abstained from taking part therein. Although her refusal to be examined or failure to appear in court show indifference on her part, yet from such attitude the presumption arising out of the suppression of evidence could not arise or be inferred because women of this country are by nature coy, bashful and shy and would not submit to a physical examination unless compelled to by competent authority. This the Court may do without doing violence to and infringing in this case is not self-incrimination. She is not charged with any offense. She is not being compelled to be a witness against herself.1 "Impotency being an abnormal condition should not be presumed. The presumption is in favor of potency."2 The lone testimony of the husband that his wife is physically incapable of sexual intercourse is insufficient to tear asunder the ties that have bound them together as husband and wife. The decree appealed from is set aside and the case remanded to the lower court for further proceedings in accordance with this decision, without pronouncement as to costs. Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Gutierrez David, and Dizon, JJ.concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-1967 May 28, 1951

Probate of the will of the late Faustino Neri San Jose. PAZ NERI SAN JOSE, petitioner. MATILDE MENCIANO, in her behalf and in behalf of the minors CARLO MAGNO NERI and FAUSTINO NERI, Jr.,plaintiffs-appellees, vs. PAZ NERI SAN JOSE and RODOLFO PELAEZ, defendants-appellants. Claro M. Recto, Francisco R. Capistrano, Pelaez, Pelaez and Pelaez and Ernesto V. Chavez for appellants. Pineda, Hermosisima and Neri for appellees. JUGO, J.: In the course of the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose, Special Proceedings No. 6-A of the Court First Instance of Misamis Oriental, Matilde Menciano, in her behalf and in behalf of the minors Carlo Magno Neri and Faustino Neri, Jr., filed a motion for declaration of heirs, alleging that she is the widow of the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose, to whom she was married according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church on September 28, 1944, before Rev. Father Isaias Edralin, S. J.; that before the marriage the deceased and she lived together as husband and wife, there having been no impediment to their marriage; that as a result of their cohabitation before the marriage the child Carlo Magno Neri was born on March 9, 1940 and was later baptized, said child having enjoyed the status of a recognized natural child; that their second child Faustino Neri, Jr., was born on April 24, 1945; and that Carlo Magno Neri was legitimized by the subsequent matrimony of his parents and Faustino Neri, Jr., is a legitimate child born in lawful wedlock. Paz Neri San Jose, then executrix of the estate of the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose, and Rodolfo Pelaez, designated universal heir in the will of the deceased dated December 19, 1940, filed an amended answer with the permission of the court, in which they denied the substantial allegations of the abovementioned motion for declaration of heirs and further alleged in substance that the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose, from the year 1943, was suffering from senile dementiacaused by anemia which became worse from September 9, 1944, when the Province of Misamis Oriental where the deceased lived was bombarded by American planes; that the marriage between said deceased and Matilde Menciano, if it was solemnized, was in violation of the legal provisions and requisites, for he (the deceased) was deprived of his free will due to his age, sickness, and bombardment, and Matilde Menciano, taking advantage of the deceased's condition, by intrigue and threat of abandoning him, forced Neri by means of deceit (dolo) and threat to marry her; and that the deceased was sterile, unable to procreate, and was impotent and congenitally sterile, the same as his brothers Anastasio, Filomeno, Pedro, and his sister Conchita, who had no children. The defendants also filed a counterclaim for the sum of P286,000 in cash, and for

jewels and certain properties, which, as alleged, were retained and illegally disposed of by Matilde Menciano. The above allegations of the parties give rise to the following issues: (1) Was the marriage between the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano valid?; (2) Are, the children Faustino Neri, Jr. and Carlo Magno Neri the legitimate children of the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano?; and (3) Did Matilde Menciano have in her possession and illegally disposed of the cash, jewels, and certain properties above mentioned? The marriage between the deceased and Matilde Menciano is evidenced by Exhibit I-C, which is an application for a marriage license, dated September 28, 1944, signed by Faustino Neri San Jose, to marry Matilde Menciano; Exhibit 1-B, also an application for a marriage license dated September 28, 1944, signed by Matilde Menciano, to marry Faustino Neri San Jose; Exhibit 1-D, certificate for immediate issuance of the marriage license applied for, signed by the Acting Local Civil Registrar and Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano; and Exhibit 1-A, the marriage contract signed by Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano as contracting parties, Rev. Isaias Edralin, as solemnizing officer, and the witnesses L. B. Castaos and Samson Pagan. As all the above four exhibits are official and public documents, their validity can be successfully assailed only by strong, clear, and convincing oral testimony. In the case of Arroyo vs. Granada (18 Phil, 484), it was held: 1. CANCELLATION OF INSTRUMENTS; SUFFICIENCY OF PROOF. To justify the setting aside of an instrument solemnly executed and voluntarily delivered, upon the ground that its execution was obtained by false and fraudulent representations, the proof must be clear and convincing. (Syllabus) In the case of Sy Tiangco vs. Pablo and Apao (59 Phil., 119), this Court declared: 1. PUBLIC DOCUMENT; EXECUTION; DENIAL OF ALLEGED SIGNER; BURDEN OF PROOF. Plaintiff's attorneys vigorously contend that when the plaintiff denied having signed the deed it was incumbent upon the defendants to can the witnesses thereto. The execution of a document that has been ratified before a notary public cannot be disproved by the mere denial of the alleged signer. No inference unfavorable to the defendant arises from their failure to call the subscribing witnesses. (Syllabus) Is the oral evidence presented by the defendants of sufficient force and weight to overcome the above official documents? The witnesses for the defendants testified in substance that the deceased Faustino Neri was so weak and sick that he could not even talk coherently and intelligibly. Their testimony is too sweeping, because they refer to a general period of time. There must have been times when the deceased may have been unable to attend to business or even to converse on account of his sickness, and even Father Edralin did not solemnize the

marriage on a certain date on account of the weak condition of Faustino Neri and waited for about two days to perform the ceremony when the old man, although somewhat weak, had a clear mind. Father Edralin's testimony is strongly corroborated by the form of the signatures of Faustino Neri in the above mentioned Exhibits 1-A, 1-C, and 1-D. A mere glance at those signatures will convince anyone that they could not have been written by a man who is almost unconscious and physically and intellectually incapacitated, as the defendants' witnesses represent him to have been. It should be noted that his signature is complicated, containing many flourishes, such that it can not be signed by one who is not of sound mind and of fair physical condition. He may have been sick at that time, but not to such a degree as to render him unconscious of what he was doing. If the signatures of the deceased in Exhibits 1-A, 1-C, and 1-D are compared with each other it will be readily seen that they are practically uniform, which could not have been accomplished by a man who is a nervous wreck. There is no sign of trembling of the hands or fingers of the person who affixed those signatures, which usually happens to a very sick man. In the case ofTorres et al. vs. Lopez (48 Phil., 772), this court made the following pronouncement: 3. ID.; ID TESTS OF CAPACITY. Neither old age, physical infirmities, feebleness of mind, weakness of the memory, the appointment of a guardian, nor eccentricities are sufficient singly or jointly to show testamentary incapacity. The nature and rationally of the will is of some practical utility in determining capacity. Each case rests on its own facts and must be decided by its own facts. (Syllabus, p. 773.) xxx xxx xxx

11. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. On January 3, 1924, when the testator, Tomas Rodriguez, made his will, he was 76 years old, physically decrepit, weak of intellect, suffering from a loss of memory, had a guardian of his person and his person and his property, and was eccentric, but he still possessed that spark of reason and of life, that strength of mind to form a fixed intention and to summon his enfeebled thoughts to enforce that intention, which the law terms "testamentary capacity." Two of the subscribing witnesses testified clearly to the regular manner in which the will was executed, and one did not. The attending physicians and three other doctors who were present at the execution of the will expressed opinions entirely favorable to the capacity of the testator. Three other members of the medical profession expressed opinions entirely unfavorable to the capacity of the testator and certified that he was of unsound mind. Held, That Tomas Rodriguez on January 3, 1924, possessed sufficient mentality to make a will which would meet the legal test regarding testamentary capacity; that the proponents of the will have carried successfully the burden of proof and have shown him of sound mind on that date; and that it was reversible error on the part of the trial court not to admit his will to probate. (Syllabus, p. 774) In Sancho vs. Abella (58 Phil., 728), this court said: 1. WILLS; PROBATE; CAPACITY TO MAKE A WILL. Neither senile debility, nor deafness, nor blindness, nor poor memory, is by itself sufficient to establish the presumption that the person suffering therefrom is not in the full enjoyment of his mental faculties, when there is sufficient evidence of his mental sanity at the time of the execution of the will.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; Neither the facts of her being given accommodations in a convent, nor the presence of the parish priest, nor a priest acting as a witness, constitutes undue influence sufficient to justify the annulment of a legacy in favor of a bishop of a diocese, made in her will by a testatrix 88 years of age, suffering from defective eyesight and hearing, while she is stopping in a convent within the aforesaid diocese. (Syllabi) Although the above doctrine relates to testamentary capacity, there is no reason why it should not be applied to the capacity to contract marriage, which requires the same mental condition. Consequently, the court below did not err in declaring valid the marriage of Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano. The next issue is whether Faustino Neri, Jr., and Carlo Magno Neri are legitimate children of the deceased Faustino Neri and Matilde Menciano. As above stated, the deceased Faustino Neri and Matilde Menciano were married on September 28, 1944. Faustino Neri, Jr., was born on April 24, 1945; that is, two hundred eight days, or more than one hundred eighty days, after the marriage, but less than three hundred days after the death of Faustino Neri San Jose which occurred on October 11, 1944. There is no question that before and after the marriage, the deceased and Matilde Menciano co-habitated. Rule 123, section 68 (c), reads as follows: SEC. 68. Conclusive presumptions. The following are instances of conclusive presumptions: xxx xxx xxx

(c) The issue of a wife cohabiting with her husband, who is not impotent, is indisputably presumed to be legitimate, if not born within the one hundred and eighty days immediately succeeding the marriage, or after the expiration of three hundred days following its dissolution; xxx xxx xxx

The above-quoted provision is so clear that it does not require interpretation or construction, but only application. The requirements for the conclusive presumption that Faustino Neri, Jr. is the legitimate son of the legitimate marriage of the deceased Faustino Neri and Matilde Menciano exist as above stated, with the possible exception of the requisite as to potency. Was the deceased Faustino Neri impotent during his cohabitation with Matilde Menciano? Impotency being an abnormal condition should not be presumed. The presumption is in favor of potency. The best evidence that the deceased was potent is the statement of Dr. Antonio Garcia that in order to get a specimen of the semen of the deceased Faustino Neri for examination as to its contents of spermatozoa, Faustino, following the doctor's advice, used a rubber sac, commonly called "condom", and a woman. The fact that the deceased was able to produce the specimen by said means shows conclusively that he was potent. Impotency is not synonymous with sterility. Impotency is the physical inability to have sexual intercourse; it is different from sterility.

(1) Impotence, in Medical Jurisprudence. Inability on the part of the male organ of copulation to perform its proper function. Impotence applies only to disorders affecting the functions of the organ of copulation, while sterility applies only to lack of fertility in the reproductive elements of either sex. (Dennis, System of Surgery; Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Rawle's Third Revision, Vol. 11, p. 1514) (2) Impotencia (L.) Impotence. Impotencia Coeundi, inability of the male to perform the sexual act. Impotentia Erigendi, inability to have an erection of the penis.(The American Illustrated Medical Dictionary, by Dorland 20th Edition, p. 721) i. Coeundi. Inability of the male to perform the sexual act. i. erigendi, impotence due to the absence of the power of erection. (Stedman's Practical Medical Dictionary, p. 551) (4) Impotence. "3. Law & Med. Incapacity for sexual intercourse." (Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged, p. 1251) (5) Impotency or Impotence. Want of power for copulation, not mere sterility. The absence of complete power of copulation is an essential element to constitute impotency. (31 C. J., P. 259) (6) Impotence. Inability to perform the sexual act may be due to defective organs from abnormal or incomplete development, or to deficient internal secretions, or to disorders of the nervous system diminishing the libido. Impotence may or may not be accompanied by sterility. (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 877) Consequently, the requisite of potency also existed. The necessary conclusion is that the child Faustino Neri, Jr., is conclusively presumed to be the legitimate son of the deceased Faustino Neri with Matilde Menciano in lawful wedlock. The attorney for the plaintiffs correctly objected to the evidence regarding sterility and any other evidence as to paternity. The objection should not have been overruled. However, even considering the evidence as to sterility, it results that the examinations of the semen by Drs. Garcia and Marfori in 1940, to determine the existence of spermatozoa, do not establish that the deceased was sterile. According to medical jurisprudence, a man may not have spermatozoa at a certain time, but may have had it previously or may have it subsequently to the examination. The examinations by Drs. Garcia and Marfori were made in 1940. From that time Faustino Neri San Jose cohabited with Matilde Menciano until his death on October 11, 1944. Doctor Jose F. Marfori. testified as follows: Q. How many times did you examine his seminal fluid? A. Only once.

Q. In other words, from the latter part of 1940 up to his death, you examined only once his seminal fluid? A. Yes, sir. Q. Is it not a fact that you cannot determine sterility or his inability to procreate with one examination? A. It would have been better if there was an examination of his seminal fluid every year. Q. But the truth is that today a man may lack spermatozoa in his seminal fluid, but much later it may appear? A. That is possible. (P. 28, t. s. n., Gaane) It should be noted that Doctor Marfori is a nephew-in-law of the deceased Faustino Neri. With regard to the supposed examination made by Doctor Garcia in Cebu on December 9, 1940, Cristobal Lopez, nephew of Faustino, testified that during said period, December, 1940, the deceased Neri never went out of Cagayan, Oriental Misamis. We cannot accord much weight to the testimony of Doctor Garcia that he made the examination. But even supposing that said doctors made such examinations, still the result is inconclusive, for the reasons above set forth, and cannot in any way overthrow the conclusive presumption established by Rule 123, section 68 (c). Carlo Magno Neri was born on March 9, 1940, that is, before the marriage. Both the deceased Faustino and Matilde Menciano free to marry without any legal impediment. However, the court below declared that Carlo Magno Neri has not been acknowledged as a natural child and, consequently, cannot be legitimized by the subsequent marriage of his parents. We cannot review this finding because the plaintiffs did not appeal. The defendants allege that Matilde Menciano is retaining or has illegally disposed of P286,000, genuine Philippine currency, certain jewels, and documents. The trial court, after a careful and exhaustive review of the evidence, correctly reached the conclusion that such allegation has not been substantiated. Let us make a short analysis of the defendants' evidence on this point. The principal witness for this claim was Rodolfo Pelaez, who testified that the deceased Faustino in 1939 delivered to him the sum of P250,000 in small denominations to be exchanged in a bank in Manila for bills of larger denominations as P500, etc. After having exchanged it with the help of Representative Ozamis (dead on the date of the trial), he returned to the province and delivered the sum to the deceased Neri. On crossexamination he was not able to say whether the bills he took to Manila in October, 1939, were treasury certificates or bank bills; that in July, 1944, he visited Cagayan and he saw his uncle Faustino living with Matilde Menciano and Carlo Magno Neri in the house of a Chinaman on Calle Del Mar; that he saw the sum of P250,000 in a wooden aparador. But when he was asked whether he actually saw the money in the aparador, he said he was so informed by his uncle. His testimony is hearsay. Furthermore, there is no reason why his uncle should have accounted to him for the money. His testimony is contradicted by that of Paz Neri San Jose, his mother, who stated that the deceased Faustino went to the house of the Chinaman on Calle Del Mar only to fetch certain document which he had left there; that the deceased was not living in said house; that he went there now and play monte; that the deceased and herself were living in the house of one Tamparong; that the deceased used to carry with him his money, jewels, and documents, in a sack, wherever he went to play; that at the time of the air raid by the Americans, the deceased went to

the house on Calle Del Mar carrying the said sack, but he returned to the house of Tamparong, leaving the sack in the house on Calle Del Mar, but after the air raid he returned on the latter house to fetch the sack. This testimony of Paz Neri, who was a witness for the defendants and a co-defendant herself, contradicts in essential and important features that of Rodolfo Pelaez. The testimony of Paz Neri would show that the deceased Neri was distrustful of relatives and friends when his funds were concerned. P250,000 in 1939 was quite a fortune in itself and, consisting of cash, could have been easily disposed of. In 1939 nobody believed for certain that there would be war. Why then should the deceased have wanted to change the money for bigger denominations when he could have deposited it in a nearby branch of the Philippine National Bank where the deceased could have gone, for, as alleged by the defendants, he even went to Cebu in 1940 for examination of his seminal fluid? It was testified to by Clotilde Galarrita de Labitad that Matilde Menciano showed to her the sum of P284,000 in genuine Philippine currency and counted the money in her presence. This is unbelievable. Could she not have counted it without the presence of anybody and thus avoided the danger of theft or robbery? With regard to the jewels no satisfactory evidence was presented to prove that Matilde Menciano misappropriated them. She received and had in her possession a few jewels given to her by the deceased Faustino for the benefit of the children. As to the revocation of the appointment of Paz Neri San Jose as executrix, the trial court made a reasonable exercise of its discretion in setting it aside and appointing Matilde Menciano administratrix, in view of the hostility between them which would cause many incidental questions and delay in the termination of the proceedings if Paz Neri had continued as executrix. We see no reason for interfering in the case with the discretion of the court. The appellees contended that the court erred in not completely annulling the institution of universal heir, without considering Rodolfo Pelaez as a legatee. Inasmuch as the plaintiffs did not appeal, they are bound by the decision of the trial court. In view of the foregoing, the judgment appealed from is affirmed in all its parts, with costs against the appellants. It is so ordered. Paras, Bengzon, C. J., Feria, Pablo, Montemayor and Bautista Angelo, JJ., concur. Catch-all: Defect in any essential requisite (Art.4, FC) Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-15853 July 27, 1960

FERNANDO AQUINO, petitioner, vs. CONCHITA DELIZO, respondent. GUTIERREZ DAVID, J.: This is a petition for certiorari to review a decision of the Court of Appeals affirming that of the Court of First Instance of Rizal which dismissed petitioner's complaint for annulment of his marriage with respondent Conchita Delizo. The dismissed complaint, which was filed on September 6, 1955, was based on the ground of fraud, it being alleged, among other things, that defendant Conchita Delizo, herein respondent, at the date of her marriage to plaintiff, herein petitioner Fernando Aquino, on December 27, 1954, concealed from the latter that fact that she was pregnant by another man, and sometime in April, 1955, or about four months after their marriage, gave birth to a child. In her answer, defendant claimed that the child was conceived out of lawful wedlock between her and the plaintiff. At the trial, the attorney's for both parties appeared and the court a quo ordered Assistant Provincial Fiscal Jose Goco to represent the State in the proceedings to prevent collusion. Only the plaintiff however, testified and the only documentary evidence presented was the marriage contract between the parties. Defendant neither appeared nor presented any evidence despite the reservation made by her counsel that he would present evidence on a later date. On June 16, 1956, the trial court noting that no birth certificate was presented to show that the child was born within 180 days after the marriage between the parties, and holding that concealment of pregnancy as alleged by the plaintiff does not constitute such fraud sa would annul a marriage dismissed the complaint. Through a verified "petition to reopen for reception of additional evidence", plaintiff tried to present the certificates of birth and delivery of the child born of the defendant on April 26, 1955, which documents, according to him, he had failed to secure earlier and produce before the trial court thru excusable negligence. The petition, however, was denied. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, that court held that there has been excusable neglect in plaintiff's inability to present the proof of the child's birth, through her birth certificate, and for that reason the court a quo erred in denying the motion for reception of additional evidence. On the theory, however, that it was not impossible for plaintiff and defendant to have had sexual intercourse during their engagement so that the child could be their own, and finding unbelievable plaintiff's claim that he did not notice or even suspect that defendant was pregnant when he married her, the appellate court, nevertheless, affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. On March 17, 1959, plaintiff filed a motion praying that the decision be reconsidered, or, if such reconsideration be denied, that the case be remanded to the lower court for new trial. In support of the motion, plaintiff attached as annexes thereof the following documents: 1. Affidavit of Cesar Aquino (Annex A) (defendant's brother-in-law and plaintiff's brother, with whom defendant was living at the time plaintiff met, courted and married her, and with whom defendant has begotten two more children, aside from

her first born, in common-law relationship) admitting that he is the father of defendant's first born, Catherine Bess Aquino, and that he and defendant hid her pregnancy from plaintiff at the time of plaintiff's marriage to defendant; 2. Affidavit of defendant, Conchita Delizo (Annex "B") admitting her pregnancy by Cesar Aquino, her brother-in-law and plaintiff's own brother, at the time of her marriage to plaintiff and her having hidden this fact from plaintiff before and up to the time of their marriage; 3. Affidavit of Albert Powell (Annex "C") stating that he knew Cesar Aquino and defendant lived together as husband and wife before December 27, 1954, the date of plaintiff's marriage to defendant; 4. Birth Certificate of defendant's first born, Catherine Bess Aquino showing her date of birth to be April 26, 1955; 5. Birth Certificate (Annex "D") of Carolle Ann Aquino, the second child of defendant with Cesar Aquino, her brother-in-law; 6. Birth Certificate (Annex "E") of Chris Charibel Aquino, the third child of Cesar Aquino and defendant; and 7. Pictures of defendant showing her natural plumpness as early as 1952 to as late as November, 1954, the November, 1954 photo itself does not show defendant's pregnancy which must have been almost four months old at the time the picture was taken. Acting upon the motion, the Court of Appeals ordered the defendant Conchita Delizo and Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Rizal, who was representing the Government, to answer the motion for reconsideration, and deferred action on the prayer for new trial until after the case is disposed of. As both the defendant and the fiscal failed to file an answer, and stating that it "does not believe the veracity of the contents of the motion and its annexes", the Court of Appeals, on August 6, 1959, denied the motion. From that order, the plaintiff brought the case to this Court thru the present petition for certiorari. After going over the record of the case, we find that the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint cannot be sustained. Under the new Civil Code, concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband constitutes fraud and is ground for annulment of marriage. (Art. 85, par. (4) in relation to Art. 86, par. (3). In the case of Buccat vs. Buccat (72 Phil., 19) cited in the decision sought to be reviewed, which was also an action for the annulment of marriage on the ground of fraud, plaintiff's claim that he did not even suspect the pregnancy of the defendant was held to be unbelievable, it having been proven that the latter was already in an advanced stage of pregnancy (7th month) at the time of their marriage. That pronouncement, however, cannot apply to the case at bar. Here the defendant wife was alleged to be only more than four months pregnant at the time of her marriage to plaintiff. At that stage, we are not prepared to say that her pregnancy was readily apparent, especially since she was "naturally plump" or fat as alleged by plaintiff. According to medical authorities, even on the 5th month of pregnancy, the enlargement of a woman's abdomen is still below the umbilicus, that is to

say, the enlargement is limited to the lower part of the abdomen so that it is hardly noticeable and may, if noticed, be attributed only to fat formation on the lower part of the abdomen. It is only on the 6th month of pregnancy that the enlargement of the woman's abdomen reaches a height above the umbilicus, making the roundness of the abdomen more general and apparent. (See Lull, Clinical Obstetrics, p. 122) If, as claimed by plaintiff, defendant is "naturally plump", he could hardly be expected to know, merely by looking, whether or not she was pregnant at the time of their marriage more so because she must have attempted to conceal the true state of affairs. Even physicians and surgeons, with the aid of the woman herself who shows and gives her subjective and objective symptoms, can only claim positive diagnosis of pregnancy in 33% at five months. and 50% at six months. (XI Cyclopedia of Medicine, Surgery, etc. Pregnancy, p. 10). The appellate court also said that it was not impossible for plaintiff and defendant to have had sexual intercourse before they got married and therefore the child could be their own. This statement, however, is purely conjectural and finds no support or justification in the record. Upon the other hand, the evidence sought to be introduced at the new trial, taken together with what has already been adduced would, in our opinion, be sufficient to sustain the fraud alleged by plaintiff. The Court of Appeals should, therefore, not have denied the motion praying for new trial simply because defendant failed to file her answer thereto. Such failure of the defendant cannot be taken as evidence of collusion, especially since a provincial fiscal has been ordered of represent the Government precisely to prevent such collusion. As to the veracity of the contents of the motion and its annexes, the same can best be determined only after hearing evidence. In the circumstance, we think that justice would be better served if a new trial were ordered. Wherefore, the decision complained of is set aside and the case remanded to the court a quo for new trial. Without costs. Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Montemayor, Labrador, Concepcion, and Reyes, J.B.L., JJ., concur. Barrera, J., concurs in the result. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. L-27930 November 26, 1970 AURORA A. ANAYA, plaintiff-appellant, vs. FERNANDO O. PALAROAN, defendant-appellee. Isabelo V. Castro for plaintiff-appellant. Arturo A. Romero for defendant-appellee.

REYES, J.B.L., J.: Appeal from an order of dismissal, issued motu proprio by the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, Manila, of a complaint for annulment of marriage, docketed therein as Civil Case No. E-00431, entitled "Aurora A. Anaya, plaintiff vs. Fernando O. Palaroan, defendant." The complaint in said Civil Case No. E-00431 alleged, inter alia, that plaintiff Aurora and defendant Fernando were married on 4 December 1953; that defendant Fernando filed an action for annulment of the marriage on 7 January 1954 on the ground that his consent was obtained through force and intimidation, which action was docketed in the Court of First Instance of Manila as Civil Case No. 21589; that judgment was rendered therein on 23 September 1959 dismissing the complaint of Fernando, upholding the validity of the marriage and granting Aurora's counterclaim; that (per paragraph IV) while the amount of the counterclaim was being negotiated "to settle the judgment," Fernando had divulged to Aurora that several months prior to their marriage he had pre-marital relationship with a close relative of his; and that "the non-divulgement to her of the aforementioned premarital secret on the part of defendant that definitely wrecked their marriage, which apparently doomed to fail even before it had hardly commenced ... frank disclosure of which, certitude precisely precluded her, the Plaintiff herein from going thru the marriage that was solemnized between them constituted 'FRAUD', in obtaining her consent, within the contemplation of No. 4 of Article 85 of the Civil Code" (sic) (Record on Appeal, page 3). She prayed for the annulment of the marriage and for moral damages. Defendant Fernando, in his answer, denied the allegation in paragraph IV of the complaint and denied having had pre-marital relationship with a close relative; he averred that under no circumstance would he live with Aurora, as he had escaped from her and from her relatives the day following their marriage on 4 December 1953; that he denied having committed any fraud against her. He set up the defenses of lack of cause of action and estoppel, for her having prayed in Civil Case No. 21589 for the validity of the marriage and her having enjoyed the support that had been granted her. He counterclaimed for damages for the malicious filing of the suit. Defendant Fernando did not pray for the dismissal of the complaint but for its dismissal "with respect to the alleged moral damages." Plaintiff Aurora filed a reply with answer to the counterclaim, wherein she alleged: (1) that prior to their marriage on 4 December 1953, he paid court to her, and pretended to shower her with love and affection not because he really felt so but because she merely happened to be the first girl available to marry so he could evade marrying the close relative of his whose immediate members of her family were threatening him to force him to marry her (the close relative); (2) that since he contracted the marriage for the reason intimated by him, and not because he loved her, he secretly intended from the very beginning not to perform the marital duties and obligations appurtenant thereto, and furthermore, he covertly made up his mind not to live with her;

(3) that the foregoing clandestine intentions intimated by him were prematurely concretized for him, when in order to placate and appease the immediate members of the family of the first girl (referent being the close relative) and to convince them of his intention not to live with plaintiff, carried on a courtship with a third girl with whom, after gaining the latter's love cohabited and had several children during the whole range of nine years that Civil Case No. 21589, had been litigated between them (parties); (Record on Appeal, pages 10-11) Failing in its attempt to have the parties reconciled, the court set the case for trial on 26 August 1966 but it was postponed. Thereafter, while reviewing the expendiente, the court realized that Aurora's allegation of the fraud was legally insufficient to invalidate her marriage, and, on the authority of Brown vs. Yambao, 102 Phil. 168, holding: It is true that the wife has not interposed prescription as a defense. Nevertheless, the courts can take cognizance thereof, because actions seeking a decree of legal separation, or annulment of marriage, involve public interest, and it is the policy of our law that no such decree be issued if any legal obstacles thereto appear upon the record. the court a quo required plaintiff to show cause why her complaint should not be dismissed. Plaintiff Aurora submitted a memorandum in compliance therewith, but the court found it inadequate and thereby issued an order, dated 7 October 1966, for the dismissal of the complaint; it also denied reconsideration. The main issue is whether or not the non-disclosure to a wife by her husband of his premarital relationship with another woman is a ground for annulment of marriage. We must agree with the lower court that it is not. For fraud as a vice of consent in marriage, which may be a cause for its annulment, comes under Article 85, No. 4, of the Civil Code, which provides: ART. 85. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage: xxx xxx xxx (4) 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 her husband or his wife, as the case may be; This fraud, as vice of consent, is limited exclusively by law to those kinds or species of fraud enumerated in Article 86, as follows: ART. 86. Any of the following circumstances shall constitute fraud referred to in number 4 of the preceding article: (1) Misrepresentation as to the identity of one of the contracting parties;

(2) Non-disclosure of the previous conviction of the other party of a crime involving moral turpitude, and the penalty imposed was imprisonment for two years or more; (3) Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband. No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage. The intention of Congress to confine the circumstances that can constitute fraud as ground for annulment of marriage to the foregoing three cases may be deduced from the fact that, of all the causes of nullity enumerated in Article 85, fraud is the only one given special treatment in a subsequent article within the chapter on void and voidable marriages. If its intention were otherwise, Congress would have stopped at Article 85, for, anyway, fraud in general is already mentioned therein as a cause for annulment. But Article 86 was also enacted, expressly and specifically dealing with "fraud referred to in number 4 of the preceding article," and proceeds by enumerating the specific frauds (misrepresentation as to identity, non-disclosure of a previous conviction, and concealment of pregnancy), making it clear that Congress intended to exclude all other frauds or deceits. To stress further such intention, the enumeration of the specific frauds was followed by the interdiction: "No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage." Non-disclosure of a husband's pre-marital relationship with another woman is not one of the enumerated circumstances that would constitute a ground for annulment; and it is further excluded by the last paragraph of the article, providing that "no other misrepresentation or deceit as to ... chastity" shall give ground for an action to annul a marriage. While a woman may detest such non-disclosure of premarital lewdness or feel having been thereby cheated into giving her consent to the marriage, nevertheless the law does not assuage her grief after her consent was solemnly given, for upon marriage she entered into an institution in which society, and not herself alone, is interested. The lawmaker's intent being plain, the Court's duty is to give effect to the same, whether it agrees with the rule or not. But plaintiff-appellant Anaya emphasizes that not only has she alleged "non-divulgement" (the word chosen by her) of the pre-marital relationship of her husband with another woman as her cause of action, but that she has, likewise, alleged in her reply that defendant Fernando paid court to her without any intention of complying with his marital duties and obligations and covertly made up his mind not to live with her. Plaintiffappellant contends that the lower court erred in ignoring these allegations in her reply. This second set of averments which were made in the reply (pretended love and absence of intention to perform duties of consortium) is an entirely new and additional "cause of action." According to the plaintiff herself, the second set of allegations is "apart, distinct and separate from that earlier averred in the Complaint ..." (Record on Appeal, page 76). Said allegations were, therefore, improperly alleged in the reply, because if in a reply a party-plaintiff is not permitted to amend or change the cause of action as set forth in his complaint (Calo vs. Roldan, 76 Phil. 445), there is more reason not to allow such party to

allege a new and additional cause of action in the reply. Otherwise, the series of pleadings of the parties could become interminable. On the merits of this second fraud charge, it is enough to point out that any secret intention on the husband's part not to perform his marital duties must have been discovered by the wife soon after the marriage: hence her action for annulment based on that fraud should have been brought within four years after the marriage. Since appellant's wedding was celebrated in December of 1953, and this ground was only pleaded in 1966, it must be declared already barred. FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the appealed order is hereby affirmed. No costs. Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo and Villamor, JJ., concur. Dizon and Makasiar, JJ., are on leave. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC GR No. 47101 April 25, 1941 GODOFREDO BUCCAT, plaintiff-appellant, vs.. Luisa MANGONON OF BUCCAT, defendant-appellee. D. Feliciano Leviste, D. Tomas P. And Mrs. N. Panganiban Sotera Megia for appellant. Doa Luisa Buccat Mangonon of their own representation. HORRILLENO, J. : This issue has been raised to this superiority by the Court of First Instance of Baguio, as only raises a question purely of law. On March 20, 1939 the plaintiff inico the present case, in which the defendant failed to appear, despite having been duly summoned. Therefore, allowed the plaintiff to present evidence, the lower court decision, the matter in favor of the defendant. Hence this appeal. The applicant requests the annulment of their marriage had with the defendant Luisa Buccat Mangonon of the November 26, 1938, in Baguio City, the grounds that, in consenting to the marriage, he did so because the defendant had assured him that she was virgin. In the lower court's decision reveals the following facts: The plaintiff met the defendant in March 1938. After several interviews, both were committed on 19 September of that year.On 26 November the same year, the plaintiff married the defendant in the Catholic catedrla Baguio City. Deso ues of living maritally for the space of eighty-nine days, the defendant gave birth to a child

of nine months, the February 23, 1939.Following this event, the plaintiff abandoned the defendant and did not return to do with her marital life. We do not see any reason to vacate the judgment appealed. Indeed, it is improbable the plaintiff's allegation that the appellant and had not even suspected the gravid state of the defendant, being this, as has been proven, highly advanced in pregnant condition. Therefore not necessary to estimate the fraud that speaks the appellant. He argued for this in the sense that countries not uncommon to find people of the abdomen developed, it seems childish to merit our consideration, especially as the applicant was a freshman in law. Marriage is a most sacred institution: it is the foundation on which society rests. You can stop this are necessary to clear and reliable. In this case no such evidence. Finding the judgment appealed in accordance with law, must be confirmed, as confirmed by the present, in all its parts, with costs against the appellant. So ordered. Avancea, CJ, Imperial, Diaz and Laurel, MM., are satisfied. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. L-29138 May 29, 1970 ELENA CONTRERAS, plaintiff-appellant, vs. CESAR J. MACARAIG, defendant-appellee. Jose T. Nery for plaintiff-appellee. The City fiscal for defendant-appellant. Cesar J. Macaraig in his own behalf.

DIZON, J.: Appeal taken by Elena Contreras from a decision of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 00138 dismissing her complaint upon the ground that the same was filed more than one year from and after the date on which she had become cognizant of the cause for legal separation. The following, facts found by the trial court are not in dispute:

Plaintiff and defendant were married on March 16, 1952 in the Catholic Church of Quiapo, Manila. Out of their Marriage, three children were born: Eusebio C. Macaraig, on January 11, 1953; Victoria C. Macaraig, on March 26, 1956; and Alexander C. Macaraig, on August 4, 1958. All the children are in the care of plaintiff wife. Sometime in 1958, the couple acquired rights, as lessee and purchaser under a conditional sale agreement, to own a house and lot, known as Lot 4, Block 8 of the Philamlife Homes in Quezon City which they transferred in favor of their three children on October 29, 1958 (Exh. F). Installment payments are being made by plaintiff's father. The spouses own no other conjugal property. Immediately before the election of 1961, defendant was employed as manager of the printing establishment owned by plaintiff's father known as the MICO Offset. In that capacity, defendant met and came to know Lily Ann Alcala, who place orders with MICO Offset for propaganda materials for Mr. Sergio Osmea, who was then a Vice-Presidential candidate. After the elections of 1961, defendant resigned from MICO Offset to be a special agent at Malacaang. He began to be away so often and to come home very late. Upon plaintiff's inquiry, defendant explained that he was out on a series of confidential missions. In September, 1962, Avelino Lubos, driver of the family car, told plaintiff that defendant was living in Singalong with Lily Ann Alcala. When defendant, the following October, returned to the conjugal home, plaintiff refrained from verifying Lubos' report from defendant in her desire not to anger nor drive defendant away. Although plaintiff, in April 1963, also received rumors that defendant was seen with a woman who was on the family way on Dasmarias St., she was so happy that defendant again return to the family home in May, 1963 that she once more desisted from discussing the matter with him because she did not wish to precipitate a quarrel and drive him away. All this while, defendant, if and whenever he returned to the family fold, would only stay for two or three days but would be gone for a period of about a month. After plaintiff received reports that Lily Ann Alcala had given birth to a baby, she sent Mrs. Felicisima Antioquia, her father's employee, to verify the reports. The latter was driven by Lubos to the house in Singalong and between 5:00 and 6:00 o'clock that afternoon, she saw defendant was carrying a baby in his arms. Mrs. Antioquia then went to the parish priest of Singalong where she inquired about the child of Cesar Macaraig and Lily Ann Alcala and she was given a copy of the baptismal certificate of Maria Vivien Mageline Macaraig (Exh. G) which she gave to plaintiff sometime in October, 1963. Plaintiff then entreated her father-in-law, Lucilo Macaraig, to intercede with defendant and to convince him to return to his family. Mr. Macaraig, after talking to his son and seeking him with the latter's child told plaintiff that he could not do anything. In November, 1963, plaintiff requested the cooperation of defendant's older sister, Mrs. Enriqueta Majul, and the latter obliged and arranged a meeting at her home in Buendia between plaintiff and Lily Ann Alcala. Lily Ann said she

was willing to give up defendant as she had no desire to be accused criminally but it was defendant who refused to break relationship with her. In the early part of December, 1963, plaintiff, accompanied by her two children, Victoria and Alexander, and by Mrs. Leticia Lagronio went to talk to defendant at his place of work on Espaa Extension in front of Quezon Institute. They repaired to Victoria Peak, a nearby restaurant, where plaintiff pleaded with defendant to give up Lily Ann Alcala and to return to the conjugal home, assuring him that she was willing to forgive him. Defendant informed plaintiff that he could no longer leave Lily Ann and refused to return to his legitimate family. On December 14, 1963, plaintiff instituted the present action for legal separation. When defendant did not interpose any answer after he was served summons, the case was referred to the Office of the City Fiscal of Manila pursuant to the provisions of Article 101 of the Civil Code. After a report was received from Asst. Fiscal Primitivo M. Pearanda that he believed that there was no collusion present, plaintiff was allowed to present her evidence. Defendant has never appeared in this case. The reasons relied upon by the trial court in dismissing the complaint are set forth in the appealed decision as follows: Under the facts established by plaintiff's evidence, although the infidelity of the husband is apparent, yet the case will have to be dismissed. Article 102 provides that, an action for legal separation cannot be instituted except within one year after plaintiff "became cognizant of the cause." In the absence of a clear-cut decision of the Supreme Court as to the exact import of the term "cognizant," the practical application of said Article can be attended with difficulty. For one thing; that rules might be different in case of adultery, which is an act, and for concubinage, which may be a situation or a relationship. In respect of concubinage, the word 'cognizant' may not connote the date when proof thereof sufficient to establish the cause before a court of law is possessed. Otherwise, the one year period would be meaningless for practical purposes because all a wife would have to do would be to claim that the necessary proof was secured only within one year before the filing of the complaint. On the other hand, it should be hard to concede that what the law envisages (and, in a way, encourages) is the filing of a complaint within one year after the innocent spouses has received information of the other's infidelity, howsoever baseless the report might be. The Court believes that the correct rule lies between the two extremes. At the time a wife acquired information, which can be reasonably relied upon as true, that her husband is living in concubinage with another woman, the one-year period should be deemed to have started even if the wife shall not then be in possession of proof sufficient to establish the concubinage before a court of law. The one-year period may be viewed, inter alia, as an alloted time within which proof should be secured. It is in the light of this rule that the Court will determine whether or not plaintiff's action for legal separation has prescribed.

After her husband resigned from MICO Offset to be a special agent in Malacaan, subsequent to the elections of 1961, he would seldom come home. He allayed plaintiff's suspicions with the explanation that he had been away on 'confidential missions.' However, in September, 1962, Avelino Lubos, plaintiff's driver, reported to plaintiff that defendant was living in Singalong with Lily Ann Alcala. As a matter of fact, it was also Lubos who brought Mrs. F. Antioquia (when plaintiff had asked to verify the reports) to the house in Singalong where she saw defendant, Lily Ann and the baby. The requirement of the law that a complaint for legal separation be filed within one year after the date plaintiff become cognizant of the cause is not of prescriptive nature, but is of the essence of the cause of action. It is consonant with the philosophy that marriage is an inviolable social institution so that the law provides strict requirements before it will allow a disruption of its status. In the instant action, the Court has to find that plaintiff became cognizant of defendant's infidelity in September, 1962. Plaintiff made successive attempts to induce the husband to amend his erring ways but failed. Her desire to bring defendant back to the connubial fold and to preserve family solidarity deterred her from taking timely legal action. The only question to be resolved is whether the period of one year provided for in Article 102 of the Civil Code should be counted, as far as the instant case is concerned from September 1962 or from December 1963. Computing the period of one year from the former date, it is clear that plaintiff's complaint filed on December 14, 1963 came a little too late, while the reverse would be true if said period is deemed to have commenced only in the month of December 1963. The period of "five years from after the date when such cause occurred" is not here involved. Upon the undisputed facts it seems clear that, in the month of September 1962, whatever knowledge appellant had acquired regarding the infidelity of her husband, that is, of the fact that he was then living in Singalong with Lily Ann Alcala, was only through the information given to her by Avelino Lubos, driver of the family car. Much as such hearsay information had pained and anguished her, she apparently thought it best and no reasonable person may justifiably blame her for it not to go deeper into the matter herself because in all probability even up to that time, notwithstanding her husband's obvious neglect of his entire family, appellant still cherished the hope however forlorn of his coming back home to them. Indeed, when her husband returned to the conjugal home the following October, she purposely refrained from bringing up the matter of his marital infidelity "in her desire not to anger nor drive defendant away" quoting the very words of the trial court. True, appellant likewise heard in April 1963 rumors that her husband was seen with a woman on the family way on Dasmarias Street, but failed again to either bring up the matter with her husband or make attempts to verify the truth of said rumors, but this was due, as the lower court itself believed, because "she was so happy that defendant again returned to the family home in May 1963 that she once more desisted from discussing the matter with him because she did not wish to precipitate a quarrel and drive him away." As a matter of fact, notwithstanding all these painful informations which would not have been legally sufficient to make a case for legal separation appellant still made brave if desperate attempts to persuade her husband to

come back home. In the words of the lower court, she "entreated her father-in-law, Lucilo Macaraig, to intercede with defendant and to convince him to return to his family" and also "requested the cooperation of defendant's older sister, Mrs. Enriqueta Majul" for the same purpose, but all that was of no avail. Her husband remained obdurate. After a careful review of the record, We are persuaded that, in the eyes of the law, the only time when appellant really became cognizant of the infidelity of her husband was in the early part of December 1963 when, quoting from the appealed decision, the following happened In the early part of December, 1963, plaintiff, accompanied by her two children, Victoria and Alexander, and by Mrs. Leticia Lagronio went to talk to defendant at his place of work on Espaa Extension in front of Quezon Institute. They repaired to Victoria Peak, a nearby restaurant, where plaintiff pleaded with defendant to give up Lily Ann Alcala and to return to the conjugal home, assuring him that she was willing to forgive him. Defendant informed plaintiff that he could no longer leave Lily Ann and refused to return to his legitimate family. From all the foregoing We conclude that it was only on the occasion mentioned in the preceding paragraph when her husband admitted to her that he was living with and would no longer leave Lily Ann to return to his legitimate family that appellant must be deemed to be under obligation to decide whether to sue or not to sue for legal separation, and it was only then that the legal period of one year must be deemed to have commenced. WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is set aside and another is hereby rendered holding that appellant is entitled to legal separation as prayed for in her complaint; and the case is hereby remanded to the lower court for appropriate proceedings in accordance with law. Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo and Villamor, JJ., concur. Concepcion, C.J., concurs in the result. Castro, J., is on leave. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. L-34132 July 29, 1972 LUCY SOMOSA-RAMOS, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE CIPRIANO VAMENTA, JR., Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental and CLEMEN G. RAMOS, respondents.

T. R. Reyes & Associates for petitioner. Soleto J. Erames for respondents.

FERNANDO, J.:p The question raised in this petition for certiorari is whether or not Article 103 of the Civil Code prohibiting the hearing of an action for legal separation before the lapse of six months from the filing of the petition, would likewise preclude the court from acting on a motion for preliminary mandatory injunction applied for as an ancillary remedy to such a suit. Respondent Cipriano Vamenta, Jr., of the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental, answered the question in the affirmative, in view of the absolute tenor of such Civil Code provision, which reads thus: "An action for legal separation shall in no case be tried before six months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition." He therefore ordered the suspension, upon the plea of the other respondent the husband Clemente G. Ramos, of the hearing on a motion for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction filed by petitioner at the same time the suit for legal separation was instituted. Petitioner, Lucy Somosa-Ramos, the wife who brought the action for legal separation would dispute such a ruling. Hence, this certiorari proceeding. As will be shown later there is justification for such a move on the part of petitioner. The respondent Judge ought to have acted differently. The plea for a writ of certiorari must be granted. The pleadings show that on June 18, 1971, petitioner filed Civil Case No. 5274 in the sala of respondent Judge against respondent Clemente Ramos for legal separation, on concubinage on the respondent's part and an attempt by him against her life being alleged. She likewise sought the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction for the return to her of what she claimed to be her paraphernal and exclusive property, then under the administration and management of respondent Clemente Ramos. There was an opposition to the hearing of such a motion, dated July 3, 1971, based on Article 103 of the Civil Code. It was further manifested by him in a pleading dated July 16, 1971, that if the motion asking for preliminary mandatory injunction were heard, the prospect of the reconciliation of the spouses would become even more dim. Respondent Judge ordered the parties to submit their respective memoranda on the matter. Then on September 3, 1971, petitioner received an order dated August 4, 1971 of respondent Judge granting the motion of respondent Ramos to suspend the hearing of the petition for a writ of mandatory preliminary injunction. That is the order complained of in this petition for certiorari. Respondents were required to answer according to our resolution of October 5, 1971. The answer was filed December 2 of that year. Then on January 12, 1972 came a manifestation from parties in the case submitting the matter without further arguments. After a careful consideration of the legal question presented, it is the holding of this Court that Article 103 the Civil Code is not an absolute bar to the hearing motion for preliminary injunction prior to the expiration of the six-month period. 1. It is understandable why there should be a period during which the court is precluded from acting. Ordinarily of course, no such delay is permissible. Justice to parties would not thereby be served. The sooner the dispute is resolved, the better for all concerned. A suit for legal separation, however, is something else again. It involves a relationship on which the law for the best reasons would attach the quality of permanence. That there are times

when domestic felicity is much less than it ought to be is not of course to be denied. Grievances, whether fancied or real, may be entertained by one or both of the spouses. There may be constant bickering. The loss affection on the part of one or both may be discernible. Nonetheless, it will not serve public interest, much less the welfare of the husband or the wife, to allow them to go their respective ways. Where there are offspring, the reason for maintaining the conjugal union is even more imperative. It is a mark of realism of the law that for certain cases, adultery on the part of the wife and concubinage on the part of the husband, or an attempt of one spouse against the life of the other, 1 it recognizes, albeit reluctantly, that the couple is better off apart. A suit for legal separation lies. Even then, the hope that the parties may settle their differences is not all together abandoned. The healing balm of time may aid in the process. Hopefully, the guilty parties may mend his or her ways, and the offended party may in turn exhibit magnanimity. Hence, the interposition of a six-month period before an action for legal separation is to be tried. The court where the action is pending according to Article 103 is to remain passive. It must let the parties alone in the meanwhile. It is precluded from hearing the suit. There is then some plausibility for the view of the lower court that an ancillary motion such as one for preliminary mandatory injunction is not to be acted on. If it were otherwise, there would be a failure to abide by the literal language of such codal provision. That the law, however, remains cognizant of the need in certain cases for judicial power to assert itself is discernible from what is set forth in the following article. It reads thus: "After the filing of the petition for legal separation, the spouse shall be entitled to live separately from each other and manage their respective property. The husband shall continue to manage the conjugal partnership property but if the court deems it proper, it may appoint another to manage said property, in which case the administrator shall have the same rights and duties as a guardian and shall not be allowed to dispose of the income or of the capital except in accordance with the orders of the court." 2 There would appear to be then a recognition that the question of management of their respective property need not be left unresolved even during such six-month period. An administrator may even be appointed for the management of the property of the conjugal partnership. The absolute limitation from which the court suffers under the preceding article is thereby eased. The parties may in the meanwhile be heard. There is justification then for the petitioner's insistence that her motion for preliminary mandatory injunction should not be ignored by the lower court. There is all the more reason for this response from respondent Judge, considering that the husband whom she accused of concubinage and an attempt against her life would in the meanwhile continue in the management of what she claimed to be her paraphernal property, an assertion that was not specifically denied by him. What was held by this Court in Araneta v. Concepcion, 3 thus possesses relevance: "It is conceded that the period of six months fixed therein Article 103 (Civil Code) is evidently intended as a cooling off period to make possible a reconciliation between the spouses. The recital of their grievances against each other in court may only fan their already inflamed passions against one another, and the lawmaker has imposed the period to give them opportunity for dispassionate reflection. But this practical expedient, necessary to carry out legislative policy, does not have the effect of overriding other provisions such as the determination of the custody of the children and alimony and support pendente lite according to the circumstance ... The law expressly enjoins that these should be determined by the court according to the circumstances. If these are ignored or the courts close their eyes to actual facts, rank injustice may be caused." 4 At any rate, from the time of the issuance of the order complained of on August 4, 1971, more than six months certainly had elapsed. Thus there

can be no more impediment for the lower court acting on the motion of petitioner for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction. WHEREFORE, the plea of petitioner for a writ of certiorari is granted, and the order of respondent Court of August 4, 1971, suspending the hearing on the petition for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction is set aside. Respondent Judge is directed to proceed without delay to hear the motion for preliminary mandatory injunction. Costs against respondent Clemente G. Ramos. Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 141528 October 31, 2006

OSCAR P. MALLION, petitioner, vs. EDITHA ALCANTARA, respondent.

DECISION

AZCUNA, J.: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising a question of law: Does a previous final judgment denying a petition for declaration of nullity on the ground of psychological incapacity bar a subsequent petition for declaration of nullity on the ground of lack of marriage license? The facts are not disputed: On October 24, 1995, petitioner Oscar P. Mallion filed a petition1 with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 29, of San Pablo City seeking a declaration of nullity of his marriage to respondent Editha Alcantara under Article 36 of Executive Order No. 209, as amended, otherwise known as the Family Code, citing respondents alleged psychological incapacity. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. SP 4341-95. After trial on the merits, the RTC denied the petition in a decision2dated November 11, 1997 upon the finding that petitioner "failed to adduce preponderant evidence to warrant the grant of the relief he is seeking."3 The appeal filed with the Court of Appeals was likewise dismissed in a resolution4 dated June 11, 1998 for failure of petitioner to pay the docket and other lawful fees within the reglementary period. After the decision in Civil Case No. SP 4341-95 attained finality, petitioner filed on July 12, 1999 another petition5 for declaration of nullity of marriage with the RTC of San Pablo City, this time alleging that his marriage with respondent was null and void due to the fact that it was celebrated without a valid marriage license. For her part, respondent filed an answer

with a motion to dismiss6 dated August 13, 1999, praying for the dismissal of the petition on the ground of res judicata and forum shopping. In an order7 dated October 8, 1999, the RTC granted respondents motion to dismiss, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, for Forum Shopping and Multiplicity of Suits, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED. This case is DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.8
Petitioners motion for reconsideration was also denied in an order9 dated January 21, 2000. Hence, this petition which alleges, as follows:

A. IN DISMISSING PETITIONERS PETITION FOR THE DECLARATION OF HIS MARRIAGE AS NULL AND VOIDAB INITIO FOR LACK OF THE REQUISITE MARRIAGE LICENSE BECAUSE OF (THE) DISMISSAL OF AN EARLIER PETITION FOR DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF THE SAME MARRIAGE ON THE GROUND OF HIS WIFES PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY UNDER ARTICLE 36 OF THE FAMILY CODE, THE TRIAL COURT HAD DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE WHICH HAS PROBABLY NOT HERETOFORE BEEN DETERMINED SQUARELY AND DEFINITIVELY BY THIS COURT, OR HAD DECIDED IT IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW. B. IN DISMISSING PETITIONERS PETITION FOR THE DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF HIS MARRIAGE FOR LACK OF THE REQUISITE MARRIAGE LICENSE, THE TRIAL COURT HAD CONFUSED, DISTORTED AND MISAPPLIED THE FUNDAMENTAL RULES AND CONCEPTS ON RES JUDICATA, SPLITTING OF A CAUSE OF ACTION AND FORUM SHOPPING.10
Petitioner argues that while the relief prayed for in the two cases was the same, that is, the declaration of nullity of his marriage to respondent, the cause of action in the earlier case was distinct and separate from the cause of action in the present case because the operative facts upon which they were based as well as the evidence required to sustain either were different. Because there is no identity as to the cause of action, petitioner claims that res judicata does not lie to bar the second petition. In this connection, petitioner maintains that there was no violation of the rule on forum shopping or of the rule which proscribes the splitting of a cause of action. On the other hand, respondent, in her comment dated May 26, 2000, counters that while the present suit is anchored on a different ground, it still involves the same issue raised in Civil Case No. SP 4341-95, that is, the validity of petitioner and respondents marriage, and prays for the same remedy, that is, the declaration of nullity of their marriage. Respondent thus contends that petitioner violated the rule on forum shopping. Moreover, respondent asserts that petitioner violated the rule on multiplicity of suits as the ground he cites in this petition could have been raised during the trial in Civil Case No. SP 4341-95. The petition lacks merit. The issue before this Court is one of first impression. Should the matter of the invalidity of a marriage due to the absence of an essential requisite prescribed by Article 4 of the Family Code be raised in the same proceeding where the marriage is being impugned on the ground of a partys psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code? Petitioner insists that because the action for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity and the action for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of absence of marriage license constitute separate causes of action, the present case would not fall under the prohibition against splitting a single cause of action nor would it be barred by the principle of res judicata. The contention is untenable. Res judicata is defined as "a matter adjudged; a thing judicially acted upon or decided; a thing or matter settled by judgment. It also refers to the rule that a final judgment or decree on the merits by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive of the rights of the parties or their privies in all later suits on points and matters determined in the former suit."11

This doctrine is a rule which pervades every well-regulated system of jurisprudence and is founded upon the following precepts of common law, namely: (1) public policy and necessity, which makes it to the interest of the State that there should be an end to litigation, and (2) the hardship on the individual that he should be vexed twice for the same cause. A contrary doctrine would subject the public peace and quiet to the will and neglect of individuals and prefer the gratification of the litigious disposition on the part of suitors to the preservation of the public tranquility and happiness.12 In this jurisdiction, the concept of res judicata is embodied in Section 47 (b) and (c) of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, thus:

SEC. 47. Effect of judgments or final orders. The effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final order, may be as follows: (a) In case of a judgment or final order against a specific thing or in respect to the probate of a will, or the administration of the estate of a deceased person, or in respect to the personal, political, or legal condition or status of a particular person or his relationship to another, the judgment or final order is conclusive upon the title to the thing, the will or administration, or the condition, status or relationship of the person; however, the probate of a will or granting of letters of administration shall only be prima facie evidence of the death of the testator or intestate; (b) In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto, conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special proceeding, litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity; and, (c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest, that only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which appears upon its face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto.
The above provision outlines the dual aspect of res judicata.13 Section 47 (b) pertains to it in its concept as "bar by prior judgment" or "estoppel by verdict," which is the effect of a judgment as a bar to the prosecution of a second action upon the same claim, demand or cause of action. On the other hand, Section 47 (c) pertains to res judicata in its concept as "conclusiveness of judgment" or otherwise known as the rule of auter action pendant which ordains that issues actually and directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be raised in any future case between the same parties involving adifferent cause of action.14 Res judicata in its concept as a bar by prior judgment obtains in the present case. Res judicata in this sense requires the concurrence of the following requisites: (1) the former judgment is final; (2) it is rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) it is a judgment or an order on themerits; and (4) there is -- between the first and the second actions -- identity of parties, of subject matter, and of causes of action.15 Petitioner does not dispute the existence of the first three requisites. What is in issue is the presence of the fourth requisite. In this regard, the test to determine whether the causes of action are identical is to ascertain whether the same evidence will sustain both actions, or whether there is an identity in the facts essential to the maintenance of the two actions. If the same facts or evidence would sustain both, the two actions are considered the same, and a judgment in the first case is a bar to the subsequent action.16 Based on this test, petitioner would contend that the two petitions brought by him seeking the declaration of nullity of his marriage are anchored on separate causes of action for the evidence necessary to sustain the first petition which was anchored on the alleged psychological incapacity of respondent is different from the evidence necessary to sustain the present petition which is anchored on the purported absence of a marriage license. Petitioner, however, forgets that he is simply invoking different grounds for the same cause of action. By definition, a cause of action is the act or omission by which a party violates the right of another.17 In both petitions, petitioner has the same cause - the declaration of nullity of his marriage to respondent. What differs is the ground upon which the cause of action is predicated. These grounds cited by petitioner essentially split the various aspects of the pivotal issue that holds the key to the resolution of this controversy, that is, the actual status of petitioner and respondents marriage. Furthermore, the instant case is premised on the claim that the marriage is null and void because no valid celebration of the same took place due to the alleged lack of a marriage license. In Civil Case No. SP 4341-95, however, petitioner impliedly conceded that the marriage had been solemnized and celebrated in accordance with law. Petitioner is now bound by this admission. The alleged absence of a marriage license which petitioner raises now could have been presented and heard in

the earlier case. Suffice it to state that parties are bound not only as regards every matter offered and received to sustain or defeat their claims or demand but as to any other admissible matter which might have been offered for that purpose and of all other matters that could have been adjudged in that case.18 It must be emphasized that a party cannot evade or avoid the application of res judicata by simply varying the form of his action or adopting a different method of presenting his case. 19 As this Court stated in Perez v. Court of Appeals:20

x x x the statement of a different form of liability is not a different cause of action, provided it grows out of the same transaction or act and seeks redress for the wrong. Two actions are not necessarily for different causes of action simply because the theory of the second would not have been open under the pleadings in the first. A party cannot preserve the right to bring a second action after the loss of the first merely by having circumscribed and limited theories of recovery opened by the pleadings in the first. It bears stressing that a party cannot divide the grounds for recovery. A plaintiff is mandated to place in issue in his pleading, all the issues existing when the suit began. A lawsuit cannot be tried piecemeal. The plaintiff is bound to set forth in his first action every ground for relief which he claims to exist and upon which he relied, and cannot be permitted to rely upon them by piecemeal in successive action to recover for the same wrong or injury. A party seeking to enforce a claim, legal or equitable, must present to the court, either by the pleadings or proofs, or both, on the grounds upon which to expect a judgment in his favor. He is not at liberty to split up his demands, and prosecute it by piecemeal or present only a portion of the grounds upon which a special relief is sought and leave the rest to the presentment in a second suit if the first fails. There would be no end to litigation if such piecemeal presentation is allowed. (Citations omitted.)
In sum, litigants are provided with the options on the course of action to take in order to obtain judicial relief. Once an option has been taken and a case is filed in court, the parties must ventilate all matters and relevant issues therein. The losing party who files another action regarding the same controversy will be needlessly squandering time, effort and financial resources because he is barred by law from litigating the same controversy all over again.21 Therefore, having expressly and impliedly conceded the validity of their marriage celebration, petitioner is now deemed to have waived any defects therein. For this reason, the Court finds that the present action for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of lack of marriage license is barred by the decision dated November 11, 1997 of the RTC, Branch 29, of San Pablo City, in Civil Case No. SP 4341-95. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.

Puno, J., Chairperson, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Garcia, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1

Rollo, pp. 39-42. Id. at 43-53. Id. at 53. Records, p. 33.

Id. at 3-10. Id. at 15-33. Id. at 74-77. Rollo, p. 28. Records, p. 90. Rollo, pp. 7-8. Gutierrez v. CA, G.R. No. 82475, January 28, 1991, 193 SCRA 437.

10

11

Cruz v. CA, G.R. No. 164797, February 13, 2006, 482 SCRA 379, quoting Heirs of the Late Faustina Adalid v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 122202, May 26, 2005, 459 SCRA 27.
12 13

NHA v. Baello, G.R. No. 143230, August 30, 2004, 437 SCRA 86. Spouses Rasdas v. Estenor, G.R. No. 157605, December 13, 2005, 477 SCRA 538. Luzon Development Bank v. Conquilla, G.R. No. 163338, September 21, 2005, 470 SCRA 533. Sangalang v. Caparas, G.R. No. L-49749, June 18, 1987, 151 SCRA 53. RULES OF COURT, Rule 2, Section 2. Carlet v. CA, G.R. No. 114275, July 7, 1997, 275 SCRA 97. Linzag v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 122181, June 26, 1998, 291 SCRA 304. G.R. No. 157616, July 22, 2005, 464 SCRA 89. Carlet v. CA, supra note 18.

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