LEOUEL SANTOS, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND JULIA ROSARIO BEDIA-SANTOS, respondents.

G.R. No. 112019. January 4, 1995.*

VITUG, J.:

FACTS:

Leouel and Julia were married in 1986 and had a son. They lived at Julia’s parents which caused their quarrel due to interference of the parents on their affairs. In 1988, Julia went to US to work as a nurse despite Leouel’s pleas to so dissuade her. She promised to return home upon the expiration of her contract in July 1989. She never did. When Leouel got a chance to underwent training in US, he tried to locate, or to somehow get in touch with, Julia but all his efforts were of no avail.

Leouel filed a complaint for a voiding a marriage under Art. 36, he 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.

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.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the Julia’s Julia’s failure to return to her husband and communication with him constitute psychological incapacity

RULING

NO. 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. 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. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.

Justice Sempio-Diy 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 I), 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.

“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.

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