REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and RORIDEL OLAVIANO MOLINA, respondents.

G.R. No. 108763. February 13, 1997

FACTS:

Roridel, respondent, is married to Reynaldo who was born with a son. After a year of marriage Reynaldo showed signs of “immaturity and irresponsibility” as a husband and a father – since he preferred spending time and squandering money on his friends, dependency on parents and dishonesty in regards to their finances. Reynaldo was relieved from his job, and the respondent then became the breadwinner of the family.  They had a huge fight which resulted to Roridel’s resignation and went to Baguio to live with her parents and after few weeks, Reynaldo left and abandoned them.

-In 1990, Roridel Molina filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. Allegedly, Reynaldo had shown psychological incapacity who fails to perform essential marital obligation and it would be to the couple’s best interest to have their marriage declared null and void in order to free them from what appeared to be an incompatible marriage from the start.

Reynaldo admitted that they can no longer live together but contended that their misunderstandings are due to Roridel’s failure to run the household and manage the finances.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the opposing and conflicting personalities of the spouse can render the marriage void on the ground of psychological incapacity

RULING:

NO.  The rule on “psychological incapacity should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity but 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.” The psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability.

It appears in the case to be more of a “difficulty,” if not outright “refusal” or “neglect” in the performance of some marital obligations. Mere showing of “irreconcilable differences” and “conflicting personalities” in no wise constitutes psychological incapacity. There had been no showing of the gravity of the problem; neither its juridical antecedence nor its incurability.

During its deliberations, the court in view of the novelty of Art. 36 of the Family Code and the difficulty experienced by many trial courts in interpreting and applying it, the Court decided to invite two amici curiae, who submitted following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Art. 36.

1. Burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff;

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;

3. The incapacity must be proven to be existing at “the time of the celebration” of the marriage;

4. Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable;

5. Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage;

6. The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Arts. 68 up to 71 of the FC as regards the husband and wife, as well as Arts. 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;

8. The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state.

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