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Group 3

JOSEFA AND REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


Respondent/Oppositor-Appellant



Word Count: 2,032

MOOTERS:

First Mooter: Aiza Cagampang
Second Mooter: Justin Ronald Seria
Alternative Mooter: Mark Anthony Malijao

Members:
Feliciano Jr., Rondell
Francisco, Erwin
Guibone, Janine Mae
Iriberri, Cyril Ann
Japos, Kristine Mae



FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS

This is a petition for review assailing the decision on October 27, 2006 declaring the
nullity of marriage between Pedro and Josefa on the grounds of the latters psychological
incapacity and thus, the decision shallbe set aside as the evidence to the alleged psychological
incapacity was not sufficiently established. The custody of the children shall be awarded to
Josefa since there were no compelling reasons established that incapacitated her for such
custody.

On July 1, 2000, Pedro filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) a petition for
Annulment of Marriage alleging as ground therefore the psychological incapacity of Josefa to
perform her essential marital obligations as wife to him and as a mother to their child.

Dr. Rabuko, a clinical psychologist testified and presented his findings, Report on the
Psychological Capacity of Spouses Pedro and Josefa, relying only to the information given by
Pedro and one other witness who was a neighbor of the spouses without personally examining
Josefa.It was shown in the findings through the testimony of Pedro and a witness that Josefa had
several extramarital affairs, an alcoholic, uses illegal substance like shabu and does not feel
remorse for her actions.

Pedro also testified on November 4, 2003 that sometime in December 1994, Josefa left
him and that his neighbor told him that Josefa was already with another man in Qatar without
verifying the certainty of the information and accordingly, he did not bother to find her anymore.










ISSUES
We appeal that the decision on October 27, 2006 declaring the nullity of marriage between Pedro
and Josefa on the grounds of the latters psychological incapacity be set aside as the evidence to
the alleged psychological incapacity was not sufficiently established.
On appeal, we raise the error(s):
1. The lower court erred in declaring the nullity of the parties marriage; Josefas
psychological incapacity has not been proven as shown:
a. Petitioners failed to provide concrete evidence of appellants psychological
incapacity;
b. Petitioners failed to clearly identify the root cause of psychological incapacity;
c. Mere engagement in extramarital affairs, alcoholism, drug abuse, and abandonment
are not established grounds for psychological incapacity;

JURISPRUDENCE
Psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code defines a marriage void where
during marriage a party is unable to comply with the essential marital obligations. Such
obligations consist of (a) conjugal love and mutual service to each other, and (b) procreation and
education of offspring.
As established in Republic v Molina
1
, these guidelines are laid to interpret and apply Art. 36:
(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.
(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.
(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.

1
Republic v. Molina, G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997
(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.
(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.
(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor
General to appear as counsel for the state.
Our first point of argument lies on the lack of concrete evidence by the petitioners on the
existence of psychological incapacity of the appellant. As presented in Republic v Iyoy
2
:
Even when the rules have been relaxed and the personal examination of a
spouse by a psychiatrist or psychologist is no longer mandatory for the declaration
of nullity of their marriage, the totality of evidence presented during trial by the
spouse seeking the declaration of nullity of marriage must still prove the gravity,
judicial antecedence, and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity.
Second. The petitioners failed to identify the root cause of the appellants psychological
incapacity even through a medical examiner. The evaluation of Dr. Rabuko cannot be made the
sole basis of rendering the appellant as psychologically incapacitated. The facts stated that the
doctor only interviewed the petitioner and only one witness about the wifes alleged behavior.
Needless to say, there is greater chance that most of his evaluation would come from the biased
opinion of the petitioner-husband determined to achieve the declaration of nullity of their
marriage. As an expert in his field, Dr. Rabuko should have exerted greater effort in finding the
cause of the alleged disorder if there is any at all. The same situation applies to the case of Lim v.
Sta. Cruz-Lim
3
, stating:
The expert opinion of a psychiatrist arrived at after a maximum of seven
(7) hours of interview, and unsupported by separate psychological tests, cannot tie

2
Republic v Iyoy G.R. No. 152577
3
Lim v Sta.Cruz Lim G.R. No. 176464
the hands of the trial court and prevent it from making its own factual finding on
what happened in this case. The probative force of the testimony of an expert does
not lie in a mere statement of his theory or opinion, but rather in the assistance
that he can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for his
criterion and the reasons upon which the logic of his conclusion is founded.
Furthermore, Toring v Toring
4
presents a decision made by the Court for situations such as these:
We are in no-way convinced that a mere narration of the statements of
Ricardo and Richardson, coupled with the results of the psychological tests
administered only on Ricardo, without more, already constitutes sufficient basis
for the conclusion that Teresita suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
This Court has long been negatively critical in considering psychological
evaluations, presented in evidence, derived solely from one-sided sources,
particularly from the spouse seeking the nullity of the marriage.
Moreover, in the event that Dr. Rabuko indirectly obtained the information for diagnosis of
appellants alleged psychological incapacity from the petitioner-husband, the case of Suazo v
Suazo
5
specifies:
Based on her declarations in open court, the psychologist derived all her
conclusions from information coming from the wife whose bias for her cause
cannot of course be doubted. Given the source of the information upon which the
psychologist heavily relied upon, the Court must evaluate the evidentiary worth of
the opinion with due care and with the application of the more rigid and stringent
set of standards outlined above. i.e., that the must be a thorough and in-depth
assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis
of a psychological incapacity that is grave, severe and incurable.
Such ruling was also stated in Bier v Bier
6
, the expert opinion support was considered as
hearsay evidence since the psychologist had no personal knowledge of the alleged facts
on which he testified on. Her testimony should have thus been dismissed for being
unscientific and unreliable.

Third. The alleged manifestation of appellants infidelity as a ground for psychological
incapacity is incorrect. As stated in Republic v. Encelan
7
:

4
Toring v Toring 626 SCRA 389 (2010)
5
Suazo v Suazo G.R. No. 164493
6
Bier v Bier 547 SCRA 123
7
Republic v Encelan G.R. No. 170022
In any event, sexual infidelity and abandonment of the conjugal dwelling,
even if true, do not necessarily constitute psychological incapacity; these are
simply grounds for legal separation. To constitute psychological incapacity, it
must be shown that the unfaithfulness and abandonment are manifestations of a
disordered personality that completely prevented the erring spouse from
discharging the essential marital obligations.
Although infidelity in the eyes of society may deem a party as incapable of performing marital
obligations it has not been proven so such as any person who has committed infidelity can still
be a competent mother or father to their offspring. The sixth guideline in the Molina case stated
that the non-compliance of a party must be proven by evidence. It appears that the appellee
provided no such evidence to prove that the appellant cannot perform her obligations as a
mother.
Alcoholism and drug abuse are not established grounds for psychological incapacity. These
habits are merely physical in nature as they only disrupt bodily functions momentarily. To
consider one as psychologically incapacitated, the mental condition must be given greater weight
that those observed physically.
In the case of Hernandez v Hernandez
8
, drug abuse, sexual infidelity, alcoholism, and
abandonment of the abodethe same allegations raised by the petitioner against his wifedo
not qualify as grounds for nullifying the marriage on psychological incapacity. Instead, they are
grounds for legal separation as specified in Art 55 of the Family Code:
Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the
following grounds:
(5) Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;
(8) Sexual infidelity or perversion;
(10) Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more
than one year.
Villalon v Villalon
9
also stated that the respondent had the tendency to cheat on the spouse but
the findings on his alleged psychological incapacity was not sufficiently established thus, stating:
In the case at bar, although Dr. Dayan testified that petitioner suffered
from Narcissistic Histrionic Personality Disorder with Casanova Complex even
before the marriage and thus had the tendency to cheat on his wife, such

8
Hernandez v Hernandez G.R. No. 126010
9
Villavon v Villavon 475 SCRA 572 (2005)
conclusion was not sufficiently backed by concrete evidence showing that
petitioner indeed had several affairs and finds it difficult to be faithful.
In Marcos v Marcos
10
, Art 36 is not to be equated with legal separation. Thus stated:
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. At best, the evidence
presented by the petitioner refers only to grounds for legal separation, not
declaring a marriage void.
As the appellant has fled to Qatar, the same situation applies as the case of Santos v Court of
Appeals
11
:
The Court held that the failure of the wife to return home from the U.S. or
to communicate with her husband for more than five years is not proof of her
psychological incapacity as to render the marriage a nullity. Therefore, Art. 36 is
inapplicable and the marriage remains valid and subsisting.














10
Marcos v Marcos 343 SCRA 755 (2000)
11
Santos v Court of Appeals G.R. No. 112019, 240 SCRA 20 (1995)
PRAYER

We pray that the RTCs decision in declaring the nullity of marriage between
Pedro and Josefa be reversed due to insufficiency of evidence presented:

a. Petitioner failed to provide concrete evidence of appellants psychological
incapacity;
b. Petitioner failed to clearly identify the root cause of psychological incapacity;
c. Engaging in extramarital affairs, alcoholism and drug abuse are not established
grounds for psychological incapacity;

Ultimately, we stress that any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of
the marriage.