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EVOLUTION OF PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS IN ESTABLISHING PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY Santos vs.

Court of Appeals Interpret and apply 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. Psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. Confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. 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.

Chi Ming Tsoi vs. Court of Appeals When private respondent testified under oath before the trial court and was cross-examined by the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in the form of a testimony. To prevent collusion between the parties is the reason why the Civil Code provides that no judgment annulling a marriage shall be promulgated upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment. Rules of court prohibit such annulment without trial.

Republic vs. Court of Appeals (Molina) 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: The burden of proof to show nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. 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. The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage. Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage.

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 Article 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. 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. The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or Fiscal and the Sol Gen to appear as counsel for the state.

The guidelines did not abandon Santos vs. CA. Instead, the guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements made in Santos. Marcos vs. Marcos The guidelines in Molina do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. What is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition. 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. Personal medical examination is not a conditio sine qua non to a finding of psychological incapacity.

Pesca vs. Pesca The Molina guidelines apply even to cases then already pending, under the reasoning that the courts interpretation or construction establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent of the law.

Antonio vs. Reyes There is a need to emphasize other perspectives as well which should govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. o Considered opinion of canon law experts in the interpretation of psychological incapacity. Molina is not set in stone and reiterated Santos: the interpretation of Article 36 relies heavily on a case-to-case perception.

Ngo Te vs. Yu-Te Reiterated that each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations, but according to its own facts. Courts must not discount but, instead, must consider as decisive evidence the expert opinion on the psychological and mental temperaments of the parties. 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.

Ting vs. Ting-Velez Suggested the relaxation of the stringent requirements set forth in Molina, since to have a psychological or psychiatric examination proves to be too expensive for the parties. They adversely affect access to justice of poor litigants. There are provinces where these experts are not available. The need for examination shall be determined by the court during the pre-trial conference. (Committee on the Revision of Rules on the rationale of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages [A.M. No. 0211-10-SC])