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G. R NO. 222541, FEBRUARY


Rachel, then fifteen (15) years old, met Jose, then seventeen (17) years old, sometime in December 1983 at a party in Bintawan, Bagabag, NuevaVizcaya. Very soon, they became romantically involved.
In 1988, Rachel went to Hongkong to work as a domestic helper. During this period, Rachel allegedly provided for Jose's tuition fees for his college education. Rachel and Jose eventually decided to get married on December 28, 1989 and were blessed with a son, named Wesley, on December 1, 1993. On February 19, 1995, they renewed their vows in a church ceremony held in the Philippine Independent Church.
In 1998, Rachel went back to Hongkong to work as domestic helper/caregiver and has been working there ever since, only returning to the Philippines every year for a vacation. Through her efforts, she was able to acquire a house and lot.
In September 2011, Rachel filed a petitionfor declaration of nullity of marriage before the RTC, alleging that Jose was psychologically incapacitated to fulfill his essential marital obligations. Rachel claimed that: during their marriage, Jose conspicuously tried to avoid discharging his duties as husband and father. Jose was hot tempered and violent; he punched her in the shoulder a few days before their church wedding, causing it to swell, when she refused to pay for the transportation expenses of his parents; he hit his own father with a pipe, causing the latter to fall unconscious, which forced them to leave Jose's parents' house where they were then staying; and he even locked her out of their house in the middle of the night sometime in December 2007 when she fetched her relatives from the bus terminal, which he refused to perform. Rachel added that Jose would represent himself as single, would flirt openly, and had an extra-marital affair which she discovered when Jose mistakenly sent a text message to her sister, Beverly A. Juan (Beverly), stating: "love, kung ayawmonaakongmagpuntadiyan, pumuntakanalangdito." Another text message read: "Dumatinglangangasawamo, ayawmonaakongmagtext at tumawagsa'yo." On one occasion, she, together with Wesley and Beverly, caught Jose and the other woman with their child inside their conjugal dwelling. Finally, she claimed that Jose would refuse any chance of sexual intimacy between them as they slowly drifted apart.
Rachel, however, admitted that their married life ran smoothly during its early years, and it was only later in their marriage that Jose started frequenting bars and engaging in drinking sessions.

Rachel also presented the testimonies of Wesleyand her sisters, Beverly and Jocelyn Cabusora,which corroborated her allegations, as well as the testimonyof Dr. Nedy L. Tayag (Dr. Tayag), who prepared the Psychological Report (Report) on Rachel. The remarks section of Dr. Tayag's Report, which was primarily based on her interview with Rachel and Wesley, stated that Jose suffered from Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) characterized by: (a) his lack of empathy and concern for Rachel; (b) his irresponsibility and his pleasure-seeking attitude that catered only to his own fancies and comfort; (c) his selfishness marked by his lack of depth when it comes to his marital commitments; and (d) his lack of remorse for his shortcomings.
Jose denied all of this accusations.
RTC declared that marriage between Jose and Rachel void on the ground of psychological incapacity in relation to Article 36 of the New Family Code.
Jose appealed to the CA, thus reversed the ruling of the CA. Rachel move for reconsideration, which was, however, denied by the CA


Whether or not the Antisocial Personality Disorder can be considered as Psychological incapacity and so serious to be a ground for annulment in relation to Article 36 of the NFC.


Petition lacks merit.
The policy of the Constitution is to protect and strengthen the family as the basic social institution,and marriage as the foundation of the family. Because of this, the Constitution decrees marriage as legally inviolable and protects it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. In this regard, psychological incapacity as a ground to nullify the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended, should refer to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.It should refer to no less than a mental - not merely 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 provided under Article 68 of the Family Code, among others, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity, and render help and support. In other words, it must be a malady that is so grave and permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume.
In Santos v. CA, the Court declared that psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code must be characterized by: (a) gravity; (b) juridical antecedence; and (c) incurability. In Republic v. Molina (Molina) provided more definitive guideline that incorporate the basic requirements laid by the Court established in Santos case.
Nothwithstanding the Molina guidelines, that an expert opinion is not absolutely necessary and may be dispensed with in a petition under Article 36 if the totality of the evidence shows that psychological incapacity exists and its gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability can be duly established. The evidence need not necessarily come from the allegedly incapacitated spouse, but can come from persons intimately related to the spouses, who could clearly testify on the allegedly incapacitated spouse's condition at or about the time of the marriage. To be clear, however, the totality of the evidence must still establish the characteristics that Santos laid down: gravity, incurability, and juridical antecedence.
However Petitioner, various testimonies and the assessment of Dr. Tayag’s failed to show that Jose's immaturity, irresponsibility, and infidelity rise to the level of psychological incapacity that would justify the nullification of the parties' marriage. To reiterate and emphasize, psychological incapacity must be more than just a "difficulty," "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of the marital obligations; it is not enough that a party prove that the other failed to meet the responsibility and duty of a married person.[58]There must be proof of 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 - which must be linked with the manifestations of the psychological incapacity.
A final note. It is well to reiterate that Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended, is not a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the grounds for divorce manifest themselves; a marriage, no matter how unsatisfactory, is not a null and void marriage. Thus, absent sufficient evidence establishing psychological incapacity within the context of Article 36, the Court is compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the marital tie.

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