CA junks appeal to nullify Lacson-Sta. Maria marriage


The Court of Appeals (CA) stood pat on its ruling turning down the plea for annulment of the marriage of actress Jodi Chrissie Africano Sta. Maria to Panfilo De Perio Lacson, Jr., son of Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

In a three-page resolution of the CA 8th Division, penned by Associate Justice Carmelita Salandanan Manahan and concurred in by Associate Justices Japar Dimaampao and Franchito Diamante, it ruled to affirm their findings last September 28, 2016, dismissing the petition for review on certiorari seeking the reversal of the lower court’s decision.

Lacson sought the reversal of the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 194 of Parañaque City in a civil case for declaration of nullity of his marriage to Sta. Maria.

“Wherefore, the motion for reconsideration filed by the plaintiff-appellee assailing this court’s decision rendered on September 28, 2016 is hereby denied,” the CA ruled.

The CA denied the petition for review saying: “We find no cogent reason to reconsider the assailed decision. No less than the Constitution recognizes the sanctity of marriage and the unity of the family; it decrees marriage as legally “inviolable” and protects it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be “protected” by the state.” The Court must be circumspect in application of rules pertaining to annulment of marriage so as to defend and promote the sanctity of marriage.”

Sta. Maria and Lacson met on the set of the television series “Tabing Ilog” in 2000.

They became sweethearts after several month of courtship.

In March 2005, they celebrated their marriage in the State of Nevada and in June of that year before a court in Paranaque. On December 23, 2005, they were blessed with a son named Panfilo Sta. Maria Lacson III.

As their relationship turned sour, Sta. Maria filed an amended petition for declaration of nullity of their marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code before the RTC.

The court granted the petition until the government through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) elevated the case before the CA.

In its September 28, 2016 ruling, the appeals court thumbed down the verdict.

“While we do not dispute the finding of the RTC, we cannot subscribe to its conclusion that the acts and behaviour of Sta.Maria indicate psychological incapacity which rendered her incapable of complying with the essential marital obligations,” the appeals court said.

The CA also held that Lacson’s psychological incapacity was not sufficiently proved.

“A psychological report prepared by [Clinical Psychologist Dr. Visitacion Revita, which found Lacson to be suffering from a dependent type personality disorder, was offered in evidence,” the CA held.

“We note, however, that Lacson was not subjected to an actual evaluation by Dr. Revita, and the conclusions of Dr. Revita were exclusively derived from the information given by Sta. Maria and Abigail del Mundo who claims to be a common friend of Sta. Maria and Lacson.” JOMAR CANLAS


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