• Experts’ opinions insufficient to cause annulment of marriage

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I have been married to my wife for almost 10 years. During this time, I have witnessed her irresponsibility as a mother and wife. She was engaged in illicit relationship, first with her boss and then with her co-employee. I can no longer count the times that we have quarreled about this matter, since she has found ways to have an affair with other men.

    My friend whose marriage was already voided by the court told me that I should file a case so that my marriage will be annuled, and all I need is the testimony of a psychiatrist finding my wife psychologically incapacitated. I would like to know if this is true.

    Dear Ram,
    Declaration of Nullity of Marriage is governed by Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, which states, “A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such becomes manifest only after its solemnization.”

    It is not safe to say that the testimony of an expert witness or psychiatrist alone shall be sufficient to establish psychological incapacity. What should be considered is the totality of the pieces of evidence to arrive at a conclusion that any spouse is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. This finds support in the case of Mendoza vs Republic of the Philippines(G.R. No. 157649, November 12, 2012), where the Supreme Court said, “In light of the foregoing, even if the expert opinions of psychologists are not conditions sine qua non in the granting of petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage, the actual medical examination of Dominic was to be dispensed with only if the totality of evidence presented was enough to support a finding of his psychological incapacity. This did not mean that the presentation of any form of medical or psychological evidence to show the psychological incapacity would have automatically ensured the granting of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. What was essential, we should emphasize herein, was the “presence of evidence that can adequately establish the party’s psychological condition,’ as the court said in Marcos. But where, like here, the parties had the full opportunity to present the professional and expert opinions of psychiatrists tracing the root cause, gravity and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity, then the opinions should be presented and be weighed by the trial courts in order to determine and decide whether or not to declare the nullity of the marriages. It bears repeating that the trial courts, as in all the other cases they try, must always base their judgments not solely on the expert opinions presented by the parties but on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of their proceeding.”

    We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net


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    1. Ginalyn retonio on

      Dear pao,ako po ay may kinakasama na lagpas 7years na po kmi nagsasama.gusto po sana nmin magpakasal kaso po kasal po siya sa una nyang asawa.ung una po nyang asawa eh may kinakasama na po at may Lima na silang anak.ano po ang dapat nmin gawin para mapawalang bisa ang kasal niya sa unang asawa.wla po kc kmi pambayad sa pag file ng annulment papers po. Madaming salamat po

    2. I would like to inquire as to my options in my predicament, I am a foreigner, married a filipina in july 2010 for 18 months we had a decent relationship, then I was always being pressured to bring her to the USA where she could becom a citizen… I said no, My intent was to live my retirement days in the Philippines well, on Dec, 4th, 2011 she walked out on our marriage, then went to the local ADA and filed charges against me for RA9262 infractions with no supporting documents, well, she dropped those charges in lieu of my paying her support money from my pension, ( we have no kids together) i said no, so then she went to the BI to have me deported because I would not support her,,,so I said ok not knowing my legal rights and being a foreigner not having any rights here whatsoever,,, so she dropped those charges and told the convening authority she would be my wife and we would work things out….well it is march 2016 and I still have to pay her “blackmail” money every month because everytime I say I will not support her she threatens to go back to the BI and have me deported so i live a life if worry every day and have less money to pay my expenses every month and since the amount ranges from 8-10k monthly she has opened bank accounts and credit cards in her maiden name utilizing my credentials and source of income as her own and she has been granted credit cards and lines of credit, so my question is What are my rights and actions I can actually take to protect myself???? thank you

    3. Roslee M. Formoso on

      The case of facts implies there was a valid marriage and at future days grounds for annulment supervene
      and the husband inquiry ; if he sues can he apply Art .36 for annulment on incapacity. I disagree, art 36 speaks of a void marriage from the beginning, and the cause appears at the celebration of marriage ceremony , art 45 should apply not art 36