• Jealousness, laziness no grounds for annulment

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    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I have been married to Leon for almost a year now. His patience and lack of vices made me like him during the time that he was still courting me. However, I discovered that he is a very lazy and very jealous type of person. I would like to have our marriage annulled at its early stage, because I know sooner or later that I will suffer if I will continue living with him. Are laziness and jealousy sufficient grounds to declare him as psychologically incapacitated?
    Belinda

    Dear Belinda,
    Based on the facts stated in your letter, there is no basis to declare your husband as psychologically incapacitated. Under Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, it is stated that: “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 incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.” However, this ground must be duly established and cannot be presumed from one’s spouse’s laziness or jealousness.

    In Republic of the Philippines vs. Melgar (G.R. No. 139676, March 31, 2006), the Honorable former Associate Justice Alicia Austria-Martinez said that:

    “Further, no other evidence was presented to show that Eulogio was not cognizant of the basic marital obligations as outlined in Articles 68 to 72, 220,221, and 225 of the Family Code. It was not sufficiently proved that Eulogio was really incapable of fulfilling his duties due to some incapacity of a psychological nature, and not merely physical. The Court cannot presume psychological defect from the mere fact of Eulogio’s immaturity, habitual alcoholism, unbearable jealousy, maltreatment, constitutional laziness, and abandonment of his family. These circumstances by themselves cannot be equated with psychological incapacity within the contemplation of the Family Code. It must be shown that these acts are manifestations of a disordered personality which make Eulogio completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.

    “At best, the circumstances relied upon by Norma are grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code. As the Court ruled in Republic of the Philippines v. Molina, it is not enough to prove that a spouse failed to meet his responsibility and duty as a married person, it is essential that he must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to some psychological, not physical, illness. There was no proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates a person from accepting and complying with the obligations essential to marriage.”

    In your situation, your husband’s laziness and jealousness cannot be equated to psychological incapacity. His inability or failure to comply with the essential marital obligations is the primary consideration, and not because of his mere laziness and jealousness.

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    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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