Wife decries husband’s addiction to pornography

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
A friend of mine discovered that her husband has been viewing a lot of porn even now that they are already married for a year and my friend is pregnant. She has already confronted him about it and he promised to stop. But just recently, she discovered that he has not stopped. We would like to know if his addiction to porn can be considered as psychological incapacity under our civil laws. Thank you and more power.
Zara

Dear Zara,
As provided for under Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, psychological incapacity serves as a ground for the declaration of absolute nullity of marriage. It reads: “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 solemnization.”

However, it is worth emphasizing that there is no precise definition as to what constitutes psychological incapacity. In fact, in the case of Camacho-Reyes vs. Reyes, (G.R. No. 185286, August 18, 2010), the Supreme Court reiterated the caveat expressed by Justice Teodoro R. Padilla in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina: “x x x Each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its own facts. In the field of psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment of marriage, it is trite to say that no case is on “all fours” with another case. The trial judge must take pains in examining the factual milieu and the appellate court must, as much as possible, avoid substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court.”

Nevertheless, our courts have been guided of the following factors in determining the existence of a party’s psychological incapacity, pursuant to the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Santos v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA 20), to wit: (1) gravity, (2) juridical antecedence, and (3) incurability. It has been held in the said case that: “x x x The incapacity must be grave or serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage; it must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved. x x x”


Applying the foregoing in the situation of your friend, we cannot absolutely conclude that her husband’s compulsion or obsession to pornographic materials may be considered as psychological incapacity. She must be able to medically establish first, by professional or expert opinion, that her husband’s obsession to porn greatly affects their relationship as he is no longer able to comply with his essential marital obligations, that is, to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support (Article 68, Family Code). Additionally, she must clearly show that such obsession is deeply rooted in the character of her husband, the same is serious and the cure thereof is no longer possible.

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.

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