Constitutional Law

Antonio v. Reyes G.R. No. 155800 March 10, 2006 Article XV of the Constitution, The Family

FACTS:

In 1990, Leo married Marie, the latter being ten years his senior. In 1993, Leo filed to annul the marriage due to Marie’s Psychological Incapacity. Leo claimed that Marie persistently lied about herself, the people around her, her occupation, income, educational attainment and other events or things. She would claim that she is a psychologist but she is not.

She would claim she is a singer with the company Blackgold and that she is the latter’s number 1 money maker but she’s not. She’d also spend lavishly as opposed to her monthly income. She fabricates things and people only to serve her make believe world. Leo presented an expert that proved Marie’s psychological incapacity.

Marie denied all Leo’s allegations and also presented an expert to prove her case. The RTC ruled against Marie and annulled the marriage. The Matrimonial Tribunal of the church also annulled the marriage and was affirmed by the Vatican’s Roman Rata. The CA reversed the decision, hence the appeal.

 

ISSUE:

Had the Constitution establish the parameters of state protection to marriage as a social institution and the foundation of the family?

 

RULING:

Our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, recognizing it “as the foundation of the nation.” It decrees marriage as legally “inviolable,” thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be “protected”’ by the state. Sections 1 and 2, Article XV of the Constitution, states that “the State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development,” and that “marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.” These provisions highlight the importance of the family and the constitutional protection accorded to the institution of marriage. The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.

But the Constitution itself does not establish the parameters of state protection to marriage as a social institution and the foundation of the family. It remains the province of the legislature to define all legal aspects of marriage and prescribe the strategy and the modalities to protect it, based on whatever socio-political influences it deems proper, and subject of course to the qualification that such legislative enactment itself adheres to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This being the case, it also falls on the legislature to put into operation the constitutional provisions that protect marriage and the family. This has been accomplished at present through the enactment of the Family Code, which defines marriage and the family, spells out the corresponding legal effects, imposes the limitations that affect married and family life, as well as prescribes the grounds for declaration of nullity and those for legal separation. While it may appear that the judicial denial of a petition for declaration of nullity is reflective of the constitutional mandate to protect marriage, such action in fact merely enforces a statutory definition of marriage, not a constitutionally ordained decree of what marriage is. Indeed, if circumstances warrant, Sections 1 and 2 of Article XV need not be the only constitutional considerations to be taken into account in resolving a petition for declaration of nullity.

 

 

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