Civil Law

Castillo v. Republic G.R. No. 214064 February 6, 2017 Psychological Incapacity, Art. 36, FC

FACTS:

Mirasol and Felipe started as friends then, eventually, became sweethearts. During their courtship, Mirasol discovered that Felipe sustained his affair with his former girlfriend. The couple’s relationship turned tumultuous after the revelation. With the intervention of their parents, they reconciled. They got married and were blessed with two childåren.

However, after thirteen years of marriage, Felipe resumed philandering.

Tired of her husband’s infidelity, she left the conjugal dwelling and stopped any communication with him. Felipe’s irresponsible acts like cohabiting with another woman, not communicating with her, and not supporting their children for a period of not less than ten years without any reason, constitute a severe psychological disorder.

Mirasol filed a Complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage which was  granted by the trial court.

On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the decision of the RTC.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the totality of evidence presented warrants, as the RTC determined, the declaration of nullity of the marriage of Mirasol and Felipe on the ground of the latter’s psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code.

RULING:

Irreconcilable differences, sexual infidelity or perversion, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility and the like, do not by themselves warrant a finding of psychological incapacity under Article 36, as the same may only be due to a person’s refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage.

In order for sexual infidelity to constitute as psychological incapacity, the respondent’s unfaithfulness must be established as a manifestation of a disordered personality, completely preventing the respondent from discharging the essential obligations of the marital state; there must be proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor that effectively incapacitated him from complying with the obligation to be faithful to his spouse.

It is indispensable that the evidence must show a link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself.

As discussed, the findings on Felipe’s personality profile did not emanate from a personal interview with the subject himself. Apart from the psychologist’s opinion and petitioner’s allegations, no other reliable evidence was cited to prove that Felipe’s sexual infidelity was a manifestation of his alleged personality disorder, which is grave, deeply rooted, and incurable.

The Court is not persuaded that the natal or supervening disabling factor which effectively incapacitated him from complying with his obligation to be faithful to his wife was medically or clinically established.

Basic is the rule that bare allegations, unsubstantiated by evidence, are not equivalent to proof, i.e., mere allegations are not evidence.

The petition for review was denied.

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