Law School

Marcos v. Marcos G.R. No. 136490 Psychological Incapacity, Declaration of Nullity of Marriage October 19, 2000


Appellant Wilson G. Marcos joined the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1973. Later on, he was transferred to the Presidential Security Command in Malacañang during the Marcos Regime. Appellee Brenda B. Marcos, on the other hand, joined the Women’s Auxilliary Corps under the Philippine Air Force in 1978. After the EDSA Revolution, both of them sought a discharge from the military service.

They first met sometime in 1980 when both of them were assigned at the Malacañang Palace, she as an escort of Imee Marcos and he as a Presidential Guard of President Ferdinand Marcos. They became acquainted and eventually became sweethearts. 

The parties were married twice: (1) on September 6, 1982 which was solemnized by a Municipal Court Judge; and (2) on May 8, 1983 which was solemnized by the Command Chaplain, at the Presidential Security Command Chapel in Malacañang Park, Manila. Out of their marriage, five (5) children were born.

After the downfall of President Marcos, he left the military service in 1987 and then engaged in different business ventures that did not however prosper.

Due to his failure to engage in any gainful employment, they would often quarrel and as a consequence, he would hit and beat her. He would even force her to have sex with him despite her weariness. He would also inflict physical harm on their children for a slight mistake and was so severe in the way he chastised them. Thus, for several times during their cohabitation, he would leave their house. 

In 1992, they were already living separately.

On October 16, 1994, they had a bitter quarrel wherein she suffered with contusions as a result.

In the case study conducted by the Social Worker, the children described their father as cruel and physically abusive to them.

Appellee Brenda Marcos submitted herself to psychologist for psychological evaluation, while the appellant on the other hand, did not.

The court a quo found the appellant to be psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations mainly because of his failure to find work to support his family and his violent attitude towards appellee and their children.

On appeal, the CA held that psychological incapacity had not been established by the totality of the evidence presented.

Hence, this Petition. 


Whether the respondent is required to be examined by a physician or a psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity.


Psychological incapacity, as a ground for declaring the nullity of a marriage, may be established by the totality of evidence presented. 

We agree with petitioner that the personal medical or psychological examination of respondent is not a requirement for a declaration of psychological incapacity. Nevertheless, the totality of the evidence she presented does not show such incapacity.

The main question, then, is whether the totality of the evidence presented in the present case — including the testimonies of petitioner, the common children, petitioner’s sister and the social worker — was enough to sustain a finding that respondent was psychologically incapacitated.

We rule in the negative. Although this Court is sufficiently convinced that respondent failed to provide material support to the family and may have resorted to physical abuse and abandonment, the totality of his acts does not lead to a conclusion of psychological incapacity on his part. There is absolutely no showing that his “defects” were already present at the inception of the marriage or that they are incurable.

Verily, the behavior of respondent can be attributed to the fact that he had lost his job and was not gainfully employed for a period of more than six years. It was during this period that he became intermittently drunk, failed to give material and moral support, and even left the family home.

Thus, his alleged psychological illness was traced only to said period and not to the inception of the marriage. Equally important, there is no evidence showing that his condition is incurable, especially now that he is gainfully employed as a taxi driver.

Article 36 of the Family Code, we stress, is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefor manifest themselves. Psychological incapacity refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. These marital obligations are those provided under Articles 68 to 71, 220, 221 and 225 of the Family Code.

In sum, this Court cannot declare the dissolution of the marriage for failure of petitioner to show that the alleged psychological incapacity is characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability; and for her failure to observe the guidelines outlined in Molina.

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