Almost always, any petition for declaration of nullity of a void marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity include allegations of sexual or marital infidelity, among other grounds, on the part of the other spouses, or in some cases, by the petitioner himself or herself. At other times, the claim is that the other party does not want to consummate the marriage, willingly or unwillingly. In most cases, the Court denied petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage on ground of psychological incapacity, applying the very strict guidelines in Molina vs Molina. This post aims to present a survey of cases where the Court applied the guidelines of Molina in resolving cases that went up to it. Most decision cited are posted previously on the blog, and you may see the entire post by clicking the hyperlink.
The recurring theme in all of these decisions which involve sexual infidelity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage for psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code is that:
- Sexual infidelity by itself, is not a ground for declaring a marriage void due to psychological incapacity. At most, it is a ground for legal separation;
- As in every allegation of psychological incapacity, the infidelity or unfaithfulness must be established as a sign or manifestation of a disordered personality which completely prevented the respondent or petitioner from performing the essential obligations of marriage;
- There must be a supervening factor that incapacitated the party from complying with the essential obligations of marriage.
- The promiscuity or infidelity must be apparent at the inception of the marriage.
It begs the question of course, why would you marry an promiscuous man or woman in the first place. Is there infidelity before the marriage between the parties? Marital infidelity presupposes that a marriage takes place first between the parties.
The first invocation of sexual infidelity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity happened in the case of Hernandez vs Hernandez. There, aside from protesting that her husband was a spendthrift, irresponsible husband, she also alleged that her husband, even after their marriage, cohabited with another woman, sired her an illegitimate child, and even contracted venereal disease which contaminated her (ouch). This she said, constitute a ground for dissolution of her marriage. The RTC of course denied it, ruling that sexual infidelity, among others, is a ground for legal separation, not of psychological incapacity. Had the law intended it to be so, it would not have included the same as a ground for legal separation. The CA agreed with the RTC, thus the hapless and hopeless petitioner elevated her case to the Supreme Court. Which unfortunately sided with the lower court. It said:
“However, private respondent’s alleged habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and abandonment do not by themselves constitute grounds for finding that he is suffering from psychological incapacity within the contemplation of the Family Code. It must be shown that these acts are manifestations of a disordered personality which make private respondent completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state, and not merely due to private respondent’s youth and self-conscious feeling of being handsome, as the appellate court held.” (Underscoring mine)
Sy vs Sy, on the other hand sang a different tune. As one of the grounds for her petition, the wife alleged that her husband refuses to have sex with her, and instead, opts to satisfy himself rather than have sex with her. However, he had a mistress whom he prefers to live with (kind of dense, this one). Both the RTC and the CA denied her petition. Luckily for her, she discovered that her marriage with respondent lacked a marriage license, and it was this ground which the Supreme Court used in granting her petition, so the issue of her husband’s refusal to have sex with her never got to the pages of the Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA). While the Court noted that the issue of lack of marriage license was first raised on appeal, the petitioner extensively discussed the evidence in her pleadings before the lower courts.
While in Dedel vs CA, the petitioner, the husband, accused his wife of sexual infidelity, the Supreme Court noted that the infidelity occurred only after the marriage said: “The difficulty in resolving the problem lies in the fact that a personality disorder is a very complex and elusive phenomenon which defies easy analysis and definition. In this case, respondent’s sexual infidelity can hardly qualify as being mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that she could not have known the obligations she was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given a valid assumption thereof. It appears that respondent’s promiscuity did not exist prior to or at the inception of the marriage. What is, in fact, disclosed by the records is a blissful marital union at its celebration, later affirmed in church rites, and which produced four children.”
In Villalon vs Villalon, it was the petitioner who wants out of the relationship. Among other grounds, the husband confessed to being a womanizer, which according to him, render him unfit to continue as husband to his wife. Opposing the petition, the wife claimed that her husband is in fact, a model husband. The Supreme Court refused believe the self-confessed womaniser, and held that:
“Moreover, we are not convinced that petitioner is a “serial or habitual adulterer”, as he wants the court to believe. As stated by respondent herself, it cannot be said that two instances of infidelity which occurred 13 years apart could be deemed “womanizing”, especially considering that these instances involved the same woman. In fact, at the time of respondent’s testimony, petitioner’s illicit relationship has been going on for six years. This is not consistent with the symptoms of a person suffering from “Casanova Complex” who, according to Dr. Dayan, is one who jumps from one relationship to another.
Sexual infidelity, by itself, is not sufficient proof that petitioner is suffering from psychological incapacity. It must be shown that the acts of unfaithfulness are manifestations of a disordered personality which make petitioner completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of marriage. The evidence on record fails to convince us that petitioner’s marital indiscretions are symptomatic of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. On the contrary, the evidence reveals that petitioner was a good husband most of the time when he was living with respondent, a loving father to his children as well as a good provider. (Citations omitted)
Is the Court trying to say in this case that the petitioner is not doing enough being a womanixer thus his petition cannot be granted? While you may do so, you ran the risk of being charged with adultery or concubinage, or worse, violation of Republic Act 9262 if you happen to be the husband.
Paras vs. Paras also included sexual infidelity as a ground. In the case, the respondent sired a woman, his secretary in the law office, and named their daughter after their (husband and wife) deceased daughter. The Court noted that although it was established that the respondent committed infidelity, this was done long after the marriage, when life’s setbacks as well as the wife’s and her family’s insolent behaviour towards the husband contributed to his behaviour:
“The records indicate that the marriage between the parties had a good start, resulting in the birth of their four (4) children. The early days of their cohabitation were blissful and harmonious. Justo was deeply in love with Rosa, even persuading his mother to give her a dowry. They were able to build a 10-room family home and acquire several properties, thus, proving themselves to be responsible couple. Even Rosa admitted that Justo took care of their children when they were young. Unfortunately, the passage of time appeared to have taken its toll on their relationship. The acts committed by Justo appeared to have been the result of irreconcilable differences between them caused by the death of their two (2) children and financial difficulties due to his failure to win the mayoralty election and to sustain his law practice. Furthermore, the superior business acumen of Rosa, as well as the insolent attitude of her family towards Justo, busted his ego and lowered his self-esteem.
There is no evidence that Justo’s “defects” were present at the inception of the marriage. His “defects” surfaced only in the latter years when these events took place; their two children died; he lost in the election; he failed in his business ventures and law practice; and felt the disdain of his wife and her family. Surely, these circumstances explain why Rosa filed the present case only after almost 30 years of their marriage.” (Citations omitted)
Navales vs Navales dealt with the allegations of the husband that his wife was a nyphomaniac even prior to their marriage, one who flirts constantly with other men, and who always wore sexy dresses, and used her maiden name when talking to other men. The RTC granted the petition, thus the wife elevated the case to the Supreme Court. In granting the wife’s petition, the Court noted the failure of the psychologist to explain the root cause of the wife’s psychological incapacity warranting the dissolution of their marriage, thus:
“The Court finds that the psychological report presented in this case is insufficient to establish Nilda’s psychological incapacity. In her report, Vatanagul concluded that Nilda is a nymphomaniac, an emotionally immature individual, has a borderline personality, has strong sexual urges which are incurable, has complete denial of her actual role as a wife, has a very weak conscience or superego, emotionally immature, a social deviant, not a good wife as seen in her infidelity on several occasions, an alcoholic, suffers from anti-social personality disorder, fails to conform to social norms, deceitful, impulsive, irritable and aggresive, irresponsible and vain. She further defined “nymphomia” as a psychiatric disorder that involves a disturbance in motor behavior as shown by her sexual relationship with various men other than her husband.
The report failed to specify, however, the names of the men Nilda had sexual relationship with or the circumstances surrounding the same. As pointed out by Nilda, there is not even a single proof that she was ever involved in an illicit relationship with a man other than her husband. Vatanagul claims, during her testimony, that in coming out with the report, she interviewed not only Reynaldo but also Jojo Caballes, Dorothy and Lesley who were Reynaldo’s sister-in-law and sister, respectively, a certain Marvin and a certain Susan. Vatanagul however, did not specify the identities of these persons, which information were supplied by whom, and how they came upon their respective informations. Indeed, the conclusions drawn by the report are vague, sweeping and lack sufficient factual bases. As the report lacked specificity, it failed to show the root cause of Nilda’s psychological incapacity; and failed to demonstrate that there was a “natal or supervening disabling factor” or an “adverse integral element” in Nilda’s character that effectively incapacitated her from accepting, and thereby complying with, the essential marital obligations, and that her psychological or mental malady existed even before the marriage. Hence, the Court cannot give weight to said assessment.
The standards used by the Court in assessing the sufficiency of psychological reports may be deemed very strict, but that is only proper in view of the principle that any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage and the indissolubility of the marital vinculum.” (Citation omitted)
Dimayuga vs Dimayuga is strange, because, while the wife accused her husband of infidelity, she also implied her husband may be gay because when they went on honeymoon, he allowed a 15-year old boy who was the son of their helper to stay with them inside the room. The Court in reversing the lower court’s finding of psychological incapacity of the husband noted:
|“Petitioner also failed to prove that respondent’s psychological incapacity was existing at the time of the celebration of their marriage. Petitioner only cited that during their honeymoon, she found it strange that respondent allowed their 15-year old companion, the son of one of respondent’s house helpers, to sleep in their room. However, respondent explained that he and petitioner already stayed in a hotel for one night before they went to Baguio City and that they had sexual relations even before their marriage. Respondent explained that the boy was with them to take pictures and videos of their stay in Baguio City and had to stay with them in the room due to monetary constraints.
In sum, the totality of the evidence presented by petitioner failed to show that respondent was psychologically incapacitated and that such incapacity was grave, incurable, and existing at the time of the solemnization of their marriage.”
Rumbaua vs Rumabua discussed the respondent’s infidelity four years into the marriage: Yet again, the Court demurred:
“Likewise, the respondent’s act of living with another woman four years into the marriage cannot automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially when no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing at the inception of marriage. In fact, petitioner herself admitted that respondent was caring and faithful when they were going steady and for a time after their marriage; their problems only came in later.”
The petitioner in Alcazar vs Alcazar made a belated attempt to include sexual infidelity as a ground for declaration of declaration of nullity of her marriage to his husband, who abandoned him. Said the Court:
“As a last-ditch effort to have her marriage to respondent declared null, petitioner pleads abandonment by and sexual infidelity of respondent. In a Manifestation and Motion dated 21 August 2007 filed before us, petitioner claims that she was informed by one Jacinto Fordonez, who is residing in the same barangay as respondent in Occidental Mindoro, that respondent is living-in with another woman named “Sally.”
Sexual infidelity, per se, however, does not constitute psychological incapacity within the contemplation of the Family Code. Again, petitioner must be able to establish that respondent’s unfaithfulness is a manifestation of a disordered personality, which makes him completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.”
In Ligeralde vs Patalinghug and Republic of the Philippines, the Court denied the protestations of the husband that his wife is an adulterer and the same constituted psychological incapacity which render their marriage void on the ground of psychological incapacity:
“More importantly, the acts of private respondent do not even rise to the level of the “psychological incapacity” that the law requires. Private respondent’s act of living an adulterous life cannot automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially when no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing at the inception of marriage. Petitioner must be able to establish that respondent’s unfaithfulness is a manifestation of a disordered personality, which makes her completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.10
Doubtless, the private respondent was far from being a perfect wife and a good mother. She certainly had some character flaws. But these imperfections do not warrant a conclusion that she had a psychological malady at the time of the marriage that rendered her incapable of fulfilling her marital and family duties and obligations. (Citations omitted)
Aside from being irresponsible and spendthrift, the husband in Toring vs Toring and Republic of the Philippines also accused his wife of infidelity, accusing her of getting pregnant in the course of their marriage, which according to him, cannot be attributed to him as the three sexual contacts he had with her resulted in withdrawals. This pregnancy he was able to confirm because his wife had a miscarriage later on. Again, the Court refused to listen to the husband’s protestations, noting that he failed to prove the psychological incapacity of his wife:
“Teresita’s alleged infidelity, even if true, likewise does not constitute psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. 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 her from complying with the obligation to be faithful to her spouse.
In our view, Ricardo utterly failed in his testimony to prove that Teresita suffered from a disordered personality of this kind. Even Ricardo’s added testimony, relating to rumors of Teresita’s dates with other men and her pregnancy by another man, would not fill in the deficiencies we have observed, given the absence of an adverse integral element and link to Teresita’s allegedly disordered personality.
Moreover, Ricardo failed to prove that Teresita’s alleged character traits already existed at the inception of their marriage. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the psychological incapacity must exist at the time of the celebration of the marriage, even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. In the absence of this element, a marriage cannot be annulled under Article 36.”
Camacho-Reyes vs Reyes is unique. It granted the petition filed by the wife after the Court of Appeals reversed the earlier decision of the RTC declaring the marriage between the parties null and void on the ground of psychological incapacity. Although marital infidelity was one of the grounds of the petition, the main contention of the wife seemed to be the seeming lack of responsibility and the sense of entitlement of the husband. All three expert witnesses opined that either or both of the parties were psychologically incapacitated, and the Court agreed, especially with respect to the husband, who it found suffered from antisocial personality disorder. What saved the day for the petitioner was the exhaustive case history and studies made by the expert witnesses of respondent’s psychological incapacity, even further going back to respondent’s mother. In ruling that respondent indeed suffered from antisocial personality disorder, the Court said:
“In the case at bar, however, even without the experts’ conclusions, the factual antecedents (narrative of events) alleged in the petition and established during trial, all point to the inevitable conclusion that respondent is psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations.
Article 68 of the Family Code provides:
Art. 68. The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.
In this connection, it is well to note that persons with antisocial personality disorder exhibit the following clinical features:
Patients with antisocial personality disorder can often seem to be normal and even charming and ingratiating. Their histories, however, reveal many areas of disordered life functioning. Lying, truancy, running away from home, thefts, fights, substance abuse, and illegal activities are typical experiences that patients report as beginning in childhood. x x x Their own explanations of their antisocial behavior make it seem mindless, but their mental content reveals the complete absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking. In fact, they frequently have a heightened sense of reality testing and often impress observers as having good verbal intelligence.
x x x Those with this disorder do not tell the truth and cannot be trusted to carry out any task or adhere to any conventional standard of morality. x x x A notable finding is a lack of remorse for these actions; that is, they appear to lack a conscience.
In the instant case, respondent’s pattern of behavior manifests an inability, nay, a psychological incapacity to perform the essential marital obligations as shown by his: (1) sporadic financial support; (2) extra-marital affairs; (3) substance abuse; (4) failed business attempts; (5) unpaid money obligations; (6) inability to keep a job that is not connected with the family businesses; and (7) criminal charges of estafa.” (Citations omitted)
In Agraviador vs Agraviador, it was only after almost 40 years of marriage that the husband filed his petition to declare his marriage to his wife void. Among his reasons: the refusal of the latter to have sex with him. The wife countered that in fact it was the husband who is unfaithful to him. Court denied the petition.
“The petitioner’s marriage to the respondent may have failed and appears to be without hope of reconciliation The remedy, however, is not always to have it declared void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity. We stress that Article 36 of the Family Code contemplates downright incapacity or inability to assume and fulfill the basic marital obligations, not a mere refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less, ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. It is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the grounds for divorce manifest themselves. The State, fortunately or unfortunately, has not seen it fit to decree that divorce should be available in this country. Neither should an Article 36 declaration of nullity be equated with legal separation, in which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but on physical violence, moral pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug addiction, sexual infidelity, abandonment, and the like.1 Unless the evidence presented clearly reveals a situation where the parties or one of them, by reason of a grave and incurable psychological illness existing at the time the marriage was celebrated, was incapacitated to fulfill the obligations of marital life (and thus could not then have validly entered into a marriage), then we are compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the marital tie.”
Just like in Villalon vs Villalon, Marable vs Marable is a situation where the petitioner confessed to being a womaniser, blaming his father, another womanizer, for influencing him which made him become unfaithful to his wife. No way Jose said the Court. Not good enough. More effort at womanizing:
“Petitioner tried to make it appear that his family history of having a womanizer for a father, was one of the reasons why he engaged in extra-marital affairs during his marriage. However, it appears more likely that he became unfaithful as a result of a general dissatisfaction with his marriage rather than a psychological disorder rooted in his personal history. His tendency to womanize, assuming he had such tendency, was not shown to be due to causes of a psychological nature that is grave, permanent and incurable. In fact, the records show that when respondent learned of his affair, he immediately terminated it. In short, petitioner’s marital infidelity does not appear to be symptomatic of a grave psychological disorder which rendered him incapable of performing his spousal obligations. It has been held in various cases that sexual infidelity, by itself, is not sufficient proof that petitioner is suffering from psychological incapacity.2 It must be shown that the acts of unfaithfulness are manifestations of a disordered personality which make petitioner completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of marriage.3 That not being the case with petitioner, his claim of psychological incapacity must fail. It bears stressing that psychological incapacity must be more than just a “difficulty,” “refusal” or “neglect” in the performance of some marital obligations. Rather, it is essential that the concerned party was incapable of doing so, due to some psychological illness existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage. In Santos v. Court of Appeals,4 the intention of the law is to confine the meaning of “psychological incapacity” to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriag5.
In Ochosa vs Ochosa, the petitioner was a soldier who was always out on assignments while his wife was left behind. While he was away, according to him, his wife made the rounds of the community engaging in illicit relations, the last of which was a corporal. When he could not bear it anymore, he brought their adopted child with him and moved out. After a long period of time he filed the petition. Does it merit consideration? No, the Court said. While it was convinced that the wife indeed engaged in sexual infidelity, the totality of the evidence is simply not enough to grant the declaration of nullity of their marriage based on psychological incapacity:
“We are sufficiently convinced, after a careful perusal of the evidence presented in this case, that Bona had been, on several occasions with several other men, sexually disloyal to her spouse, Jose. Likewise, we are persuaded that Bona had indeed abandoned Jose. However, we cannot apply the same conviction to Jose’s thesis that the totality of Bona’s acts constituted psychological incapacity as determined by Article 36 of the Family Code. There is inadequate credible evidence that her “defects” were already present at the inception of, or prior to, the marriage. In other words, her alleged psychological incapacity did not satisfy the jurisprudential requisite of “juridical antecedence.”
Kalaw vs Fernandez is unique. This was the first that the Court reversed itself in a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity. The court first denied the petition in 2011, but on motion for reconsideration by the husband, the Court reversed itself. Among the grounds raised for the petition was marital infidelity on the part of the wife, who was allegedly caught by the husband and her brother in an uncompromising position with another man in a hotel. In the first decision, the Court said:
“Even assuming arguendo that petitioner was able to prove that respondent had an extramarital affair with another man, that one instance of sexual infidelity cannot, by itself, be equated with obsessive need for attention from other men. Sexual infidelity per se is a ground for legal separation, but it does not necessarily constitute psychological incapacity.”
X x x
“What transpired between the parties is acrimony and, perhaps, infidelity, which may have constrained them from dedicating the best of themselves to each other and to their children. There may be grounds for legal separation, but certainly not psychological incapacity that voids a marriage.”
In the reversed decision, the Court noted that there are public policy considerations in the ruling because by condemning the parties to a life of togetherness despite the fact that their marriage has for all intents and purposes failed to exist, the parties were now in effect “habitual trysters” with its concomitant consequence of illegitimate children because they must satisfaction from others because the other spouse could not give them fulfilment (sounds base, but practical). This was decided in 2015, and became the basis for talks that the Court has relaxed the requirements of Molina vs Molina.
“Although the petitioner, as the plaintiff, carried the burden to prove the nullity of the marriage, the respondent, as the defendant spouse, could establish the psychological incapacity of her husband because she raised the matter in her answer. The courts are justified in declaring a marriage null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code regardless of whether it is the petitioner or the respondent who imputes the psychological incapacity to the other as long as the imputation is fully substantiated with proof. Indeed, psychological incapacity may exist in one party alone or in both of them, and if psychological incapacity of either or both is established, the marriage has to be deemed null and void.
More than twenty (20) years had passed since the parties parted ways. By now, they must have already accepted and come to terms with the awful truth that their marriage, assuming it existed in the eyes of the law, was already beyond repair. Both parties had inflicted so much damage not only to themselves, but also to the lives and psyche of their own children. It would be a greater injustice should we insist on still recognizing their void marriage, and then force them and their children to endure some more damage. This was the very same injustice that Justice Romero decried in her erudite dissenting opinion in Santos v. Court of Appeals:41
It would be great injustice, I believe, to petitioner for this Court to give a much too restrictive interpretation of the law and compel the petitioner to continue to be married to a wife who for purposes of fulfilling her marital duties has, for all practical purposes, ceased to exist.
Besides, there are public policy considerations involved in the ruling the Court makes today.1âwphi1 It is not, in effect, directly or indirectly, facilitating the transformation of petitioner into a “habitual tryster” or one forced to maintain illicit relations with another woman or women with emerging problems of illegitimate children, simply because he is denied by private respondent, his wife, the companionship and conjugal love which he has sought from her and towhich he is legally entitled?
I do not go as far as to suggest that Art. 36 of the Family Code is a sanction for absolute divorce but I submit that we should not constrict it to non-recognition of its evident purpose and thus deny to one like petitioner, an opportunity to turn a new leaf in his life by declaring his marriage a nullity by reason of his wife’s psychological incapacity to perform an essential marital obligation. In this case, the marriage never existed from the beginning because the respondent was afflicted with psychological incapacity at and prior to the time of the marriage. Hence, the Court should not hesitate to declare the nullity of the marriage between the parties.”
Republic vs Encelan tackled the wife’s abandonment of the her husband and sexual infidelity towards him. The lower courts granted the petition but the Republic interposed its appeal. In granting the petition, the Court reiterated its earlier decisions that sexual infidelity and abandonment by themselves are not enough to prove psychological incapacity:
“In any event, sexual infidelity and abandonment of the conjugal dwelling, even if true, do not necessarily constitute psychological incapacity; these are simply grounds for legal separation. To constitute psychological incapacity, it must be shown that the unfaithfulness and abandonment are manifestations of a disordered personality that completely prevented the erring spouse from discharging the essential marital obligations. No evidence on record exists to support Cesar’s allegation that Lolita’s infidelity and abandonment were manifestations of any psychological illness.” (Citations omitted)
In Mallilin vs Republic and Jamisolamin, the husband was the petitioner, and the familiar refrain of the wife’s infidelity and sexual liaison during the marriage appeared. The Court refused to consider the marriage voice, because the husband failed to prove the root cause of the wife’s psychological incapacity:
“The alleged failure of Luz to assume her duties as a wife and as a mother, as well as her emotional immaturity, irresponsibility and infidelity, cannot rise to the level of psychological incapacity that justifies the nullification of the parties’ marriage. The Court has repeatedly stressed that psychological incapacity contemplates “downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume the basic marital obligations,” not merely the refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. Indeed, to be declared clinically or medically incurable is one thing; to refuse or be reluctant to perform one’s duties is another. Psychological incapacity refers only to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.
As correctly found by the CA, sexual infidelity or perversion and abandonment do not, by themselves, constitute grounds for declaring a marriage void based on psychological incapacity. Robert argues that the series of sexual indiscretion of Luz were external manifestations of the psychological defect that she was suffering within her person, which could be considered as nymphomania or “excessive sex hunger.” Other than his allegations, however, no other convincing evidence was adduced to prove that these sexual indiscretions were considered as nymphomania, and that it was grave, deeply rooted, and incurable within the term of psychological incapacity embodied in Article 36. To stress, Robert’s testimony alone is insufficient to prove the existence of psychological incapacity.
In Sivino A. Ligeralde v. May Ascension A. Patalinghug and the Republic of the Philippines, the Court ruled that the respondent’s act of living an adulterous life cannot automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially when no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing at the inception of marriage. The petitioner must be able to establish that the respondent’s unfaithfulness was a manifestation of a disordered personality, which made her completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.”(Citations omitted)
Sexual Intimacy Or The Lack Of It:
While the Court was very strict when dissolving a marriage on ground of psychological incapacity when sexual or marital infidelity was invoked, one case stood out because the case involved the lack of intimacy between the wife and her husband, who she believes, is a closet homosexual. Of course, the husband, a Chinese national, denied the allegations. While he may have a less than sufficient dick (small, in other words) the same may still be capable of reproduction, given the right stimulus, said he. What stimulus, only the husband knows. The Court granted the wife’s petition and dissolved the marriage:
While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the sanction therefor is actually the “spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and wife and not any legal mandate or court order” (Cuaderno vs. Cuaderno 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared with another. Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say “I could not have cared less.” This is so because an ungiven self is an unfulfilled self. The egoist has nothing but himself. In the natural order, it is sexual intimacy which brings spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual intimacy is a gift and a participation in the mystery of creation. It is a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the continuation of family relations.
It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private respondent. That is — a shared feeling which between husband and wife must be experienced not only by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each other’s feelings at a time it is needed by the other can go a long way in deepening the marital relationship. Marriage is definitely not for children but for two consenting adults who view the relationship with love amor gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing commitment to compromise, conscious of its value as a sublime social institution.
This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties found themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated marital obligations, can do no less but sustain the studied judgment of respondent appellate court.”