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Petitioner Maria Vicia Carullo-Padua (Maria) and respondent Joselito Padua (Joselito) were married, and their union produced a son. On July 17, 1997, Maria filed a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of their marriage with the trial court anchored on Art. 36 of the Family Code. Maria alleged that at the time of the celebration of their marriage, Joselito was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations. During their cohabitation, Joselito exhibited excessive sexual desire and forced her to perform oral and anal sex with him; that there were occasions when respondent attempted to sexually molest her sister, nieces and their household help who were staying with them; that respondent admitted to said attempts of molestations but begged her to keep said incidents a secret; and at one point, at the heat of their quarrel, Joselito attempted to kill Maria by threatening to stab her with a letter opener. Maria also alleged that Joselito failed to provide financial support for her and their child as well as emotional and psychological support.

Hence, Maria filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage against Joselito.

During trial, Petitioner presented herself and psychiatrist Dr. Villegas as witnesses. Dr. Villegas testified that she diagnosed Joselito with a personality disorder of a sexual deviant or perversion based on Maria’s narrations. Dr. Villegas added that the psychological disorder of Joselito is grave, serious, and not clinically curable which rendered him psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations.

The trial court denied the petition, it held that the evidence adduced by Maria failed to overcome the legal presumption in favor of the validity of her marriage with respondent. On appeal, the appellate court sustained the judgment of the trial court.


Whether the totality of evidence presented by Maria is sufficient to prove that Joselito is psychologically incapacitated to perform his essential marital obligations, meriting the dissolution of his marriage with Maria.


No. Republic v Iyoy instructs that the psychological incapacity must be characterized by:

(a) Gravity – it must be grave or serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in a marriage;
(b) Juridical Antecedence – it must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and
(c) Incurability – it must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.

In concluding that the husband was psychologically incapacitated, the Supreme Court used the following parameters (Tan-Andal guidelines) in determining what constitutes psychological incapacity:
(1) The psychological incapacity must be shown to have been existing at the time of the celebration of marriage;
(2) Caused by a durable aspect of one’s personality structure, one that was formed prior to their marriage;
(3) Caused by a genuinely serious psychic cause; and
(4) Proven by clear and convincing evidence.

Thus, as categorically declared by the Court, expert testimony or the testimony of a psychologist/psychiatrist is no longer required to prove psychological incapacity. Ordinary witnesses who have been present in the spouses’ lives before they contracted marriage may testify on their observations as to the incapacitated spouse’s behavior. What is important is that the totality of evidence is sufficient to support a finding of psychological incapacity.

Using the foregoing yardsticks, the Supreme Court reviewed the totality of evidence presented by Maria and found that the same was miserably wanting to sustain the conclusion that Joselito was psychologically incapacitated to perform the basic obligations of marriage.

The psychiatrist’s description of Joselito’s parents’ traits does not give this Court a deeper intuitive understanding of Joselito’s psychological state. Notably, there was no information how Joselito reacted towards the supposed contrasting personalities of his parents during his formative years. Neither was there any account as to how the said contrasting parenting behavior affected Joselito’s social, intellectual, moral, and emotional growth.

To emphasize, the testimonies of ordinary witnesses who have been present in the life of the spouses before the latter contracted marriage should include behaviors that they have consistently observed from the supposedly incapacitated spouse. Here, not only was there no interview or psychological test conducted upon Joselito, there was nobody who testified on vital information regarding his personality structure, upbringing and childhood such as members of his family, relatives, friends, and co-workers. The evaluation of Dr. Villegas on Joselito was based merely on information, accounts and descriptions relayed solely by Maria which glaringly and expectedly are biased.

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