Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Psychological incapacity to marry - Villalon vs Villalon, GR 167206, November 18, 2005

"x x x.

The totality of the evidence in this case does not support a finding that petitioner is psychologically incapacitated to fulfill his marital obligations. On the contrary, what is evident is the fact that petitioner was a good husband to respondent for a substantial period of time prior to their separation, a loving father to their children and a good provider of the family. Although he engaged in marital infidelity in at least two occasions, the same does not appear to be symptomatic of a grave psychological disorder which rendered him incapable of performing his spousal obligations. The same appears as the result of a general dissatisfaction with his marriage rather than a psychological disorder rooted in petitioners personal history.
In Santos v. Court of Appeals,[31] the court held that psychological incapacity, as a ground for the declaration of nullity of a marriage, must be characterized by juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability.[32] It should

... [R]efer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been 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 marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated....[33]

In the case at bar, although Dr. Dayan testified that petitioner suffered from Narcissistic Histrionic Personality Disorder with Casanova Complex even before the marriage and thus had the tendency to cheat on his wife, such conclusion was not sufficiently backed by concrete evidence showing that petitioner indeed had several affairs and finds it difficult to be faithful. Except for petitioners general claim that on certain occasions he had two girlfriends at the same time, no details or explanations were given of such circumstances that would demonstrate petitioners inability to be faithful to respondent either before or at the time of the celebration of their marriage.

Similarly, we agree with the Court of Appeals that petitioner failed to establish the incurability and gravity of his alleged psychological disorder. While Dr. Dayan described the symptoms of one afflicted with Narcissistic Histrionic Personality Disorder as self-centered, characterized by grandiose ideation and lack of empathy in relating to others, and one with Casanova Complex as a serial adulterer, the evidence on record betrays the presence of any of these symptoms.

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 respondents testimony, petitioners 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.[34] The evidence on record fails to convince us that petitioners 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.

In Rep. of the Phils. v. Court of Appeals,[35] we held that the cause of the alleged psychological incapacity must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. Further

The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.[36]

In the instant case, it appears that petitioner has simply lost his love for respondent and has consequently refused to stay married to her. As revealed by his own testimony, petitioner felt that he was no longer part of respondents life and that the latter did not need or want him.[37] Respondents uncommunicative and withdrawn nature apparently led to petitioners discontentment with the marital relationship.

However, as held in Rep. of the Phils. v. Court of Appeals,[38] refusal to comply with the essential obligations of marriage is not psychological incapacity within the meaning of the law. The policy of the State is to protect and strengthen the family as the basic social institution and marriage is the foundation of the family. Thus, any doubt should be resolved in favor of validity of the marriage.[39]

x x x."