CD: Aspillaga v. Aspillaga

August 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm (2009, Case Digests) (, , )

ASPILLAGA v. ASPILLAGA
G.R. No. 170925 October 26, 2009
Quisumbing, J.

Doctrine:
The fact that certain psychological conditions will hamper their performance of their marital obligations does not mean that they suffer from psychological incapacity as contemplated under Article 36 of the Family Code. Psychological disorders do not manifest that both parties are truly incapacitated to perform the basic marital covenants. Mere difficulty is not synonymous to incapacity. Psychological incapacity is reserved to the most serious cases of personality disorder.

Facts:
Rodolfo Aspillaga filed a petition for annulment of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of Aurora Aspillaga. Aurora alleged upon her return to Manila, she discovered that while she was in Japan, Rodolfo brought into their conjugal home her cousin, Lecita Rose A. Besina, as his concubine. Aurora alleged that Rodolfo’s cohabitation with her cousin led to the disintegration of their marriage and their eventual separation.

During trial, expert witness Dr. Eduardo Maaba explained that both parties are psychologically incapacitated. The RTC found the parties psychologically incapacitated to enter into marriage.

The CA reversed the RTC decision and declared the marriage of Rodolfo and Aurora Aspillaga valid. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but the motion was also denied. Hence this petition.

Issue:
Whether or not the marriage is void on the ground of the parties’ psychological incapacity

Held:
No. As early as 1995, in Santos v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995), it has been categorically ruled that:

Psychological incapacity required by Art. 36 must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. The incapacity must be grave or serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage; it must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and it must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.

In the instant case, Dr. Maaba failed to reveal that the psychological conditions were grave or serious enough to bring about an incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Indeed, Dr. Maaba was able to establish the parties’ personality disorder; however, he failed to link the parties’ psychological disorders to his conclusion that they are psychologically incapacitated to perform their obligations as husband and wife. The fact that these psychological conditions will hamper their performance of their marital obligations does not mean that they suffer from psychological incapacity as contemplated under Article 36 of the Family Code. Mere difficulty is not synonymous to incapacity.

It must be stressed that psychological incapacity must be more than just a “difficulty,” “refusal” or “neglect” in the performance of some marital obligations (Republic v. CA). 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 marriage (Tongol v. Tongol, G.R. No. 157610, October 19, 2007).

Psychological disorders do not manifest that both parties are truly incapacitated to perform the basic marital covenants. Moreover, there is nothing that shows incurability of these disorders. Incompatibility and irreconcilable differences cannot be equated with psychological incapacity as understood juristically.

As to Rodolfo’s allegation that Aurora was a spendthrift, the same likewise fails to convince. While disagreements on money matters would, no doubt, affect the other aspects of one’s marriage as to make the wedlock unsatisfactory, this is not a ground to declare a marriage null and void. In fact, the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that disagreements regarding money matters are a common, and even normal, occurrence between husbands and wives.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: