G.R. No. 112019 Santos v. CA January 4, 1995


Leouel Santos is a member of the Army who met Julia in Ilioilo City. On September 20, 1986, the two exchange vows before the RTC of Iloilo, which was shortly followed by a church wedding.

Sometime in 1988, Julia decided to leave for US to work as a nurse, despite the pleas to dissuade her otherwise. Seven months have passed since her leaving for US before Julia made her first call to Santos promising that she will return home after the expiration of her contract. However, Julia did not make good of her promise despite  Santos even going over to US in one of his trips under the auspices of the Philippine Army to persuade Julia to come back to the Philippines.

Julia’s persistent refusal to return home and her alleged failure to communicate with Santos for a period of five years have prompted the latter to file an annulment case stating as a ground the psychological incapacity of Julia under Article 36 of the Family Code. According to Santos, a wife who does not care to inform her husband of her whereabouts for five years and does not communicate with him is psychologically incapacitated.


Whether or not Julia was psychologically incapacitated to warrant the annulment of her marriage with Santos under Article 36 of the Family Code.


No. In the words of the Supreme Court, “psychological incapacity” should refer 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 intensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.

Accordingly, the factual setting of the case at bench had in no way measure at all, to the standards required to decree the marriage as null and void. While the court recognizes that Santos is undeniably aggrieved, even desperate in his current condition, regrettably, however, neither law nor society itself can have all the answers to every individual problem.

The Supreme Court in this case notably lacked adequate discussion as to why the actuations of Julia did not amount to psychological incapacity. What was strengthened in the discussion was the meaning and import of the psychological incapacity.

G.R. No. 167459 Ochosa v. Alano and Republic January 26, 2011


Jose is a military man who got married to Bona. Due to the former’s work requirements, he was often assigned to different areas in Mindanao. Bona chose to stay in her place instead of following her husband in his detail assignments in other areas in Mindanao.

Sometime during their marriage, Jose got promoted and was given a quarter for him and his family at Fort Santiago in 1985.

During this period, it appeared that Bona was unfaithful to her spouse as she later on admitted having sexual relations with Jose’s driver whenever the latter was out on duty.

This prompted Jose to file an annulment case on the ground of Bona’s psychological incapacity to perform the basic obligations of marriage. The trial court granted the annulment but was later on overturned by the CA upon appeal on the ground that evidentiary facts do not establish Bona’s psychological incapacity. Hence, this petition.


Whether or not Bona was psychologically incapacitated to warrant the dissolution of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.


No. The case of Bona having sexual infidelity alone was not enough to show that she was psychologically incapacitated under Article 36 of the Family Code to warrant the petition for annulment by Jose.

While the Court agrees that Bona’s act of sexual infidelity shows the gravity of her incapacity to carry out the essential duties required of marriage, such incapacity was not proven to have juridical antecedence and was not shown to be incurable.

The Court in this case stressed that the incapacity must be proven to have existed at the inception of marriage even though its manifestation was seen after the celebration of marriage. In this case, the psychiatrists who gave her testimony regarding Bona’s psychological condition relied heavily only on the uncorroborated testimony of Jose’s witness. However, the court did not say that a personal examination of witness is necessary in this case. Accordingly, testimonies of those who knew Bona would have strengthened the allegations of Bona’s psychological incapacity.

Finally, the court in this case once again pronounced that a case of annulment by reason of psychological incapacity should be examined by the trial court in light of the unique facts of the case and not rely on pre-adjudged notions or conditions.

Persons who may be adopted

Under Sec. 8 of Republic Act No. 8552 or Domestic Adoption Act:

(a) Any person below eighteen (18) years of age who has been administratively or judicially declared available for adoption;

(b) The legitimate son/daughter of one spouse by the other spouse;

(c) An illegitimate son/daughter by a qualified adopter to improve his/her status to that of legitimacy;

(d) A person of legal age if, prior to the adoption, said person has been consistently considered and treated by the adopter(s) as his/her own child since minority;

(e) A child whose adoption has been previously rescinded; or

(f) A child whose biological or adoptive parent(s) has died: Provided, That no proceedings shall be initiated within six (6) months from the time of death of said parent(s).

Under Sec. 8 of Republic Act No. 8043 or Inter-Country Adoption Act:

Only a legally free child may be the subject of inter-country adoption.

However, in order that such child may be considered for placement, the following documents must be submitted to the Board:

(a)Child study;

(b)Birth certificate/foundling certificate;

(c)Deed of voluntary commitment/decree of abandonment/death certificate of parents

(d)Medical evaluation /history;

(e)Psychological evaluation, as necessary; and

(f)Recent photo of the child.

Persons who may adopt

Under Sec. 7 of Republic Act No. 8552 or Domestic Adoption Act:

(a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, and who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family. The requirement of sixteen (16) year difference between the age of the adopter and adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee, or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent;

(b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he/she has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, Further, That the requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the following:

(i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity; or

(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse; or

(iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouse; or

(c) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the guardianship and clearance of his/her financial accountabilities.

Under Sec. 9 of Republic Act No. 8043 or Inter-Country Adoption Act:

An alien or a Filipino citizen permanently residing abroad may file an application for inter-country adoption of a Filipino child if he/she:

(a) is at least twenty-seven (27) years of age and at least sixteen (16) years older than the child to be adopted, at the time of application unless the adopter is the parent by nature of the child to be adopted or the spouse of such parent:

(b) if married, his/her spouse must jointly file for the adoption;

(c) has the capacity to act and assume all rights and responsibilities of parental authority under his national laws, and has undergone the appropriate counseling from an accredited counselor in his/her country;

(d) has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;

(e) is eligible to adopt under his/her national law;

(f) is in a position to provide the proper care and support and to give the necessary moral values and example to all his children, including the child to be adopted;

(g) agrees to uphold the basic rights of the child as embodied under Philippine laws, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to abide by the rules and regulations issued to implement the provisions of this Act;

(h) comes from a country with whom the Philippines has diplomatic relations and whose government maintains a similarly authorized and accredited agency and that adoption is allowed under his/her national laws; and

(i) possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided herein and in other applicable Philippine laws.

G.R. No. 94147 Republic v. Toledano, et. al. June 8, 1994


A verified petition was filed before the RTC of Iba, Zambales by spouses Alvin A. Clouse and Evelyn A. Clouse, both aliens, seeking to adopt the minor, Solomon Joseph Alcala, the younger brother of Evelyn who has been under their care and custody for quite a time.

Alvin is a natural born US citizen. He married Evelyn, a Filipino, who thereafter became a naturalized citizen of the US in Guam. They are physically, mentally, morally, and financially capable of adopting Solomon, a twelve (12) year old minor.

Solomon gave his consent to the adoption, and so did his mother Nery Alcala, a widow, due to poverty and inability to support and educate her son.

Mrs. Nila Corazon Pronda, the social worker assigned to conduct the Home and Child Study, favorably recommended the granting of the petition for adoption.

Consequently, respondent judge rendered a decision granting the petition for adoption and decreeing that said minor be considered as their child by adoption. To this effect, the Court gives the minor the rights and duties as the legitimate child of the petitioners. Also, it dissolves parental authority bestowed upon his natural parents and vests parental authority to the spouses and makes him their legal heir.

Petitioner, through the OSG appealed for relief via a Petition for review on certiorari of the decision  of the lower court, contending that it erred in granting the petition for adoption because spouses Clouse are not qualified to adopt under Philippine law.

Both spouses are American citizens at the time of the filing of petition for adoption.


  1. Whether or not the spouses, both aliens, have the right or are qualified to adopt under Philippine law.
  2. Whether or not joint adoption by spouses is mandatory.


Under Articles 184 and 185 of E.O. No. 209, otherwise known as “The Family Code of the Philippines”, spouses Clouse are clearly barred from adopting Solomon.

Article 184, paragraph (3) of E.O. No. 209 expressly enumerates the persons who are not qualified to adopt, viz.:

(3) An alien, except:

(a) A former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative by consanguinity;

(b) One who seeks to adopt the legitimate child of his or her Filipino spouse; or

(c) One who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his or her spouse a relative by consanguinity of the latter.

Aliens not included in the foregoing exceptions may adopt Filipino children in accordance with the rules on inter-country adoption as may be provided by law.

There can be no question that Alvin is not qualified to adopt Solomon under any of the exceptional cases in the aforequoted provision. Firstly, he is not a former Filipino citizen but a natural born US citizen . Secondly, Solomon is neither his relative by consanguinity nor the legitimate child of his spouse. Lastly, when spouses Clouse jointly filed the petition to adopt Solomon, Evelyn was no longer a Filipino citizen. She lost her Filipino citizenship when she was naturalized as a US citizen.

Evelyn on the other hand, may appear to qualify pursuant to paragraph 3(a) of Article 184 of E.O. 209. She was a former Filipino citizen. She sought to adopt her younger brother. Unfortunately, the petition for adoption cannot be granted in her favor alone without violating Article 185 which mandates a joint adoption by the husband and wife. It reads:

Article 185. Husband and wife must jointly adopt, except in the following cases:

(1) When one spouse seeks to adopt his own illegitimate child; or

(2) When one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate child of the other.

Article 185 requires a joint adoption by the husband and wife, a condition that must be read along together with Article 184.

Today, this case is applicable only insofar as the mandatory nature of a joint adoption by husband and wife is concerned. As to the qualification or non-qualification of an alien adopter, RA 8552 (enacted on February 25, 1998) is applicable.