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

Facts:

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.

Issue:

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

Ruling:

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.