Lex Rex Ph

Republic v. Matias-Dagdag

Facts

On September 7, 1975, Erlinda Matias married Avelino Parangan Dagdag. A week after the wedding, Avelino started leaving his family without explanation. He would disappear for months, and suddenly reappear for a few months, then disappear again. 

When he was with family, he indulged in drinking sprees with friends and would return home drunk. He would force his wife to submit to sexual intercourse and if she refused, he would inflict physical injuries on her. On October 1993(1983?), he left his family again and that was the last they heard from him.

Erlinda learned that her husband was jailed, escaped, and remains at large as certified by the warned on Feb. 14, 1990. On July 3, 1990, Erlinda filed with the Olongapo City RTC a petition for judicial declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code.

The trial court rendered a premature decision on December 27, 1990 declaring the marriage of Erlinda and Avelino void. The Court of Appeals filed a Motion for Reconsideration but was both denied by the RTC and Court of Appeals. Hence, the petition for review. 

Issue

Are alcoholism, abusiveness, and abandonment sufficient grounds for psychological incapacity as requisites for Nullity of Marriage? No.

Ruling

No. The root cause of psychological capacity must be sufficiently proven medically or clinically by experts, as laid down in (Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina). No psychiatrist or medical doctor testified as to the alleged psychological incapacity of her husband. 

Further, the allegation that the husband is a fugitive from justice was not sufficiently proven. The Court is mindful of the policy of the 1987 Constitution to protect and strengthen the family… and any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage.

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