Republic of the Philippines, petitioner, vs. Erlinda Matias Dagdag, respondent.
Facts: Erlinda Matias married Avelino Parangan Dagdag and begot two children. Avelino would disappear for months without explanation and attend to drinking sprees with friends and return home drunk when with the family; forced his wife to have sexual intercourse and if she resisted, would inflict injure to the latter. He left his family again and never heard of him. Erlinda was constrained to look for a job to fend for themselves. Erlinda then learned that Avelino was imprisoned for some crime, and that he escaped from jail who remains at-large at date.Erlinda filed 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 decision declaring the marriage void under Artcile 36 of the Family Code. The Solicitor General appealed to the Court of Appeals raising that the lower court erred in declaring the apellee's marriage to Avelino Dagdag null and void on the ground of psychological incapacity of the latter, pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code, the psychological incapacity of the nature contemplated by the law not having been proven to exist. However, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court
Issue: Whether or not immaturity and irresponsibility, habitual alcoholic, and a fugitive from justice constitutes psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code to declare the marriage null and void.
Ruling: No. The ruling in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina case is reiterated herein in which the Court laid down the following GUIDELINES in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code:
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff.
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological - not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical.
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at “the time of the celebration” of the marriage.
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex.
(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage.
(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts.
(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state.