Brenda Marcos vs Wilson Marcos
343 SCRA 755 (397 Phil. 840) – Civil Law – Family Code – Article 36; Psychological Incapacity – Molina Guidelines – Psychological Test Requirement
Wilson and Brenda were military personnel working at the Malacañang. They got married in 1982. After the EDSA Revolution, they left the military and led a civilian life.
However, Wilson found it hard to get a job while Brenda’s business started to take off as a result of her hard work. Unfortunately, due to Wilson’s failure to engage in any gainful employment, the spouses frequently quarreled. Wilson would verbally and physically abuse Brenda and would even force her to have sex with him even if Brenda’s too tired from work. Wilson would also excessively chastise their children even for slight mistakes.
In 1994, Brenda had too much of Wilson’s abuses. She decided to file a petition to have their marriage be annulled on the ground of psychological incapacity. Brenda alleged that Wilson’s drunkenness, joblessness, and failure to give material and moral support to his family constitute psychological incapacity. During the pendency of the case, Brenda requested Wilson to undergo psychological examination but Wilson refused to submit himself to tests. Brenda submitted herself to tests and was also interviewed by a competent psychologist as to the psychological state of her husband.
After said interview, the psychologist submitted that Wilson is psychologically incapacitated. The Regional Trial Court granted Brenda’s petition. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTC on the ground that the petition should not have been granted because Wilson’s psychological incapacity was never proven due to the fact that Wilson was never subjected to psychological evaluation.
ISSUE: Whether or not psychological examination is required as a condition sine qua non for a declaration of psychological incapacity.
HELD: No. Psychological incapacity, as a ground for declaring the nullity of a marriage, may be established by the totality of evidence presented. There is no requirement, however, that the respondent in an annulment case should be examined by a physician or a psychologist as a conditio sine qua non for such declaration.
In this case, Wilson refused to submit himself to psychological evaluation. Hence, his psycholoigcal incapacity may be ascertained through other sources. Further, in the case of Republic vs CA and Molina, the guidelines set therein did not require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be “medically or clinically identified.” What is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the party’s psychological condition. For indeed, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to.
But in this case, was Wilson’s psychological incapacity proven?
No. The Supreme Court used the totality of evidence rule. Based on the totality of evidence presented, Brenda failed to establish that Wilson is psychologically incapacitated. Psychological Incapacity must exist at the time of the marriage. In this case, Wilson’s behavior only arose when he failed to find gainful employment. Verily, the behavior of Wilson can be attributed to the fact that he had lost his job and was not gainfully employed for a period of more than six years. It was during this period that he became intermittently drunk, failed to give material and moral support, and even left the family home.