Lorna Guillen Pesca vs Zosimo Pesca

June 4, 2015

356 SCRA 588 (408 Phil. 713) – Civil Law – Family Code – Article 36; Psychological Incapacity – Emotional Immaturity and Irresponsibility Are Not Psychological Incapacity

In 1975, Lorna Guillen and Zosima Pesca met each other. They only knew each other for three months when they decided to get married in the same year. They had a great start and they even had four children. However, in 1988, Lorna noticed some changes in Zosimo as the latter became cruel, violent, and a habitual drinker. He would hurt her and the children. He would have drinking sessions from late in the afternoon until early morning regularly. This went on until 1994 when Lorna decided to leave Zosimo for good and she also filed a petition for the declaration of the nullity of their marriage on the ground that Zosimo is psychologically incapacitated by reason of his emotional immaturity and irresponsibility.

The trial court granted the petition but the Court of Appeals reversed the said ruling. The CA ratiocinated that based on the earlier cases of Santos vs CA and Republic vs Court of Appeals and Molina, the allegations of Lorna failed to prove Zosimo’s psychological incapacity.

ISSUE: Whether or not emotional immaturity and irresponsibility may be equated to psychological incapacity.

HELD: No. Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, invoked by her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity.

As the CA observed, Lorna has not established the following: That Zosimo showed signs of mental incapacity as would cause him to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenant, as so provided for in Article 68 of the Family Code; that the incapacity is grave, has preceded the marriage and is incurable; that his incapacity to meet his marital responsibility is because of a psychological, not physical illness; that the root cause of the incapacity has been identified medically or clinically, and has been proven by an expert; and that the incapacity is permanent and incurable in nature.

The burden of proof to show the nullity of marriage lies in the plaintiff and any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.


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