Veronica Alcazar vs Rey Alcazar
603 SCRA 604 – Civil Law – Persons and Family Relations – Family Code – Article 36; Psychological Incapacity – Sexual Infidelity Per Se is not Psychological Incapacity
Article 45 – Failure to Consummate the Marriage
In August 2000, Rey Alcazar and Veronica Cabacungan married each other. They lived together for three weeks thereafter, Rey went to Saudi Arabia to work. In Saudi, Rey never communicated with Veronica despite Veronica’s efforts to reach him. In March 2002, Rey returned to the Philippines but instead of going home to Veronica, he went straight to his parents. He did not even tell Veronica that he was coming home. Veronica had to learn of his husband’s return from someone else. Veronica went to Rey’s parents but Rey cannot be found there (hiding).
In August 2002, Veronica filed an annulment case against Rey. Initially, the ground for annulment was based on paragraph 5, Article 45 of the Family Code or Rey’s failure to consummate the marriage. But later, the ground was changed to psychological incapacity (Article 36).
During trial, Veronica presented Dr. Nedy Tayag as expert witness who testified that Rey is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Rey was found by Tayag to be having a grandiose sense of self. He thinks he is too important, too unique, and too special.
Also alleged in the complaint for annulment was Rey’s alleged sexual infidelity because when he came home from abroad, it was said that he lived with a certain “Sally” in his parent’s hometown.
ISSUE: Whether or not the marriage between Veronica and Rey should be annulled.
HELD: No. First, the Supreme Court noted that it is correct that Veronica abandoned her cause under paragraph 5, Article 45. The said provision states:
ART. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:
x x x x
(5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; x x x.
Article 45(5) of the Family Code refers to lack of power to copulate. Incapacity to consummate denotes the permanent inability on the part of the spouses to perform the complete act of sexual intercourse. Non-consummation of a marriage may be on the part of the husband or of the wife and may be caused by a physical or structural defect in the anatomy of one of the parties or it may be due to chronic illness and inhibitions or fears arising in whole or in part from psychophysical conditions. It may be caused by psychogenic causes, where such mental block or disturbance has the result of making the spouse physically incapable of performing the marriage act. No evidence was presented in the case at bar to establish that Rey was in any way physically incapable to consummate his marriage with Veronica. In fact, Veronica admitted that she and Rey had sex before and after the wedding. Thus, incapacity to consummate does not exist int his case.
Second, psychological incapacity was not proven. Tayag’s testimony on Rey’s NPD was not sufficient to establish psychological incapacity. The case between Veronica and Rey is merely a simple case of a married couple being apart too long, becoming strangers to each other, with the husband falling out of love and distancing or detaching himself as much as possible from his wife. To be tired and give up on one’s situation and on one’s spouse are not necessarily signs of psychological illness; neither can falling out of love be so labeled.
Lastly, the allegation of sexual infidelity on the part of Rey is a poor attempt to bolster the claim against Rey. Sexual infidelity per se is not psychological incapacity. Veronica failed to establish that Rey’s unfaithfulness is a manifestation of a disordered personality, which makes him completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.