Friday, December 16, 2011

Suazo v. Suazo G.R. No. 164493 : March 10, 2010

Facts: A and B were married when they were 16 years old. They lived with B’s parent. A took odd jobs while B refused to work and was most of the time drunk. A urged him to find work but this often resulted to violent quarrels. A year after their marriage, A left B 10 years later, she filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage under Art. 36. A testified on the alleged physical beating she received. The expert witness corroborated parts of Jocelyn’s testimony. Both her psychological report and testimony concluded that B was psychologically incapacited. However, B was not personally examined by the expert witness. The RTC annulled the marriage but the CA reversed it.

Issue: Whether or not there is basis to nullify Jocelyn’s marriage with Angelito under Art. 36.

Held: A’s evidence is insufficient to establish B’s psychological incapacity. The psychologist evaluated B’s psychological condition only in an indirect manner – she derived all her conclusions from information coming from Jocelyn whose bias for her cause cannot of course be doubted.The psychlologist, using meager information coming from a directly interested party, could not have secured a complete personality profile and could not have conclusively formed an objective opinion or diagnosis of B’s psychological condition. While the report or evaluation may be conclusive with respect to A’s psychological condition, this is not true for B’s. The methodology employed simply cannot satisfy the required depth and comprehensiveness of examination required to evaluate a party alleged to be suffering from a psychological disorder. Both the psychologist’s report and testimony simply provided a general description of B’s purported anti-social personality disorder, supported by the characterization of this disorder as chronic, grave and incurable. The psychologist was conspicuously silent, however, on the bases for her conclusion or the particulars that gave rise to the characterization she gave. Jurisprudence holds that there must be evidence showing a link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. A’s testimony regarding the habitual drunkenness, gambling and refusal to find a job, while indicative of psychological incapacity, do not, by themselves, show psychological incapacity. All these simply indicate difficulty, neglect or mere refusal to perform marital obligations.

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