Bar Q and A #6

a) Yes, the divorce obtained by Wilma is recognized as valid in the Philippines. At the time she got the divorce, she was already a foreign national having been naturalized as a citizen of that “small country in Europe.” Based on precedents established by the Supreme Court (Bayot v. CA, G.R. No. 155635, November 7, 2008), divorce obtained by a foreigner is recognized in the Philippines if validly obtained in accordance with his or her national law.

b) I will advice Harryto:
1. Dissolve and liquidate his property relations with Wilma;and
2. If he will remarry, file a petition for the recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgment of divorce. (Rule 39, Rules of Court)

c) Yes, he can validly marry Elizabeth, applying the doctrine laid down by the Supreme Court in Republic v. Orbecido (427 SCRA 114 [2005]).

Under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, for the Filipino spouse to have capacity to remarry, the law expressly requires the spouse who obtained the divorce to be a foreigner at the time of the marriage. Applying this requirement to the case of Harry, it would seem that he is not given the capacity to remarry. This is because Wilma was a Filipino at the time of her marriage to Harry.

In Republic v. Orbecido, however, the Supreme Court ruled that a Filipino spouse is given the capacity to remarry even though the spouse who obtained the divorce was a Filipino at the time of the marriage, if the latter was already a foreigner when the divorce was obtained abroad. According to the Court, to rule otherwise will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

FALSE. In Garcia v. Recio, 366 SCRA 437 (2001), the SC held that for a Filipino spouse to have capacity to contract a subsequent marriage, it must also be proven that the foreign divorce obtained by the foreigner spouse gives such foreigner spouse capacity to remarry.

Yes, the legal effects of the divorce decree may be recognized in the Philippines, and consequently, capacitate F to remarry.

In the landmark case of Republic v. Manalo, the Supreme Court held that under Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code, a Filipino citizen has the capacity to remarry under Philippine law after initiating a divorce proceeding abroad and obtaining a favorable judgment against his or her alien spouse who is capacitated to remarry. Here, F initiated a divorce petition in Japan and obtained a favorable judgment which capacitated her Japanese husband to remarry. Applying Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code as interpreted, the legal effects of the divorce obtained by F may be recognized in the Philippines which may capacitate F to remarry here.

No, a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Art. 36 of the Family Code will not prosper. Even if taken as true, the grounds alleged are not sufficient to declare the marriage void under “psychological incapacity.” In Santos v. CA (240 SCRA 20 [1995]), the Supreme Court explained that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability to perform one’s marital obligations, not a mere refusal, neglect, difficulty or much less, ill will.

While Lina was not examined by a physician, the Supreme Court has ruled in Marcos v. Marcos (343 SCRA 755 [2000]) that actual medical examination need not be resorted to where the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity. However, in this case, the pieces of evidence presented are not sufficient to conclude that indeed Lina is suffering from psychological incapacity existing already before the marriage, incurable and serious enough to prevent her from performing her essential marital obligations.

No. The annulment cannot be guaranteed solely on the basis of the psychological report. For the report to prove the psychological incapacity of the respondent, it is required that the psychologist should personally examine the respondent and the psychological report should be based on the psychologist’s independent assessment of the facts as to whether or not the respondent is psychologically incapacitated.

Since, the psychologist did not personally examine the respondent, and his report is based solely on the story of the petitioner who has an interest in the outcome of the petition, the marriage cannot be annulled on the ground of respondent’s psychological incapacity if the said report is the only evidence of respondent’s psychological incapacity.

NOTE: In the case of Tan-Andal v. Andal (G.R. No. 196359, May 11, 2021), the Court unanimously modified the interpretation of the requirements of psychological incapacity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage found in Article 36 of the Family Code.

The Court pronounced that psychological incapacity is not a medical, but a legal concept. It refers to a personal condition that prevents a spouse to comply with the fundamental marital obligations only in relation to a specific partner that may exist at the time of the marriage but may have revealed through behaviour subsequent to the ceremonies. It need not be a mental or personality disorder. It need not be a permanent and incurable condition. Therefore, the testimony of a psychologist or psychiatrist is not mandatory in all case. The totality of evidence must show clear and convincing evidence to cause the declaration of nullity of marriage.

This case of Tan-Andal v. Andal is not covered by the 2020/21 Bar Syllabus.

If I were the judge, I will not grant the petition. While the decision of the church tribunal annulling the marriage of the parties may be persuasive, it is not however, binding upon the civil courts. For psychological incapacity to be a ground for nullity, it must be shown that it was rooted in the history of the party alleged to be suffering from it, it must be grave and serious, and incurable such that it renders the person incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations due to causes psychological in nature. In the case presented, it appears that Ariz fulfilled his marital obligations at the beginning and it was only after feeling envious about the success of Paz that he started exhibiting violent tendencies and refused to comply with marital obligations.  Psychological incapacity is not mere refusal but outright incapacity to perform marital obligations which does not appear to be present in the case of Ariz. (Marcos v. Marcos, G.R. No. 136490, October 19, 2000)

I will grant partial reconsideration. If the marriage is declared void under Art. 36, the provisions of the Family Code on liquidation, partition, and distribution of the properties on absolute community or conjugal partnership will not apply but rather Art. 147 or 148 depending on the presence or absence of a legal impediment between them. In Diño v. Diño (G.R. No. 178044, January 19, 2011), the SC ruled that Art. 50 of the FC and Section 19 of the Rules on Declaration of Nullity applies only to marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled by final judgment under Arts. 40 and 45 of the FC. In short, Art. 50 of the FC does not apply to marriages which are declared void ab initio under Art. 36 of the FC which should be declared void without waiting for the liquidation of the properties of the parties.

a. No, there is no legal bases for the court to approve Silverio’s petition. As settled in the case of Silverio v. Republic (G.R. No. 174689, October 22, 2007), our laws do not sanction change of name and correction of entry in the civil register as to sex on the ground of sex reassignment. Sex reassignment is not one of the grounds for which change of first name may be allowed under Republic Act No. 9048. The petition for correction of entry as to sex of the birth certificate of Silverio cannot prosper, because the said document contained no error and it cannot be corrected. Silverio was born a male. The sex of a person is determined at birth. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex reassignment, the determination of a persons sex made at the time of his or her birth, if not attended by error, is immutable.

b. No, my answer will not be the same. In the case of Republic v. Cagandahan (G.R. 166676, September 12, 2008), the Supreme Court held that where the person is biologically or naturally intersex the determining factor in his gender classification would be what the individual, having reached the age of majority, with good reason thinks of his/her sex. Sharon is considered an intersex, because he has CAH, which means that she has the biological characteristics of both male and female. Based on that case, Sharon’s petition should be granted since he has simply let nature take its course and has not taken unnatural steps to arrest or interfere with what he was born with. The change of name should also be granted considering that it merely recognizes Sharon’s preferred gender.

c. No, it cannot be legally recognized as valid. Laws relating to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines even though living abroad. (Article 15, Civil Code) One of the requisites of a marriage is that the contracting parties must be a male and a female. (Article 2, Family Code) Since Silverio and Sharon are Filipino citizens their status, condition and legal capacity is determined by Philippine law, their marriage abroad is not a valid marriage under Philippine law, because both contracting parties are males.

I will resolve the appeal in favor of the Republic. In the case of Dedel v. Dedel (G.R. No. 151867, January 29, 2004), the Supreme Court refused to declare the marriage of the parties void on the ground of sexual infidelity of the wife Sharon. In the case mentioned, the wife committed infidelity with several men up to the extent of siring two illegitimate children with a foreigner. The court, however, said that it was not shown that the sexual infidelity was a product of a disordered personality and that it was rooted in the history of the party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated. Also, the finding of psychological incapacity cannot be based on the interviews conducted by the clinical psychologist on the husband or his witnesses and the person alleged to be psychologically incapacitated must be personally examined to arrive at such declaration. (Marcos v. Marcos, G.R. No. 136490, October 19, 2000; Agraviador v. Agraviador, G.R. No. 170729, December 8, 2010)