Aurelio v. Aurelio (G.R. No. 175367; June 06, 2011)


FACTS: Petitioner Danilo A. Aurelio and respondent Vida Ma. Corazon Aurelio were married on March 23, 1988. They have two sons, namely: Danilo Miguel and Danilo Gabriel.

Respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. In her petition, respondent alleged that both she and petitioner were psychologically incapacitated of performing and complying with their respective essential marital obligations.In addition, respondent alleged that such state of psychological incapacity was present prior and even during the time of the marriage ceremony.Hence, respondent prays that her marriage be declared null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code.

Petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss the petition. Petitioner principally argued that the petition failed to state a cause of action and that it failed to meet the standards set by the Court for the interpretation and implementation of Article 36 of the Family Code.

The RTC issued an Order denying petitioner's motion. In denying petitioner's motion, the RTC ruled that respondent's petition for declaration of nullity of marriage complied with the requirements of the Molina doctrine, and whether or not the allegations are meritorious would depend upon the proofs presented by both parties during trial.

The CA rendered a Decision dismissing the petition. The CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC and held that respondent's complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage when scrutinized in juxtaposition with Article 36 of the Family Code and the Molina doctrine revealed the existence of a sufficient cause of action.

ISSUE: Is the declaration of nullity of marriage valid under art. 36 of the Family Code?

HELD: Petitioner anchors his petition on the premise that the allegations contained in respondent's petition are insufficient to support a declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity. Specifically, petitioner contends that the petition failed to comply with three of the Molina guidelines, namely: that the root cause of the psychological incapacity must be alleged in the complaint; that such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage; and that the non-complied marital obligation must be stated in the petition.First, contrary to petitioner's assertion, this Court finds that the root cause of psychological incapacity was stated and alleged in the complaint. We agree with the manifestation of respondent that the family backgrounds of both petitioner and respondent were discussed in the complaint as the root causes of their psychological incapacity. Moreover, a competent and expert psychologist clinically identified the same as the root causes.

Second, the petition likewise alleged that the illness of both parties was of such grave a nature as to bring about a disability for them to assume the essential obligations of marriage. The psychologist reported that respondent suffers from Histrionic Personality Disorder with Narcissistic Features. Petitioner, on the other hand, allegedly suffers from Passive Aggressive (Negativistic) Personality Disorder. The incapacity of both parties to perform their marital obligations was alleged to be grave, incorrigible and incurable.

Lastly, this Court also finds that the essential marital obligations that were not complied with were alleged in the petition. As can be easily gleaned from the totality of the petition, respondent's allegations fall under Article 68 of the Family Code which states that "the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support."

Given the allegations in respondent's petition for nullity of marriage, this Court rules that the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner's motion to dismiss. By grave abuse of discretion is meant capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. DENIED.