Case Digest: Baccay vs. Baccay

G.R. No. 173138 : December 1, 2010




Noel and Maribel were sweethearts. However, Noel decided to break up with Maribel because he was already involved with another woman.To give Maribel some time to get over their relationship, they still continued to see each other albeit on a friendly basis. Despite their efforts to keep their meetings strictly friendly, however, Noel and Maribel had several romantic moments together. Maribel informed Noel that she was pregnant with his child. Upon advice of his mother, Noel grudgingly agreed to marry Maribel.

During the marriage, Maribel refused to have sexual intercourse with Noel. Surprisingly, despite Maribels claim of being pregnant, Noel never observed any symptoms of pregnancy in her. One day, Maribel did not go home for a day, and when she came home she announced to Noel and his family that she had a miscarriage and was confined at the Chinese General Hospital where her sister worked as a nurse. Noel confronted her about her alleged miscarriage which escalated into an intense quarrel. Maribel left Noels house and did not come back anymore.

After less than two years of marriage, Noel filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage with the RTC of Manila. Despite summons, Maribel did not participate in the proceedings.The RTC found that Maribel failed to perform the essential marital obligations of marriage, and such failure was due to a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder characterized by juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability as determined by a clinical psychologist.However, the CA held that Noel failed to establish that Maribels supposed Narcissistic Personality Disorder was the psychological incapacity contemplated by law and that it was permanent and incurable.

ISSUE: Whether or not the marriage between the parties is null and void under Article 36 of theFamily Code.

HELD: The petition lacks merit.


The Court held in Santos v. Court of Appeals that the phrase "psychological incapacity" is not meant to comprehend all possible cases of psychoses. It refers to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. The intendment of the law has been to confine it to the most serious of cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.

In this case, the totality of evidence presented by Noel was not sufficient to sustain a finding that Maribel was psychologically incapacitated. Noels evidence merely established that Maribel refused to have sexual intercourse with him after their marriage, and that she left him after their quarrel when he confronted her about her alleged miscarriage.He failed to prove the root cause of the alleged psychological incapacity and establish the requirements of gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability.As correctly observed by the CA, the report of the psychologist, who concluded that Maribel was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder traceable to her experiences during childhood, did not establish how the personality disorder incapacitated Maribel from validly assuming the essential obligations of the marriage.Indeed, the same psychologist even testified that Maribel was capable of entering into a marriage except that it would be difficult for her to sustain one. Mere difficulty, it must be stressed, is not the incapacity contemplated by law.

Petition is DENIED.


The consummation of the marriage is an essential marital obligation.Marriage is entered into for the establishment of conjugal and family life;its consummation is not only an expression of the couples love for each other, but is also a means for procreation. That the Court nullified a marriage due to the husbands obstinate and unjustified refusal to have intimate sexual relations with his wife indicates that the consummation of the marriage is considered an essential marital obligation.

The failure to consummate the marriage by itself, however, does not constitute as a ground to nullify the marriage.The spouses refusal to have intimate sexual relations must be due to causes psychological in nature,i.e., the psychological condition of the spouse renders him/her incapable of having intimate sexual relations with the other.This crucial nexus between the non-fulfilled essential marital obligation and the psychological condition was what Noel failed to allege and prove; Maribels refusal to satisfy Noels sexual needs during their marriage was never proven to have been due to some psychological condition.The evidence did not rule out the possibility that the refusal could be caused by other factors not related to Maribels psychological make-up; the refusal could very well be attributed to Maribels pregnancy and her subsequent miscarriage (assuming these were true).That Maribels refusal to have intimate sexual relations with Noel had more to do with the stresses brought on by married life than her actual psychological condition is validated by Noels statement that prior to marriage, they have had several sexual encounters.The connection between the psychologists finding that Maribel was supposedly suffering from NPD and her refusal to have intimate sexual relations was similarly not established.

Furthermore, the petitioning spouse must also allege and prove that the psychological illness/disorder/condition is the root cause of the respondent spouses incapacity or inability to fulfill any, some, or all of the essential obligations of marriage. Rather than establishing Maribels incapacity to fulfill the essential marital obligations, Noels contentions seem to indicate that Maribel was utterly unaware of the nature of marriage and its consequent obligations.There is, however, a significant difference between lack of awareness or understanding of marriage and its obligations,andlack of capacity to fulfill these marital obligations.


After observing that Article 36 was being abused as a convenient divorce law, the Court laid down the procedural requirements for its interpretation and application in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina. In this instance, whether we apply the Molina standard or a more relaxed interpretation and application of Article 36,petitioner was unable to prove his case with preponderant evidence. Since the presumption in favor of the validity of marriage was not ably rebutted, this presumption prevails.I therefore concur in the Decision denying the Petition, but I reach this conclusion based solely on the insufficiency of the evidence presented by petitioner.However, I disagree with the import this Decision conveys that Molina, in its undiluted form, should be reiterated and emphasized in this case. Had the case gone forward to a choice between the strict application of Molina and the more recent decisions cited, I would have submitted that a second hard look at Molina is warranted.