2013 (Civil Law) Bar Exam Questions: Essay Question 1

[Discuss/answer the question below. Or see Civil Law Instructions; Civil Law Instructions; Civil Law Essay Questions: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10; Civil Law Multiple Choice Questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10; See also 2013 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]

I.

You are a Family Court judge and before you is a Petition for the Declaration of Nullity of Marriage (under Article 36 of the Family Code) filed by Maria against Neil. Maria claims that Neil is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage because Neil is a drunkard, a womanizer, a gambler, and a mama’s boy — traits that she never knew or saw when Neil was courting her. Although summoned, Neil did not answer Maria’s petition and never appeared in court.

To support her petition, Maria presented three witnesses — herself, Dr. Elsie Chan, and Ambrosia. Dr. Chan testified on the psychological report on Neil that she prepared. Since Neil never acknowledged nor responded to her invitation for interviews, her report is solely based on her interviews with Maria and the spouses’ minor children. Dr. Chan concluded that Neil is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, an ailment that she found to be already present since Neil’s early adulthood and one that is grave and incurable. Maria testified on the specific instances when she found Neil drunk, with another woman, or squandering the family’s resources in a casino. Ambrosia, the spouses’ current household help, corroborated Maria’s testimony.

On the basis of the evidence presented, will you grant the petition? (8%)

22 comments

    1. Does the case of republic vs tayag-san jose wherein the findings and testimony of the psychologist is considered hearsay, apply to this case?

  1. Read this in this website by atty fred: “what if the other spouse refuses to participate? No problem. The psychologist may come up with a finding of incapacity of the petitioner. The psychologist can even come up with an assessment of the incapacity of the non-cooperating spouse based on the testimony/evidence of the petitioner and his/her witnesses. In other words, it will not prejudice the entire proceedings.

  2. well, my professor once told me that it is quite normal that it is only the petitioner who would participate in annulment or nullity of marriage proceedings because it is the guilty party or respondent who would ultimately bear the blame why their marriage failed and it is human nature to avoid things that can hurt his or her ego.

    anyways, i think the question requires an answer based on the procedural rule on the annulment and nullity of marriages and in relation thereto, i think the magic words that the examiner would be looking for are “collusion between the parties”…

    if after the investigation of the public prosecutor, it has been determined that collusion actually exist, i will not grant the petition. otherwise, if no collusion between the parties really exist, i will grant the petition on the basis of the evidence and witnesses presented .

    1. Pareho tayo ng sagot, Benj. Collusion din sakin. Pero nagdoubt ako sa sagot ko nung nabasa ko yung article.

      Iba talaga ang approach ng bar questions ngayon. Meron at meron kang masasagot. Yun nga lang, hindi mo sure kung yun ang gustong sagot ng examiner. Hay. God bless us all 🙂

    2. ang answer ko po dito is affirmative based on the “totality of evidence” principle, i wrote that a court may grant a petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage on the bases of the finding of the doctor, regardless of whether or not he/she personally interviewed and examined the respondent , as well the testimonies of the petitioner and his/her witness or witnesses who had personal knowledge of the fact(s), together with the corresponding finding of the public prosecutor stating the absence of the collusion between the parties concerned. Frankly speaking , this is not exactly how i presented my answer, natatandaan ko, lang talga yong “totality rule” and finding of “no collusion” ng public prosecutor. alangan pa rin ako masyado sa sagot ko, kc iba-iba ang jurisprudence na nabasa ko tungkol “psychological incapacity” as the most discussed ground among the statutory grounds for the declaration of the nullity of marriage.

  3. Actually yan din sagot ko, di ko lang sure. Kasi alam ko magkakaron ng grave abuse pag di inutos ng judge na idetermine ang collusion. Hopefully my points na yun.

    1. Yup. Mandatory ang presence ng prosecutor lalo na pag di nagappear ang respondent. Sana nga may points ang answers natin

  4. Sori, makikisingit lang po. Actually this is an actual case, i have a compilation of cases on PI given by my professor in law school. In that case, the declaration of nullity as far as I could remember was granted on the basis of the psychological report of the psychiatrist which he based on his interview with the wife and the maid, so same facts in the bar problem.

    1. yeah anon, it’s actually ancheta case, the the thing that bothered me with case was that the SC reprimanded the judge and the prosecutor in the said case for not determining collusion and allowing the respondent to present only his side. however i think the case was already final and executory at the time the review was sought thus the SC couldn’t check change the decision. yun nga lang mas my legal basis ka kasi your answer has a corresponding jurisprudence. hehehe but i am just hoping for some points though. hopefully sufficient to get at least a 75 general average.

    2. Suazo vs suazo penned by j brion-

      We do not suggest that a personal examination of the party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated is mandatory; jurisprudence holds that this type of examination is not a mandatory requirement.  While such examination is desirable, we recognize that it may not be practical in all instances given the oftentimes estranged relations between the parties. For a determination though of a party’s complete personality profile, information coming from persons intimately related to him (such as  the party’s close relatives and friends) may be helpful.
       

      However, we conclude that the psych`ologist, 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 Angelito’s psychological condition.        

  5. Antecedence — Before the marriage petitioner was not aware of
    respondent’s personality disorder and it was only after marriage that it
    begun to surface. Dr. Samson declared that respondent’s behavioral
    equilibrium started at a very early age of fifteen. His dishonesty and lack
    of remorse are mere extensions of his misconduct in childhood which
    generally attributable to respondent’s childhood experiences of separation
    and emotional deprivations. In fine, his psychological incapacity is but a
    product of some genetic causes, faulty parenting and influence of the
    environment although its over manifestation appear only after the
    wedding. (Mendoza V. Mendoza, G.R. No. 157649, Nov. 12, 2012)

    Dr. Chan concluded that Neil is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, an ailment that she found to be already present since Neil’s early adulthood and one that is grave and incurable.

    (Hence, psychological incapacity must have started since Neil’s early childhood, NOT early adulthood.)

  6. Antecedence — Before the marriage petitioner was not aware of
    respondent’s personality disorder and it was only after marriage that it
    begun to surface. Dr. Samson declared that respondent’s behavioral
    equilibrium started at a very early age of fifteen. His dishonesty and lack
    of remorse are mere extensions of his misconduct in childhood which
    generally attributable to respondent’s childhood experiences of separation
    and emotional deprivations. In fine, his psychological incapacity is but a
    product of some genetic causes, faulty parenting and influence of the
    environment although its over manifestation appear only after the
    wedding. (Mendoza V. Mendoza, G.R. No. 157649, Nov. 12, 2012)

    Hence, psychological incapacity must have started since Neil’s early childhood, NOT early adulthood.

    ( The question stated: Dr. Chan concluded that Neil is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, an ailment that she found to be already present since Neil’s early adulthood and one that is grave and incurable.)

  7. You must prove 3 things sa Psychological Incapacity. JIG
    Juridical Antecedence, Incurability, Gravity.

    Knowing Brion to be conservative, lahat ng PI na nakarating sa kanya, ni deny niya.

  8. excluded yata sa civil law syllabus yung rules on petition for nullity and annulment of marriage so baka partial points lang kapag ito ang sagot.

    i think yung full points na sagot ay yung Suazo case penned by j. brion.

  9. There is only one ground for the declaration of nullity of marriage, and that is psychological incapacity.To constitute the latter, there are requisites to comply for the court to grant such petition, to wit:
    (1) Juridical Antecedence (2) Gravity (3) Incurability.

    1. @MARK: FYI, psychological incapacity is not the SOLE ground for declaration of Nullity of Marriage. You must have forgotten void marriages for lack of essential or formal requirements, save for some exceptions. Also those marriages which are contrary to public policy and public morals.

  10. No, the evidence is inadequate as credible basis of psychological incapacity. It fails to prove juridical antecedence because the witnesses testify only on events that transpired during the marriage, and not prior to it, and further, it is likely that their testimonies were tainted with bias only to further the plaintiff’s cause.

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