G.R. No. 179620, 26 August 2008
Manuel married Leonida in 1989. They are both medical practitioners. They begot 3 children. 11 years later, Leonida sought to annul her marriage with Manuel claiming that Manuel is psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations. Leonida testified that Manuel is a harsh disciplinarian and that his policy towards their children is often unconventional and was the cause of their frequent fight. Manuel has an unreasonable way of imposing discipline towards their children but is remarkably so gentle towards his mom. He is more affectionate towards his mom and this is a factor which is unreasonable for Leonida. Further, Leonida also testified that Manuel is a homosexual as evidenced by his unusual closeness to his male companions and that he concealed his homosexuality from Leonida prior to their marriage. She once caught Manuel talking to a man affectionately over the phone and she confirmed all her fear when she saw Manuel kiss a man. The RTC ruled that their marriage is null and void not because of PI but rather due to fraud by reason of Manuel’s concealment of his homosexuality (Art 45 of the FC). The CA affirmed the RTC’s decision.
Whether or not the marriage between the two can be declared as null and void due to fraud by reason of Manuel’s concealment of his homosexuality.
No. It is found out that there was no concealment of homosexuality done by Manuel.
To nullify an existing marriage, there are requisites which are provided by the Family Code. As expressly stated in Art. 45 part 3 of the Family Code, “That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife”. It was not proven that Manuel concealed his homosexuality which would eventually lead to fraud.
The SC emphasized that homosexuality per se is not a ground to nullify a marriage. It is the concealment of homosexuality that would. In the case at bar however, it is not proven that Manuel is a homosexual. The lower court should not have taken the public’s perception against Manuel’s sexuality. His peculiarities must not be ruled by the lower court as an indication of his homosexuality for those are not conclusive and are not sufficient enough to prove so. Even granting that Manuel is indeed a homosexual, there was nothing in the complaint or anywhere in the case was it alleged and proven that Manuel hid such sexuality from Leonida and that Leonida’s consent had been vitiated by such.
* Case digest by Desmarc G. Malate, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018