AN ACTION FOR RECONVEYANCE IS NOT AFFECTED BY AN ALLEGATION SEEKING THE APPOINTMENT OF ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE

In an action for reconveyance, an allegation seeking appointment as administratrix of an estate, would not oust the RTC of its jurisdiction over the whole case. An action for reconveyance, which involves title to property worth millions of pesos, such as the lots subject of this case, is cognizable by the RTC. Likewise falling within its jurisdiction are actions “incapable of pecuniary estimation,” such as the appointment of an administratrix for an estate. Even the Rules on Venue of estate proceedings (Section 1 of Rule 73 impliedly recognizes the jurisdiction of the RTC over petitions for granting of letters of administration. On the other hand, probate proceedings for the settlement of estate are within the ambit of either the RTC or MTC depending on the net worth of the estate.

[G.R. No. 122646. March 14, 1997.]
ADELIA C. MENDOZA, for herself and Administratrix of the Intestate Estate of the late NORBERTO B. MENDOZA, petitioners, vs. HON. ANGELITO C. TEH, Presiding Judge, Branch 87, RTC, Rosario, Batangas, SPS. HERMINIO & CLARITA TAYAG @ SPS. GEORGE T. TIGLAO & CLARIZZA T. TIGLAO and/or @ TEOFILO M. ESGUERA, LEONOR M. ESGUERA, LETICIA M. ESGUERA, JOEL M. ESGUERA, RICARDO M. ESGUERA, VOLTAIRE E. TAYAG, BENITO I. TAYAG, MERLIE MALIG, ALBERTO T. TAYAG, ROSEMARIE T. TAYAG, LETICIA E. LULU and the REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR THE PROVINCE OF BATANGAS, respondents.

Psychological incapacity

ISSUE: Whether respondent is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations

RULING OF THE COURT:

Petitioner Failed to Prove Respondent’s Psychological Incapacity
The petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article 36 of the Family Code which provides that “[a] marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.” In Santos v. Court of Appeals, the Court first declared that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) judicial antecedence; and (c) incurability. It should refer 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.” It must be confined to “the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.” Finally, the “psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.” The Court explained:
(a) Gravity — It must be grave and serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in a marriage;
(b) Judicial Antecedence — It must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and
(c) Incurability — It must be incurable, or even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.
In Republic v. Court of Appeals (Molina case), the Court laid down the guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code as follows:
1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, recognizing it “as the foundation of the nation. It decrees marriage as legally inviolable,” thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be “protected” by the state.
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.
2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at “the time of the celebration” of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their “I do’s.” The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or prior thereto.
4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them but not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of marriage.
5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, “mild characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts” cannot be accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.
6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.
7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was taken by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 and which provides:
“The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological nature.”
Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people, it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. Ideally — subject to our law on evidence — what is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed civilly void.
Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that petitioner failed to satisfy the guidelines in the Molina case.
As found by the Court of Appeals, petitioner anchored her petition on respondent’s irresponsibility, infidelity, and homosexual tendencies. Petitioner likewise alleged that respondent tried to compel her to change her religious belief, and in one of their arguments, respondent also hit her. However, sexual infidelity, repeated physical violence, homosexuality, physical violence or moral pressure to compel petitioner to change religious affiliation, and abandonment are grounds for legal separation but not for declaring a marriage void.
In Marcos v. Marcos, the Court ruled that if the totalities of the evidence presented are enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, there is no need to resort to the actual medical examination of the person concerned. However, while an actual medical, psychiatric, or psychological examination is not a condition sine qua non to a finding of psychological incapacity, an expert witness would have strengthened petitioner’s claim of respondent’s psychological incapacity. 18 While the examination by a physician of a person to declare him or her psychologically incapacitated is not required, the root cause of psychological incapacity must be medically or clinically identified. 19 In this case, the testimony of Dr. Lapuz on respondent’s psychological incapacity was based only on her two-hour session with petitioner. Her testimony was characterized by the Court of Appeals as vague and ambiguous. She failed to prove psychological incapacity or identify its root cause. She failed to establish that respondent’s psychological incapacity is incurable. Dr. Lapuz testified:
Q- What, in your opinion are the causes of this incapacity?
A- I feel, your Honor, that there is some personality agenda on his part that I do not know because he has not come to see me but there are such men who can be very ardent lovers but suddenly will completely turn over. . .
Q- Is this a sort of personality disorder?
A- Yes, your Honor.
Q- Is that inherited or could have been acquired even before marriage?
A- It was there on the time of the inception of his personality, it was there. And my feeling is that these things do not happen overnight, one does not change spot overnight but that thing, like marriage, can completely turn-table his behavior.
Q- Doctora, do you think this kind of incapacity, this personality disorder, is there any possibility of curing it?
A- Very little at this time and sometimes, when they become older, like when they reach the age of 50’s or 60’s, they may settle down and finally give out and reveal interest in their families.
Q- In short, there is possibility that this incapacity of the respondent could be cured?
A- Only respondent’s physical decline of sexual urge, if the sexual urge would not decline, the incapacity will continue.
Q- Is there no medicine or is there any kind of medicine that can cure this kind of disorder?
A- None to my knowledge, your Honor. There is no magic feather in the psychiatric treatment. Perhaps, if the person would be willing and open enough and interested enough. . .
Even the recommendation in the Social Case Study Report submitted by Social Welfare Officer Marissa P. Obrero-Ballon, who was assigned by the trial court to conduct a social case study on the parties, failed to show the existence of respondent’s psychological incapacity. The Social Welfare Officer instead found that petitioner was immature while respondent was responsible. She also found that the couple separated because of respondent’s infidelity.
Petitioner also failed to prove that respondent’s psychological incapacity was existing at the time of the celebration of their marriage. Petitioner only cited that during their honeymoon, she found it strange that respondent allowed their 15-year-old companion, the son of one of respondent’s house helpers, to sleep in their room. However, respondent explained that he and petitioner already stayed in a hotel for one night before they went to Baguio City and that they had sexual relations even before their marriage. Respondent explained that the boy was with them to take pictures and videos of their stay in Baguio City and had to stay with them in the room due to monetary constraints.
In sum, the totality of the evidence presented by petitioner failed to show that respondent was psychologically incapacitated and that such incapacity was grave, incurable, and existing at the time of the solemnization of their marriage

[G.R. No. 159220. September 22, 2008.]
MA. DARLENE DIMAYUGA-LAURENA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and JESSE LAURO LAURENA, respondents.

Change of name

Facts
Emelita Basilio Gan (petitioner) was born on December 21, 1956 out of wedlock to Pia Gan, her father who is a Chinese national, and Consolacion Basilio, her mother who is a Filipino citizen. The petitioner’s birth certificate, which was registered in the Office of the Local Civil Registrar (LCR) of Libmanan, Camarines Sur, indicates that her full name is Emelita Basilio.

On June 29, 2010, the petitioner filed a Petition 5 for correction of name with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Libmanan, Camarines Sur. The petitioner sought to change the full name indicated in her birth certificate from “Emelita Basilio” to “Emelita Basilio Gan.” She claimed that she had been using the name “Emelita Basilio Gan” in her school records from elementary until college, employment records, marriage contract, and other government records.

XXX

A change of name is a privilege and not a matter of right; a proper and reasonable cause must exist before a person may be authorized to change his name. “In granting or denying petitions for change of name, the question of proper and reasonable cause is left to the sound discretion of the court. . . . What is involved is not a mere matter of allowance or disallowance of the request, but a judicious evaluation of the sufficiency and propriety of the justifications advanced in support thereof, mindful of the consequent results in the event of its grant and with the sole prerogative for making such determination being lodged in the courts.”


After a judicious review of the records of this case, the Court agrees with the CA that the reason cited by the petitioner in support of her petition for change of name, i.e., that she has been using the name “Emelita Basilio Gan” in all of her records, is not a sufficient or proper justification to allow her petition. When the petitioner was born in 1956, prior to the enactment and effectivity of the Family Code, the pertinent provisions of the Civil Code then regarding the petitioner’s use of surname provide:

Article 366. A natural child acknowledged by both parents shall principally use the surname of the father. If recognized by only one of the parents, a natural child shall employ the surname of the recognizing parent.

Article 368. Illegitimate children referred to in Article 287 shall bear the surname of the mother.

In her amended petition for change of name, the petitioner merely stated that she was born out of wedlock; she did not state whether her parents, at the time of her birth, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other, which would make her a natural child pursuant to Article 269 of the Civil Code. If, at the time of the petitioner’s birth, either of her parents had an impediment to marry the other, she may only bear the surname of her mother pursuant to Article 368 of the Civil Code. Otherwise, she may use the surname of her father provided that she was acknowledged by her father.


However, the petitioner failed to adduce any evidence that would show that she indeed was duly acknowledged by his father. The petitioner’s evidence consisted only of her birth certificate signed by her mother, school records, employment records, marriage contract, certificate of baptism, and other government records. Thus, assuming that she is a natural child pursuant to Article 269 of the Civil Code, she could still not insist on using her father’s surname.

XXX

In Coseteng-Magpayo, the issue was the proper procedure to be followed when the change sought to be effected in the birth certificate affects the civil status of the respondent therein from legitimate to illegitimate. The respondent therein claimed that his parents were never legally married; he filed a petition to change his name from “Julian Edward Emerson Coseteng Magpayo,” the name appearing in his birth certificate, to “Julian Edward Emerson Marquez-Lim Coseteng.” The notice setting the petition for hearing was published and, since there was no opposition thereto, the trial court issued an order of general default and eventually granted the petition of the respondent therein by, inter alia, deleting the entry on the date and place of marriage of his parents and correcting his surname from “Magpayo” to Coseteng.” The Court reversed the trial court’s decision since the proper remedy would have been to file a petition under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. The Court ruled that the change sought by the respondent therein involves his civil status as a legitimate child; it may only be given due course through an adversarial proceedings under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. The Court’s pronouncement in Coseteng-Magpayo finds no application in this case.

Finally, Lim likewise finds no application in this case. In Lim, the petition that was filed was for correction of entries under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court; the petition sought, among others, is the correction of the surname of the respondent therein from “Yo” to “Yu.” Further, the respondent therein, although an illegitimate child, had long been using the surname of her father. It bears stressing that the birth certificate of the respondent therein indicated that her surname was the same as her father albeit misspelled. Thus, a correction of entry in her birth certificate is appropriate.

Here, the petitioner filed a petition for change of name under Rule 103 and not a petition for correction of entries under Rule 108. Unlike in Lim, herein petitioner’s birth certificate indicated that she bears the surname of her mother and not of her father.


WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions, the petition is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 207147. September 14, 2016.
EMELITA BASILIO GAN

Newspaper publication

On the third assignment of error (lack of publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the place where the property is located), petitioners argue that the Olongapo News, the newspaper where the notice of public auction was published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks, was not a newspaper of general circulation in Morong, Bataan, in the year 1978, and that the situs of its circulation was not where the subject property is located.

xxx


To be a newspaper of general circulation, it is enough that it is published for the dissemination of local news and general information; that it has a bona fide subscription list of paying subscribers; and that it is published at regular intervals. The newspaper must not also be devoted to the interests or published for the entertainment of a particular class, profession, trade, calling, race or religious denomination. The newspaper need not have the largest circulation so long as it is of general circulation.

The testimonies of witnesses Deputy Sheriff Renato Robles, Susana Curiano, and Cesar De La Torre, are enlightening on the matter. Their testimonies point to the unmistakable conclusion that, indeed, the Olongapo News was a newspaper of general circulation in 1978 in Morong, Bataan.

Susana Curiano, who was presented as a witness for the petitioners in this case, and not for the respondents, as the former had erroneously written in its petition, testified that the Olongapo News was the only newspaper in general circulation in Bataan during the time that the notice of auction sale was published.


Deputy Sheriff Renato Robles testified that in the years 1977, 1978, and 1979, there was only one newspaper of general circulation in Bataan, and this was the Olongapo News.

Cesar De La Torre, who was the very first editor of the Olongapo News, testified that this newspaper had prepaid subscribers in Olongapo City, Zambales and Bataan. 24 Further, he testified that prior to the year 1979, it was only the Olongapo News which was considered as a newspaper of general circulation that was authorized to publish legal notices in the province of Bataan.


Respondent Democrito Perez, substituted now by Erlinda and Maria Cecilia M. Perez, presented evidence to prove that in other cases requiring publication in Morong, Bataan, the publications were made in the Olongapo News, and the publication requirements of the law were deemed complied with.


In the year 1978, there is no question that the Olongapo News was not published in Morong, Bataan. It was published in Olongapo. However, this does not mean that the requirements of P.D. No. 1079 on the publication of notices of auction sales were not followed by the respondents herein. P.D. No. 1079 is categorical that in the event there is no newspaper or periodical published in the locality, the same may be published in the newspaper or periodical published, edited and circulated in the nearest city or province. 27 Since no newspaper of general circulation was being published in Morong, Bataan, in the year 1978, then the respondents were right in availing themselves of the services of the Olongapo News, which, as found by the trial court, was the nearest publication in Bataan.


To recapitulate, the Olongapo News is a newspaper of general circulation because it is published for the dissemination of local news and general information, it has a bona fide subscription list of paying subscribers, it is published at regular intervals and it is not devoted to the interests or published for the entertainment of a particular class, profession, trade, calling, race or religious denomination. Being a newspaper of general circulation, petitioners are, thus, deemed to have constructive notice of the foreclosure proceedings. Therefore, the public auction sale is valid for having complied with all the requirements of the law.

G.R. No. 143768 March 28, 2005.