Published 24 June 2022, The Daily Tribune

The sanctity of marriage was recently emphasized by the Supreme Court (SC) in Carullo-Padua vs Padua (G.R. 208258, 27 April 2022), wherein the SC, thru Justice Ramon Hernando, held that sexual incompatibility, among others, is not a ground to nullify marriage.

In this case, Maria sought the court’s declaration of absolute nullity of her marriage with Joselito on the ground that at the time of the celebration of their marriage, Joselito was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations.

Maria cited several grounds to support her petition the most prominent being, that during their cohabitation, Joselito exhibited excessive sexual desire and forced her to perform oral and anal sex with him. Maria argued that Joselito’s sadistic behavior of forcing her to have anal sex with him, without regard to her feelings, showed that Joselito was patently incapable of fulfilling his marital duty of loving and respecting her.

Maria’s witness, Dr. Villegas, is a psychiatrist who testified that she diagnosed Joselito with a personality disorder of a sexual deviant or perversion based on Maria’s narrations. Joselito’s preference for anal and oral sex, as well as the molestations he committed against Maria’s relatives and housemaid, were manifestations of Joselito’s perversion.

The root cause of Joselito’s personality disorder is traceable to his wretched childhood. Inasmuch as Joselito spent his youth with a cruel father and a very protective mother, the unbalanced relationship between Joselito’s parents developed some emotional confusion in him. As a result, Joselito’s sexual development did not mature.

All told, does Maria have ground to nullify her marriage with Joselito?

According to the SC, based on the parameters in determining what constitutes psychological incapacity, laid down in Tan-Andal vs Andal, G.R. 196359, 11 May 2021, (subject of a previous column) the totality of the evidence presented by Maria was miserably wanting to sustain the conclusion that Joselito was psychologically incapacitated to perform the basic obligations of marriage.

Here, not only was there no interview or psychological test conducted upon Joselito, there was nobody who testified on vital information regarding his personality structure, upbringing and childhood such as members of his family, relatives, friends, and co-workers. The evaluation of Dr. Villegas on Joselito was based merely on information relayed solely by Maria which glaringly and expectedly was biased.

Most importantly, the SC emphasized that irreconcilable differences, conflicting personalities, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, physical abuse, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and abandonment, by themselves, do not warrant a finding of psychological incapacity. An unsatisfactory marriage is not a null-and-void marriage.

Thus, the couple’s irreconcilable sexual preferences cannot amount to psychological incapacity. Joselito’s inability to sexually satisfy his wife Maria because the latter prefers the conventional way of coitus could not be taken to mean that Joselito is psychologically incapacitated. Sexual incompatibility is not a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage.

Finally, the Supreme Court stressed that time and again, it has been held that the State takes a high stake in the preservation of marriage rooted in its recognition of the sanctity of married life and its mission to protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. Hence, any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and preservation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.

For more of Dean Nilo Divina’s legal tidbits, please visit For comments and questions, please send an email to