Civil Law

Manuel Almelor vs RTC of Las Piñas City & Leonida Trinidad

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G.R. No. 179620 – 563 SCRA 447 – Civil Law – Persons and Family Relations – Family Code – Grounds for Annulment of Marriage – Article 46; Concealment of Homosexuality

Manuel Almelor married Leonida Trinidad 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 are 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 void not because of Psychological Incapacity but rather due to fraud by reason of Manuel’s concealment of his homosexuality (Article 46 of the Family Code). The Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC’s decision.

ISSUE: 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.

HELD: No. 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.

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