CHI MING TSOI vs. COURT OF APPEALS and GINA LAO-TSOI (G.R. No. 119190 January 16, 1997)


             Chi Ming Tsoi and Gina Lao-Tsoi married on May 22, 1988 at the Manila Cathedral Intramuros Manila. After the celebration thereof and wedding reception, the newlyweds proceeded to the house of husband-defendant’s mother. Contrary to her expectations, instead of consummating their marriage, husband-defendant just went to bed, slept on one side, then turned his back and went to sleep. The newlyweds failed to consummate their marriage even on the succeeding nights. The couple slept together in the same room and on the same bed for almost ten (10) months but there was no attempt of sexual intercourse between them. She claims that she did not even see her husband’s private parts nor did he see hers.

            On January 20, 1989, they submitted themselves for medical examinations to Dr. Eufamio Macalalag, urologist at the Chinese General Hospital. The results of said physical examination showed that she is healthy, normal and still a virgin, while that of her husband’s examination was kept confidential. Medications were only prescribed for her husband but the same was also kept confidential. No treatment was given to her, but for her husband, he was asked by the doctor to return but he failed to do so.

             Frustrated, the wife filed a case in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in order to annul their marriage.

              Husband-defendant does not want his marriage annulled since he loves her wife very much, he has no defect on his part, and there is still chance of reconciliation. However, husband-defendant claims that if their marriage shall be annulled by reason of psychological incapacity, the fault lies with his wife. The husband-defendant admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual contact between them. But, the reason for this, according to the defendant, was that every time he wants to have sexual intercourse with his wife, she always avoided him and whenever he caresses her private parts, she always removed his hands. The defendant claims, that he forced his wife to have sex with him only once but he did not continue because she was shaking and she did not like it. So he stopped. In another physical examination by Dr. Sergio Alteza, Jr., which was submitted in a Medical Report, results showed that there is no evidence of impotency of husband-defendant

         The trial court rendered judgment declaring the marriage void. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed such decision and denied the subsequent motion for reconsideration. Hence, this petition.


  1. Whether or not the refusal of a couple to have sexual intercourse with each other constitutes psychological incapacity.
  2. Whether or not there is a necessity to determine who between the couple are psychologically incapacitated.



Yes, the refusal of a couple to have sexual intercourse with each other constitutes psychological incapacity. The Court provides that one of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is “To procreate children based on the universal principle that procreation of children through sexual cooperation is the basic end of marriage.” Constant non- fulfillment of this obligation will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage. In this case, the Court ruled that the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is equivalent to psychological incapacity.

            The Court further quoted, “If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential marriage obligations, and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals attribute the causes to psychological incapacity than to stubborn refusal. Senseless and protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Thus, the prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse is considered a sign of psychological incapacity.”

            While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the sanction therefor is actually the “spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and wife and not any legal mandate or court order” (Cuaderno vs. Cuaderno 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared with another. Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say “I could not have cared less.”


            No, there is no necessity to determine who between the couple are psychologically incapacitated. In this case, neither the trial court nor the respondent court made a finding on who between petitioner and private respondent refuses to have sexual contact with the other, however, the fact remains that there has never been coitus between them. The Court held that since the action to declare the marriage void may be filed by either party, i.e., even the psychologically incapacitated, the question of who refuses to have sex with the other becomes immaterial.

            Herein Petitioner alleged that it was his wife who refused to have coitus with him, that the same may not be psychological but merely a physical disorder. The Court found such defenses unmeritorious. The Court held that there was nothing in the record to show that he had tried to find out or discover what the problem with his wife could be. What he presented in evidence is his doctor’s Medical Report that there is no evidence of his impotency and he is capable of erection. Since it is petitioner’s claim that the reason is not psychological but perhaps physical disorder on the part of private respondent, it became incumbent upon him to prove such a claim.

            As stated by the respondent court:

“…if it were true that it is the wife who was suffering from incapacity, the fact that defendant did not go to court and seek the declaration of nullity weakens his claim. This case was instituted by the wife whose normal expectations of her marriage were frustrated by her husband’s inadequacy. Considering the innate modesty of the Filipino woman, it is hard to believe that she would expose her private life to public scrutiny and fabricate testimony against her husband if it were not necessary to put her life in order and put to rest her marital status.”

            Hence, in view of the foregoing, the petition is denied.

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