Court affirms nullification of House deputy speaker's marriage

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Thursday, May 19, 2011


THE Philippines' appellate court has affirmed its ruling that nullified the marriage of House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada IIII to Julie Balarbar.

In a four-page resolution penned by Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Jane Aurora Lantion, the CA's First Division denied the appeal of Barlarbar, a marketing professor at the Asian Institute of Management and the De La Salle University.

Balarbar, who has reportedly been diagnosed to be suffering from "narcissistic personality disorder," filed a motion for reconsideration, seeking a reversal of the court's November 25, 2010 decision

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Balarbar failed to convince the magistrates that her arguments deserve merit to warrant a reversal of the ruling, the court said.

"After a judicious review of the instant motion and the records of the case, no convincing and meritorious reason exists for us to disturb our previous legal stand, as the matters raised in private respondent's (Balarbar) MR have already been carefully considered and passed upon by this Court in the assailed decision," the CA ruled.

The assailed CA decision upheld the ruling of the Makati regional trial court that nullified the then 15-year marriage between the Quezon congressman and his wife on March 11, 2008.

It also gave weight to the sentence from the Archdiocese of Manila declaring their canonical marriage "void ab initio" due to "grave lack of due discretion on the part of the wife-respondent Julie Balarbar."

It likewise gave merit to the psychiatric evaluation of Dr. Natividad Dayan on Balarbar, labelling her as suffering from narcissistic personality disorder with anti-social features, as shown by her involvement in a shoplifting incident; Balarbar's closeness and trips abroad with her male students; and a kissing incident with a co-professor.

The shoplifting incident, which took place before her marriage to Tanada, Dayan said, showed appellant's refusal to take responsibility, although she did admit to it in an apology letter she wrote for her husband a few years later.

Balarbar's fondness for other men also appeared grave and incurable, the CA said, noting that she merely shrugged off her own mother's orders for her to stop seeing "that particular male friend" and bringing them into the family home and exposing her young children, now aged 16 and 11 to her inappropriate relationships.

"In fine, our evaluation herein clearly shows the totality of evidence showing appellant's psychological incapacity... Accordingly, the subject motion for reconsideration is hereby denied," the CA said.

Concurring with the ruling were Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. and Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao.

Balabar appealed the case at the CA after the Makati court issued an order awarding custody of their children to Tanada, while she was not granted any property or financial settlement as a result of their separation since "the parties did not bring or acquire any real property during the marriage." (ECV/Sunnex)

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