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August 28, 2015

Ms. Karissa Tolentino


Batinguel, Dumaguete City
Negros, Oriental, 6200
Dear Ms. Tolentino:
The facts that I gathered with my opinion and its applicable jurisprudence are as follows:
The Constitution and other laws and policies religious freedom and, in practice, the
government generally enforced these protections. There is no state religion, and the constitution
provides for the separation of church and state. Article III Section V of the 1987 Philippines
Constitution provides:
1

No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free


exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without
discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the
exercise of civil political rights.
The government permitted religious instruction in public schools with parents written consent,
provided there was no cost to the government. Based on a traditional policy of promoting moral
education, local public schools gave religious groups the opportunity to teach moral values
during school hours. By law public schools must ensure that the religious rights of students are
protected. Muslim students are allowed to wear hijab (head coverings), and many parts of
Mindanao, Muslim students routinely attended Catholic schools from elementary to university
level; these students were not required to receive religious instruction.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Maunday
Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, All Saints Day, Christmas Day, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid alAdha.
The government generally respected religious freedom in law and in practice. There was
no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting
period. The Code of Muslim Personal Laws recognizes Sharia (Islamic Law) as part of national
law; however, it does not apply in criminal matters, and it applies only to Muslims.
2

The contemporary practice of converting to Islam in order to contract a subsequent


marriage generates tensions between religious freedom and marriage. Marriage is an inviolable
1 http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/171666.pdf
2

social institution. The contemporary practice also offends Islamic faith and the Shari Law, the
very means utilized to achieve the anomalous ends of the practice.
Absolute divorce is not recognized here in the Philippines. Another alternative to such is
provided in Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines which deals with psychological
incapacity as a ground for the declaration of nullity of marriage or void. Article 36 provides:
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.
Couples that cannot afford to process the annulment of the nullification of their marriage
tend to agree living in separate live without having the benefit of a legal process. There is an
alternative form, and that is to divorce by converting the religion to Islam. In Islamic law, male
has the capacity to marry more than four (4) wives as long as he can deal with them with equal
companionship and just treatment.
Legal consideration of contemporary practice involves between three statutes: The
Family Code, Revised Penal Code, and the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines
hereinafter the Muslim Code.
Understanding the Muslim Code is essential in marriage both male and female. Article 13
of the Muslim Code provides:
1. The provision of this Title [Title II. Marriage and Divorce] shall apply to marriage and
divorce wherein both parties are Muslims, or wherein only male party is a male and the
marriage is solemnized in accordance with Muslim law or this Code in any part of the
Philippines.
2. In cases of marriage between a Muslim and non-Muslim, solemnized not in accordance
with Muslim law or this Code, the Civil Code of the Philippines shall apply.
Subject to the provisions of proceeding paragraphs, the essential requisites and legal
impediments to marriage, divorce paternity and filiation, guardianship and custody of
minors, support and maintenance, claims or customary dower (wahr), betrothal, breach of
contract to marry, solemnization between husband and wife, parental authority, and the
property relations between husband and wife shall be governed by this Code and other
applicable Muslim Laws.
Contemporary practice creates legal tension between two (2) Constitutional values, the
religious freedom and the institution of marriage.
In my opinion, the freedom of religion has its own equality towards every individual in
the state. Religion should not be used as a means of integrating the bad faith done by a man who
wants to avoid in marriage as such. It questions the integral part of the religious faith.

Government, also, should not use religious practices to support themselves as this action leads to
corruption.