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G.R. No.

186571 August 11, 2010 ruled that only the Filipino spouse can avail of the remedy, under the
GERBERT R. CORPUZ, Petitioner, vs. DAISYLYN TIROL STO. TOMAS second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code.
and The SOLICITOR GENERAL, Respondents. 6. Gerbert contends that Art. 26 of the FC applies as well to the benefit
Topic: Foreign Judgment; Divorce of the alien spouse. He claims that the RTC ruling unduly stretched
the doctrine in Orbecido by limiting the standing to file the petition
Doctrine: Direct involvement or being the subject of the foreign judgment is only to the Filipino spouse.
sufficient to clothe a party with the requisite interest to institute an action
before our courts for the recognition of the foreign judgment. In a divorce Issue: W/N Art. 26 of the FC extends to aliens the right to petition for the
situation, the divorce obtained by an alien abroad may be recognized in the recognition of a foreign divorce decree
Philippines, provided the divorce is valid according to his or her national law.
Held: No. However, this does not mean that Gerbert does not have legal
Facts: interest to petition the RTC for recognition of his foreign decree.
1. Gerbert R. Corpuz was a former Filipino citizen who acquired 1. The alien spouse can claim no right under the second paragraph of
Canadian citizenship through naturalization. Gerbert married Article 26 of the Family Code as the substantive right it establishes is
Daisylyn T. Sto. Tomas, a Filipina, in Pasig City. Due to work, in favor of the Filipino spouse. The legislative intent is for the benefit
Gerbert left for Canada soon after the wedding. He returned to the of the Filipino spouse, by clarifying his or her marital status, settling
Philippines sometime in April 2005 to surprise Daisylyn, but was the doubts created by the divorce decree. Essentially, the second
shocked to discover that his wife was having an affair with another paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provided the Filipino
man. spouse a substantive right to have his or her marriage to the alien
2. Hurt and disappointed, Gerbert returned to Canada and filed a spouse considered as dissolved, capacitating him or her to remarry.
petition for divorce. The SC of Ontario granted Gerbert’s petition for 2. Additionally, if the court finds that the decree capacitated the alien
divorce. spouse to remarry, the courts can declare that the Filipino spouse is
3. Two years after the divorce, Gerbert has found another Filipina to likewise capacitated to contract another marriage. Only the Filipino
love. Desirous of marrying his new Filipina fiancée in the Philippines, spouse can invoke the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family
Gerbert went to the Pasig City Civil Registry Office and registered Code; the alien spouse can claim no right under this provision.
the Canadian divorce decree on his and Daisylyn’s marriage 3. HOWEVER, the unavailability of the second paragraph of Article 26
certificate. Despite the registration of the divorce decree, NSO of the Family Code to aliens does not necessarily strip Gerbert of
informed Gerbert that the marriage between him and Daisylyn still legal interest to petition to the RTC for the recognition of his foreign
subsists, the foreign divorce decree must first be judicially divorce decree. The foreign divorce decree itself, after its authenticity
recognized by a competent Philippine court, pursuant to NSO and conformity with the alien’s national law have been duly proven,
Circular No. 4. serves as a presumptive evidence of right in favor of Gerbert,
4. Gerbert filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce pursuant to Section 48, Rule 391 of the Rules of Court which
and/or declaration of marriage as with the RTC. Although provides for the effect of foreign judgments.
summoned, Daisylyn offered no opposition to Gerbert’s petition and 4. Direct involvement or being the subject of the foreign judgment is
alleged her desire to file a similar case herself but was prevented by sufficient to clothe a party with the requisite interest to institute an
financial and personal circumstances. She requested that she be action before our courts for the recognition of the foreign judgment.
considered as a party-in-interest with a similar prayer to Gerbert’s. In a divorce situation, the divorce obtained by an alien abroad may
5. RTC denied Gerbert’s petition, concluding that Gerbert was not the be recognized in the Philippines, provided the divorce is valid
proper party to institute the action for judicial recognition of the according to his or her national law.
foreign divorce decree as he is a naturalized Canadian citizen. It

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SEC. 48. Effect of foreign judgments or final orders. The effect of a judgment or final (b) In case of a judgment or final order against a person, the judgment or
order of a tribunal of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to render the judgment final order is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their
or final order is as follows: successors in interest by a subsequent title.
(a) In case of a judgment or final order upon a specific thing, the judgment or In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a
final order is conclusive upon the title of the thing; and want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law
or fact.
5. In Gerbert’s case, since both the foreign divorce decree and the 4. However, this does not mean that two separate proceedings are
national law of the alien, recognizing his or her capacity to obtain a required for the registration of a foreign divorce decree. Such
divorce, purport to be official acts of a sovereign authority, Section recognition may be made in a Cancellation proceeding itself.
24, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court2 comes into play.
6. The records show that Gerbert attached to his petition a copy of the
divorce decree, as well as the required certificates proving its
authenticity, but failed to include a copy of the Canadian law on
divorce. Under this situation, the Court can simply dismiss the
petition for insufficiency of supporting evidence.
7. However, the Court deems it more appropriate to remand the case to
the RTC to determine whether the divorce decree is consistent with
the Canadian divorce law. A remand, at the same time, will allow
other interested parties to oppose the foreign judgment.
8. In fact, more than the principle of comity that is served by the
practice of reciprocal recognition of foreign judgments between
nations, the res judicata effect of the foreign judgments of divorce
serves as the deeper basis for extending judicial recognition and for
considering the alien spouse bound by its terms. This same effect,
will not obtain for the Filipino spouse were it not for the substantive
rule that the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code
provides.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for review and REMAND to the


trial court.

Notes: Re: Civil Registration of Divorce Decree (~in case he asks~)


1. It was improper for the Pasig City Civil Registry to record the divorce
decree by mere presentation of such.
2. Although a divorce decree is required to be entered in the Civil
Registry, such rule should be read in relation to the requirement of
judicial recognition of the foreign judgment. In this case, no judicial
order yet exists recognizing the foreign divorce decree. Hence, Pasig
City Civil Registry had no authority to annotate the Canadian divorce
decree on Gerbert and Daisylyn’s marriage certificate. Such
registration is null and void.
3. Also, an action for recognition of the cadian divorce decree does
not, by itself, extend to the cancellation of the entry in thecivil
registry. Rule 108 provides for the jurisdictional and procedural
requirements for the cancellation, such as a verified petition, as wll
as a hearing. These were not met in this case.

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Section 24. Proof of official record. — The record of public documents referred to in paragraph officer has the custody. If the office in which the record is kept is in foreign country, the certificate
(a) of Section 19, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication may be made by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or
thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign
deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that such country in which the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office. (25a)