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Despite this declaration, the wedding ceremony was solemnized by


ART. 7 : PERONS AUTHORIZED TO SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGE respondent judge. He presented in evidence a joint affidavit by Maurecio
RODOLFO G. NAVARRO, complainant, vs. JUDGE HERNANDO C. A. Labado, Sr. and Eugenio Bullecer, subscribed and sworn to before Judge
DOMAGTOY, respondent. Demosthenes C. Duquilla, Municipal Trial Judge of Basey, Samar. [3] The
affidavit was not issued by the latter judge, as claimed by respondent
judge, but merely acknowledged before him.In their affidavit, the affiants
DECISION
stated that they knew Gaspar Tagadan to have been civilly married to Ida
ROMERO, J.: D. Pearanda in September 1983; that after thirteen years of cohabitation
and having borne five children, Ida Pearanda left the conjugal dwelling in
Valencia, Bukidnon and that she has not returned nor been heard of for
The complainant in this administrative case is the Municipal Mayor
almost seven years, thereby giving rise to the presumption that she is
of Dapa, Surigao del Norte, Rodolfo G. Navarro. He has submitted
already dead.
evidence in relation to two specific acts committed by respondent
Municipal Circuit Trial Court Judge Hernando Domagtoy, which, he In effect, Judge Domagtoy maintains that the aforementioned joint
contends, exhibits gross misconduct as well as inefficiency in office and affidavit is sufficient proof of Ida Pearanda's presumptive death, and
ignorance of the law. ample reason for him to proceed with the marriage ceremony. We do not
agree.
First, on September 27, 1994, respondent judge solemnized the
wedding between Gaspar A. Tagadan and Arlyn F. Borga, despite the Article 41 of the Family Code expressly provides:
knowledge that the groom is merely separated from his first wife.

Second, it is alleged that he performed a marriage ceremony "A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous
between Floriano Dador Sumaylo and Gemma G. del Rosario outside his marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the
court's jurisdiction on October 27, 1994.Respondent judge holds office subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four
and has jurisdiction in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Sta. consecutive years and the spouse present had a well-founded belief that
Monica-Burgos, Surigao del Norte. The wedding was solemnized at the the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where
respondent judge's residence in the municipality of Dapa, which does not there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the
fall within his jurisdictional area of the municipalities of Sta. Monica and provisions of Articles 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years
Burgos, located some 40 to 45 kilometers away from the municipality of shall be sufficient.
Dapa, Surigao del Norte.
For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the
In his letter-comment to the Office of the Court Administrator, preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary
respondent judge avers that the office and name of the Municipal Mayor proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive
of Dapa have been used by someone else, who, as the mayor's "lackey," is death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of
overly concerned with his actuations both as judge and as a private the absent spouse." (Emphasis added.)
person. The same person had earlier filed Administrative Matter No.
94-980-MTC, which was dismissed for lack of merit on September 15,
There is nothing ambiguous or difficult to comprehend in this
1994, and Administrative Matter No. OCA-IPI-95-16, "Antonio Adapon v.
provision. In fact, the law is clear and simple. Even if the spouse present
Judge Hernando C. Domagtoy," which is still pending.
has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead, a
In relation to the charges against him, respondent judge seeks summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death is
exculpation from his act of having solemnized the marriage between necessary in order to contract a subsequent marriage, a mandatory
Gaspar Tagadan, a married man separated from his wife, and Arlyn F. requirement which has been precisely incorporated into the Family Code
Borga by stating that he merely relied on the Affidavit issued by the to discourage subsequent marriages where it is not proven that the
Municipal Trial Judge of Basey, Samar, confirming the fact that Mr. previous marriage has been dissolved or a missing spouse is factually or
Tagadan and his first wife have not seen each other for almost seven presumptively dead, in accordance with pertinent provisions of law.
years.[1] With respect to the second charge, he maintains that in
In the case at bar, Gaspar Tagadan did not institute a summary
solemnizing the marriage between Sumaylo and del Rosario, he did not
proceeding for the declaration of his first wife's presumptive
violate Article 7, paragraph 1 of the Family Code which states
death. Absent this judicial declaration, he remains married to Ida
that: "Marriage may be solemnized by: (1) Any incumbent member of the
Pearanda. Whether wittingly, or unwittingly, it was manifest error on the
judiciary within the court's jurisdiction; and that Article 8 thereof applies
part of respondent judge to have accepted the joint affidavit submitted by
to the case in question.
the groom. Such neglect or ignorance of the law has resulted in a
The complaint was not referred, as is usual, for investigation, since bigamous, and therefore void, marriage. Under Article 35 of the Family
the pleadings submitted were considered sufficient for a resolution of the Code, "The following marriage shall be void from the beginning: (4) Those
case.[2] bigamous x x x marriages not falling under Article 41."

Since the countercharges of sinister motives and fraud on the part The second issue involves the solemnization of a marriage
of complainant have not been sufficiently proven, they will not be dwelt ceremony outside the court's jurisdiction, covered by Articles 7 and 8 of
upon. The acts complained of and respondent judge's answer thereto will the Family Code, thus:
suffice and can be objectively assessed by themselves to prove the latter's
malfeasance. "Art. 7. Marriage may be solemnized by:
The certified true copy of the marriage contract between Gaspar
Tagadan and Arlyn Borga states that Tagadan's civil status is "separated." (1) Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court's jurisdiction;
2

x x x x x x xxx (Emphasis supplied.) to expect them to know and apply the law intelligently.[7] Otherwise, the
system of justice rests on a shaky foundation indeed, compounded by the
Art. 8. The marriage shall be solemnized publicly in the chambers of the errors committed by those not learned in the law.While magistrates may
judge or in open court, in the church, chapel or temple, or in the office of at times make mistakes in judgment, for which they are not penalized, the
the consul-general, consul or vice-consul, as the case may be, and not respondent judge exhibited ignorance of elementary provisions of law, in
elsewhere, except in cases of marriages contracted on the point of death an area which has greatly prejudiced the status of married persons.
or in remote places in accordance with Article 29 of this Code, or where
The marriage between Gaspar Tagadan and Arlyn Borga is
both parties request the solemnizing officer in writing in which case the
considered bigamous and void, there being a subsisting marriage between
marriage may be solemnized at a house or place designated by them in a
Gaspar Tagadan and Ida Pearanda.
sworn statement to that effect."
The Office of the Court Administrator recommends, in its
Respondent judge points to Article 8 and its exceptions as the Memorandum to the Court, a six-month suspension and a stern warning
justifications for his having solemnized the marriage between Floriano that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more
Sumaylo and Gemma del Rosario outside of his court's jurisdiction. As the severely. Considering that one of the marriages in question resulted in a
aforequoted provision states, a marriage can be held outside of the bigamous union and therefore void, and the other lacked the necessary
judge's chambers or courtroom only in the following instances: (1) at the authority of respondent judge, the Court adopts said
point of death, (2) in remote places in accordance with Article 29 or (3) recommendation. Respondent is advised to be more circumspect in
upon request of both parties in writing in a sworn statement to this applying the law and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the law.
effect. There is no pretense that either Sumaylo or del Rosario was at the
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, respondent Judge Hernando C.
point of death or in a remote place. Moreover, the written request
Domagtoy is hereby SUSPENDED for a period of six (6) months and given a
presented addressed to the respondent judge was made by only one party,
STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt
Gemma del Rosario.[4]
with more severely.
More importantly, the elementary principle underlying this
SO ORDERED.
provision is the authority of the solemnizing judge. Under Article 3, one of
the formal requisites of marriage is the "authority of the solemnizing Regalado (Chairman), Puno, Mendoza, and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
officer." Under Article 7, marriage may be solemnized by, among others,
"any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court's jurisdiction."
Article 8, which is a directory provision, refers only to the venue of the ART. 9-25: MARRIAGE LICENSE
marriage ceremony and does not alter or qualify the authority of the
REPUBLIC VS CA 236 SCRA 257
solemnizing officer as provided in the preceding
provision. Non-compliance herewith will not invalidate the marriage.

A priest who is commissioned and allowed by his local ordinary to


marry the faithful, is authorized to do so only within the area of the
diocese or place allowed by his Bishop. An appellate court Justice or a ART. 26: FOREIGN MARRIAGE
Justice of this Court has jurisdiction over the entire Philippines to
solemnize marriages, regardless of the venue, as long as the requisites of G.R. No. 138322 October 2, 2001
the law are complied with. However, judges who are appointed to specific
jurisdictions, may officiate in weddings only within said areas and not
GRACE J. GARCIA, a.k.a. GRACE J. GARCIA-RECIO, petitioner,
beyond. Where a judge solemnizes a marriage outside his court's
vs.
jurisdiction, there is a resultant irregularity in the formal requisite laid
REDERICK A. RECIO, respondents.
down in Article 3, which while it may not affect the validity of the
marriage, may subject the officiating official to administrative liability.[5]
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Inasmuch as respondent judge's jurisdiction covers the
municipalities of Sta. Monica and Burgos, he was not clothed with A divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our
authority to solemnize a marriage in the municipality of Dapa, Surigao del jurisdiction, provided such decree is valid according to the national law of
Norte. By citing Article 8 and the exceptions therein as grounds for the the foreigner. However, the divorce decree and the governing personal
exercise of his misplaced authority, respondent judge again demonstrated law of the alien spouse who obtained the divorce must be proven. Our
a lack of understanding of the basic principles of civil law. courts do not take judicial notice of foreign laws and judgment; hence, like
Accordingly, the Court finds respondent to have acted in gross any other facts, both the divorce decree and the national law of the alien
ignorance of the law. The legal principles applicable in the cases brought must be alleged and proven according to our law on evidence.
to our attention are elementary and uncomplicated, prompting us to
conclude that respondent's failure to apply them is due to a lack of The Case
comprehension of the law.
Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,
The judiciary should be composed of persons who, if not experts,
seeking to nullify the January 7, 1999 Decision1 and the March 24, 1999
are at least, proficient in the law they are sworn to apply, more than the
Order2 of the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 28, in Civil
ordinary laymen. They should be skilled and competent in understanding
Case No. 3026-AF. The assailed Decision disposed as follows:
and applying the law. It is imperative that they be conversant with basic
legal principles like the ones involved in instant case.[6] It is not too much
3

"WHEREFORE, this Court declares the marriage between Grace J. Garcia legal capacity to remarry. Rather, it based its Decision on the divorce
and Rederick A. Recio solemnized on January 12, 1994 at Cabanatuan City decree obtained by respondent. The Australian divorce had ended the
as dissolved and both parties can now remarry under existing and marriage; thus, there was no more martial union to nullify or annual.
applicable laws to any and/or both parties."3
Hence, this Petition.18
The assailed Order denied reconsideration of the above-quoted Decision.
Issues
The Facts
Petitioner submits the following issues for our consideration:
Rederick A. Recio, a Filipino, was married to Editha Samson, an Australian
citizen, in Malabon, Rizal, on March 1, 1987.4 They lived together as "I
husband and wife in Australia. On May 18, 1989,5 a decree of divorce,
purportedly dissolving the marriage, was issued by an Australian family
The trial court gravely erred in finding that the divorce decree obtained in
court.
Australia by the respondent ipso facto terminated his first marriage to
Editha Samson thereby capacitating him to contract a second marriage
On June 26, 1992, respondent became an Australian citizen, as shown by a with the petitioner.
"Certificate of Australian Citizenship" issued by the Australian
government.6 Petitioner – a Filipina – and respondent were married on
"2
January 12, 1994 in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Cabanatuan
City.7 In their application for a marriage license, respondent was declared
as "single" and "Filipino."8 The failure of the respondent, who is now a naturalized Australian, to
present a certificate of legal capacity to marry constitutes absence of a
substantial requisite voiding the petitioner' marriage to the respondent.
Starting October 22, 1995, petitioner and respondent lived separately
without prior judicial dissolution of their marriage. While the two were
still in Australia, their conjugal assets were divided on May 16, 1996, in "3
accordance with their Statutory Declarations secured in Australia.9
The trial court seriously erred in the application of Art. 26 of the Family
On March 3, 1998, petitioner filed a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Code in this case.
Marriage10 in the court a quo, on the ground of bigamy – respondent
allegedly had a prior subsisting marriage at the time he married her on "4
January 12, 1994. She claimed that she learned of respondent's marriage
to Editha Samson only in November, 1997. The trial court patently and grievously erred in disregarding Arts. 11, 13,
21, 35, 40, 52 and 53 of the Family Code as the applicable provisions in
In his Answer, respondent averred that, as far back as 1993, he had this case.
revealed to petitioner his prior marriage and its subsequent
dissolution.11 He contended that his first marriage to an Australian citizen "5
had been validly dissolved by a divorce decree obtained in Australian in
1989;12 thus, he was legally capacitated to marry petitioner in
The trial court gravely erred in pronouncing that the divorce gravely erred
1994.1âwphi1.nêt
in pronouncing that the divorce decree obtained by the respondent in
Australia ipso facto capacitated the parties to remarry, without first
On July 7, 1998 – or about five years after the couple's wedding and while securing a recognition of the judgment granting the divorce decree before
the suit for the declaration of nullity was pending – respondent was able our courts."19
to secure a divorce decree from a family court in Sydney, Australia
because the "marriage ha[d] irretrievably broken down."13
The Petition raises five issues, but for purposes of this Decision, we shall
concentrate on two pivotal ones: (1) whether the divorce between
Respondent prayed in his Answer that the Complained be dismissed on respondent and Editha Samson was proven, and (2) whether respondent
the ground that it stated no cause of action.14 The Office of the Solicitor was proven to be legally capacitated to marry petitioner. Because of our
General agreed with respondent.15 The court marked and admitted the ruling on these two, there is no more necessity to take up the rest.
documentary evidence of both parties.16 After they submitted their
respective memoranda, the case was submitted for resolution.17
The Court's Ruling

Thereafter, the trial court rendered the assailed Decision and Order.
The Petition is partly meritorious.

Ruling of the Trial Court


First Issue:

The trial court declared the marriage dissolved on the ground that the
Proving the Divorce Between Respondent and Editha Samson
divorce issued in Australia was valid and recognized in the Philippines. It
deemed the marriage ended, but not on the basis of any defect in an
essential element of the marriage; that is, respondent's alleged lack of
4

Petitioner assails the trial court's recognition of the divorce between "ART. 52. The judgment of annulment or of absolute nullity of the
respondent and Editha Samson. Citing Adong v. Cheong Seng marriage, the partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses,
Gee,20 petitioner argues that the divorce decree, like any other foreign and the delivery of the children's presumptive legitimes shall be recorded
judgment, may be given recognition in this jurisdiction only upon proof of in the appropriate civil registry and registries of property; otherwise, the
the existence of (1) the foreign law allowing absolute divorce and (2) the same shall not affect their persons."
alleged divorce decree itself. She adds that respondent miserably failed to
establish these elements. Respondent, on the other hand, argues that the Australian divorce decree
is a public document – a written official act of an Australian family court.
Petitioner adds that, based on the first paragraph of Article 26 of the Therefore, it requires no further proof of its authenticity and due
Family Code, marriages solemnized abroad are governed by the law of the execution.
place where they were celebrated (the lex loci celebrationist). In effect,
the Code requires the presentation of the foreign law to show the Respondent is getting ahead of himself. Before a foreign judgment is given
conformity of the marriage in question to the legal requirements of the presumptive evidentiary value, the document must first be presented and
place where the marriage was performed. admitted in evidence.30 A divorce obtained abroad is proven by the
divorce decree itself. Indeed the best evidence of a judgment is the
At the outset, we lay the following basic legal principles as the take-off judgment itself.31 The decree purports to be a written act or record of an
points for our discussion. Philippine law does not provide for absolute act of an officially body or tribunal of a foreign country.32
divorce; hence, our courts cannot grant it.21 A marriage between two
Filipinos cannot be dissolved even by a divorce obtained abroad, because Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132, on the other hand, a writing or
of Articles 1522 and 1723 of the Civil Code.24 In mixed marriages involving a document may be proven as a public or official record of a foreign country
Filipino and a foreigner, Article 2625 of the Family Code allows the former by either (1) an official publication or (2) a copy thereof attested33 by the
to contract a subsequent marriage in case the divorce is "validly obtained officer having legal custody of the document. If the record is not kept in
abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry."26 A the Philippines, such copy must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued
divorce obtained abroad by a couple, who are both aliens, may be by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign
recognized in the Philippines, provided it is consistent with their service stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and (b)
respective national laws.27 authenticated by the seal of his office.34

A comparison between marriage and divorce, as far as pleading and proof The divorce decree between respondent and Editha Samson appears to be
are concerned, can be made. Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr. decrees that "aliens an authentic one issued by an Australian family court. 35 However,
may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, appearance is not sufficient; compliance with the aforemetioned rules on
provided they are valid according to their national law."28 Therefore, evidence must be demonstrated.
before a foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our courts, the party
pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its
Fortunately for respondent's cause, when the divorce decree of May 18,
conformity to the foreign law allowing it.29 Presentation solely of the
1989 was submitted in evidence, counsel for petitioner objected, not to its
divorce decree is insufficient.
admissibility, but only to the fact that it had not been registered in the
Local Civil Registry of Cabanatuan City.36 The trial court ruled that it was
Divorce as a Question of Fact admissible, subject to petitioner's qualification.37Hence, it was admitted in
evidence and accorded weight by the judge. Indeed, petitioner's failure to
Petitioner insists that before a divorce decree can be admitted in evidence, object properly rendered the divorce decree admissible as a written act of
it must first comply with the registration requirements under Articles 11, the Family Court of Sydney, Australia.38
13 and 52 of the Family Code. These articles read as follows:
Compliance with the quoted articles (11, 13 and 52) of the Family Code is
"ART. 11. Where a marriage license is required, each of the contracting not necessary; respondent was no longer bound by Philippine personal
parties shall file separately a sworn application for such license with the laws after he acquired Australian citizenship in 1992.39 Naturalization is
proper local civil registrar which shall specify the following: the legal act of adopting an alien and clothing him with the political and
civil rights belonging to a citizen.40 Naturalized citizens, freed from the
xxx xxx xxx protective cloak of their former states, don the attires of their adoptive
countries. By becoming an Australian, respondent severed his allegiance
to the Philippines and the vinculum juris that had tied him to Philippine
"(5) If previously married, how, when and where the previous marriage
personal laws.
was dissolved or annulled;

Burden of Proving Australian Law


xxx xxx xxx

Respondent contends that the burden to prove Australian divorce law falls
"ART. 13. In case either of the contracting parties has been previously
upon petitioner, because she is the party challenging the validity of a
married, the applicant shall be required to furnish, instead of the birth of
foreign judgment. He contends that petitioner was satisfied with the
baptismal certificate required in the last preceding article, the death
original of the divorce decree and was cognizant of the marital laws of
certificate of the deceased spouse or the judicial decree of annulment or
Australia, because she had lived and worked in that country for quite a
declaration of nullity of his or her previous marriage. x x x.
long time. Besides, the Australian divorce law is allegedly known by
5

Philippine courts: thus, judges may take judicial notice of foreign laws in "1. A party to a marriage who marries again before this decree becomes
the exercise of sound discretion. absolute (unless the other party has died) commits the offence of
bigamy."48
We are not persuaded. The burden of proof lies with "the party who
alleges the existence of a fact or thing necessary in the prosecution or This quotation bolsters our contention that the divorce obtained by
defense of an action."41 In civil cases, plaintiffs have the burden of proving respondent may have been restricted. It did not absolutely establish his
the material allegations of the complaint when those are denied by the legal capacity to remarry according to his national law. Hence, we find no
answer; and defendants have the burden of proving the material basis for the ruling of the trial court, which erroneously assumed that the
allegations in their answer when they introduce new matters. 42 Since the Australian divorce ipso facto restored respondent's capacity to remarry
divorce was a defense raised by respondent, the burden of proving the despite the paucity of evidence on this matter.
pertinent Australian law validating it falls squarely upon him.
We also reject the claim of respondent that the divorce decree raises a
It is well-settled in our jurisdiction that our courts cannot take judicial disputable presumption or presumptive evidence as to his civil status
notice of foreign laws.43 Like any other facts, they must be alleged and based on Section 48, Rule 3949 of the Rules of Court, for the simple reason
proved. Australian marital laws are not among those matters that judges that no proof has been presented on the legal effects of the divorce
are supposed to know by reason of their judicial function.44 The power of decree obtained under Australian laws.
judicial notice must be exercised with caution, and every reasonable
doubt upon the subject should be resolved in the negative. Significance of the Certificate of Legal Capacity

Second Issue: Petitioner argues that the certificate of legal capacity required by Article
21 of the Family Code was not submitted together with the application for
Respondent's Legal Capacity to Remarry a marriage license. According to her, its absence is proof that respondent
did not have legal capacity to remarry.
Petitioner contends that, in view of the insufficient proof of the divorce,
respondent was legally incapacitated to marry her in 1994. We clarify. To repeat, the legal capacity to contract marriage is
determined by the national law of the party concerned. The certificate
Hence, she concludes that their marriage was void ab initio. mentioned in Article 21 of the Family Code would have been sufficient to
establish the legal capacity of respondent, had he duly presented it in
court. A duly authenticated and admitted certificate is prima facie
Respondent replies that the Australian divorce decree, which was validly
evidence of legal capacity to marry on the part of the alien applicant for a
admitted in evidence, adequately established his legal capacity to marry
marriage license.50
under Australian law.

As it is, however, there is absolutely no evidence that proves respondent's


Respondent's contention is untenable. In its strict legal
legal capacity to marry petitioner. A review of the records before this
sense, divorce means the legal dissolution of a lawful union for a cause
Court shows that only the following exhibits were presented before the
arising after marriage. But divorces are of different types. The two basic
lower court: (1) for petitioner: (a) Exhibit "A" – Complaint;51 (b) Exhibit "B"
ones are (1) absolute divorce or a vinculo matrimonii and (2) limited
– Certificate of Marriage Between Rederick A. Recto (Filipino-Australian)
divorce or a mensa et thoro. The first kind terminates the marriage, while
and Grace J. Garcia (Filipino) on January 12, 1994 in Cabanatuan City,
the second suspends it and leaves the bond in full force. 45 There is no
Nueva Ecija;52 (c) Exhibit "C" – Certificate of Marriage Between Rederick A.
showing in the case at bar which type of divorce was procured by
Recio (Filipino) and Editha D. Samson (Australian) on March 1, 1987 in
respondent.
Malabon, Metro Manila;53 (d) Exhibit "D" – Office of the City Registrar of
Cabanatuan City Certification that no information of annulment between
Respondent presented a decree nisi or an interlocutory decree – a Rederick A. Recto and Editha D. Samson was in its records; 54 and (e)
conditional or provisional judgment of divorce. It is in effect the same as a Exhibit "E" – Certificate of Australian Citizenship of Rederick A. Recto;55 (2)
separation from bed and board, although an absolute divorce may follow for respondent: (Exhibit "1" – Amended Answer;56 (b) Exhibit "S" – Family
after the lapse of the prescribed period during which no reconciliation is Law Act 1975 Decree Nisi of Dissolution of Marriage in the Family Court of
effected.46 Australia;57 (c) Exhibit "3" – Certificate of Australian Citizenship of Rederick
A. Recto;58 (d) Exhibit "4" – Decree Nisi of Dissolution of Marriage in the
Even after the divorce becomes absolute, the court may under some Family Court of Australia Certificate;59 and Exhibit "5" – Statutory
foreign statutes and practices, still restrict remarriage. Under some other Declaration of the Legal Separation Between Rederick A. Recto and Grace
jurisdictions, remarriage may be limited by statute; thus, the guilty party J. Garcia Recio since October 22, 1995.60
in a divorce which was granted on the ground of adultery may be
prohibited from remarrying again. The court may allow a remarriage only Based on the above records, we cannot conclude that respondent, who
after proof of good behavior.47 was then a naturalized Australian citizen, was legally capacitated to marry
petitioner on January 12, 1994. We agree with petitioner's contention that
On its face, the herein Australian divorce decree contains a restriction that the court a quo erred in finding that the divorce decree ipso facto clothed
reads: respondent with the legal capacity to remarry without requiring him to
adduce sufficient evidence to show the Australian personal law governing
his status; or at the very least, to prove his legal capacity to contract the
second marriage.
6

Neither can we grant petitioner's prayer to declare her marriage to Decree has no bearing in the case. The denial is now the subject of this
respondent null and void on the ground of bigamy. After all, it may turn certiorari proceeding.
out that under Australian law, he was really capacitated to marry
petitioner as a direct result of the divorce decree. Hence, we believe that Generally, the denial of a Motion to Dismiss in a civil case is interlocutory
the most judicious course is to remand this case to the trial court to and is not subject to appeal. certiorari and Prohibition are neither the
receive evidence, if any, which show petitioner's legal capacity to marry remedies to question the propriety of an interlocutory order of the trial
petitioner. Failing in that, then the court a quo may declare a nullity of the Court. However, when a grave abuse of discretion was patently
parties' marriage on the ground of bigamy, there being already in committed, or the lower Court acted capriciously and whimsically, then it
evidence two existing marriage certificates, which were both obtained in devolves upon this Court in a certiorari proceeding to exercise its
the Philippines, one in Malabon, Metro Manila dated March 1, 1987 and supervisory authority and to correct the error committed which, in such a
the other, in Cabanatuan City dated January 12, 1994. case, is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. 1 Prohibition would then lie since
it would be useless and a waste of time to go ahead with the
WHEREFORE, in the interest of orderly procedure and substantial justice, proceedings. 2 Weconsider the petition filed in this case within the
we REMAND the case to the court a quofor the purpose of receiving exception, and we have given it due course.
evidence which conclusively show respondent's legal capacity to marry
petitioner; and failing in that, of declaring the parties' marriage void on For resolution is the effect of the foreign divorce on the parties and their
the ground of bigamy, as above discussed. No costs. alleged conjugal property in the Philippines.

SO ORDERED. Petitioner contends that respondent is estopped from laying claim on the
alleged conjugal property because of the representation he made in the
Melo, Puno, Vitug, and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur. divorce proceedings before the American Court that they had no
community of property; that the Galleon Shop was not established
G.R. No. L-68470 October 8, 1985 through conjugal funds, and that respondent's claim is barred by prior
judgment.
ALICE REYES VAN DORN, petitioner,
vs. For his part, respondent avers that the Divorce Decree issued by the
HON. MANUEL V. ROMILLO, JR., as Presiding Judge of Branch CX, Nevada Court cannot prevail over the prohibitive laws of the Philippines
Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Region Pasay City and and its declared national policy; that the acts and declaration of a foreign
RICHARD UPTON respondents. Court cannot, especially if the same is contrary to public policy, divest
Philippine Courts of jurisdiction to entertain matters within its jurisdiction.

For the resolution of this case, it is not necessary to determine whether


the property relations between petitioner and private respondent, after
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:\
their marriage, were upon absolute or relative community property, upon
complete separation of property, or upon any other regime. The pivotal
In this Petition for certiorari and Prohibition, petitioner Alice Reyes Van fact in this case is the Nevada divorce of the parties.
Dorn seeks to set aside the Orders, dated September 15, 1983 and August
3, 1984, in Civil Case No. 1075-P, issued by respondent Judge, which
The Nevada District Court, which decreed the divorce, had obtained
denied her Motion to Dismiss said case, and her Motion for
jurisdiction over petitioner who appeared in person before the Court
Reconsideration of the Dismissal Order, respectively.
during the trial of the case. It also obtained jurisdiction over private
respondent who, giving his address as No. 381 Bush Street, San Francisco,
The basic background facts are that petitioner is a citizen of the California, authorized his attorneys in the divorce case, Karp & Gradt Ltd.,
Philippines while private respondent is a citizen of the United States; that to agree to the divorce on the ground of incompatibility in the
they were married in Hongkong in 1972; that, after the marriage, they understanding that there were neither community property nor
established their residence in the Philippines; that they begot two children community obligations. 3 As explicitly stated in the Power of Attorney he
born on April 4, 1973 and December 18, 1975, respectively; that the executed in favor of the law firm of KARP & GRAD LTD., 336 W. Liberty,
parties were divorced in Nevada, United States, in 1982; and that Reno, Nevada, to represent him in the divorce proceedings:
petitioner has re-married also in Nevada, this time to Theodore Van Dorn.
xxx xxx xxx
Dated June 8, 1983, private respondent filed suit against petitioner in Civil
Case No. 1075-P of the Regional Trial Court, Branch CXV, in Pasay City,
You are hereby authorized to accept service of Summons, to file an
stating that petitioner's business in Ermita, Manila, (the Galleon Shop, for
Answer, appear on my behalf and do an things necessary and proper to
short), is conjugal property of the parties, and asking that petitioner be
represent me, without further contesting, subject to the following:
ordered to render an accounting of that business, and that private
respondent be declared with right to manage the conjugal property.
Petitioner moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the cause of 1. That my spouse seeks a divorce on the ground of incompatibility.
action is barred by previous judgment in the divorce proceedings before
the Nevada Court wherein respondent had acknowledged that he and 2. That there is no community of property to be adjudicated by the Court.
petitioner had "no community property" as of June 11, 1982. The Court
below denied the Motion to Dismiss in the mentioned case on the ground
that the property involved is located in the Philippines so that the Divorce
7

3. 'I'hat there are no community obligations to be adjudicated by the


court.

xxx xxx xxx 4


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 1543
Petitioner,
There can be no question as to the validity of that Nevada divorce in any
of the States of the United States. The decree is binding on private
Present:
respondent as an American citizen. For instance, private respondent
cannot sue petitioner, as her husband, in any State of the Union. What he
Davide, Jr., C.
is contending in this case is that the divorce is not valid and binding in this
- versus - (Chairman),
jurisdiction, the same being contrary to local law and public policy.
Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santia
It is true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of Carpio, and
the Civil Code, 5 only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against Azcuna, JJ.
absolute divorces the same being considered contrary to our concept of CIPRIANO ORBECIDO III,
public police and morality. However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, Respondent. Promulgated:
which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid
according to their national law. 6 In this case, the divorce in Nevada October 5, 20
released private respondent from the marriage from the standards of
American law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage. As stated by x--------------------------------------------------x
the Federal Supreme Court of the United States in Atherton vs. Atherton,
45 L. Ed. 794, 799: DECISION

The purpose and effect of a decree of divorce from the bond of


QUISUMBING, J.:
matrimony by a court of competent jurisdiction are to change the existing
status or domestic relation of husband and wife, and to free them both
from the bond. The marriage tie when thus severed as to one party,
ceases to bind either. A husband without a wife, or a wife without a
husband, is unknown to the law. When the law provides, in the nature of a Given a valid marriage between two Filipino citizens, where one
penalty. that the guilty party shall not marry again, that party, as well as
the other, is still absolutely freed from the bond of the former marriage.
party is later naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a valid divorce

Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the


husband of petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in the case decree capacitating him or her to remarry, can the Filipino spouse likewise
below as petitioner's husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal
assets. As he is bound by the Decision of his own country's Court, which
remarry under Philippine law?
validly exercised jurisdiction over him, and whose decision he does not
repudiate, he is estopped by his own representation before said Court
from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property.
Before us is a case of first impression that behooves the Court
To maintain, as private respondent does, that, under our laws, petitioner
has to be considered still married to private respondent and still subject to to make a definite ruling on this apparently novel question, presented as a
a wife's obligations under Article 109, et. seq. of the Civil Code cannot be
just. Petitioner should not be obliged to live together with, observe
respect and fidelity, and render support to private respondent. The latter pure question of law.
should not continue to be one of her heirs with possible rights to conjugal
property. She should not be discriminated against in her own country if
the ends of justice are to be served. In this petition for review, the Solicitor General assails

WHEREFORE, the Petition is granted, and respondent Judge is hereby


the Decision[1] dated May 15, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court of Molave,
ordered to dismiss the Complaint filed in Civil Case No. 1075-P of his
Court.
Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23 and its Resolution[2] dated July 4, 2002
Without costs.
denying the motion for reconsideration. The court a quo had declared that
SO ORDERED.

herein respondent Cipriano Orbecido III is capacitated to remarry.


Teehankee (Chairman), Plana, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr., De la Fuente and
Patajo, JJ., concur.
The fallo of the impugned Decision reads:
8

WHEREFORE, by virtue of the provision of the second


paragraph of Art. 26 of the Family Code and by
The OSG contends that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code is not
reason of the divorce decree obtained against him by
his American wife, the petitioner is given the capacity
to remarry under the Philippine Law. applicable to the instant case because it only applies to a valid mixed

IT IS SO ORDERED.[3]
marriage; that is, a marriage celebrated between a Filipino citizen and an

alien. The proper remedy, according to the OSG, is to file a petition for

The factual antecedents, as narrated by the trial court, are as follows.


annulment or for legal separation.[5] Furthermore, the OSG argues there is

On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M. Villanueva no law that governs respondents situation. The OSG posits that this is a

at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Lam-an, Ozamis City. matter of legislation and not of judicial determination.[6]

Their marriage was blessed with a son and a daughter, Kristoffer


For his part, respondent admits that Article 26 is not directly applicable to

Simbortriz V. Orbecido and Lady Kimberly V. Orbecido.


his case but insists that when his naturalized alien wife obtained a divorce

In 1986, Ciprianos wife left for the United States bringing along decree which capacitated her to remarry, he is likewise capacitated by

their son Kristoffer. A few years later, Cipriano discovered that his wife operation of law pursuant to Section 12, Article II of the Constitution.[7]

had been naturalized as an American citizen.


At the outset, we note that the petition for authority to remarry filed

Sometime in 2000, Cipriano learned from his son that his wife before the trial court actually constituted a petition for declaratory relief.

had obtained a divorce decree and then married a certain Innocent In this connection, Section 1, Rule 63 of the Rules of Court provides:
RULE 63
DECLARATORY RELIEF AND SIMILAR REMEDIES
Stanley. She, Stanley and her child by him currently live at 5566 A. Walnut
Section 1. Who may file petitionAny person
Grove Avenue, San Gabriel, California. interested under a deed, will, contract or other
written instrument, or whose rights are affected by a
statute, executive order or regulation, ordinance, or
other governmental regulation may, before breach or
Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to violation thereof, bring an action in the appropriate
Regional Trial Court to determine any question of
construction or validity arising, and for a declaration
remarry invoking Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code. No
of his rights or duties, thereunder.
...
opposition was filed. Finding merit in the petition, the court granted the

same. The Republic, herein petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor
The requisites of a petition for declaratory relief are: (1) there must be a
General (OSG), sought reconsideration but it was denied.
justiciable controversy; (2) the controversy must be between persons

In this petition, the OSG raises a pure question of law: whose interests are adverse; (3) that the party seeking the relief has a
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT CAN REMARRY
UNDER ARTICLE 26 OF THE FAMILY CODE[4]
9

legal interest in the controversy; and (4) that the issue is ripe for judicial On July 17, 1987, shortly after the signing of the original Family

determination.[8] Code, Executive Order No. 227 was likewise signed into law, amending

Articles 26, 36, and 39 of the Family Code. A second paragraph was added
This case concerns the applicability of Paragraph 2 of Article 26
to Article 26. As so amended, it now provides:
to a marriage between two Filipino citizens where one later acquired alien ART. 26. All marriages solemnized outside
the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in
the country where they were solemnized, and valid
citizenship, obtained a divorce decree, and remarried while in the U.S.A. there as such, shall also be valid in this country,
except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5)
The interests of the parties are also adverse, as petitioner representing and (6), 36, 37 and 38.

Where a marriage between a Filipino


the State asserts its duty to protect the institution of marriage while
citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a
divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the
respondent, a private citizen, insists on a declaration of his capacity to alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the
Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under
Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied)
remarry. Respondent, praying for relief, has legal interest in the

controversy. The issue raised is also ripe for judicial determination

On its face, the foregoing provision does not appear to govern


inasmuch as when respondent remarries, litigation ensues and puts into

the situation presented by the case at hand. It seems to apply only to


question the validity of his second marriage.

cases where at the time of the celebration of the marriage, the parties are

Coming now to the substantive issue, does Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the


a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The instant case is one where at the time

Family Code apply to the case of respondent? Necessarily, we must dwell


the marriage was solemnized, the parties were two Filipino citizens, but

on how this provision had come about in the first place, and what was the
later on, the wife was naturalized as an American citizen and subsequently

intent of the legislators in its enactment?


obtained a divorce granting her capacity to remarry, and indeed she

remarried an American citizen while residing in the U.S.A.

Brief Historical Background


Noteworthy, in the Report of the Public Hearings[9] on the
On July 6, 1987, then President Corazon Aquino signed into law
Family Code, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code, which took
registered the following objections to Paragraph 2 of Article 26:
effect on August 3, 1988. Article 26 thereof states: 1. The rule is discriminatory. It discriminates
All marriages solemnized outside the against those whose spouses are Filipinos
Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the who divorce them abroad. These spouses
country where they were solemnized, and valid there who are divorced will not be able to
as such, shall also be valid in this country, except re-marry, while the spouses of foreigners
those prohibited under Articles 35, 37, and 38. who validly divorce them abroad can.

2. This is the beginning of the recognition of


the validity of divorce even for Filipino
10

citizens. For those whose foreign spouses


validly divorce them abroad will also be
hinted, by way of obiter dictum, that a Filipino divorced by his naturalized
considered to be validly divorced here and
can re-marry. We propose that this be
deleted and made into law only after more foreign spouse is no longer married under Philippine law and can thus
widespread consultation. (Emphasis
supplied.)
remarry.

Thus, taking into consideration the legislative intent and


Legislative Intent

applying the rule of reason, we hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should


Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations

be interpreted to include cases involving parties who, at the time of the


showed that the intent of Paragraph 2 of Article 26, according to Judge

celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of
Alicia Sempio-Diy, a member of the Civil Code Revision Committee, is to

them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce


avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to

decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to remarry as if the


the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to

other party were a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of the


the Filipino spouse.

marriage. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and injustice.

Interestingly, Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the


Where the interpretation of a statute according to its exact and literal

1985 case of Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.[10] The Van Dorn case involved a
import would lead to mischievous results or contravene the clear purpose

marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The Court held therein
of the legislature, it should be construed according to its spirit and reason,

that a divorce decree validly obtained by the alien spouse is valid in the
disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the law. A statute may

Philippines, and consequently, the Filipino spouse is capacitated to


therefore be extended to cases not within the literal meaning of its terms,

remarry under Philippine law.


so long as they come within its spirit or intent.[12]

Does the same principle apply to a case where at the time of


If we are to give meaning to the legislative intent to avoid the

the celebration of the marriage, the parties were Filipino citizens, but later
absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien

on, one of them obtains a foreign citizenship by naturalization?


spouse who, after obtaining a divorce is no longer married to the Filipino

The jurisprudential answer lies latent in the 1998 case of Quita v. spouse, then the instant case must be deemed as coming within the

Court of Appeals.[11] In Quita, the parties were, as in this case, Filipino contemplation of Paragraph 2 of Article 26.

citizens when they got married. The wife became a naturalized American

citizen in 1954 and obtained a divorce in the same year. The Court therein
11

In view of the foregoing, we state the twin elements for the not sever the marriage tie; hence, the legally separated Filipino spouse

application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows: would still remain married to the naturalized alien spouse.

1. There is a valid marriage that has been


celebrated between a Filipino citizen and a
However, we note that the records are bereft of competent evidence duly
foreigner; and

2. A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the submitted by respondent concerning the divorce decree and the
alien spouse capacitating him or her to
remarry.
naturalization of respondents wife. It is settled rule that one who alleges a

fact has the burden of proving it and mere allegation is not evidence.[13]

The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the


Accordingly, for his plea to prosper, respondent herein must prove his
time of the celebration of the marriage, but their citizenship at the time a
allegation that his wife was naturalized as an American citizen. Likewise,
valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to
before a foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our own courts, the
remarry.
party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its

In this case, when Ciprianos wife was naturalized as an


conformity to the foreign law allowing it.[14] Such foreign law must also be

American citizen, there was still a valid marriage that has been celebrated
proved as our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. Like any

between her and Cipriano. As fate would have it, the naturalized alien wife
other fact, such laws must be alleged and proved.[15] Furthermore,

subsequently obtained a valid divorce capacitating her to remarry. Clearly,


respondent must also show that the divorce decree allows his former wife

the twin requisites for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both
to remarry as specifically required in Article 26. Otherwise, there would be

present in this case. Thus Cipriano, the divorced Filipino spouse, should be
no evidence sufficient to declare that he is capacitated to enter into

allowed to remarry.
another marriage.

We are also unable to sustain the OSGs theory that the proper
Nevertheless, we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 of Article

remedy of the Filipino spouse is to file either a petition for annulment or a


26 of the Family Code (E.O. No. 209, as amended by E.O. No. 227), should

petition for legal separation. Annulment would be a long and tedious


be interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen, who has been divorced by a

process, and in this particular case, not even feasible, considering that the
spouse who had acquired foreign citizenship and remarried, also to

marriage of the parties appears to have all the badges of validity. On the
remarry. However, considering that in the present petition there is no

other hand, legal separation would not be a sufficient remedy for it would
sufficient evidence submitted and on record, we are unable to declare,
12

for review on certiorari[2]under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court (present


based on respondents bare allegations that his wife, who was naturalized
petition).

as an American citizen, had obtained a divorce decree and had remarried


Petitioner Gerbert R. Corpuz was a former Filipino citizen who
an American, that respondent is now capacitated to remarry. Such
acquired Canadian citizenship through naturalization on November 29,

declaration could only be made properly upon respondents submission of 2000.[3] On January 18, 2005, Gerbert married respondent Daisylyn T. Sto.

Tomas, a Filipina, in Pasig City.[4] Due to work and other professional


the aforecited evidence in his favor. commitments, Gerbert left for Canada soon after the wedding. He

returned to the Philippines sometime in April 2005 to surprise Daisylyn,

ACCORDINGLY, the petition by the Republic of the Philippines is GRANTED. but was shocked to discover that his wife was having an affair with

another man. Hurt and disappointed, Gerbert returned to Canada and


The assailed Decision dated May 15, 2002, and Resolution dated July 4,
filed a petition for divorce. The Superior Court of

2002, of the Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23, Justice, Windsor, Ontario, Canada granted Gerberts petition for divorce

on December 8, 2005. The divorce decree took effect a month later,


are hereby SET ASIDE.
on January 8, 2006.[5]

No pronouncement as to costs. Two years after the divorce, Gerbert has moved on and has

found another Filipina to love. Desirous of marrying his new Filipina fiance

SO ORDERED. in the Philippines, Gerbert went to the Pasig City Civil Registry Office and

registered the Canadian divorce decree on his and Daisylyns marriage


THIRD DIVISION
certificate. Despite the registration of the divorce decree, an official of the

National Statistics Office (NSO) informed Gerbert that the marriage


GERBERT R. CORPUZ, G.R. No. 186571
between him and Daisylyn still subsists under Philippine law; to be
Petitioner,
Present: enforceable, the foreign divorce decree must first be judicially recognized

by aJ.,competent
CARPIO MORALES, Philippine court, pursuant to NSO Circular No. 4, series of
Chairperson,
BRION,
1982.[6]
- versus - BERSAMIN,
*ABAD, and

VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.


Accordingly, Gerbert filed a petition for judicial recognition of

foreign divorce and/or declaration of marriage as dissolved (petition)


Promulgated:
DAISYLYN TIROL STO. TOMAS and The SOLICITOR August 11, 2010with the RTC. Although summoned, Daisylyn did not file any responsive
GENERAL,
pleading but submitted instead a notarized letter/manifestation to the
Respondents. -- -
x--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
trial court. She offered no opposition to Gerberts petition and, in fact,

alleged her desire to file a similar case herself but was prevented by
DECISION
financial and personal circumstances. She, thus, requested that she be
BRION, J.:
considered as a party-in-interest with a similar prayer to Gerberts.

Before the Court is a direct appeal from the decision[1] of the In its October 30, 2008 decision,[7] the RTC denied Gerberts
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Laoag City, Branch 11, elevated via a petition petition. The RTC concluded that Gerbert was not the proper party to
13

institute the action for judicial recognition of the foreign divorce decree as Civil Registry Office. The Office of the Solicitor General and Daisylyn, in

he is a naturalized Canadian citizen. It ruled that only the Filipino spouse their respective Comments,[14] both support Gerberts position.

can avail of the remedy, under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the

Family Code,[8] in order for him or her to be able to remarry under Essentially, the petition raises the issue of whether the second paragraph

Philippine law.[9] Article 26 of the Family Code reads: of Article 26 of the Family Code extends to aliens the right to petition a

Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside court of this jurisdiction for the recognition of a foreign divorce decree.
the Philippines, in accordance with the laws in force THE COURTS RULING
in the country where they were solemnized, and valid
there as such, shall also be valid in this country,
except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) The alien
and (6), 36, 37 and 38. spouse can
claim no
Where a marriage between a Filipino right under
citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a the second
divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the paragraph
alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the of Article
Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to 26 of the
remarry under Philippine law. Family
Code as the
substantive
right it
This conclusion, the RTC stated, is consistent with the legislative intent
establishes
behind the enactment of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family is in favor
of the
Code, as determined by the Court in Republic v. Orbecido III;[10] the Filipino
provision was enacted to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse

spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce,

is no longer married to the Filipino spouse.[11] The resolution of the issue requires a review of the legislative history and

intent behind the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code.

THE PETITION
The Family Code recognizes only two types of defective marriages

From the RTCs ruling,[12] Gerbert filed the present petition.[13] void[15] and voidable[16] marriages. In both cases, the basis for the judicial

Gerbert asserts that his petition before the RTC is essentially for declaration of absolute nullity or annulment of the marriage

declaratory relief, similar to that filed in Orbecido; he, thus, similarly asks exists before or at the time of the marriage. Divorce, on the other hand,

for a determination of his rights under the second paragraph of Article 26 contemplates the dissolution of the lawful union for cause arising after the

of the Family Code. Taking into account the rationale behind the second marriage.[17] Our family laws do not recognize absolute divorce between

paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, he contends that the provision Filipino citizens.[18]

applies as well to the benefit of the alien spouse. He claims that the RTC Recognizing the reality that divorce is a possibility in marriages

ruling unduly stretched the doctrine in Orbecido by limiting the standing between a Filipino and an alien, President Corazon C. Aquino, in the

to file the petition only to the Filipino spouse an interpretation he claims exercise of her legislative powers under the Freedom

to be contrary to the essence of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Constitution,[19] enacted Executive Order No. (EO) 227, amending Article

Family Code. He considers himself as a proper party, vested with sufficient 26 of the Family Code to its present wording, as follows:

legal interest, to institute the case, as there is a possibility that he might Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside
the Philippines, in accordance with the laws in force
be prosecuted for bigamy if he marries his Filipina fiance in the Philippines
in the country where they were solemnized, and valid
since two marriage certificates, involving him, would be on file with the there as such, shall also be valid in this country,
14

except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5)


and (6), 36, 37 and 38. foreign country. The inclusion of the second paragraph in Article 26 of the

Family Code provides the direct exception to this rule and serves as basis
Where a marriage between a Filipino
citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a for recognizing the dissolution of the marriage between the Filipino
divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the
spouse and his or her alien spouse.
alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the
Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to
remarry under Philippine law.
Additionally, an action based on the second paragraph of Article 26 of the

Family Code is not limited to the recognition of the foreign divorce


Through the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, EO 227
decree. If the court finds that the decree capacitated the alien spouse to
effectively incorporated into the law this Courts holding in Van Dorn v.
remarry, the courts can declare that the Filipino spouse is likewise
Romillo, Jr.[20] and Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera.[21] In both cases, the Court
capacitated to contract another marriage. No court in this jurisdiction,
refused to acknowledge the alien spouses assertion of marital rights after
however, can make a similar declaration for the alien spouse (other than
a foreign courts divorce decree between the alien and the Filipino. The
that already established by the decree), whose status and legal capacity
Court, thus, recognized that the foreign divorce had already severed the
are generally governed by his national law.[26]
marital bond between the spouses. The Court reasoned in Van Dorn v.

Romillo that:
Given the rationale and intent behind the enactment, and the
To maintain x x x that, under our laws, [the Filipino purpose of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, the RTC
spouse] has to be considered still married to [the
alien spouse] and still subject to a wife's obligations was correct in limiting the applicability of the provision for the benefit of
x x x cannot be just. [The Filipino spouse] should not
the Filipino spouse. In other words, only the Filipino spouse can invoke the
be obliged to live together with, observe respect and
fidelity, and render support to [the alien spouse]. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code; the alien spouse can
latter should not continue to be one of her heirs with
possible rights to conjugal property. She should not claim no right under this provision.
be discriminated against in her own country if the
ends of justice are to be served.[22]
The foreign
divorce
decree is
As the RTC correctly stated, the provision was included in the presumptiv
e evidence
law to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains
of a right
married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer that clothes
the party
married to the Filipino spouse.[23] The legislative intent is for the benefit of with legal
interest to
the Filipino spouse, by clarifying his or her marital status, settling the
petition for
doubts created by the divorce decree. Essentially, the second paragraph its
recognition
of Article 26 of the Family Code provided the Filipino spouse a in this
substantive right to have his or her marriage to the alien spouse jurisdiction

considered as dissolved, capacitating him or her to remarry.[24] Without

the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, the judicial We qualify our above conclusion i.e., that the second paragraph

recognition of the foreign decree of divorce, whether in a proceeding of Article 26 of the Family Code bestows no rights in favor of aliens with

instituted precisely for that purpose or as a related issue in another the complementary statement that this conclusion is not sufficient basis

proceeding, would be of no significance to the Filipino spouse since our to dismiss Gerberts petition before the RTC. In other words, the

laws do not recognize divorce as a mode of severing the marital unavailability of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code to

bond;[25] Article 17 of the Civil Code provides that the policy against aliens does not necessarily strip Gerbert of legal interest to petition the

absolute divorces cannot be subverted by judgments promulgated in a RTC for the recognition of his foreign divorce decree. The foreign divorce
15

decree itself, after its authenticity and conformity with the aliens national purpose or in another action where a party invokes the foreign decree as

law have been duly proven according to our rules of evidence, serves as a an integral aspect of his claim or defense.

presumptive evidence of right in favor of Gerbert, pursuant to Section 48,

Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which provides for the effect of foreign In Gerberts case, since both the foreign divorce decree and the

judgments. This Section states: national law of the alien, recognizing his or her capacity to obtain a

SEC. 48. Effect of foreign judgments or final divorce, purport to be official acts of a sovereign authority, Section 24,
orders.The effect of a judgment or final order of a Rule 132 of the Rules of Court comes into play. This Section requires proof,
tribunal of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to
render the judgment or final order is as follows: either by (1) official publications or (2) copies attested by the officer

having legal custody of the documents. If the copies of official records are
(a) In case of a judgment or final
order upon a specific thing, the not kept in the Philippines, these must be (a) accompanied by a certificate
judgment or final order is
conclusive upon the title of the issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine
thing; and foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept

(b) In case of a judgment or final and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.
order against a person, the
judgment or final order is
presumptive evidence of a right The records show that Gerbert attached to his petition a copy of
as between the parties and
their successors in interest by a the divorce decree, as well as the required certificates proving its
subsequent title. authenticity,[30] but failed to include a copy of the Canadian law on

In either case, the judgment or final order divorce.[31] Under this situation, we can, at this point, simply dismiss the
may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction,
petition for insufficiency of supporting evidence, unless we deem it more
want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear
mistake of law or fact. appropriate to remand the case to the RTC to determine whether the

divorce decree is consistent with the Canadian divorce law.


To our mind, direct involvement or being the subject of the foreign

judgment is sufficient to clothe a party with the requisite interest to We deem it more appropriate to take this latter course of
institute an action before our courts for the recognition of the foreign action, given the Article 26 interests that will be served and the Filipina
judgment. In a divorce situation, we have declared, no less, that the wifes (Daisylyns) obvious conformity with the petition. A remand, at the
divorce obtained by an alien abroad may be recognized in the Philippines, same time, will allow other interested parties to oppose the foreign
provided the divorce is valid according to his or her national law.[27] judgment and overcome a petitioners presumptive evidence of a right by

proving want of jurisdiction, want of notice to a party, collusion, fraud, or


The starting point in any recognition of a foreign divorce clear mistake of law or fact. Needless to state, every precaution must be
judgment is the acknowledgment that our courts do not take judicial taken to ensure conformity with our laws before a recognition is made, as
notice of foreign judgments and laws. Justice Herrera explained that, as a the foreign judgment, once recognized, shall have the effect of res
rule, no sovereign is bound to give effect within its dominion to a judicata[32] between the parties, as provided in Section 48, Rule 39 of the
judgment rendered by a tribunal of another country.[28] This means that Rules of Court.[33]
the foreign judgment and its authenticity must be proven as facts under

our rules on evidence, together with the aliens applicable national law to In fact, more than the principle of comity that is served by the
show the effect of the judgment on the alien himself or herself. [29] The practice of reciprocal recognition of foreign judgments between nations,
recognition may be made in an action instituted specifically for the the res judicata effect of the foreign judgments of divorce serves as the

deeper basis for extending judicial recognition and for considering the
16

alien spouse bound by its terms. This same effect, as discussed above, will xxxx
not obtain for the Filipino spouse were it not for the substantive rule that
Sec. 4. Civil Register Books. The local registrars
the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provides. shall keep and preserve in their offices the following
books, in which they shall, respectively make the
proper entries concerning the civil status of persons:
Considerati
ons beyond
(1) Birth and death register;
the
recognition
(2) Marriage register, in which shall be
of the
entered not only the marriages
foreign
solemnized but also divorces and
divorce
dissolved marriages.
decree

As a matter of housekeeping concern, we note that (3) Legitimation, acknowledgment,


adoption, change of name and
the Pasig City Civil Registry Office has already recorded the divorce naturalization register.
decree on Gerbert and Daisylyns marriage certificate based on the mere

presentation of the decree.[34] We consider the recording to be legally


But while the law requires the entry of the divorce decree in the civil
improper; hence, the need to draw attention of the bench and the bar to
registry, the law and the submission of the decree by themselves do
what had been done.
not ipso facto authorize the decrees registration. The law should be read

in relation with the requirement of a judicial recognition of the foreign


Article 407 of the Civil Code states that [a]cts, events and judicial decrees
judgment before it can be given res judicata effect. In the context of the
concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil
present case, no judicial order as yet exists recognizing the foreign divorce
register. The law requires the entry in the civil registry of judicial decrees
decree. Thus, the Pasig City Civil Registry Office acted totally out of turn
that produce legal consequences touching upon a persons legal capacity
and without authority of law when it annotated the Canadian divorce
and status, i.e., those affecting all his personal qualities and relations,
decree on Gerbert and Daisylyns marriage certificate, on the strength
more or less permanent in nature, not ordinarily terminable at his own
alone of the foreign decree presented by Gerbert.
will, such as his being legitimate or illegitimate, or his being married or

not.[35]
Evidently, the Pasig City Civil Registry Office was aware of the

requirement of a court recognition, as it cited NSO Circular No. 4, series of


A judgment of divorce is a judicial decree, although a foreign
1982,[36] and Department of Justice Opinion No. 181, series of
one, affecting a persons legal capacity and status that must be
1982[37] both of which required a final order from a competent Philippine
recorded. In fact, Act No. 3753 or the Law on Registry of Civil Status
court before a foreign judgment, dissolving a marriage, can be registered
specifically requires the registration of divorce decrees in the civil registry:
in the civil registry, but it, nonetheless, allowed the registration of the
Sec. 1. Civil Register. A civil register is
decree. For being contrary to law, the registration of the foreign divorce
established for recording the civil status of persons,
in which shall be entered: decree without the requisite judicial recognition is patently void and

(a) births; cannot produce any legal effect.


(b) deaths;
(c) marriages;
(d) annulments of marriages; Another point we wish to draw attention to is that the
(e) divorces;
recognition that the RTC may extend to the Canadian divorce decree does
(f) legitimations;
(g) adoptions; not, by itself, authorize the cancellation of the entry in the civil registry. A
(h) acknowledgment of natural children;
(i) naturalization; and petition for recognition of a foreign judgment is not the proper proceeding,
(j) changes of name.
17

contemplated under the Rules of Court, for the cancellation of entries in further proceedings in accordance with our ruling above. Let a copy of this

the civil registry. Decision be furnished the Civil Registrar General. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
Article 412 of the Civil Code declares that no entry in a civil

register shall be changed or corrected, without judicial order. The Rules of G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013

Court supplements Article 412 of the Civil Code by specifically providing


MINORU FUJIKI, PETITIONER,
for a special remedial proceeding by which entries in the civil registry may vs.
MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY, SHINICHI MAEKARA, LOCAL CIVIL
be judicially cancelled or corrected. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court sets in
REGISTRAR OF QUEZON CITY, AND THE ADMINISTRATOR AND CIVIL
detail the jurisdictional and procedural requirements that must be REGISTRAR GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL STATISTICS
OFFICE,RESPONDENTS.
complied with before a judgment, authorizing the cancellation or

correction, may be annotated in the civil registry. It also requires, among DECISION

others, that the verified petition must be filed with the RTC of the
CARPIO, J.:
province where the corresponding civil registry is located; [38] that the civil
The Case
registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest must be made

parties to the proceedings;[39] and that the time and place for hearing This is a direct recourse to this Court from the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 107, Quezon City, through a petition for review on certiorari under
must be published in a newspaper of general circulation.[40] As these basic
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court on a pure question of law. The petition
jurisdictional requirements have not been met in the present case, we assails the Order1 dated 31 January 2011 of the RTC in Civil Case No.
Q-11-68582 and its Resolution dated 2 March 2011 denying petitioner’s
cannot consider the petition Gerbert filed with the RTC as one filed under Motion for Reconsideration. The RTC dismissed the petition for "Judicial
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of
Marriage)" based on improper venue and the lack of personality of
petitioner, Minoru Fujiki, to file the petition.
We hasten to point out, however, that this ruling should not be construed
The Facts
as requiring two separate proceedings for the registration of a foreign

divorce decree in the civil registry one for recognition of the foreign Petitioner Minoru Fujiki (Fujiki) is a Japanese national who married
respondent Maria Paz Galela Marinay (Marinay) in the Philippines 2 on 23
decree and another specifically for cancellation of the entry under Rule January 2004. The marriage did not sit well with petitioner’s parents. Thus,
Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan where he resides. Eventually, they
108 of the Rules of Court. The recognition of the foreign divorce decree
lost contact with each other.
may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself, as the object of special
In 2008, Marinay met another Japanese, Shinichi Maekara (Maekara).
proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to
Without the first marriage being dissolved, Marinay and Maekara were
establish the status or right of a party or a particular fact. Moreover, Rule married on 15 May 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines. Maekara brought
Marinay to Japan. However, Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse
108 of the Rules of Court can serve as the appropriate adversarial from Maekara. She left Maekara and started to contact Fujiki.3
proceeding[41] by which the applicability of the foreign judgment can be
Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their
measured and tested in terms of jurisdictional infirmities, want of notice
relationship. In 2010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a
to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. family court in Japan which declared the marriage between Marinay and
Maekara void on the ground of bigamy.4 On 14 January 2011, Fujiki filed a
petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or
Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." Fujiki prayed that (1) the
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for review on certiorari,
Japanese Family Court judgment be recognized; (2) that the bigamous
and REVERSE the October 30, 2008 decision of marriage between Marinay and Maekara be declared void ab initiounder
Articles 35(4) and 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines;5 and (3) for the
the Regional Trial Court of Laoag City, Branch 11, as well as its February 17,
RTC to direct the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the
2009 order. We order the REMAND of the case to the trial court for Japanese Family Court judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between
Marinay and Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the
Administrator and Civil Registrar General in the National Statistics Office
(NSO).6
18

The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court duty on the "successful petitioner for divorce or annulment of marriage to
send a copy of the final decree of the court to the local registrar of the
A few days after the filing of the petition, the RTC immediately issued an municipality where the dissolved or annulled marriage was
Order dismissing the petition and withdrawing the case from its active civil solemnized."17 Section 2 of Rule 108 provides that entries in the civil
docket.7 The RTC cited the following provisions of the Rule on Declaration registry relating to "marriages," "judgments of annulments of marriage"
of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable and "judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning" are subject
Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC): to cancellation or correction.18 The petition in the RTC sought (among
others) to annotate the judgment of the Japanese Family Court on the
certificate of marriage between Marinay and Maekara.
Sec. 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. –

Fujiki’s motion for reconsideration in the RTC also asserted that the trial
(a) Who may file. – A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void
court "gravely erred" when, on its own, it dismissed the petition based on
marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife.
improper venue. Fujiki stated that the RTC may be confusing the concept
of venue with the concept of jurisdiction, because it is lack of jurisdiction
xxxx which allows a court to dismiss a case on its own. Fujiki cited Dacoycoy v.
Intermediate Appellate Court19 which held that the "trial court cannot
Sec. 4. Venue. – The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the pre-empt the defendant’s prerogative to object to the improper laying of
province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has been residing the venue by motu proprio dismissing the case." 20Moreover, petitioner
for at least six months prior to the date of filing, or in the case of a alleged that the trial court should not have "immediately dismissed" the
non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines, at petition under Section 5 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC because he substantially
the election of the petitioner. x x x complied with the provision.

The RTC ruled, without further explanation, that the petition was in "gross On 2 March 2011, the RTC resolved to deny petitioner’s motion for
violation" of the above provisions. The trial court based its dismissal on reconsideration. In its Resolution, the RTC stated that A.M. No.
Section 5(4) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC which provides that "[f]ailure to 02-11-10-SC applies because the petitioner, in effect, prays for a decree of
comply with any of the preceding requirements may be a ground for absolute nullity of marriage.21 The trial court reiterated its two grounds for
immediate dismissal of the petition."8 Apparently, the RTC took the view dismissal, i.e. lack of personality to sue and improper venue under
that only "the husband or the wife," in this case either Maekara or Sections 2(a) and 4 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. The RTC considered Fujiki as
Marinay, can file the petition to declare their marriage void, and not Fujiki. a "third person"22 in the proceeding because he "is not the husband in the
decree of divorce issued by the Japanese Family Court, which he now
Fujiki moved that the Order be reconsidered. He argued that A.M. No. seeks to be judicially recognized, x x x."23 On the other hand, the RTC did
02-11-10-SC contemplated ordinary civil actions for declaration of nullity not explain its ground of impropriety of venue. It only said that
and annulment of marriage. Thus, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply. A "[a]lthough the Court cited Sec. 4 (Venue) x x x as a ground for dismissal of
petition for recognition of foreign judgment is a special proceeding, which this case[,] it should be taken together with the other ground cited by the
"seeks to establish a status, a right or a particular fact,"9 and not a civil Court x x x which is Sec. 2(a) x x x."24
action which is "for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the
prevention or redress of a wrong."10 In other words, the petition in the The RTC further justified its motu proprio dismissal of the petition based
RTC sought to establish (1) the status and concomitant rights of Fujiki and on Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros
Marinay as husband and wife and (2) the fact of the rendition of the Occidental.25 The Court in Braza ruled that "[i]n a special proceeding for
Japanese Family Court judgment declaring the marriage between Marinay correction of entry under Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in
and Maekara as void on the ground of bigamy. The petitioner contended the Original Registry), the trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages
that the Japanese judgment was consistent with Article 35(4) of the Family x x x."26 Braza emphasized that the "validity of marriages as well as
Code of the Philippines11 on bigamy and was therefore entitled to legitimacy and filiation can be questioned only in a direct action
recognition by Philippine courts.12 seasonably filed by the proper party, and not through a collateral attack
such as [a] petition [for correction of entry] x x x."27
In any case, it was also Fujiki’s view that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applied
only to void marriages under Article 36 of the Family Code on the ground The RTC considered the petition as a collateral attack on the validity of
of psychological incapacity.13 Thus, Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC marriage between Marinay and Maekara. The trial court held that this is a
provides that "a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void "jurisdictional ground" to dismiss the petition.28 Moreover, the verification
marriages may be filed solely by the husband or the wife." To apply and certification against forum shopping of the petition was not
Section 2(a) in bigamy would be absurd because only the guilty parties authenticated as required under Section 529 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.
would be permitted to sue. In the words of Fujiki, "[i]t is not, of course, Hence, this also warranted the "immediate dismissal" of the petition
difficult to realize that the party interested in having a bigamous marriage under the same provision.
declared a nullity would be the husband in the prior, pre-existing
marriage."14 Fujiki had material interest and therefore the personality to The Manifestation and Motion of the Office of the Solicitor General and
nullify a bigamous marriage. the Letters of Marinay and Maekara

Fujiki argued that Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the On 30 May 2011, the Court required respondents to file their comment on
Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court is applicable. Rule 108 is the the petition for review.30 The public respondents, the Local Civil Registrar
"procedural implementation" of the Civil Register Law (Act No. 3753)15 in of Quezon City and the Administrator and Civil Registrar General of the
relation to Article 413 of the Civil Code.16 The Civil Register Law imposes a
19

NSO, participated through the Office of the Solicitor General. Instead of a The Issues
comment, the Solicitor General filed a Manifestation and Motion.31
Petitioner raises the following legal issues:
The Solicitor General agreed with the petition. He prayed that the RTC’s
"pronouncement that the petitioner failed to comply with x x x A.M. No. (1) Whether the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages
02-11-10-SC x x x be set aside" and that the case be reinstated in the trial and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) is
court for further proceedings.32 The Solicitor General argued that Fujiki, as applicable.
the spouse of the first marriage, is an injured party who can sue to declare
the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. The Solicitor
(2) Whether a husband or wife of a prior marriage can file a petition to
General cited Juliano-Llave v. Republic33 which held that Section 2(a) of
recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the subsequent marriage between
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in cases of bigamy. In Juliano-Llave,
his or her spouse and a foreign citizen on the ground of bigamy.
this Court explained:

(3) Whether the Regional Trial Court can recognize the foreign judgment
[t]he subsequent spouse may only be expected to take action if he or she
in a proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the Civil
had only discovered during the connubial period that the marriage was
Registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.
bigamous, and especially if the conjugal bliss had already vanished. Should
parties in a subsequent marriage benefit from the bigamous marriage, it
would not be expected that they would file an action to declare the The Ruling of the Court
marriage void and thus, in such circumstance, the "injured spouse" who
should be given a legal remedy is the one in a subsisting previous marriage. We grant the petition.
The latter is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage not only
threatens the financial and the property ownership aspect of the prior The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and
marriage but most of all, it causes an emotional burden to the prior Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply
spouse. The subsequent marriage will always be a reminder of the in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a
infidelity of the spouse and the disregard of the prior marriage which marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country.
sanctity is protected by the Constitution.34 Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v. Republic,47 this Court held that the rule in
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC that only the husband or wife can file a declaration
The Solicitor General contended that the petition to recognize the of nullity or annulment of marriage "does not apply if the reason behind
Japanese Family Court judgment may be made in a Rule 108 the petition is bigamy."48
proceeding.35 In Corpuz v. Santo Tomas,36 this Court held that "[t]he
recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 I.
proceeding itself, as the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule
108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a
For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status
party or a particular fact."37 While Corpuzconcerned a foreign divorce
of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country, the
decree, in the present case the Japanese Family Court judgment also
petitioner only needs to prove the foreign judgment as a fact under the
affected the civil status of the parties, especially Marinay, who is a Filipino
Rules of Court. To be more specific, a copy of the foreign judgment may be
citizen.
admitted in evidence and proven as a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and
25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court. 49 Petitioner
The Solicitor General asserted that Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is the may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through (1) an official
procedure to record "[a]cts, events and judicial decrees concerning the publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer who has
civil status of persons" in the civil registry as required by Article 407 of the custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody is in a foreign
Civil Code. In other words, "[t]he law requires the entry in the civil registry country such as Japan, the certification may be made by the proper
of judicial decrees that produce legal consequences upon a person’s legal diplomatic or consular officer of the Philippine foreign service in Japan and
capacity and status x x x."38 The Japanese Family Court judgment directly authenticated by the seal of office.50
bears on the civil status of a Filipino citizen and should therefore be
proven as a fact in a Rule 108 proceeding.
To hold that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies to a petition for recognition of
foreign judgment would mean that the trial court and the parties should
Moreover, the Solicitor General argued that there is no jurisdictional follow its provisions, including the form and contents of the petition, 51 the
infirmity in assailing a void marriage under Rule 108, citing De Castro v. De service of summons,52 the investigation of the public prosecutor,53 the
Castro39 and Niñal v. Bayadog40 which declared that "[t]he validity of a setting of pre-trial,54 the trial55 and the judgment of the trial court.56 This is
void marriage may be collaterally attacked."41 absurd because it will litigate the case anew. It will defeat the purpose of
recognizing foreign judgments, which is "to limit repetitive litigation on
Marinay and Maekara individually sent letters to the Court to comply with claims and issues."57 The interpretation of the RTC is tantamount to
the directive for them to comment on the petition.42 Maekara wrote that relitigating the case on the merits. In Mijares v. Rañada,58 this Court
Marinay concealed from him the fact that she was previously married to explained that "[i]f every judgment of a foreign court were reviewable on
Fujiki.43Maekara also denied that he inflicted any form of violence on the merits, the plaintiff would be forced back on his/her original cause of
Marinay.44 On the other hand, Marinay wrote that she had no reason to action, rendering immaterial the previously concluded litigation."59
oppose the petition.45 She would like to maintain her silence for fear that
anything she say might cause misunderstanding between her and Fujiki.46 A foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage affects the civil
status, condition and legal capacity of its parties. However, the effect of a
20

foreign judgment is not automatic. To extend the effect of a foreign Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of fact of
judgment in the Philippines, Philippine courts must determine if the the judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding for cancellation or
foreign judgment is consistent with domestic public policy and other correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of
mandatory laws.60 Article 15 of the Civil Code provides that "[l]aws Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides that "[a] special
relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right,
capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even or a particular fact." Rule 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a
though living abroad." This is the rule of lex nationalii in private person’s life which are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil Register
international law. Thus, the Philippine State may require, for effectivity in Law or Act No. 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as birth,
the Philippines, recognition by Philippine courts of a foreign judgment death or marriage,66 which the State has an interest in recording. As noted
affecting its citizen, over whom it exercises personal jurisdiction relating to by the Solicitor General, in Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas this Court declared that
the status, condition and legal capacity of such citizen. "[t]he recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule
108 proceeding itself, as the object of special proceedings (such as that in
A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage void does Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right
not require relitigation under a Philippine court of the case as if it were a of a party or a particular fact."67
new petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. Philippine courts
cannot presume to know the foreign laws under which the foreign Rule 108, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states:
judgment was rendered. They cannot substitute their judgment on the
status, condition and legal capacity of the foreign citizen who is under the Sec. 1. Who may file petition. — Any person interested in any act, event,
jurisdiction of another state. Thus, Philippine courts can only recognize the order or decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been
foreign judgment as a fact according to the rules of evidence. recorded in the civil register, may file a verified petition for the
cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the Regional
Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a foreign Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located.
judgment or final order against a person creates a "presumptive evidence (Emphasis supplied)
of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a
subsequent title." Moreover, Section 48 of the Rules of Court states that Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese
"the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and
jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake Maekara on the ground of bigamy because the judgment concerns his civil
of law or fact." Thus, Philippine courts exercise limited review on foreign status as married to Marinay. For the same reason he has the personality
judgments. Courts are not allowed to delve into the merits of a foreign to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel the entry of marriage between
judgment. Once a foreign judgment is admitted and proven in a Philippine Marinay and Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of the decree of the
court, it can only be repelled on grounds external to its merits, i.e. , "want Japanese Family Court.
of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear
mistake of law or fact." The rule on limited review embodies the policy of
There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and material
efficiency and the protection of party expectations,61 as well as respecting
interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the
the jurisdiction of other states.62
property relations arising from it. There is also no doubt that he is
interested in the cancellation of an entry of a bigamous marriage in the
Since 1922 in Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee,63 Philippine courts have civil registry, which compromises the public record of his marriage. The
recognized foreign divorce decrees between a Filipino and a foreign citizen interest derives from the substantive right of the spouse not only to
if they are successfully proven under the rules of evidence.64 Divorce preserve (or dissolve, in limited instances68) his most intimate human
involves the dissolution of a marriage, but the recognition of a foreign relation, but also to protect his property interests that arise by operation
divorce decree does not involve the extended procedure under A.M. No. of law the moment he contracts marriage.69 These property interests in
02-11-10-SC or the rules of ordinary trial. While the Philippines does not marriage include the right to be supported "in keeping with the financial
have a divorce law, Philippine courts may, however, recognize a foreign capacity of the family"70 and preserving the property regime of the
divorce decree under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family marriage.71
Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen to remarry when his or her foreign
spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad.65
Property rights are already substantive rights protected by the
Constitution,72 but a spouse’s right in a marriage extends further to
There is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as a fact the relational rights recognized under Title III ("Rights and Obligations
Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay between Husband and Wife") of the Family Code.73 A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC
and Maekara on the ground of bigamy. While the Philippines has no cannot "diminish, increase, or modify" the substantive right of the spouse
divorce law, the Japanese Family Court judgment is fully consistent with to maintain the integrity of his marriage.74 In any case, Section 2(a) of A.M.
Philippine public policy, as bigamous marriages are declared void from the No. 02-11-10-SC preserves this substantive right by limiting the personality
beginning under Article 35(4) of the Family Code. Bigamy is a crime under to sue to the husband or the wife of the union recognized by law.
Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, Fujiki can prove the existence
of the Japanese Family Court judgment in accordance with Rule 132,
Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a spouse of a
Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of
subsisting marriage to question the validity of a subsequent marriage on
Court.
the ground of bigamy. On the contrary, when Section 2(a) states that "[a]
petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be
II. filed solely by the husband or the wife"75—it refers to the husband or the
wife of the subsisting marriage. Under Article 35(4) of the Family Code,
bigamous marriages are void from the beginning. Thus, the parties in a
21

bigamous marriage are neither the husband nor the wife under the law. However, this does not apply in a petition for correction or cancellation of
The husband or the wife of the prior subsisting marriage is the one who a civil registry entry based on the recognition of a foreign judgment
has the personality to file a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of annulling a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign
void marriage under Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. country. There is neither circumvention of the substantive and procedural
safeguards of marriage under Philippine law, nor of the jurisdiction of
Article 35(4) of the Family Code, which declares bigamous marriages void Family Courts under R.A. No. 8369. A recognition of a foreign judgment is
from the beginning, is the civil aspect of Article 349 of the Revised Penal not an action to nullify a marriage. It is an action for Philippine courts to
Code,76 which penalizes bigamy. Bigamy is a public crime. Thus, anyone recognize the effectivity of a foreign judgment, which presupposes a case
can initiate prosecution for bigamy because any citizen has an interest in which was already tried and decided under foreign law. The procedure in
the prosecution and prevention of crimes.77 If anyone can file a criminal A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign
action which leads to the declaration of nullity of a bigamous judgment annulling a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a
marriage,78 there is more reason to confer personality to sue on the citizen of the foreign country. Neither can R.A. No. 8369 define the
husband or the wife of a subsisting marriage. The prior spouse does not jurisdiction of the foreign court.
only share in the public interest of prosecuting and preventing crimes, he
is also personally interested in the purely civil aspect of protecting his Article 26 of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to
marriage. extend the effect of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without
undergoing trial to determine the validity of the dissolution of the
When the right of the spouse to protect his marriage is violated, the marriage. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provides
spouse is clearly an injured party and is therefore interested in the that "[w]here a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is
judgment of the suit.79 Juliano-Llave ruled that the prior spouse "is clearly validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by
the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage not only threatens the the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse
financial and the property ownership aspect of the prior marriage but shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law." In Republic v.
most of all, it causes an emotional burden to the prior spouse." 80 Being a Orbecido,88 this Court recognized the legislative intent of the second
real party in interest, the prior spouse is entitled to sue in order to declare paragraph of Article 26 which is "to avoid the absurd situation where the
a bigamous marriage void. For this purpose, he can petition a court to Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a
recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the bigamous marriage and divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse"89 under the laws of his
judicially declare as a fact that such judgment is effective in the Philippines. or her country. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code only
Once established, there should be no more impediment to cancel the authorizes Philippine courts to adopt the effects of a foreign divorce
entry of the bigamous marriage in the civil registry. decree precisely because the Philippines does not allow divorce. Philippine
courts cannot try the case on the merits because it is tantamount to trying
a case for divorce.
III.

The second paragraph of Article 26 is only a corrective measure to address


In Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental,
the anomaly that results from a marriage between a Filipino, whose laws
this Court held that a "trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages" in
do not allow divorce, and a foreign citizen, whose laws allow divorce. The
a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of entry under Rule 108
anomaly consists in the Filipino spouse being tied to the marriage while
of the Rules of Court.81 Thus, the "validity of marriage[] x x x can be
the foreign spouse is free to marry under the laws of his or her country.
questioned only in a direct action" to nullify the marriage. 82 The RTC relied
The correction is made by extending in the Philippines the effect of the
on Braza in dismissing the petition for recognition of foreign judgment as
foreign divorce decree, which is already effective in the country where it
a collateral attack on the marriage between Marinay and Maekara.
was rendered. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code is
based on this Court’s decision in Van Dorn v. Romillo90 which declared that
Braza is not applicable because Braza does not involve a recognition of a the Filipino spouse "should not be discriminated against in her own
foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage where one of the parties country if the ends of justice are to be served."91
is a citizen of the foreign country.
The principle in Article 26 of the Family Code applies in a marriage
To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil between a Filipino and a foreign citizen who obtains a foreign judgment
registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. A direct nullifying the marriage on the ground of bigamy. The Filipino spouse may
action is necessary to prevent circumvention of the substantive and file a petition abroad to declare the marriage void on the ground of
procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family Code, A.M. No. bigamy. The principle in the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family
02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Among these safeguards are the Code applies because the foreign spouse, after the foreign judgment
requirement of proving the limited grounds for the dissolution of nullifying the marriage, is capacitated to remarry under the laws of his or
marriage,83 support pendente lite of the spouses and children,84 the her country. If the foreign judgment is not recognized in the Philippines,
liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the the Filipino spouse will be discriminated—the foreign spouse can remarry
spouses,85 and the investigation of the public prosecutor to determine while the Filipino spouse cannot remarry.
collusion.86 A direct action for declaration of nullity or annulment of
marriage is also necessary to prevent circumvention of the jurisdiction of
Under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, Philippine
the Family Courts under the Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act No.
courts are empowered to correct a situation where the Filipino spouse is
8369), as a petition for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil
still tied to the marriage while the foreign spouse is free to marry.
registry may be filed in the Regional Trial Court "where the corresponding
Moreover, notwithstanding Article 26 of the Family Code, Philippine
civil registry is located."87 In other words, a Filipino citizen cannot dissolve
courts already have jurisdiction to extend the effect of a foreign judgment
his marriage by the mere expedient of changing his entry of marriage in
in the Philippines to the extent that the foreign judgment does not
the civil registry.
22

contravene domestic public policy. A critical difference between the case Brion, Del Castillo, Perez, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.
of a foreign divorce decree and a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous
marriage is that bigamy, as a ground for the nullity of marriage, is fully G.R. No. 195432 August 27, 2014
consistent with Philippine public policy as expressed in Article 35(4) of the
Family Code and Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. The Filipino
EDELINA T. ANDO, Petitioner,
spouse has the option to undergo full trial by filing a petition for
vs.
declaration of nullity of marriage under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, but this is
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Respondent.
not the only remedy available to him or her. Philippine courts have
jurisdiction to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous
marriage, without prejudice to a criminal prosecution for bigamy. DECISION

In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are incompetent SERENO, CJ:
to substitute their judgment on how a case was decided under foreign law.
They cannot decide on the "family rights and duties, or on the status, This is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking
condition and legal capacity" of the foreign citizen who is a party to the the nullification of the Orders dated 14 January and 8 February 2011
foreign judgment. Thus, Philippine courts are limited to the question of issued by the Regional Trial Court (R TC), Third Judicial Region, Branch
whether to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines. In a 45,1 City of San Fernando, Pampanga, in Civil Case No. 137, which
foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage involving a citizen of dismissed the Petition for Declaratory Relief filed therein.
a foreign country, Philippine courts only decide whether to extend its
effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex nationalii expressed in STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND OF THE CASE
Article 15 of the Civil Code.
The pertinent facts of the case, as alleged by petitioner, are as follows:
For this purpose, Philippine courts will only determine (1) whether the
foreign judgment is inconsistent with an overriding public policy in the
3. On 16 September 2001, petitioner married Yuichiro Kobayashi, a
Philippines; and (2) whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic
Japanese National, in a civil wedding solemnized at Candaba, Pampanga. A
ground to repel the foreign judgment, i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of
copy of their Certificate of Marriage is hereto attached as Annex 'A' and
notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. If there
made an integral part hereof.
is neither inconsistency with public policy nor adequate proof to repel the
judgment, Philippine courts should, by default, recognize the foreign
judgment as part of the comity of nations. Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the 4. On 16 September 2004, Yuichiro Kobayashi sought in Japan, and was
Rules of Court states that the foreign judgment is already "presumptive validly granted under Japaneselaws, a divorce in respect of his marriage
evidence of a right between the parties." Upon recognition of the foreign with petitioner. A copy of the Divorce Certificate duly issued by the
judgment, this right becomes conclusive and the judgment serves as the Consulate-General of Japan and duly authenticated by the Department of
basis for the correction or cancellation of entry in the civil registry. The Foreign Affairs, Manila, is heretoas Annex ‘B’ and made an integral part
recognition of the foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a hereof. 5. Said Divorce Certificate was duly registered with the Office of
subsequent event that establishes a new status, right and fact 92 that the Civil Registry of Manila. A copy of the Certification dated 28 October
needs to be reflected in the civil registry. Otherwise, there will be an 2005 is hereto attached as Annex ‘C’ and made an integral part hereof.
inconsistency between the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign
judgment and the public records in the Philippines.1âwphi1 6. Believing in good faith that said divorce capacitated her to remarry and
that by such she reverted to her single status, petitioner married
However, the recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous Masatomi Y. Ando on 13 September 2005 in a civil wedding celebrated in
marriage is without prejudice to prosecution for bigamy under Article 349 Sta. Ana, Pampanga. A copy of their Certificate of Marriage is hereto
of the Revised Penal Code.93 The recognition of a foreign judgment attached as Annex ‘D’ and made an integral part hereof.
nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a ground for extinction of criminal
liability under Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal Code. Moreover, 7. In the meantime, Yuichiro Kobayashi married Ryo Miken on 27
under Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, "[t]he term of prescription [of December 2005. A copy of the JapaneseFamily Registry Record of
the crime of bigamy] shall not run when the offender is absent from the Kobayashi showing the divorce he obtained and his remarriage with Ryo
Philippine archipelago." Miken, duly authenticated by the Consulate-General of Japan and the
Department of Foreign Affairs, Manila, is hereto attached as Annex ‘E’ and
Since A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is inapplicable, the Court no longer sees the made an integral part hereof.
need to address the questions on venue and the contents and form of the
petition under Sections 4 and 5, respectively, of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. 8. Recently, petitioner applied for the renewal of her Philippine passport
to indicate her surname withher husband Masatomi Y. Ando but she was
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The Order dated 31 January 2011 told at the Department of Foreign Affairs that the same cannot be issued
and the Resolution dated 2 March 2011 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch to her until she can prove bycompetent court decision that her marriage
107, Quezon City, in Civil Case No. Q-11-68582 are REVERSED and SET with her said husband Masatomi Y. Ando is valid until otherwise declared.
ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court is ORDERED to REINSTATE the petition for
further proceedings in accordance with this Decision. xxxx

SO ORDERED. 12. Prescinding from the foregoing, petitioner’s marriage with her said
husband Masatomi Y. Ando musttherefore be honored, considered and
23

declared valid, until otherwise declared by a competent court. jurisdiction for appropriateaction and/or disposition.5 Thereafter, the case
Consequently, and until then, petitioner therefore is and must be declared was raffled to Branch 45 of the RTC. On 14 January 2011, the trial court
entitled to the issuance of a Philippine passport under the name ‘Edelina dismissed the Petition anew on the ground that petitioner had no cause of
Ando y Tungol.’ Hence, this petitioner pursuant to Rule 63 of the Rules of action. The Order reads thus:
Court.2
The petition specifically admits that the marriage she seeks to be declared
On 29 October 2010, petitioner filed with the RTC a Petition for as valid is already her second marriage, a bigamous marriage under Article
Declaratory Relief, which was later raffled off to Branch 46. She impleaded 35(4) of the Family Codeconsidering that the first one, though allegedly
the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as respondent and prayed for the terminated by virtue of the divorce obtained by Kobayashi, was never
following reliefs before the lower court: recognized by a Philippine court, hence, petitioner is considered as still
married to Kobayashi. Accordingly, the second marriage with Ando cannot
WHEREFORE, petitioner most respectfully prays of this Honorable Court be honored and considered asvalid at this time.
that after proper proceedings, judgment be rendered, as follows:
Petitioner’s allegation of Sec. 2 (a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is misplaced.
(a) declaring as valid and subsisting the marriage between petitioner The fact that no judicial declaration of nullity of her marriage with Ando
Edelina T. Ando and her husband Masatomi Y. Ando until otherwise was rendered does not make the same valid because such declaration
declared by a competent court; under Article 40 ofthe Family Code is applicable onlyin case of re-marriage.
More importantly, the absence of a judicial declaration of nullity of
marriage is not even a requisite to make a marriage valid.
(b) declaring petitioner entitled to the issuance of a Philippine Passport
under the name "Edelina Ando y Tungol"; and
In view of the foregoing, the dismissal of this case is imperative.6
(c) directing the Department ofForeign Affairs to honor petitioner’s
marriage to her husband Masatomi Y. Ando and to issue a Philippine On 1 February 2011,petitioner filed an Ex ParteMotion for Reconsideration
Passport to petitioner under the name "Edelina Ando y Tungol". of the Order dated 14 January 2011. The motion was denied by the RTC in
open court on 8 February2011, considering that neither the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG) nor respondent was furnished with copies of the
Petitioner prays for such other just and equitable reliefs.3
motion.

On 15 November 2010, in an Order dismissing the Petition for want of


On 24 March 2011, petitioner filed the instant Petition for Review, raising
cause and action, as well as jurisdiction, the RTC held thus:
the sole issue of whether or not the RTC erred in ruling that she had no
cause of action.
Records of the case would reveal that prior to petitioner’s marriage to
Masatomi Y. Ando, herein petitioner was married to Yuichiro Kobayashi, a
Petitioner argues that under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, or the Rule on the
Japanese National, in Candaba, Pampanga, on September 16, 2001, and
Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of
that though a divorce was obtained and granted in Japan, with respect to
Voidable Marriages, it is solely the wife or the husband who can file a
the their (sic) marriage, there is no showing that petitioner herein
petition for the declaration of the absolute nullity of a void marriage. Thus,
complied with the requirements set forth in Art. 13 of the Family Code –
as the state is not even allowed to filea direct petition for the declaration
that is obtaining a judicial recognition of the foreign decree of absolute
of the absolute nullity of a void marriage,with even more reason can it not
divorce in our country.
collaterally attack the validity of a marriage, as in a petition for declaratory
relief. Further, petitioner alleges that under the law, a marriage – even
It is therefore evident, under the foregoing circumstances, that herein one that is void or voidable – shall be deemed valid until declared
petitioner does not have any causeof action and/or is entitled to the otherwise in a judicial proceeding.
reliefs prayed for under Rule 63 of the Rules of Court. In the same vein,
though there is other adequate remedy available to the petitioner, such
Petitioner also argues that assuming a court judgment recognizing a
remedy is however beyond the authority and jurisdiction of this court to
judicial decree of divorce is required under Article 13 of the Family Code,
act upon and grant, as it isonly the family court which is vested with such
noncompliance therewith is a mere irregularity in the issuance of a
authority and jurisdiction.4
marriage license. Any irregularity in the formal requisites of marriage,
such as with respect to the marriage license, shall notaffect the legality of
On 3 December 2010, petitioner filed an Ex ParteMotion for the marriage. Petitioner further claims that all the requisites for a petition
Reconsideration of the Order dated 15 November 2010. In anOrder dated for declaratory relief have been complied with.
14 December 2010, the RTC granted the motion in this wise:
With respect to the failure to furnish a copy of the Ex ParteMotion for
WHEREFORE, considering that the allegations and reliefs prayed for by the Reconsideration to the OSG and the DFA, petitioner avers that at the time
petitioner in her petition and the instant Motion for Reconsideration falls of the filing, the RTC had yet to issue a summons to respondent; thus, it
within the jurisdiction of the Special Family Court of this jurisdiction and had yet to acquire jurisdiction over them.
for the interest ofsubstantial justice, the Order of the Court dated
November 15, 2010 is hereby reconsidered.
Thereafter, the DFA, through the OSG, filed a Comment on the Petition.
The latter raised the following arguments: (1) the Petition was improperly
Let the record of this case be therefore referred back to the Office of the verified, as the juratin the Verification thereof only stated that the affiant
Clerk of Court for proper endorsement to the Family Court of this had exhibited "her currentand valid proof of identity," which proof was
24

not properly indicated, however; (2) prior judicial recognition by a Court, in which case the applicant may choose to continue to use her
Philippine court of a divorce decree obtained by the alien spouse is husband’s surname or resume the use of her maiden surname. From the
required before a Filipino spouse can remarry and be entitled to the legal above provisions, it is clear that for petitioner to obtain a copy of her
effects of remarriage; (3) petitioner failed to show that she had first passport under her married name, all she needed to present were the
exhausted all available administrative remedies, such as appealing to the following: (1) the original or certified true copyof her marriage contract
Secretary of the DFA under Republic Act No. (R.A.) 8239, or the Philippine and one photocopy thereof; (2) a Certificate of Attendance in a Guidance
Passport Act of 1996, before resorting to the special civil action of and Counseling Seminar, if applicable; and (3) a certified true copy of the
declaratory relief; and (4) petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration before Divorce Decree duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or consular
the RTC was a mere scrap of paper and did not toll the running of the post that has jurisdiction over the place where the divorce is obtained or
period to appeal. Hence, the RTC Order dated 14 January 2011 is now by the concerned foreign diplomatic or consular mission in the Philippines.
final.
In this case, petitioner was allegedly told that she would not be issued a
On 29 November 2011, petitioner filed her Reply to the Comment, Philippine passport under her second husband’s name.1âwphi1 Should
addressing the issues raised therein. her application for a passport be denied, the remedies available to her are
provided in Section 9 of R.A. 8239, which reads thus:
THE COURT’S RULING
Sec. 9. Appeal. — Any person who feels aggrieved as a result of the
The Court finds the Petition to be without merit. application of this Act of the implementing rules and regulations issued by
the Secretary shall have the right to appeal to the Secretary of Foreign
Affairs from whose decision judicial review may be had to the Courts in
First, with respect to her prayer tocompel the DFA to issue her passport,
due course.
petitioner incorrectly filed a petition for declaratory relief before the RTC.
She should have first appealed before the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,
since her ultimate entreaty was toquestion the DFA’s refusal to issue a The IRR further provides in detail:
passport to her under her second husband’s name.
ARTICLE 10
Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 8239, which Appeal
was adopted on 25 February 1997, the following are the additional
documentary requirements before a married woman may obtain a In the event that an application for a passport is
passport under the name of her spouse: denied, or an existing one cancelled or restricted, the
applicant or holder thereof shall have the right to
SECTION 2. The issuance of passports to married, divorced or widowed appeal in writing to the Secretary within fifteen (15)
women shall be made inaccordance with the following provisions: days from notice of denial, cancellation or restriction.

a) In case of a woman who is married and who decides to adopt the Clearly, she should have filed anappeal with the Secretary of the DFA in
surname of her husband pursuant to Art. 370 of Republic Act No. 386, she the event of the denial of her application for a passport, after having
must present the original or certifiedtrue copy of her marriage contract, complied with the provisions of R.A. 8239. Petitioner’s argument that her
and one photocopy thereof. application "cannot be said to havebeen either denied, cancelled or
restricted by [the DFA ], so as to make her an aggrieved party entitled to
appeal",7 as instead she "was merely told"8 that her passport cannot be
In addition thereto, a Filipino who contracts marriage in the Philippines to
issued, does not persuade. The law provides a direct recourse for
a foreigner, shall be required to present a Certificate of Attendance in a
petitioner in the event of the denial of her application.
Guidance and Counselling Seminar conducted by the CFO when applying
for a passport for the first time.
Second, with respect to her prayer for the recognition of her second
marriage as valid, petitioner should have filed, instead, a petition for the
b) In case of annulment of marriage, the applicant must present a certified
judicial recognition of her foreign divorce from her first husband.
true copy of her annotated Marriage Contract or Certificate of
Registration and the Court Order effecting the annulment.
In Garcia v. Recio,9 we ruled that a divorce obtained abroad by an alien
may be recognized in our jurisdiction, provided the decree is valid
c) In case of a woman who was divorced by her alien husband, she must
according to the national law of the foreigner. The presentation solely of
present a certified true copy of the Divorce Decree duly authenticated by
the divorce decree is insufficient; both the divorce decree and the
the Philippine Embassy or consular post which has jurisdiction over the
governing personal law of the alien spouse who obtained the divorce must
place where the divorce is obtained or by the concerned foreign
be proven. Because our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign laws
diplomatic or consular mission in the Philippines.
and judgment, our law on evidence requires that both the divorce decree
and the national law of the alien must be alleged and proven and like any
When the divorcee is a Filipino Muslim, she must present a certified true other fact.10
copy of the Divorce Decree or a certified true copy of the Certificate of
Divorce from the Shari’ah Court or the OCRG. d) In the event that
While it has been ruled that a petition for the authority to remarry filed
marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband, the applicant must
before a trial court actually constitutes a petition for declaratory
present the original or certified true copy of the Death Certificate of the
relief,11 we are still unable to grant the prayer of petitioner. As held by the
husband or the Declaration of Presumptive Death by a Civil or Shari’ah
RTC, there appears to be insufficient proof or evidence presented on
25

record of both the national law of her first husband, Kobayashi, and of the
validity of the divorce decree under that national law.12 Hence, any
declaration as to the validity of the divorce can only be made upon her
complete submission of evidence proving the divorce decree and the
national law of her alien spouse, in an action instituted in the proper
forum.

WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is DENIED without prejudice to


petitioner's recourse to the proper remedies available.

SO ORDERED.

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO


Chief Justice, Chairperson

WE CONCUR: