A.M. No. MTJ-00- 1329, 8 March 2001
Petitioner was a former Filipino citizen who acquired Canadian citizenship through naturalization. He was married to the respondent but was shocked of the infidelity on the part of his wife. He went back to Canada and filed a petition for divorce and was granted. Desirous to marry another woman he now loved, he registered the divorce decree in the Civil Registry Office and was informed that the foreign decree must first be judicially recognized by a competent Philippine court. Petitioner filed for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and declaration of marriage as dissolved with the RTC where respondent failed to submit any response. The RTC denied the petition on the basis that the petitioner lacked locus standi. Thus, this case was filed before the Court.
WON the second paragraph of Art 26 of the FC extends to aliens the right to petition a court of this jurisdiction from the recognition of a foreign divorce decree.
No.Not all of the requirements are met by the couple making the said marriage null and void.
Article 34 of the Family Code provides:
No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths. The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties and found no legal impediment to the marriage.
For this provision on legal ratification of marital cohabitation to apply, the following requisites must concur:
1. The man and woman must have been living together as husband and wife for at least five years before the marriage;
2. The parties must have no legal impediment to marry each other;
3. The fact of absence of legal impediment between the parties must be present at the time of marriage;
4. The parties must execute an affidavit stating that they have lived together for at least five years [and are without legal impediment to marry each other]; and
5. The solemnizing officer must execute a sworn statement that he had ascertained the qualifications of the parties and that he had found no legal impediment to their marriage.
Not all of these requirements are present in the case at bar. Making the decision of the solemnizing officer questionable.
Among the requisites of Article 34 is that parties must have no legal impediment to marry each other. Considering that both parties has a subsisting marriage, as indicated in their marriage contract that they are both “separated” is an impediment that would make their subsequent marriage null and void. Just like separation, free and voluntary cohabitation with another person for at least 5 years does not severe the tie of a subsisting previous marriage. Clearly, respondent Judge Sanchez demonstrated gross ignorance of the law when he solemnized a void and bigamous marriage.
* Case digest by Desmarc G. Malate, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018