G.R. No. 152577, 21 September 2005
This is a petition for review on certiorari the decision of the Court of Appeals. CrasusIyoy was married to FelyIyoy in 1961 and this marriage gave birth to five children. FelyIyoy eventually left for the States to provide for their family in 1984 and in lessthan a year sent Crasus documents to sign with regard to a divorce that she applied for. Crasus eventually found out that Fely married Stephen Micklus in 1985 and their relationship has conceived of a child. Crasus eventually questioned the validity of Fely’s subsequent marriage. The Court of Appeals in deciding this case sided with Fely.
Whether or not a divorce decree acquired by a Filipino from the United States is valid and recognized in the Philippines.
The court decided in the negative and reversed the Appellate Court’s decision. Basing from the facts, Fely only became a citizen in 1988 and acquired the divorce in 1984, marrying Micklus a year after. This means that paragraph two of Article 26 cannot be applied in such a way that, Fely is not yet considered an alien at the time the divorce was acquired and therefore she does not have the capacity to remarry and the marriage is still considered as subsisting. The Civil Code also provides that Filipino Citizen, with regard to family laws and status are governed by Philippine laws regardless of where they are. Fely, being a Filipino Citizen then, is not permitted by our laws to acquire a divorce decree since such is not recognized in the Philippines.
“Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force 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) and (6), 36, 37 and 38.
“WHERE A MARRIAGE BETWEEN A FILIPINO CITIZEN AND A FOREIGNER IS VALIDLY CELEBRATED AND A DIVORCE IS THEREAFTER VALIDLY OBTAINED ABROAD BY THE ALIEN SPOUSE CAPACITATING HIM OR HER TO REMARRY, THE FILIPINO SPOUSE SHALL LIKEWISE HAVE CAPACITY TO REMARRY UNDER PHILIPPINE LAW.”
ART. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.
Article 15.Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad. (9a)
ART. 48. In all cases of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that the evidence is not fabricated or suppressed.
* Case digest by Lady Rubyge A. Denura, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018