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8. Republic vs.

Orbecido
Digested By: JM

Facts: Cipriano Orbecido married Lady Myros M. Villanueva and later had two
children. Ciprianos wife, along with their son, Kristoffer, went to the US. Years later,
Cipriano learned that his wife had been naturalized as an American citizen and had
obtained a divorce degree and then married another man. Orbecido, invoking
Article 26 (2) of the Family Code, filed a petition for authority to remarry which was
granted by the trial court. The Republic, through OSG, sought reconsideration but
was denied. In view of that, petitioner filed this petition for review on certiorari of
the Decision of the Regional Trial Court.

Issue: (1) Whether or not Article 26 of the Family Code applies in this case.
(2) Whether or not Orbecido can remarry under Article 26 of the Family Code.

Ruling:
(1) YES. Article 26, par 2. of the Family code provides:

Art. 26 (2) 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 have capacity to
remarry under the Philippine laws.

The legislative intent of the article is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino
spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no
longer married to the Filipino spouse. Taking the spirit of the law into consideration,
Par. 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to include cases involving parties who, at
the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of
them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree.

T he twin elements for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows:


1. There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a Filipino citizen and
a foreigner; and
2. A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to
remarry.
The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the
celebration of the marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is
obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.

(2) NO. Respondent Orbecido, who has the burden of proof, failed to submit
competent evidence to prove that his wife was naturalized as an American citizen
and had obtained a divorce decree. Before a foreign divorce decree can be
recognized by our own courts, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact
and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. Such foreign law must
also be alleged and proved as a fact since our courts cannot take judicial notice of
foreign laws. Furthermore, Orbecido failed to show that the divorce decree allows
his former wife to remarry as specifically required in Article 26. In effect, there is no
evidence sufficient to declare that he is capacitated to enter into another marriage.