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Topic Persons and Family Relations

> Marriage
> Requisites of Marriage
Case No. G.R. No. 186571
Date August 11, 2010
Case Name Corpuz vs. Tirol Sto. Tomas and the Solicitor General
Full Case Name GERBERT R. CORPUZ, petitioner
vs.
DAISYLYN TIROL STO. TOMAS
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, respondents
Ponente Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion
Nature Petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45 , Rules of Court) from the decision of the Laoag City
Regional Trial Court (RTC)

FACTS
 Petitioner is a former Filipino Citizen who acquired  Petition was DENIED by the RTC on the ground that
Canadian citizenship through naturalization; petitioner is not the proper party to institute the
 Married the Filipina respondent on January 18, 2005 case, as only the Filipino spouse can avail of the
in Pasig City; remedy under Par. 2, Art. 26 of the Family Code (FC):
 Soon after the wedding, petitioner left for Canada
due to work and other professional commitments; “Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the
 Returned to the Philippines (PH) sometime in April Philippines, in accordance with the laws in force in
2005 to surprise respondent, only to discover her the country where they were solemnized, and valid
having an affair with another man; there as such, shall also be valid in this country,
 Returned to Canada and filed a petition for divorce , except those provided under Articles 35 (1), (4), (5)
which was granted on December 8, 2005 effective and (6), 36, 37 and 38.
January 8, 2006;
 Two years after, petitioner moved on and found a Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen
new Filipina and with the desire to marry his new and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce
fiancée, petitioner went to the Pasig City Civil is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien
Registry Office (CRO) and registered the divorce spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the
decree granted by the Canadian Court; Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to
 Divorce decree has been registered but petitioner remarry under Philippine law.”
was informed by an official of the National Statistics
Office (NSO), now the Philippine Statistics Authority,  RTC stated that the decision is consistent with the
that the marriage between him and the Filipina legislative intent behind the enactment of the
respondent still subsists under PH laws, and the disputed provision, determined by the Court in
divorce decree, to be enforceable, must first be Republic vs. Orbecido III, such that it is “to avoid the
judicially recognized by a competent PH court; absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains
 Petitioner filed a petition for judicial recognition of married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a
foreign divorce and/or declaration of marriage as divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse”.
dissolved with the RTC;
 Respondent was summoned and thru a notarized  Petitioner’s Arguments (Review on certiorari) :
letter/manifestation offered no opposition to the (a) Asserts similarity of his action with the case of
petition, and that she could have filed a same case Orbecido; declaratory relief or determination of
but was prevented by financial/personal constraints his rights under Par. 2, Art. 26 of the FC;
and requested that she be considered a party-in- (b) Said provision of the FC applies as well to the
interest with the same prayer as the petitioner; benefit of the alien spouse;
(c) RTC’s interpretation is contrary to the essence of decree-if the court finds that the decree capacitated
the said provision; the alien spouse to remarry, the courts can declare
(d) He is a proper party vested with sufficient legal that the Filipino spouse is likewise capacitated to
interest to institute the case; and remarry.
(e) OSG and the respondent both supported his
position. RATIONALE (Held No.2)

ISSUE
 The unavailability of Par. 2, Art. 26 of the FC to aliens
Whether Par. 2, Art. 26 of the FC extends to aliens the does not necessarily strip such aliens of legal interest
right to petition a Philippine Court for the recognition to petition the RTC for the recognition of his or her
of a foreign divorce decree foreign divorce decree, because if the foreign divorce
decree is proven, according to our rules of evidence,
HELD as authentic and in conformity with the alien’s
1. NO, the alien spouse can claim no right under Par. 2, national law, serves as a presumptive evidence of
Art. 26 of the FC, RTC was correct in limiting the right in favor of the petitioner, pursuant to the
applicability of the provision for the benefit of the appropriate Rules of Court providing for the effects of
Filipino spouse. foreign judgments.
 Direct involvement or being the subject of a foreign
2. The inapplicability of above provision to aliens is not judgment is sufficient to clothe a party with the
a sufficient basis for the RTC to dismiss the petition requisite interest to institute an action before our
brought before it, so the appropriate course of Courts for the recognition of the foreign judgment. In
action is to remand it to the RTC for reconsideration. a divorce situation, we have declared, no less, that the
divorce obtained by an alien abroad may be
recognized in the Philippines, provided the divorce is
RATIONALE (Held No.1) valid according to the alien’s national law.
 Executive Order No. 227 was enacted to amend Art.  The starting point in any recognition of a foreign
26 of the FC to recognize the reality that divorce is a divorce judgment is the acknowledgement that our
possibility in marriages between a Filipino and an courts do not take judicial notice of foreign judgment
alien and this effectively incorporated in to the law and laws, and for these to be recognize, must be
the SC’s holding in Van Dorn vs. Romillo and Pilapil proven as facts under our rules on evidence,
vs. Ibay-Somera (The marital rights of an alien together with the alien’s applicable national law to
spouse can no longer be asserted after a decree of show the effect of judgment on the alien himself and
divorce he/she obtained in a foreign court, because this can be made in an action instituted specifically for
the foreign divorce already severed the marital the purpose or in another action where a party
bond between the spouses). invokes the foreign decree as an integral aspect of his
 Essentially, the Par. 2, Art. 26 of the FC provided the claim or defense.
Filipino spouse a substantive right to have his or her  Every precaution must be taken to ensure conformity
marriage to the alien spouse considered as with our laws before a recognition is made, as the
dissolved, capacitating him or her to remarry. This foreign judgment, once recognized, shall have the
is a direct exception to the rule in Article 17 of the effect of res judicata (final judgment no longer
Civil Code providing that the policy against absolute subject to appeal) between the parties.
divorce cannot be subverted by judgments OTHER MATTERS
promulgated by a foreign country, and serves as the
basis for recognizing the dissolution of the marriage  The SC noted the legally improper recording of the
between Filipino spouse and his or her alien spouse. Pasig City CRO of the divorce decree on the
 An action based on Par. 2, Art. 26 of the FC is not marriage certificate of petitioner and respondent
limited to the recognition of the foreign divorce
based on the mere presentation of the divorce
decree.
 In the absence of a judicial order recognizing the
foreign divorce decree, the Pasig City CRO should
not have recorded and annotated the divorce
decree on the marriage certificate, but in doing so
acted totally out of turn and without authority of
law. For being contrary to law (NSO Circular No. 4,
series of 1982, and the Department of Justice
Opinion No. 181, series of 1982), the registration
of the foreign divorce decree without the required
judicial recognition is patently void and cannot
produce any legal effect.
 The recognition that the RTC may extend to the
Canadian divorce decree does not by itself, under
the Rules of Court, authorize the cancellation of the
entry in the civil registry.
 Rule 108 of the Rules of Court provides for the
jurisdictional and procedural requirements that
must be complied with before a judgment,
authorizing the cancellation or correction, may be
annotated in the civil registry. In the case at bar, the
recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be
made in a Rule 108 proceeding, as the object of
judicial proceedings.

DISPOSITIVE PORTION

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for review


on certiorari, and REVERSE the October 30, 2008
decision of the Regional Trial Court of Laoag City,
Branch 11, as well as its February 17, 2009 order.
We order the REMAND of the case to the trial court
for further proceedings in accordance with our
ruling above. Let a copy of this Decision be
furnished the Civil Registrar General. No costs.

SO ORDERED.