Gerbert Corpuz vs. Daisilyn Sto. Tomas, G.R No. 186571, August 11, 2010
Gerbert R. Corpuz, a former Filipino citizen, who acquired Canadian citizenship through naturalization married Daisylyn Sto. Tomas. When he found that his wife was having an affair, Gerbert filed a petition for divorce in Canada; and was granted.
After 2 years, Gerbert found a new love and decided to marry. He then filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and/or declaration of marriage as dissolved. RTC denied the petition and concluded that Gerbert was not the proper party to institute the action for judicial recognition of the foreign divorce decree as he is a naturalized Canadian citizen. It ruled that only the Filipino spouse can avail of the remedy, under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, in order for him or her to be able to remarry under Philippine law.
Gerbert considers himself as a proper party, vested with sufficient legal interest, to institute the case, as there is a possibility that he might be prosecuted for bigamy if he marries his Filipina fiancée in the Philippines since two marriage certificates, involving him, would be on file with the Civil Registry Office.
Whether the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code extends to aliens the right to petition a court of this jurisdiction for the recognition of a foreign divorce decree.
No. The alien spouse can claim no right under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code as the substantive right it establishes is in favor of the Filipino spouse.
The legislative history and intent behind the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code was “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.” The legislative intent is for the benefit of the Filipino spouse, by clarifying his or her marital status, settling the doubts created by the divorce decree. Essentially, the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provided the Filipino spouse a substantive right to have his or her marriage to the alien spouse considered as dissolved, capacitating him or her to remarry. 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 decree. If the court finds that the decree capacitated the alien spouse to remarry, the courts can declare that the Filipino spouse is likewise capacitated to contract another marriage. No court in this jurisdiction, however, can make a similar declaration for the alien spouse (other than that already established by the decree), whose status and legal capacity are generally governed by his national law.
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