House approves bill amending the Family Code

THE House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill allowing a Filipino to contract a subsequent marriage in cases where divorce is validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse.

“The objective of this amendment is to put Filipino and alien spouses on equal footing and prevent unintentional discrimination,” Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan), Chairperson of the House Committee on Revision of Laws.

House Bill 4368, authored by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), seeks to amend Executive Order 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines by harmonizing with recent rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on divorce obtained by the alien spouse in another country.

“This measure seeks to recognize divorce obtained by the alien spouse in another country without the need to seek judicial recognition or enforcement of the foreign judicial decree of absolute divorce,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez cited the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Garcia-Recio vs Recio on October 2, 2001 which states that a foreign divorce decree be recognized before it can be enforced by the court in the Philippines, thereby putting to naught the concept of equity for the Philippine spouse.

“This ruling made it a requirement that a foreign divorce decree be recognized before it can be enforced by the court in the Philippines, thereby putting to naught the concept of equity for the Philippine spouse,” Rodriguez said.

Under the measure, the contracting parties who are previously married shall furnish copy of the Judicial Decree of Absolute Divorce obtained by the alien spouse duly authenticated by the Philippine Consul in the country where the decree was obtained.

The measure also provides that the registration of the Foreign Judicial Decree of Absolute Divorce in the Civil Registry shall be sufficient enough for the issuance of marriage license.

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