I married Sasaki in Japan on June 14, 2010. Our relationship turned sour because my husband displayed unbearable attitude and constantly abused me. These caused our disagreements.
In the year 2013, Sasaki divorced me and married another girl. At present, I have a Filipino boyfriend and we are planning to marry in the Philippines, when I go home this coming December. Can I marry my Filipino boyfriend? What shall I do?
Ms. R. A.
Dear Ms. R.A.,
The general rule is “there is no divorce in this country.” Your situation, however, is governed by the 2nd paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code of the Philippines. It provides, “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”.
In the case of Corpuz vs. Sto. Tomas, it is stated that “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 also capacitated to contract another marriage.”(G.R. No. 186571, August 11, 2010)
For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country, the petitioner only needs to prove the foreign judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be more specific, a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and proven as a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court. The petitioner may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through (1) an official publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer who has custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody is in a foreign country such as Japan, the certification may be made by the proper diplomatic or consular officer of the Philippine foreign service in Japan, and authenticated by the seal of office (Fujiki vs Marinay, G.R. No. 196049, June 26, 2014).
In your situation, you must file a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce with the Regional Trial Court with proper jurisdiction. After the court has recognized the foreign divorce, it can now be registered in the appropriate local civil registrar pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth Act 3753.
Please take note that the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, requires that all documents sourced or obtained in Japan and intended for use and submission to Philippine authorities must undergo consular authentication at the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo or the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka, through verification of the seal and signature of a duly appointed official of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org