REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs MARELYN TANEDO MANALO, GR No. 221029, April 24, 2018
A landmark case where the Supreme Court ruled that a divorce decree obtained by a Filipino abroad is valid here with respect to mixed marriages.
The petitioner was previously married in the Philippines to a Japanese national, Yoshino Minoro. On January 10, 2012, the respondent Marelyn Tanedo Manalo filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court for the cancellation of entry of marriage in the Civil Registry of San Juan, Metro Manila, by virtue of a judgment of divorce rendered by a Japanese court dated December 6, 2011. At present, by virtue of the said divorce decree, petitioner and her divorce Japanese husband are no longer living together and in fact, the petitioner and her daughter are living separately from said Japanese former husband. The petitioner prays, among others, that together with the cancellation of the said entry of her marriage, that she be allowed to return and use her maiden surname, Manalo.
The Philippine courts ruled that the petition could not be granted because under Philippine Civil law, Filipinos married to non-Filipinos cannot file a petition for divorce in court because they have no right to divorce. On appeal, the CA overturned the RTC decision. However, the OSG filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied; hence, this petition.
Whether or not a divorce decree validly obtained abroad is valid.
The court ruled in the affirmative. The Supreme Court held that the law cannot be interpreted in ways that discriminate against Filipinos. As modified in E.O. No. 227, Article 26 now provides:
Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in accordance with the laws in force in the where country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38.
Where a marriage between Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him/her to remarry under Philippine law.
Paragraph 2 of Article 26 clearly confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the effect of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to determine the validity of the dissolution of the marriage. It authorizes our courts to adopt the effects of a foreign divorce decree precisely because the Philippines does not allow divorce. Furthermore, the law does not demand that the alien spouse should be the one who initiated the proceeding wherein the divorce decree was granted. It does not distinguish whether the Filipino spouse is the petitioner or the respondent in the foreign divorce proceeding.
Therefore, the Supreme Court ruled that a divorce decree validly obtained abroad is valid.
Indirah Gaffar was born and raised in the city of majestic waterfalls, Iligan City. She is a licensed teacher. Graduated in 2017 as Cum Laude at MSU-IIT, she passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) in 2018. She is currently a third-year student in MSU College of Law Iligan Campus and one of the writers in The Nexus. Growing up, she has always been allured by books and the world of fiction. This interest led her drawn to stories of people and news. Her writing focuses on providing an informative and entertaining read for everyone.