G.R. No. 154380 : October 5 2005
Related Provision: Article 26, Par. 2, FC
- 1981, Obrecido married Villanueva (both Filipino) in Ozamis City. They had a son and a daughter
- 1986, Villanueva left for the United States bringing along their son.
- A few years later, Obrecido discovered that his wife had been naturalized as an American citizen.
- 2000, Obrecido learned from his son that his wife had obtained a divorce decree and then married Stanley where they lived in California.
- Obrecido thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to remarry invoking Paragraph 2 of Article 26, FC. It is a declaratory relief
- No opposition was filed. RTC ruled in favor of Obrecido, declaring him to be capacitated to remarry.
- SolGon filed an MR but RTC denied.
- SolGon filed a Petition for Review to assail the RTC Decision raising pure question of law.
ISSUE: WON RTC erred in ruling that Obrecido is capacitated to remarry by virtue of Article 26, Par. 2, FC?
HELD: NO. RTC did not err in ruling that Obrecido is capacitated to remarry by virtue of Article 26, Par. 2, FC.
- Obrecido is capacitated to remarry.
- RTC ruling sustained.
- Legislative intent is 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.
In Quita, the parties were, as in this case, Filipino citizens when they got married. The wife became a naturalized American citizen in 1954 and obtained a divorce in the same year. The Court therein hinted, by way of obiter dictum, that a Filipino divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse is no longer married under Philippine law and can thus remarry.
- Applying the rule of reason, Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to remarry as if the other party were a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of the marriage. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and injustice. Where the interpretation of a statute according to its exact and literal import would lead to mischievous results or contravene the clear purpose of the legislature, it should be construed according to its spirit and reason, disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the law. A statute may therefore be extended to cases not within the literal meaning of its terms, so long as they come within its spirit or intent
The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the celebration of the marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.
DISPOSITIVE: Likewise, before a foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our own courts, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. Such foreign law must also be proved as our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. Like any other fact, such laws must be alleged and proved. Furthermore, respondent must also show that the divorce decree allows his former wife to remarry as specifically required in Article 26.