The House of Representatives has passed on second reading a bill filed by Valenzuela City Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo which allows Filipinos divorced abroad to remarry.
Under the measure, the process of recognizing foreign judgments on divorce obtained by former spouses of Filipinos has been made easier, said Gunigundo, a member of the National Unity Party (NUP).
Besides Gunigundo, Representatives Rufus Rodriguez and Maximo Rodriguez also filed a similar measure. Their bills have been consolidated under House Bill 5907 by the House Committee on the Revision of Laws.
HB 5907 amends Article 13 of Executive Order No. 209, or the Family Code of the Philippines, to read (proposed amendments in italics): “Article 13. In case either of the contracting parties has been previously married, the applicant shall be required to furnish, instead of the birth or baptismal certificate required in the last preceding article, the death certificate of the deceased spouse or the judicial decree of the absolute divorce obtained by the alien spouse duly authenticated by the Philippine consul in the country where the decree was obtained, or the judicial decree of annulment or declaration of nullity of his or her previous marriage.”
The bill provides that, “Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a judicial decree of absolute divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse, the Filipino spouse shall thereupon acquire the capacity to remarry under Philippine Laws.”
Under the present law, a Filipino spouse still needs to obtain judicial recognition from the local courts or enforcement of the foreign judicial decree of absolute divorce in order to remarry. The bill proposed by Gunigundo simplifies this process by allowing the registration by the civil registrar of the foreign judicial decree of absolute divorce as sufficient proof for the issuance of a new marriage license.
The Philippines has not legalized divorce. Under existing laws, a Filipino may only remarry if his/her spouse dies, or after an annulment or nullification of a past marriage.