Republic of the Philippines v. Manalo

The respondent was married to a Japanese national. The couple filed for divorce in Japan. The respondent then petitioned to cancel the entry of marriage in the Civil Registry of San Juan, Metro Manila, as she was no longer married to her Japanese husband. The Regional Trial Court denied the petition ruling that the divorce obtained by the respondent in Japan cannot be recognized, due to Article 15 of the New Civil Code, which “does not afford Filipinos the right to file for a divorce, whether they are in the country or living abroad if they are married to Filipinos or to foreigners, or if they celebrated their marriage in the Philippines or in another country.” In addition, unless Filipinos are naturalized citizens of another country, Philippines law controls matters of family rights and duties, including marriages. The Court of Appeals overturned the Regional Trial Court decision, holding that Article 26 of the Family Code of the Philippines is applicable, even if it was the respondent who filed for divorce. Because the Japanese husband is now no longer married to the respondent, it would be unjust to still consider the respondent to be married to him. The Supreme Court partially affirmed the Court of Appeals decision. The Court noted that the burden was on the respondent to prove the divorce was validated by Japanese law as well as her former husband’s capacity to legally remarry. Thus, the case was remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings and for consideration of evidence presented regarding Japanese law on divorce.



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