Rufus, Maxi push for measure on Family Code

THE House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill seeking to amend the country’s Family Code which seeks to put Filipino and alien spouses on equal footing and to prevent unintentional discrimination.

House Bill 4368, principally authored by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Abante Mindanao party-list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr., was passed by the 284-man chamber last August 29.

The measure seeks to amend Executive Order 209 or the Family Code of the Philippines by harmonizing the law with the recent rulings of the Supreme Court on divorce obtained by the alien spouse in another country.

Rodriguezes said HB 4368 allows a Filipino to contract a subsequent marriage in cases where divorce is validly obtained abroad the alien spouse and recognizes divorce obtained by the alien spouse in another country without the need to seek judicial recognition or enforcement of the foreign judicial degree of absolute divorce.

They lamented that the Supreme Court’s October 2, 2001 ruling which made it a requirement that a foreign divorce degree be recognized before it can be enforced by the Philippine court “puts to naught the concept of equity for the Filipino spouse.” “As such, the Filipino spouse is once again put at a disadvantage considering that the foreign spouse is already free to remarry. This proposed amendment to the Family Code will cure such anomaly,” the brother lawmakers said.

The SC’s Garcia-Recio vs Recio ruling ruled that a divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our jurisdiction, provided such degree is valid according to the national law of the foreigner.

“However, the divorce degree and the governing personal law of the alien spouse who obtained the divorce must be proven.

Our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign laws and judgments; hence, like any other facts, both the divorce decree and the national law of the alien must be alleged and proven according to our law on evidence,” the 2001 ruling said.

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