Pinoy divorce abroad valid in PH, says SC

By Ashzel Hacherothe/malaya.com.ph – Supreme Court yesterday ruled that divorce obtained by a Filipino citizen abroad against a foreign spouse is valid in the Philippines even if it is the Filipino spouse who filed for divorce.

Voting 10-3, the court en banc upheld the September 18, 2014 decision and the October 12, 2015 resolution of the Court of Appeals on the case filed by Marelyn Tanedo Manalo which overturned a decision of Branch 43 of the Dagupan City RTC holding that Article 26 of the Family Code applies even if it was the Filipino spouse who filed for divorce against the foreign spouse because the decree obtained makes the foreigner no longer married to the former, thereby capacitating the foreigner to remarry.

The en banc also “remanded the case to the trial court for further reception of evidence as to the relevant laws of Japan on divorce.”

The SC ruling stemmed from a petition filed in January 2012 by Manalo for the cancellation of her marriage by virtue of a judgment of divorce rendered by a Japanese court.

In her petition, Manalo alleged being previously married in the Philippines to a certain Minoru Yoshino, a Japanese national, and that she filed for divorce in Japan that was granted on December 2011.

The three justices who dissented from the majority ruling were Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas Bernabe and Benjamin Alfredo Caguioa.

Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza did not take part in the deliberation and voting due to his previous participation in the case while Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is on leave.

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