Republic v. Orbecido
Republic of the Philippines v. Cipriano Orbecido III
G.R. No. 154380 October 5, 2005
Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M. Villanueva at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Lam-an, Ozamis City. Cipriano’s wife left for the United States. A few years later, Cipriano discovered that his wife had been naturalized as an American citizen.
Cipriano learned from his son that his wife had obtained a divorce decree and then married a certain Innocent Stanley. Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to remarry invoking Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code. No opposition was filed. Finding merit in the petition, the court granted the same.
The Republic, herein petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), sought reconsideration but it was denied. The OSG contends that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code is not applicable to the instant case because it only applies to a valid mixed marriage; that is, a marriage celebrated between a Filipino citizen and an alien.
May the respondent remarry under Article 26 of the Family Code?
Yes. The Court is unable to sustain the OSG’s theory that the proper remedy of the Filipino spouse is to file either a petition for annulment or a petition for legal separation. The Court is unanimous in its holding that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code (E.O. No. 209, as amended by E.O. No. 227), should be interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen, who has been divorced by a spouse who had acquired foreign citizenship and remarried, also to remarry.
However, considering that in the present petition there is no sufficient evidence submitted and on record, we are unable to declare, based on respondent’s bare allegations that his wife, who was naturalized as an American citizen, had obtained a divorce decree and had remarried an American, that respondent is now capacitated to remarry. Such declaration could only be made properly upon respondent’s submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor.