House OKs bill allowing church-decreed annulment – The Manila Times Online

A bill that will give church-decreed annulment of marriage the same weight as a court ordered annulment has been approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading.

Not a single lawmaker among the 203 House members opposed the passage of House Bill 6779 identified as An Act Recognizing the Civil Effects of Church Annulment Decrees authored by Reps. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez of Leyte, Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu and Sol Aragones of Laguna.

Under the bill, in the event that a marriage duly and legally solemnized by a priest, minister, rabbi or presiding elder of any church or religious sect in the Philippines is annulled or dissolved in accordance with the canons or precepts of the church or religious sect, that annulment or dissolution will have the same effect as a decree of annulment or dissolution issued by a competent court.

The measure also mandates that the final judgment or decree of annulment or dissolution issued by the church or religious sect should be recorded in the civil registry within 30 days from the issuance of the final judgment or decree of annulment or dissolution.

“I thank my colleagues for the swift passage of the bill without jeopardizing the indissolubility of marriage,” Romualdez said in a statement.

The state recognizes divorce under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines based on the Sharia or Islamic law even if Philippine laws do not provide for divorce.

House Bill 6779 also provides that either of the former spouses may marry again.

In securing a marriage license, the spouse involved must present a certified true copy of the final judgment or decree of declaration of nullity, annulment or dissolution of marriage registered with the appropriate civil registry.

In addition, the bill states that the status of children of marriages subject of the church annulment decree will be determined in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines.

In case the ground for church annulment decree is not similar to any of the grounds provided in the Family Code of the Philippines, their common children born or conceived before the issuance of the Church annulment will be considered legitimate.

The liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, the custody and support of the common children, and the delivery of their presumptive legitimes, on the other hand, will be agreed upon by the spouses and embodied in a public document. In case no agreement is met, the provisions of the Family Code of the Philippines will be enforced.