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Case Report by: Marco Miguel E.

Lozada
9. Republic vs. Orbecido
G.R. No. 154380, Oct. 5, 2005
DOCTRINE:
The intent of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse
remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino
spouse. Thus, taking into consideration the legislative intent, Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be
interpreted to include cases involving parties who, at the time of the celebration of the marriage, were
Filipino citizens but, later on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce
decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to remarry as if the other party was a foreigner at
the time of the solemnization of the marriage. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and
injustice.
FACTS:
Orbecido and his wife, Filipinos, got married in Ozamis City in 1981. In 1986, Orbecidos wife left
for the United States with their only son and a few years later was naturalized an American citizen.
Thereafter, she married again in California.
Learning of his wifes divorce and remarriage in the U.S., Orbecido filed with the trial court a
petition for authority to remarry, invoking Art. 26, par. 2 of the Family Code. The petition was granted,
but the Republic through the OSG appealed directly to the Supreme Court on a question of law, claiming
that the second paragraph of Art. 26 of the Family Code applies only to a mixed couple.
The Supreme Court, conceding that the provision in question on its face does not appear to
govern the case at hand and seems to apply only to cases where at the time of the celebration of the
marriage, the parties were a Filipino and a foreigner, and that the deliberations of the Committee on the
Family Code showed that it was intended to avoid the absurd situation where a Filipino spouse remains
married to the alien spouse, who after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino Spouse.
ISSUE: Whether or not Orbecido can remarry.
HELD: The Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to remarry as if the other party were a foreigner
at the time of the solemnization of the marriage. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and
injustice. The reckoning point in the provision is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the
celebration of the marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the
alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry. In resorting to the legislative intent behind said provision
and applying the rule of reason, said provision (art. 26 par. 2) 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.