Church-decreed annulment to be legalized
Marriages annulled by the Church will be recognized under Philippine law once a bill pending at the House of Representatives is passed.
A bill legalizing Church-decreed annulment of marriages has been approved by the House committee on population and family relations.
The panel chaired by Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones recently approved the still unnumbered bill substituting for House Bills No. 1629 and No. 3705, both of which sought the recognition of the civil effects of the Church annulment of marriages.
Also known as the Church-decreed annulment bill, the measure states that whenever a marriage, duly and legally solemnized by a priest, minister, imam, rabbi or presiding elder of any church or religious sect in the Philippines, is subsequently annulled or dissolved in a final judgment or decree, the dissolution “shall have the same effect as a decree of annulment or dissolution issued by a competent court.”
It further provides that the final judgment of annulment issued by the proper church or religious sect shall be recorded in the appropriate civil registry within 30 days from its issuance.
Either spouse may marry again upon compliance with the requirements of the Family Code of the Philippines. Otherwise, the subsequent marriage shall be null and void.
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, according to the bill.
Due to the principle of separation of Church and State, there are separate processes in nullifying a marriage in a church and before the civil court.
Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia, one of the authors of the bill, noted that although marriage was an institution that the state had an interest in, it was also considered a “religious act.”
“For the predominant Catholics of our country, it is a sacrament and marriage is not considered valid insofar as Catholics are concerned unless celebrated in accordance with the solemnities of the Church. Marriage, therefore, is an element in the exercise of religious freedom,” he said.
“So, logically, if the marriage, insofar as the contracting parties are concerned, is validated by the laws of the Church, then it necessarily follows that by the same laws, such marriage can also be invalidated or annulled,” she said.
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