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Civil effects of Church-decreed annulments sought in Senate bill

By: Maila Ager - September 20,2019 - 12:15 PM

MANILA, Philippines— A bill that seeks to recognize the civil  effects of Church-decreed annulment  of marriage has been revived  in the Senate.

The proposal is contained  in Senate Bill No. 1059  filed by Senate  Majority Leader  Juan Miguel Zubiri  last September 17, the same day the  Senate  opened its discussions on the proposed divorce law.

READ: Senate opens ‘historic’ discussion on divorce bill

In  2017,  a similar measure was  approved by a panel in the  House of Representatives.

Zubiri wants church annulments to have the same effect as an annulment declared by a competent court.

Under the bill,  the final judgment or decree of annulment or dissolution issued by the proper church or religious sect should be recorded with 30 days  in the appropriate civil registry.

“Either of the former spouses may marry again after complying with the requirements of the preceding paragraph and Article 52 of Executive Order No. 209 or the Family Code of the Philippines, otherwise, the subsequent marriage shall be null and void,” it said.

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

Zubiri  pointed out  that since  the state  recognizes  church marriage, then it should also  extend the same recognition  to church annulments.

“Similar to this principle is the recognition the State gives to divorce under Islamic Laws through Presidential Decree No. 1083,” Zubiri said.

“Thus, there should also be State recognition of annulments granted by the Church or by any duly recognized religious denomination, consistent with the principle of equality before the law.”

“Although divorce remains a contentious issue in the Catholic Church, annulment of marriage is allowed. However, the process is both inefficient and arduous depending on the nature of the case and the available evidence. As a result, the annulment process can take years to conclude,”  the senator further said.

Zubiri believes that the passage  of  his bill would help make  the process of annulment  more efficient./gsg

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