Like us on Facebook

Please wait..10 Seconds Cancel

Persons Case Digest: Garcia – Recio vs Recio

Garcia – Recio vs Recio

GR 138322, October 2, 2002

Lessons Applicable: divorce

Laws Applicable: Art. 15 and Art. 26 par. 2 FC


Grace J. Garcia-Recio (2nd mariage) ----- Rederick A. Recio à Editha Samson (Wife)

  • March 1, 1987: Rederick A. Recio, a Filipino was married to Editha Samson, an Australian citizen, in Malabon, Rizal
  • May 18, 1989: a decree of divorce, purportedly dissolving the marriage, was issued by an Australian family court
  • June 26, 1992: Recio became an Australian citizen, as shown by a "Certificate of Australian Citizenship" issued by the Australian government
  • January 12, 1994: Recio married Grace j. Garcia, a Filipino, in Cabanatuan City.  Recio declared himself as "single" and "Filipino."
  • October 22, 1995: Recio and Grace J. Garcia ak.a. Garcia-Recio begun to live separately without prior judicial dissolution of their marriage
  • May 16, 1996: In accordance to the Statutory Declarations secured in Australia, their conjugal assets were divided
  • March 3, 1998: Garcia-Recio filed a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage  on the ground of bigamy claiming she only learned of the prior marriage in November, 1997
    • Recio prayed in his answer that it be dismissed for no cause of action
  • RTC: marriage dissolved on the ground that the divorce issued in Australia was valid and recognized in the Philippines

ISSUE: W/N the divorce between Recio and Samson was valid and proven

HELD: NO. Remand the case to the court a quo for the purpose of receiving evidence which conclusively show respondent's legal capacity to marry petitioner; and failing in that, of declaring the parties' marriage void on the ground of bigamy

  • Divorces:
1.    A marriage between two Filipinos cannot be dissolved even by a divorce obtained abroad, because of Articles 15 and 17 of the Civil Code. 
2.    In mixed marriages involving a Filipino and a foreigner, Article 26 of the Family Code allows the former to contract a subsequent marriage in case the divorce is "validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry."
3.    A divorce obtained abroad by a couple, who are both aliens, may be recognized in the Philippines, provided it is consistent with their respective national laws.
  • Before a foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our courts, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it
o    legal capacity to contract marriage is determined by the national law of the party concerned
o    A divorce obtained abroad is proven by the divorce decree itself
§  The decree purports to be a written act or record of an act of an officially body or tribunal of a foreign country
o    Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132, on the other hand, a writing or document may be proven as a public or official record of a foreign country by either:
1.    an official publication; or
2.    a copy thereof attested by the officer having legal custody of the document.
If the record is not kept in the Philippines, such copy must be:
1.    accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept; and
2.    authenticated by the seal of his office
  • Since the divorce was a defense raised by Recio, the burden of proving the pertinent Australian law validating it falls squarely upon him
  • In its strict legal sense, divorce means the legal dissolution of a lawful union for a cause arising after marriage. But divorces are of different types:
1.    absolute divorce or a vinculo matrimonii - terminates the marriage
2.    limited divorce or a mensa et thoro - suspends it and leaves the bond in full force
  • Recio presented a decree nisi or an interlocutory decree – a conditional or provisional judgment of divorce
o    On its face, the herein Australian divorce decree contains a restriction that reads:
"1. A party to a marriage who marries again before this decree becomes absolute (unless the other party has died) commits the offence of bigamy."