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Minoru Fujiki vs Maria Paz Marinay

700 SCRA 69 Civil Law Family Code Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage
Who May File Bigamy
Remedial Law Special Proceedings Rule 108 Declaration of Absolute Nullity of
Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC
In January 204, Minoru Fujiki, a Japanese citizen, married Maria Paz Marinay, a
Filipino, here in the Philippines. But in May 2008, Marinay, while her marriage with
Fujiki was still subsisting, married another Japanese citizen (Shinichi Maekara), here
in the Philippines. Marinay and Maekara later went to Japan.
In 2010, Fujiki and Marinay reconciled and decided to resurrect their love affair.
Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a Japanese judgment declaring Marinays marriage with
Maekara void on the ground of bigamy. Said decree was granted in the same year.
Fujiki and Marinay later went back home to the Philippines together.
In 2011, Fujiki went to the RTC of Quezon City and filed a petition entitled Judicial
Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of
Marriage). He filed the petition under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court (Cancellation
Or Correction Of Entries In The Civil Registry). Basically, Fujiki wanted the following
to be done:
(1) the Japanese Family Court judgment be recognized;
(2) that the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara be declared void ab
initio under Articles 35(4) and 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines; and
(3) for the RTC to direct the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the
Japanese Family Court judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and
Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the Administrator and Civil
Registrar General in the National Statistics Office (NSO).
The RTC dismissed the petition on the ground that what Fujiki wanted is to have the
marriage between Marinay and Maekara be declared null (hence a petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage); that under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC or the Rule on
Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable
Marriages, a petition for such may only be filed by the husband or wife or in
this case either Maekara or Marinay only.
ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC is correct.
HELD: No. A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is not applicable here. Whats applicable is Rule
108 of the Rules of Court. As aptly commented by the Solicitor General:
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is the procedure to record [a]cts, events and judicial
decrees concerning the civil status of persons in the civil registry as required by
Article 407 of the Civil Code. In other words, [t]he law requires the entry in the civil
registry of judicial decrees that produce legal consequences upon a persons legal

capacity and status x x x. The Japanese Family Court judgment directly bears on
the civil status of a Filipino citizen and should therefore be proven as a fact in a Rule
108 proceeding.
The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of
Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petition to recognize
a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a
citizen of a foreign country. Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v. Republic, this Court held
that the rule in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC that only the husband or wife can file
a declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage does not apply if the
reason behind the petition is bigamy.
But how will Fujikis petition in the RTC prosper?
Fujiki needs to prove the foreign judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be
more specific, a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and
proven as a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section
48(b) of the Rules of Court.
Fujiki may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through
(1) an official publication or
(2) a certification or copy attested by the officer who has custody of the judgment. If
the office which has custody is in a foreign country such as Japan, the certification
may be made by the proper diplomatic or consular officer of the Philippine Foreign
Service in Japan and authenticated by the seal of office.

G.R. No. 162580 January 27, 2006

ELMAR O. PEREZ, Petitioner,


Private respondent Tristan A. Catindig married Lily Gomez Catindig twice on May 16,
1968. The marriage produced four children. Several years later, the couple
encountered marital problems that they decided to obtain a divorce from the
Dominican Republic. Thus, on April 27, 1984, Tristan and Lily executed a Special
Power of Attorney addressed to the Judge of the First Civil Court of San Cristobal,
Dominican Republic, appointing an attorney-in-fact to institute a divorce action
under its laws.

On July 14, 1984, Tristan married petitioner Elmar O. Perez in the State of Virginia in
the United States and both lived as husband and wife until October 2001. Their
union produced one offspring.
During their cohabitation, petitioner learned that the divorce decree issued by the
court in the Dominican Republic which "dissolved" the marriage between Tristan and
Lily was not recognized in the Philippines and that her marriage to Tristan was
deemed void under Philippine law. On August 13, 2001, Tristan filed a petition for
the declaration of nullity of his marriage to Lily with the RTC of Quezon City.

Whether or not Perez has a legal interest in the matter of litigation required of a
would-be intervenor in Tristans petition for declaration of nullity of his marriage
with his wife?

No, Perez has no legal interest. When petitioner and Tristan married on July 14,
1984, Tristan was still lawfully married to Lily. The divorce decree that Tristan and
Lily obtained from the Dominican Republic never dissolved the marriage bond
between them. It is basic that laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the
status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the
Philippines, even though living abroad. Regardless of where a citizen of the
Philippines might be, he or she will be governed by Philippine laws with respect to
his or her family rights and duties, or to his or her status, condition and legal
capacity. Hence, if a Filipino regardless of whether he or she was married here or
abroad initiates a petition abroad to obtain an absolute divorce from spouse and
eventually becomes successful in getting an absolute divorce decree, the
Philippines will not recognize such absolute divorce. Petitioners claim that she is
the wife of Tristan even if their marriage was celebrated abroad lacks merit. Thus,
petitioner never acquired the legal interest as a wife upon which her motion for
intervention is based.