Thursday, December 03, 2009

Is the Philippine embassy in Japan violating Article 26 of the Family Code and Supreme Court decisions?

Through an e-mail, I was informed that the Philippine embassy in Japan has issued as of September 2009 guidelines titled Announcement for Divorced Filipinosand for what it calls “Certificate of No Objection” for Filipinos wishing to marry Japanese and foreign nationals. Part of the guidelines concerns requirements for divorced Filipinos who wish to marry either Japanese or other foreign nationals. I stand to be corrected but at first glance, it seems that the guidelines issued by the Philippine embassy in Japan violate Article 26 of the Family Code of the Philippines and various Supreme Court decisions (please read my posts Divorce obtained abroad by a Filipino not recognized here and The right of a divorced Filipino spouse to remarry under Article 26 of the Family Code).

The Supreme Court has ruled that a Filipino citizen against whom a divorce was filed and obtained by the foreigner-spouse can only remarry after the foreign divorce decree has been recognized by a Philippine court of competent jurisdiction and such court has ruled that the Filipino can legally remarry. It seems that the Philippine embassy in Japan has by itself and without any legal authority done away with the need for the judicial recognition of a foreign divorce decree. I will further investigate this issue and keep you informed. Posted below is part of the guidelines issued by the Philippine embassy in Japan:

For Divorced Filipinos:

8. Valid Passport: Original & one (1) photocopy of first page, visa page, and last page.NOTE: If Expired Passport/Lost Passport/Mutilated Passport/Passport under an Assumed Name (AKA/Alias)/Passport with Discrepancy (First Name/Middle Name/Last Name/Date of Birth/Place of Birth), applicant has to apply for a new passport prior to acceptance of application for CNO. (Please see requirements for the abovementioned passport cases.)

9. Certificate of Philippine Nationality/Identity (CPNI) under single name (please see requirements for CPNI)

10. Completed Affidavit of Civil Status to be filed with the Embassy

11. One Original and one (1) photocopy of the following, whichever is applicable, to be obtained from the City Hall:

a. If former spouse is a Japanese, Family Registry (Koseki Tohon) reflecting the couples’ place and date of divorce. Please note that Koseki Shohon (part of Koseki Tohon) and Juri Shomeisho (Certificate of Acceptance) are not acceptable.

b. If former spouse is a foreign national other than Japanese, Certificate of Acceptance of Divorce (Juri Shomeisho) showing the couples’ place and date of divorce.

12. Original Report of Marriage (if married in Japan or outside the Philippines) or NSO Marriage Contract authenticated by the DFA (if married in the Philippines) of applicant and former spouse (Original and 1 Photocopy)

13. Birth Certificate in security paper issued by the NSO authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (Original & 1 Photocopy).

14. Two (2) Passport Size Pictures

For Filipinos whose marriage has been annulled:

1. Valid Passport (Original & one (1) photocopy of first page, visa page, and last page)

For female applicants: Present original passport and submit one photocopy of first page, page with amendment to “single name,” and last page bearing name of signing officer

For male applicants: Original & one (1) photocopy of first page & last page

NOTE: If Expired Passport/Lost Passport/Mutilated Passport/Passport under an Assumed Name (AKA/Alias)/Passport with Discrepancy (First Name/Middle Name/Last Name/Date of Birth/Place of Birth), applicant has to apply for a new passport prior to acceptance of application for CNO. (Please see requirements for the above-mentioned passport cases.)

2. Amended Marriage Contract issued by the NSO (Original & 1 Photocopy) has to be authenticated by Authentication Division, DFA Manila

3. Certificate of Finality of Decision and Court Order/Decision (Original & 1 Photocopy) has to be authenticated by Authentication Division, DFA Manila

4. Birth Certificate issued on security paper by the NSO (Original & 1 Photocopy) has authenticated by Authentication Division, DFA Manila

5. Two (2) passport-size pictures
As you can read from the guidelines above, the Philippine embassy in Japan issues a “Certificate of No Objection” (CNO) to previously- divorced Filipino citizens who wish to re-marry Japanese and foreign nationals, without requiring the presentation of a decision by a Philippine court recognizing the foreign divorce decree and declaring the Filipino’s right to remarry.

On the other hand, the embassy’s requirements for the issuance of a CNO for Filipinos whose marriages have been annulled provide that the following must be submitted: (a) amended marriage certificate from the NSO; and (b) certificate of finality of decision and court order/decision authenticated by the DFA.

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