Remedial Law

Minoru Fujiki vs Maria Paz Marinay

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G.R. No. 196049 – 700 SCRA 69 – Remedial Law – Special Proceedings – Proving a Fact – Matter of proving foreign law is covered by special proceedings

Civil Law – Persons and Family Relations – Dissolution of Marriage – Petition for Annulment – Divorce Obtained Abroad – Who may file petition

In 2004, Minoru Fujiki, a Japanese, married Maria Paz Marinay, a Filipina. They married here in the Philippines. Later, Marinay married another Japanese (Shinichi Maekara) here in the Philippines despite the fact that her marriage with Fujiki was still subsisting. Nevertheless, Fujiki still loves Marinay and so in 2010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a divorce decree in Japan which declared Marinay’s marriage to Maekara as terminated. In 2011, Fujiki filed with the Quezon City RTC a petition for the recognition of the Japanese divorce decree. His petition was dismissed outright on the ground that he is not the proper party. The judge ruled that under Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC), the proper party is the husband in the marriage sought to be declared void. In this case, it was Maekara.

ISSUE: Whether or not the judge is correct.

HELD: No. A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is not applicable to the petition filed by Fujiki. What Fujiki filed is in the nature of a petition under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court which provides:

Sec. 1. Who may file petition. — Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located.

By filing a petition seeking the recognition of the foreign divorce decree, Fujiki was actually seeking to establish a fact which is a remedy covered by Special Proceedings. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides that “[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.

The case was remanded to the QC RTC for further hearing.

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