Bill filed in Philippine Congress for civil recognition of marriage annulment in church

The legislators said they based their proposed measure on Pope Francis’s apostolic letter “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus”

A bill has been filed in the House of Representatives for the civil recognition of church-facilitated annulments

House Bill (HB) 1593, or the Church Nullity Act of 2022, states that “Whenever a marriage duly and legally solemnized by a priest, imam, rabbi or presiding elder of an established church or religion in the Philippines which is subsequently annulled, dissolved or declared a nullity in a final judgment or decree in accordance with the canons and precepts of the church or religious sect, shall have the same effect as a decree of annulment, dissolution or declaration of nullity issued by a competent court.”

The bill was filed by party-list representatives Yedda Romualdez and Jude Acidre.

The bill’s explanatory note stated that the Family Code of the Philippines “recognizes as valid a marriage solemnized under the laws of the Church.”

“If marriages so solemnized are recognized by the State, it is only proper that the very church that solemnized the marriage should also have the power to rule that attendant infirmity that rendered a marriage null, and its effects binding on the State,” it said.

The bill is currently pending with the House Committee on Population and Family Relations.

The legislators said they based their proposed measure on Pope Francis’s apostolic letter “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus” that seeks a quicker procedure for church annulment, which is typically a tedious and costly process.

Romualdez’s and Acidre’s bill also allows both of the former spouses to remarry with respect to Article 52 of the Family Code of the Philippines, which states that the judgment of annulment or of absolute nullity of the marriage, the partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses and the delivery of the children’s presumptive legitimes “shall be recorded in the appropriate civil registry and registries of property; otherwise, the same shall not affect third persons.”

Article 53 states that “Either of the former spouses may marry again after compliance with the requirements of the immediately preceding Article; otherwise, the subsequent marriage shall be null and void.”

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