Passage of church annulment bill eyed
(The Philippine Star) - July 25, 2012 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Rep. Pablo Garcia is pushing for the passage of his proposed bill that seeks to legalize church annulment or dissolution of certain marriages by various religious sects in the country.

Garcia of the Cebu’s second district urged his colleagues in Congress to support his proposed legislation, House Bill 1290.

Garcia said since the adoption of the New Civil Code, the state recognizes Muslim divorce or dissolutions of marriages in accordance with their law.

If the state recognizes the annulment of marriage from certain religions like the Muslim, Garcia said the same recognition should also be accorded to all other religious sects or recognized religious denominations.

Under the Civil Code of the Philippines, only Muslimdivorces or dissolutions of marriages are recognized by the Philippine government and the annulment of marriages by other religious sects are not recognized.

Among the religious sects in the Philippines are the Roman Catholic Church, Aglipayan Church, Mormons, Assemblies of God, Iglesia ni Kristo, Jesus is Lord, Ang Dating Daan, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Victory Christian Fellowship, and El Shaddai.

Garcia added that government law recognizes a marriage solemnized in accordance with the laws of the church.

This means that the state respects the laws of the church.

“To give full force and effect to the principle of state recognition of the law of the church, it is but proper, if not logical, that the state must also respect the annulment of a marriage that results from the application of church laws. This also applies to all other established churches or religions,” Garcia said.

Monsignor Esteban Binghay, Episcopal Vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu, welcomes the legalization of church annulment.

“Okay ko ana nga i-recognize sa civil court ang annulment sa church,” Binghay said.

Presently, Binghay said marriages declared null and void by the ecclesiastical court have no civil effects.

Binghay also said that church annulment is much cheaper than annulment done in civil court.

But the process would sometimes last for two to three years before it is approved.

Unlike civil court, ecclesiastical court has a single lawyer to handle a case.

When asked if this would encourage separation of married couple, Binghay explained that the Church meticulously scrutinize every annulment case filed and they have rejected several cases already.

House Bill 1290 provides that whenever a marriage, duly and legally solemnized by a priest, minister, imam, rabbi, or presiding elder of an established church or religion in the Philippines is subsequently annulled or dissolved in a final judgment or decree by said church or religion, the said annulment or dissolution shall be recognized and given full force and effect in the Philippines.

The bill also provides annulled marriages shall be recorded in the appropriate civil registry within 30 days from issuance of final judgment.—/MBG (FREEMAN)

AGLIPAYAN CHURCH ANG DATING DAAN ANNULMENT ASSEMBLIES OF GOD BINGHAY CHURCH CIVIL EL SHADDAI EPISCOPAL VICAR OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CEBU GARCIA HOUSE BILL
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