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Kung makapag-aasawang muli dahil matagal nang walang komunikasyon sa asawa

DR. PERSIDA V. RUEDA-ACOSTA / MAGTANONG KAY ATTORNEY

Dear Chief Acosta,

Mag-aanim na ta­on na kaming walang komunikasyon ng asa­wa ko. Nagtatrabaho siya noon bilang pahi­nante sa Mindanao. Ang sabi sa akin, nawala na lamang daw siya at hindi na muling nagpakita sa kanyang pinagtatra­ba­huhan. Nais kong makapag-asawang muli at mayroong nakapagpayo sa akin na maghain ako ng petisyon sa hukuman upang maipagpalagay nang pumanaw ang aking asawa. Ano ba ang mga dapat kong isaalang-alang ayon sa batas? — Genevi

Dear Genevi,

Nabanggit mo sa iyong sulat na ikaw ay mayroon nang asawa. Dahil dito, hindi ka maaaring mag-asawang muli sapagkat ito ay hindi pinapayagan ng ating batas at maiko­konsidera ang iyong pangalawang pagpapa­kasal bilang bigamous marriage. Gayunman, maaari mong ikonside­ra ang paghahain ng petisyon sa hukuman upang maideklarang pumanaw na ang iyong asawa kung mayroon nang apat (4) na taon na siyang wala at ikaw ay mayroong well-founded belief na siya ay pumanaw na. Batay sa Article 41 ng ating Family Code:

“Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient.

For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.”

Nais naming bigyang-diin na kinakailangang mayroong malinaw na katibayan na susuporta sa mga alegasyon ng iyong petisyon. Ang katibayang ipipresenta mo ay ang pumapa­tungkol hindi lamang sa pagkawala o maaaring pagpanaw ng iyong asa­wa kundi pati na rin sa lubos na pagsisikap mo na hanapin ang iyong asawa at sa kabila ng lahat ng iyong pagsisi­kap ay sadyang hindi mo na siya nahanap pa. Ito ay alin­sunod sa alituntu­ning itinakda ng Korte Supre­ma sa kasong Republic vs. Orcelino-Villanueva (G.R. No. 210929, July 29, 2015), sa panulat ni Mahistrado Jose Catral Mendoza:

“Article 41 of the Family Code provides that before a judicial declaration of presumptive death may be granted, the present spouse must prove that he/she has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead. x x x

The well-founded belief in the absentee’s death requires the pre­sent spouse to prove that his/her belief was the result of diligent and reasonable efforts to locate the absent spouse and that based on these efforts and inquiries, he/she believes that under the circumstances, the absent spouse is already dead. It necessitates exertion of active effort (not a mere passive one). Mere absence of the spouse (even beyond the period required by law), lack of any news that the absentee spouse is still alive, mere failure to communicate, or general presumption of absence under the Civil Code would not suffice. The premise is that Article 41 of the Family Code places upon the present spouse the burden of complying with the stringent requirement of “well-founded belief” which can only be discharged upon a showing of proper and honest-to-goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain not only the absent spouse’s whereabouts but, more importantly, whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead. This strict standard approach ensures that a petition for declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code is not used as a tool to conveniently circumvent the laws in light of the State’s policy to protect and strengthen the institution of marriage. Courts should never allow procedural shortcuts but instead should see to it that the stricter standard required by the Family Code is met.”

Nawa ay nasagot namin ang inyong mga katanungan. Nais na­ming ipaalala sa inyo na ang opinyong ito ay nakabase sa inyong mga salaysay sa inyong liham at sa pagkakaintindi namin dito. Maaaring maiba ang opinyon kung mayroong karagdagang impormasyong ibibigay. Mas mainam kung personal kayong sasangguni sa isang abogado.

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