MANILA — Two Roman Catholic prelates backed the proposed law in the House of Representatives that removes the judicial process for the annulment of marriage.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes noted that House Bill 6779, entitled “An Act Recognizing the Civil Effects of Church Annulment Decrees” is recognizing the Church’s decision to annul a wedding.
“We bishops approve of this good House Bill,” he said.
“Indeed since the Church is given the authority to perform marriage automatically approved by the state or recognized civilly, it is only very logical that when the Church annuls a marriage, i.e. that there was no valid marriage at all, the state or civil government should also automatically recognize the nullity of the marriage as declared by the Church,” the Catholic prelate added.
For his part, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said that the bill was giving weight to the decision of the Catholic Church.
“With the House’s approval, it means church declaration of nullity has same effect with and much weight with civil court decisions,” he added.
At the same time, the Bataan bishop said that the law would also prevent parties from spending too much time and money.
“House Bill 6779 still upholds the indissolubility of marriage. The positive effect is just to avoid the costly and long tiring judicial process,” Santos explained.
“And also the church criteria could be the basis for the civil courts deliberation and decision. And favorable to the church in her mission to protect marriage’s stability and sanctity,” he said.
On Monday, the plenary approved the bill on third and final reading.
Under the proposed law, marriage annulments approved by the Catholic Church or any other religious group will have the same effect as a civil annulment, thus eliminating the legal process.
Likewise, the measure will give either of the former spouses a chance to marry again but after recording their annulment in the civil registry and complying with the requirements of the Family Code.
House Deputy Speaker Gwyendolyn Garcia and Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez are the main authors of the bill.