See - G.R. No. 195432
"x x x.
The Court finds the Petition to be without merit.
First, with respect to her prayer tocompel the DFA to issue her passport, petitioner incorrectly filed a petition for declaratory relief before the RTC. She should have first appealed before the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, since her ultimate entreaty was toquestion the DFA’s refusal to issue a passport to her under her second husband’s name.
Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 8239, which was adopted on 25 February 1997, the following are the additional documentary requirements before a married woman may obtain a passport under the name of her spouse:
SECTION 2. The issuance of passports to married, divorced or widowed women shall be made inaccordance with the following provisions:
a) In case of a woman who is married and who decides to adopt the surname of her husband pursuant to Art. 370 of Republic Act No. 386, she must present the original or certifiedtrue copy of her marriage contract, and one photocopy thereof.
In addition thereto, a Filipino who contracts marriage in the Philippines to a foreigner, shall be required to present a Certificate of Attendance in a Guidance and Counselling Seminar conducted by the CFO when applying for a passport for the first time.
b) In case of annulment of marriage, the applicant must present a certified true copy of her annotated Marriage Contract or Certificate of Registration and the Court Order effecting the annulment.
c) In case of a woman who was divorced by her alien husband, she must present a certified true copy of the Divorce Decree duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or consular post which has jurisdiction over the place where the divorce is obtained or by the concerned foreign diplomatic or consular mission in the Philippines.
When the divorcee is a Filipino Muslim, she must present a certified true copy of the Divorce Decree or a certified true copy of the Certificate of Divorce from the Shari’ah Court or the OCRG. d) In the event that marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband, the applicant must present the original or certified true copy of the Death Certificate of the husband or the Declaration of Presumptive Death by a Civil or Shari’ah Court, in which case the applicant may choose to continue to use her husband’s surname or resume the use of her maiden surname. From the above provisions, it is clear that for petitioner to obtain a copy of her passport under her married name, all she needed to present were the following: (1) the original or certified true copyof her marriage contract and one photocopy thereof; (2) a Certificate of Attendance in a Guidance and Counseling Seminar, if applicable; and (3) a certified true copy of the Divorce Decree duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or consular post that has jurisdiction over the place where the divorce is obtained or by the concerned foreign diplomatic or consular mission in the Philippines.
In this case, petitioner was allegedly told that she would not be issued a Philippine passport under her second husband’s name. Should her application for a passport be denied, the remedies available to her are provided in Section 9 of R.A. 8239, which reads thus:
Sec. 9. Appeal. — Any person who feels aggrieved as a result of the application of this Act of the implementing rules and regulations issued by the Secretary shall have the right to appeal to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs from whose decision judicial review may be had to the Courts in due course.
The IRR further provides in detail:
In the event that an application for a passport is denied, or an existing one cancelled or restricted, the applicant or holder thereof shall have the right to appeal in writing to the Secretary within fifteen (15) days from notice of denial, cancellation or restriction.
Clearly, she should have filed an appeal with the Secretary of the DFA in the event of the denial of her application for a passport, after having complied with the provisions of R.A. 8239. Petitioner’s argument that her application "cannot be said to havebeen either denied, cancelled or restricted by [the DFA ], so as to make her an aggrieved party entitled to appeal",7 as instead she "was merely told"8 that her passport cannot be issued, does not persuade. The law provides a direct recourse for petitioner in the event of the denial of her application.
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