See - http://www.chanrobles.com/cralaw/2018julydecisions.php?id=670
G.R. No. 224015, July 23, 2018
STEPHEN I. JUEGO-SAKAI, Petitioner, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
"x x x.
The issue before Us has already been resolved in the landmark ruling of Republic v. Manalo,11 [G.R. No. 221029, April 24, 2018], the facts of which fall squarely on point with the facts herein. In Manalo, respondent Marelyn Manalo, a Filipino, was married to a Japanese national named Yoshino Minoro. She, however, filed a case for divorce before a Japanese Court, which granted the same and consequently issued a divorce decree dissolving their marriage. Thereafter, she sought to have said decree recognized in the Philippines and to have the entry of her marriage to Minoro in the Civil Registry in San Juan, Metro Manila, cancelled, so that said entry shall not become a hindrance if and when she decides to remarry. The trial court, however, denied Manalo's petition and ruled that Philippine law does not afford Filipinos the right to file for a divorce, whether they are in the country or abroad, if they are married to Filipinos or to foreigners, or if they celebrated their marriage in the Philippines or in another country.
On appeal, however, the Court therein rejected the trial court's view and affirmed, instead, the ruling of the CA. There, the Court held that the fact that it was the Filipino spouse who initiated the proceeding wherein the divorce decree was granted should not affect the application nor remove him from the coverage of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code which states that "where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law." We observed that to interpret the word "obtained" to mean that the divorce proceeding must actually be initiated by the alien spouse would depart from the true intent of the legislature and would otherwise yield conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose of Paragraph 2 of Article 26, which is, specifically, to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after a foreign divorce decree that is effective in the country where it was rendered, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. The subject provision, therefore, should not make a distinction for a Filipino who initiated a foreign divorce proceeding is in the same place and in like circumstance as a Filipino who is at the receiving end of an alien initiated proceeding.12
Applying the foregoing pronouncement to the case at hand, the Court similarly rules that despite the fact that petitioner participated in the divorce proceedings in Japan, and even if it is assumed that she initiated the same, she must still be allowed to benefit from the exception provided under Paragraph 2 of Article 26. Consequently, since her marriage to Toshiharu Sakai had already been dissolved by virtue of the divorce decree they obtained in Japan, thereby capacitating Toshiharu to remarry, petitioner shall likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.
x x x."