75% of OFW couples separate or annul marriage

AT LEAST three of four, or 75 percent of, OFW (overseas Filipino workers) couples in Baguio and Benguet undergo annulment or legal separation, a retired judge said.

Retired Family Court Judge Francis Buliyat Sr. said the data was based on his 16 years of experience in the judiciary.

"It should be made known that while the OFW is really good for the economy of the country, I think it is not good for the families of our country," Buliyat said.

Annulment is a legal procedure of declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning as if it had never taken place.

"I have to be candid that there are more separated couples that have been annulled because you have a situation wherein the wife goes abroad which is usually the case in the present Philippines of OFWs and finds out that the husband has another family. But in our jurisdiction, divorce is not allowed, so you have to undergo annulment and the judge will determine whether that kind of attitude on the part of the husband constitutes psychological incapacity," the judge said.

During his term as presiding judge, Buliyat initially covered Baguio City prior to the separation of the Baguio City and Benguet family Trial court.

"We cannot define psychological incapacity or mental illness and so on but it is the effects, the activities done due to it that will define what is psychological incapacity, which comes from the provisions of the canon law of the Catholic Church which we borrowed, but personally more often than not, the annulment is based on the agreements of the couples, the separated which is actually a prohibition. Although I refer only to the cases I decided upon but aside from those cases, I would not know what the trend of annulment cases in Benguet is as of the moment," Buliyat added.


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