MANILA, Feb. 15, 2011â€”The head of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has noted a decrease in incidents of nullity of marriages.
Archbishop Oscar Cruz, judicial vicar of the CBCPâ€™s National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal said the reduction in nullity cases may also have something to do with the significant decrease in the number of matrimonial tribunals across the country.
There are about seven functional tribunals in the country with three to four tribunals able to resolve a case or two every year.
â€œMost of the marriages brought to Church Marriage Tribunal have something to do either with personality disorder or gender dysfunction,â€ he explained.
Asked why there are fewer tribunals in the Philippines despite the growing number of Filipinos who see annulment through the regular courts, Archbishop Cruz said while there are a lot of Canon lawyers in the Philippines, the work in marital tribunals may be described as â€œvery technical.â€ He added the â€œwork is long and difficultâ€ and the stipend is â€œpeanuts.â€
Many priests have studied and trained in Canon law but few dare work in matrimonial tribunals.
There are 16 archdioceses in the Philippines and every archdiocese has a judicial vicar who heads the tribunal. (Melo M. Acuna)