My wife Rina filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity against me which was eventually granted by the court in 2003. Upon knowledge of the decision which is not yet final, Rina immediately contracted another marriage with Adrian. On my part I filed a motion for reconsideration upon receipt of the decision, but it was denied by the court. I elevated the matter before the Court of Appeals which rendered a decision dismissing Rina’s petition, and there was already an entry of judgment on the case. Somebody told me that Rina’s marriage to Adrian is bigamous. Is there a bigamous marriage in the case of Rina?
The marriage of Rina and Adrian is bigamous considering that she contracted the marriage despite the fact that your marriage to her is still valid and existing. In Capili vs. People of the Philippines (G.R. No. 183805, July 3, 2013), the Honorable Supreme Court Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta declared that:
“Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes the crime of bigamy as follows:
Art. 349. Bigamy. – The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings. The elements of the crime of bigamy, therefore, are: (1) the offender has been legally married; (2) the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; (3) that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (4) that the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity”.
In your situation, the decision rendered by the family court declaring your marriage to Rina as null and void is not yet final; thus, the marriage is still valid and existing. Hence, Rina committed the crime of bigamy when she contracted the second marriage relying on the said decision which is not yet final. The Honorable Supreme Court Associate Justice Peralta said in the same case cited above that:
“Jurisprudence is replete with cases holding that the accused may still be charged with the crime of bigamy, even if there is a subsequent declaration of the nullity of the second marriage, so long as the first marriage was still subsisting when the second marriage was celebrated.”
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org