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PEOPLE vs.

ARAGON FACTS: FIRST MARRIAGE: September 28, 1925: The accused, under the name of Proceso Rosima, contracted marriage with a certain Maria Gorrea in the Philippine Independent Church in Cebu. SECOND MARRIAGE: August 27, 1934: While his marriage with Maria Gorrea was subsisting, the accused under the name of Proceso Aragon, contracted a canonical marriage with Maria Faicol in the Santa Teresita Church in Iloilo City. After the said marriage, the accused and Maria Faicol established residence in Iloilo. As the accused was then a traveling salesman, he commuted between Iloilo where he maintained Maria Faicol, and Cebu where he maintained his first wife, Gorrea. August 5, 1939 First wife, Maria Gorrea died in Cebu City. After Maria Gorrea's death, the accused brought Maria Faicol to Cebu City in 1940, where she worked as a teacher-nurse. It would seem that the accused and Maria Faicol did not live a happy marital life in Cebu, for it appears that in 1949 and 1950, Maria Faicol suffered injuries to her eyes because of physical maltreatment in the hands of the accused. On January 22, 1953, the accused sent Maria Faicol to Iloilo, allegedly for the purpose of undergoing treatment of her eyesight. THIRD MARRIAGE: October 3, 1953 The accused admitted having contracted marriage with Jesusa C. Maglasangin Sibonga, Cebu. Although the accused made an attempt to deny his previous marriage with Maria Faicol, the Court, however, believes that the attempt is futile for the fact of the said second marriage was fully established not only by the certificate of the said marriage, but also by the testimony of Maria Faicol and of Eulogio Giroy, one of the sponsors

of the wedding, and the identification of the accused made by Maria Faicol.

ISSUE: Is the accused guilty of bigamy with regards to his third marriage?

RULING: NO. Prior the Family Code, a judicial decree declaring a marriage as void ab initio is not required. The second marriage (Faicol and Aragon) is void ab initio because it was celebrated during the subsistence of a previous marriage. 3rd marriage is valid. Aragon is not guilty of bigamy.

MERCADO v. TAN

FACTS: Dr. Vicent Mercado was previously married with Thelma Oliva in 1976 before he contracted marriage with Consuelo Tan in 1991 which the latter claims she did not know. Tan filed bigamy against Mercado, and after a month the latter filed an action for declaration of nullity of marriage against Oliva. The decision in 1993 declared marriage between Mercado and Oliva null and void. ISSUE: Whether Mercado committed bigamy in spite of filing the declaration of nullity of the former marriage.

RULING: YES. Mercado is guilty of bigamy. A judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage is necessary before a subsequent one can be legally contracted. One who enters into a subsequent marriage without first obtaining such judicial declaration is guilty of bigamy. This principle applies even if the earlier union is characterized by statute as void. In the case at bar, Mercado only filed the declaration of nullity of his marriage with Oliva right after Tan filed

bigamy case. Hence, by then, the crime had already been consummated. He contracted second marriage without the judicial declaration of the nullity. The fact that the first marriage is void from the beginning is not a defense in a bigamy charge.

Separate Opinion of Justice Vitug Justice Vitug pointed out that void ab initio marriages (except those falling under the principle of psychological incapacity) should be allowed to be used as a valid defense for bigamy. Void ab initio marriages require no judicial decree to establish their nullity. It is true that the Revised Penal Code does not require the first or second marriage to be declared void to avoid a criminal case of bigamy but this should only be applicable to voidable marriages - because again, void ab initio marriages really do not need such judicial decree. Just in case: the OTHER ARAGON case PEOPLE v. ARAGON FACTS: Aragon was charged with the crime of bigamy for having contracted a second marriage with one Efigenia C. Palomer on September 21, 1947, while his previous valid marriage with Martina Godinez was still subsisting and had not been dissolved. While the said case was pending trial, Efigenia C. Palomer filed a civil action in the same court against Aragon alleging that the latter "by means of force, threats and intimidation of bodily harm, forced plaintiff to marry him and praying that the marriage be annulled. Aragon filed a motion in the criminal case for bigamy, praying that the criminal charge be provisionally dismissed, on the ground that the civil action for annulment of the second marriage is a prejudicial question. The court denied this motion on the ground that the validity of the second marriage may be determined in the very criminal action for bigamy. This appeal has been presented to this court. ISSUE: Whether or not prejudicial question exists between the annulment case filed by Palomer and the criminal case for bigamy against Aragon. RULING: Prejudicial question has been defined to be that which arises in a case, the resolution of which (question) is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in said case, and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. The prejudicial question must be determinative of the case before the court; this is first element. Jurisdiction to try said question must be lodged in another tribunal; this is the second element.

TENEBRO v. CA FACTS: Tenebro contracted marriage with Ancajas in 1990. The two lived together continuously and without interruption until the latter part of 1991, when Tenebro informed Ancajas that he had been previously married to a certain Hilda Villareyes in 1986. Petitioner thereafter left the conjugal dwelling which he shared with Ancajas, stating that he was going to cohabit with Villareyes. In 1993, petitioner contracted yet another marriage with a certain Nilda Villegas. Ancajas thereafter filed a complaint for bigamy against petitioner. Villegas countered that his marriage with Villareyes cannot be proven as a fact there being no record of such. He further argued that his second marriage, with Ancajas, has been declared void ab initio due to psychological incapacity. Hence he cannot be charged for bigamy. ISSUE: Whether or not Tenebro is guilty of bigamy. RULING: The prosecution was able to establish the validity of the first marriage. As a second or subsequent marriage contracted during the subsistence of petitioners valid marriage to Villareyes, petitioners marriage to Ancajas would be null and void ab initio completely regardless of petitioners psychological capacity or incapacity. Since a marriage contracted during the subsistence of a valid marriage is automatically void, the nullity of this second marriage is not per se an argument for the avoidance of criminal liability for bigamy. Pertinently, Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code criminalizes 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. A plain reading of the law, therefore, would indicate that the provision penalizes the mere act of contracting a second or a subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage.

In an action for bigamy, for example, if the accused claims that the first marriage is null and void and the right to decide such validity is vested in another tribunal, the civil action for nullity must first be decided before the action for bigamy can proceed; hence, the validity of the first marriage is a prejudicial question. Should Palomers allegations regarding Aragons use of force be true, it is no doubt illegal and void, however, this does not bar him from prosecution against the crime of bigamy. The pendency of the civil action for the annulment of the marriage filed by Palomer, is absolutely immaterial to the criminal action filed against defendantappellant. It does not determine the existence of any of the elements of the charge of bigamy. A decision thereon is not essential to the determination of the criminal charge. It is, therefore, not a prejudicial question.