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[ G.R. No.

206284, February 28, 2018 ]

REDANTE SARTO Y MISALUCHA, PETITIONER, V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT.

DECISION

MARTIRES, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the 31 July 2012 Decision[1]
and the 6 March 2013 Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. CR No. 32635, which
affirmed the 18 May 2009 Decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, Naga City (RTC), in Criminal
Case No. 2007-0400 finding petitioner Redante Sarto y Misalucha (Redante) guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of Bigamy.

THE FACTS

On 3 October 2007, Redante was charged with the crime of bigamy for allegedly contracting two (2)
marriages: the first, with Maria Socorro G. Negrete (Maria Socorro), and the second, without having the
first one legally terminated, with private complainant Fe R. Aguila (Fe). The charge stemmed from a
criminal complaint filed by Fe against Redante on 4 June 2007. The accusatory portion of the
Information reads:

That on or about December 29, 1998, in the City of Naga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, having been previously united in lawful marriage with one
Ma. Socorro G. Negrete, as evidenced by hereto attached Certificate of Marriage mark as Annex "A,"
and without said marriage having been legally dissolved, did then and there, willfully and feloniously
contract a second marriage with FE R. AGUILA-SARTO, herein complaining witness, to her damage and
prejudice.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[4]

During his arraignment on 3 December 2007, Redante entered a plea of "not guilty." Pre-trial ensued
wherein Redante admitted that he had contracted two marriages but interposed the defense that his
first marriage had been legally dissolved by divorce obtained in a foreign country.

On 22 May 2008, the defense filed a motion to allow the taking of Maria Socorro's deposition
considering that she was set to leave the country on the first week of June 2008.[5] This was granted by
the RTC in its Order,[6] dated 26 May 2008.
Maria Socorro's deposition was taken on 28 May 2008. On 22 August 2008, the prosecution moved for a
modified or reverse trial on the basis of Redante's admissions.[7] The RTC granted the motion in its
Order,[8] dated 27 August 2008, wherein the defense was directed to present its case ahead of the
prosecution.

Evidence for the Defense

The defense presented Redante and Maria Socorro as witnesses. Their testimonies, taken together,
tended to establish the following:

Redante and Maria Socorro, both natives of Buhi, Camarines Sur, were married on 31 August 1984 in a
ceremony held in Angono, Rizal.[9] Sometime thereafter, Maria Socorro left for Canada to work as a
nurse. While in Canada, she applied for Canadian citizenship. The application was eventually granted
and Ma. Socorro acquired Canadian citizenship on 1 April 1988.[10] Maria Socorro then filed for divorce
in British Columbia, Canada, to sever her marital ties with Redante. The divorce was eventually granted
by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on 1 November 1988.[11]

Maria Socorro came back to Buhi, Camarines Sur, sometime in 1992 for a vacation. While there
Redante's mother and grandparents, who were against the divorce, convinced her and Redante to give
their marriage a second chance to which they acceded. Their attempts to rekindle their romance
resulted in the birth of their daughter on 8 March 1993 in Mandaluyong City. In spite of this, Redante
and Maria Socorro's efforts to save their marriage were futile.[12]

Sometime in February 1998, Redante met Fe to whom he admitted that he was previously married to
Maria Socorro who, however, divorced him.[13] Despite this admission, their romance blossomed and
culminated in their marriage on 29 December 1998 at the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore in Naga City.[14]
They established a conjugal home in Pasay City and had two children. Their relationship, however,
turned sour when Ma. Socorro returned to the Philippines and met with Redante to persuade him to
allow their daughter to apply for Canadian citizenship. After learning of Redante and Maria Socorro's
meeting and believing that they had reconciled, Fe decided to leave their conjugal home on 31 May
2007.[15] On 4 June 2007, Fe filed a complaint for bigamy against Redante.[16]

Meanwhile, Maria Socorro married a certain Douglas Alexander Campbell, on 5 August 2000, in
Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.[17]
The defense presented a Certificate of Divorce[18] issued on 14 January 2008, to prove the fact of
divorce.

Evidence for the Prosecution

The prosecution waived the presentation of testimonial evidence and presented instead, the Marriage
Contract[19] between Redante and Maria Socorro, to prove the solemnization of their marriage on 31
August 1984, in Angono, Rizal; and the Marriage Contract[20] of Redante and Fe to prove the
solemnization of Redante's second marriage on 29 December 1998, in Naga City. The prosecution also
adopted the Certificate of Divorce[21] as its own exhibit for the purpose of proving that the same was
secured only on 14 January 2008.

The RTC Ruling

In its judgment, the RTC found Redante guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of bigamy. The trial
court ratiocinated that Redante's conviction is the only reasonable conclusion for the case because of
his failure to present competent evidence proving the alleged divorce decree; his failure to establish the
naturalization of Maria Socorro; and his admission that he did not seek judicial recognition of the alleged
divorce decree. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, finding the accused Redante Sarto y Misalucha guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the
crime of Bigamy punishable under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, and after applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, this Court hereby sentenced him an imprisonment of two (2) years, four
(4) months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) years and one (1) day of
prision mayor, as maximum.[22]

Aggrieved, Redante appealed before the CA.

The CA Ruling

In its assailed decision, the CA affirmed the RTC's Judgment. The appellate court ratiocinated that
assuming the authenticity and due execution of the Certificate of Divorce, since the order of divorce or
the divorce decree was not presented, it could not ascertain whether said divorce capacitated Maria
Socorro, and consequently Redante, to remarry. It continued that Redante failed to present evidence
that he had filed and had secured a judicial declaration that his first marriage had been dissolved in
accordance with Philippine laws prior to the celebration of his subsequent marriage to Fe. The
dispositive portion of the assailed decision provides:

WHEREFORE, the Judgment of the Regional Trial Court convicting appellant Redante Sarto y Misalucha
of Bigamy in Criminal Case No. 2007-0400, is AFFIRMED.[23]

Redante moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied by the CA in its 6 March 2013 resolution.

Hence, the present petition.

On 26 June 2013, the Court issued a Resolution[24] requiring the respondent Republic of the Philippines
to file its comment.

The OSG's Manifestation

In compliance with this Court's resolution, the respondent, through the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG), filed its Manifestation (in lieu of Comment)[25] advocating Redante's acquittal. The OSG argued
that the RTC had convicted Redante solely because of his failure to provide evidence concerning the
date when Maria Socorro acquired Canadian citizenship. It observed that Maria Socorro failed to provide
the exact date when she acquired Canadian citizenship because of the loss of her citizenship certificate
at the time she took the witness stand. The OSG claimed, however, that Redante was able to submit,
although belatedly, a photocopy of Maria Socorro's Canadian citizenship certificate as an attachment to
his appellant's brief. The said certificate stated that Maria Socorro was already a Canadian citizen as
early as 1 April 1988; hence, the divorce decree which took effect on 1 November 1988 is valid. The OSG
further averred that substantial rights must prevail over the application of procedural rules.

ISSUE

WHETHER THE TRIAL AND APPELLATE COURTS ERRED WHEN THEY FOUND PETITIONER REDANTE SARTO
y MISALUCHA GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF BIGAMY.

THE COURT'S RULING


The petition is bereft of merit.

Elements of bigamy; burden of proving the termination of the first marriage.

For a person to be convicted of bigamy, the following elements must concur: (1) that the offender has
been legally married; (2) that the first marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case of an absentee
spouse, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the provisions of the Civil Code;
(3) that the offender contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (4) that the second or subsequent
marriage has all the essential requisites for validity.[26]

Redante admitted that he had contracted two marriages. He, however, put forth the defense of the
termination of his first marriage as a result of the divorce obtained abroad by his alien spouse.

It is a fundamental principle in this jurisdiction that the burden of proof lies with the party who alleges
the existence of a fact or thing necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action.[27] Since the
divorce was a defense raised by Redante, it is incumbent upon him to show that it was validly obtained
in accordance with Maria Socorro's country's national law.[28] Stated differently, Redante has the
burden of proving the termination of the first marriage prior to the celebration of the second.[29]

Redante failed to prove his capacity to contract a subsequent marriage.

A divorce decree obtained abroad by an alien spouse is a foreign judgment relating to the status of a
marriage. As in any other foreign judgment, a divorce decree does not have an automatic effect in the
Philippines. Consequently, recognition by Philippine courts may be required before the effects of a
divorce decree could be extended in this jurisdiction.[30] Recognition of the divorce decree, however,
need not be obtained in a separate petition filed solely for that purpose. Philippine courts may recognize
the foreign divorce decree when such was invoked by a party as an integral aspect of his claim or
defense.[31]

Before the divorce decree can be recognized by our courts, the party pleading it must prove it as a fact
and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. Proving the foreign law under which the
divorce was secured is mandatory considering that Philippine courts cannot and could not be expected
to take judicial notice of foreign laws.[32] For the purpose of establishing divorce as a fact, a copy of the
divorce decree itself must be presented and admitted in evidence. This is in consonance with the rule
that a foreign judgment may be given presumptive evidentiary value only after it is presented and
admitted in evidence.[33]

In particular, to prove the divorce and the foreign law allowing it, the party invoking them must present
copies thereof and comply with Sections 24 and 25, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court.[34] Pursuant
to these rules, the divorce decree and foreign law may be proven through (1) an official publication or
(2) or copies thereof attested to by the officer having legal custody of said documents. If the office
which has custody is in a foreign country, the copies of said documents must be (a) accompanied by a
certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed
in the foreign country in which the record is kept; and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.[35]

Applying the foregoing, the Court is convinced that Redante failed to prove the existence of the divorce
as a fact or that it was validly obtained prior to the celebration of his subsequent marriage to Fe.

Aside from the testimonies of Redante and Maria Socorro, the only piece of evidence presented by the
defense to prove the divorce, is the certificate of divorce allegedly issued by the registrar of the
Supreme Court of British Columbia on 14 January 2008. Said certificate provides:

In the Supreme Court of British Columbia

Certificate of Divorce

This is to certify that Ma. Socorro Negrete SARTO and Redante M SARTO who were married at ANGONO,
RIZAL, PHILIPPINES on August 31, 1984 were divorced under the Divorce Act (Canada) by an order of this
Court which took effect and dissolved the marriage on November 1, 1988.

Given under my hand and the Seal of this Court January 14, 2008

(SGD.)

__________________

REGISTRAR

This certificate of divorce, however, is utterly insufficient to rebut the charge against Redante. First, the
certificate of divorce is not the divorce decree required by the rules and jurisprudence. As discussed
previously, the divorce decree required to prove the fact of divorce is the judgment itself as rendered by
the foreign court and not a mere certification. Second, assuming the certificate of divorce may be
considered as the divorce decree, it was not accompanied by a certification issued by the proper
Philippine diplomatic or consular officer stationed in Canada, as required under Section 24 of Rule 132.
Lastly, no copy of the alleged Canadian law was presented by the defense. Thus, it could not be
reasonably determined whether the subject divorce decree was in accord with Maria Socorro's national
law.
Further, since neither the divorce decree nor the alleged Canadian law was satisfactorily demonstrated,
the type of divorce supposedly secured by Maria Socorro - whether an absolute divorce which
terminates the marriage or a limited divorce which merely suspends it[36] - and whether such divorce
capacitated her to remarry could not also be ascertained. As such, Redante failed to prove his defense
that he had the capacity to remarry when he contracted a subsequent marriage to Fe. His liability for
bigamy is, therefore, now beyond question.

This Court is not unmindful of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. Indeed, in Republic
v. Orbecido,[37] a case invoked by Redante to support his cause, the Court recognized that the
legislative intent behind the said provision is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse
remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino
spouse under the laws of his or her country. The Court is also not oblivious of the fact that Maria
Socorro had already remarried in Canada on 5 August 2000. These circumstances, however, can never
justify the reversal of Redante's conviction.

In Orbecido, as in Redante's case, the alien spouse divorced her Filipino spouse and remarried another.
The Filipino spouse then filed a petition for authority to remarry under paragraph 2 of Article 26. His
petition was granted by the RTC. However, this Court set aside said decision by the trial court after
finding that the records were bereft of competent evidence concerning the divorce decree and the
naturalization of the alien spouse. The Court reiterated therein the rules regarding the recognition of
the foreign divorce decree and the foreign law allowing it, as well as the necessity to show that the
divorce decree capacitated his former spouse to remarry.[38]

Finally, the Court notes that the OSG was miserably misguided when it claimed that the sole reason for
the RTC's judgment of conviction was Redante's failure to provide evidence, during trial, of the date
Maria Socorro acquired Canadian citizenship.

An examination of the 18 May 2009 judgment would reveal that the trial court rendered the said
decision after finding that there was lack of any competent evidence with regard to the divorce
decree[39] and the national law governing his first wife,[40] not merely because of the lack of evidence
concerning the effectivity date of Maria Socorro's naturalization. Thus, even if the Court were to indulge
the OSG and consider Maria Socorro's citizenship certificate, which was a mere photocopy and filed
belatedly, it would not have any effect significant enough to produce a judgment of acquittal. The fact
that Redante failed to prove the existence of the divorce and that it was validly acquired prior to the
celebration of the second marriage still subsists.
WHEREFORE, the present petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision, dated 31 July 2012,
of the Court of Appeals in CA- G.R. CR No. 32635 which affirmed the 18 May 2009 Judgment of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, Naga City, in Criminal Case No. 2007-0400 is hereby AFFIRMED.
Petitioner Redante Sarto y Misalucha is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of bigamy
and is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of
prision correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum.

SO ORDERED.

Juego-Sakai vs. Republic (2018)

Petitioners

: STEPHEN I. JUEGO-SAKAI

Respondents

: REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

Ponente

: Peralta (Second Division)

Topic

: Civil Law; Remedial Law

SUMMARY

: The SC applied the landmark ruling in

Republic vs. Manalo

in this similarly-situated case.

DOCTRINE

:
The fact that it was the Filipino spouse who initiated the proceeding wherein the divorce decreewas
granted should not affect the application nor remove him from the coverage of Paragraph 2 of Article 26
ofthe Family Code which states that "where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is
validlycelebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating
him or her toremarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law."
We observed that tointerpret the word "obtained" to mean that the divorce proceeding must actually
be initiated by the alien spousewould depart from the true intent of the legislature and would otherwise
yield conclusions inconsistent with thegeneral purpose of Paragraph 2 of Article 26, which is, specifically,
to avoid the absurd situation where theFilipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after a
foreign divorce decree that is effective in thecountry 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 andin like circumstance as a Filipino who is at
the receiving end of an alien initiated proceeding.---Time and again, the Court has held that the starting
point in any recognition of a foreign divorce judgment is theacknowledgment that our courts do not
take judicial notice of foreign judgments and laws. This means that theforeign judgment and its
authenticity must be proven as facts under our rules on evidence, together with thealien's applicable
national law to show the effect of the judgment on the alien himself or herself. Since both theforeign
divorce decree and the national law of the alien, recognizing his or her capacity to obtain a
divorce,purport to be official acts of a sovereign authority, Section 24 [15] of Rule 132 of the Rules of
Court applies.Thus, what is required is proof, either by (1) official publications or (2) copies attested by
the officer having legalcustody of the documents. If the copies of official records are not kept in the
Philippines, these must be (a)accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular
officer in the Philippine foreign servicestationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and
(b) authenticated by the seal of his office.

FACTS

: Petitioner Stephen I. Juego-Sakai and Toshiharu Sakai got married on August 11, 2000 in Japanpursuant
to the wedding rites therein. After two (2) years, the parties, by agreement, obtained a divorce decreein
said country dissolving their marriage. Thereafter, on April 5, 2013, petitioner filed a Petition for
JudicialRecognition of Foreign Judgment before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 40, Camarines
Norte. In itsDecision dated October 9, 2014, the RTC granted the petition and recognized the divorce
between the partiesas valid and effective under Philippine Laws.On November 25, 2015, the CA affirmed
the decision of the RTC.In an Amended Decision dated March 3, 2016, however, the CA revisited its
findings and recalled and set asideits previous decision.

ISSUES

:
WoN the CA gravely erred when it held that the second requisite for the application of the
secondparagraph of Article 26 of the Family Code is not present because the petitioner gave consent to
thedivorce obtained by her Japanese husband

YES. The issue before Us has already been resolved in the landmark ruling of

Republic v. Manalo

,the facts of which fall squarely on point with the facts herein.

Despite the fact that petitioner participated in the divorce proceedings in Japan, and even if it
isassumed that she initiated the same, she must still be allowed to benefit from the exceptionprovided
under Paragraph 2 of Article 26. Consequently, since her marriage to Toshiharu Sakaihad already been
dissolved by virtue of the divorce decree they obtained in Japan, therebycapacitating Toshiharu to
remarry, petitioner shall likewise have capacity to remarry underPhilippine law.

Nevertheless, as similarly held in Manalo, We cannot yet grant petitioner's Petition for
JudicialRecognition of Foreign Judgment for she has yet to comply with certain guidelines before
ourcourts may recognize the subject divorce decree and the effects thereof.

The Office of the Solicitor General does not dispute the existence of the divorce decree, renderingthe
same admissible. What remains to be proven, therefore, is the pertinent Japanese Law ondivorce
considering that Japanese laws on persons and family relations are not among thosematters that Filipino
judges are supposed to know by reason of their judicial function.

JO-ANN DIAZ-SALGADOand husband DR. GERARD C. SALGADO, Petitioners vs. LUIS G. ANSON,
RespondentG.R. No. 204494 .July 27, 2016Facts:On September 5, 2003, Luis Anson (Luis) filed a
complaint against Jo-Ann Diaz-Salgado (Jo-Ann) and Gerard Salgado (Gerard) (Spouses Salgado) along
with Maria Luisa Anson-Maya(Maria Luisa) and Gaston Maya (Spouses Maya), seeking the annulment of
the three UnilateralDeeds of Sale and the Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate of the Deceased
Severina DeAsis. Luis alleged in his complaint that he is the surviving spouse of the late Severina de Asis-
Anson (Severina). They were married in a civil ceremony on December 28, 1966. Prior to thecelebration
of their marriage, Severina gave birth to their daughter, Maria Luisa on December 30,1965 while Jo-Ann
is Severina's daughter from a previous relationship.During his marital union with Severina, they acquired
several real properties located in San Juan,Metro Manila. According to Luis, because there was no
marriage settlement between him andSeverina, the properties pertain to their conjugal partnership. But
without his knowledge andconsent, Severina executed three separate Unilateral Deeds of Sale on
January 23, 2002transferring the properties covered by TCT Nos. 20618, 60069 and 5109 in favor of Jo-
Ann, whosecured new certificates of title over the said properties.When Severina died on September
21,2002,Maria Luisa executed a Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate of Deceased Severinade Asis
on October 25, 2002, adjudicating herself as Severina's sole heir. She secured new TCTsover the
properties.Luis claimed that because of the preceding acts, he was divested of his lawful share in
theconjugal properties and of his inheritance as a compulsory heir of Severina.Issue: Whether or not the
Court of Appeals erred in affirming the Regional Trial Courts Decision. Held: As there is no showing that
Luis and Severina were incapacitated to marry each other at the timeof their cohabitation and
considering that their marriage is void from the beginning for lack of avalid marriage license, Article 144
of the Civil Code,in relation to Article 147 of the FamilyCode, are the pertinent provisions of law
governing their property relations. Article 147 of theFamily Code "applies to union of parties who are
legally capacitated and not barred by anyimpediment to contract marriage, but whose marriage is
nonetheless void for other reasons, likeabsence of a marriage license." "Under this property regime,
property acquired by both spousesthrough their work and industry shall be governed by the rules
onequalco-ownership.Anyproperty acquired during the union is prima facie presumed to have been
obtained through theirjoint efforts. A party who did not participate in the acquisition of the property
shall still beconsidered as having contributed thereto jointly if said party's 'efforts consisted in the care
andmaintenance of the family household."'

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Accordingly, the provisions on co-ownership under the Civil Code shall apply in the partition ofthe
properties co-owned by Luis and Severina. It is stated under Article 1079 of the Civil Code

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Ask

Sps. Salgado v. Luis Anson


GR 204494

Facts:

Luis Anson is the husband of Severina de Asis-Anson. They had 1 daughter,


Maria Luisa and she was wed to Gaston Maya. Severina had an older daughter to a
previous relationship, Jo ann Diaz and she was also wed to Gerard Salgado. Luis
and Severina acquired several real properties and according to him, since there was
no marriage settlement, the properties pertain to their conjugal partnership. But
without his knowledge and consent, Severina executed 3 Unilateral Deeds of Sale
transferring then properties in favor of Jo ann. When Severina died, Maria Luisa
executed a Deed of Extra-Judcial Settlement of Estate Deceased Severina
adjudicating herself as the sole heir. Due to these acts, Luis filed a complaint for
the annulment of these Deeds against Sps Salgado and Sps Maya. The latter
countered that they were not aware of any marriage between Luis and their mother
Severina but they knew they cohabited as common-law couple and that after their
cohabitation, Luis went to the US and married one Teresita. And due to Partition
Agreement that divided their properties without court intervention, both Sps claim
that the properties herewith are separate and exclusive properties of Severina.

Issue: W/N marriage between Severina and Luis is valid and the
subject lands as conjugal partnership
Held:

Court finds that their marriage is void ab initio for lack of marriage license.
Luis asserted that their marriage was an exceptional one but he failed to justify the
lack of marriage license. He admitted that they did not seek to apply for it. The
Partition agreement is valid. Valdez v RTC Quezon City held that in a void marriage,
regardless of the cause thereof, the property relations of the parties during the
period of cohabitation is governed by the provisions of Art 147 or Art 148 as the
case may be, of the Family Code. Also, attesting that his marriage with Severina
was subsisting and valid, he knowingly contracted to a subsequent marriage
abroad, and the Court finds such suspicious and fraudulent thereby tainting his
credibility.

Vitangcol v People G.R. No. 207406, January 13, 2016

By SeciaMarch 29, 2017No comments

Doctrine:

Persons intending to contract a second marriage must first secure a judicial declaration of nullity of their
first marriage. If they proceed with the second marriage without the judicial declaration, they are guilty
of bigamy regardless of evidence of the nullity of the first marriage.

Facts:

On December 4, 1994, Norberto married Alice G. Eduardo (Alice). Born into their union were three (3)
children. After some time, Alice eventually discovered that Norberto was previously married to a certain
Gina M. Gaerlan (Gina) on July 17, 1987, as evidenced by a marriage contract registered with the
National Statistics Office. Alice subsequently filed a criminal Complaint for bigamy against Norberto.

Norberto argues that the first element of bigamy is absent in this case. He presents as evidence a
Certification from the Office of the Civil Registrar of Imus, Cavite, which states that the Office has no
record of the marriage license allegedly issued in his favor and his first wife, Gina. He argues that with
no proof of existence of an essential requisite of marriage—the marriage license—the prosecution fails
to establish the legality of his first marriage. In addition, Norberto claims that the legal dissolution of the
first marriage is not an element of the crime of bigamy.
Issue: Whether the Certification from the Office of the Civil Registrar that it has no record of the
marriage license issued to petitioner Norberto A. Vitangcol and his first wife Gina proves the nullity of
petitioner’s first marriage and exculpates him from the bigamy charge.

Ruling: No. Petition for Certiorari is DENIED.

The Certification from the Office of the Civil Registrar that it has no record of the marriage license is
suspect. Assuming that it is true, it does not categorically prove that there was no marriage license.
Furthermore, marriages are not dissolved through mere certifications by the civil registrar. For more
than seven (7) years before his second marriage, petitioner did nothing to have his alleged spurious first
marriage declared a nullity. Even when this case was pending, he did not present any decision from any
trial court nullifying his first marriage.

Ratio:

Contrary to petitioner’s claim, all the elements of bigamy are present in this case. Petitioner was still
legally married to Gina when he married Alice. Thus, the trial court correctly convicted him of the crime
charged.

Abbas v. Abbas, G.R. No. 183896, January 30, 2013

FACTS: Syed, a Pakistani citizen, and Gloria, a Filipino citizen, met in Taiwan in 1991. He arrived in the
Philippines and on January 9, 1993, at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, he was at his mother-in-law’s
residence, in Malate, Manila, when his mother-in-law arrived with two men. He was told that he was
going to undergo some ceremony, one of the requirements for his stay in the Philippines, but was not
told of the nature of said ceremony where he and Gloria signed a document. He claimed that he only
found out that it was a marriage contract when Gloria told him. He further testified that he did not go to
Carmona, Cavite to apply for a marriage license, and that he had never resided in that area. In July of
2003, he went to the Office of the Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, to check on their marriage license.
The Municipal Civil Registrar, issued a certification stating that the marriage license number appearing in
the marriage contract he submitted was the number of another marriage license issued to another
couple. He also alleged that Gloria had filed bigamy cases against him in 2001 and 2002. On the other
hand, Gloria presented her own side. Rev. Mario Dauz, a minister of the Gospel and a brgy captain
stated that he is authorized to solemnize marriage and that he was doing it since 1982 and he is familiar
with the requirements. There were two witnesses, one of them was Atty Sanchez who handed him the
marriage license on the day of the wedding. Gloria testified that a certain Qualin went to their house
and said that he will get the marriage license for them, and after several days returned with an
application for marriage license for them to sign, which she and Syed did. After Qualin returned with the
marriage license, they gave the license to Atty. Sanchez who gave it to Rev. Dauz, the solemnizing
officer. Gloria also alleged that she has a daughter with Syed. She filed a bigamy case because Syed
married a certain Maria Corazon Buenaventura. RTC’s ruling: no marriage license, neither of the parties
was a resident of Carmona, Cavite. Void ab initio. CA’s ruling: granted Gloria’s appeal. Marriage is valid
and subsisting. Issue: W/N the marriage was valid.

ISSUE: W/N their marriage is valid

RULING: Respondent Gloria failed to present the actual marriage license, or a copy thereof, and relied
on the marriage contract as well as the testimonies of her witnesses to prove the existence of said
license. To prove that no such license was issued, Syed turned to the office of the Municipal Civil
Registrar of Carmona, Cavite which had allegedly issued said license. It was there that he requested
certification that no such license was issued.

It is telling that Gloria failed to present their marriage license or a copy thereof to the court. She failed
to explain why the marriage license was secured in Carmona, Cavite, a location where, admittedly,
neither party resided. She took no pains to apply for the license, so she is not the best witness to testify
to the validity and existence of said license. Neither could the other witnesses she presented prove the
existence of the marriage license, as none of them applied for the license in Carmona, Cavite. Her
mother, Felicitas Goo, could not even testify as to the contents of the license, having admitted to not
reading all of its contents. Atty. Sanchez, one of the sponsors, whom Gloria and Felicitas Goo
approached for assistance in securing the license, admitted not knowing where the license came from.
The task of applying for the license was delegated to a certain Qualin, who could have testified as to
how the license was secured and thus impeached the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar as well
as the testimony of her representative. As Gloria failed to present this Qualin, the certification of the
Municipal Civil Registrar still enjoys probative value.

It is also noted that the solemnizing officer testified that the marriage contract and a copy of the
marriage license were submitted to the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. Thus, a copy of the marriage
license could have simply been secured from that office and submitted to the court. However, Gloria
inexplicably failed to do so, further weakening her claim that there was a valid marriage license issued
for her and Syed.

This marriage cannot be characterized as among the exemptions, and thus, having been solemnized
without a marriage license, is void ab initio. As to the motive of Syed in seeking to annul his marriage to
Gloria, it may well be that his motives are less than pure, that he seeks to evade a bigamy suit. Be that
as it may, the same does not make up for the failure of the respondent to prove that they had a valid
marriage license, given the weight of evidence presented by petitioner. The lack of a valid marriage
license cannot be attributed to him, as it was Gloria who took steps to procure the same. The law must
be applied. As the marriage license, a formal requisite, is clearly absent, the marriage of Gloria and Syed
is void ab initio.

Bayot v. Court of Appeals

G.R. No.155635, 7 November 2008

FACTS:

On April 20, 1979, Vicente, a Filipino, and Rebecca, an American, were married in Muntinlupa. They had
a child name Alix, born in November 27, 1982 in California.

In February 22, 1996, Rebecca initiated divorce proceedings in Dominican Republic, which resulted to
judgment ordering the dissolution of the marriage and the distribution of conjugal properties

After obtaining a Department of Justice affirmation of her Filipino citizenship, she then filed a
declaration of absolute nullity of marriage on the ground of Vicente’s alleged psychological incapacity,
seeking for distribution of conjugal properties and support.

On June 8, 2001, Vicente filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds of lack of cause of action and that the
petition is barred by the prior judgment of divorce.

RTC denied Vicente’s motion to dismiss but CA reversed lower court’s decision. According to the CA, RTC
ought to have granted Vicente’s motion to dismiss, since the marriage between the spouses is already
dissolved when the divorce decree was granted since Rebecca was an American citizen when she
applied for the decree.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the divorce decree obtained by Rebecca in Dominican Republic is valid.

RULING:

Yes, the divorce is valid.

Article 26 (2) of the Civil Code states that: “Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner
is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or
her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have the capacity to remarry under Philippine law.”

Rebecca at that time she applied and obtained her divorce was an American citizen and remains to be
one, being born to American parents in Guam, an American territory which follows the principle of jus
soli granting American citizenship to those who are born there. She was, and still may be, a holder of
American passport. She had consistently professed, asserted and represented herself as an American
citizen, as shown in her marriage certificate, in Alix’s birth certificate, when she secured divorce in
Dominican Republic.

Being an American citizen, Rebecca was bound by the national laws of the United States of America, a
country which allows divorce. The fact that Rebecca may have been duly recognized as a Filipino citizen
by affirmation of the DOJ Secretary does not invalidate the foreign divorce secured by Rebecca as an
American citizen in 1996. In determining whether or not a divorce is secured abroad would come within
the jurisdiction of the country’s policy against absolute divorce, the reckoning point is the citizenship of
the parties at the time a valid divorce is obtained.