G.R. No. 145226, 6 February 2004
Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete were boardmates in Bohol. They lost contacts for a while but after receiving a card from Barrete and various exchanges of letters, they became sweethearts. They got married in 1990. Barrete went back to Canada for work and in 1991 she filed petition for divorce in Ontario Canada, which was granted. In 1992, Morigo married Lumbago. He subsequently filed a complaint for judicial declaration of nullity on the ground that there was no marriage ceremony. Morigo was then charged with bigamy and moved for a suspension of arraignment since the civil case pending posed a prejudicial question in the bigamy case. Morigo pleaded not guilty claiming that his marriage with Barrete was void ab initio. Petitioner contented he contracted second marriage in good faith.
Whether Morigo must have filed declaration for the nullity of his marriage with Barrete before his second marriage in order to be free from the bigamy case.
No. considering that the first marriage was void ab initio makes Morigo acquitted in the Bigamy case.
As provided by Art. 3, part 3 of the Family Code “A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age”. “The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35 (2).
A defect in any of the essential requisites shall render the marriage voidable as provided in Article 45.” As provided by Art. 4. Given these 2 articles, Morigo’s first marriage is considered void ab initio.
Morigo’s marriage with Barrete is void ab initio considering that there was no actual marriage ceremony performed between them by a solemnizing officer instead they just merely signed a marriage contract. The petitioner does not need to file declaration of the nullity of his marriage when he contracted his second marriage with Lumbago. Hence, he did not commit bigamy and is acquitted in the case filed.
* Case digest by Desmarc G. Malate, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018