A.M. No. 2349, 3 July 1992


Dorothy Terre was then married to a certain Merlito Bercenillo, her first cousin. Atty. Jordan Terre successfully convinced Dorothy that her marriage was void ab initio for the reason of public policy and that they are free to contract marriage. They got married in 1977 where he wrote single under Dorothy’s status. After getting Dorothy pregnant, Atty. Terre abandoned them and subsequently contracted another marriage to Helina Malicdem in 1986. Atty. Terre was charged with abandonment of minor and bigamy.


Whether or not Atty. Terre’s marriage with Dorothy is null and void.


Dorothy’s first marriage is indeed void ab initio considering that Merlito is her first cousin thereby against public policy.

Article 40 states that the absolute nullity of a former marriage may be invoked for the purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void.

However, she did not file any declaration for the nullity of their marriage before she contracted her marriage with Atty. Terre thus, her second marriage is void.

* Case digest by Jason S. Olasiman, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018