Brixton Vincent G.

Reyes
Vitangcol v. People
GR 207406, January 13, 2016
Subject: Persons & Family Relations
Doctrine:
Persons intending to contract a 2nd marriage must first secure a judicial declaration of nullity of
their 1st marriage. If they proceed with the 2nd marriage without the judicial declaration, they are
guilty of bigamy regardless of evidence of the nullity of the 1st marriage.
Facts:
-

On December 4, 1994, Norberto Vitangcol (P) married Alice G. Eduardo at the Manila
Cathedral. She discovered that P previously married his college girlfriend Gina Gaerlan
on July 17, 1987 so she filed a criminal case of bigamy against P. However, P argued that
he informed her before they got married that his marriage with Gaerlan is a fake marriage
and that she was having an affair.

-

The RTC however found P guilty of bigamy for contracting a subsequent marriage while
a prior marriage subsisted. P argued that there was no record of marriage license in the
office of the Civil Registrar.

Issue:
Whether P is criminally liable for bigamy.
Ruling:
Yes.
-

Even if there is no record of marriage license in the office of the civil registrar, it does not
prove that the marriage is dissolved since it is just a mere certification. Even when this
case was pending, P did not present any decision from any trial court nullifying his first
marriage.

-

P’s first marriage was not judicially declared void. The first marriage must be judicially
declared as void under the Family Code otherwise it would lead to the crime of bigamy
upon contracting the subsequent marriage.