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Hizon, J.

Although I am impressed by the presentation of decision of Justice Battad, such decision would
compromise the rights of the accused and violate the principle that penal laws are to be
construed in favor of the accused — I must dissent from the majority decision.

In Tenebro v. CA1, a 2004 decision, Justice Carpio dissented from the majority decision, stating
that People v. Mora Fumpo has been the prevailing decision for cases similar to the case at the
bar since 1935: “[f]or more than 75 years now, this Court has consistently ruled that if the second
marriage is void on the grounds other than the existence of the first marriage, there is no crime
of bigamy. ”

In People v. Mora Dumpo2, a 1935 landmark case, it has been ruled that there is no crime of
bigamy if the second marriage is void on grounds other than the existence of the first marriage.
3 The court held:

Moro Hassan and Mora Dumpo have been legally married according to the rites and practices
of the Mohammedan religion. Without this marriage being dissolved, it is alleged that
Dumpo contracted another marriage with Moro Sabdapal after which the two lived together
as husband and wife. Dumpo was prosecuted for and convicted of the crime of bigamy in the
Court of First Instance of Zamboanga and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty with a
maximum of eight years and one day of prision mayor and a minimum of two years, four
months and twenty-one days of prision correccional, with costs. From this judgment the
accused interposed an appeal. The records of the case disclose that it has been established
by the defense, without the prosecution having presented any objection nor evidence to the
contrary, that the alleged second marriage of the accused is null and void according to
Mohammedan rites on the ground that her father had not given his consent thereto.

xxx

It is an essential element of the crime of bigamy that the alleged second marriage, having
all the essential requisites, would be valid were it not for the subsistence of the first
marriage. It appearing that the marriage alleged to have been contracted by the accused
with Sabdapal, her former marriage with Hassan being undissolved, cannot be considered as
such, there is no justification to hold her guilty of the crime charged in the information.
(Emphasis supplied)

In People v. De Lara4, a 1955 decision, the accused consummated a valid marriage with Anacoreta
Dalanida, and later married Josefa Rosales without a marriage license and was acquitted.

1
G.R. No. 150758, February 18, 2004
2
G.R. No. L-42581, October 2, 1935
3
Ibid.
4
G.R. No. 12583-R, February 14, 1955
In a recent case in 2015, Santiago v. People5, former Chief Justice Sereno would have applied the
De Lara doctrine. Leonila Santiago could have been acquitted of the crime of bigamy were it not
for her act of falsifying public documents in order to contract a second marriage.

In these decisions, Justice Carpio further argued that the Court merely applied the clear language
and intent of Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. That the last element necessarily follows
from the language of the law that the offender contracts a second or subsequent marriage.6 That
the plain and ordinary meaning of Article 349 could only be that the second marriage must be
valid were it not for the existence of the first marriage, an interpretation that has been used for
more than seven decades.7 Expanding the meaning of the law when such is clear and plain would
be against the constitutional right of the public as fair notice was not complied with. Such
provision enumerates the elements of bigamy as follows8:

Article 349. Bigamy. - The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon 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 judgment rendered in the proper proceedings.

Under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, the essential elements of the crime of
bigamy are:

1. The offender is legally married;


2. The marriage is not legally dissolved;
3. The offender contracts a second or subsequent marriage;
4. The second or subsequent marriage is valid except for the existence of the first
marriage.

However, Alberto should not be absolutely absolved. Although there should have been no
bigamy, Alberto is still in violation of Article 350 of the Revised Penal Code. Alberto, a lawyer,
contracted marriage knowing that the requirements of the law have not been complied with.
The provision and elements of Article 350 as follows9:

Art. 350. Marriage contracted against provisions of laws. — The penalty of prision
correccional in its medium and maximum periods shall be imposed upon any person who,
without being included in the provisions of the next proceeding article, shall have not been
complied with or that the marriage is in disregard of a legal impediment.

5
G.R. No. 200233, July 15, 2015
6
Id.
7
Id.
8
Act No. 3815 (1930)
9
Id.
If either of the contracting parties shall obtain the consent of the other by means of
violence, intimidation or fraud, he shall be punished by the maximum period of the penalty
provided in the next preceding paragraph.

Under Article 350 of the Revised Penal Code, the essential elements of the crime of
marriage contracted against provision of the laws are:

1. That the offender contracted marriage;


2. That he knew at the time that —
a. the requirements of the law were not complied with; or
xxx

In Go-Bangayan v. Bangayan10, a 2013 decision, the Court affirmed with the decision of the RTC
found that bigamy is not committed when Benjamin contracted a second marriage without being
issued marriage license. The RTC, to support this claim, cited People v. De Lara:

[I]t was held that what was committed was contracting marriage against the provisions of
laws not under Article 349 but Article 350 of the Revised Penal Code. Concluding, the
marriage of the parties is therefore not bigamous because there was no marriage license.

I vote to dismiss the petition.

10
G.R. No. 201061, July 3, 2013
Bibliography

Ong, Milagros. Legal Research and Legal Citations for the Philippines. Manila: Rex Bookstore
(2013) 208p
Rabuya, Elmer. The Law on Persons and Family Relations. Manila: Rex Bookstore (2006) 732p
Reyes, Luis. The Revised Penal Code Book Two. Manila: Rex Bookstore (2012) 1088p