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RONULO VS PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

G.R. No. 182438, 2 July 2014

the RPC which imposes the penalty provided under Act


No. 3613 or the Marriage Law.

NATURE OF THE CASE: Petition for review on certiorari


BRIEF: Petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner Fr. Rene
Ronulo challenging the April 3, 2008 decision of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. No. 31028 which affirmed the decision of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 18, Batac, Ilocos Norte.

The MTC applied Sec. 44 of the Marriage Law which


pertinently states that a violation of any of its provisions that is
not specifically penalized or of the regulations to be promulgated,
shall be punished by a fine of not more than P200 or by
imprisonment of not more than one month, or both, in the
discretion of the court.

FACTS:

RTC Ruling:

Joey Umadac and Claire Bingayen were scheduled to marry each


other on March 29, 2003 at the Sta. Rosa Catholic Church of San
Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. However, on the day of the wedding, the
supposed officiating priest, refused to solemnize the marriage
upon learning that the couple failed to secure a marriage license.
As a recourse, Joey, who was then dressed in barong tagalog, and
Claire, clad in a wedding gown, together with their parents,
sponsors and guests, proceeded to the Independent Church of
Filipino Christians. They requested the petitioner, Fr. Ronulo to
perform a ceremony to which the latter agreed despite having
been informed by the couple that they had no marriage license.

RTC affirmed the findings of the MTC and added that the
circumstances surrounding the act of the petitioner in blessing
the couple unmistakably show that a marriage ceremony had
transpired.

The petitioner, conducted the ceremony in the presence of the


groom, the bride, their parents, the principal and secondary
sponsors and the rest of their invited guests.

The Petition:

ISSUES: Whether or not the petitioner committed an illegal


marriage.

ACTIONS OF THE COURT:


MTC: Found the petitioner guilty of violation of Article 352 of the
RPC, as amended, and imposed on him a P200.00 fine pursuant
to Sec. 44 of Act. No. 3613 or the Marriage Law.
It held that the petitioners act of giving a blessing constitutes a
marriage ceremony as he made an official church recognition of
the cohabitation of the couple as husband and wife. It further
ruled that in performing a marriage ceremony without the
couples marriage license, the petitioner violated Art. 352 of

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CA Decision:
CA affirmed the RTCs ruling. The CA agreed that the legal
basis for the imposition of the fine is Sec. 44 of the Marriage Law
since it covers violation of regulations to be promulgated by the
proper authorities such as the RPC.

The petitioner argues that the CA erred on the following grounds:


1) First, Art. 352 of the RPC, as amended, is vague and does
not define what constitutes an illegal marriage
ceremony.
2) Second, under the principle of separation of church and
State, the State cannot interfere in ecclesiastical affairs
such as the administration of matrimony. Therefore, the
State cannot convert the blessing into a marriage
ceremony.
3) Third, the petitioner had no criminal intent as he
conducted the blessing in good faith for purposes of
giving moral guidance to the couple.
4) Fourth, the non-filing of a criminal case against the couple
in violating Art. 350 of the RPC, as amended, should
preclude the filing of the present case against him.
5) Art. 352 of the RPC does not provide for a penalty. The present
case is not covered by Sec. 44 of the Marriage Law as the

petitioner was not found violating its provisions nor a


regulation promulgated thereafter.
SC RULING:
Find the petition unmeritorious.
1) The elements of the crime punishable under Art. 352 of the
RPC were proven by the prosecution.
Article 352 of the RPC penalizes an authorized solemnizing
officer
who shall perform or authorize any illegal marriage
ceremony. The elements of this crime are:
1.
2.

authority of the solemnizing officer; and


his performance of an illegal marriage ceremony.

The first element is present since Petitioner himself admitted that


he has authority to solemnize a marriage.
The second element is present since the alleged "blessing" by
Petitioner is tantamount to the performance of an illegal marriage
ceremony.
Art. 352 of RPC does not specifically define a marriage
ceremony and
what constitutes its illegal performance, Art.
3(3) and 6 of the Family
Code are clear on these matters.
Art. 3(3) of the Family Code, one of the essential requisites of
marriage is
the presence of a valid marriage certificate.
Art. 6 of the Family Code defines a marriage ceremony as that
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 that two witnesses of legal
age.

The Court find it clear that what the petitioner conducted was
a marriage ceremony, as the minimum requirements set by
law were complied with. While the petitioner may view this
merely as a blessing, the presence of the requirements of
the law constitutive of a marriage ceremony qualified this
blessing into a marriage ceremony as contemplated by
Art. 3(3) of the Family Code and Art. 352 of RPC.

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2) On the issue on the penalty for violation of Art. 352 of the


RPC, this provision clearly provides that it shall be imposed in
accordance with the provision of the Marriage Law. The
penalty provisions of the Marriage Law are Secs. 39 and 44
which proves as follows:
Sec. 39. Illegal Solemnization of Marriage Any priest or
minister solemnizing marriage without being authorized by
the Director of the Philippine National Library or who, upon
solemnizing marriage, refuses to exhibit the authorization in
force when called upon to do so by the parties or parents,
grandparents, guardians, or persons having charge and any
bishop or officer, priest, or minister of any church, religion or
sect the regulations and practices whereof require banns or
publications previous to the solemnization of a marriage in
accordance with section ten, who authorized the immediate
solemnization of a marriage that is subsequently declared
illegal; or any officer, priest or minister solemnizing marriage
in violation of this act, shall be punished by imprisonment for
not less than one month nor more than two years, or by a fine
of not less than two hundred pesos nor more than two
thousand pesos.
Section 44 of the Marriage Law states that:
Sec. 44. General Penal Clause Any violation of any provision
of this Act not specifically penalized, or of the regulations to
be promulgated by the proper authorities, shall be punished
by a fine of not more than two hundred pesos or by
imprisonment for not more than one month, or both, in the
discretion of the court.
From the provisions cited above, we find merit in the ruling of
the CA and MTC that the penalty imposable in the present case is
that covered under Sec 44, and not Sec. 39, of the Marriage Law.
The penalized acts under Sec. 39 do not include the present
case. As correctly found by the MTC, the petitioner was not found
violating the provisions of the Marriage Law but Art. 352 of RPC.
It is only the imposition of the penalty for the violation of this
provision which is referred to the Marriage Law. Art. 352 falls
squarely under the provision of Sec. 44 of Act No. 3613 which
provides for the penalty for any violation of the regulations to be

promulgated by the proper authorities; Art. 352 of RPC which was


enacted after the Marriage Law, is one of such regulations.

2)

Therefore, CA did not err in imposing the penalty of fine of


P200.00 pursuant to Sec. 44 of the Marriage Law.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition and affirm the decision
of the Court of Appeals dated April 3, 2008.
ATILANO O. NOLLORA, JR., petitioner
vs
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent
G.R. No. 191425
September 7, 2011

3)

BIGAMY
Nature: Petition for review

4)

Brief: Petition for review assailing the Decision promulgated on


30 September 2009 as well as the Resolution promulgated on 23
February 2010 by the Court of Appeals (appellate court) in CaG.R. CR No. 31538. The Appellate Court affirmed the 19
November 2007 Decision of Branch 215 of the RTC of Quezon City
in Criminal Case No. Q-04-129031.
The trial court found accused Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. guilty of
BIGAMY under Art. 349 of the RPC and sentenced him to suffer
imprisonment. Co-accused Rowena Geraldino was acquitted
for the prosecutions failure to prove her guilt beyond reasonable
doubt.
FACTS
1) That on or about the 8th day of December 2001 in Quezon
City, Philippines, the above-named accused Atilano O. Nollora,
Jr., being then legally married to one Jesusa Pinat Nollora, and
as said marriage has not been legally dissolved and still
subsisting, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously contract a subsequent or second marriage with her
co-accused Rowena P. Geraldino, who knowingly consented
and agreed to be married to her co-accused Atilano O. Nollora,

5)

Jr., knowing him to be a married man, to the damage and


prejudice of the said offended party Jesusa Pinat Nollora.
Accused Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. admitted having contracted two
(2) marriages, the first with private complainant Jesusa Pinat
and the second with Rowena P. Geraldino. He, however,
claimed that he was a Muslim convert way back on January
10, 1992, even before he contracted the first marriage with
the private complainant. As a Muslim convert, he is allegedly
entitled to marry four (4) wives as allowed under the Muslim
or Islam belief.
Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. presented a Certificate of Conversion
dated August 2, 2004 issued by one Hadji Abdul Kajar
Madueo and approved by one Khad Ibrahim A. Alyamin
wherein it is stated that Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. allegedly
converted as a Muslim since January 19, 1992. He also
presented a Pledge of Conversion dated January 10, 1992
issued by the same Hadji Abdul Kajar Madueo and approved
by one Khad Ibrahim A. ALyamin.
He claimed that the private complainant knew that he was a
Muslim convert prior to their marriage because he told this
fact when he was courting her in Saudi Arabia (where she
worked as a nurse) and the reason why said private
complainant filed the instant case was due to hatred having
learned of his second marriage with Rowena P. Geraldino. He
further testified that Geraldino was not aware of his first
marriage with the private complainant and he did not tell her
this fact because Geraldino is a Catholic and he does not want
to lose her if she learns of his first marriage.
He explained that in his Marriage Contract with Jesusa Pinat, it
is indicated that he was a Catholic Pestecostal but that he
was not aware why it was placed as such on said contract. In
his Marriage Contract with Rowena Geraldino, the religion
Catholic was also indicated because he was keeping as a
secret his being a Muslim since the society does not approve
of marrying a Muslim. He also indicated that he was single
despite his first marriage to keep said first marriage a secret.

ISSUE
Whether or not Nollora is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of bigamy.
ACTIONS OF THE COURT

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RTC: In its Decision dated 19 November 2007, the trial court


convicted Nollora guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
bigamy punishable under Art. 349 of the RPC and acquitted
Geraldino for failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.
The trial courts Decision stated:
The principle in Islam is that monogamy is the general rule
and polygamy is allowed only to meet urgent needs. Only with
the permission of the court can a Muslim be permitted to have a
second wife subject to certain requirements. This is because
having plurality of wives is merely tolerated, not encouraged,
under certain circumstances (Muslim Law on Personal Status in
the Philippines by Amer M. Bara-acal and Abdulmajid J. astir,
1998 First Edition, pages 64-65). Arbitration is necessary.
Any Muslim husband desiring to contract subsequent marriages,
before so doing, shall notify the Sharia Circuit Court of the place
where his family resides. The clerk of court shall serve a copy
thereof to the wife or wives. Should any of them objects, an
Agama Arbitration Council shall be constituted. If said council
fails to secure the wifes consent to the proposed marriage, the
Court shall, subject to Article 27, decide whether on not to
sustain her objection (Art. 162, Muslim Personal Laws of the
Phils). Accused Atilano O. Nollora, Jr., in marrying his second
wife, Geraldino, did not comply with the above-mentioned
provision of the law. He did not even declare that he was a
Muslim convert in both marriages, indicating his criminal intent.
In an apparent attempt to escape criminal liability, the accused
recelebrated their marriage in accordance with the Muslim rites.
However, this can no longer cure the criminal liability that has
already been violated.
CA (appellate court)
On 30 September 2009, the appellate court dismissed Nolloras
appeal and affirmed the trial courts decision.
The appellate court rejected Nolloras defense that his second
marriage to Geraldino was in lawful exercise of his Islamic
religion and was allowed by the Quran. The appellate court

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denied Nolloras invocation of his religious beliefs and practices


to the prejudice of the non-Muslim women who married him
pursuant to Philippine civil laws.
Nolloras two marriages were not conducted in accordance with
the Code of Muslim Personal Laws, hence, the Family Code of the
Phils. should apply.
SUPREME COURT RULING
Affirmed the rulings of the CA and RTC.
Elements of Bigamy
Art. 349 of the RPC provides:
Art. 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 a judgment rendered in the
proper proceedings.
The elements of the crime of bigamy are:
1) That the offender has been legally married.
2) That the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case
his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet
be presumed dead according to the Civil Code.
3) That he contracts a second or subsequent marriage.
4) That the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential
requisites for validity.
The circumstances in the present case satisfy all the elements
of bigamy.
1) Nollora is legally married to Pinat
2) Nollora and Pinats marriage has not been legally
dissolved prior to the date of the second marriage
3) Nollora admitted the existence of his second marriage to
Geraldino; and
4) Nollora and Geraldinos marriage has all the essential
requisites for validity except for the lack of capacity of
Nollora due to his prior marriage.

Before the trial and appellate courts, Nollora put up his Muslim
religion as his sole defense. He alleged that his religion allows
him to marry more than once. Granting arguendo that Nollora is
indeed of Muslim faith at the time of celebration of both
marriages, Nollora cannot deny that both marriage ceremonies
were not conducted in accordance with the Code of Muslim
Personal Laws, or P.D. No. 1083.
The applicable Articles in the Code of Muslim Personal Laws
read:
Art. 14. Nature Marriage is not only a civil contract but a civil
institution. Its nature, consequences and incidents are governed
by this Code and the Sharia and not subject to stipulation,
except that the marriage settlements to a certain extent fix the
property relations of the spouses.
Art. 15. Essential Requisites No marriage contract shall be
perfected unless the following essential requisites are complied
with:
a) Legal capacity of the contracting parties
b) Mutual consent of the parties freely given
c) Offer (ijab) and acceptance (qabul) duly witnessed by
at least two competent persons after the proper
guardian in marriage (wali) has given his consent; and
d) Stipulation of the customary dower (mahr) duly
witnessed by two competent persons.
Art. 16. Capacity to contract marriage (1) Any Muslim male at
least fifteen years of age and any Muslim female of the age of
puberty or upwards and not suffering from any impediment under
the provisions of this Code may contract marriage. A female is
presumed to have attained puberty upon reaching the age of
fifteen.
Art. 17. Marriage Ceremony No particular form of marriage
ceremony is required but the ijab and the qabul in marriage shall
be declared publicly in the presence of the person solemnizing
the marriage and the two competent witnesses. The declaration
shall be set forth in an instrument in triplicate, signed or marked
by the contracting parties and said witnesses, and attested by the
person solemnizing the marriage. One copy shall be given to the
contracting parties and another sent to the Circuit Registrar by
the solemnizing officer who shall keep the third.

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Art. 18. Authority to solemnize marriage. Marriage maybe


solemnized:
a) By the proper wali by the woman to be wedded
b) Upon the authority of the proper wali, by any person
who is competent under Muslim law to solemnize
marriage; or
c) By the judge of the Sharia District Court or Sharia
Circuit Court or any person designated by the judge,
should the proper wali refuse without justifiable
reason, to authorize the solemnization.
Art. 19. Place of solemnization Marriage shall be solemnized
publicly in any mosque, office of the Sharia judge, office of the
Circuit Registrar, residence of the bride or her wali, or at any
other suitable place agreed upon by the parties.
Art. 20. Specification of dower The amount of value of dower
may be fixed by the contracting parties (mahr-musamma)
before, during or after the celebration of marriage. If the
amount or the value thereof has not been so fixed, aproper
dower (mahr-mithl) shall, upon petition of the wife, be
determined by the court according to the social standing of the
parties.
Art. 13(2) of the Code of Muslim Personal Laws states that in
case of a marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim,
solemnized not in accordance with Muslim Law or this Code, the
Family Code of the Philippines, or E.O. No. 209, in lieu of the Civil
Code of the Philippines shall apply.
Thus, regardless of his professed religion, Nollora cannot claim
exemption from liability for the crime of bigamy.
Nollora asserted in his marriage certificate with Geraldino that
his civil status is single. Both of Nolloras marriage contracts
do not state that he is a Muslim. Although the truth or falsehood
of the declaration of ones religion in the marriage certificate is
not an essential requirement for marriage, such omissions are
sufficient proofs of Nolloras liability for bigamy.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. The Decision of the Court of
Appeals promulgated on 30 September 2009 and the Resolution
promulgated on 23 February 2010 are AFFIRMED.

Petitioner Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. is guilty beyond reasonable doubt


of Bigamy and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of
imprisonment with a term of two years, four months and one day
of prision correccional as minimum to eight years and one day of
prision mayor as maximum of his indeterminate sentence, as
well as the accessory penalties provided by law.

_____________________________________________________
________
Facts:

On 28 August 1991, petitioner Jose G. Garcia filed with the


Quezon City Prosecutor's Office an "Affidavit of Complaint"
charging his wife, private respondent Adela Teodora P.
Santos alias "Delia Santos," with Bigamy, Violation of C.A.
No. 142, as amended by R.A. No. 6085, and Falsification of
Public Documents. However, in his letter of 10 October
1991 to Assistant City Prosecutor George F. Cabanilla, the
petitioner informed the latter that he would limit his action
to bigamy. The information is as follows:

That on or before the 2nd day of February, 1957, in


Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being
previously united in lawful marriage with REYNALDO
QUIROCA, and without the said marriage having been
dissolved, (or before the absent spouse has been declared
presumptively dead by a judgment rendered in the proper
proceedings), did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously contract a second marriage with JOSE G.
GARCIA, which marriage has [sic] discovered in 1989, to
the damage and prejudice of the said offended party in
such amount as may be awarded under the provisions of
the Civil Code.

JOSE G. GARCIA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS,


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and ADELA TEODORA P.
SANTOS, respondents.
[G.R. No. 119063. January 27, 1997]
DAVIDE, JR., J.:

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The information was docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-9227272 and assigned to Branch 83 of the said court. On 2
March 1992, the private respondent (Delia Santos) filed a
Motion to Quash alleging prescription of the offense as
ground therefor. She contended that by the petitioner's
admissions in his testimony given-on 23 January 1991 in

Civil Case No. 90-52730, entitled "Jose G. Garcia v. Delia S.


Garcia," and in his complaint filed with the Civil Service
Commission (CSC) on 16 October 1991, the petitioner
discovered the commission of the offense as early as
1974. Pursuant then to Article 91 of the Revised Penal
Code (RPC), the period of prescription of the offense
started to run therefrom. Thus, since bigamy was
punishable by prision mayor, an afflictive penalty which
prescribed in fifteen years pursuant to Article 92 of the
RPC, then the offense charged prescribed in 1989, or
fifteen years after its discovery by the petitioner.

At the time the respondent married the herein


complainant she never informed him that she was
previously married to a certain "REYNALDO QUIROCA" on
December 1, 1951 wherein she used the name of "ADELA
SANTOS" which was part of her true name "ADELA
TEODORA P. SANTOS" as per her genuine Baptismal
Certificate issued by the Parish of San Guillermo, Bacolor,
Pampanga. These facts were discovered only by the herein
complainant in the year 1974 where they separated from
each other because of her illicit relations with several men
continued use of her alias name "DELIA", without proper
authority from the Courts; and committing a series of
fraudulent acts; her previous marriage to a certain
"Reynaldo Quiroca" is evidenced by a certification issued
by the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. In its 29 June 1992
order, the trial court granted the motion to quash and
dismissed the criminal case. CA affirmed this decision.

Issue:

WON Bigamy is a public offense, consequently,


prescription should have been counted from the time the
state has discovered its commission. NO

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Ratio:

It is true that bigamy is a public offense. But, it is entirely


incorrect to state, as the petitioner does, that only the
State is the offended party in such case, as well as in other
public offenses, and, therefore, only the State's discovery
of the crime could effectively commence the running of
the period of prescription therefor. Article 91 of the RPC
provides that "[t]he period of prescription shall commence
to run from the day on which the crime is discovered by
the offended party, the authorities, or their agents . . . ."
This rule makes no distinction between a public crime and
a private crime. In both cases then, the discovery may be
by the "offended party, the authorities, or their agents."
Article 91 does not define the term "offended party." We
find its definition in Section 12, Rule 110 of the Rules of
Court as "the person against whom or against whose
property, the offense was committed." The said Section
reads as follows:
SEC. 12. Name of the offended party. -- A complaint or
information must state the name and surname of the
person against whom or against whose property the
offense was committed, or any appellation or nickname by
which such person has been or is known, and if there is no
better way of identifying him, he must be described under
a fictitious name.
More specifically, it is reasonable to assume that the
offended party in the commission of a crime, public or
private, is the party to whom the offender is civilly liable,
in light of Article 100 of the RPC, which expressly provides
that "[e]very person criminally liable for a felony is also
civilly liable." Invariably then, the private individual to
whom the offender is civilly liable is the offended party.

This conclusion is strengthened by Section 1, Rule 111 of


the Rules of Court which reads:
SEC. 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. -- When a
criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the
recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with a
criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil
action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or
institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action
Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the
Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33,
34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising
from the same act or omission of the accused. x x x
It is settled that in bigamy, both the first and the
second spouses may be the offended parties
depending on the circumstances.
The petitioner even admits that he is the offended
party in Criminal Case No. Q-92-27272. The
information therein, which he copied in full in the
petition in this case, describes him as the "offended
party" who suffered "damage and prejudice . . . in
such amount as may be awarded under the
provisions of the Civil Code."
The distinction he made between public crimes and
private crimes relates not to the discovery of the
crimes, but to their prosecution. Articles 344 and
360 of the RPC, in relation to Section 5, Rule 110 of
the Rules of Court, are clear on this matter.

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