Bigamy and psychological incapacity | Inquirer Opinion

Per Report 40 of the Loved ones Code, “The complete nullity of a prior marriage may perhaps be invoked for reasons of remarriage on the basis entirely of a ultimate judgment declaring these types of prior marriage void.” Dilemma: May possibly an accused be nonetheless acquitted of bigamy even devoid of a remaining judgment declaring the prior relationship as void?

“YES,” THE SUPREME Court Ruled IN PULIDO V. Folks (July 27, 2021) penned by Justice Ramon Paul I. Hernando supported unanimously by the Court en banc with a few Individual Concurring Opinions (SCOs). But 1st the facts:

On Sept. 5, 1983, Luisito, a 16-year-aged scholar, married his 22-yr aged instructor, Nora. On July 31, 1995, Luisito contracted a 2nd marriage with Rowena. Damage by the betrayal, Nora billed Luisito and Rowena with bigamy on Dec. 4, 2007.

On June 22, 2009, the Regional Demo Courtroom (RTC) of Las Piñas Town convicted Luisito but acquitted Rowena due to the fact she discovered of Luisito’s prior marriage only in April 2007. In reality, even prior to the filing of the bigamy charge, she currently submitted a petition to nullify her marriage to Luisito before the RTC of Imus, Cavite, which, on Oct. 25, 2009, judged the next marriage as void for currently being bigamous. This judgment attained finality on Might 11, 2016. Note that the decision nullifying the next marriage was rendered on Oct. 25, 2009, immediately after the final decision convicting Luisito of bigamy was issued on June 22, 2009.

Jurisprudence flip-flopped on whether or not a judicial declaration of the nullity of the prior marriage was essential in advance of a conviction for bigamy could be obtained. However, the Courtroom in the reported Pulido conclusion firmly held: “All informed, we maintain that in prison prosecutions for bigamy, the accused can validly interpose the defense of a void ab initio relationship even without the need of getting a judicial declaration of absolute nullity.” (Bold forms in unique)

However, the judicial declaration is still essential for “purposes of remarriage” and for analyzing the civil legal rights arising therefrom—like heirship, legitimacy of youngsters, settlement of estates, and dissolution of residence regimes.

PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY (PI) AS A Ground TO NULLIFY MARRIAGES was copied by the Relatives Code from Canon Regulation. It experienced no prior constitutional, statutory, or jurisprudential precedent. Understandably then, the earliest circumstance on it, (Santos v. Courtroom of Appeals, Jan. 4, 1995), relied on the canonical strategy that PI “must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability.”

The second situation (Republic v. Molina, Feb. 13, 1997) followed these characterizations and laid down guidelines sourced generally from its invited amicus curiae, Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, presiding decide of the Church’s Countrywide Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal. The recommendations supplied in the major that the “root bring about … have to be (a) medically or clinically determined, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) adequately demonstrated by professionals, and (d) plainly discussed in the selection.”

Due to the alleged strictness of the recommendations, incredibly number of marriages were nullified. As a result, in subsequent circumstances, the Court modified the tips on a “case-to-situation basis” to permit more partners to untie their knots.

Later on, THESE TWO EARLIEST Choices Had been DENOUNCED as “restrictive, rigid, and intrusive on our legal rights to liberty, autonomy, and human dignity” by the new Tan-Andal v. Andal (Could 11, 2021) final decision, penned by Justice Marvic M. V. F. Leonen supported unanimously by his colleagues with 9 SCOs. Specially, it deserted the standard guideline quoted earlier mentioned and held that professional proof is not required as even normal lay people today can identify the presence of PI.

I do not have the room to depth the scenario additional, apart from to say that, IMHO, the freshly-installed proceedings to nullify marriages because of to PI are strikingly comparable to absolute divorce in numerous jurisdictions.

To the spiritual college administrators and alumni individual ample to browse the determination and SCOs, I question: Are they dependable with St. Thomas More’s “The King’s superior servant but God’s initial?” Do they replicate the Atenean “amDg,” the Bedan “Ora et labora,” and the Thomasian “Veritas.” Permit them decide the judges I dare not for I am just a humble offspring of the “Be brave” tradition of a nonsectarian university that does not have an incumbent member of the Courtroom.

Alternatively, in its place of mangling the canonical PI, need to the Court have just waited and permitted Congress to legislate complete divorce, if that be the sovereign will?

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