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Bigamy was committed by a Muslim convert for contracting 2nd marriage

Digest: NOLLORA, JR. vs. PEOPLE 
G.R. No. 191425. September 7, 2011


Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. ("Nollora") and Rowena P. Geraldino ("Geraldino") were charged for the crime of Bigamy for contrating second marriages despite the first marriage has not been legally dissolved and still subsisting. 

1. The validity of the first marriage between Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. and Jesusa Pinat Nollora solemnized on April 6, 1999 at Sapang Palay, San Jose del Monte;

2. that Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. contracted the second marriage with Rowena P. Geraldino on December 8, 2001 in Quezon City;

3. that in the Counter-Affidavit of Atilano O. Nollora, Jr., he admitted that he contracted the second marriage to Rowena P. Geraldino;

4. that Rowena P. Geraldino attached to her Counter-Affidavit the Certificate of Marriage with Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. dated December 8, 2001;

5. the fact of marriage of Rowena P. Geraldino with Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. as admitted in her Counter-Affidavit."

However, claimed that Nollora was a Muslim convert way back on January 10, 1992, even before he contracted the first marriage with the private complainant. As a [M]uslim convert, he is allegedly entitled to marry four (4) wives as allowed under the Muslim or Islam belief.


1. whether or not the second marriage is bigamous.

2. whether or not the second marriage is valid.


1. Yes. Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code 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 Pinat’s 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 Geraldino’s marriage has all the essential requisites for validity except for the lack of capacity of Nollora due to his prior marriage.

2. No. 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 Presidential Decree 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 Shari’a 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.

x x x.

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.

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 Shari’a District Court or Shari’a 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 Shari’a 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 or 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, a proper dower (mahr-mithl) shall, upon petition of the wife, be determined by the court according to the social standing of the parties.

Indeed, Article 13(2) of the Code of Muslim Personal Laws states that "[i]n 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 Executive Order No. 209, in lieu of the Civil Code of the Philippines] shall apply." Nollora’s religious affiliation is not an issue here. Neither is the claim that Nollora’s marriages were solemnized according to Muslim law. Thus, regardless of his professed religion, Nollora cannot claim exemption from liability for the crime of bigamy.

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