IMELDA MARBELLA-BOBIS,Petitionervs. ISAGANI D. BOBIS, Respondent GR No. 138509 July 31, 2000
October 21, 1985:Respondent, Isagani Bobis contracted a first marriage with Maria Dulce B. Javier
January 25, 1996: Respondent contracted a second marriage with Imelda Marbella-Bobis without the first marriage being annulled, nullified or terminated
February 25, 1998: Isagani Bobis charged with bigamy before Regional Trial Court, Branch 226, Quezon City
Respondent initiated a civil action for the judicial declaration of absolute nullity of his first marriage
Regional Trial Court judge suspends criminal case pending decision in civil action
Does the subsequent filing of a civil action for declaration of nullity of a previous marriage constitute a prejudicial question to a criminal case for bigamy? and
Is ignorance of Article 40 of the Family Code a valid defense for contracting second marriage?
No. He who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy, and in such a case the criminal case may not be suspended on the ground of the pendency of a civil case for declaration of nullity. In a recent case for concubinage, we held that the pendency of a civil case for declaration of nullity of marriage is not a prejudicial question. This ruling applies here by analogy since both crimes presuppose the subsistence of a marriage.
No. Ignorance of the existence of Article 40 of the Family Code cannot even be successfully invoked as an excuse. The contracting of a marriage knowing that the requirements of the law have not been complied with or that the marriage is in disregard of a legal impediment is an act penalized by the Revised Penal Code. The legality of a marriage is a matter of law and every person is presumed to know the law.
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