Sunteți pe pagina 1din 11

Petition PARTLY GRANTED.

Modified the sentence because the first marriage was void due to
lack of license.
Even if the first marriage is declared void, it would not be a
defense against bigamy. Neither is the declaration of the second
marriage as void.

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 164435


VICTORIA S. JARILLO,
Petitioner, Present:

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
Chairperson,
- versus - CHICO-NAZARIO,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA, and
PERALTA, JJ.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Promulgated:
Respondent.
September 29, 2009

x--------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

This resolves the Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, praying that the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA),
dated July 21, 2003, and its Resolution[2]dated July 8, 2004, be reversed and
set aside.
On May 31, 2000, petitioner was charged with Bigamy before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City, Branch 117 under the following
Information in Criminal Case No. 00-08-11:
INFORMATION

The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses VICTORIA S.


JARILLO of the crime of BIGAMY, committed as follows:

That on or about the 26th day of November 1979, in Pasay City,


Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, Victoria S. Jarillo, being previously
united in lawful marriage with Rafael M. Alocillo, and without the said
marriage having been legally dissolved, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously contract a second marriage with Emmanuel
Ebora Santos Uy which marriage was only discovered on January 12,
1999.

Contrary to law.

On July 14, 2000, petitioner pleaded not guilty during arraignment


and, thereafter, trial proceeded.

The undisputed facts, as accurately summarized by the CA, are as follows.

On May 24, 1974, Victoria Jarillo and Rafael Alocillo were married in a
civil wedding ceremony solemnized by Hon. Monico C. Tanyag, then
Municipal Mayor of Taguig, Rizal (Exhs. A, A-1, H, H-1, H-2, O, O-1, pp.
20-21, TSN dated November 17, 2000).

On May 4, 1975, Victoria Jarillo and Rafael Alocillo again celebrated


marriage in a church wedding ceremony before Rev. Angel Resultay
in San Carlos City, Pangasinan (pp. 25-26, TSN dated November 17,
2000). Out of the marital union, appellant begot a daughter, Rachelle J.
Alocillo on October 29, 1975 (Exhs. F, R, R-1).

Appellant Victoria Jarillo thereafter contracted a subsequent marriage with


Emmanuel Ebora Santos Uy, at the City Court of Pasay City, Branch 1,
before then Hon. Judge Nicanor Cruz on November 26, 1979 (Exhs. D, J,
J-1, Q, Q-1, pp. 15-18, TSN dated November 22, 2000).

On April 16, 1995, appellant and Emmanuel Uy exchanged marital vows


anew in a church wedding in Manila (Exh. E).
In 1999, Emmanuel Uy filed against the appellant Civil Case No. 99-
93582 for annulment of marriage before the Regional Trial Court of
Manila.

Thereafter, appellant Jarillo was charged with bigamy before the Regional
Trial Court of Pasay City x x x.

xxxx

Parenthetically, accused-appellant filed against Alocillo, on October 5,


2000, before the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Civil Case No. 00-1217,
for declaration of nullity of their marriage.

On July 9, 2001, the court a quo promulgated the assailed decision,


the dispositive portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, upon the foregoing premises, this
court hereby finds accused Victoria Soriano
Jarillo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of BIGAMY.
Accordingly, said accused is hereby sentenced to
suffer an indeterminate penalty of SIX (6) YEARS of
prision correccional, as minimum, to TEN (10) YEARS of
prision mayor, as maximum.

This court makes no pronouncement on the civil


aspect of this case, such as the nullity of accuseds bigamous
marriage to Uy and its effect on their children and their
property. This aspect is being determined by the Regional
Trial Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 99-93582.

Costs against the accused.

The motion for reconsideration was likewise denied by the same


court in that assailed Order dated 2 August 2001.[3]

For her defense, petitioner insisted that (1) her 1974 and 1975
marriages to Alocillo were null and void because Alocillo was allegedly still
married to a certain Loretta Tillman at the time of the celebration of their
marriage; (2) her marriages to both Alocillo and Uy were null and void for
lack of a valid marriage license; and (3) the action had prescribed, since Uy
knew about her marriage to Alocillo as far back as 1978.
On appeal to the CA, petitioners conviction was affirmed in toto. In its
Decision dated July 21, 2003, the CA held that petitioner committed bigamy
when she contracted marriage with Emmanuel Santos Uy because, at that
time, her marriage to Rafael Alocillo had not yet been declared null and void
by the court. This being so, the presumption is, her previous marriage to
Alocillo was still existing at the time of her marriage to Uy. The CA also
struck down, for lack of sufficient evidence, petitioners contentions that her
marriages were celebrated without a marriage license, and that Uy had
notice of her previous marriage as far back as 1978.
In the meantime, the RTC of Makati City, Branch 140, rendered a
Decision dated March 28, 2003, declaring petitioners 1974 and 1975
marriages to Alocillo null and void ab initio on the ground of Alocillos
psychological incapacity. Said decision became final and executory on July
9, 2003. In her motion for reconsideration, petitioner invoked said
declaration of nullity as a ground for the reversal of her
conviction. However, in its Resolution dated July 8, 2004, the CA,
citing Tenebro v. Court of Appeals,[4] denied reconsideration and ruled that
[t]he subsequent declaration of nullity of her first marriage on the ground of
psychological incapacity, while it retroacts to the date of the celebration of
the marriage insofar as the vinculum between the spouses is concerned, the
said marriage is not without legal consequences, among which is incurring
criminal liability for bigamy.[5]

Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of


the Rules of Court where petitioner alleges that:

V.1. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE


ERROR IN PROCEEDING WITH THE CASE DESPITE THE
PENDENCY OF A CASE WHICH IS PREJUDICIAL TO THE
OUTCOME OF THIS CASE.

V.2. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE


ERROR IN AFFIRMING THE CONVICTION OF PETITIONER FOR
THE CRIME OF BIGAMY DESPITE THE SUPERVENING PROOF
THAT THE FIRST TWO MARRIAGES OF PETITIONER TO
ALOCILLO HAD BEEN DECLARED BY FINAL JUDGMENT NULL
AND VOID AB INITIO.

V.3. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE


ERROR IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT THERE IS A PENDING
ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE AT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
BRANCH 38 BETWEEN EMMANUEL SANTOS AND VICTORIA S.
JARILLO.

V.4. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE


ERROR IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT THE INSTANT CASE OF
BIGAMY HAD ALREADY PRESCRIBED.

V.5. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE


ERROR IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT THE MARRIAGE OF
VICTORIA JARILLO AND EMMANUEL SANTOS UY HAS NO
VALID MARRIAGE LICENSE.

V.6. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE


ERROR IN NOT ACQUITTING THE PETITIONER BUT IMPOSED AN
ERRONEOUS PENALTY UNDER THE REVISED PENAL CODE AND
THE INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW.

The first, second, third and fifth issues, being closely related, shall be
discussed jointly. It is true that right after the presentation of the prosecution
evidence, petitioner moved for suspension of the proceedings on the ground
of the pendency of the petition for declaration of nullity of petitioners
marriages to Alocillo, which, petitioner claimed involved a prejudicial
question. In her appeal, she also asserted that the petition for declaration of
nullity of her marriage to Uy, initiated by the latter, was a ground for
suspension of the proceedings. The RTC denied her motion for suspension,
while the CA struck down her arguments. In Marbella-Bobis v. Bobis,[6] the
Court categorically stated that:

x x x as ruled in Landicho v. Relova, 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. x x x

xxxx

x x x The reason is that, without a judicial declaration of its nullity, the


first marriage is presumed to be subsisting. In the case at bar, respondent
was for all legal intents and purposes regarded as a married man at the time
he contracted his second marriage with petitioner. Against this legal
backdrop, any decision in the civil action for nullity would not erase the
fact that respondent entered into a second marriage during the
subsistence of a first marriage. Thus, a decision in the civil case is not
essential to the determination of the criminal charge. It is, therefore,
not a prejudicial question. x x x[7]
The foregoing ruling had been reiterated in Abunado v. People,[8] where it
was held thus:

The subsequent judicial declaration of the nullity of the first


marriage was immaterial because prior to the declaration of nullity,
the crime had already been consummated. Moreover, petitioners
assertion would only delay the prosecution of bigamy cases considering
that an accused could simply file a petition to declare his previous marriage
void and invoke the pendency of that action as a prejudicial question in the
criminal case. We cannot allow that.
The outcome of the civil case for annulment of petitioners
marriage to [private complainant] had no bearing upon the
determination of petitioners innocence or guilt in the criminal case for
bigamy, because all that is required for the charge of bigamy to
prosper is that the first marriage be subsisting at the time the second
marriage is contracted.
Thus, under the law, a marriage, even one which is void or voidable,
shall be deemed valid until declared otherwise in a judicial proceeding. In
this case, even if petitioner eventually obtained a declaration that his first
marriage was void ab initio, the point is, both the first and the second
marriage were subsisting before the first marriage was annulled.[9]

For the very same reasons elucidated in the above-quoted cases, petitioners
conviction of the crime of bigamy must be affirmed. The subsequent judicial
declaration of nullity of petitioners two marriages to Alocillo cannot be
considered a valid defense in the crime of bigamy. The moment petitioner
contracted a second marriage without the previous one having been
judicially declared null and void, the crime of bigamy was already
consummated because at the time of the celebration of the second marriage,
petitioners marriage to Alocillo, which had not yet been declared null and
void by a court of competent jurisdiction, was deemed valid and
subsisting. Neither would a judicial declaration of the nullity of petitioners
marriage to Uy make any difference.[10] As held in Tenebro, [s]ince a
marriage contracted during the subsistence of a valid marriage is
automatically void, the nullity of this second marriage is not per se an
argument for the avoidance of criminal liability for bigamy. x x x A plain
reading of [Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code], therefore, would
indicate that the provision penalizes the mere act of contracting a second or
subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage.[11]

Petitioners defense of prescription is likewise doomed to fail.


Under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, bigamy is punishable
by prision mayor, which is classified under Article 25 of said Code as an
afflictive penalty. Article 90 thereof provides that [c]rimes punishable by
other afflictive penalties shall prescribe in fifteen years, while Article 91
states 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 x x x .

Petitioner asserts that Uy had known of her previous marriage as far


back as 1978; hence, prescription began to run from that time. Note that the
party who raises a fact as a matter ofdefense has the burden of proving
it. The defendant or accused is obliged to produce evidence in support of
its defense; otherwise, failing to establish the same, it remains self-
serving.[12]Thus, for petitioners defense of prescription to prosper, it was
incumbent upon her to adduce evidence that as early as the year 1978, Uy
already obtained knowledge of her previous marriage.

A close examination of the records of the case reveals that petitioner


utterly failed to present sufficient evidence to support her
allegation. Petitioners testimony that her own mother told Uy in 1978 that
she (petitioner) is already married to Alocillo does not inspire belief, as it is
totally unsupported by any corroborating evidence. The trial court correctly
observed that:

x x x She did not call to the witness stand her mother the person who
allegedly actually told Uy about her previous marriage to Alocillo. It must
be obvious that without the confirmatory testimony of her mother, the
attribution of the latter of any act which she allegedly did is hearsay.[13]

As ruled in Sermonia v. Court of Appeals,[14] the prescriptive period


for the crime of bigamy should be counted only from the day on which the
said crime was discovered by the offended party, the authorities or their
[agents], as opposed to being counted from the date of registration of the
bigamous marriage.[15] Since petitioner failed to prove with certainty that the
period of prescription began to run as of 1978, her defense is, therefore,
ineffectual.

Finally, petitioner avers that the RTC and the CA imposed an erroneous
penalty under the Revised Penal Code. Again, petitioner is mistaken.

The Indeterminate Sentence Law provides that the accused shall be


sentenced to an indeterminate penalty, the maximum term of which shall be
that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly
imposed under the Revised Penal Code, and the minimum of which shall be
within the range of the penalty next lower than that prescribed by the Code
for the offense, without first considering any modifying circumstance
attendant to the commission of the crime. The Indeterminate Sentence Law
leaves it entirely within the sound discretion of the court to determine the
minimum penalty, as long as it is anywhere within the range of the penalty
next lower without any reference to the periods into which it might be
subdivided. The modifying circumstances are considered only in the
imposition of the maximum term of the indeterminate sentence.[16]

Applying the foregoing rule, it is clear that the penalty imposed on


petitioner is proper. Under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, the
imposable penalty for bigamy is prision mayor. The penalty next lower
is prision correccional, which ranges from 6 months and 1 day to 6
years. The minimum penalty of six years imposed by the trial court is,
therefore, correct as it is still within the duration of prision
correccional. There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstances
proven in this case, the prescribed penalty of prision mayor should be
imposed in its medium period, which is from 8 years and 1 day to 10
years. Again, the trial court correctly imposed a maximum penalty of 10
years.
However, for humanitarian purposes, and considering that petitioners
marriage to Alocillo has after all been declared by final judgment[17] to be
void ab initio on account of the latters psychological incapacity, by reason of
which, petitioner was subjected to manipulative abuse, the Court deems it
proper to reduce the penalty imposed by the lower courts. Thus, petitioner
should be sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment
from Two (2) years, Four (4) months and One (1) day of prision
correccional, as minimum, to 8 years and 1 day of prision mayor, as
maximum.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTLY


GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 21, 2003, and
its Resolution dated July 8, 2004 are hereby MODIFIED as to the penalty
imposed, but AFFIRMED in all other respects. Petitioner is sentenced to
suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment from Two (2) years, Four
(4) months and One (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to Eight
(8) years and One (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum.

SO ORDERED.

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice Associate Justice

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA


Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the
Courts Division.

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice
Third Division, Chairperson

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division
Chairpersons Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision
were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of
the opinion of the Courts Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
[1]
Penned by Associate Justice Bernardo P. Abesamis, with Associate Justices Jose L. Sabio, Jr. and Jose
C. Mendoza, concurring; rollo, pp. 8-21.
[2]
Penned by Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr., with Associate Justices Mariano C. del Castillo and Jose
C. Mendoza, concurring; rollo, pp. 22-23.
[3]
Rollo, pp. 9-10.
[4]
467 Phil. 723 (2004).
[5]
CA rollo, p. 404.
[6]
391 Phil. 648 (2000).
[7]
Id. at 655-657. (Emphasis supplied.)
[8]
G.R. No. 159218, March 30, 2004, 426 SCRA 562.
[9]
Id. at 567-568. (Emphasis supplied.)
[10]
Abunado v. People, supra note 8; Tenebro v. Court of Appeals, supra note 4, at 752.
[11]
Tenebro v. Court of Appeals, supra, at 742.
[12]
Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc. v. Trans-Asia Shipping Lines, Inc., G.R. No. 151890, June
20, 2006, 491 SCRA 411, 433.
[13]
Records, p. 383.
[14]
G.R. No. 109454, June 14, 1994, 233 SCRA 155.
[15]
Id. at 161.
[16]
Abunado v. People, supra note 8, at 568.
[17]
See Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City in Civil Case No. 00-1217, CA rollo, pp. 343-
347.