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MARLON V. RUFO (MARLON) contracted marriage on

November 20, 1996 with CARMELITA GO (CARMELITA) before
Solemnizing Officer Hon. Judge Ander de Saya of Branch 8,
Municipal Trial Court of Kabankalan City.

Several months after their marriage, CARMELITA convinced

MARLON to allow her to work in Japan. At first, MARLON refused
but eventually gave in. And so, CARMELITA was able to work in

Unfortunately, however, upon CARMELITA’s return to the

Philippines, she did not go home to her husband nor did she stay at
the conjugal dwelling.

As this aroused MARLON’s suspicion and doubts, he

conducted surveillance on his wife’s whereabouts. To MARLON’s
surprise, he discovered that CARMELITA contracted a second
marriage on October 6, 2000 with TOMOKI YAMAMOTO, a 17-year-
old Japanese national, at the Hall of Justice of Bacolod City before
Solemnizing Officer Hon. Judge Alana Dilon.

On February 5, 2017, CARMELITA instituted an action for

annulment of marriage with the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City
on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of Marlon for
non-performance of marital obligations. Subsequently, on May 5,
2017, petitioner MARLON filed a criminal case for Bigamy against
his wife, CARMELITA.

On June 25, 2017, CARMELITA filed an urgent motion for

additional time to file her counter-affidavit. However, instead of
filing her counter-affidavit, CARMELITA moved for the suspension
of the proceedings on the ground that there exists a prejudicial

After MARLON has timely filed his reply to CARMELITA’s

motion, the office of the City Prosecutor of Bacolod City issued a
Resolution on January 14, 2018, finding that the pending case for
annulment of marriage filed by private respondent CARMELITA is
not a prejudicial question which must be resolved first in order that
the criminal case for bigamy may proceed.

Private respondent CARMELITA moved for the

reconsideration of the aforesaid Resolution and, at the same time,
moved for the suspension of the filing of the information in court.
This, however, was denied by the Office of the City Prosecutor which
thus led to the eventual filing of the Information for Bigamy.

Subsequently, private respondent CARMELITA moved for the

suspension of the arraignment and other proceedings which the court
a quo granted in its Order dated February 14, 2018. Aggrieved,
MARLON timely filed his motion for reconsideration.


Whether or not the petition for annulment on the ground of
psychological incapacity on the part of the Petitioner will prosper.

Whether or not an action for annulment of marriage is
considered a prejudicial question which would suspend a subsequent
action for bigamy.

Whether the action for bigamy against Respondent will


Under the law, among the marital obligations of spouses is the

duty to live together and observe mutual love. This duty finds
fulfillment in sexual intimacy. Consequently, a spouse’s persistent
refusal or utter lack of interest to have marital sexual relations is a
non-performance of such obligation which devastates the marriage.
The Family Code provides, “to observe mutual love, respect
and fidelity, for love, sexual comfort and loyalty to one another are
the basic postulates of marriage.”1

For a marriage to subsist, sexual relation is important because it

maintains a level of intimacy that both spouses need in order to
succeed. It creates a sense of happiness which holds the marriage
intact. Sexual relation of the spouses is a basic necessity of marriage.

The lack of interest and continued avoidance of Complainant

Marlon to engage in sexual acts with his wife, Respondent Carmelita,
violates this basic marital obligation.


The instant case involves a prejudicial question since the

previously filed action for annulment involves an issue which is
similar or is intimately related with an issue raised in the subsequent
criminal action for bigamy. The resolution of the issue will determine
whether or not the criminal action may proceed.

According to jurisprudence, a prejudicial question “is a

question based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but so
intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence
of the accused.”2

The Rules of Court provides for the elements of prejudicial

question. The elements of a prejudicial questions are: (a) the
previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or
intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent criminal
action, and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not
the criminal action may proceed.3

If both civil and criminal cases have similar issues or the issue
in one is intimately related to the issues raised in the other, then a
prejudicial question would likely exist.

1 Article 68, Family Code of the Philippines

2 Rojas vs. People, 57 SCRA 246; People vs. Aragon, 94 Phil. 357; Zapanta vs. Montessa, 4 SCRA
510 and Benitez vs. Concepcion, 2 SCRA 178
3 Rule 11, Rules of Criminal Procedure
In the instant case, there exist a prejudicial question. Thus, a
suspension of the case for bigamy must be granted.


The marriage between Respondent Carmelita Go and

Tomoyaki Yamamoto was not valid under Philippine law for it lacks
an essential requisite; the legal capacity of the contracting party.

“Article 2. No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential

requisites are present:

(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male

and a female”4

Tomoyaki Yamamoto, at the time of his marriage with

Respondent Carmelita, was only 17 years old. Under the law, such
age is barred from contracting marriage in the Philippines. Any act
to the contrary is invalid and shall be considered void.

"Article 234. Emancipation takes place by the attainment of

majority. Unless otherwise provided, majority commences at the age
of eighteen years."5

“Article 35. The following marriages shall be void from the


(1) Those contracted by any party below eighteen years of age even
with the consent of parents or guardians”6

Since Tomoyaki Yamamoto was not of the legal age when he

married Respondent Carmelita, such marriage was not valid. No
marriage between them existed from the beginning.

4 Article 2, Family Code of the Philippines

5 Article 234, Family Code of the Philippines
6 Article 35, Family Code of the Philippines
The case People vs. Odtuhan7 laid down the elements of the
crime of bigamy:

1. That the offender has been legally married;

2. That the first 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; and
4. That the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential
requisites for validity.

For a crime of bigamy to be valid, all the elements laid down by

the Supreme Court must be present. However, in the instant case,
one of the elements does not exist; a valid second marriage.


I. Granting of the petition for annulment.

II. Suspension of the proceedings for the crime of bigamy.

7 People vs. Odtuhan, G.R. No. 191566, 17 July 2013