Woman wants to press bigamy charge against father
"Our father abandoned us when we were still very young. My mother knew he married another woman a few years after they were married, but this matter was only brought to our attention just recently. What is disappointing is not only that he left us but also that he never even bothered to give support for our education or even our basic needs. I reached out to him to get some answers as to why he left us and married another woman, but he told me that he and my mother were never married.
This really shocked me because as far as I know they were married. My mother even showed me their marriage certificate. I just want to know, if I am able to gather proof that they were married, can my mother file a case for bigamy against him? I hope you can provide us with some guidance.Amor_123
Dear Amor_123,Contracts are binding between the parties who executed them. For most contracts, they can be entered into between two or more persons.
However, in the case of a contract of marriage, it can only be entered into exclusively by a man and a woman for the purpose of creating a permanent union between them.During the existence of their marriage, neither of the parties may contract a subsequent marriage. Such may only be entered into after the parties have been granted the liberty to contract a second marriage on account that the first union has been declared null and void or has been annulled by the court.
Should any of the parties contract a subsequent marriage in violation of the foregoing, said party may be held liable for the crime of bigamy. Under our laws, bigamy is committed when a person contracts a second marriage before his or her 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. (Article 349, Revised Penal Code)In the situation you have presented before us, you want to verify whether your mother can file a case for bigamy against your father. First and foremost, your mother needs to establish that they were in fact married. Such may be proved by presenting their National Statistics Office authenticated marriage certificate, sworn statements of those who witnessed their wedding and even photographs and video footage of their marriage ceremony.Secondly, it is essential for your mother to establish, through documentary evidence or testimony of witnesses, that your father in fact contracted a second marriage while their marriage is still valid. The criminal case should be filed before the court of the place where the subsequent marriage was contracted.Please be reminded that there is a period of prescription in filing a criminal case. Since the penalty for the crime of bigamy is prision mayor, which is an afflictive penalty, said crime prescribes in 15 years from the date of the commission thereof. (Article 90 (2), id) Therefore, if the alleged second marriage of your father was contracted less than 15 years ago, the case may still be heard in court provided all the elements of said crime are present.
On the other hand, if the second marriage of your father transpired more than 15 years ago, the case will no longer prosper as the crime has already been extinguished because of its prescription.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com or via text message (key in: Times dearpao and send to 2299)."
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"Woman wants to press bigamy charge against father"
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and updated on 16 September 2021