Atty. Ravelo asked whether or not jurisdiction over the second marriage can be obtained by Philippines courts, considering that it was celebrated abroad. He also raised Articles 15 and 17 of the Civil Code which provide:
Art. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
Art. 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public instruments shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they are executed.
When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular officials of the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities established by Philippine laws shall be observed in their execution.
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have, for their object, public order, public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.
Basically, what Atty. Ravelo is saying is that theoretically, because the second marriage was celebrated abroad, therefore, the criminal act was outside of Philippine territory, which is one of the components for the courts’ power to put the case into trial. Hence, there was no criminal act of bigamy committed because the second marriage was done outside the scope of Philippine criminal law to enforce. This is supported by Article 2 of the Revised Penal Code which provides:
Except as provided in the treaties and laws of preferential application, the provisions of this Code shall be enforced not only within the Philippine Archipelago, including its atmosphere, its interior waters and maritime zone, but also outside of its jurisdiction, against those who:
1. Should commit an offense while on a Philippine ship or airship
2. Should forge or counterfeit any coin or currency note of the Philippine Islands or obligations and securities issued by the Government of the Philippine Islands;chan robles virtual law library
3. Should be liable for acts connected with the introduction into these islands of the obligations and securities mentioned in the presiding number;
4. While being public officers or employees, should commit an offense in the exercise of their functions; or
5. Should commit any of the crimes against national security and the law of nations, defined in Title One of Book Two of this Code.
Note that the second marriage does not fall within any of the situations allowing for extra-territorial jurisdiction of Philippine criminal laws.
Hence no crime of Bigamy has been committed by Sonny.
There are sometimes when yes, I reach the limits of my magnificence, and I have to defer to the wisdom and sound reasoning of a brilliant legal mind. So to my companyero and (I’m proud to add), classmate in law school, Atty. Ravelo, thank you very much for your input on this matter.