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CONFLICT DIGESTS

Diego vs. Castillo (A.M. No. RTJ-02-1673)

Facts:

Escoto and de Perio were married in the Philippines as Filipinos, and they went to Texas to settle down.
They became naturalized citizens, but eventually got a divorce decree there. Escoto returned to the
Philippines, and married Diego. Later on, a bigamy case was filed by Diego against Escoto. During the
course of the trial, Escoto merely presented the divorce decree as evidence without having it recognized.
The case ended with the RTC judge Castillo acquitted Escoto. He ruled that bigamy is mala in se, in which
it requires the element of intent. Furthermore, he said that the fact that Escoto believed in good faith that
she can contract a second marriage due to a divorce decree entitled her to an acquittal.

Issues:

 Whether or not Castillo ruled correctly.


 Whether or not the Castillo should be penalized.

Ruling:

 No. Even if Escoto, who had obtained a divorce under the Mohammedan custom, honestly
believed that in contracting her second marriage she was not committing any violation of the law,
and that she had no criminal intent, the same does not justify her act. with respect to the
contention that the accused acted in good faith in contracting the second marriage, believing that
she had been validly divorced from her first husband, it is sufficient to say that everyone is
presumed to know the law, and the fact that one does not know that his act constitutes a violation
of the law does not exempt him from the consequences thereof. The accused who secured a
foreign divorce, and later remarried in the Philippines, in the belief that the foreign divorce was
valid, is liable for bigamy.
 Yes. The error Castillo committed was gross ignorance of the law. As a general rule, the acts of a
judge in his official capacity are not subject to disciplinary action, even though such acts are
erroneous. However, the case involves public policy. Thus, he must be punished albeit with a stern
warning.
Amor-Catalan vs. CA (G.R. No. 167109)

Facts:

Felicitas Amor and Orlando Catalan married in the Philippines. They migrated to the U.S., and became
naturalized citizens. After 38 years of marriage, they divorced. Orlando went back to the Philippines, and
married Merope Braganza. Amor filed a case of bigamy against Braganza because the latter’s marriage to
Eusebio Bristol was still subsisting.

Issues:

 Whether or not Catalan is capacitated to marry.


 Whether or not Amor is a party-in-interest.

Ruling:

The case was remanded to the lower courts to retry the facts. However, the SC discussed the following
issues at hand.

 First, divorce is only available to alien nationals, whose national law allows it. Second, there are
two types of divorce: absolute divorce or a vinculo matrimonii and (2) limited divorce or a mensa
et thoro. The former is an absolute divorce that terminates the marriage, while the latter merely
suspends it. If the divorce is absolute, Catalan can remarry; otherwise, he cannot. Lastly, a divorce
obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our jurisdiction, provided such decree is valid
according to the national law of the foreigner. However, before it can be recognized by our courts,
the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the
foreign law allowing it, which must be proved considering that our courts cannot take judicial
notice of foreign laws. In this case, Catalan must prove that he was an alien during the time when
the divorce decree was obtained, and the fact of divorce and the law on divorce.
 Amor can only be a party-of-interest if she is still the wife of Catalan. According to The Rule on
Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages, a
petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or
the wife. Other than the two, jurisprudence also tells us that the children may also file a petition
for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage against their step-parent if their parent dies.
Thus, the subsistence of Amor and Catalan’s marriage must be proved.
Roeher vs. Rodriguez (G.R. No. 142820)

Facts:

Roeher, a German, and Rodriguez, a Filipino, got married, and had children together. Years later,
Rodriguez filed for a petition for nullity of marriage; meanwhile, Roeher obtained a divorce decree in
Germany. Roeher filed for a motion to dismiss because he alleged that the RTC does not have jurisdiction
of the case by virtue of the divorce decree. Judge Salonga granted the motion to dismiss, but Rodriguez
filed for a Motion for Partial Reconsideration to resolve the issue on the custody of the children and the
distribution properties

Issue:

Whether or not the court may resolve the issue on custody and distribution of properties when the foreign
spouse obtained a divorce decree.

Ruling:

As a general rule, divorce decrees obtained by foreigners in other countries are recognizable in our
jurisdiction, but the legal effects thereof, e.g., on custody, care and support of the children, must still be
determined by our courts. Before our courts can give the effect of res judicata to a foreign judgment, such
as the award of custody to petitioner by the German court, it must be shown that the parties opposed to
the judgment had been given ample opportunity to do so on grounds allowed under Rule 39, Section 48
of the Rules of Court. In the present case, it cannot be said that private respondent was given the
opportunity to challenge the judgment of the German court so that there is basis for declaring that
judgment as res judicata with regard to the rights of petitioner to have parental custody of their two
children.