Bigamy

any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the 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 RPC)

when a person contracts a second or subsequent marriage:

  • while the previous marriage of one or the other is valid and subsisting;
  • before the former marriage has been legally dissolved;
  • before the absent spouse has been judicially declared as presumptively dead.

Bigamy is not similar to the crimes of adultery and concubinage which requires that the culprits, if both are alive, should he prosecuted or included in the information. (People v. Nepomuceno)

In the crime of bigamy, the second spouse that married the accused may not be persecuted if she married the accused without being aware of his previous marriage. Only if the second spouse had knowledge of the previous undissolved marriage of the accused could she be included in the information as a co-accused. Bigamy is a public offense and a crime against status, while adultery and concubinage are private offenses and are crimes against chastity. In adultery and concubinage, pardon by the offended party will bar the prosecution of the case, which is not so in bigamy. In bigamy, pardon by the offended spouse will not bar the prosecution of the case. (People v. Nepomuceno)

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