Navarro vs. Domagtoy
AM No. MTJ 96-1088, July 19, 1996
Municipal Mayor of Dapa, Surigao del Norte, Rodolfo G. Navarro filed a complaint on two specific acts committed by respondent Municipal Circuit Trial Court Judge Hernando Domagtoy on the grounds of gross misconduct, ineffiency in offce and ignorance of the law.
It was alleged that Domagtoy solemnized marriage of Gaspar Tagadan and Arlyn Borja on September 27, 1994 despite the knowledge that the groom has a subsisting marriage with Ida Penaranda and that they are merely separated. It was told that Ida left their conjugal home in Bukidnon and has not returned and been heard for almost seven years. The said judge likewise solemnize marriage of Floriano Dadoy Sumaylo and Gemma G. del Rosario outside his court’s jurisdiction on October 27, 1994. The judge holds his office and has jurisdiction in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Sta Monica-Burgos, Surigao del Norte but he solemnized the said wedding at his residence in the municipality of Dapa located 40 to 50 km away.
ISSUE: Whether or not the marriages solemnized were void.
The court held that the marriage between Tagadan and Borja was void and bigamous there being a subsisting marriage between Tagadan and Penaranda. Albeit, the latter was gone for seven years and the spouse had a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was dead, Tagadan did not institute a summary proceeding as provided in the Civil Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.
With regard to the marriage of Sumaylo and Del Rosario, the latter only made the written request where it should have been both parties as stated in Article 8 of the Family Code. Their non-compliance did not invalidate their marriage however, Domagtoy may be held administratively liable.