Can a jurat without a document and page number invalidate a second marriage and therefore exculpate the accused from bigamy?
Imutan was charged with bigamy. As a defense, he argued that he was coerced into contracting a second marriage with Leonids Limpiada. One of his arguments is that the marriage applications cannot be considered public documents because they carry no notarial number of the Notary Public Atty. Magin Dones, a notary public. He argues that the failure to place the document and page number constitutes defective jurats and affects the integrity of the document as public document. The defense counsel also got knowledge that Atty. Magin Done, and through an MR, argued that he was not a notary public on the date that the documents were sworn before him.
Issue: Should Imutan’s conviction prevail despite the absence of the document and page number in the marriage application?
- Not raised in the Lower Court. These objections do not appear to have been raised in the Lower Court. They cannot be raised for the first time on appeal, let alone in a motion for reconsideration.
- Admissible even as private writings. In any event, appellant John Imutan does not deny his signature in Exhs. 2 and 2-A. So with Leonids Limpiada. The documents therefore were properly Identified even if we were to characterize them in arguendo as private writings” (Roll 189). As shown from the foregoing, there is nothing to be gained by directing a new trial.
- A defective jurat does not invalidate a marriage. What the law declares as null and void are marriages solemnized without a marriage license (Art. 80, NCC). The lack of authority on the part of the subscribing officer would not render the marriage void where the essential requirements for its validity were present.
- No duty to investigate the authority of the administering officer. the local civil registrar who issues the marriage license is not required to inquire into the authority of the officer administering the oath, and neither is the person solemnizing the marriage required to investigate whether or not a marriage license.
Therefore, a defective jurat does not invalidate the subsequent marriage between Imutan and Limpiada. His argument that the marriage was the solution to prevent scandal for the family of Limpiada is not exculpatory of the offense.