TERRE VS. TERRE,211 SCRA 6
[i]Complainant Dorothy Terre was married to her first cousin while respondent Jordan Terre is a member of the Philippine Bar. Notwithstanding his knwoledge that she was married he courted her and since she was convince by his explanation that her prior marriage was void she agreed to marry him.
Respondent disappered later complainant found out that Atty. Terre married a certain Helina Malicdem. She then filed an administrative case for disbarment who . Respodnent Terre claimsing that he had believed in good faith that his prior marriage with complainant Dorothy Terre was null and void ab initio and that no action for a judicial declaration of nullity was necessary.[i]
Was there was no necessity for a judicial declaration of nullity of marriage?
[i]The Court considers this claim on the part of respondent Jordan Terre as a spurious defense. In the first place, respondent has not rebutted complainant's evidence as to the basic fact which underscores that bad faith of respondent Terre. In the second place, the pretended defense is the same argument by which he inveigled complainant into believing that her prior marriage or Merlito A. Bercenilla being incestuous and void ab initio (Dorothy and Merlito being allegedly first cousins to each other), she was free to contract a second marriage with the respondent. Respondent Jordan Terre, being a lawyer, knew or should have known that such an argument ran counter to the prevailing case law of the supreme Court which holds that for purposes of determining whether a person is legally free to contract a second marriage , a judicial declaration that the first marriage was null and void ab initio is essential.
Even if we were to assume, arguendo merely, that respondent held that mistaken belief in good faith, the same result will follow. For it we are to hold Jordan Terre to his argument, his first marriage to complainant Dorothy Terre must be deemed valid, with the result that his second marriage to Heline Malicdem must be regarded as bigamous and criminal in character.