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In 1998, Abdulgani Sumagka and Rohaina Sumagka, both Muslims, married under Muslim rites. In 2004, they married again under civil rites before the mayor of Sarangani City. In 2006, the couple began having marital problems. This prompted Abdulgani to file for divorce (Talaq) in accordance with PD 1083 or the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (Muslim Code). The Shari’a Circuit Court granted the divorce. It was affirmed by the Shari’a District Court. On appeal, Rohaina argues that the Shari’a Court has no jurisdiction. She insists that by reason of their marriage in 2004 under civil rites, it should be the Family Code that should be applicable.
ISSUE: What law governs the marriage of two Muslims who first married under Muslim Rites but subsequently remarried under civil rites?
HELD: The Muslim Code governs. The Supreme Court cited Justice Rasul: “In mixed marriages, civil law applies, if civil rite is followed and Islamic Law is applied, if Islamic rite is followed. If both Civil rite and Muslim rite are followed in marriages, the first rite is validating while the second rite is merely ceremonial.” The second wedding cannot and does not alter the character of the first wedding. It was the first marriage that created the marriage bonds between the parties.
Muslim Code also applies when only the male is Muslim and the marriage was celebrated under Muslim rites. If the male is Muslim and the marriage was celebrated under civil rites, the Family Code applies.
What is Talaq?
It is the right of a male Muslim to divorce his wife with or without cause.