• Circumstantial evidence enough to prove adultery

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    Can I file a case for adultery against my wife? I just learned that she is having an affair with our male tenant. I found a copy of their arrangement and I have it with me. I have also been noticing that they have been communicating a lot lately.
    RPC

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    Dear RPC,
    A person who is married may not maintain extra-marital relations with other persons. He or she must remain faithful and loyal as it is a part of the obligations set under the law, particularly Article 68 of the Family Code of the Philippines which states that: “The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.”

    A person who violates the abovementioned provision may be held legally responsible. For married men, they may be held criminally liable for concubinage, while for married women, they may be held criminally liable for adultery. Adultery is one of the crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. Pursuant to Article 333 thereof: “Adultery is committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void. x x x” aking these into consideration, we submit that you may only file a complaint against your wife for adultery if you can clearly establish all the elements thereof, to wit: (1) She is married; (2) She has sexual intercourse with a man who is not her husband; and (3) Said man has knowledge of her to be married.

    It does not necessarily mean that you need to possess direct evidence of their sexual relationship. It is only necessary that the documents that you have, as well as all your other corroborating evidence, will establish the crime committed by them without reasonable doubt. As ruled by the High Court: “Proof of the commission of the crime of adultery, like proof of the commission of most other crimes, may safely be rested on circumstantial evidence when that evidence is such that it leaves no room for reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused, and, indeed, contrary to the contention of counsel for appellants, convictions for this crime have frequently been had without direct evidence as to the specific acts constituting the offense, as will appear from the following citations from decisions of the Tribunal Supremo de España: The finding in the possession of a married woman of several love letters signed by her paramour; their having been seen together in different places, and finally, the fact that they were surprised in a well-known assignation house which the accused woman admitted having visited six times in company with the former, are data and indications sufficient to convict them both of the crime of adultery; because, as the supreme court of Spain says, “it shows without doubt not only their illicit relations but also such acts as constitute adultery and are the consequence of said relations.” (Decision of the 23d of June, 1874.) x x x”(The United States vs. Legaspi, G.R. L-No. 5110, August 19, 1909).

    We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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