• A daughter can’t initiate complaint for concubinage

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My father has a concubine. I just confirmed it recently. I have been hearing about his illicit relationship from concerned neighbors and family friends but my mother and I are both in denial, until I saw them myself. I talked to my mother and she gave me a go-signal to file a complaint against my father. She is not sure yet if she wants to complain about my father’s concubine. Is this possible? My mother is working as a domestic helper abroad, so she cannot file the complaint herself. Please advise me on this matter.
    Helen

    Dear Helen,
    Under our law, the crime of concubinage is committed when a husband keeps a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, or shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place (Article 334, Revised Penal Code of the Philippines).

    Accordingly, a complaint for concubinage against your father may only prosper if the marriage between him and your mother can be clearly established, and that the illicit relationship between him and his alleged concubine is any of the following nature, to wit: (a) he is keeping the latter in your parents’ conjugal dwelling; (b) he is having sexual intercourse with the latter, under scandalous circumstances; or (c) he cohabits with the latter in any other place.

    In addition, it is vital that your mother, herself, files the complaint against your father. While you may be the one to have personally confirmed your father’s illicit relationship with another woman, regrettably, you do not have the legal personality to initiate such complaint for concubinage. Nevertheless, your testimony may be utilized in order to establish the commission of such crime. We also wish to emphasize that it is essential that your mother’s complaint include your father’s alleged concubine as co-accused, should they be both alive. Pursuant to Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code, “The crimes of adultery and concubinage shall not be prosecuted except upon a complaint filed by the offended spouse. x x x The offended party cannot institute criminal prosecution without including both the guilty parties, if they are both alive, nor, in any case, if he shall have consented or pardoned the offenders. x x x”

    Should the case be proven, your father may be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, while his concubine shall suffer the penalty of destierro. (Article 334, Id.)

    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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