Filing an adultery case involves legal intricacies

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I am a public school teacher and I want to know how I can file a case for adultery against my wife. I hope you can help me.
Mr. X

Dear Mr. X,
The Revised Penal Code defines certain wrongdoings as crimes and makes them punishable. Article 333 thereof defines adultery:

“Article 333. Who are guilty of adultery. — 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.

Adultery shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.

If the persons guilty of adultery committed this offense while being abandoned without justification by the offended spouse, the penalty next lower in degree than that provided in the next preceding paragraph shall be imposed.”

The crime of adultery has the following elements: 1) that the woman is married; 2) that she has sexual intercourse with a man not her husband; and 3) that as regards the man with whom she has sexual intercourse, he must know her to be married (Luis B. Reyes, Revised Penal Code, Book II, 14th Ed., page 849). It should be noted that adultery is a private crime that may only be prosecuted by the offended spouse. Furthermore, the offended party cannot institute criminal prosecution without including the guilty parties, if both are alive, nor, in any case, if the offended party has consented to the offense or pardoned the offenders (Section 5, Rule 110, Rules of Court). If all of the foregoing were present, the offended spouse may initiate the prosecution of adultery by executing a sworn written statement charging his spouse with the offense of adultery. This shall be subscribed before the prosecutor of the place where the adulterous act is committed.

We can only imagine the difficult situation that you are currently in. But the filing of a criminal case, especially against the one person whom you have decided to share your life with, involves legal intricacies that a person without legal background may not be familiar with. On this note, we highly recommend that you consult a lawyer or go to the nearest Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in your place so you can tell the whole details of your concern. Should you qualify as a PAO client, we have trained and dedicated lawyers who are more than willing to provide you with the necessary legal assistance that you need.

We hope that we were able to address your concern. 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


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