I have been wondering about this so I am hoping you can shed light. Will a spouse who has been convicted of the crime of adultery or concubinage still be able to exercise his or her right to manage the conjugal properties?
Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) defines the crime of adultery. As provided therein, adultery is committed when a married woman has 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. On the other hand, 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, RPC).
The penalty imposed by our law for both the crimes of adultery and concubinage is prision correccional, only that in adultery it is imposed in its medium and maximum periods, while it is in its minimum and medium periods for the crime of concubinage and the concubine only suffers the penalty of destierro.
Worthy it is to note that the duration of the penalty of prision correccional shall be from six months and one day to six years and carries with it the accessory penalties of suspension from public office, from the right to follow a profession or calling, and that of perpetual special disqualification from the right of suffrage, if the duration of said imprisonment shall exceed eighteen months (Article 27 in relation to Article 43, id).
Since prision correccional does not carry the accessory penalty of civil interdiction, then a spouse who has been convicted of the crime of adultery or concubinage can still be able to exercise his or her right to manage his or her conjugal properties. It bears stressing that it is only with the accessory penalty of civil interdiction that an offender can be lawfully deprived, during the time of his or her sentence, of the rights of parental authority, or guardianship, either as to the person or property of any ward, of marital authority, of the right to manage his or her property and of the right to dispose of such property by any act or any conveyance inter vivos (Article 34, id).
The Supreme Court has likewise ruled that, “x x x as correctly held by the Court of Appeals, the crime of adultery does not carry the accessory penalty of civil interdiction which deprives the person of the rights to manage her property and to dispose of such property inter vivos. x x x” (Virgilio Maquilan vs. Dita Maquilan, 524 SCRA 166, G.R. No. 155409, June 8, 2007)
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.
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