• Only wife can file concubinage case vs husband

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I had a live-in partner for almost 14 years and we had two kids. Almost a year ago, she left us and lived with another man. Can I file a criminal case for concubinage against her and her new live-in partner who is a married man?
    Ray

    Dear Ray,
    A married man who shall cohabit with a woman, who is not his wife, is guilty of concubinage and shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment. This is specifically provided by Article 334 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, to wit:

    “Art. 334. Concubinage. — Any husband who shall keep 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, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.

    The concubine shall suffer the penalty of destierro.”

    It appears based on your narration that your former live-in partner and the latter’s new live-in partner, who is a married man, are guilty of concubinage as defined above. However, the right to file the complaint against them does not rest upon you, as the institution of the said case is exclusively vested by the law in the wife of the aforementioned married man. This is according to Article 344 of the said law, which provides:

    “Art. 344. Prosecution of the crimes of adultery, concubinage, seduction, abduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness. — The crimes of adultery and concubinage shall not be prosecuted except upon a complaint filed by the offended spouse.

    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.

    xxx”

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    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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