My husband has a mistress and they are already living together even though we are not lawfully separated yet. In the past, whenever I tell him that I will file a complaint against them, he would come home and make amends. Naturally, I would forgive him and take him back. But after several days, he would go back to his mistress again, and ignore his responsibilities to me and our children. He does not even give us any financial support. This cycle has been causing me so much anxiety, heartache and emotional distress.
Now, I really want to file a complaint against them and send them to jail but I do not know what to do. I was told that this woman has money. In fact, my in-laws are tolerating their relationship because this woman supposedly gave my husband a small business. I am afraid that my husband might retaliate once he learns that I really filed a complaint against them. Please advise me on what to do.
Dear Distressed wife,
Spouses are mandated by law to remain loyal to one another. Failure to do so may lead to legal repercussions. For instance, a husband who keeps a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, or has sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or cohabits with her in any other place may be held liable for the crime of concubinage (Article 334, Revised Penal Code of the Philippines).
Accordingly, if you are certain that your husband and his mistress are living together and you have ample proof to substantiate your allegations, you may file a complaint for concubinage against them. But be sure that you are prepared for any possible discord that may come between you and your husband, as well as for the hurdles that a legal battle may bring. We also wish to emphasize that, if found guilty in court, only your husband will suffer imprisonment as the penalty imposed on the reneging husband is prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, while the concubine is to suffer the penalty of destierro, which only prohibits her from entering the place/s designated in the sentence and within the radius specified therein, but not more than two hundred fifty (250) and not less than twenty-five (25) kilometers from the place designated. (Article 334 (2) in relation to Article 87, Id.)
You may also opt to file a complaint against your husband for violation of the provisions of Republic Act 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, for his seeming psychological and economic abuses to you. This is in connection with Section 3 thereof:
“(a) ‘Violence against women and their children’ refers to any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse x x x. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
x x x
C. “Psychological violence” refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and mental infidelity. x x x
D. “Economic abuse” refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which includes, but is not limited to the following:
1. withdrawal of financial support x x x” (emphasis supplied)
Once you have filed the complaint, you may seek issuance of a protection order in order to prevent your husband from committing further abuses. This Barangay Protection Order or BPO may be issued by the barangay (village) where you reside. It is valid for 15 days. Thereafter, you may secure a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) from the court that is valid for 30 days, and prior to or on the date of the expiration thereof seek issuance of a Permanent Protection Order (PPO). (Sections 8 to 21,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 firstname.lastname@example.org