• Sister-in-law’s illicit relationship


    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My brother was married to a woman who was having an affair with another man. My brother’s wife even got pregnant with her lover while my brother was working overseas. There were several reports from people in their barangay (village) that my sister-in-law was letting another man sleep in their conjugal house several days a week. Some even saw them regularly going out in a bar and being really frisky and inappropriate with each other. Is this enough proof for an adultery case? Can my brother sue just the man since he doesn’t want his wife’s job to be affected by a case against her? Please advise us.
    God bless and thank you very much.

    Dear Valentina,
    It appears from your narration that your sister-in-law is having an adulterous relationship with another man. Adulterous relationships are considered as criminal acts and are punishable by law. According to Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) of the Philippines:

    “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 minimum and medium periods.”

    The actual sexual intercourse by a married woman with a man who knows her to be married, consummates the crime of adultery. In proving the existence of an adulterous relationship, the Supreme Court points out that direct evidence is not always necessary since adultery may be implied from the circumstances of time, place and occasion, to which:

    “The nature of the crime of adultery is such that it will not be often when it can be established by direct evidence. Nevertheless, strong circumstancial and corroborative evidence such as will lead the guarded discretion of a reasonable and just man to the conclusion that the alleged act has been committed is sufficient to sustain a conviction for adultery” (The United States vs. Feliciano, GR No. L-12724, August 10, 1917, Ponente: Associate Justice George Malcolm).

    Using the rationale of the cited jurisprudence, the pregnancy of your sister-in-law despite impossibility of sexual contact from your brother coupled with several accounts of witnesses regarding their physical relationship may be taken as evidence supporting the alleged adulterous relationship of your sister-in-law.

    Finally, with regard to your brother’s intention to prosecute the adultery complaint only against the other man, the law dictates that the complaint for adultery must include both his wife and the offending man:
    “Article 344. Prosecution of all 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.” (RPC)
    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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