• Suing an estranged wife for adultery

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I separated from my husband because of the physical and emotional abuse I suffered while we were together. I have a boyfriend now and my husband was upset when he learned of my relationship with another man. Can he file a case against me even if he has already a girlfriend?
    Ex-Wife

    Dear Ex-Wife,
    The criminal case that a husband may file against his wife is adultery and is punishable under Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), to wit:

    “Art. 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 as void.

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

    If the person 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.”

    Based from the foregoing, the crime of adultery only punishes a wife if it is proved that she had sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and against such man who knew the woman to be married. Thus, you and your boyfriend can only be convicted of the crime of adultery if it is proved in court that you had sexual intercourse with him.

    The filing of complaint for adultery can only be prosecuted upon the initiative of the offended husband. However, the offended spouse cannot institute criminal prosecution if he had consented to the offense or pardoned the offenders (Section 5, Rule 110, Revised Rules of Court). The consent to the wife is done before the commission of the adultery, while pardon takes place after the husband has learned of the adulterous act.

    The relationship of your husband with another woman, unfortunately, is not one of the grounds to prevent him from filing an adultery case.

    We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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    1 Comment

    1. I hope you can see how outdated this country is in not having divorce. The stupid people that want it to continue as so use the phrase, it will be the end of the family as we know it, or words to that effect. Its rediculous & to show you how crazy it is why doesnt the same adultery apply to men, why is it only a woman who can commit adultery not her husband. Its laws made by men to defend their honour, a bit like the honour law that allows men to kill their wives under muslim law. Its ok for them to have a girlfriend & have sex whenever they want but not their wives. Its religion taken back centuries & these men still think like that. Im a man but i come from the uk & we allow fairness & equality in our relationships & our goverment understnds that relationships sometimes break down & thats why we allow divorce. Its common sense which is in very short supply in the philippines.