Sunday, July 27, 2014

The crime of concubinage

Dear PAO,
My husband is working in Metro Manila and comes home with us in Davao once a month. There’s a rumor that my husband is cohabiting with another woman while he is away for work so I investigated the matter and found it to be true. What case can I file against my husband?
Dear BT,
The act of your husband in cohabiting with another woman constitutes the crime of concubinage which is defined and penalized under Article 334 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), 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.”
The crime of concubinage is considered a private crime which may only be prosecuted by the offended spouse. However, the offended party shall not be allowed to file a complaint for concubinage without including both the guilty parties, if they are both alive, nor, in any case, if she shall have consented or pardoned the offenders (Article 344, RPC).
Hence, being the offended spouse, you may file a complaint against your husband and his other woman before the Office of the Prosecutor of the place where they are cohabiting with each other. To successfully prosecute them of the crime of concubinage, you need to prove the following elements: 1) you and your husband are married; 2) he committed any of the following acts: a) keeping a mistress in the conjugal dwelling; b) having sexual intercourse under scandalous circumstances with a woman not his wife; c) cohabiting with her in any other place; 3) as regards the woman, she must know your husband to be married (Luis B. Reyes, The Revised Penal Code (Book Two), page 848).
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) provides free legal assistance to qualified indigent clients in filing of criminal complaints before the Office of the Prosecutor. To be able to assist you, you need to go to our district office of the place where your husband is cohabiting with another woman. Our district offices are usually located at city or municipal halls, justice halls, provincial halls or other buildings near the aforementioned places.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that 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

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grounds for ejecting lessee of rented condo unit

Dear PAO,
I am currently renting a condominium unit in Taguig City (Metro Manila) for P8,000 a month. The contract is to expire in one year. Six months after I started occupying the unit, the owner told me to vacate as she was selling it. Of course I did not leave. Can the buyer evict me after the sale?

Dear Rhenz,
The contract of lease you entered into with the condominium unit owner is covered by Republic Act (RA) 9653 or the Rent Control Act of 2009. Section 9 thereof provides the grounds for ejectment, to wit:

“SEC. 9. Grounds for Judicial Ejectment. – Ejectment shall be allowed on the following grounds:
(a) Assignment of lease or subleasing of residential units in whole or in part, including the acceptance of boarders or bedspacers, without the written consent of the owner/lessor;

(b) Arrears in payment of rent for a total of three (3) months: Provided, That in the case of refusal by the lessor to accept payment of the rent agreed upon, the lessee may either deposit, by way of consignation, the amount in court, or with the city or municipal treasurer, as the case may be, or barangay chairman, or in a bank in the name of and with notice to the lessor, within one (1) month after the refusal of the lessor to accept payment.

The lessee shall thereafter deposit the rent within ten (10) days of every current month. Failure to deposit the rent for three (3) months shall constitute a ground for ejectment.

The lessor, upon authority of the court in case of consignation or upon joint affidavit by him and the lessee to be submitted to the city or municipal treasurer or barangay chairman and to the bank where deposit was made, shall be allowed to withdraw the deposits;

(c) Legitimate need of the owner/lessor to repossess his or her property for his or her own use or for the use of any immediate member of his or her family as a residential unit: Provided, however, That the lease for a definite period has expired: Provided, further, that the lessor has given the lessee the formal notice three (3) months in advance of the lessor’s intention to repossess the property and: Provided, finally, that the owner/lessor is prohibited from leasing the residential unit or allowing its use by a third party for a period of at least (1) year from the time of repossession;

(d) Need of the lessor to make necessary repairs of the leased premises which is the subject of an existing order of condemnation by appropriate authorities concerned in order to make the said premises safe and habitable: Provided, That after said repair, the lessee ejected shall have the first preference to lease the same premises: Provided, however, That the new rent shall be reasonably commensurate with the expenses incurred for the repair of the said residential unit and: Provided, finally, That if the residential unit is condemned or completely demolished, the lease of the new building will no longer be subject to the aforementioned first preference rule in this subsection; and
(e) Expiration of the period of the lease contract.”

Clearly, the sale of the unit being rented is not a ground for evicting a tenant, even if the sale is consummated. The buyer should honor the contract as well as its terms and conditions. Should there exist a ground or grounds for ejectment after the sale, it is the right of the buyer to evict the tenant.
Also, as expressly provided by the above-mentioned law, no lessor shall be evicted by reason of the sale of the leased unit. This is particularly provided by Section 10 of the said law:

“SEC. 10. Prohibition Against Ejectment by Reason of Sale or Mortgage. – No lessor or his successor-in-interest shall be entitled to eject the lessee upon the ground that the leased premises have been sold or mortgaged to a third person regardless of whether the lease or mortgage is registered or not.”

Thus, if the only reason of your lessor to evict you from the premises you are renting is the sale of the said unit, then this will not prosper as this is contrary to law.

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 guide you with our opinion 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

source:  Manila Times