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

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