Imelda M. Pilapil vs. Hon. Corona Ibay-Somera, G.R. No. 80116, June 30, 1989
Pilapil, a Filipino citizen, and Geiling, a German national, were married in Germany. The couple lived together for some time in Malate, Manila where their only child, Isabella Pilapil Geiling, was born on April 20, 1980.
On the grounds of alleged failure of their marriage, Geiling filed a divorce against Pilapil in Germany. The divorce of decree was granted. On the other hand, the petitioner filed an action for legal separation, support and separation of property before the Regional Trial Court of Manila.
More than five months after the issuance of the divorce decree, Geilingt filed two complaints for adultery before the City Fiscal of Manila alleging that, while still married, Pilapil had an affair with 2 men.
Petitioner filed a motion to quash on the ground of lack of jurisdiction because Geiling does not qualify as an offended spouse having obtained a final divorce decree under his national law prior to his filing the criminal complaint.
Whether or not private respondent Geiling can prosecute petitioner Pilapil on the ground of adultery even though they are no longer husband and wife as decree of divorce was already issued.
NO. In prosecutions for adultery and concubinage, the person who can legally file the complaint should be the offended spouse and nobody else.
In the present case, the fact that private respondent obtained a valid divorce in his country, the Federal Republic of Germany, is admitted. Said divorce and its legal effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as private respondent is concerned in view of the nationality principle in our civil law on the matter of status of persons. Private respondent, being no longer the husband of petitioner, had no legal standing to commence the adultery case under the imposture that he was the offended spouse at the time he filed suit.
The allegation of the private respondent that he could not have brought this case before the decree of divorce for lack of knowledge, even if true, is of no legal significance or consequence in this case. When said respondent initiated the divorce proceeding, he obviously knew that there would no longer be a family nor marriage vows to protect once a dissolution of the marriage is decreed. Neither would there be a danger of introducing spurious heirs into the family, which is said to be one of the reasons for the particular formulation of our law on adultery, since there would henceforth be no spousal relationship to speak of. The severance of the marital bond had the effect of dissociating the former spouses from each other, hence the actuations of one would not affect or cast obloquy on the other.
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