Ineffective pardon

A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison - The Philippine Star

Most cases of infidelity seem to involve the philandering husband, who is always depicted as the villain in a conjugal setup in contrast to a martyred wife who endures all sufferings in silence.

The story of Andres and Marta, husband and wife, is quite the opposite of this “popular lore.” They have been married for 12 years with three children. Andres is an illiterate laborer working as a mason in a construction firm. His work compels him to be away from home most of the time. Now and then, however, he would come home for weekends to visit his wife and family.

During one of his visits, Andres didn’t find Marta at home. He called for her several times and getting no response, he went to a nearby hill thinking that Marta might have fetched some water. On reaching the place, he saw her with another man embracing her and having sexual intercourse with her.

Upon seeing Andres, Marta immediately pushed the other man away who, in turn, instinctively reached for his gun. To save himself, Andres turned away and went home to get a bolo. But he had second thoughts and cooled off upon reaching home.

The next day, he confronted Marta, who confessed about her illicit affair with that other man. So, Andres went to the police to lodge a complaint of adultery against his wife. Later, he told the police to hold in abeyance the filing of the case after he took pity on his children and his wife, besides being financially distressed.

He said he wanted to forgive his wife already. So an affidavit in English was hastily prepared, stating that he would pardon his wife if she lives separately from him and assumes the duty of supporting their children.

But subsequently, Andres decided still to prosecute and have the complaint filed. Marta, however, said that Andres had pardoned her already as contained in the affidavit, so the case can no longer prosper. Is Marta correct?

No. Pardon for adultery and concubinage must come before the institution of the criminal action and both offenders must be pardoned by the offended party. The pardon can be (1) express – by the execution of an affidavit asserting that he is pardoning his erring spouse and her paramour; or (2) implied – by allowing his erring spouse to live with him even after the commission of the crime.

In this case, there is no express or implied pardon. The affidavit is not pardon at all but was a mere declaration of intention to pardon. Besides, said affidavit was in English and was hastily prepared, so it is not credible, especially because Andres is illiterate (Ligtas vs. Court of Appeals, 149 SCRA 514).

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