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Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated MAY 17 1999.
G.R. No. 120582 (Leni O. Choa vs. Hon. Rolindo O. Beldia, Jr., Judge. RTC, Branch 41, Bacolod City; and
Alfonso Choa.)
This petition for certiorari and mandamus seeks to annul and set aside the order dated October 26,
19941 [Petition, rollo, p. 33.] denying petitioner's motion for leave to intervene and motion to dismiss, and
the order dated October 27, 19942 [Petition, rollo, pp. 34-36.] denying the motion to dismiss filed by
Bacolod's Assistant City Prosecutor Armando P. Abanado.
In 1991, petitioner Leni Choa initiated a case for concubinage against her husband, Alfonso Choa, in the
MTCC, Bacolod City, docketed as Criminal Case NO. 49106. In March 1994, when the promulgation of the
decision was about to take place, Alfonso filed with the RTC, Bacolod City, a complaint for annulment of
marriage based on psychological incapacity. Thus, Alfonso filed with the MTCC a motion in an order dated
March 23, 1994. His motion for reconsideration having been likewise denied, on June 22, 1994, he filed with
the RTC, Bacolod City, a petition for certiorari with injunction against the trial court. On July 13, 1994, the
RTC issued a restraining order, and denied Leni Choa's motion for intervention.3 [Ibid, pp. 79-80.]
Hence, this petition.
The issue is whether the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion in suspending the
promulgation of judgement in Criminal Case No. 49106 of the MTCC in the concubinage case due to a
prejudicial question.
A prejudicial question comes into play generally in a situation where a civil action and a criminal action are
both pending and there exist in the former an issue which must be preemptively resolved before the criminal
action may proceed, because howsoever the issue in the civil action resolved would be determinative juris et
de jure of the guilt innocence of the accused in the criminal case.4[Carlos v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
109887, February 10, 1997.]
The prejudicial question is the issue raised in the civil case for declaration of nullity of marriage based on
psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. Under this article, a marriage was
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the marital obligations of marriage.5 [Arturo M. Tolentino, Civil
Code of the Philippines, vol. 1, p. 274.] True enough, the nullity of marriage between petitioner and private
respondent brings about two things: One, there is no marriage at all; Two, there is no ground to convict
Alfonso Choa of concubinage because one element of the crime is not attendant, that is, the man must be
married at the time of its commission.
The TRO issued by the RTC merely interlocutory; hence, the proper remedy is appeal in due time from the
decision of the case.
WHEREFORE, finding that the regional trial court committed no grave abuse of discretion, we resolve to
DENY the petition.
No costs.
Very truly yours,