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[G.R. No. 120582.

May 17, 1999]

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
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,
Clerk of Court