Garcia vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No.119063, January 27, 1997
On 28 August 1991, Garcia filed with an Affidavit of Complaint charging his wife, private respondent Santos alias "Delia Santos," with Bigamy, Violation of C.A. No. 142, as amended by R.A. No. 6085, and Falsification of Public Documents. However, in his letter of 10 October 1991 to Assistant City Prosecutor Cabanilla, the petitioner informed the latter that he would limit his action to bigamy.
On 2 March 1992, the private respondent filed a Motion to Quash alleging prescription of the offense as ground therefore. She contended that by the petitioner's admissions in his testimony given on 23 January 1991 in Civil Case No. 90-52730, entitled "Jose G. Garcia v. Delia S. Garcia," and in his complaint filed with the Civil Service Commission on 16 October 1991, the petitioner discovered the commission of the offense as early as 1974. Pursuant then to Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), the period of prescription of the offense started to run therefrom. Thus, since bigamy was punishable by prision mayor, an afflictive penalty which prescribed in fifteen years pursuant to Article 92 of the RPC, then the offense charged prescribed in 1989, or fifteen years after its discovery by the petitioner.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Trial Court. Hence, this petition
Whether or not the private respondent's many trips abroad suspended the running of the prescriptive period
No. The court held that that these trips abroad did not constitute the "absence" contemplated in Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code. These trips were brief, and in every case the private respondent returned to the Philippines. Besides, these were made long after the petitioner discovered the offense and even if the aggregate number of days of these trips are considered, still the information was filed well beyond the prescriptive period