Yes. In the case of Alvarez vs. Ramirez, the husband and wife no longer have domestic harmony between them. They no longer have peace and tranquility for 6 months. Subsequently, the husband burned the house of Ramirez, the sister of his wife. He knew that Ramirez and his wife were there.
During the trial, the wife testified against her husband to establish the crime of arson. As a defense, the lawyer of the husband invoked Rule 130 Sec. 23 arguing that a spouse is disqualified to testify against her husband.
The lawyer noted the exception which is “except for a crime committed by one against the other or the latter’s descendants or ascendants.” It seems that the lawyer is well aware of the literal text of the law and invoked the same as the defense. However, the Supreme Court expanded the meaning of this text to include the sister as in this case.
The disqualification of spouses in testifying against each other is premised on the following presumptions:
1. There is identity of interests between husband and wife;
2. If one were to testify for or against the other, there is consequent danger of perjury;
3. The policy of the law is to guard the security and confidences of private life, even at the risk of an occasional failure of justice, and to prevent domestic disunion and unhappiness; andcralawlibrary
4. Where there is want of domestic tranquility there is danger of punishing one spouse through the hostile testimony of the other.
In other words, the law presumes that there must be harmony to be preserved between the spouses. Hence, testifying against each other is a disqualification. However, if this harmony is destroyed, then the disqualification can be lifted.