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    Posted May 27, 2014 by

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    Philippine law on extra marital affairs hit

    TWO lady lawmakers on Tuesday insisted on the repeal of qualifying provisions in the antiquated Revised Penal Code (RPC) on extra marital affairs which discriminate Filipino women.
    "Under the RPC, extra marital affairs committed by married men and women are both considered criminal acts but they are not treated equally to the prejudice of women," declared Rep. Emmi de Jesus and Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, both of the Gabriela Women's Party.
    The women lawmakers urged the immediate repeal of Articles 333 and 334 of the RPC as contained in HB 4377, which has been referred to the Committee on Revision of Laws chaired by Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas of Pangasinan Province.
    They pointed out that under Art. 333, a wife can be convicted of a crime of adultery for a single act of sexual intercourse with a man who is not her husband, while under Art. 334, the husband can only be convicted of the crime of concubinage if he is found guilty of any of the following: (1) keeping a mistress in a conjugal dwelling; (2) having sexual intercourse under scandalous circumstances with a woman who is not his wife; or (3) cohabiting with her in any other place.
    “These provisions are clearly unfair and discriminatory to women because the husband needs only to prove that his wife engaged in a sexual intercourse with a man not her husband, while the wife needs to show that her husband's sexual intercourse with another woman was done under scandalous circumstances,” the lawmakers lamented.
    They claimed that abolition of this stricter moral standard, set in the 1930s when the RPC took effect, on fidelity on married women vis-à-vis their male counterparts is long overdue.
    Gabriela Women's party records show that, in practice, Art. 333 and 334 are often resorted to only as "bargaining suits" to get the other party in a nullity petition to "cooperate" or to give in to support negotiations.
    The authors stressed that these suits, while pursued in the initial stages, are often withdrawn or dismissed.
    “Worse, separated or abandoned wives, who have no remedy under the law in the absence of a divorce law, are always under constant threat of suit from their estranged husbands. They are blackmailed by their estranged husbands through Art. 333. On the other hand, while the women also have grounds to file under Art. 334, they face the difficulty of proving the crime due to the inherent difficulty in the standards set by the law,” the authors explained.
    In many cases, women who are faced by these threats are forced to forego legitimate custodial claims of their children while some are forced to give up their claims over conjugal properties, assets and the like, the lawmakers said.
    The women legislators underscored the need to repeal said discriminatory provisions in the RPC, noting that they ran contrary to the intents of Republic Act 9262 which criminalizes violence against women and children.
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