Filipino law allows murder for spouses caught in the act of adultery. It also allows parents to kill guys caught having sex with their daughters! I saw this amazing headline in the October 12, 2010 newspaper edition of the phil STAR.com. I assure you I am not making this up, and I am not writing this blog under the influence of too many San Miguels or bottles of Red Horse.
Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines allows husbands and parents to kill their wives and daughters caught having sex with another man. Doesn’t say if there are any penalties if they are caught in the act with another woman. Now Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares is trying to upset the applecart and wants the law repealed. Rep. Colmenares says the killer is merely penalized with destierro or prohibited from entering a place designated by the court, surely a ”non penalty” considering the seriousness of the crime, at least in his opinion.
Article 247 states the following: “Any legally married person who, having surprised his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person, shall kill any of them or both of them in the act of or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious physical injury, shall suffer the penalty of destierro. If he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he shall be exempt from punishment. These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to parents with respect to their daughters under 18 years of age, and their seducer, while the daughters are living with their parents.”
Here is an insightful commentary that one of my faithful and scholarly readers of my blog “Lizard Poop!”, Kaltehitze, left as a remark to this article which I had originally published on my other blog. It had been incorrectly inferred on a previous remark that the law only applied to husbands and was sexist. Here is Kaltehitze’s comment:
“The law applies also to wives who kill their husbands. The law uses the word spouse which is a gender neutral law. If the law does not distinguish then neither should we distinguish. It is therefore not a sexist law. In Criminal law,
if a married person, let’s say a woman, catches her husband having sex with somebody else, and right there and then, she kills not only the husband, but also the other girl, the killer (the wife, in this example) is saved by the law.
Under Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code, it is provided that: “Any legally married person who, having surprised his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person shall kill any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious physical injury shall suffer the penalty of destierro. If he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he shall be exempt from punishment.”
In effect, the killer, be it the wife or the husband who was cheated on, is not to be punished. The killer does not commit murder or homicide or even manslaughter. The penalty which will be imposed is only destierro which, in the eyes of the law, is for the protection of the killer.
What is destierro? Destierro is the penalty where the convict is ordered not to be near within 25 meters of the scene of the crime. For example, if the crime scene was located at 127 jupiter st. makati city, the convict, if imposed the penalty of destierro must not be within 25 meters of 127 jupiter st. makati city.
Why the very light penalty? The reason is because the law protects the honor of the person who discovered the sexual act of her husband and another person. This applies too, to husbands who discover the sexcapades of their wives. In the words of the supreme court: “The law, when the circumstances provided in this article are present, considers the spouse as acting in a justified burst of passion (people v. Gonzales, 69 phil. 66).
Requisites for the application of Article 247, RPC: 1. That a legally married person surprises his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person. 2. That he or she kills any or both of them or inflicts upon any or both of them any serious physical injury in the act or immediately thereafter. 3. That he has not promoted or facilitated the prostitution of his wife or that he has not consented to the infidelity of the other spouse. (Criminal Law II, Luis B. Reyes, 2001 ed.)
Also, see the case of People v. Abarca 153 SCRA 735 There requisites are strict: You must be surprised first at the sight you are seeing. The killing will then be considered a SPONTANEOUS REACTION TO WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN. IN THIS SITUATION, THE LAW ACKNOWLEDGES THE NORMAL HUMAN EXPERIENCE AND REACTION TO WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN.” -Kaltehitze
Many thanks to Kaltehitze for his clarification on this law. Kaltehitze always makes some detailed and knowledgeable remarks on my posts, and his insight is always greatly and sincerely appreciated.