Would you care to spend up to six years in a Philippines jail? I believe the majority of my readers would probably answer with a resounding “NO” to that question. However, a new bill proposed by a House of Representatives committee in the Philippines has been approved that would impose stiff penalties on married citizens engaging in sexual intercourse with an individual other than his or her legal spouse. That’s according to a recent April 22, 2012 report in the Manila Bulletin.
Despite the proposed new legislature, adultery is already considered a crime in the Philippines. Here’s what the Revised Penal Code Book Two, Title Eleven Article 333 states:
“Who are guilty of adultery. — Adultery is committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void.
Adultery shall be punished by prison correccional in its medium and maximum periods.
If the person guilty of adultery committed this offense while being abandoned without justification by the offended spouse, the penalty next lower in degree than that provided in the next preceding paragraph shall be imposed. ”
But the new proposed law by the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality, House Bill 5734, also eliminates gender bias in laws penalizing the crimes of adultery and concubinage.
In an article I did back in November 2010, I was amazed to learn that under Filipino law, murder is essentially allowed for spouses caught in adultery! but the new law, as mentioned above, is going to eliminate the current gender bias.
HB 5734, a consolidation of five bills filed by various House member, defines sexual infidelity as an act committed by any legally married person who shall have sexual intercourse with another person other than his or her legal spouse.
It does not exempt a person whose marriage has been subsequently declared void.
However, the crime cannot be prosecuted by anybody except upon the complaint of the offended spouse.
The bill eliminates the disparity between the penalties imposed by existing laws on the crimes of concubinage and adultery.
Again, under the above-mentioned current Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, adultery is committed by a married woman who engages in sexual intercourse with a man not her husband. Offenders are punishable by a maximum jail term of six years.
On the other hand, Article 333 of RPC only metes out on the offender a penalty of “destierro” or banishment from the community where the couple lives for a certain period of time.
HB 5734 treats the two crimes as the same acts that constitute sexual infidelity.
Also, lawmakers proposed that an offended party can no longer file charges against the alleged offender if the former is also guilty of sexual infidelity or had abandoned the guilty spouse without just cause for more than one year.
So for you expats that come over to meet a married Filipina and think you don’t have a thing to worry about, think again. It is a very distinct possibility that you could wind up in a Philippines jail. Don’t think it can happen to you? Yeah, I’m sure that’s what those foreigners already languishing in jail for committing adultery thought, also. Better make sure you know what “head” you’re thinking with.