UPDATED JULY 15, 2019
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. While legislation to change the current adultery laws are occasionally filed nothing has changed.
What is the Difference between Adultery and Concubinage?
Simply put, ADULTERY is a felony crime chargeable only for the wife.
The husband can only file adultery charges in the Philippines. He only needs to prove that his wife committed an act(s) of sexual infidelity.
Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code states that a married woman who engages in sexual intercourse with a man not her husband commits adultery. She can face up to six years in prison.
CONCUBINAGE is the only charge the husband can face.
Concubinage is an interpersonal and sexual relationship in which the couple are not or cannot be married. A mistress qualifies as a concubine.
However, in order for a husband to be liable for concubinage, it is not enough to prove that he had a sexual relationship with another woman. The charges must also meet the following conditions:
- The mistress is kept in the same home as the wife.
- It is committed under scandalous circumstances.
- He lives with his mistress in any other place.
The man only faces up to two years in prison according to Article 334 of the Revised Penal Code.
The Revised Penal Code was first enacted in 1930.
Legislators’ Attempts to Amend Adultery Laws
Legislators in the Philippines have been trying to amend the adultery law for years. Philippine lawmakers were seeking to change adultery laws as far back as April 1994. According to UCA News, then Senator Jose Lina Jr. had finished several bills related to adultery.
“Under present laws, married males who engage in discreet one-night stands are not liable for crimes involving marital transgression,” he said.
Senator Raul Roco, author of one of the bills before the committee at the time also was interviewed by the UCA, the Union of Catholic Asian news. Consequently, here’s what Senator Roco had to say at the time:
“If infidelity is punished in women, it should also be punished in men,” he asserted. “If the husband is punished with only two years (imprisonment), then the wife should also be punished with (only) two years.”
Senate Bill 635, authored by Roco, would have replaced the term “adultery” in the penal code with “infidelity.” The bill would have punished men and women adulterers equally.
The bill would also have replaced the term “concubinage” in the code with “maintenance of a paramour,” under which husbands or wives who maintain partners anywhere could be prosecuted.
A “paramour” is an old school term for a lover, especially the illicit partner of a married person.
However, the proposed laws never came to fruition.
Former Senator Manny Villar also tried to amend the adultery and concubinage laws. He introduced a bill in the Senate which said in part:
“This disparate treatment of wives and husbands is recognized in the Philippine jurisprudence: To our legislators adultery is not a violation of the laws relating to marriage. It is a violation of those laws only when it is committed by a woman. The husband can break those laws without committing adultery. She, in other words, is, in reality, the only person capable of committing the crime under the law of the Philippines Islands …. (U.S. vs. Topino & Guzman, dissenting opinion of Moreland, J., 35 Phil. 901, 916.)”
Senator Villar’s attempt to end the discriminatory treatment of wives also failed.
Furthermore, back in 2012, a proposed law by the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality, House Bill 5734, failed to become law. Its aim was to eliminate gender bias in laws penalizing the crimes of adultery and concubinage.
In 2015, Rep. Mercedes K. Alvarez was fighting to remove gender bias in some provisions of the Revised Penal Code especially on crimes related to sexual infidelity.
“We have to ensure fundamental equality before the law between women and men,” she proclaimed.
Her House Bill 5290 never became law.
Acosta wanted Tougher Penalties
In contrast, Chief public attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta said penalties on women caught committing adultery should be tougher, while penalties for concubinage need not be as strict.
This according to an article in a 2016 article by Rappler.com.
Acosta was responding to a question posed by Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) member Jose Mejia during the public interviews for the post of Supreme Court (SC) associate justice.
“For adultery and concubinage, it should be stricter on women more than on men. Because women are the light of the home. If the home is destroyed because the woman cheats, it’s over. But if the man cheats, the woman remains strong, and since she is the light of the home, the home remains strong.”
“For me, it’s okay to have the law stay that way, to be tougher on women committing adultery and not as much on concubinage.”
Acosta never won a seat on the Supreme Court.
Adultery Arrests Still Made
Most noteworthy is the fact that adultery arrests are still being made. This story from the SunStar appeared on February 19th, 2019.
Caught with His Pants Down
“Lino” filed a report with the San Pedro Police in Davao City around 9:30 pm. The 39-year-old alleged this his wife, “Jade,” had committed adultery.
“Lino” told police that he saw his wife and “Ace,” getting a room at the D’Morvie Suites along San Pedro Street, Davao City.
“Lino”and the police proceeded to D’Morvie.
knocked on the door of Room 314. His wife opened the door.
Police found “Ace, 31,” without his pants on.
The lovers were
The woman is now facing a case for violating the Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code or adultery.
The following story is from July 2014 but I found the statements from the woman and the minister involved in the affair so ridiculous that I had to include it in this post. It comes from the PhilStar.com.
A 42-year-old woman and her minister were caught violating one of the Ten Commandments. The woman posted bail on adultery charges three nights after her husband, a lawyer, reportedly caught his wife having sex in a Pasig City motel with her pastor.
Pasig Metropolitan Trial Court Executive Judge Eduardo Ramon Reyes set bail at P12,000, 240 US dollars for the woman. The Judge set the same bail amount for the minister, 50.
The minister’s relatives posted bail for the two accused. They were released from the Eastern Police District (EPD) annex jail.
The woman’s husband hired private detectives to monitor his wife. The husband, accompanied by a police officer and barangay officials, caught the woman and the minister naked in bed in the motel room.
Now here’s the kicker:
The woman claimed she and the minister were only chatting and eating in the room. The minister claimed his relationship with the woman was not “full-blown.”
Really? You were sitting in a bed in a motel naked with your pastor chatting and having a snack? Were you discussing a sermon the pastor had delivered that week?
British Man and Filipina Girlfriend Jailed for Adultery
You might have seen this story on National Geographic’s “Locked up Abroad.” The Gazette&Herald UK reported on it back in August 2008.
David Scott was a 37-year-old Brit from Swindon. Swindon is 71 miles (114 km) west of London. Scott had gone to the Philippines in early 2008 to meet a Filipina, Cynthia. However, Cynthia was still married.
Doesn’t matter if the couple were legally separated or not. The Brit and his girlfriend evidently had sexual relations as Cynthia became pregnant. However, her relationship with the Brit was posted on social media.
Frankly, not a very smart thing to do.
Cynthia’s estranged Filipino husband saw the post.
He went ballistic.
Scott and his then pregnant girlfriend Cynthia were arrested and charged with adultery. The couple spent three days in a tiny rat-infested jail cell in Manila. They were told they would have to pay Cynthia’s husband £7,000 for the charges to be dropped.
Adultery Still Illegal in Certain Countries
In the months that followed the couple were able to flee the Philippines and fled to Thailand. Cynthia and their new-born baby Janina were eventually granted British citizenship.
According to a September 2018 article in The Week. UK, adultery remains technically illegal in 21 states in the USA. Hence, in Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, among others, it is a felony crime punishable by prison. Getting rid of the laws would require US politicians to vocally oppose the law. Something few are willing to do.
Countries governed by Islamic law, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Somalia, all strictly prohibit zina, or “fornication outside marriage.”
Adultery remains illegal in Taiwan. A Taiwanese widow faced the theoretical possibility of 298 years in jail for an affair with a married man. The 56 year-old-woman was not herself married during the five-year affair with her neighbor. She was served a sentence of two years in jail or a fine of Tw$730,000 ($24,300.)
However, court officials said she had faced the possibility of 298 years in jail. Judges used confessions from the pair to estimate they had held a total of 894 tête-à-têtes in various motel rooms.
Rappler.com reported that the 50-year-old neighbor avoided legal punishment altogether. His wife, who had filed the complaint against the duo after learning of the affair, decided to forgive him and drop the lawsuit against him.
Unfaithful husbands in Philippine National Police to undergo rehabilitation
The Philippine Star recently ran a story on July 10, 2019 regarding unfaithful husbands in the PNP, Philippine National Police. Cheating husbands in the police force will be included in a revitalized reformation program of the PNP.
Policemen separated from their spouses or have mistresses will undergo the same rehabilitation program together with fellow officers facing other administrative offenses.
The PNP leadership wants to strengthen the family unit. A new strategy, the “squad concept,” puts emphasis on values formation, spiritual development and strengthening of families of police personnel.
Economic abuse raps rise
Data from the PNP Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) showed there were 301 complaints of economic abuse against policemen in 2018. 2018 is the same year police officers received a significant pay hike from President Duterte’s administration.
The number is higher by 40 percent compared to 215 cases in 2017. As of last July 7, the WCPC has received a total of 36 complaints.
The increase in their salaries prompted former wives and mistresses of police officers to ask more financial support for their children.
What Does Jesus Say?
Of course, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is one of the Ten Commandments.
Jesus in Matthew 5:27-28 goes on to say the following regarding adultery:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Jimmy Carter admitted as such while running for President of the United States in an interview with Playboy magazine. Carter admitted that he “looked upon a lot of women with lust.”
Nonetheless, Carter won election as President of the United States in 1976.
Most noteworthy, too, is what Jesus said in the following account from The Gospel of John Chapter 8 (NIV):
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.
“Go now and leave your life of sin.”
That last statement by Jesus is key. “…leave your life of sin.”
Adultery is a destructive force which tears apart marriages and breaks the hearts of the victims.
So if you’re an expat that comes over to the Philippines to meet a Filipina, make sure she is single. Again, legal separation doesn’t matter.
Foreigners face arrest in the Philippines for the crime of adultery. Case in point, the Brit from Swindon mentioned earlier in this post.If you want to make sure the woman you plan to meet is really single, you can find out with a CENOMAR.
A CENOMAR isaCertificate of No Marriage Record. It’s simply what its name implies. It is a certification issued by the PSA, Philippine Statistics Authority, stating that a person has not contracted any marriage. Also called a certificate of No Record of Marriage or Certificate of Singleness.
Don’t Think with the Wrong “Head”
Protect yourself. Arm yourself with information. Do your homework. Again, don’t assume that the woman you fall in love with in the Philippines is always telling you the truth. Frankly, marrying a foreigner is like winning the lottery in many cases. Her “jackpot” could be your ticket to a prison sentence in a rat-infested, crowded jail cell in the Philippines.
Use the common sense that God gave you.