MANILA, Philippines—A bill has been filed in the House of Representatives proposing amendments to the Revised Penal Code, particularly its provisions on adultery and concubinage that are deemed discriminatory to women.
Under House Bill No. 5290, Negros Occidental Rep. Mercedes Alvarez is seeking the equal application of the law on marital infidelity regardless of one’s gender as mandated by Article II, Section 14, of the Constitution.
“The bill seeks to amend provisions under the Revised Penal Code to ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men,” Alvarez said in her explanatory note.
She noted that under Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, adultery may only be committed by a married woman and by the man who had sexual relations with her.
On the other hand, she said, under Article 334 of the code, concubinage may be committed by a husband only under certain conditions that are difficult to prove.
“These provisions have allowed married persons not falling within the coverage to perpetuate their marital infidelity but remain unscathed from the application of the law. This measure seeks to eliminate this gender bias,” Alvarez said.
Currently, Article 333 says adultery is committed by a 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 is subsequently declared void.
Among other amendments, Alvarez’s bill changes the name of the offense from “adultery” and “concubinage” to “sexual infidelity.”
It defines sexual infidelity as a crime committed by “any legally married person who shall have sexual intercourse with another person other than the married person, knowing that person to be legally married, even if the marriage is subsequently declared void.”
Under Article 345, the bill amends the phrase “the adulterer and the concubine” to read “persons guilty of sexual infidelity.”