PAO chief favors tougher adultery penalties on women

MANILA, Philippines – 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 was in response 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 held on Wednesday, November 16.

Mejia asked Acosta if there were Philippine laws that she believed were partial to either sex.

Acosta first cited the Violence Against Women and Children Act. She said men are victims of violence too, but cannot do anything as there is no law specifically for them.

But on the issue of adultery and concubinage, Acosta said she was of the firm belief that penalties on women should be tougher.

"[Sa] adultery and concubinage, dapat mas mahigpit sa babae kaysa sa lalaki. Dahil ang babae ang ilaw ng tahanan. Kapag nawasak ang tahanan, nagloko ang babae, wala na. Kapag ang lalaki nagloko, ang babae matatag, siya ang ilaw, buhay pa ang tahanan," she said.

(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.)

"Para sa akin, okay lang na 'yan pa rin ang batas, mas mahigpit sa kababaihan, sa adultery at di masyadong mahigpit sa concubinage," she added.

(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.)

Under Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, adultery is committed by any married woman who has sexual intercourse with a man not her husband, and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married.

The woman and her lover shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, or imprisonment for a maximum period of 6 years.

Meanwhile, Article 334 on concubinage states that any husband who keeps a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, cohabits with a mistress, or has sexual intercourse under scandalous circumstances with a woman not his wife, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, or imprisonment for a maximum period of 4 years.

The concubine is given the penalty of destierro, or banishment.

Women's rights advocates, however, have slammed these laws, saying these are skewed unfairly against women. (READ: PH laws that are unfair to women) –