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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Remove gender bias in the law on crimes relative to sexual infidelity
Writer: Dionisio P. Tubianosa, Media Affairs and Public Relations Service
08 November 2015 06:05:21 AM

A lady lawmaker is 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," Rep. Mercedes K. Alvarez, author of HB 5290.

HB 5290 is entitled "An Act defining the crime of sexual infidelity and providing penalties therefor, amending for the purpose Article 333 (adultery), Article 334 (concubinage) and Articles 344 and 345 of title Eleven, Book II of Act No. 3815, as amended, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code."

"This bill requires the State to apply the law regardless of one's gender under Article II, Section 14 as mandated by the Constitution," the author cited.

She noted that under the revised Penal Code, Article 333, adultery may only be committed by a married woman and by the man who shall have sexual intercourse with her. On the other hand, she added that under the same law, Article 334, concubinage may be committed by a husband only under certain conditions which, unfortunately, are difficult to prove.

"Existing antiquated provisions of the Code have allowed other married persons not falling within the coverage to perpetuate marital infidelity but remained unscathed from the application of the law," Alvarez said, stressing the need to eliminate this gender bias.

HB 5290 seeks to amend by substituting entirely the provisions of Art. 333 and 334, and propose the following new provisions:

"ART. 333. SEXUAL INFIDELITY -- Sexual infidelity is committed by any legally married persons who shall have sexual intercourse with another person other than the married person's spouse and by the person who has carnal knowledge with the married person, knowing that person to be legally married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void."

"ART. 334. PENALTY -- Sexual infidelity shall be punished by prision correccional."

"The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period shall be imposed upon offenders who shall keep a paramour in the conjugal dwelling."

"The penalty of prision correccional in its medium period shall be imposed upon the offender who shall cohabit with a paramour in any other place."

"The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed if the offense was committed under any of the following circumstances."

"A. when the accused spouse had been abandoned without just cause for more than one year, and

"B. When the accused spouse had been subjected to repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct by the offender spouse."

Articles 344 and 345 of the revised Penal Code are, likewise, amended to read as follows (amending words and phrases in big letters):

"ART. 334. Prosecution of the crimes of (adultery, concubinage) SEXUAL INFIDELITY, seduction, abduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness -- The crime(s) of (adultery and concubinage) SEXUAL INFIDELITY shall not be prosecuted except upon complaint filed by the offended spouse."

"The offended party cannot institute prosecution without including both the guilty parties(,) if they are both alive, not in any case, if (he) THE OFFENDED PARTY IS LIKEWISE GUILTY OF SEXUAL INFIDELTIY, OR HAD ABANDONED THE GUILTY SPOUSE WITHOUT JUST CAUSE FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR OR (shall have) HAD CONDONED, consented or pardoned the offenders."

Likewise the words "adulterer and the concubine" are replaced by the phrase "PERSONS GUILTY OF SEXUAL INFIDELITY" in Article 345 which deals with the civil liability of persons guilty of crimes against chastity.

HB 5290 is under consideration by the Committee on Revision of laws since May 2015.