By Macon Araneta
Sen. Grace Poe is pushing to repeal an antiquated penal law that permits the slaying of a spouse caught in an extra-marital affair.
Senate Bill No. 1410 specifically wants to abolish Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code, which gives a legally married person the license to kill his or her spouse or underaged daughter caught having sex with another person.
Article 247 also provides that “if he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he shall be exempt from punishment.”
The current law limits the penalty to this act of killing or inflicting injury to destierroor mere banishment.
“These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to parents with respect to their daughters under 18 years of age and their seducers, while the daughters are living with their parents,” the law says.
Poe pointed out in the bill’s explanatory note that the obsolete provision gave a married person or the accused two privileges: protection from punishment and defense from retaliation from the victim’s family members.
“In this day and age, there must no longer be room for laws that discriminate against women and girls. Honor killing is a practice that has been widely condemned as it runs roughshod over due process and the basic tenets of human rights,” Poe said.
“Killing is killing. People should not be allowed to take the law into their own hands,” she added in filing the bill, which coincided with the celebration of Women’s Month.
Poe pointed out the need to repeal the specific provision in the Penal Code as it also legitimizes violence against children.
“Why should we allow unfair double standards prejudicial to women to perpetuate, as well as the antiquated notion that daughters are mere properties of their parents?” asked Poe.
“Huwag natin palusutin sa batas ang anumang pagyurak sa katauhan at karapatan ng atingmga kababaihan at kabataan,”she said.
Poe underscored that the bill was also meant to promote a more progressive view of family life, in which marital and familial ties are not regarded as a privilege to commit violence.
Criminal offenses such as sexual infidelity and seduction were already duly tackled in other articles of the Revised Penal Code and the Family Code, she pointed out.
Poe said she was also introducing the bill in keeping with international commitments to repeal discriminatory laws against women and children under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Convention of the Rights of the Child.