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Gabriela revives proposal to decriminalize adultery

Women's rights activist group Gabriela is reviving the proposal to decriminalize adultery, which it said has been unfair to wives accused.

A report on GMA-7's Unang Balita aired Friday quoted the group as saying that the law sees women and men differently as far as infidelity is concerned, with a need for more evidence when a man cheats on his wife.

Gabriela also said adultery is used by the male spouse as an exit strategy from their marriage, as well as to take custody of their children.

At present, the Revised Penal Code states that adultery is "committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by a man who has carnal knowledge of her, knowing her to be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void."

Meanwhile, a man may be charged with concubinage when he is keeping a mistress, either "in the conjugal dwelling" or in another place, or has sexual intercourse "under scandalous circumstances."

Each sexual intercourse counts as a crime of adultery, while concubinage is considered "a continuing crime."

Adultery is punishable by imprisonment of two years and four months up to six years, while a man proven guilty of concubinage may get a sentence of six months and one day to four years and two months.

The mistress, meanwhile, gets the penalty of destierro, or prohibition from residing "within the radius of 25 kilometers from the actual residence of the accused for a specified length of time."

Proposals in Congress

Under Gabriela's revived proposal, imprisonment will be taken out as penalty.

In 2009, the group—with Liza Maza as its representative in Congress—pushed for a bill that seeks to change the term to "marital infidelity," which would have been applicable to both male and female spouses.

Meanwhile, in 2013, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman Jr. filed what he called the "My Husband's Lover" bill, coined after the popular GMA primetime soap tackling the extra-marital affair of a man with another man.

The measure seeks to broaden the scope of Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, to also include punishment for same-sex adultery. —Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/KG, GMA News