Public Attorney's Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta is seeking the post of associate justice of the Supreme Court (SC). In line with this, she was interviewed by the members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Wednesday, November 16.
"JBC member Jose Mejia asked Acosta which laws she believes are partial to either sex, [and] she declared that she is in favor of keeping the law that imposes tougher penalties on women in cases of adultery," reports Virgil Lopez on GMA News Online.
Acosta stated, "Yung sa issue ng adultery and concubinage, ang aking patakaran pa rin ay 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."
("For me, when the issue is about 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 survives.")
Acosta added, "Para sa akin, okay lang na 'yan pa rin ang batas, mas mahigpit sa kababaihan, sa adultery at di masyadong mahigpit sa concubinage."
("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.")
Women's groups have long pointed out that the said laws are discriminatory to women.
Case in point: Under Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, a wife can be convicted of the crime of adultery for a single act of sexual intercourse with a man who is not her husband.
If found guilty, both the married woman and her lover will suffer a prison term for a maximum period of six years.
By contrast, Article 334 of the Revised Penal Code dictates that a married man may only be charged for concubinage under the following conditions:
1. He keeps a mistress in the conjugal dwelling.
2. He has sexual intercourse under scandalous circumstances with a woman who is not his wife.
3. He is cohabiting with another woman in any other place.
Moreover, the penalty for the guilty husband is lower by one degree which is imprisonment for a maximum period of four years and one day only. His concubine, meanwhile, is given a separate penalty of "destierro" or banishment and not imprisonment.