Senate OKs repeal of antiwomen law
MANILA, Philippines–The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill that will repeal the Revised Penal Code provision that makes it a crime for widows to remarry within 301 days from their husbands’ death, or for women whose marriages have been dissolved to take a new husband within the same time period.
Under Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty of one to six months imprisonment and a P500 fine will be slapped against widows who will remarry within 301 days from their husband’s death, or before giving birth if she is pregnant at the time of his death.
The same penalty will apply to women whose marriages have been annulled or dissolved and who will marry before giving birth or before 301 days have lapsed.
No such provision against the premature marriage of men is present in the law.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, who chairs the Committee on Women, Family Relations and Gender Equality, endorsed the measure’s approval before the plenary.
The bill’s principal author is Sen. Nancy Binay, who said in her explanatory note that while nobody has been convicted for violating this provision, it is still necessary to clean up the Revised Penal Code of such discriminatory sections.
“It is high time that Congress took the necessary step to abolish provisions of our laws which are antiquated and serve no other purpose than to perpetuate discrimination against women,” Binay said.
“Approval of the measure by a male dominant-Senate is the right step towards ensuring the equality of law between men and women,” she said in a separate statement.
Binay said hers is not the first bill seeking to delete this provision. Previous attempts, however, had not been successful.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said he is fully behind the measure.
“This measure enjoys the full support of the Senate, for it is only right to abolish laws that serve no purpose other than to perpetuate discrimination against women,” Drilon said in a statement.
A similar measure has been filed in the House of Representatives, and remains pending before the committee on revision of laws.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.