[From the web] A criminal love by Naomi Fontanos
A criminal love.
By Naomi Fontanos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 1, 2013
In Europe, adultery is no longer a crime. In the United States, around 30 states have abolished their adultery laws. In October 2012, the United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice issued a joint statement calling on governments of the world to repeal their adultery laws because they led to discrimination and violence against women. In spite of these, in August 2013, first-time lawmaker Edcel “Grex” Lagman filed House Bill No. 2352 to amend the provision on adultery under the Revised Penal Code. HB 2352 seeks to penalize married spouses who have sexual intercourse with same-sex partners.
My Husband’s Lover bill. HB 2352 is more popularly called My Husband’s Lover bill after the title of a primetime TV show that depicts what the proposed legislation wants to address. “My Husband’s Lover” is about the life of a woman, Lally, who is married to a man, Vincent, with whom she has children. Later, the show reveals that Vincent is still emotionally and physically attracted to an old lover, another man named Eric. The show has become hugely popular, prompting the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to call for a morality check on the show. In defense, the show’s creators issued a statement saying that their program depicts “real-life situations.”
To be clear, marriage in the Philippines remains exclusively heterosexual. That is why HB 2352 surprised many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In media interviews, Lagman asks LGBT Filipinos to support HB 2352. After all, he said, the measure pushes for equal rights of LGBT people and is a step toward gender equality. In the bill’s explanatory note, he qualifies this support by saying: “Although I am open and supportive of gender equality, we must not limit its concept [to] the positive side of things. Just like in a marriage, equality should be present ‘for better or for worse.’ Meaning, equality must be upheld both in the rewards and as well as in the sanctions given by the society. If the LGBT group insists on equal rights, they must also be prepared to accept and carry the burden of equal liability and responsibility. That is the essence of democracy.”
In actuality, no national law has ever been enacted to specifically protect or promote the rights of LGBT Filipinos. In fact, since 1999, attempts to pass into law an Anti-Discrimination bill that would penalize discriminatory practices toward members of the LGBT community have been repeatedly thwarted in Congress. Through the years, documented cases have accumulated showing LGBT Filipinos at the receiving end of abusive and discriminatory treatment based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in their own homes and communities, workplaces, schools and in public and private institutions and establishments. Even in places where there are local ordinances meant to protect them, LGBT Filipinos continue to experience discrimination. Not surprisingly, many LGBT rights advocates have rejected HB 2352.
Legal stigmatization of gender and sexuality. HB 2352 comes on the heels of recently passed laws that rights advocates have opposed. To the dismay of many, the Philippine government under President Aquino has enacted several laws that stigmatize gender and sexuality.
In March 2012, Republic Act No. 10158, which seeks to decriminalize vagrancy, was signed into law. Many women’s rights organizations opposed RA 10158 because of its problematic definition of vagrancy. Under RA 10158, vagrants are only prostitutes and prostitutes are only women. In August 2012, the President approved RA 10172 which allows a change in the date of birth and gender in the birth certificate in case of clerical errors. The law explicitly states, however, that change in gender will not cover those who have undergone a “sex change or sex transplant.” Transgender rights advocates protested the inclusion of the phrase sex transplant in the wording of the law because it is a nonexistent medical procedure. Its inclusion violates rules of clarity and nonambiguity, to which legislation is expected to adhere, but to no avail. In September 2012, RA 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, was signed into law. It has become one of the most unpopular pieces of legislation under the Aquino administration. RA 10175 criminalizes cybersex along with other online activities. The law has been assailed for its intent to curtail Internet freedom and its violation of people’s freedom of speech and expression. At least 15 petitions were filed at the Supreme Court, which has since issued a Temporary Restraining Order against RA 10175, suspending its implementation.
Lagman’s My Husband’s Lover bill, no doubt, has the potential to follow in the footsteps of these laws. It would be grossly ironic, given that the show after which it was named was presumably created to enlighten people about the real-life complexities of gender and sexuality. If passed into law, HB 2352 would be the first law in the Philippines to criminalize same-sex behavior. This would be unfortunate since the winds of change to abolish adultery in law books have already reached nearby countries. In Taiwan, women’s groups in March 2013 asked the government to abolish adultery from the Criminal Code because it is unfavorable to women. According to women’s rights advocates, Taiwan’s adultery law promotes legal discrimination and maintains pervasive gender inequality. HB 2352 would undoubtedly do the same.
This is a wake-up call then for advocates to bolster the fight for greater equality and genuine sexual and gender freedom in the Philippines.
Naomi Fontanos is a Filipino transgender rights advocate and cofounder of Gender and Development Advocates (Ganda) Filipinas, a Manila-based nonprofit committed to promote human rights in the context of development.
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Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas* is a non-profit, non-partisan, and non-government organization advocating gender equality for all Filipinos. It is led by transgender women in the Philippines. GANDA Filipinas believes that gender is at the heart and center of issues of development including access to education, economic justice, environmental justice, and sexuality and reproductive health rights—areas where transgender voices are usually left out and neglected. GANDA Filipinas upholds the view that transgender rights are human rights.
*Ganda is the Filipino word for “beauty” or “beautiful.” It is a generic term of endearment Filipinos use to warmly call transgender women. Filipinas is the Hispanicized name of the Philippines used by the organization to call attention to the historical fact that people who could be interpreted as transgender in the modern sense already existed even during pre-colonial times.
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This topic should be up for national debate. We have laws that
need further scrutiny.
I totally agree that there should be gender equality and all gender should be equally protected by our laws.
RA 10158 clearly violates the universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 7 which states:
” All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination”.
Women have been tagged as the only “prostitutes” yet there are also men. Please accept my not so gender-sensitive use of men and women.
Let me emphasize first that women have been using the bounds of emotion as their turf. In fact, another law, RA 9262 leans towards women and so biased that men are totally violated as assumed to be not emotionally hurt by women. Section 5i of RA 9262 states that:
“Causing mental or emotional anguish, public ridicule or humiliation to the woman or her child/ren, including, but not limited to, repeated verbal and emotional abuse, and denial of financial support or custody of minor children of access to the woman’s children.”
So, when a man has left the woman (wife) for another woman, he commits marital infidelity, yet there is no mention that the man also suffered emotional abuse from the wife. And there is no law for that. In short, biased, unconstitutional and does not abide by the preceding Article 7 of the UNDHR, which we are a signatory. Worse, it violates Article 16:
“Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”
Emotions are not just experienced by women. In reality, men tend not to show it so as not to portray himself as “under de saya”. Worse, as a cuckold.
One sad part about it is that women judges don’t even have to get expert witness to prove and define emotional abuse, they tend to be the expert and rule through conjectures!
RA 9262 has been repeatedly abused by our women, frequently weaponizing a deadly annulment case at the expense of our men. Our men are turned into criminals. Poor suffering criminals!
Why not simply abolish marital infidelity, that is adultery for women, concubinage for men, and enact DIVORCE in order for couples to move on.
In the meantime REPEAL this clause/provision sec 5i so that there is no bias to women. That men are treated equally.
Junk ultra feminism!
RA 9262 has notoriously created and branded our men as criminals with just a whiff of a siren call to emotional abuse, all hell break loose in a never ending battle of the sexes.
End this impunity. End this inequality.
Oh, did I mention that family court judges are mostly women…and most of them rule and decide by quoting the Bible, as if all people are Christians.
Now, that’s the truest battle indeed, religion messing up our laws. Let us fight this!
You are at the forefront! You are our hope!
Mabuhay and GENDER EQUALITY! Mabuhay tayong mga Pilipino!