Press Release
July 30, 2014

Senate moves to repeal old law that discriminates women

In a move to further uplift the welfare and dignity of women, the Senate today moved to repeal an outdated law which penalizes widows who remarry within three hundred and one days after the death of her husband.

Senate Bill No. 1647, filed by Sen. Nancy Binay under Committee Report No. 47 and sponsored by Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Family Relations and Gender Equality, repeals Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes women who contract premature marriages.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon lauded the lady senators who took the lead in the latest effort of the Upper Chamber to eliminate discrimination and promote gender equality.

"This measure enjoyed 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," he said.

Known as "Crime of Premature Marriage," Article 351 also covers women whose marriages have been annulled or dissolved, if she marries before the expiration of the period of 301 days after her legal separation.

Violators face punishment of one month to six months jail term and a fine not exceeding P500. "Since there has been no known conviction for violation of Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code, it is high time that we in Congress take the necessary step to abolish antiquated laws which serve no other purpose other 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 added.

For her part, Cayetano said that there should be no room for laws that "perpetuates discrimination against women in our laws."

Senators Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Binay signed the committee report. (Apple Buenaventura)

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