Laws, Issuances and other Legislation on Women

This Act extends maternity leave benefits to female government employees who have rendered less than two years of continuous service, as well as to temporary employees whose civil service exam results are released after the employee filed for a leave.

This law lays down rules regarding the employment of children and the employment of women. Although the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code repealed this law, it can be argued that this is still in effect because an administrative enactment cannot repeal a national legislation.

Revised Election Code

Section 98 provides that men and women who are Filipino citizens, 21 years of age and above, able to read and write and a resident of the Philippines for one year and six months in the municipality may vote at any election.

The Civil Code of the Philippines

The provisions of this Code on marriage and family relations had been superseded by the Family Code. However, the provisions on the use of surnames were not repealed. It provides therein (Art. 370) that married women may use (1) her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname; or (2) her maiden first name and her husband's surname; or (3) her husband's full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as "Mrs." This means that a married woman does not automatically lose the right to use her maiden surname by virtue of her marriage. Because of the use of the word may, the law in effect gives the woman an option. This implies, although not stated categorically, that she may also opt not to use her husband's surname nor append her husband's surname on her maiden surname.

This has been the problem for women who choose not to change their surname or append their husband's surname. In almost all transactions, business establishments and government offices assume that a married woman must use the husband's surname and as a result they unilaterally drop the maiden name. Even in addressing a married woman, she is referred to as the Mrs. of her husband.

The provisions of the Civil Code governing marriage and family relations had been repealed by the Family Code. However, the provisions on persons, property, obligations and contracts remain in force and in effect.

The rule on donations provides that donations between persons guilty of adultery and concubinage are void. In succession laws, those below 18 years of age cannot make a will. Married women can make a will and dispose of her properties without the need for the consent of her husband. It provides also for grounds for disinheritance of children and spouse.

  1. This Act grants maternity leave of 60 days to married women who are temporarily or permanently appointed in the service of the government or any of its instrumentalities. The leave is subject to a set of conditions namely length of service in the government, as well as the status of employment, as to regular or permanent.
  2. This Act also includes avoiding assignment of strenuous and fatiguing work to married, pregnant women. Any savings or fund in salaries will be spent in paying the substitute officer or employee who will take the place of those who are granted maternity leave.
  3. Although the law provides for benefits to pregnant women, still it discriminates against unmarried pregnant women who have rights whether or not to get married, to have children with or without the benefit of marriage.

Electing to be a Filipino citizen is by executing a signed and sworn to statement, together with all oath of allegiance to the Constitution and government of the Philippines and filed with the nearest civil registry.

The Philippine Immigration Act of 1940

Under this law, a wife or husband or the unmarried child under 21 years of age of a Philippine citizen if accompanying or following such citizen is considered an immigrant. A woman who was a former Philippine citizen but who lost her citizenship because of marriage to an alien or by reason of the loss of citizenship by the husband is also considered an immigrant.

One of the grounds for the deportation of an alien is when he practices prostitution or is an inmate of a house of prostitution or is connected with the management of a house of prostitution or is a procurer. The law abhors such an act because such an alien does no good but instead bring harm to Filipino women who have been reported to have been trafficked and taken to prostitution houses all over the world.

Revised Naturalization Law

This Act provides for who are qualified to be naturalized and the procedure to effect naturalization. Non-Filipino women with Filipino husbands who do not possess any of the disqualifications for naturalization are deemed citizens of the Philippines.

This law, recognizing women's right to vote lapsed without having been signed by the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

The Revised Penal Code

Article II(2) – Justifying Circumstance: A crime committed in self defense is considered as a justifying circumstance meaning no criminal liability is incurred. Battered women who kill their husbands or partners are said to be suffering from the battered wife syndrome (BWS) and under the jurisprudence abroad, the killing can be argued as justified because the woman at that time was suffering from BWS and that she merely acted as self defense.

Article 13(5) – Mitigating Circumstance: When a crime is committed in the immediate vindication of a grave offense committed against the one committing the penalty, his or her spouse, ascendants or descendants, brothers or sisters or relatives within the same degree criminal liability is mitigated or reduced.

Article 14(3) – Aggravating Circumstance: The effects and penalty for the crime is aggravated by insult or in disregard of the respect due to the offended party on account of his rank, age or sex.

Article 78 – It provides that male and female who are found guilty of crimes are to be in prison in separate institutions.

Article 80 – This article provides for the suspension of sentence of minors below 16 years old who committed offenses and their commission to the custody or care of a benevolent institutions. This was, however, repealed by Presidential Decree No. 603.

Article 83 – The death sentence shall not be impose on a woman while she is pregnant or within one year after delivery nor if the person is above seventy years of age.

Article 89 – Marriage of the offended woman and the offender in crimes against chastity shall extinguish criminal liability.

Article 201 - Penalizes obscene literature, glorification of criminals in plays, films, shows as well as those that serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for lust, violence or pornography, offends race and religion, encourages use of drugs or those contrary to law, morals, and customs.

Article 262 – Penalizes prostitution but does not define what constitutes prostitution but only states who are prostitutes.

Article 263, 265-266 – Depending on the gravity of the physical injuries inflicted, the crime may either be less serious or slight or serious physical injuries. Because of the absence of a law penalizing domestic violence, these provisions may be used by those who are battered by their spouses or partners. The other provisions of RPC such as on rape, mutilation, etc. may also be used when applicable.

Article 332 – It provides that the spouse, ascendant, descendant or relatives by affinity shall be exempt from criminal liability when they commit theft, swindling, or malicious mischief. They are liable civilly.

Article 333 – Adultery - It provides that a wife shall be guilty of this crime whenever she has sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband. Every act of sexual intercourse is considered a crime.

Article 334 – Concubinage - A husband commits this offense if (a) he keeps a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, (b) shall have intercourse under scandalous circumstances with a woman not his wife, (c) or shall cohabit with her in any other place.

These two crimes are much criticized because it provides for different standards of sexual infidelity. Every act of sexual intercourse is adultery while this is not the case in committing concubinage. Also, the penalty is heavier in adultery. This is a reflection of the double standard applied between men and women in our society.

Article 337 – Qualified Seduction - Under this provision, carnal knowledge of a virgin over 12 years and under 18 years of age committed by a person in public authority, priest, domestic, guardian, teacher. This discriminates against women above 12 and under 18 years of age who may not be virgins because their not being virgins do not mean they suffer less from the offense committed against them. Virginity should not be made a standard.

When a brother, or descendant commits this offense, the penalty next higher in degree is imposed. Considering that the offender in this provision is a person who exercise moral ascendancy over the woman and are trusted by her, a stiffer penalty should be imposed similar to rape.

Article 338 – Seduction of a woman or widow of good reputation committed by means of deceit. Good reputation should not be a consideration because it discriminates against other women; the standard is very subjective and is not an element of the crime of seduction.

Article 339 – Acts of lasciviousness with the consent of the offended party – offenders are those under qualified seduction and simple seduction. The penalty should be graver because of the element of moral ascendancy and the trust reposed upon the offender by the woman.

Article 340 – Corruption of minors – penalizes the act of promoting or facilitating the corruption or prostitution of minors.

Article 341 – White-slave trade – penalizes those who engage in the business or shall profit by prostitution or shall enlist the services of another for prostitution. Enforcement of this law has been effective. People who get arrested instead are the prostituted women not the procurers, pimps or the customers who make possible this trade.

Article 342 – The forcible abduction of a woman against her will and with lewd designs is penalized by this provision.

Article 343 – Consented Abduction – again, the standard of virginity is used when it has no relation to offense of abduction.

Article 344 – In the crimes of adultery and concubinage, the offended party must be the one to file a complaint and must include both guilty parties. Offenses of abduction, seduction, and acts of lasciviousness shall be filed by the offended party or her parents, grandparents, or guardian.

Article 345 – Persons guilty of crimes against chastity shall indemnify the offended woman, acknowledged and support the offspring.

Article 346 – Ascendants, guardians, teachers entrusted with the custody of the woman who cooperate in the commission of the crime shall be considered principals (suffer same penalty as if he/she committed the offense).

Article 347 – Penalizing the act simulating births, substitution of one child and the concealment or abandonment of a legitimate child with intent to cause child to lose civil status. The provision does not apply to abandoned and concealed illegitimate children. It discriminates against illegitimate children who should be entitled to the same protection as any children under the law.

Article 349 – Bigamy or the act of contracting a second or subsequent marriage is penalized by this provision.

Article 350 – Marriages contracted against the provisions of law or when consent was obtained by means of violence, intimidation or fraud is also considered a crime.

Article 351 – Premature marriages – A widow who shall marry within 301 days from date of death of the husband or before having delivered if pregnant at time of death of husband or a woman whose marriage was annulled but remarries before delivery or before 301 days after the legal separation is criminally liable. This is a violation of the right of the woman to remarry.