House bill seeks repeal of law on honor killing

By Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz

TWO female lawmakers are pushing for a measure repealing Article 247 of the 84-year-old Revised Penal Code (RPC), allowing a legally married man to kill his spouse caught having sex with another person.

In House Bill 5104, Party-list Reps. Emmi A. de Jesus and Luzviminda C. Ilagan of Gabriela said Article 247 of the RPC violates the 1987 Constitution.

Under Article 247 (Death or Physical Injuries Under Exceptional Circumstances), “Any legally married person who having surprised his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person, shall kill any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious physical injury, shall suffer the penalty of destierro [banishment].”

Article 247 also provides that “if he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he shall be exempt from punishment.”

“These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to parents with respect to their daughters under 18 years of age, and their seducers, while the daughters are living with their parents,” the law added.

Also, the law provides that any person who shall promote or facilitate the prostitution of his wife or daughter, or shall, otherwise, have consented to the infidelity of the other spouse, shall not be entitled to the benefits of this Article.”

According to the lawmakers, the article violates Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, which prohibits the taking of life without due process of law.

The lawmakers said that far from being a penalty, destierro or banishment is not really intended as a penalty but to remove the killer spouse from the vicinity, and to protect him or her from acts of reprisal principally by relatives of the deceased spouse.

“So, not only does the law absolve the killer, it also affords him or her protection via the imposition of destierro [or banishment],” de Jesus and Ilagan added. They, citing legal experts, added that Article 247 does not actually define a crime since the accused will still have to be charged with parricide if the act resulted to death or physical injuries.

“Article 247 is only utilized as a defense which must be proven by the accused,” they added.

They said the law considers the spouse or parent, acting in a “justified burst of passion,” had been cited as the justification for the existence of this article in the Revised Penal Code.

“Sad to say, this is the Philippine version of honor killings being practiced in other countries, but which is universally condemned by various human-rights organizations,” the lawmakers said.

Also, the lawmakers said Article 247 violates international conventions and domestic laws, such as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, convention on the rights of the child, RA 7810 (Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) and RA 9710 (Magna Carta of Women).

“So while Gabriela Women’s Party is aware that there is an ongoing effort to overhaul the antiquated Revised Penal code, Article 247 must be immediately repealed to protect and preserve life, protect children and promote women’s rights and gender equality,” the lawmakers added.




  1. Mali ang news writer dito.
    Not only applicable to the husband, the law itself says”spouse”.
    So hindi eto injustice against the wife kasi it applies both ways.Pwede rin wife ang papatay sa hubby.
    Feminism strikes again?

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