Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III approved a bill to repeal the premature marriage law under Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code. This is after Senator Nancy Binay, filed Senate Bill 1647 to abolish the said provision, which she referred to as a “perpetuate discrimination against women.”
Under the old law, no widow can remarry within 301 days after the death of her husband. The same principle applies to widows who got pregnant at the time of her husband’s death, and for annulled marriages. Violators shall be sent to prison from 1 month and 1 day to 6 months and a fine of not over P500.
The final reading of Senator Binay’s bill was made last June, and she was supported by other female senators, including Senators Pia Cayetano Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, and Grace Poe. That time, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was on sick leave. The bill was approved without further amendments.
According to Binay, no one was reported to have violated Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code. She also emphasized that there were many previous proposals to repeal this provision but none of them have been enacted into law. For these reasons, the senator said her bill should be considered as a priority for the president’s signature.
The move to dissolve the provision was highly appreciated by Gabriela Partylist Representatives Emmi De Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan, saying that the premature marriage law is outdated and discriminatory. The group noted that today’s technology can easily solve paternity identity cases.
For former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casino, he congratulated Senator Nancy Binay. However, he reminded that there are other bills that should also be prioritized. This is the same reaction of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, adding that the issue about VP Jejomar Binay is also important.
But while the repeal of the premature marriage law is good news for women, not all husbands agree with it. Ralph Lorenzada, a former hardware owner and now a street vendor, told TN that her wife has silently stole all his money and gave it to another man. “Now, my wife can marry him right after I die.” He said.