Earlier this year, the House Bill 110, also known as the Anti-Discrimination Act, was filed. In a nutshell, the bill aims to eradicate any form of discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression which is why different LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) groups support it.
Although this bill will help improve and protect the lives of many, I cannot help but wonder, is it too soon?
In the context of the Philippine Constitution, there really is no law addressing to the subject matter, unfortunately, the laws, which should guarantee equality, are not so.
For instance, the articles on adultery and concubinage demonstrate the unequal grounds that are still applied today. These are both crimes that are of equal weights, cheating and violating the sanctity of marriage. However, the law begs to differ through its precise conditions, like:
(i) In adultery, any proof of sexual intercourse will suffice. While in concubinage, the proof of sexual intercourse must be under scandalous circumstances or the husband and the mistress are in the conjugal dwelling or cohabiting in other place.
(ii) The husband charged with concubinage can be detained at most of 4 (four) years and one (1) day whereas the wife charged with adultery can be detained for 6 (six) years, at most. Simply, concubinage’s penalty is lower than adultery’s.
(iii) As for the 3rd (third) parties’ penalties, the man (in adultery) is sentenced to detainment for at most of 6 (six) years. On the other hand, the concubine (in concubinage) is only banished, prohibiting her from residing with 25 kilometers from the actual house for a specified amount of time, just like a restraining order.
In the end, it all boils down to the thought: if today’s laws are already inequitable and discriminatory, what difference could be expected for the Anti-Discrimination Act?