Pia: repeal ‘forgiveness clause’ in Anti-Rape Law

Senator Pia S. Cayetano wants to repeal an ‘antiquated’ provision in the Revised Penal Code (RPC), which was upheld by the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, allowing a rapist to be exonerated from the crime of rape by marrying his victim.

Article 266-C of the RPC, the senator noted, also extinguishes the crime of rape when the legal husband is the offender and his wife, as the offended party, subsequently forgives him.

Cayetano, a lawyer and women’s advocate, took the opportunity to manifest the subject last week during the Senate’s plenary deliberations on SBN 2332, the bill raising the minimum age of sexual consent from the current 12 years old to 16.

The senator emphasized to her colleagues the urgency of repealing Article 266-C of the RPC, which is commonly referred to as the ‘forgiveness clause’ in the Anti-Rape Law.

“We do have an antiquated law which recognizes ‘forgiveness’ as a ground to invalidate a rape case. This is one of the provisions that many [women’s] advocates want to be repealed. I am bringing it to the attention of the body so that we can once and for all address this issue,” she underscored.

The senator from Taguig City and Pateros explained that tP

Responding to Cayetano’s manifestation, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, a former justice secretary, agreed that the matter deserves to be studied and deliberated on by the chamber.

For his part, Senate President Vicente Sotto III backed Cayetano’s stand and committed to co-sponsor such a measure if it would be introduced in the Senate.

To recall, Cayetano, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women, and Family Relations in the 15th Congress, spearheaded the review of gender discriminatory laws for the purpose of promoting gender equality. #

Senate session hall
Arguing for the repeal of the antiquated ‘forgiveness clause’ in the Anti-Rape Law, Senator Pia S. Cayetano explained that there are cases where a rape complainant is forced to marry her perpetrator to avoid shame and scandal.