What are the rights of 'legal wife'

Posted at 05/05/2014 1:24 PM | Updated as of 05/05/2014 5:33 PM

MANILA – A trial lawyer shed light on the rights of a married woman on Monday following the immense popularity of the ABS-CBN primetime series “The Legal Wife,” which tackles infidelity.

Atty. Claire Castro, who is also the host of the radio DZMM show “Usapang de Campanilla,” stressed that the wife has the right to bring the matter to the court should she find out that her husband has been cheating on her.

She said habitual cheating counts as concubinage, while occasional or a single instance of infidelity falls under Republic Act 9262 or violence against women and children, as this may cause psychological abuse to the wife and the family.

“Actually, binibigyan talaga ng importansya ang isang legal wife… Ito ‘yung ibig sabihin ng kasal eh. Kung baga, mas may karapatan ka kahit kanino pa man,” Castro said in an interview on the ABS-CBN morning show “Umagang Kay Ganda” on Monday.

“Unang-una, kapag ang asawa mo ay nangaliwa, meron kang karapatang idemanda. Criminal case ‘yon. So pwedeng makulong ang lalaki,” she added.

Castro lamented, however, that it may be tricky for women to catch their cheating husbands in the act unless there is clear evidence, such as a child with a mistress.

“Kapag nagkaanak na [‘yung kabit], isang proweba na ‘yan na nangaliwa ‘yung asawa mo… ‘Yung effect na kasama mo ‘yung anak mo, psychological abuse na ‘yun. So pwede mong idemanda base sa RA 9262,” she explained.

She went on to say how the law in the Philippines is not fair for women. She noted that a woman who is found to be having sex with a man other than her husband – even if it is not in “scandalous” circumstances – can be charged with adultery.

She added that the mistress cannot be sent to jail.

“Sa concubinage kasi kailangan mong i-prove na habitual ‘yung pagsasama noong babae at lalaki. Kung occasional lang at hindi naman iskandaloso ang kanilang pagsasama, na hindi naaapektuhan ‘yung community to the point na sila ‘yung [naiisip na] mag-asawa, hindi agad-agad makakasuhan [ng concubinage]. Hindi talaga patas, baguhin dapat,” she said.

“At ‘yung concubinage ‘di siya pwedeng makulong. Ang lalaki lang ang pwedeng makulong, lalayo lang siya. Ang lalaki lang ang pwedeng makulong.”

Castro also noted how many wives tend to withdraw the cases they file against their cheating husbands after becoming emotional in court.

“Pag minsan nakikiusap na ‘yung babae na gusto na niyang iurong, wala rin namang magagawa ‘yung korte kasi wala nang magiging witness,” she said.

The ABS-CBN primetime soap “The Legal Wife” continues to dominate Twitter trends locally as Monica (Angel Locsin) realizes that her husband, Adrian (Jericho Rosales), is cheating on her with her best friend, Nicole (Maja Salvador).

The series has spawned t-shirts bearing lines from the characters such as “Akin lang ang asawa ko.”