The internet (multiple sources, including) states that, according to Article 247 of the Philippine Penal Code, it is not a crime, if a person finds their spouse cheating on them, to kill the spouse and the other person.

The sources also claim this allows parents to kill their daughter if caught in the act, and the person she was caught with.

My questions:

  1. Was this ever law in the Philippines?
  2. Assuming yes, is this still legal in the Philippines?
  3. Assuming yes, are there any other laws that take precedence over this or overwrite this?
  4. Assuming no, when was the most recent time this article has (successfully) been used in court?

1 Answer 1


I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice, just my personal opinion.

Revised penal code of the Philipines, article 247:

Art. 247. Death or physical injuries inflicted 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.

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 eighteen years of age, and their seducer, while the daughters are living with their parents.

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

"Destierro" means...

...banishment or only a prohibition from residing within the radius of 25 kilometers from the actual residence of the accused for a specified length of time. It is not imprisonment.

So, while the punishment is comparatively light -- I assume a "crime in passion" justification here -- it is still a crime, and punished.

The basic premise of the claim, thus, is FALSE.

Regarding the question as asked:

1) Was this ever law in the Philippines? -- Yes.

2) Assuming yes, is this still law in the Philippines? -- Yes, the Revised Penal Code is still in effect today.

I didn't check for 3) and 4), to be honest. I don't think 3) would be a "yes" given the wording of article 247 (I doubt another article will take precedence over one that already cites "exceptional circumstances"), and I consider any answer to 4) to be rather transient and of little value.

  • 4
    @AlAmin: Well... most penal codes make a distinction of manslaughter versus manslaughter "in the heat of the moment". But this one is rather extreme, I will admit. In the German StGB, for comparison, the penalty for manslaughter is 5 years to life in prision (Par. 212), while "in the heat of the moment" (Par. 213) you can "get away" with one up to ten years.
    – DevSolar
    Dec 6, 2016 at 13:33
  • @DevSolar Not restricted to manslaughter or catching your wife cheating, severe emotional provocation may in Germany even be enough to claim temporary insanity (vorübergehende Unzurechnungsfähigkeit) and lead to an acquittal. Dec 6, 2016 at 14:40
  • 2
    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo: Yes, but good luck getting an acquittal for killing your spouse and the lover. You might get mitigating circumstances (mildernde Umstände), but an acquittal? I don't think so. Whereas this article in the question... well. Makes poly relationships "interesting". ;-)
    – DevSolar
    Dec 6, 2016 at 14:44
  • 2
    What if the cheater and their lover aren't surprised by the spouse's arrival? ;) Dec 6, 2016 at 20:21
  • @DevSolar "Makes poly relationships "interesting". :)"?? Read your own quote--those who consented to the infidelity (which a poly relationship does) don't get the benefits of this law. Dec 7, 2016 at 18:29

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