The trouble with a 16-year-old girlfriend-A A +A
By Kelvin Lee
Question of Law
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
RECENT news have spoken about how an elderly musician (60 plus years old) is in a relationship with a 16 year old girl. Aside from the fact that this may very well constitute violations of the Revised Penal Code there are also a number of other issues that will pop up in relation to this relationship.
For instance, if the elderly musician wishes to marry the 16-year-old girl, it would be a void marriage, since Article 35 of the Family Code explicitly considered marriages contracted “by any party below eighteen years of age even with the consent of parents or guardians” as void.
In fact, under the Family Code, a contracting party is required to have legal capacity to marry (Art. 2, Family Code). Legal capacity, under the law, is attained only when one reaches the age of majority. Thus, the marrying age is 18 years old and above. Obviously, the elderly musician would have to wait another two years before he can marry the 16 year old. And even then, such a marriage would require parental consent, since those aged 18 to 21 who wish to marry are required to have the consent to the marriage of “the father, mother, surviving parent or guarding, or persons having legal charge of them, in the order mentioned.” (Art. 14, Family Code).
Another thing that the elderly musician should consider is the Revised Penal Code’s possible applicability to his relationship. For instance, Under Article 338, it is a crime to commit “the “seduction of a woman who is single … over twelve but under eighteen years of age, committed by deceit…”
Jurisprudence has explained that the form of deceit covered by this provision is usually an unfulfilled promise of marriage, to wit: “Deceit, the usual form of which being an unfulfilled promise of marriage, is an important element of the offense [of simple seduction].” (People v. Iman, 62 Phil. 92)
Article 337 of the Revised Penal Code on qualified seduction, may also apply. This provision penalizes the “seduction of a virgin over twelve years and under eighteen years of age, committed by any person in public authority… or any person who, in any capacity shall be entrusted with the education or custody of the woman seduced.”
Notably, Article 339 of the Revised Penal Code may possibly apply as well, since Article 339 penalizes “any other act of lasciviousness committed by the same persons” as those provided for in Article 337 and 338.
My professor in Ateneo de Manila School of Law, lawyer Mel Sta. Maria, also had this to say about a relationship like this:
“Talking about exploitation of minors, Section 10 (b) of Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the "Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act", provides that child abuse and exploitation can also be committed by a person "who shall keep or have in his company a minor, twelve (12) years or under or who is ten (10) years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places.”
In short, there seems to be many number of repercussions and issues when an older (much much older) man is in a relationship with a much much younger, minor, girl.
The lesson it seems, from the elderly musician’s current situation then, is to be careful who becomes your girlfriend. There may be repercussions.
The opinions expressed herein are solely of Atty. Lee. This column does not constitute legal advice nor does it create a lawyer-client relationship with any party. You can reach Kelvin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 24, 2013.