ROMUALDEZ SLAMS ‘ADULTERY’ WEBSITE
Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
STORY #2 “WEBSITE”
LAWMAKERS were in an uproar yesterday over the launching of the so-called cheaters’ dating website AshleyMadison.com in the country, as it promotes extramarital affairs and destroys the sanctity of marriages and families.
In separate interviews, House independent bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte, Jr., Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, and Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda “Luz” Ilagan pressed the government to make a determined and expeditious action banning the Canada-based firm’s website like what the governments of Singapore and South Korea did.
“The website which is an affront to human dignity shows a blatant immorality. We should not allow such website promoting a commercialized cheating extramarital affairs to thrive in a largely Roman Catholic country like ours where divorce is even illegal. This promotes adultery that is against the law. We have to protect the cohesiveness of marriages and families in our country,” Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), pointed out.
They urged Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to make good of her promise to run after the website, citing possible violations on some provisions of the Revised Penal Code that outlaw extramarital affairs.
“I’m for banning this website because this is improper and immoral,” Belmonte stressed, after having been scandalized by the international extramarital dating website whose tagline “Life is short. Have an affair,” was even translated in a bid to attract Filipinos: “Buhay ay maikli. Mangaliwa.”
Castelo said that he was very disappointed in why such website was launched in the country, and was alarmed by the statement of Christoph Kraemer, spokesman for the service, who claimed that 2,500 to 3,000 Filipinos have already signed up. “The website directly violates existing norms about human relationships, as it encourages extramarital relations. Since it is based overseas, our laws could not reach it. In this digital age, the choice is to regulate those websites. We leave this issue to the creative minds of our regulators. This issue should not deter from our constitutional right to exercise choice. We have that inherent right. Hence, it is be to continue to teach our people the power of choice,” said Castelo.
“It should be banned not only in the Catholic nations like the
Philippines, it should not also be permitted in countries that respect the sanctity of marriages and families,” said de la Cruz, a senior member of the House independent bloc, on the website.
Ilagan said, “Our being largely Catholic is secondary to the
illegality of the acts being proposed. Marital infidelity is not
something to be taken lightly. It is even punishable by law.”
“We even have pending bills in Congress that seek to make the punishment for spousal infidelity the same for both offending husbands and wives. Unlike in the Revised Penal Code which makes a distinction between adultery and concubinage,” said Ilagan. “But whether one or the other, it still against the law. What this online ad is doing is enticing people to do illicit acts. Worse, it is making a mockery of the marriage vows. When a couple encounters problems in marriage, they should look for ways to solve these or make an effort to nurture the relationship and rekindle the fires of passion. An extramarital affair is not the answer. That website should be banned,” Ilagan added.
The website described itself as “the most successful website for finding an affair and cheating partners” and also as “the world’s leading married dating service for discrete encounters.” It claims over 30,475,000 anonymous members.
To start online dating, one must first register and the user chooses what sort of adulterous game he or she wants to play, like “something short term,” “something long term,” “cyber affair or erotic chat,” “whatever excites me,” “anything goes,” and “undecided.” The website also permits users to chat and exchange photos as well as virtual gifts such as flowers and chocolates. (RPP)