From time to time I find I really need to repost information I have already published. I know this is probably boring to some people but I often see readers doing what may prove to be very dangerous things … and not many of these folks do much backup reading to verify that some of their impressions are valid or to even find out if they are stepping off into the abyss to commit a crime in the Philippines without even considering the dangerous position they have put themselves into.
In short I am talking about relationships with women whom they have never met here in the Philippines. Particularly relationships with women who are already married.
Funny how on some sites and forums guys will go to great length worrying about, sharing preventative techniques ands tips and telling war stories about issues like getting their wallet lifted by a pickpocket. All sorts of “safety in the Philippines” issues. Yet while they are focused on the physical safety of their wallet, or not getting their cell phone stolen, they seem oblivious to the very real danger of getting themselves arrested for cohabitating with another man’s wife, or worse yet getting married to someone they don’t know (“except, perhaps, exchanging sexy online or phone messages for months). Scary in my view.
First of all, let me start by saying I am not condemning Philippine women in general, nor am I against online relationships. Not at all. The majority of Philippine women you will meet online are decent, loving, moral and caring people.
BUT. “Extracting” support from unwary and (seemingly) rich foreigners is a very, very common practice. The Internet cafes are full of young women, older women, even guys in the we hours of the morning, when it’s waking hours back in the US or Europe. And the “love” messages are flying back and forth across cyberspace.
It’s ridiculous easy to go on line and find some guy who is so lovely and who has no apparent sense of propriety and judgment, to send money at the drop of a hat. And I mentioned guys in the paragraph before this one. Why?
Well the Philippines is perhaps second only to Thailand in the population of “Lady Boys”. These are men who look so much like women you likely can’t even tell the difference when meeting face-to-face. On line? Fuggedabout it. It’s ludicrously easy to masquerade. There’s an old joke, based, like most good jokes, on truth … "a cartoon of a dog, typing away at the keyboard with the caption, “On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog”.
Fact Number One: You do NOT “know” her: Not until you have met her, or even better, checked her out via reputable, third-party sources (as an example, just click on the Pointman PI banner in the sidebar, they will be glad to give you a truthful, unbiased report).
Fact Number Two: There is, for Christians anyway, essentially NO Divorce in the Philippines: It doesn’t matter if her husband abandoned her, if he moved away and she doesn’t know where he is and even if the husband has married some other woman. UNLESS your “dream girl” has a decree of nullity or a decree of presumptive death of the husband, she is still married. Her husband has extensive rights under the law … even up to an including killing you if he finds you In flagrante delicto (Latin: "in blazing offence") with his wife.
(yes, it’s true, you might want to read about it here, Moral (and Legal) Dilemmas — and Wrong Head Thinking. Also a father has the right to kill a man he finds In flagrante delicto (Latin: "in blazing offence") with his underage daughter, something else some readers might want to consider. Birth certificates are notoriously easy to fake)
And if you have sexual relations with another man’s wife, she and quite possibly you are almost assuredly committing a crime under Philippine law.
Fact Number Three: Legal Separation is NOT dissolution of the Marriage and legally separated parties are NOT free to cohabit and have relationships with third parties. The=y are separated, but still 100% married under Philippine law.
Fact Number Four: A Foreigner in the Philippines is 100% Subject to the Laws of the Philippines. Back around the turn of the 20th century, a fellow named Cecil Rhodes (Yes the scholarship man) coined a phrase: “Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life”.
Many would argue that during the span of the 20th century, the saying was changed in most people’s minds to read, “Remember that you are an American, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life”.
And indeed, many born in other countries would agree, Some will even lie, cheat and steal just to get into the USA.
But whether or not you think Rhodes is right (and many of my readers do think “they” are something special, way smarter and more intelligent and more “civilized” than the Filipino), well you have to check that attitude at the immigration wicket when entering the Philippines.
Being an American may seem ‘special’ here to some folks, but it doesn’t exempt you from Philippine law in any way. In fact, foreigners have less rights under Philippine law than do Filipino citizens.
You get caught in a criminal situation, there are consequences, like apprehension, court proceedings, possible jail time and possible deportation. You “Blue passport” will exempt you from none of these.
You think the US Embassy will send the Marines to rescue you? The US Embassy ahs no power at all to protect you or exempt you from any legal consequence of breaking the law in the Philippines.
Best they are allowed to do is to help you notify next of kin and to furnish you lists of Philippine lawyers who have been vetted by the Embassy.
(and as an Oh By The Way, even I f you are rich and figure you will hire some hot-0shot US defense attorney, guess what. Only “natural born Filipinos” are allowed to practice law in the Philippines, so forget about putting Johnny Cochran on retainer … he would be only an ordinary tourist here, same as you and me.)
So, have I said enough to make you take a look at your own personal situation with your upper, “thinking’ head? I hope so. Living in the Philippines can be a great thing, but I get scared when I see how little thought some guys put in to their own safety and future well-being.
More at: Making it Hard on Yourself in the Philippines. You can’t say you haven’t been warned.