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Is The Filipino Family Ready For Divorce?
PHOTO BY SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Neophyte Senator Robin Padilla has filed the Divorce Act of the Philippines as one of his first ten bills as a lawmaker.

    On Sunday, Padilla, accompanied by two lawyers, Atty. Philip Jurado and Atty. Ellyn Suwalawan explained it part by part, on his Facebook Live. He clarified that he is in favor of divorce as it can protect families and not destroy them. 

    "Hindi po ito kailanman na sumasalungat sa pag-aasawa. Hindi ito isang bagay na kami ay kontra na magkaroon ng forever. Katunayan, ito pong panukalang ito ay nagbibigay ng proteksyon unang una sa mag-asawa - babae at lalaki at sa kanilang mga magiging anak," said Padilla, who topped the May 9 senatorial polls.

    "Makikita niyo na from 2005 tinangka na ng Kongreso yung Divorce Bill Act, pero hindi naging successful dahil may mga mambabatas tayo na ayaw. Ngayon, may malaking tsansa na maaprubahan ito," said Atty. Jurado.

    While annulment is already legal in the Philippines, he said, "Para sa akin, ang annulment ay para sa mayayaman lang. Mahal, magastos at napakahirap. Umaabot ito ng P200,000 hanggang P500,000."

    READ ALSO: Rethinking Divorce: Why It Should Be an Available Option for Those Who Need It

    Citing Inquirer, Padilla's version of the bill allows couples to file a petition for divorce if:

    • the husband or wife cannot fulfill his/her obligation in the marriage
    • both parties in the marriage have irreconcilable differences
    • the marriage was annulled abroad
    • the husband or wife is presumed dead in accordance with Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
    • a party is convicted of violating the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act”
    • there is an attempt on the life of the child of the couple or of the petitioner
    • having children outside the marriage except if both agree to have a child through in vitro fertilization or similar procedure, or if the woman bears a child after being raped
    • there are grounds for annulling the marriage based on the Family Code of the Philippines
    • repeated abuses against the petitioner or his/her child
    • both parties have been living separately for two years at the time the petition was filed
    • the couple legally separated through a judicial decree under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines
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    READ ALSO: This Mom Has A Message For Robin Padilla: Having A Mistress Is Not The Measure Of A Man

    Before this, Senator Raffy Tulfo said that he is open to sitting down and discussing the bill with the Catholic Church, according to a report by Inquirer

    “We respect their tradition, canon law, rituals, and customs that’s why I am calling for the Catholic Church’s support,” Tulfo said in a statement.

    READ ALSO: Catholic PH Bishops: Divorce Is Not a Solution to Extramarital Affairs

    Tulfo explains, he has encountered numerous complaints from married couples in his public service show that could have been addressed by divorce.

    Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday said she is willing to cooperate with Padilla to push for this important law, which she believes is long overdue. She recently refiled the Dissolution of Marriage Act, Inquirer reports.

    “The dissolution of marriage bill will protect marriages, not destroy them. To be clear, it will not affect the sacrament of marriage, as observed by many religions. The law only affects marriage as a legal relationship creating obligations between spouses. It will have no impact on healthy marriages – it only serves to help those stuck in unions that have become irreparably toxic, broken, or abusive,” she said.

    READ ALSO: 'Mabigyan Man Lang Ng Freedom At Voice Ang Mga Inabuso': Moms Weigh In On Divorce Bill

    President Bongbong Marcos, during his campaign, said that he is open to divorce, but it should be the last resort if the couple cannot work hard on their marriage, Philstar reports.

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    “We must allow our couples, our married couples to work on their marriages and work hard on it because sometimes it can be fixed. We need to not give them an easy option,” he said.

    Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman told CNN Philippines that he believes President Marcos Jr. will support the bill.

    Lagman recently filed House Bill 78 or the proposed Absolute Divorce Act.

    "Now, with the new position of the House of Representatives as well as the Senate, and with the favorable action of President Marcos Jr. on the enactment of a divorce law, I'm confident the 19th Congress will finally enact the absolute divorce law and we are going to join all other countries in legalizing absolute divorce," Lagman said.

    Aside from the Vatican City, the Philippines is the only country in the world where divorce is not allowed.

    READ ALSO: 7 Grounds Para Mapawalang Bisa Ang Kasal Sa Pilipinas

    Parents weigh in

    In a poll posted in the Smart Parenting Village in August 2019, 61% of the 4,000 members who participated voted yes to divorce. This was around the time when Senator Hontiveros filed Senate Bill Number 356 or the Divorce Act of 2019.

    Three years after, we asked the parents again. The poll is at 79% yes out of 354 respondents, as of writing.

    NJ Argamosa, a mom of two, shared her thoughts. "Yes to divorce. Dahil hindi buo ang pamilyang nakatira nga sa iisang bubong pero nagwawasakan naman ng pagkatao."

    She adds, "Kung masaya ang pamilya nyo, masaya ang pagsasama niyong mag-asawa, edi wala kang dapat ikatakot kung maging batas ito. Kung hindi ito applicable sayo, or against sa beliefs mo, okay lang yun. Pero wag mo sanang ipilit na ipagkait ito sa mga nangangailangang makawala, makalaya, at makapag-bagong buhay."

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    For Mommy Iana, "I think it's all a matter of faith when it comes to deciding whether you're in favor of divorce or not. Fair enough if you don't believe in divorce and you're willing to fight for your marriage 'till death but let it be accessible to those who need it."

    Some women, and even men, can be trapped in marriages where violence and abuse can happen. As much as the divorce bill can solve a myriad of problems, it could also be difficult to enforce.

    Those who voted no said they believe in the sanctity of marriage.

    Julius Bayoneta, a member of the Smart Parenting Dad Squad said his piece, "As a Catholic, my prayer is for the church and the government to help each other in strengthening marriages. We should be proactive about better preparing engaged couples before they marry and support and help those who are in crisis."

    He adds, "There are existing laws already that allow marriage to be declared void. Annulment is also permitted under certain circumstances. We have to know that there is a fundamental difference between annulment and divorce. Marriage is not a simple union or contract, but a sacrament, a covenant before God. It is a sacred union between man, woman, and God to establish a family."

    Mommy Joy said, "Sang-ayon ako hindi dahil gusto ko mag-divorce. Kung hindi dahil nakikita ko na maraming may kailangan nito."

    Would divorce be really a cheaper and faster option than annulment? Read here.

    What other parents are reading

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