House panel OKs absolute divorce bill, now up for plenary debates
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed measure which seeks to reinstitute absolute divorce as an alternative mode of dissolution of marriage is now up for plenary debates in the House of Representatives.
This developed after the House committee on population and family relations unanimously approved the still unnumbered substitute bill during its meeting on Tuesday.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the measure’s authors, said the bill states that justifications for legal separation, annulment of marriage, and nullification of marriage based on psychological incapacity under the Family Code of the Philippines are included as grounds for absolute divorce.
Other bases for divorce include the following:
- separation in fact for at least five years at the time the petition for absolute divorce is filed;
- when one of the spouses undergoes a gender reassignment surgery or transitions from one sex to another;
- irreconcilable marital differences as defined in the bill;
- domestic or marital abuse;
- valid foreign divorce secured by either the alien or Filipino spouse; and;
- a marriage nullified by a recognized religious tribunal
Lagman said absolute divorce would void the marital union of a couple and allow them to re-marry.
“This bill reinstates absolute divorce because absolute divorce was already practiced during the pre-Spanish times, the American colonial period, and during the Japanese occupation,” he said in his sponsorship speech.
Further, Lagman pointed out that the Philippines is the only country in the world that outlaws absolute divorce, aside from the Vatican City state.
“It is hard to believe that all the other countries collectively erred in instituting absolute divorce in varying degrees of liberality and limitations,” he said.
“An en masse blunder is beyond comprehension. An erroneous unanimity on such a crucial familial institution defies reason and experience. Obviously, the rest of the world cannot be mistaken on the universality of absolute divorce,” he added.
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