House divorce bill moves; no action from senators

House divorce bill moves; no action from senators

05:52 AM May 18, 2024

House divorce bill moves; no action from senators

House of Representatives plenary. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — The ball is now in the Senate’s court to pass their own version of the divorce bill, opposition lawmakers said, as they themselves hoped for a speedy third reading for the bill before the 19th Congress ends its second regular session on May 24.

Speaking to reporters, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said they were hopeful about “getting the numbers” in the lower chamber to get the bill passed in third and final reading, especially since almost 80 lawmakers co-authored House Bill No. 9349.


“The next step, however, is really up to the Senate … [The] ball is in their court. We need to know as soon as possible if they will answer the call of the Filipino people,” Brosas said, citing a previous survey saying that over 50 percent of Filipinos supported a divorce law in the Catholic majority country.


“I hope the Senate sees the importance of the divorce bill… We don’t have to muddle religious issues with measures like this,” Castro added.

Sponsored by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the bill, which passed second reading on May 15, calls for a fourth mode of terminating “irreparably broken or dysfunctional” marriages in the country.

The other three allowed under the Family Code are canonical dissolution, annulment and legal separation.

If enacted into law, the bill would actually “reinstate” divorce in the country, as it was legal during the American colonial era and then abolished during the Japanese occupation.

The divorce bill is also the latest measure to speed through the lower chamber without proportionate action from the upper chamber.

Stuck in Senate

Since then, it has faced an uphill battle getting reinstated as it faced major opposition from conservative lawmakers.


In fact, the current Senate version of the divorce bill, SB No. 2443-filed by Senators Risa Hontiveros, Raffy Tulfo, Robin Padilla, Pia Cayetano and Imee Marcos hurdled the committee last year for the first time since 1986, but has yet to move forward.

As a result, the Philippines is one of only two countries in the world that still does not allow divorce as a means to end an unhappy marriage. The other one is the Vatican, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.

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Under the 19th Congress, at least 80 lawmakers have co authored the bill, Brosas noted, and they were hoping to muster the same votes they gathered during the 17th Congress when a similar measure was approved on third and final reading. That bill however also languished in the Senate.

TAGS: divorce, House of Representatives

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