Gabriela refiles divorce bill
Gabriela party-list representatives on Wednesday refiled their bill legalizing divorce in the country, marking the fifth time the women’s party-list tried to propose the measure amid stiff opposition from the Catholic Church.
Gabriela Representatives Emmi De Jesus and Arlene Brosas filed House Bill 2380, which provides the conditions for couples to enter into divorce.
The bill states that a couple may enter into a divorce if at least one condition is met:
- The petitioner has been separated de facto from his or her spouse for at least 5 years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable;
- The petitioner has been legally separated from the spouse for at least 2 years at the time of the filing and reconciliation is highly improbable;
- When any of the grounds for legal separation has caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage;
- When one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations;
- When the spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.
Due to stiff opposition from the Catholic Church, the divorce bill has languished in Congress. Gabriela’s version of the bill has been languishing since the 13th Congress, the solons said.
De Jesus said it is high time divorce is legalized in the Philippines at a time women get beaten up in abusive relationships.
“Ang isang kasal o pagsasama ay sagrado kung walang karahasan at pang-aabuso at nananatili ang respeto at pagmamahal. Ang pagtataguyod ng estado ng sanctity of marriage ayon sa Konstitusyon ay makikita hindi sa dami ng mga taong ikinakasal sa ating bansa o sa bilang ng taon ng kanilang pananatili sa relasyon,” De Jesus said.
(A marriage is sacred when there is no violence or abuse and when love and respect prevails. Establishing the state of sanctity of marriage according to the Constitution can be seen not in the number of people married in the country or in the number of years that couples have stayed in the relationship.)
Brosas cited the Social Weather Stations (SWS) study that shows at least three of five Filipinos are in favor of divorce.
“Three of every five Filipinos or at least 60% are in favor of the legislation of divorce. This shows only not just the public pulse but the de facto need for the option of divorce to be given,” Brosas said.
“Divorce is also not an entirely new concept in the Philippines since this has been a remedy given for couples in irreparable marriages even during the American period,” she added.
During the “Ugnayan sa Batasan” press briefing, deputy speaker Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro said only cowards support divorce because of their failure to live up to their vow of union made before the church.
“Ako ay hindi sang-ayon sa divorce. Ako’y naniniwala na kung ano ang sinumpahan ko sa Diyos at batas ng tao, paninindigan ko,” Castro said.
(I don’t support divorce. I believe that what I vowed in front of God and the law of men, I will uphold.)
“Ang mga duwag lamang ang naniniwala sa divorce, sapagkat sila ay duwag sa kanilang responsibilidad sa pagsasama (Only cowards believe in divorce because they are cowards to the responsibility of their union),” he added.
For his part, Marikina Rep. Romero “Miro” Quimbo said the Philippines is not yet ready for divorce but he supports making annulment procedures in the Family Code more accessible to the poor.
“Ang mas tingin ko, palawigin natin yung existing laws natin para naman hindi panghabambuhay i-preso ang isang tao sa isang relasyon, lalo na kung hindi na tama na sinasaktan o hindi na nagiging mabuting ama o ina (I think that we should extend our existing laws so that people won’t be imprisoned for their whole lives in a relationship, especially when it’s not right and they’re being mistreated or they’re not good parents). Family is a basic unit of society but if the family is not sustainable, if it breeds children who would be derelicts of society because marriage is not working, then we need to take a second look,” Quimbo said.
“I just think today, (Family Code) is very anti-poor. You have to have access to great lawyers and set aside time to be able to go to court to get marriages annulled. I just think we need to make those provisions accessible to the poor,” he added. JE
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