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Duterte opposed to divorce – Roque

/ 07:08 AM March 20, 2018

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Despite a failed marriage, President Rodrigo Duterte does not approve of divorce in the Philippines, according to his spokesperson, Harry Roque.

Roque said Mr. Duterte, who had his marriage annulled, took this position because he had the welfare of children and neglected spouses in mind.

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“The President is against divorce,” Roque said in a press briefing in Camarines Sur.

“He said the children would become piteous. And if there will be divorce, the spouses who would be neglected after the divorce would lose their right to file cases against their spouses,” he added.

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House vote

The Palace official also said the President had wanted to keep mum on his position, only saying initially that he would not comment on the proposal.

But Mr. Duterte has since made his stance known, with Roque noting that the House of Representatives had already voted on the issue anyway.

The President’s marriage to Elizabeth Zimmerman, the mother of three of his children—Paolo, Davao City Mayor Sara and Sebastian—was annulled in 1998, with his philandering cited as one of the reasons in the petition. But the former couple have been on good terms since.

He now lives with his partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, with whom he has a daughter.

The President had also defended womanizing after his friend, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, drew flak for having an extramarital affair.

Most contentious

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The House of Representatives approved the divorce bill last week on second reading, usually the most contentious stage of the process as this is preceded by plenary debates and interpellations. The third reading vote is usually considered ministerial.

The proposal has been met with opposition, mainly from the Catholic Church, although opinion surveys showed that the majority of Filipinos favor legalized divorce.

The Philippines and the Vatican are the only two states in the world where divorce is not allowed.

The only way for married couples in the Philippines to separate is through annulment, an often lengthy and expensive court process.

The proposed divorce law seeks to ensure that those seeking to separate would be assured of inexpensive and affordable court proceedings.

Grounds for grant

The grounds for the grant of an absolute divorce decree include de facto separation for at least five years, legal separation by judicial decree for at least two years, psychological incapacity, gender reassignment surgery, irreconcilable differences, and joint petition of spouses.

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TAGS: 17th Congress, Divorce bill, Harry Roque, Rodrigo Duterte
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