5 senators oppose divorce in PH
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At least five senators opposed on Thursday the introduction of divorce in the Philippines following the bill’s approval at the House of Representatives population and family relations committee.
Instead of passing a divorce bill, Senators Francis Escudero, Joel Villanueva and Sherwin Gatchalian said the existing process of annulment under the Civil Code should be made more affordable and accessible to Filipinos.
“I am in favor of making the existing process of annulment under the Civil Code and the Family Code more affordable and accessible instead of expanding the grounds provides therein via a new law on ‘divorce,'” Escudero said.
Villanueva, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson likewise strongly opposed the proposed measure.
“I am strongly against divorce, instead, I am pushing to make the country’s annulment laws be simplified and not anti-poor,” Villanueva said.
“At the outset, no. I’m willing to see the salient features of the House bill and whatever bill might be filed in the Senate though. My primary concern is the sanctity of marriage. Needless to say, I don’t want marriage and separation to be a ‘dime a dozen’ affair,” Lacson said.
For his part, Gatchalian said he does not believe in a “drive-through divorce” like in the United States.
What the country needs, he said, is a “clear and reasonable process” to follow.
“In any case I don’t believe in drive-through divorce kasi sa [because in] America, marriage is like drive through. I don’t believe in no fall divorce ibig sabihin ayoko sa mukha mo ayoko na [meaning I don’t like your face, I’m done],” he said at a forum.
“What we need is a clear process and reasonable process for our constituents to follow dahil ang proseso ngayon napakamahal para sa isang kababayan natin na magkahiwalay dapat dumaan pa sa butas ngkarayom. I do believe na isa sa ground ng separation ay kung may pag abuso na ginagawa o violence na nangyayari,” he added.
(Because the process is very costly for our fellow countrymen who are separated, it needs to pass through a needle hole. I do believe that one of the grounds of separation should be abuse or violence.)
On Wednesday the House committee on population and family relations submitted a divorce bill for plenary deliberations.
The bill legalizes absolute divorce and the dissolution of marriage at a cheaper cost for indigent individuals.
Marital infidelity, physical abuse and violence, and drug, alcohol and gambling are some of the extensive grounds for absolute divorce.
Dissolution of marriage meanwhile, could be filed based on the following grounds: when a joint petition is filed based on the grounds provided for absolute divorce; when one of the spouses has undergone a sex reassignment surgery; when the spouses have been living separately de facto for at least five years; when one of the spouses has contracted a bigamous marriage and when one of the spouses have been legally separated by a judicial decree for two years. /jpv