Divorce bill gathers 70 authors in House

The proposed divorce bill, which includes domestic violence as grounds for divorce, already lists 70 authors in the House as of Wednesday.

This figure is based on House Bill 9349, the consolidated substitute bill of all proposed divorce bills in the House now dubbed the absolute divorce bill.

Albay lawmaker Edcel Lagman, one of the bill’s principal authors, said that the number of authors at this point alone—having just been sponsored before the plenary—is already proof that the measure has a realistic chance of being approved on third and final reading in the House.

“Marami ang co-authors ng bill. At marami na akong nakausap sa mga kasama na sila, kahit hindi sila co-author, ay sila ay boboto in favor of the bill. At yung mga iba naman na talagang against, ang sabi nila baka mag-abstain na lang sila,” Lagman told reporters in a chance interview.

(There are many co-authors on the bill. And I have spoken to many other who, even though they are not co-authors, said they will vote in favor of the bill. And those who are really against, they said they will just abstain.)

“This provides for other domestic and marital violence, irreconcilable marital differences. Ito iyong mga bagong basehan ng [absolute] divorce proceedings, maliban roon sa grounds for dissolution of marriage, legal separation and annulment as amended in our Family Code. Matagal na ito hinihintay ng karamihan ng mga mga kababaihan na biktima ng pag-aabuso, pag-aabandona ng kanilang esposo at matagal nang nasirang pagsasama at hindi na pwede maayos,” Lagman added.

(These are the new bases for absolute divorce proceedings, apart from the grounds for dissolution of marriage, legal separation and annulment as amended in our Family Code. This has been long awaited by so many women who have been victims of abuse, abandonment by their spouses, and long-ruined relationships that are beyond repair.)

At present, only two countries in the world do not have a divorce law: the Philippines and the Vatican City, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and where most of the residents are priests and nuns who don’t marry.

“Maybe this 19th Congress, we can see the enactment of the Absolute Divorce law, and we can join the community of nations,” Lagman said.

State-run Philippine Commission on Women has also earlier expressed support for the passage of divorce bill, saying the current system is disadvantageous to Filipino women.

The proposed bill also provides assistance to low-income divorce petitioners by allowing them to apply as a court-assisted petitioner so they could avail of the proceedings for free, including legal assistance.

Likewise, the bill mandates the court to resolve the divorce petition within a year after the end of the 60-day cooling off period between parties where spouses are given a chance to reconcile.

Lagman, however, clarified that the law ensures that the divorce petition stands on solid ground, and not on a mere whim.

“What is unique about this bill is that it does not recognize quickie divorce, notarial divorce, the Las Vegas type of divorce which is no-fault divorce [when you don’t need to cite a reason for divorce],” Lagman said.

In a separate press conference, Marikina lawmaker Stella Quimbo conceded that abusive marriages need to be dissolved, although not exactly by enacting the Absolute Divorce law.

“The situation where there is violence in the marriage, under our existing laws, is not a ground [for the marriage to be dissolved]. If only our existing laws are already clear that violence is a ground for separation, maybe the existing framework could just be amended for that,” she said

“But I am open to the idea. I am still studying it. Bottom line, as a woman, and this is also for men, both of them should be in a safe and happy relationship. I am still studying what would be the most efficient way to address these needs,” she added. — BM, GMA Integrated News

Leave a Reply

Discover more from Planet Philippines UK

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading