One of the proposed bills that the country’s new set of lawmakers refiled at the opening of the 18th Congress is that which seeks to legalize divorce. Many of them are optimistic it will soon be passed.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who has remarried after his first marriage was annulled, expressed his support to back the passage of a law that would allow couples to separate as long as it’s not called “divorce.” He described the word as “loaded” and that it implies that even couples whose marriages have “no fault” can get a divorce anytime they want to.
“If what we’re after is a remedy to a married couple with irreconcilable differences, let us look for this remedy. But [let’s] give it another name. I would be open to that. For example, dissolution of marriage,” Pimentel told Inquirer.net.
He stressed that the law grants divorce on valid grounds, unlike divorce in the U.S., which allows couples to separate even for the simple reason that they no longer want to be together.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, on July 10, 2019, refiled the Divorce Act of 2019 that would finally give victims in abusive marriages freedom, reports CNN Philippines. The Philippine Statistics Authority cited in 2018 that one in four women experience spousal violence.
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“It is our duty to protect the well-being and quality of life of our people, especially our women,” Hontiveros said in a statement. “They (women), together with their children, deserve not only a second chance, but all the chances available in this world to find true and meaningful relationships and build nurturing families,” she added.
Among the grounds for absolute divorce cited in the bill are “psychological incapacity of either spouse, irreconcilable marital differences, marital rape, or being separated for at least 5 years.”
Should the bill be passed, Hontiveros stressed that anyone who files for divorce “will go through a process with everyone’s best interest at heart.”
Divorce Law will make psych incapacity, marital rape, being separated for at least 5 yrs, etc, valid grounds. Real respect for marriage means we give 2nd chances. But it will go thru a process w/ everyone’s best interests at heart.
During the 17th Congress, the divorce bill (Senate Bill No. 2134) Hontiveros filed last January 2019 did not receive much support from the Senate. She is optimistic that the other senators such as Pimentel and Senate President Tito Sotto are now at least open to discussing it.
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The House of Representatives, however, approved its divorce bill, House Bill No. 7303, otherwise known as “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines” last March 2018. It was the first time a divorce bill had been approved. It has since also been refiled in the lower house.