Real Divorce in RP? (Editor's Note: Marriage Annulments under the Family Code Are as Absolute as Divorce Cited in This Article.)

Manila Bulletin, May 25, 2004 | Go to article overview

Real Divorce in RP? (Editor's Note: Marriage Annulments under the Family Code Are as Absolute as Divorce Cited in This Article.)


YES, some marriages can actually be dissolved or annulled in Filipinas, with the effect of an absolute divorce. But only couples in the upper middle-class can afford to have their marriage annulled by Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) nationwide.

Can a farmer who tills two hectares of riceland sue for annulment if his wife physically maltreats him every now and then? The Family Code (Art. 36) defines one easy ground for annulment as psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital obligations by any party.

Cost of annulling a marriage

Most estimates place the cost of an annulment at more than P50,000. The poor farmer may choose regular abuse from his wife and save money for fertilizer, labor for weeding, and harvest.

The cost of annulment by the Catholic church, a long process that involves a ruling from Rome, is clearly beyond the means of Filipinos who work as government officials or middle managers in the private sector.

Who wants to file a divorce bill?

Can our senator or congressman file a bill defining specific and valid grounds for an absolute divorce?This idea has been recorded in the minds of our political leaders for generations, but clarifying or implementing them in the form of debates in Congress can give our politicians incredible nightmares from their Catholic constituents.

Divorce in Catholic countries

Most Catholic countries like France and Italy, where Catholicism has its deepest roots, have divorce laws.

Catholic communities in the US constitute the largest sect of about 65 million members across the nation or about 22.56 percent of all Americans.

Presidential aspirant John F. Kerry of Massachusetts is a Catholic and so was John F. Kennedy whose initials, coincidentally are now conferred on Kerry.

The dominant religion

But Catholics in America dont condemn the divorce laws. Democratic leader and Sen. Ted Kennedy is a divorcee and has remarried after his divorce. The Kennedy family is Catholic.

Italy is 98 percent Catholic or 57.82 M followers of the national population of 59 million. French Catholics compose 81 percent (49.41 M) of its population of 61 million.

RP is 84 percent Catholic or about 71.4 million of the national population estimated at 85 million.

Annulment or divorce

Marriage annulment is now as useful as divorce in RP. …

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