House of Representatives Approves Absolute Divorce Bill

Manila Bulletin, March 19, 2018 | Go to article overview

House of Representatives Approves Absolute Divorce Bill


By Ben Rosario

Registering a vote of 134 in the affirmative, 57 in the negative and two abstention, the House of Representatives made legislative history last night by passing on third and final reading House Bill 7303 or the the Absolute Divorce bill, a measure roundly ignored in the past.

The legislative proposalinstituting divorce in the country won bipartisan support although approval was credited by many to the intense backing of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez,

However, weak resistance coming from the Catholic church has also been considered a reason for the seeming feeble opposition against the measure.

The Catholic church has been one of the staunchest oppositors of the bill.

Congressmen passed HB 7303 notwithstanding an early Malacanang declaration stating President Rodrigo Duterte's objection to the bill.

Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza, a firm oppositor of the measure, said approval of the measure will only be an exercise in futility following President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncements against the measure.

ON the other hand, Cebu Rep. Raul Del Mar chided the claim of pro-divorce solons that the proposal allows only "limited" grounds for seeking divorce.

"There are 23 grounds here, you call that limited grounds?" decried Del Mar.

Bukidnon Rep. Manuel Zubiri said the divorce measure will make the bond of family even worse, instead of protecting it at all cost.

In rejecting the measure, Davao del Sur Rep. Mercedes Cagas, also lamented that the measure was approved despite its threat to the family.

"Mr. Speaker, isntead of giving an opportunity for families to break, let us focus on strengthening families. This can be done by promoting health marriages," she said.

Cagas added: "The future of this country depends on our understanding of marriage and its role in upholding an upright and stable society."

Principal author and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the legislation is aimed for "ezxceptional cases when the marital bond is irremediably severed."

"In divorce and dissolution of marriage proceedings, there is no more marriage to protect or union to destroy because the marriage has long perished," Lagman stressed.

HB 730 provides that petitioners seeking divorce are ensured inexpensive and affordable court proceedings in securing an absolute divorce decree.

The bill further states that grounds on the grant of an absolute divorce decree shall include grounds for legal separation and annulment of marriage under the Family Code, 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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