THE House of Representatives will push for the passage into law of the divorce bill despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s opposition to it, according to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
The House on Monday passed on final reading the proposed Act of Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage.
Hours after the approval of the measure, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the President is not in favor of the bill because it could negatively affect the children of the married couple.
“It is good that he mentioned about the welfare of the children. We will reach out to him, inform him that the bill will ensure that the welfare of children are protected,” Alvarez said.
“Besides, the President keeps an open mind. We will be able to explain to him that this is for those who have long been suffering due to failed marriages. But before we go to him, we will get in touch with the Senate first,” he added.
The bill approved by the House provides several grounds for absolute divorce. These include marital infidelity, abandonment of petition by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year, physical abuse, physical violence to compel the spouse to change religious or political affiliation, attempt to induce the spouse, a common child or child of the petitioner to prostitution, final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or chronic gambling, and attempt by the respondent against the life of the spouse, a common child or child of the petitioner.
Under House Bill 7303, the court will decide who should have custody of minor children. The court will also have the discretion to grant alimony and child support.
The legitimate children of divorced couples, on the other hand, will retain their legal status.
The Senate has yet to pass its own divorce measure.
The Philippines is the only country that has no divorce law.
But Alvarez was unfazed by the opposition of the Catholic Church to the divorce bill.
“We are the remaining country without divorce, aside from Vatican City. Why should we be like the Vatican? Jesus Christ was not even born here. Besides, the priests have no business in this because they are not allowed to marry in the first place,” Alvarez, who is estranged from his wife Emelita and who had admitted being in a romantic relationship with a certain Jennifer Vicencio, told reporters.
“We have to provide remedies for married couples, especially if there is already an attempt on the life of the spouse,” the Speaker added. Llanesca T. Panti