Administration and opposition lawmakers have thumbed down the passage of a divorce bill despite the result of a recent Social Weather Stations survey showing that 60 percent of Filipinos believe that couples with irreconcilable differences should be legally allowed to separate.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Monday expressed strong objection to divorce, vowing that no such law will be passed under their term.
“The proposal to legalize divorce will not pass under my watch. Marriage should be saved so the children are properly guided,” Belmonte stressed.
“It’s (marriage) is a [lifetime]contract, so any contract should be respected and there are conditions for which each party has to abide. It is better to keep and take care of it instead of allowing somebody to get out of it so easily,” Romualdez, a lawyer, said.
There is a pending divorce bill at the House of Representatives. House Bill 4408, authored by Gabriela Representatives Emmi de Jesus and Luz llagan, allows couples to file a petition for divorce provided that the petitioner has been separated de facto from his or her spouse for at least five years and reconciliation is highly improbable; the petitioner has been legally separated for at least two years at the time of the filing of the petition; when the spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage and when one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations.
Under existing laws, unhappy couple can only resort to legal separation and annulment. Legal separation dissolves the union but does not allow the separated couples to remarry while an annulment nullifies a marriage based on very limited grounds and is expensive.
“The sanctity of marriage is not based on the number of marriages existing but on the quality of marital relationships. When a marriage is no longer viable, divorce should be an option,” Ilagan said.
But Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd of Mandaluyong City said the divorce measure, which was refiled in the 16th Congress, will not gain any support because most of the lawmakers are married.