Palace: Duterte is against proposed divorce law

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2018 02:10 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte gives a speech during the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit (FES10) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on March 6, 2018. Alfred Frias, Malacanang Photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is against the proposed divorce law, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte believes approving divorce in the Philippines would be bad for children of separated couples and spouses seeking legal actions against their respective partners.

“Ang Presidente po ay tutol sa divorce. Ang sabi niya, kawawa ang mga anak at kung magkakaroon ng divorce mawawalan ng karapatang magsampa ng kaso ang mga asawa na pinabayaan ng asawa nila matapos ang divorce,” Roque said in a news conference in Camarines Sur.

The House of Representatives approved on second reading the proposed divorce law last week.

The Philippines and the Vatican remain as the only states in the world where divorce is outlawed. Annulments are legal in the Philippines, but the process is costly and could take years.

The proposed divorce law provides that the state shall ensure inexpensive and affordable court proceedings in securing an absolute divorce decree. 

It also seeks to provide for the grounds on the grant of an absolute divorce decree to include grounds for legal separation and annulment of marriage under the Family Code of the Philippines, separation in fact for at least 5 years, legal separation by judicial decree for at least 2 years, psychological incapacity, gender reassignment surgery, irreconcilable differences and joint petition of spouses.

The bill would also prioritize overseas Filipino workers with respect to court hearings while mandating summary proceedings for certain grounds of absolute divorce to facilitate and eliminate costly and cumbersome court process. 

It will also provide for a mandatory 6-month cooling off period for petitioner spouses, during which there will be no action on a petition 6 months after one is filed. 

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and known administration critic, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, are among those who are pushing for the passage of the divorce law in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, former senator Pia Cayetano is lobbying for the bill's counterpart measure in the Senate, Lagman said.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III earlier said that the prospects of passing a divorce bill at the Senate are "dim."

 - with RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News