Couples should be given options: Senate hopefuls bare stand on divorce


Posted at Jan 08 2019 07:37 PM

MANILA—Three Senate hopefuls gave their stand on divorce and its possible implementation in the country.

Former interior and local government secretary Rafael Alunan III, Atty. Glenn Chong and Atty. Erin Tañada all voiced their support for the passing of a divorce law.

" 'Yung serial na pambubugbog, kailangan naman siguro ay iligtas natin 'yung babae, pati na rin 'yung husband na binubugbog ng asawa," Alunan said on "Ikaw Na Ba? The DZMM Senatorial Candidates' Interview" Tuesday.

(In cases of serial abuse, we have to save the women, or the husband who also suffers from abuse.)

Chong added: "I'm always for the protection of 'yung mga inaapi po, so in this case po, between the male and the female, it's always the female, 'yung babae po talaga ang natatamaan sa pang-aabusong ganito, I would really support for giving them this option they are seeking, kasi, kawawa naman 'yung mga inaabusong kababaihan po natin."

(I'm always for the protection of the oppressed, and in this case, between the male and the female, it's always the female, the women always end up as victims of abuse. I really support for giving them this option they are seeking, because abused women are pitiful.)

All three candidates, however, said divorce should not be made easy, and stringent measures should be put in place before divorce is granted.

"This is not something that is freely and easily given. You have to pass through stringent requirements to establish that fact bago po natin ibigay 'yung divorce na hinihingi po nila (before we give them the divorce they are asking for)," Chong said.

Tañada added: "Ang tingin ko ang pinakaayaw ng lahat ay 'yung 'drive-thru divorce.' 'Yun 'yung talagang tingin ko ay magrereklamo ang lahat." 

(I believe what everyone hates is the "drive-thru divorce." I think everyone will complain [if that is implemented]).

Tañada also said passing a divorce law will give couples options, as annulment in the Philippines is often expensive.

"Oo nga may annulment po tayo, pero ang nakikita po natin, pang-mayaman lang ang annulment. Masyadong magastos. So ito po 'yung nagiging hindrance kung bakit marami po sa ating mga kababayan ay hindi na dumadaan sa proseso na mag-aasawa muli dahil alam nila na kung sila ay pupunta sa korte o pupunta sa simbahan, magastos," he said.

(Yes, we have annulment but only the rich can afford it. It is too expensive. This becomes a hindrance why some opt not to go through the process of remarrying because they know that if they go to the court or to church, it becomes expensive.)

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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.

A dissolution of marriage bill, proposed by former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, is currently pending in Congress. 

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. 

President Rodrigo Duterte has earlier said he is against the proposed divorce law.