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PhilStar columnist Tony Katigbak is in favor of divorce. In an opinion published two days ago (December 26, 2012), he stated:
Quote:I know I may not see such a bill passed by our lawmakers in my lifetime, but I honestly see no reason why such a measure can not be voted on by Congress in the near future.
Actually, it seems the divorce law will be passed by the next Congress.
Here is Amando Macasaet’s opinion on the reaction of the Roman Catholic Church re plans to pass a divorce law:
Quote:The hypocrisy of the Church ignores the deep division caused by legal separation and annulment of marriages. In fact, philandering is even promoted by the absence of a divorce law. …
The hypocrisy of it all is, in most cases, the man keeps the woman who caused the separation. Separation from the wife and cohabitation with a kept woman without what the Catholic Church calls the sacrament of marriage.
Read more: http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/opini…60-divorce
Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN)- While Roman Catholic bishops and prolife groups were still recovering from their crushing defeat on the reproductive health (RH) bill, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte dropped yet another bombshell – he wants a divorce law in predominantly Catholic Philippines.
“Me, I’m in favour of the divorce bill,” Belmonte said Tuesday when asked during a pre-Christmas lunch with reporters.
Kung sa exam may retake, sa drug user may rehab, sa kriminal may probationary, bakit sa pag-ibig walang second chance?
“Honestly kasi, ang pagpapa-annul, it’s really a difficult process. It costs a lot of money. Sonakakaawa yung those who don’t have enough to pay for good lawyers and to get the right psychologists, yung ganun. Most especially ‘pag yung babae ang hindi stable ang trabaho and all, ang hirap ‘di ba? So hindi ko alam. Siguro nababasa niyo naman sa hindi ko sinasabing words kung nasaan ang opinion ko dun. Pero the fact is, we’re still predominantly Catholic nation eh. Yun ang problema. So kailangan respetuhin din natin. Kung gusto natin ng diborsyo, dapat hindi tayo naging Katoliko. So ang hirap ilagay kung ano ang sa pananaw mong gusto mong mangyari talaga while still respecting the stand of the church.”
Most likely because of Ms. Aquino’s marital problems, divorce in the Philippines will push through.
As of writing (October 8, 2011), the Philippines does not have a divorce law, except for Muslims under Presidential Decree No. 1083 or the Code of Personal Muslim Laws (Articles 45-57). However, Article 26 of the Family Code (E.O. 209) provides that
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. (As amended by Executive Order 227)
In the case of Republic v. Orbecidio, G.R. No. 154380, October 5, 2005, a Filipino who had obtained foreign citizenship was considered to be included in the “alien spouse” in Article 26. Hence, a possible way for Filipino couples who need a divorce is for one of them (or both) to get a foreign citizenship and file for a divorce in that jurisdiction.
Some resort to annulment which is an expensive procedure, and does not really address the issue if certain conditions do not concur.
The problem with the pro-divorce campaign these days is they focus on the use of divorce for dysfunctional marriages. They present divorce as a way for battered women to leave an abusive relationship. Of course, it could be. But who likes to discuss sad things? Who like to talk about domestic violence? Not that it should not be talked about, but the reality is, most of the public do not want to discuss these things.
Waging the campaign in this manner, the pro-divorce camp has lost the support of most of the public.
I am not pro-divorce, but if I were campaigning for a divorce law, I would present divorce as a way for countless people, both male and female, out of a loveless relationship. You go back to why most people marry in the first place: love. Yes, divorce, ironically, can be presented as a way for men and women alike to have another chance at love. Five, ten years into the marriage, things might not just work. Then one or both fall in love with another or other persons. If divorce is presented this way, it will strike at the hopeless romantic in each Filipino, and divorce would be more palatable to most of them.
Ruby Ann Kagaoan (Pinay@heart) asks the question, “Are we ready for a divorce culture?” and answers it in the negative. According to her, even if Philippine society is ripe for a divorce culture, legalizing divorce “is not the remedy for Philippine society’s increasing cases of broken homes”. She suggests instead that annulment should be made cheaper:
Our country’s annulment laws are well grounded. A spouse cannot just get out of marriage without strong justifiable grounds. However, as a way to discourage annulment or declaring a marriage null and void in our predominantly Catholic country, private counsels have made their legal fees for such cases very exorbitant. A down payment alone for an annulment case can cost P190,000. A budget for an annulment case can go anywhere from P300,000 to P1,000,000.
Such price tags are very disadvantageous for women who usually are the aggrieved party in a broken marriage and are more often than not the ones left to take care of the children, while the estranged husbands are off to a new adventure without the worry of childcare and household chores where young children are involved. xxx
I believe what our Government should do instead is to make annulment affordable, especially if the one filing the case is the wife and even more especially if the children are left in her care. Law firms need to make available paralegals that can move the annulment case forward without the exorbitant price tags. For indigent and economically disadvantaged women, there should be women’s desks in the Halls of Justice that can handle annulment, nullity, and legal separation cases, so that these cases do not end up in the heap of other criminal and civil cases, and their resolution can be expedited. (emphasis supplied)
I have a few comments on this opinion:
1. First of all, there is a world of difference between annulment and divorce. Annulment voids the marital bond which is voidable, although the term is also used by laymen to refer to what is strictly a judicial declaration of nullity of marriage (JDNM) where there was no marital bond to speak of in the first place. In divorce, on the other hand, the marital bond was really valid and not even voidable. It is just that certain recognized conditions allow one party or both to sever the marital bond. (In no-fault divorce jurisdictions, as long as one wants to sever the marital bond, it has to be granted by the state.)
- those in which one of the parties was below 21 and there was no consent from the parent
- those in which one of the parties is of unsound mind at the celebration of marriage
- those in which the consent of one of the parties was obtained by fraud (concealment of the following: conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, pregnancy by another man, STD, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality)
- those in which the consent of one of the parties was obtained through force, intimidation or undue influence
- those in which one of the parties is incapable of consummating the marriage; the incapacity must continue and must appear to be incurable, and
- those in which one of the parties is afflicted with STD which is serious and incurable
And even in these cases, there are certain things which would remove from the innocent spouse the remedy of voiding the marriage, e.g. in no. 4, if the spouse, after five years from the disappearance of force, intimidation or undue influence.
2. I don’t think that the “exorbitant” professional fees demand by Filipino lawyers to handle cases like this is due to these lawyers’ concern about the increasing number of annulment cases. Lawyers are just doing their jobs, and trying to come up with good arguments why the marital bond is to be severed when there is really no reason to sever it, does indeed require a lot of money. (I suspect though that the author was referring to the “psychological incapacity” technique under Article 36, wherein one spouse would allege that the other is psychologically incapacitated to “comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage”.
3. To go to the meat of her opinion: Making annulment cheaper will not address the issue of dysfunctional families. Annulment is not a replacement for divorce; it is not an expensive version of divorce. Annulment, judicial declaration of nullity of marriage, and divorce have different uses.
“Before you blabber about how immoral the Divorce Bill is, get yourself a copy of the original bill, READ everything and COMPARE it to our present LEGAL SEPARATION LAW. It’s basically THE SAME with just a few MODIFICATIONS. One difference is that in LEGAL SEPARATION, the husband is still COMPLIED to give FINANCIAL SUPPORT to the wife if the judge would decide so. In the DIVORCE bill, no financial support is required. But the whole process is just the same.
People can be so narrow-minded. READ people, READ! This isn’t a movie. Do not compare this to the GET-MARRIED-NOW-DIVORCE-LATER process you’ve seen on the screen. And this isn’t the States. Their divorce law is different from ours. As I’ve said, READ before you open your mouth. Your ignorance is giving me a headache.”
-Yours Truly, with a migraine
Divorce Bill in the Philippines
So being the only country where there is no divorce (apart from Vatican of course), is actually an honor? Get loose of the poisonous claws of the church people!
On second thought, I am under shari’ah law and guess what? I am officially and legally divorced. So I shall say: “My sentiments to Filipino Catholics, not to all Filipino”?