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Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

There are fundamental differences between annulment of marriage under the Family Code and absolute divorce as proposed in the recently approved HB 9349. 

While we respect the position of Senate President Francis Escudero that instead of enacting an absolute divorce law, the annulment of marriage must be made more accessible and affordable, there is need however for the legislators and the public to understand the basic variances between annulment and divorce like the following:

  1. In annulment, there is a voidable marriage which will ripen into a valid marriage if not voided within five (5) years from the discovery of the cause or reason for annulment. In divorce, there is a valid marriage which has been dissipated and destroyed because of marital conflict, violence, abuse, infidelity and abandonment, among others, which render the marriage relationship unbearable and beyond reconciliation; and

  2. The causes for annulment of marriages must be prior to or contemporaneous with the celebration of the marriage, while in divorce the causes are before, during or more importantly after the solemnization of the marriage since the valid causes for divorce invariably happen subsequent to the marriage and during the cohabitation of the spouses.  

Moreover, it is not a valid reason to reject divorce because it is anathema to the Catholic Church which has accepted “annulment” as it has its own canonical dissolution or annulment of marriage.

We must legislate not to please or defer to the Church because we are a secular State which must independently enact reasonable and valid laws to afford remedies to distressed spouses, particularly abused wives, and liberate them and their children from a toxic and destructive conjugal and family environment. 

Finally, the absolute divorce bill was approved in the House by a clear majority of votes. In a democracy, the majority prevails though how small or huge is the margin of victory.

Let us call divorce as divorce, a spade a spade. Let us not legislate to deodorize.