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Just short of one year after the Committee on Population and Family Relations approved the substitute bill on divorce on 21 March 2023, House Bill No. 9349 or the “Absolute Divorce Bill” has finally been sponsored in the Plenary today.

Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, the principal author of the measure, expressed his thanks to Speaker Martin Romauldez and Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe for “finally allowing this long-awaited measure to be sponsored and deliberated on in the Plenary.”

In his sponsorship speech, the Albay solon underscored that the proposed bill will not open the floodgates to divorces and that absolute divorce is not for everybody as “the overwhelming majority of Filipino marriages are happy, enduring, and loving. They do not need the divorce law.” 

But he explained that “an absolute divorce law is urgently necessary in marriages which have collapsed and are beyond repair, where the majority of the victims are the wives who have been subjected to cruelty, violence, infidelity, and abandonment.” 

Lagman also emphasized that “in the grant of absolute divorce, no marriage is destroyed because the union has long perished.”

He enumerated the salient factors of the bill, including, among others:

  1. Absolute divorce is not a foreign concept to Filipinos as Filipinos practiced divorce during the pre-Spanish era, American period and Japanese occupation. 

  2. Except for the Philippines and the tiny ecclesiastical Vatican City-state, all countries worldwide, including all Catholic countries, have legalized divorce in varying degrees of liberality or strictness and no less than Pope Francis has liberalized his stance on divorce and divorcees.

  3. While the State continues to uphold marriage as a social institution and the foundation of the family, the State has the responsibility of rescuing spouses and their children from a house on fire.

  4. Children are also the beneficiaries of divorce according to empirical studies in progressive countries because they become more resilient and are freed from the torment and exposure to marital conflicts and discords affecting their wellbeing.

  5. Divorce proceedings undergo a judicial process and quickie, notarial, email and drive-thru divorces are prohibited. 

  6. In addition to the grounds for dissolution of marriage based on psychological incapacity, annulment of marriage and legal separation, as amended, additional grounds for divorce have been included:

    1. Separation in fact for at least 5 years and reconciliation is not anymore possible.

    2. Legal separation for more than two years.

    3. Sex reassignment surgery or sex transition.

    4. Irreconcilable marital difference.

    5. Other domestic or marital abuse.

  7. A law on absolute divorce is constitutional. The Commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Convention were unanimous in declaring that the Congress has the right to enact a divorce law.

  8. Divorce is only an option. Qualified spouses may or may not petition for divorce, or they may avail of dissolution of marriage based on psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code, annulment of marriage under Article 45 of the Family Code, or legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code.

  9. A divorce decree entitles the parties the right to remarry and have another chance at marital bliss.

  10. The divorce decree shall include and protect spousal support, children’s support and custody, and respect of the children’s legitime, as well as the interest of creditors.  

As he urged his colleagues to finally enact an absolute divorce law, Lagman maintained that “divorce stories can also be love stories.”

 “It is an act of love of a woman for herself and her children when she gets out of an abusive, even life-threatening marriage, when people have enough love and self-respect to refuse to be victims of infidelity and abuse. It becomes a love story when people continue to have faith in the beauty and promise of falling in love once more. Divorce becomes a love story when a wife or a husband realizes that love takes on many faces – the embrace of a child, the sympathy of friends, the loyalty of relatives, and the judiciousness of the Court,” Lagman asserted.




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