THE absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage bill will actually strengthen the institution of marriage.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, one of the authors of the bill, said this to convince the people, particularly Catholics, to support the measure.
Alvarez said he is expecting debates on the plenary to begin anytime this month and may pass the bill on or before March 8 or Women’s Day.
“In fact, this will strengthen ‘yung marriage dahil nga alam ng both parties na kung hindi ka umayos, hindi ba, nand’yan palagi ‘yung possibility... ‘yung tsansa na hiwalayan ka noong spouse mo. So it will really strengthen your marriage, kasi mag-iingat ka na kung mahal mo talaga yung tao,” Alvarez said in an interview.
Alvarez said irreconcible difference is when the married spouses are no longer happy with each other and there is no point in reconciling.
Meanwhile, another author, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, said bill providing for absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage is an apt sequel to the Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood Law.
Lagman, who chaired the technical working group which consolidated four (4) related bills on divorce, said the sister measures are pro-woman legislations since the RH law guarantees a woman’s right to freely determine the number and spacing of her children and mitigates maternal death, while a divorce law liberates a wife from an abusive relationship and helps her regain dignity and self-respect.
The full implementation of the RH law will help prevent teenage pregnancies and hasty early marriages that veritably break down and end up in broken marriages.
“Divorce is an exception for irremediably broken and lost marriages, and the State has a continuing mandate to protect and preserve marriage as a social institution and foundation of the family,” Lagman said.
There are provisions in the divorce bill affirm the commitment of government to safeguard marriage such as: one of the guiding principles is the State’s “role of strengthening marriage and family life by undertaking relevant pre-nuptial and post matrimonial programs and activities; mandatory six-month cooling off period is prescribed after a petition for divorce is filed as a “final attempt of reconciling the concerned spouses,”except in summary judicial proceedings; the reconciliation upon agreement of the spouses is recognized and effectuated even after a petition for absolute divorce has been filed or a divorce decree has been issued.
In addition, the salient features of the bill are: Assuring that the divorce proceedings will be inexpensive, affordable and efficient; There will be summary judicial proceedings for the following grounds: (1) separation de facto of five years or more; (2) one of the spouses has contracted a bigamous marriage; (3) legal separation by judicial decree of at least two years; (4) one of the spouses has been sentenced to imprisonment for six years; (5) one of the spouses has undergone sex reassignment surgery or transition from one sex to another; and (6) when there is a joint petition of the spouses based on any of the grounds for absolute divorce provided for in the act; and an OFW petitioner shall be given preference by the proper court with respect to the hearing of his/her petition, and the proper court shall set the reception of evidence upon availability of the petitioner, for not more than two consecutive days.