SOME senators expressed opposition to introducing divorce in the country even as the House of Representatives is pushing for it.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said he is not inclined to file a counterpart divorce bill in the Senate.
“Definitely not I,” he said when asked if he thinks a divorce bill will be filed in the Senate.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he is “strongly against divorce and his primary concern is the sanctity of marriage.
“Needless to say, I don’t want marriage and separation to be a ‘dime a dozen’ affair,” said Lacson.
Sen. Francis Escudero said he is in favor of making the existing process of annulment under the Civil Code and the Family Code more affordable and accessible instead of passing a law on divorce.
For his part, Sen. Joel Villanueva, son of evangelist Eddie Villanueva, said he is strongly against divorce. “Instead, I am pushing to make the country’s annulment laws be simplified and not anti-poor,” he said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said he wants to amend the annulment law to make it more affordable and accessible to the people.
Gatchalian said he does not believe in “drive-through divorce” like in the USA as the process for separation of married couples should be based on compelling reasons such as abuse and violence.
He said the annulment law should be amended to make it more affordable.
“What we need is a clear and reasonable process for our constituents to follow, dahil ang proseso ngayon napakamahal,” Gatchalian said, adding women and children should be given more protection in the annulment law.
“Ang kawawa dito ang kababaihan at mga bata,” he said. “I think we need to look at the angle of giving protection to women and giving them a new lease on life.”
The House Committee on Population and Family Relations approved the substitute bill with a new working title of An Act Providing for Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines.
The bill provides for the institution of “absolute marriage” as judicial decreed after an irremediably broken marital union or marriage.
This means that after the divorce becomes effective, the marriage bonds will be severed and the former spouses will have the right to marry another person either by civil or religious ceremony.