SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday said the “new idea” of dissolution of marriage” should be studied first.
“Speaker tells me there’s a difference. Hence, we study it if it’s true,” Pimentel said, referring to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, noted that there was no counterpart bill filed in the Senate, “so paano maipapasa?”
“Ako hindi (pabor sa divorce). May annulment na tayo. May batas na sa annulment, na-relax ang batas sa annulment. At ang Pilipinas is a Catholic country. Mukhang di pa tayo ready roon,” added Lacson.
Sen. Richard Gordon, for his part, believed that the divorce bill would violate the Constitution.
“Ako I think, it will violate the Constitution because nakalagay dun marriage is a social institution that the government should protect,” Gordon said.
Voting 134-57 with two abstentions on Monday, the House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 7303 entitled “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines.”
Gordon said there should be “serious reasons” why two people, who were supposed to be in love and got married, should dissolve their marriage.
The House of Representatives, led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, will try to convince President Rodrigo Duterte to support the divorce bill.
Alvarez said the proponents of the divorce bill are willing to explain to Duterte the implications of the measure to family relationships.
Voting 134-57 with two abstentions, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 7303 or the Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage law.
Lawmakers passed the controversial deal the same day Duterte announced his rejection of divorce because children will suffer.
“Kami ay handang magpaliwanag sa Pangulo. Iyung concern ng Pangulo, in fact, talagang mahaba ang diskusyon niyan sa committee na siniguro talaga ma-address ang welfare nung mga bata,” Alvarez said.
“Malinaw na malinaw po iyung provision tungkol doon, especially iyung education and support of the children,” he added.
To date, only the Vatican and the Philippines do not allow divorce. However, the Philippines allows legal separation and annulment.
Under the divorce bill, a petition for absolute divorce or dissolution of marriage shall be filed in the proper court by the interested party or parties within five years of the accrual or cause of action.
Except for decisions or decrees in summary proceedings, it shall immediately be executory, barring an appeal to the Court of Appeals.
The bill provides that petitioners seeking divorce are ensured inexpensive and affordable court proceedings in securing an absolute divorce decree.
The bill further states that grounds on the grant of an absolute divorce decree shall include grounds for legal separation and annulment of marriage under the Family Code, de facto separation for at least five years, legal separation by judicial decree for at least two years, psychological incapacity, gender reassignment surgery, irreconcilable differences, and joint petition of spouses.
In addition, overseas Filipino workers shall be given priority with respect to court hearings. The court shall set the reception of evidence, upon availability of the petitioners, for not more than two consecutive days.
Summary judicial proceedings, or the expeditious manner of resolving a divorce petition without regard to technical rules, are also provided for under the bill.
Grounds under summary judicial proceedings include when one of the spouses has contracted a bigamous marriage or has been sentenced to imprisonment for six years, among others.
The bill states that the divorced spouses shall have the right to marry again with custody of minor children to be decided by the court in accordance with the best interests of the children.
With Jester P. Manalastas