MANILA, Philippines – After only two days of debates in plenary, the House of Representatives approved on second reading the controversial divorce bill.
The voting was done by viva voce.
House Bill 7303 “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines” was approved by the House committee on population and family relations on February 21, with lawmakers from the majority, minority and opposition blocs coming together in one vote.
The bill listed the following as among its guiding principles:
*Absolute divorce is judicially decreed after the fact of an irremediably broken marital union or a marriage vitiated from the start.
*The State shall ensure that the proceedings for the grant of absolute divorce shall be affordable and inexpensive.
*Concerned spouses have the option to file for absolute divorce under the proposed law, or seek legal separation annulment of marriage, or nullification of marriage under pertinent provisions of the Family Code of the Philippines, which are not repealed.
*The option of absolute divorce is a pro-woman legislation because in most cases, it is the wife who is entitled to a divorce as a liberation from an abusive relationship and to help here regain dignity and self-esteem.
*A six-month cooling-off period is instituted after the filing of a petition for absolute divorce as a final attempt of reconciling the concerned spouses.
*A divorce decree shall include provisions for the care and custody of children, protection of their legitimate termination and liquidation of the conjugal partnership of gains or the absolute community and alimony for the innocent spouse.
Among the grounds for an absolute divorce are:
*When the spouses have been separated in fact for at least 5 years at the time the petition for absolute divorce is filed.
*Existing grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines.
*Existing grounds for annulment of marriage under Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines.
*When one of the spouses has undergone sexual reassignment surgery.
*Psychological incapacity of either spouse.
*Irreconcilable marital differences and conflicts which have resulted in the total breakdown of the marriage.