For the nth time, a bill seeking to legalize divorce in the country was once again filed in Congress.
Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay, 1st District) early this month filed House Bill No. 78 or “an Act Reinstituting Divorce as an Alternative Mode for the Dissolution of Marriage” in the 19th Congress.
The bill reinstituting absolute divorce is an apt sequel to the Reproductive Health Act, as the central figure in both measure is the woman, Lagman said in a statement released on Monday, July 4, 2022.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives approved a similar measure on the third reading, but the Senate did not act on it due to time restrictions.
In the 18th Congress, another identical bill was approved by the Committee on Population and Family Relations but was stalled in the Committee on Appropriations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through House Bill No. 78, the Albay solon is hopeful that “beleaguered and tormented wives can soon be liberated from irretrievably dysfunctional marriages or inordinately abusive marital relations.”
Filipinos have varied feelings over the reintroduction of the divorce bill. Many showed support for the bill while others disagreed.
Those who supported the bill voiced out a suggestion: Make the procedure inexpensive and less complicated.
“Yes congressman, it is high time to have this law as we need it badly, but it should not be a difficult, complicated and an expensive process to file and have it, for the deserving partners,” a Filipino said on a Facebook comment.
“Please, lay out and stress a simple and costless procedure, otherwise it will be useless, if the majority of suffering people would not be able to benifit from it,” he added.
“Sana nman po free ang deborsyo sa Pilipinas dahil hindi po lahat may kakayahang magbayad sa Atty,” another Filipino urged. (I hope divorce would be free in the Philippines because not everyone can afford to pay for a lawyer.)
Filipinos who opposed the bill, meanwhile, cited the sanctity of marriage as their main argument.
“Sorry, but I disagree. Marriage is not a game that can be played and stopped whenever you want. This is a serious matter that everyone should take seriously and select the best partner to spend his entire life with,” a user tweeted.
“Nope! D[i]vorce desecrate[s] the sanctity of marriage which GOD Himself established!” another Filipino argued.
Apart from the Vatican, the Philippines is the only country that continues to prohibit absolute divorce even if the Catholic hierarchy allows for canonical dissolution of marriage.