FOR centuries, the Philippines has been a predominantly Catholic country and is firmly against divorce or any action aiming to dissolve unions of spouses or in any way desecrate the vows taken by couples in marriage.
The officiating priest usually declares in solemnizing marriages: What
God has put together, let no man put asunder.
For so long, this has been the norm. But no longer, as the present Congress, led by its Speaker, is abuzz with plans to dissolve marriages by way of a bill aiming to put the marriage bonds brittle and separable.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez rationalizes that the present system practically coerces married persons to remain with each other even if their relationship is beyond repair and has continuously caused harm to the well-being of the husband, wife and worse, the children involved.
We have to change this.
So, under his proposal, a marriage may be dissolved upon the filing in court of a joint petition expressing the couple's "unhappiness." We note that it is a joint petition, meaning, it should be filed by both estranged spouses. If one party disagrees, however, the other party may file for dissolution and the marriage can be dissolved after just one hearing. The hearing judge must ascertain if both parties went to court of their own accord and the matter of property and custody of the children will perforce be settled by the court.
This dissolution proposal is favored by those couples who no longer enjoy each other's company and are in fact seeing separate partners. Flawed marriages can now be dissolved but the costs of the process may be substantial as in petitions for annulment and legal separation.
Expectedly, the Catholic Church will vigorously oppose this measure and will stand by its argument that marriages should remain as they were, rain or shine.
There would be much opposition to the divorce measure like the one voice out by Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus who claimed there should be parameters and standards on the subject of happiness.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a proponent of the divorce bill, summed up his argument: An absolute divorce is a merciful liberation of the hapless wife from a long-dead marriage.
Do I hear cheers from men who long wanted to be free? Yehey!