Nalzaro: Free from unhappy marriage’s bondage

AS expected, the Roman Catholic Church is strongly opposing a measure seeking easy dissolution of marriage, claiming it wants to protect the sanctity of marriage, the basic foundation of the family, and that it fears its negative effect to the children. House Bill 6027, or “An Act providing for grounds for the Dissolution of a Marriage,” ison final reading. One of the main authors of the bill is no less than House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

I don’t know if Alvarez filed the bill to suit his personal agenda. He has been separated from his legal wife but his marriage has not been annulled. His having an “illicit affair” was exposed when his girlfriend and the girlfriend of his former ally quarreled during a visit in Bacolod City early this year.

Alvarez admitted having been separated from his original wife and claimed he is entitled to have a mistress because he is a “lumad” (native). He brought his mistress even on official trips and affairs. During the mass oath taking of PDP-Laban supporters here last Friday, his mistress led volunteers in distributing bundles of joy to residents in remote barangays in the city.

But f this bill is passed, “problematic couples” would benefit from it. We have in our Family Code the process of legal separation and annulment. But these are expensive. For annulment alone, lawyers ask a package deal of P200,000 including the hiring of a psychologist. Only rich couples can afford that.

I think lawyers will also oppose the measure because it will reduce their income. Only few hearings are conducted by the court, then the judge decides.

In its explanatory note, the bill said; ‘While Executive Order No. 209 or the Family Code of the Philippines provides for the grounds for the termination of marriage, this process of annulment is extremely adversarial in nature and is very expensive. This does not only escalate the conflict between the spouses but also affect the well-being of their common child/ren.’

It added that House Bill 6027, intends to ease the access to legal processes to terminate a marriage while at the same time preserve the chance for a post-marriage scenario that allows a peaceful and productive co-existence between the former spouses--which is beneficial to the family. Section 1 states: “Dissolution of marriage- A marriage may be dissolved based on irreconcilable differences, or severe and chronic unhappiness of the spouses which shall have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.”

All the couple has to do is to file a petition with the court. After finding valid reasons and reaching an agreement as to the custody and support of the children (or the best parenthood plan) and sharing of the conjugal properties, the court may grant the petition. Meaning, the process has been shortened and is no longer complicated unlike annulment and nullity of marriage. There is no mention in the bill about both parties remarrying.

I can understand the concern of the Church as it protects the sanctity of marriage. But what about the couples who have been agonizing because of their unhappy marriage due to irreconcilable differences? Others will even resort to domestic violence and deaths. Will the church not allow them to be freed from the “bondage of unhappy marriage”?

Nganong dili man nato sila tugutan nga mahigugma ug higugmaon pag-usab? They say that “God is love and love is God.” But if love no longer exists does that mean there is no more God too?
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