House passes bill to allow divorce

THE House of Representatives on Monday, March 19, approved on third and final reading the bill seeking the dissolution of marriage.

This developed just hours after President Rodrigo Duterte, through his spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., said that he is against a divorce law as it will be disadvantageous to children.

“Ang sabi po niya (President Duterte) kawawa po yung mga anak, at kung magkakaroon ng divorce, mawawalan po ng karapatang magsampa ng kaso ‘yung mga asawa na pinabyaan ng mga asawa nila matapos silang mag-divorce,” Roque said.

At the House plenary Monday, 134 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, 57 voted against it while 2 lawmakers abstained.

This is the first ever legislation on divorce that has passed the third reading.

The Senate has yet to pass its version of the divorce bill. Its leadership earlier expressed their non-support for the legislation.

Among those who voted against the decision were Muntinlupa Lone District Rep. Ruffy Biazon, Cebu City 1st District Rep. Raul Del Mar, Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr. Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano and Caloocan 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice, among others.

The House Bill 7303 or "An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines" stemmed from the salient features of House Bill (HB) 116, 1062, 2380 and 6027, all seeking the creation of a law seeking divorce.

It promises an "inexpensive" and "efficient" divorce.

Under the bill, indigents, defined under the bill as those who do not have a property of more than P5 million can avail of the court's services on divorce for free.

The bill allows summary juducial proceedings for spouses who have been separated for at least five years and spouses who have been legally separated by judicial decree for two years.

The case can also be subject to summary judicial proceedings if one of the spouses has been sentenced for imprisonment for six years or if one underwent sex realignment surgery, among others.

In summary judicial proceedings, the decision of the court, which is final and executory, will be released in a year or less.

The members of the majority who authored the bill are House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Cebu 3rd District Rep Gwendolyn Garcia, Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, North Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Nancy Catamco, Taguig City Pateros 2nd District Rep. Pia Cayetano, Isabela 2nd District Rep. Anna Cristina Go, Quezon City 4th District Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Mindoro 1st District Rep. Doy Leachon and Apayao Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang.

Other proponents of the bill include opposition members Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., Gabriella Reps. Emmi De Jesus and Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Reps. France Castro and Antonio Tinio, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.

Alvarez earlier said the bill is very significant as members of the House had to cross party lines for its creation. (SunStar Philippines)


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