Koko on divorce: Easier annulments better
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III has joined the growing number of senators who have expressed their opposition to the moves to introduce a divorce law in the country.

Pimentel said that he is against a US-style of divorce, which he compared to a vending machine where a couple can get out of their marriages easily. 

Though he welcomed the filing of such a measure in the House of Representatives so that the matter could be discussed exhaustively in public, Pimentel said divorce is unnecessary, considering that there is already a process under the law to address justifiable issues in marriages, which is annulment. 

Pimentel said the issues related to the process of annulment should first be addressed before the country even considers taking the extreme step of introducing a law on divorce, which he said is akin to launching an atomic bomb to resolve a conflict. 

He said the problem with the annulment process now is that it takes a long time for the courts to act on these cases, which end up costing the couples concerned a significant amount of money. 

“We should first ask the question why does it take so long and why is it so expensive?” Pimentel said over radio dwIZ.

What should happen now, according to Pimentel, is to conduct an audit of the judges to determine why these annulment cases take so long to resolve. 

He said the Supreme Court could be tapped to help in this matter.

Several senators have aired their apprehension or opposition to the divorce bill being taken up in the House.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, for one, has made it clear that he will oppose divorce in order to preserve the sanctity of marriage. 

He clarified that he is not against couples trying to get out of a marriage in cases where there is abuse.

“But it cannot be like a drive-thru of a fast food chain so that anytime you feel like leaving your husband or leaving your wife, you can do it just like that,” Villanueva said.

Extensive debates

Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus, for her part, urged fellow lawmakers to conduct more debates on the proposed divorce bill.

De Jesus is hoping there will be more discussions on the provisions of the bill and it will not just railroaded by her peers at the House of Representatives.

She said allowing more interpellations will answer questions of other lawmakers who have a different view on the divorce bill and give the public a clearer picture on the contents of the proposal.

“If this goes through the process of debate, it will be clear that the bill is foolproof and ready for passage,” she said at a news forum in Quezon City yesterday.

The House committee on population and family approved the consolidation of four bills to grant divorce and dissolution of marriage to give couples with irreconcilable differences an easier way out of their union.

De Jesus said the bill will surely be passed if lawmakers see it is gaining support from the public. - Emmanuel Tupas

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