House panel approves divorce bills
Three House bills seeking the legalization of divorce in the Philippines will be consolidated before being put up to plenary discussion.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, file

House panel approves divorce bills

(Philstar.com) - February 5, 2020 - 3:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — A House of Representatives committee has approved measures seeking the legalization of divorce in the Philippines.

House committee on population and family relations approved House Bills 100, 838 and 2263 that seek to legalize divorce and dissolution of marriage in the country.

A technical working group will consolidate the three bills before being discussed at the plenary.

Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay), author of HB 100 or the Absolute Divorce Bill, will head the technical working group.

"Yes, divorce may be distressing but it is far from a death sentence. In fact, it can often save people from relationships and situations that can inflict more long-term emotional, psychological and physical damage," Lagman said in his sponsorship speech.

Lagman noted that this was the farthest any bill on legalizing divorce has reached the legislative branch.

In March 2018, the House approved on third and final reading a previous version of the absolute divorce bill but this was rejected by the Senate.

Lagman called on other lawmakers to stop talking about divorce "as if it were the greatest of all tragedies" in the upcoming plenary session.

"Divorce is not a monster that will destroy marriages and wreck marital relationships. Let us be clear about this — the monsters that lead to the demise of a marriage are infidelity, abuse, financial problems, lack of intimacy and communication and inequality," Lagman said.

Rep. Eddie Villanueva (CIBAC Party-List), meanwhile, said the passage of a divorce bill is unnecessary as it does not address issues of high cost of litigation and slow-grinding disposition of cases.

Villanueva, House deputy speaker for good governance and moral uprightness, claimed that divorce makes marriege "cheap" because the proposed grounds for its basis are "shallow and not in favor of the strengthening the families."

"Why pass the divorce bill when it will not really solve the real issues of those wishing to get out of unfortunate wedlock — the high costs of professional fees and the slow disposition cases? The divorce vills filed in Congress simply enumerate and consolidate remedies for broken marriages already existing in our current laws," Villanueva said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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