Migz: Senate to study divorce bill

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Migz: Senate to study divorce bill
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Senator Migz Zubiri / Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate will study the divorce bill, which the House of Representatives passed on second reading on Wednesday.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said the senators need to look into House Bill No. 9348, a proposal seeking to reinstate divorce in the country as a means of dissolving marriages.

“We need to study it first,” Zubiri noted but did not elaborate.

At present, there are four pending proposals in the Upper House – Senate Bills 147, 213, 237, 554, 555, 1198 and 2047 consolidated under SB 2443, an act expanding grounds for dissolution of marriage, instituting divorce authored by Senators Risa Hontiveros, Raffy Tulfo, Robinhood Padilla, Pia Cayetano and Imee Marcos.

While Zubiri is open to studying the divorce bill, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, a Christian, said he is definitely against the proposal to dissolve marriages.

“I’m no again. No need to study,” said Villanueva.

Villanueva is a son of Eddie Villanueva, an evangelist and president-founder of the Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide.

Under SB No. 2443, the proposed measures indicated that spouses may seek a judicial decree of absolute divorce after a separation of five years, whether continuous or intermittent, or a period of two years following the issuance of a decree of legal separation.

An absolute divorce can be sought if the crime of rape was committed by the respondent-spouse against the petitioner-spouse, either before or after marriage, with physical violence or grossly abusive conduct.

The proposed measure stated that lesbianism or homosexuality should not be grounds for divorce unless involving marital infidelity.

The bill also recognized a final decree of absolute divorce validly obtained in a foreign jurisdiction by any Filipino citizen.

Irreconcilable marital differences or irreparable breakdown of the marriage, after a mandatory 60-day cooling-off period, are also valid grounds.

Lastly, a marriage annulment or dissolution authorized by a church, religious entity or traditional customs of an Indigenous Cultural Community or Indigenous Peoples has the same effect as a court decree of divorce, annulment, dissolution or declaration of nullity.

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