JUST IN: Philippine Divorce Bill, Approved By The House Of Representatives!

131 representatives voted “Yes” to the Divorce Act to be passed!

Yesterday, May 22, 2024, the House of Representatives held the final reading on the bill proceeding the absolute divorce in the Philippines. When the voting came, 109 casted negative votes with 20 abstentions; however, 131 voted affirmatively which prompted the passing of the House Bill 9394.

The Absolute Divorce Act

Albay Representative Edgar Lagman, the author of the divorce bill, believes that the bill’s successful final reading is a testament to the changing perspectives of Filipino society regarding relationships and marriages. “As the only country in the world besides the Vatican where divorce is still illegal, this is a clear and resounding victory and signals the imminent liberation for Filipino wives who are entombed in toxic, abusive, and long-dead marriages,” Lagman stated.

However, it is important to understand that the passage of the Divorce Bill does not offer a quick escape for unhappy marriages. Instead, it establishes a structured process that couples must undergo. There are specific, reasonable grounds for divorce, and a petition must be submitted to the court. This ensures that the law is not misused and that both parties are protected from potential abuse.

What Are the Grounds for Divorce?

Here are some of the grounds stated in the Absolute Divorce Act that we can expect once it’s implemented:

  • Psychological incapacity
  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Domestic or marital abuse
  • When a partner undergoes ender change or transition
  • Separation of at least five (5) years

Additional grounds for divorce include those stipulations under the Legal Separation act of the Family Code of the Philippines which can include the following:

  • Physical violence
  • Prostitution
  • Drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, or chronic gambling
  • Homosexuality of the respondent
  • Bigamy
  • Marital infidelity
  • Abandonment of more than a year

Thoughts On The Bill

Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Richard Gomez, Bro. Eddie Villanueca, and Marcelino Libanan were some of the respondents who voted against the passing of the bill. “May God have mercy on our nation!”said Villanueva when the verdict came out, “We have explained and warned our colleagues of the ill effects of the measure; the accountability is now between them and God.”

On the other hand, Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas cheered as they saw the necessity of the bill for the welfare of women and children trapped in problematic marriages. “This victory is nearly two decades in the making, following our initial introduction of a bill to legalize divorce back in 2005. The necessity for this legislation has only grown more urgent over the years. It is easy to romanticize the Filipino family as perfect and conflict-free. But the reality is that political, economic and social factors often strain marriages, leading to inequalities and violence,” she stated.

Brosas added on the importance of the bill, “Gabriela Women’s Party looks forward to a future where all Filipinos have the legal means to escape harmful marriages and rebuild their lives. Let us give abused women and their children another chance to live in a loving and supportive family environment.”

Ultimately, the effectiveness of the Divorce Bill will depend on its implementation and the stipulations put in place to prevent abuse. As the bill moves forward, ongoing dialogue and careful consideration of both sides of the argument will be important in shaping a law that best serves the interests of Filipino society.

Have any thoughts on the bill? Share to us in the comments below!

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Lenie Lañojan
Lenie Lañojan

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