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House Committee Approves Absolute Divorce Bill

House Committee Approves Absolute Divorce Bill

The bill seeking to legalize absolute divorce in the Philippines is now up for plenary debates in the House of Representatives.

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The development came after the House Committee on Population and Family Relations unanimously approved the still unnumbered substitute bill.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman released a statement on the matter.

“Today is a momentous occasion for countless wives, who are battered and deserted, to regain their humanity, self-respect, and freedom from irredeemably failed marriages and utterly dysfunctional unions,” he said.

The proposed Absolute Divorce Act would provide an option for marital spouses to file for divorce and allow them to re-marry, an action that has long been considered forbidden in the majority Catholic country of the Philippines.

“It is hard to believe that all the other countries collectively erred in instituting absolute divorce in varying degrees of liberality and limitations. An en masse blunder is beyond comprehension,” Lagman said. “Obviously, the rest of the world cannot be mistaken on the universality of absolute divorce.”

As one of the authors for the bill, Lagman also stated that the current grounds for a legal separation, annulment of marriage, and nullification of marriage based on psychological incapacity under the Family Code will be included as justifications for absolute divorce.

Other grounds for divorce include:

  • separation in fact for at least five years at the time the petition for absolute divorce is filed
  • when one of the spouses undergoes a gender reassignment surgery or transitions from one sex to another
  • irreconcilable marital differences as defined in the bill
  • other forms of domestic or marital abuse which are also defined in the bill
  • valid foreign divorce secured by either the alien or Filipino spouse
  • a marriage nullified by a recognized religious tribunal

The counterpart measure of the divorce bill in the Senate is still pending at the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality.

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