The Philippine laws uphold the family as an inviolable institution. However, under certain circumstances, when a marriage did not work out, the Philippine Law approves a couple to file for annulment or legal separation. Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place. Legal separation, on the other hand, the husband and wife agreed to live apart but their marriage is still binding.
Data from the Office of the Solicitor General reveal that the number of annulment cases had risen from 4,520 in 2001 to 8,282 in 2010. This means there are 22 annulment cases filed everyday. Sixty-one percent of those who seek for annulment are women, mostly on their 20’s, the remaining 39 percent were men whose age range from 20s to 40s.
Separation through a divorce is never allowed in the country. MaltaandPhilippinesare the only two countries in the world that bans divorce. But recently,Maltaopened up and legalized divorce. In thePhilippines, several versions of Divorce Bills have been filed. Lawmakers favoring divorce claim that spouses who have irretrievably broken marriage be given the freedom to remarry. Legal separation does not grant the legal right to extricate themselves from the broken marriage. Proponents also raised that the existing laws on annulment are anti-poor, given the high cost needed to pursue a case for annulment.
Those against the legalization of divorce argue that the human rights of the innocent spouse are violated. The guilty spouse in the divorce case is allowed to abandon or neglect his obligation to provide company and care of the innocent spouse and the children. Catholic Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz stated that if the absolute divorce proponents really want to deter present marriage maladies, they instead propose very realistic and severe penalties for the crime of infidelity, abandonment, parricide attempt and the like, rather than rewarding the criminal offenses with a bill of freedom to remarry.
The discussions and debates at the House of Representatives continue as there are many questions left unanswered.
- The Church, government and non-government organizations intensify its program of enriching marital relationship through education and counseling to help marriages in distress.
- The government will make all efforts to uphold the family as inviolable institution
- The lawmakers, whether favor or against the Divorce Bill, will make a careful study on this issue before enacting a law
Senator Pia “Compañera” S. Cayetano
Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations
Senator Pia Cayetano is the youngest woman elected in the history of the Philippine Senate. A lawyer, triathlete and mother of two, she is continuously proving that there is no limit to what Filipino women can do and achieve. At present, she is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations that deals with youth, women and family relations.
Congress Committee on Population and Family Relations
Hon. Rogelio Espina is the Representative of Biliran, Lone District and appointed Chairperson of the Congress Committee on Population and Family Relations, which tackles matters relating to population growth and family planning, population census, family relations and care of the elderly.
- The Chairperson will conduct in-depth studies about the issue that would help in making sound decisions for the benefit of the nation and its people.
- They will educate the people about the full content of the bill and its status as it is being critically discussed in the Senate and Congress.
A Service of Christian Convergence for Good Governance