Rep. Edcel Lagman refiles divorce bill

·2 min read
Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman. (Photo: Edcel Lagman/Facebook)
Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman. (Photo: Edcel Lagman/Facebook)

Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman has refiled a bill seeking to legalize divorce in the country, he said on Sunday (July 3).

If passed into law, the Absolute Divorce Bill or House Bill (HB) No.78 will seek “to reinstate absolute divorce as an alternative mode for the dissolution of marriage.”

The proposed bill will institute a “cooling-off” period of about six months after filing of the petition for divorce, and shall provide for the care and custody of children, termination of conjugal partnership of gains, and alimony.

The bill also said that the State shall have the mandate to strengthen marriage and family life “through state-funded pre-nuptial and post-matrimonial programs and activities,” even if divorce has already been legalized.

In a statement, Lagman said that “beleaguered and tormented wives can soon be liberated from irretrievably dysfunctional marriages or inordinately abusive marital relations.”

“Notwithstanding the adoption of the 1987 Constitution of the precepts that marriage is a social institution, the foundation of the family is inviolable, the Commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Commission were unanimous that Congress is not prohibited or precluded from instituting absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage under the current Charter,” Lagman added.

Many lawmakers have for the past tried to codify this right into law. During the 18th Congress, Lagman filed HB 100, but it was stuck in the Committee on Appropriations, and was last deliberated by the House Technical Working Group in March 2020.

In the 17th Congress, HB 7303 was also filed and transmitted to the Senate, but it was not acted upon by the upper chamber due to time constraints.

Lagman said that the Absolute Divorce Bill would be an “apt sequel” to the highly controversial Reproductive Health Law, of which he is also one of the principal sponsors.

Currently, the Philippines and Vatican City are the two remaining countries in the world that has no divorce law.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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