In a Facebook Live video on Sunday (July 10), Padilla said that the bill, which is among his top 10 priority bills for the 19th Congress, was not meant to destroy marriages.
“Hindi po ito kailanman na sumasalungat sa pag-aasawa. Hindi ito isang bagay na kami ay kontra na magkaroon ng forever. Katunayan, ito pong panukalang ito ay nagbibigay ng proteksyon, unang una sa mag-asawa – babae at lalaki at sa kanilang mga magiging anak,” Padilla explained.
(My bill is never meant to destroy marriages. We would never object to marriages that last forever. In fact, my bill aims to protect marriage – including the woman, the man, and their children.)
“Sabi nga po nila, baka raw itong panukala ang sisira sa kasal. Ay, hindi po! Itong panukalang ito ang nagbibigay proteksyon sa kasal na – masakit man sabihin – ay sira na. Wala tayong sinisirang pamilya. Pinroproteksyunan natin ang hindi magkasundo,” he continued.
(Some people claim that this bill seeks to destroy marriage. That is not true! This bill aims to protect the parties in a marriage that is sadly doomed. We are not destroying the family but protecting it if the couple has irreconcilable differences.)
The senator also noted that the Philippines is the only country in the world aside from Vatican City that does not recognize divorce.
According to the bill, a petition for divorce may be filed if:
the husband or wife cannot fulfill his/her obligation in the marriage
both parties in the marriage have irreconcilable differences
the marriage was annulled abroad
the husband or wife is presumed dead in accordance with Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
a party is convicted of violating the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act”
there is an attempt on the life of the child of the couple or of the petitioner
having children outside the marriage except if both agree to have a child through in vitro fertilization or similar procedure, or if the woman bears a child after being raped
there are grounds for annulling the marriage based on the Family Code of the Philippines
repeated abuses against the petitioner or his/her child
both parties have been living separately for two years at the time the petition was filed
the couple legally separated through a judicial decree under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines
Padilla cited a 2017 Social Weather Stations survey saying that 53% of Filipinos favor divorce for couples with irreconcilable differences.
Earlier, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros also filed for an “absolute divorce” bill, which aims to expand the grounds of dissolution of marriage and amend the Family Code.
The grounds for absolute divorce are five years of continuous years of separation, rape, physical violence or grossly abusive conduct, marital infidelity, divorce validly obtained in a foreign jurisdiction or abroad, and irreconcilable marital differences.
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.
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