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Why the Philippines needs divorce, according to Cebu lawyers

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | May 30,2024 - 03:03 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Divorce does not weaken a marriage, nor will it violate the sanctity of such union.

This was the statement from several lawyers in Cebu who backed the passage of the Divorce Bill (House Bill No. 9349) that, if enacted, will reinstate divorce in the Philippines.

For lawyer Amado Virgil Ligutan, a high-profile lawyer who also had experience in dealing with annulment and other family cases, divorce served as a better and more realistic approach in dissolving marriage compared to existing options like annulment and legal separation.

“The grounds for divorce bill (under the Divorce Bill) are more attuned to actual experiences, of what’s happening in dysfunctional marriages,” said Ligutan.


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Lawyer Fionah Bojos of Bojos Law Office (formerly Lepiten & Bojos Law Offices), also expressed support for the enactment of the Divorce Bill, which is being deliberated in the Senate.

“(Divorce is beneficial) because the reality is, we already have these broken marriages… Married couples should have a healthier way to end a marriage that has become hell on earth for them,” Bojos said.

The Philippines is the only country that does not allow divorce, aside from the Vatican, the seat of power of the Roman Catholic Church, which has been vehemently advocating against it.

Solution, not a problem

Both Ligutan and Bojos pointed out that existing options to terminate a marriage, like annulment, can be challenging for distressed couples.

For instance, the grounds for annulment are narrow, according to the two lawyers.

To file for annulment, it is only limited within fraud, consent through force, intimidation, or undue influence, physical incapacity to consummate marriage, sexually transmitted diseases, and psychological incapacity.

In some cases, the couple had to hire psychologists to prove that their partner, during or before marriage, is no longer of sound mind.

While repeated physical abuse and domestic violence can be grounds for legal separation, it does not allow the couple to dissolve their marriage.

“It’s expensive and hard to prove. And the grounds? They’re cast in stone,” said Ligutan.

Divorce, on the other hand, provides more reasonable grounds for the couple to nullify their marriage, and it includes all those found under annulment, nullity, and legal separation. In turn, making the process easier, faster, more convenient and less expensive.

Sanctity of marriage

In addition, it does not violate the sanctity of marriage, the lawyers said, adding that the provisions under the Divorce Bill still requires couple to undergo the legal process.

“When they say divorce allows this Las Vegas marriage – where you marry one day and then separate the next – it’s misinformation,” said Ligutan.

“For those who are in a happy marriage, isn’t it unfair that they deprive those who are not in that kind of marriage the solution they badly need?” he added.

HB 9349, Divorce Bill

While it swiftly passed the House of Representatives, the Divorce Bill seemed to have come to a hitch in the Senate, where it is currently under deliberation.

This is not the first time the divorce bill was introduced in the Philippine Congress.

The last time a divorce bill had cleared final reading was during the 17th Congress in 2016, but it languished in the Senate.

In fact, the current Senate version of the divorce bill, Senate Bill (SB) No. 2443—filed by Hontiveros, Tulfo, Padilla, Cayetano and Marcos—hurdled the committee level last year for the first time since 1986, but has yet to move forward.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, divorce

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