House panel fine-tunes ‘pro-women’ divorce bill

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The House of Representatives committee on population and family relations will begin deliberating on a “pro-women” version of the bill drafted by a subcommittee headed by Albay first-district Rep. Edcel Lagman.

In a press briefing, Lagman said his technical working group had finished consolidating the four different versions of the bill, including House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’ proposal introducing dissolution of marriage.

The Magnificent 7 lawmaker said the subcommittee did not retain the Speaker’s proposal of using the term “dissolution of marriage,” and opted to use Lagman’s “absolute divorce.”

“This time, let’s call a spade a spade,” Lagman said.

He described the pending bill as “pro-women,” noting that in most cases of legal separation, it is usually the woman who is “liberated from an abusive situation,” and “for her to regain her dignity and self-respect.”

Under the subcommittee’s version of the bill, the grounds for absolute divorce are the following:

1.all the existing grounds for legal separation, annulment or nullification of marriage facto separation for five years
3.where marriage is irremediable or beyond repair
4.where spouses have already gotten a judicial degree of legal separation for two or more years
5.irreconcilable differences which have resulted in a total breakdown marriage
6.when one of the spouses has undergone a sex reassignment surgery.
Lagman said “no fault divorce” shall not be allowed, as :this could be a possible ground for collusion of parties.”

He said this was pursuant to the state’s commitment to protect the sanctity of marriage as an institution.