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Albay solon pushes to legalize divorce in PH

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman has refiled a bill seeking to make divorce legal in the Philippines.

Lagman filed House Bill No. 78 in the 19th Congress. The veteran lawmaker, the principal author of previous bills legislating absolute divorce, is finally hopeful that “beleaguered and tormented wives can soon be liberated from irretrievably dysfunctional marriages or inordinately abusive marital relations.”

A similar bill was passed on third reading by the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress, but was not acted upon by the Senate due to time constraints.

An identical divorce bill was approved by the Committee on Population and Family Relations in the 18th Congress but was marooned in the Committee on Appropriations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lagman said that the bill reinstituting absolute divorce is an apt sequel to the Reproductive Health Act, which he also authored, since in both measures the central figure is the woman.

The Philippines is the only country, aside from the Vatican, which remains to outlaw absolute divorce even as the Catholic hierarchy grants canonical dissolution of marriage.

The bill reinstates absolute divorce because it was previously practiced by pre-Spanish Filipinos, and also during the American era and Japanese occupation.