Divorce Bill

1 March 2012

MANILA, Philippines - One of the principal authors of the "Filipino-style" divorce bill is not giving up the battle to have the measure approved.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan, who authored House Bill 1799 along with Rep. Emmie de Jesus, said they would continue to drum up interest in the measure, which is still pending in the House Committee on Revision of Laws.

"We don't lose hope. We are just being realistic that it is not the priority of the Committee. We are pushing the chair, but it's their call. But, we are using the time to educate the public about it," Ilagan said.

Expecting the bill to remain pending during the 15th Congress, Ilagan expressed readiness to re-file the measure.

"We will refile it. We refiled the measure from the 13th and 14th Congress. While, there's life, there's hope. While, there are women who are victims of violence and who can not get out of unhappy situations. Gabriela will be there," she said.

The hearing on the measure, which faced opposition from a number of lawmakers and Catholic Church was last held on June 1, 2011.

To be known as "An Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines," HB provides that those who have been separated for five years and those already legally separated for two years may apply for divorce. Grounds for legal separation may also apply when these same grounds have already caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.

As provided under Article 36 of the Family Code, psychological incapacity is one of the prime grounds for legal separation or nullity of marriage. Lack of authority of the solemnizing officer, bigamous or polygamous marriages and marriages where one or both parties were below the legal marrying age are among the other grounds.