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CONSTRUCTIVE SPEECH ON DIVORCE BILL

House Bill 3461 also known as An Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines. Under the bill, divorce may be filed: 1.if the petitioner has been separated de facto from his or her spouse for at least five years and reconciliation is highly improbable; 2. if the petitioner has been legally separated from his or her spouse for at least two years and reconciliation is highly improbable;3. when any of the grounds for legal separation has caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage;4. when one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations; and 5. when the spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.

The sanctity of marriage is not based on the number of marriages existing but on the quality of marital relationships. When a marriage is no longer viable, divorce should be an option. Many are just waiting for the right opportunity to end their respective marriages some reasons are physical abuse (against the spouse and/or the children), sexual infidelity, irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities, gross irresponsibility, loss (and transfer) of affection, among others. Unfortunately, these grounds are not enough to severe the marital bond through annulment. Legal separation and annulment, the two remedies allowed by the Family Code to address the problem of unhappy and failed marriages are not enough. The grounds for annulment focus on events at the time of the wedding, rather than the marriage itself. The procedure for annulment is so extravagant that only the rich can afford it. It is not for the poor, and it is beyond the reach of a wage earner. Legal separation, on the other hand, while allowing couples to live apart, does not actually put an end to the marriage. In effect, it maintains a marital status that clearly no longer reflects the relationship between former spouses. The current Divorce Bill would terminate marriage, not just separate couples or declare that a marriage was null and void from the start, which seems to many as a kind of legalized fiction. It would also better address financial issues through equal division of conjugal assets and spousal support for former partners who are not gainfully employed. Divorce is just an additional remedy to troubled marriages. Legal separation, declaration of nullity of marriage and annulment are still retained. Couples may still choose from these remedies depending on their situation, religious beliefs, cultural sensibilities, needs and emotional state. If only married couples were constantly faithful, remained true to their vows, avoided temptation and founding second or even third families, then we could very well be proud of our anti-divorce statute. For all parties concerned, nothing good could emanate from a marriage where there is no longer respect, love and affection between spouses. Seriously, who would want to be with someone that can't make them happy for the rest of their lives?