MANILA, July 11 (Mabuhay) –Proposed measure to legalize divorce in the country is not meant to destroy marriage but to protect victims of broken relationships who are already bound by the law, Senator Robin Padilla said.

In a Facebook live aired Sunday, the neophyte senator made the explanation as he pushes for the passage of one of his pet bills, the divorce bill.

“‘Di ito isang bagay na kami ay kontra na magkaroon ng forever. Itong panukalang ito nagbibigay ng proteksyon unang-una sa mag-asawa, babae, lalaki, at magiging anak,” Padilla said.

“May nagsasabi baka raw itong panukala ang sisira sa kasal, hindi po. Itong panukalang ito ang nagbibigay proteksyon sa kasal na, masakit man sabihin, ay sira na,” he added.

The lawmaker said the bill would give people in broken marriages a second chance as some had no choice but to continue with their relationships with the spouses even though it is no longer working for the both of them.

“Minsan may mga bagay talaga na nakasulat na di kayo para sa isa’t isa. Kailangan aminin natin ‘yan. May nakasulat para sa iyo. Paano kung dumating ang para sa iyo at ikaw nakatali na? Napakalungkot. Everybody deserves a second chance,” he went on.

Padilla also noted the importance of the proposed measure to women, especially in the context of Filipino culture.

“Kawawa ang babae pag dalawang mag-asawa naghiwalay napakasakit ng sinasapit ng kababaihan. Sa kultura natin… ang lalaki ang na in love sa iba ang tingin ng kapwa lalaki, galing ng lalaking ito. Pag babae nagkaroon ng boyfriend naku tsismisan ‘yan, kawawa ang babae… Unfair eh,” he said.

While annulment is allowed in the country, the senator said it will require a lot of resources.

Under his proposed Divorce Act of the Philippines, a husband or a wife will have a right to file a petition to dissolve a marriage on the following grounds:

When either of the spouses has no capacity to perform the essential marital obligations of the marriage and the incapacity continues and appears to be incurable;

When there is an existing irreconcilable marital difference;

When a spouse obtained a divorce abroad;

When a spouse is presumed dead under Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code of the Philippines;

Upon conviction of an offense under Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise “Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004”;

Attempt by the respondent against the life of a common child or a child of the petitioner;

Having a child with another person other than one’s spouse during the marriage, except when upon the mutual agreement of the spouses, a child is born to them in vitro or through a similar procedure or when the wife bears a child after being a victim of rape;

When any of the grounds for annulment of marriage under Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines, filed by the persons and within the periods provided in Article 47 of said Code are present;

Except when circumstance is present under Article 56 of the Family Code of the Philippines when any of the grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the said Code are present;

When the spouses are separated in fact for at least two consecutive years at the time of the filing of the petition for divorce;

When the spouses have been legally separated by judicial decree under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines.

Padilla’s bill also provides for the conversion of the divorce petition to petition for the dissolution of marriage.

It likewise provides a mandatory six-month cooling-off period after the filing of the petition for divorce before the court may start the trial of the said petition.

During the said period the court shall exercise all efforts to reunite and reconcile the parties.

But the requirement of a cooling-off period shall not apply in cases falling under summary judicial proceedings, sexual infidelity, attempt by the respondent against the life of a common child or a child of the petitioner, attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner, and those which involves acts of violence against women and their children under Section 5 of RA 9262.

The petition for dissolution will also be dismissed if the parties have already reconciled. A verified joint motion must be filed by the parties.

If the court reached finality on the dissolution of marriage, the husband and wife will now be allowed to contract to marry, the children of the parties will be considered legitimate, the custody of minor children shall be decided by the court, the judgment should provide a liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, the custody and support of the children, the conjugal dwelling and the lot on which it is situated shall be adjudicated in accordance with Articles 102 and 129 of the Family Code of the Philippines, and the effects on the divorced spouses of the intestate successions, testamentary dispositions, donations, and insurance on beneficiaries shall be observed.

Apart from Padilla, Senators Risa Hontiveros and Raffy Tulfo also filed a bill seeking to legalize divorce in the Philippines. (MNS)

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