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gameface_one
06-08-2012, 11:42 AM
Is Philippines ready for a divorce law?

By Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 06/07/2012 8:16 PM | Updated as of 06/07/2012 9:07 PM


MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines remains the only nation in the world that does not have a law legalizing divorce. Is the country ready for such a law?

Gabriela Party Rep. Luz Ilagan believes that it is time that the country moves forward and help couples who can no longer live together.

Ilagan and and fellow lawmaker Emmi de Jesus have filed a House bill introducing divorce in the Philippines that is now with the House committee on revision of laws.

She said they are now waiting for the committee to schedule hearings to ask the sponsors and resource persons to explain the pros and cons of the proposed legislation.

House Speaker Sonny Belmonte on Wednesday said the divorce bill will be among the priority measures that will be tackled when Congress opens its 3rd regular session in late July.

Belmonte said he is supporting the enactment of a divorce law in the country.

Ilagan, in an interview with radio dzMM Thursday, said the country is ready for a divorce law.

PH only country without divorce

"We are ready and we are the only country left now. Two years ago, we still had Malta," she said.

"But when Malta had a referendum last year, na kahit iyung presidente nila was reluctant to grant divorce, noong makita niya iyung results ng kanilang referendum ay pumayag. Kaya ang Philippines na lang ang natitirang bansa na walang divorce," she said.

She said Italy, where the Vatican City is located, allows divorce. The Vatican, which is technically a sovereign city-state, does not allow divorce.

Current Philippine laws only allow annulment of marriage -- a long, expensive, and painful legal process for estranged couples who no longer want to live together as man and wife.

Not Vegas-style divorce

Ilagan said the conservatives in the Philippines should not compare the proposed legislation with lax laws on divorce in other countries such as the United States.

"May kaibahan, sa Amerika kaya tinatawag natin na divorce Las Vegas-style, puwedeng mag-asawa ngayon, tapos kapag hindi nila type, kahit mababaw lang ang dahilan, puwede na mag-divorce," she said.

"Sa atin naman, Pinoy style, mayroong mga kondisyon. Hindi madali na makuha rin iyung divorce. May mga kundisyon tayong inilagay sa isinusulong nating panukalang batas," she explained.

5 grounds for divorce

Ilagan's bill proposes 5 grounds for divorce.

Couples who want to avail of divorce will need to fulfill at least one of the conditions set forth in the bill, if it becomes law.

According to the measure, couples who may apply for divorce include those who have been separated in fact for 5 years or those already legally separated for 2 years.

"Number 3, is when the couple have the situation na nandoon iyung condition for legal separation such as marital infidelity, abandonment, one of the spouses has been convicted for more than 6 years, and domestic violence," she said. "Ito naman ang mga basis for legal separation. Kung nandiyan iyan, puwede nang mag-file din ng divorce."

Grounds for legal separation may also apply when these same grounds have already caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.

In addition, psychological incapacity, causing one's failure to comply with essential marital obligations, and irreconcilable differences causing the irreparable breakdown of the marriage, will also be recognized as grounds for divorce.

Ilagan said under the proposed law, it will be the courts that will determine if couples are qualified to apply for divorce.

"It has to be proven in court, kasi hindi naman just because you filed for a divorce, you automatically get it," she said. "Siyempre ang korte ang magwe-weigh."

Divorce less expensive

She said the proposed divorce process will not be as financially, emotionally, and legally taxing as annulment.

"Mas hindi mahal pero hindi siya murang-mura naman na this will become very, very easy that people will avail of," she said. "Kasi, mayroon pa ring effort, mayroon pa ring proseso na susndin to reconcile."

"There will still be some expenses to be incurred dahil magha-hire ka pa rin ng lawyer pero this will not be as difficult or expensive as annulment," she added.

Ilagan cited data from the Office of the Solicitor General that says in Metro Manila alone, around 800 cases are being filed in courts for legal separation and annulment every month.

"Majority of these (annulment petitioners) are women, and 92% are Catholic. Kailangan talaga, harapin na natin ang problemang ito," she said.

Support from lawmakers

Even as the head of the lower House is supporting the proposal, Ilagan said the Senate is also likely to throw its weight behind a divorce bill.

She cited the cases of 4 senators who either have annulled marriages or are undergoing the process.

They are Senators Francis Escudero, Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, and Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, during the renewal of her wedding vows last year, also expressed support for divorce to be legalized in the Philippines.

"I think divorce should be available to people who become homicidal at the sight of each other. That's so much better than making each other miserable for the rest of their lives and impacting the lives of their children as well. I've always made known my views since I was RTC (Regional Trial Court) judge," she said.

"I am in favor of a divorce bill provided that grounds for divorce are very strict so that we will not encourage young people to rush into marriage and then rush out by divorce," Santiago said.

"I think the Senate is more open," Ilagan said. "They (senators) have revealed situations na they would be sympathetic to people who would like to have divorce."

"I'm sure marami din naman sa lower House na nakakaintindi. Itong bill na ito, inisip para tugunan ang pangangailangan ng atin mga kababayan," she added.

Sam Miguel
06-08-2012, 01:28 PM
Ah yes, that awful "D" word.

By all means let us allow divorce in these Islands. BUT, once and only once per person. If a person gets married in this country, and later on decides to divorce their spouse in this country as well, let's allow the process to flow and terminate to whatever conclusion. If it concludes in divorce, then that person can never again procure another divorce in this country, regardless of his / her citizenship.

So if Oleg the Russian marries Eun Seung the Korean in Boracay, and then they decide later on to divorce in Pagudpud, if either of them ever contract marriage in this country again, they can no longer get a divorce in this country.

The same will of course hold true all the more if both marrying parties are Philippine citizens, or if one of the marrying parties is a Philippine citizen.

In case of Philippine citizens, and nationals of other countries, who procure valid divorces overseas, then the Philippines must also recognize those divorces. ALSO, if one Philippine spouse procures a valid divorce overseas, regardless of the legal mechanics therein, then the other spouse is deemed divorced as well, to avoid the ridiculous situation of one Filipino able to marry while his / her kapwa Pilipino spouse is unable to do the same just because one of them (was a dick and...) could afford to get a divorce overseas.

So for example, Mayumi was married to Magtanggol for 10 years, and Mayumi just up and decides she does not want to be married to Magtanggol anymore. If Mayumi goes to the Comorros Islands to get a unilateral divorce (which let us presume is legal on those Islands) then Magtanggol is deemed to be divorced as well, whether or not he acceded to the Comorros divorce of Mayumi.

Joescoundrel
12-19-2012, 08:17 AM
Divorce bill next–Belmonte

PH only country in the world where divorce is still banned

By Christian V. Esguerra

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:06 am | Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

While Roman Catholic bishops and prolife groups were still recovering from their crushing defeat on the reproductive health (RH) bill, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte dropped yet another bombshell—he wants a divorce law in predominantly Catholic Philippines.

“Me, I’m in favor of the divorce bill,” Belmonte said Tuesday when asked during a pre-Christmas lunch with reporters.

But he admitted that passing a divorce bill would have to wait because congressmen would be busy campaigning for next year’s midterm elections.

Asked if a divorce law would be passed in the next Congress, Belmonte—who described himself as a Christian—said he didn’t know what the composition of the House of Representatives would be then, “but I think so.”

After Malta legalized divorced last year, the Philippines has become the only country in the world—apart from the Vatican—without a divorce law.

Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana de Jesus of the militant group Gabriela have a pending bill seeking to amend the Family Code to include a divorce provision.

Belmonte said the measure remained at the committee level and was unlikely to be passed soon.

“Not this time, but it’s there at the back of our minds,” he said. “I just want the idea to be there … I want that to remain in the consciousness of congressmen so at some point, we can take it up again.”

Failed, unhappy marriages

In their explanatory note to House Bill No. 1799, Ilagan and De Jesus said their divorce proposal was in line with “the policy of the State to protect and strengthen marriage and the family as basic social institutions.”

“Reality tells us that there are many failed, unhappy marriages across all Filipino classes,” they said. “Many couples, especially from the marginalized sectors who have no access to the courts, simply end up separating without the benefit of legal processes.”

The two lawmakers said “cultural prescriptions and religious norms keep many couples together despite the breakdown of their marriages.”

Bigger fight

“While absolute fidelity is demanded of wives, men are granted sexual license to have affairs outside marriage. Yet when the marriage fails, the woman is blamed for its failure,” they added.

But Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez—an opponent of the RH bill—rejected the divorce proposal, warning it would further erode family values.

“If we opposed the RH bill, the more that we will oppose a divorce bill,” Rodriguez told the Inquirer. “This will definitely destroy families and the future of their children.”

Rodriguez did not appear surprised that discussions on a divorce law were now happening, especially after Congress passed the RH bill despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church.

He earlier warned that an RH law would open a “pandora’s box” of related demands, such as legislation on abortion, divorce and same-sex marriage.

“That’s the progression,” he said. “All they need is a crack to open and change our values system.”

A covenant, a ‘mystery’

The Church considers marriage a “covenant” and has long opposed divorce, allowing annulment but under strict conditions.

“Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures and spiritual attitudes,” according to the Catechism of the Church.

“The Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its ‘mystery,’ its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal ‘in the Lord’ in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church.”

Belmonte justified his preference for a divorce law, saying: “If your lives are no longer tolerable, why (not divorce)?”

Now that Congress has passed the RH bill, he said he would reach out to Catholic bishops.

“I would, definitely I would,” he said. “I don’t see any lasting acrimony between us.”

Grounds for divorce

HB 1799 cites five grounds for divorce, among them “irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.”

Divorce can also be sought if the “petitioner has been separated de facto from his or her spouse for at least five years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable.” Legal separation from a spouse “for at least two years” is also a ground, according to the bill.

“When one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations,” he or she could also file for divorce. Any of the existing grounds for legal separation that has caused “irreparable breakdown of marriage” could also be a ground.

Joescoundrel
12-19-2012, 08:27 AM
^ What is "annulment" as found in the Family Code of 1988, and which was crafted with help from the Catholic Church, or rather taken nearly verbatim from the Church Canon on Annulment, if not divorce? It is a dissolution of the marriage bond, which is what divorce is. So what seems to be the problem? Oh wait, perhaps the problem is that the Church simply does not like the sound of the word "divorce". Let me go out on a limb here and categorically state that as far as I'm concerned annulment = divorce.

Joescoundrel
12-20-2012, 09:39 AM
Divorce talk irks Church

Bishops warn of ‘culture of death,’ destruction of family

By Philip C. Tubeza

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:02 am | Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Don’t rub salt in the wound.

Catholic Church leaders warned that the proposal to introduce divorce in the Philippines would further divide the country after the bitter debate over the contentious reproductive health (RH) bill and implant a “culture of death” in the nation.

Retired Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte’s plan to enact a divorce bill in the next Congress was “not a good development” for the country.

Bacani, along with other bishops and the Catholic Vote Philippines alliance, said that proponents of the bill would have a tougher time pushing the measure compared with the 14-year struggle that RH supporters went through.

“Divorce will not be a very good development, in my own personal opinion, especially after the RH bill that has so severely divided the nation,” Bacani said in an interview. “It will further divide the country.”

He said that one big lesson the Church learned from the RH controversy was the need to educate the people.

Bacani said the harm divorce would bring was clear in statistics, not just in social costs. “It will also destroy the very sacred nature of marriage,” he said.

When asked what his message to President Aquino was, Bacani said, “I don’t have a message to him because he does not listen to what we are saying.”

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said he had requested a meeting of the bishops to discuss the Church position on the issue.

“I feel sad because some people, or many of the legislators, have the belief that anything they legislate is good and it’s for the good of the country,” Palma said. “What’s next? Same-sex marriage, abortion, etcetera?”

“This is part of the plan of the people who want to destroy the family and life,” said Fr. Amadeo Alvero, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte province.

“This is part of the culture of death,” he said, referring to divorce, euthanasia, abortion, population control and homosexual union.

“What is happening? It would seem that some legislators are throwing the concept of God out the window,” said Msgr. Meliton Oso, director of the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center.

Not on the radar

Strategic Communication Secretary Ricky Carandang shrugged off talk of a divorce legislation. “That is not being discussed, it’s not on the radar,” he told reporters.

Sen. Pia Cayetano said during a break in the bicameral discussions on the RH bill Wednesday she wanted to get the measure out of the way first before tackling the divorce issue. The main proponent of the RH bill in the Senate earlier said the divorce bill was “long overdue.”

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also indicated willingness to consider the proposal, as long as strict guidelines were enforced.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who led the opposition to the RH bill in the House, said it would be “arrogant” of the government to introduce divorce legislation now. “Don’t push it. You might bring the country to the moral brink,” he said.

“It’s a serious matter,” said Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. “Let’s not use political momentum but rather let’s be deliberate about it.”

The Philippines, aside from the Vatican, has become the world’s only country without a divorce law after Malta legalized it last year.

During a pre-Christmas lunch with reporters, Belmonte was asked about the divorce bill sponsored by the party-list group Gabriela pending at the committee level. He said it was unlikely to be passed at this time.

“But it’s there at the back of our minds,” he said. “I want that to remain in the consciousness of congressmen so at some point, we can take it up again.”

Reconciliation a ‘sham’

Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said Belmonte’s remarks only showed that calls for unity and reconciliation following the passage of the RH bill were a sham.

“I do not wish to sound ‘We told you so’ but that very statement itself reveals that RH is just the beginning of a series of antifamily and antilife legislation,” Castro said. “This government has revealed its true face. It has never been for the welfare of the family, women and children.”

Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said prolifers had always expected that the passage of the RH bill would be followed by proposals for divorce, same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia “and all the rest of what we call death bills.”

“We prolifers and pro-God people have always said that there would be a domino effect after the RH bill … The pro-RH promoters denied all the time the said consequences. Now, we see happening what they have denied,” Arguelles said.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the chances of a divorce bill becoming law would depend on the composition of the next Congress.

“We will see after the elections what the composition of Congress would be. Why would we lose sleep over it? It’s still just a threat,” Pabillo said.

Voter education

Dr. Ricardo Boncan, spokesperson of Catholic Vote Philippines, said the group was ready to “educate” lay Catholics so that they would know who they would vote for in 2013.

“We are not surprised that they are now proposing divorce because we had expected them to come up with more antifamily legislation after the RH bill. They might even target the Constitution to remove the provision protecting life from the moment of conception,” Boncan said.

“We are now ready for that. We are going to the grassroots so that, in this coming elections, we will change the composition of our legislature,” he said.

“That’s a tall order but Catholic groups that were once uncommitted are now joining us after seeing (in the RH bill voting) what we are up against. There’s now a groundswell, especially in the provinces,” he added.

Catholic Vote Philippines includes the biggest lay organizations in the country: El Shaddai, Knights of Columbus, Couples for Christ, Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, Dominican Network Institute of Teaching Lay Missionaries, Federation of National Youth Organizations, Youth Pinoy, National Youth Ministry, St. Thomas Moore Association, Educhild Philippines, Families Against RH Bill, Filipinos for Life, Doctors for Life, Alliance for the Family, ProLife Philippines and the Jericho Community.

“I think it will be harder for divorce proponents because divorce is more specific than the RH bill. The RH bill was somewhat vague and they were able to make it appear that it would help the country’s economy,” Boncan said.

“The divorce bill is different. It is specific and will hit the family. Even pro-RH lawmakers know that the hardest hit casualties of divorce would be our children,” he added.

Boncan said the administration should instead tweak the country’s laws on legal separation and marital abuse.

“We already have the necessary laws in place to take care of the issues they are using to push for a divorce law,” he added. With reports from Michael Lim Ubac, Norman Bordadora, Christian V. Esguerra, in Manila; and Joey Gabieta, Jani Arnaiz, Carla Gomez, Nestor Burgos, Veda Bongalos and Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas

Joescoundrel
12-20-2012, 09:41 AM
^ It is not the concept of God that is being thrown out the window so much as the concept of an infallible and almighty Catholic Church. After centuries of the Church having its way, rightly or wrongly, especially in this country, this is a most welcome development.

MrM
12-20-2012, 10:20 AM
I'm pro-RH Bill but not so high on divorce. Naive as it may sound, I have to agree that this becomes an easy way out for marriages that were supposed to be thought of very carefully in the first place. And besides, with all our brilliant lawyers, "irreconcilable differences" can mean anything.

Ano ba ang cost structure ng annulment? Because from what I can gather from divorce proponents is that annulment is very expensive and time consuming, hence the need for a divorce law. Maybe lowering the cost and time spent on the annulment process may be more appropriate.

Joescoundrel
12-21-2012, 09:21 AM
^ But that still amounts to the same thing MrM, i.e. that the marriage bond is dissolved, as if the marriage never happened, so by whatever name we call it, it still amounts to a marriage being rescinded. As to cost, the last time my late father had an annulment case that stretched from early 1996 to the end of 1997, the spouse petitioning for annulment wound up paying a grand total of more or less P2 million is legal costs, exclusive of my father's professional fee. I can't recall the exact itemization of the costs but P2 million over a period of less than two years is steep. Even if you lower that to say P200,000 over the same period, no way the ordinary married couple looking to call it quits can afford that. At may nalalaman pang "no collusion" provision ang Family Code natin, na essentially pinagbabawal na magkunchaba ang magasawa para ma-annul na kasal nila. Kung kunwari magasawang pobre kayo na nakatira sa isang squatter colony, at araw-araw na kayong nagbubugbugan over a period of say a year, at hindi na talaga kayo magkakasundo, sa P200,000 na nga lang sure ako wala kayo, what more P2 million.

Sam Miguel
12-26-2012, 08:43 AM
Divorced

By Conrado de Quiros

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:38 pm | Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Smarting from losing the reproductive-health vote in Congress, the bishops and their anti-RH allies lashed at Sonny Belmonte last week for suggesting divorce was next in line. What actually happened was that the Speaker was asked in an interview if divorce was in the offing, and he answered that it would have to wait till the next Congress. But, he added, better if even now it was already being discussed, “mabuti na rin ’yung pinag-uusapan.” The anti-RH camp was pissed.

“It will destroy the very sacred nature of marriage,” said Bishop Teodoro Bacani. “This is part of the plan of the people who want to destroy the family and life; this is part of the culture of death,” said Fr. Amadeo Alvero. “What is happening? It would seem that some legislators are throwing the concept of God out the window,” said Msgr. Meliton Oso. “I do not wish to sound ‘we told you so’ but [Belmonte’s] statement reveals that RH is just the beginning of a series of antifamily and antilife legislation,” said Fr. Melvin Castro. “We prolifers and pro-God people have always said that there would be a domino effect after the RH bill. Now, we see it happening,” said Bishop Ramon Arguelles.

I did say the last time around that the RH victory augured well for religious reasonableness, as opposed to religious dogmatism, paving the way for such things as divorce. Something the local Catholic Church has opposed from way back when as though its life depended on it. Which it probably does. I was surprised when a few days later Belmonte was all over the news apparently for saying that was next.

But of course change always has a domino effect. But contrary to what the bishops warn about, for the good and not for the bad.

How sensible is their reaction to the current reality of RH and the future reality of divorce?

Spain was the country that brought the Catholic faith to these shores, an iron-fisted one as imposed by the friars. But Spain has legalized divorce, doing so in 1981, six years after Generalissimo Francisco Franco died. Today, it has one of the highest rates of contraceptive use in the world, consequently having one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

Italy is the one country synonymous with the papacy, notwithstanding that the Pope actually resides in the city-state of Vatican. To this day, Italians remain front-runners for the papal post. But the country has legalized divorce, too, doing so way back in 1974. Just as well, it is a bastion of contraception, and now has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, at 9.7 births per 1,000 Italians.

In fact, until 2005 only the Philippines and Malta among full-fledged countries did not allow divorce. Which ended in May last year, when the Maltese voted in favor of it in a referendum. Now, only the Philippines among all the countries in the world outlaws divorce.

So what are our bishops saying? Spain has destroyed the very sacred nature of marriage? Italy has joined the conspiracy to destroy the family and life, it has joined the campaign to unleash a culture of death? America, which is far more religiously fundamentalist, or fanatical, than the European countries, has thrown the concept of God out of the window? The whole world has gathered behind the effort to push antilife and anti-God legislation, and this is just the beginning? And we’re the only country left like Noah to save humanity from the impending flood?

What are our bishops saying? Spain has scorned heaven, it has turned its back on the faith it caused untold suffering on the Indians and the indios to bring it to them? Italy has become a Sodom and Gomorrah, or not unlike one of Fellini’s movies, the Italians gamboling in shameless abandon or sybaritic kamunduhan? The whole world has embarked on a path to destroy life and laughter, God and creation? And we’re the only people—or since their views do not really reflect ours—left standing in the way of that plague?

Of course the fact that everybody else is doing something doesn’t mean you should be doing it, too. Of course the fact that everybody else thinks the same way doesn’t mean you should be thinking that way, too. But it should give you pause to wonder at the merit, or reasonableness, or rightness, of your position. It should be a reason for self-examination, self-questioning, self-scrutiny. Especially where you are not just content to believe in it, it poses no harm to anybody, but are prescribing that belief for others, you want them to stand firm with you. More often than not, the reason you’re the only one who thinks the way you do is that you’re wrong.

The bishops’ position on contraception and divorce is so.

The harm in opposing RH is patent. It extols the beauty of unreal life, or nonexistent life, to foment very real life that is abandoned, scorned and left to fend for itself. The harm in the lack of divorce is no less patent. You see it not least in legal separation and annulment, which the Church accepts, which is not just a remedy available to the rich but which is premised on lying. Annulment entails the couple maligning each other and saying the most hurtful things to each other just to prove that their marriage never really took place, one or the other of the couple, or both of them, were absolute assho–s from the start. That is what psychological incapacity means.

What, heaven prefers spitting to splitting, slandering to sundering, lying to divorcing?

In the end, what all this merely shows is the extent to which our local Catholic Church has grown alienated from the rest of the world. What all this merely shows is the extent to which our local Catholic Church has been separated from its flock. What all this merely shows is the extent to which our Catholic Church has gotten, well:

Divorced from reality.

Sam Miguel
12-26-2012, 09:21 AM
Divorce in the Philippines

INTROSPECTIVE

By Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) |

Updated December 26, 2012 - 12:00am

I am in favor of a divorce law in the Philippines.

I know I may not see such a bill passed by our lawmakers in my lifetime, but I honestly see no reason why such a measure can not be voted on by Congress in the near future. After all, we are the only country other than the Vatican that does not have divorce. Even Spain and Italy and all the other Catholic countries around the world consider divorce a practical solution to a couple that can not live together their whole lives and find themselves miserable and “stuck”. In the past, we still had Malta that also did not practice divorce, but they have also recently decided it was time to face reality.

I know it seems like such a drastic change for a country like ours. And immediately when people think of divorce they think of the drive-through marriage and quickie divorces that are the trademark of such countries like the United States. The fear becomes that people will not think things through before getting married because they know they have a way out, so to speak. However, this will not be the case, because a divorce can not be obtained simply because you have decided you no longer like your spouse. There will be regulations and strict reasons for divorce that will be decided upon by the courts, so it is not a quick and easy solution that many others worry about.

It is important to at least consider this for our country. There are already close to 800 cases or so being applied for annulment or legal separation a month — most of these cases by women. We need to realize the important reasons why this is happening. A lot of it goes beyond no longer getting along. Sometimes it’s due to domestic violence, infidelity, and abandonement. Should these spouses be made to suffer for the rest of their lives when they find themselves in a situation like this? It certainly does not seem fair.

Gabriela Party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan and fellow lawmaker Emmi de Jesus have filed a House bill introducing divorce, under strict conditions, in the Philippines and it is now with the House committee on revision of laws. They are waiting for the committee to schedule hearings to ask sponsors and resource persons to explain the pros and cons of the proposed legislation. It is very likely that this will be tackled by Congress in its third regular session in July. And even as the head of the lower House is supporting the proposal as early as now, Ilagan surmises that the Senate is also likely to support the bill citing the case of several senators who are currently or have undergone the annulment process.

It will be a change for sure, but not for the worse. To give people the freedom to divorce their spouse will not make them cavalier about marriage. I think we have to give our people a little more credit than that. This will not be the further breaking down of our morals. Much like the RH bill, which I also consider necessary for our times, divorce will not make it easy to be “immoral”. It simply gives a couple an option when they have exhausted all means to make their relationship work and have found that it is just not possible.

Of course, at the same time that certain lawmakers have already given their support to such a bill, we can be sure that there are others who will be vehemently against it. Again, like the RH bill circus, certain lawmakers will make a show of how this will not be for our best interest and will stand firmly with the Catholic Church spouting fire and brimstone. Who can forget the very lively and often utterly confusing dramatics of Senator Sotto during the RH bill voting session. If he thinks he has gained brownie points with the Church for his vigorous stand against the bill, he is severely mistaken. In fact, it is his actions against this bill that made people continue to talk about him. From contradictory points, not thoroughly researched speeches and even accusations of plagiarism, Sotto has certainly made a mark in his battle against the RH bill, and not in a good way.

Which is not to say that he should stand for what he believes. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is another strong opposer to the RH bill said that the fight was not over even after the bill passed in the Senate. He claimed that several who were against the bill were in tears after the vote uncertain of the country’s future. I believe that is far too dramatic. While the RH bill is new and different for the country, I don’t believe it is the start of our moral degradation. It is an important tool in effective population control and a key factor in uplifting women’s health and saving the lives of many women who die everyday due to complications in childbirth from unsafe and unhealthy multiple pregnancies. One only need look at the multitudes of children wandering the streets without adequate food, clothing, and shelter to know it was the right choice. I believe that when truly cares for the living is the time they can call themselves pro-life. Besides, as stated many times over, the RH bill is not about abortion. It is about education.

Indeed, these are important strides forward for our country. Who knows, divorce could be next.

* * *

I think that Philex Mining should be commended for taking further steps to rehabilitate bodies of water that were affected by the accidental spill from their tailings pond last August following historically unprecendented heavy rains brought about by typhoons.

Despite the criticism received by the company from many in the environmental sector, the company is still doing its part to remedy the situation including spending at least P1 billion in their rehabilitation program ongoing until April of next year. The company has signed agreements on proposals by experts for the rehabilitation of Balog Creek and its convergence area with Agno River. The memorandum was signed with Carlos Primo David and proposals were drawn up to check sediment transport modeling, fate analysis of heavy metals, characterization of fisheries, and the estimation of economic loss and the environmental benefits of biological rehabilitation.

This is just the next step in efforts made by Philex, with Manny Pangilinan at the helm, over the past few months to quickly and efficiently address the unfortunate accident. I think it is admirable that they would go to such lengths to see the situation amended. They are looking forward instead of dwelling on the past and focusing on the preservation of a clean environment and addressing the problems they faced earlier on in the year.

I think the company’s quick action, their commitment and response to the situation, and their ongoing efforts have kept the fears of their supporters and stockholders at bay as their stock price has remained steady despite the losses incurred due to the accident. The company’s stock will, no doubt, remain high in the years to come.

Joescoundrel
12-30-2012, 07:58 AM
Filipino hesitation for divorce

By Mahar Mangahas

Philippine Daily Inquirer

9:18 pm | Friday, December 28th, 2012

My last piece, “The popularity of legalizing divorce,” (Inquirer, 12/22/2012) showed that national sentiments on allowing legal divorce and remarriage for spouses already separated and irreconcilable had shifted from an even division in 2005 to favoring it in 2011 by a score of 50-33. It was not about facilitating escapes of those with troubled but nominally intact marriages, but about giving another chance for those with marriages already broken.

To how many people would this apply, more or less? In the March 2011 survey which ran the item, about 1.5 percent of adults were living as single due to separation. On a base of over 55 million adults, that amounts to over 800,000 persons. They were 67 percent in favor of legalizing divorce, and 13 percent against it.

Another 0.5 percent were living-in with a partner without marriage, after having previously been separated. These number over 250,000 persons. Their score on legalizing divorce was 69 percent in favor and none against.

Though the percentage separated is small, their absolute number amounts to over a million persons. It is natural that they are highly in favor of legalizing divorce.

However, the fact that opinions have generally tilted in favor of legalizing divorce does not imply that Filipinos unhappily married but still living together would rush into divorce once it is available.

In fact, compared to other nationalities, Filipinos are the most hesitant to consider divorce as a means of escaping marital problems.

I base this on cross-country surveys of agree/disagree responses to the following statement: “Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can’t seem to work out their marriage problems” (“Ang diborsyo ang karaniwang pinakamahusay na solusyon kung hindi maayos ng mag-asawa ang kanilang problema sa pagsasama”).

This is an item in surveys of the International Social Survey Programme (www.issp.org) on “Family and Gender Roles,” done in 1994, 2002 and 2012. Note that it refers to a general inability to solve marital problems, of couples not, or not yet, separated.

The ISSP member for the Philippines is Social Weather Stations, which does the ISSP surveys pro bono. SWS found 38 percent agreement, versus 49 percent disagreement, in 1994, and 36 percent agreement, versus 50 percent disagreement, in 2002, that “divorce is usually the best solution” for a couple in great difficulties with marriage. Thus disagreement was dominant in both years. The 2012 round was fielded in November, and is being processed. I will use the past tense to describe the 2002 data since they will be superseded by the 2012 data soon.

Among the 24 nationalities in ISSP in 1994, the lowest gross agreement was by Japanese (35 percent), followed by Filipinos (38 percent). The highest gross disagreement was by Filipinos (49 percent), followed by Japanese (36 percent). The balances from 100 percent neither agree nor disagree. Because net agreement was lower for Filipinos

(-11 = 38 – 49) than for Japanese (-1 = 35 – 36), I call Filipinos more hesitant than Japanese regarding divorce. For other nationalities, gross agreement was at least 48 percent, and net agreements were all positive.

For the 33 nationalities surveyed in 2002, here are the gross agreement and net agreement rates (separated by a slash), arranged by net agreement:

Brazil, 86/+74; Austria, 84/+72; Spain, 81/+70; Germany/East, 80/+70; Portugal, 78/+65; Netherlands, 74/+65; Germany/West, 74/+60; Great Britain, 62/+56; Flanders, 67/+54; Cyprus, 68/+51; Latvia, 62/+51; Israel, 67/+50; Chile, 68/+49; Bulgaria, 66/+49; Slovenia, 66/+47; Northern Ireland, 64/+45; Poland, 64/+45; Czech Rep., 63/+45; Finland, 63/+45; Mexico, 63/+42; France, 60/+41; Ireland, 61/+39; Hungary, 58/+39; Norway, 56/+37; Sweden, 54/+37; Australia, 52/+32; Slovak Rep., 55/+30; New Zealand, 52/+28; Russia, 54/+25; United States, 43/+6; Taiwan, 44/0; Japan, 35/-1, and the Philippines, 36/-14.

In all but four countries, those saying divorce is “usually the best solution” were absolute majorities. I would not call such peoples “hesitant” about divorce.

Note the following: 1. Catholic and non-Catholic nationalities favored divorce in more or less equal measure. Spaniards (94 percent Catholic, per Wikipedia) were third from the top, at gross 81 percent. The Irish (84 percent Catholic) were at gross 61 percent, even though divorce became legal only in 1996, six years previously.

2. Americans had only a slight plurality, with a margin of 6 points, favoring divorce as the solution for un-resolvable marital problems. Americans were actually closer to Taiwanese and Japanese, who have very evenly split opinions, than to the other Western nationalities.

3. Those most hesitant to resort to divorce as a solution to marital problems were Taiwanese, Japanese, and, above all, Filipinos, the three Asian groups of the ISSP network at that time.

4. Only among Filipinos did the national balance of opinion clearly tilt against divorce. Incidentally, the balances were positive in the National Capital Region (net +4) and in the middle-to-upper ABC classes (net +5), but negative in other areas and classes.

Going by the ISSP data, for countries of varied religions, it seems to me that the reasons for Filipino hesitation to divorce are not to be found in religion.

* * *

Happy New Year to All!

Sam Miguel
01-10-2013, 09:45 AM
Yes to divorce

By Peter Wallace

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:32 pm | Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Congress is to be commended for passing some very important bills despite strong opposition to them, but bills with flaws that must have been obvious during the debates.

One example is the recently passed Sin Tax Reform Law.

I’m at a loss to understand why Congress would increase sin taxes by 4 percent every year. Not adjusting to inflation, that makes eminent sense. But 4 percent? Are the legislators prescient enough to know what the inflation rate will be starting 2018 or five years from now, or 10, or 20? Why not just increase by the previous year’s official inflation rate? Or at the inflation rate times “x”? I don’t expect it, but who knows, we’ve had inflation rates as high as 50.3 percent (recorded in 1984).

Then there’s the Reproductive Health Law where pressure from the Church allowed scientific fact to be ignored. It’s a Church that has for recent centuries denied scientific fact until it could no longer do so. Why, I cannot understand. It has insisted on holding on to beliefs that were formulated when a full understanding had not yet been gained, and only reluctantly accepted these when their position became untenable.

This is the case today on contraception. According to the book “Bioethics in a Cultural Context” by Vincent Barry (2012), in a survey of the scientific views on the beginning of life, one scientific argument supported by some Catholic theologians is that there can be no life before gastrulation. Gastrulation is when the fertilized ovum is implanted into the uterus (“Developmental Biology Online: Where Does Human Life Begin?”, Franklin College). Before that the zygote (the joining of male and female sperm and egg) can split into twins, in fact can do so till day 12. So God hasn’t yet decided what this ovum will be. How then can there be life of an individual? The British position is that life begins at the 14th day when the nervous system starts to form (Barry, 2012). The neurological view is that it’s not till the brain (which after all is where our soul resides) is forming. There’s no electrical activity whatsoever until weeks 6-8, then there’s a faint signal. It’s only by week 24 that connections that create brain functions are formed, and week 27 when cerebral electrical activity is noticeable.

So, which is it? Whichever it is, it is NOT before the fertilized ovum attaches to the uterus wall. Some sectors accept that anything that prevents that attachment is not an abortifacient. The earth is not flat. So I’m greatly disappointed that they forced an amendment into the law that denies scientific fact. I sincerely hope that once passions die down, the next Congress will return the law to being factually correct and define contraceptives correctly.

Now let’s start the year controversially: Let’s support Speaker Feliciano Belmonte. It’s time for divorce. It shouldn’t be controversial, but I’m sure it will be.

Yet the Philippines is the ONLY COUNTRY in the world that doesn’t permit divorce. That includes ALL the predominantly Catholic countries in the world: Italy, the home of the Vatican (a small state, not a country, that doesn’t permit divorce; but since the Vatican is composed of mostly celibate religious, it hardly needs divorce), Spain, Poland, Colombia and Mexico—they all permit divorce even if they are 80 percent-90 percent Catholic. Maybe the Church there has opposed it, but the state has recognized the right of couples to choose the life they want.

If everyone except you believes in or does something, isn’t it just possible you could be wrong?

The second point is: What kind of family life? I believe God put us on this world to enjoy life, not to suffer in misery. That’s what purgatory and (for some I could name) hell are for. There are two purposes for marriage as I, a layman, see it. One is to bear children and raise them to become successful, happy adults. The second is to provide a companion to go through life with happily, contented and, can I say, in a satisfying and pleasurable companionship.

What kind of life do two people who can’t stand each other have? What kind of environment do their kids suffer in, with two fighting, miserable parents? What chance of a successful, happy life do they have?

I was divorced; in Australia it’s allowed. I’ve had 33 years of a wonderful life with a wonderful second wife, happy, contented and, yes, satisfied. And we have two (not 10) great kids who got a solid education and have started successful careers. My daughter is an environmental scientist helping Gina Lopez clean up the mess other Filipinos have left this country in (you should see the pigsty that was the Pasig, where it hasn’t yet been so wondrously cleaned up by Gina; this statement is unfair to pigs). My son has his own businesses in cinematography and car modification with his partner, Ian King.

My first wife had a happy life with her second husband until she died a few years back. Would God say this is wrong? If so, it’s not a god I’d want to believe in.

The point that the bishops can have, and I’d fully support, is that any divorce must consider what is best for the children first. This must be the primary role in the divorce court (separate courts are needed). As long as the kids will be fully supported in whatever way is best, then divorce should be granted.

So, let’s give Filipinos a fulfilling life. Let’s allow divorce, not reserve it for the rich under the farcical excuse of annulment. The poor deserve a happy life, too. We are not trying to destroy families, we’re trying to give the best opportunity for people to have happy families. Is that so wrong?

Sam Miguel
01-14-2013, 08:42 AM
‘Divorce bill long overdue’

By Paolo Romero

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 14, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Gabriela party-list group urged President Aquino yesterday to keep an open mind on the pending divorce bill, saying the measure is long overdue.

Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan aired the call after Aquino’s spokespersons said earlier that Malacañang was not keen on the proposed divorce bill.

Ilagan said the party respects the Palace’s opinion, but cautioned they should read the bill first before jumping to conclusions. She said Malacañang is apparently afraid of the Catholic Church.

The lawmaker said even Gabriela knew the bill could not be tackled in the 15th Congress.

“If we come up victorious again this coming May elections, we will re-file the measure next Congress,” Ilagan said.

She said House Bill 1799 or the divorce bill, which she co-authored with fellow Gabriela Rep. Emerenciana de Jesus, was filed on July 27, 2010 and is now pending with the House committee on revision of laws. The measure seeks to amend the Family Code to include divorce.

Ilagan expressed confidence the divorce option would be used responsibly by couples, based on experiences of Filipino families showing many couples whose marriages have failed resorted to separation.

“Cases of battered women also support this. Battered women invariably seek separation only after many years of trying to make the marriage work. Separation only becomes imperative for them when they realize that it is necessary for their and their children’s survival,” Ilagan said.

“Divorce could actually provide protection to battered women and their children from further violence and abuse,” she added.

The bill retains the existing remedies of legal separation, declaration of nullity of the marriage and annulment, and only adds divorce as one more remedy.

Ilagan said couples could choose from these remedies depending on their situation, religious beliefs, cultural sensibilities, needs and emotional state.

“While divorce under this proposed measure severs the bonds of marriage, divorce as a remedy need not be for the purpose of re-marriage. It may be resorted to by individuals to achieve peace of mind and facilitate their pursuit of full human development,” she said.

Sam Miguel
03-12-2013, 02:23 PM
Wife of Millionaire Wins "Unprecedented" Case to Overturn Prenup Agreement

By Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff | Love + Sex – 12 hours ago

A Long Island mother of three has become a postnuptial hero, after a prenup nearly cost her everything. In a landmark case, Elizabeth Cioffi-Petrakis, 39, won an appeal overturning a bizarre premarital agreement with her millionaire husband. Now she says she may be entitled to half of her ex’s worth when their divorce becomes final.

The win, say matrimonial law experts, is huge.

“This is unprecedented in the family law world,” celebrity divorce lawyer Vikki Ziegler told Yahoo! Shine. “This is a landmark decision that will likely be litigated a great deal in the future in similar cases for those who feel their prenups are unconscionable.”

So how did it happen?

“I won it because I pretty much did it myself,” Cioffi-Petrakis told Yahoo! Shine. “I had three prior attorneys who messed up my case big-time. And I was pretty much dead in the water until I got educated.”

To win the case, Cioffi-Petrakis had to prove in a Long Island court that her husband, commercial property developer Peter Petrakis, coerced her into signing the prenup. She claims he dropped the premarital bomb four days before their wedding day in 1998, leaving her with little time for a contractual dispute. She also told the court the agreement included promises her ex never intended to keep. Among those promises, she said, was that he would add her name to the deed of their Old Brookville home, and that he would destroy the prenup after the birth of their first child.

“He claimed he was just protecting his business, and that his lawyers made him have a prenup,” Cioffi-Petrakis said. “And me, a naïve young girl, I believed it.” She added that she’d been with Petrakis since she was 18 years old—six years before they were married—and that she was so committed that she’d converted from Catholicism to his religion of Greek Orthodox.

“I loved him, I trusted him and I believed in his word,” she explained.

But when he did not put the house in her name, and when she first gave birth 12 years ago to twin boys (and then later to a daughter, now 8), the two began what would be come a years-long journey in and out of lawyers’ offices to contest the prenuptial agreement.

Then finally, in January, a judge ruled in Cioffi-Petrakis’s favor, finding that she had successfully proven what is called “fraud by the inducement” in a contract. To do that, Cioffi-Petrakis explained, she presented the court with “patterns of behavior” to show that Petrakis “was not honest when he made the promises.”

Ziegler, author of “The Pre-Marital Planner,” further explained the court’s decision to Shine. “Many couples discuss the terms of their prenups and say they will do or say things in the future that are not memorialized in writing,” she said. “However, this fraudulent inducement to buy a house, put the marital home in joint name and make other financial incentives after the parties wed appeared to sway the appellate panel who agreed to set aside the prenuptial agreement based on fraud.”

Petrakis did not return a message left for him by Shine at one of his businesses, the One Stop Smoke Shop in Seaford, Long Island. His lavish Old Brookville home was featured in a 2010 New York Times story, “Over-the-Top Houses,” described as a “newly renovated shingle and stone farm ranch on 2.29 acres,” and equipped with a “lower-level nightclub” featuring a 24-foot onyx bar, 1,200-bottle wine cellar and a DJ booth. His chain of smoke shops, according to the New York Post, is worth “at least $5 million.”

Cioffi-Petrakis told Shine that she (with much help from her parents) shelled out nearly $475,000 in lawyers’ fees over the years, and that her husband has paid more than $600,000. “And we haven’t even gotten to the divorce,” she said. Despite the fact that the couple have been estranged since 2010 when Petrakis first filed for divorce, the proceedings were put on hold by the court until the the prenup matter could be settled. Now the two will be able to move ahead to make their split official.

The pressure of the case pushed her to extremes. “I almost took my own life because of the depression and stresses,” she said. “I wound up in the hospital with a nervous breakdown.”

A positive outcome of the ordeal, though, has been Cioffi-Petrakis starting her own business, Divorce Prep Experts, a divorce-court advisement service, which has been slowly getting off the ground since 2008.

“I’m not a lawyer, but I think I have advocated for myself better than any lawyer has,” she said. “My mission is to empower and protect anyone in this position. I know what to look out for, and I bring reputable professionals together to help.” Her company, she said, offers her clients invaluable advice and knowledge from judges, mediators, divorce coaches and child psychologists, in the hopes of saving time and money through the divorce process.

“Divorce Prep Experts can save lives,” she said.

Sam Miguel
03-12-2013, 02:23 PM
Wife of Millionaire Wins "Unprecedented" Case to Overturn Prenup Agreement

By Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff | Love + Sex – 12 hours ago

A Long Island mother of three has become a postnuptial hero, after a prenup nearly cost her everything. In a landmark case, Elizabeth Cioffi-Petrakis, 39, won an appeal overturning a bizarre premarital agreement with her millionaire husband. Now she says she may be entitled to half of her ex’s worth when their divorce becomes final.

The win, say matrimonial law experts, is huge.

“This is unprecedented in the family law world,” celebrity divorce lawyer Vikki Ziegler told Yahoo! Shine. “This is a landmark decision that will likely be litigated a great deal in the future in similar cases for those who feel their prenups are unconscionable.”

So how did it happen?

“I won it because I pretty much did it myself,” Cioffi-Petrakis told Yahoo! Shine. “I had three prior attorneys who messed up my case big-time. And I was pretty much dead in the water until I got educated.”

To win the case, Cioffi-Petrakis had to prove in a Long Island court that her husband, commercial property developer Peter Petrakis, coerced her into signing the prenup. She claims he dropped the premarital bomb four days before their wedding day in 1998, leaving her with little time for a contractual dispute. She also told the court the agreement included promises her ex never intended to keep. Among those promises, she said, was that he would add her name to the deed of their Old Brookville home, and that he would destroy the prenup after the birth of their first child.

“He claimed he was just protecting his business, and that his lawyers made him have a prenup,” Cioffi-Petrakis said. “And me, a naïve young girl, I believed it.” She added that she’d been with Petrakis since she was 18 years old—six years before they were married—and that she was so committed that she’d converted from Catholicism to his religion of Greek Orthodox.

“I loved him, I trusted him and I believed in his word,” she explained.

But when he did not put the house in her name, and when she first gave birth 12 years ago to twin boys (and then later to a daughter, now 8), the two began what would be come a years-long journey in and out of lawyers’ offices to contest the prenuptial agreement.

Then finally, in January, a judge ruled in Cioffi-Petrakis’s favor, finding that she had successfully proven what is called “fraud by the inducement” in a contract. To do that, Cioffi-Petrakis explained, she presented the court with “patterns of behavior” to show that Petrakis “was not honest when he made the promises.”

Ziegler, author of “The Pre-Marital Planner,” further explained the court’s decision to Shine. “Many couples discuss the terms of their prenups and say they will do or say things in the future that are not memorialized in writing,” she said. “However, this fraudulent inducement to buy a house, put the marital home in joint name and make other financial incentives after the parties wed appeared to sway the appellate panel who agreed to set aside the prenuptial agreement based on fraud.”

Petrakis did not return a message left for him by Shine at one of his businesses, the One Stop Smoke Shop in Seaford, Long Island. His lavish Old Brookville home was featured in a 2010 New York Times story, “Over-the-Top Houses,” described as a “newly renovated shingle and stone farm ranch on 2.29 acres,” and equipped with a “lower-level nightclub” featuring a 24-foot onyx bar, 1,200-bottle wine cellar and a DJ booth. His chain of smoke shops, according to the New York Post, is worth “at least $5 million.”

Cioffi-Petrakis told Shine that she (with much help from her parents) shelled out nearly $475,000 in lawyers’ fees over the years, and that her husband has paid more than $600,000. “And we haven’t even gotten to the divorce,” she said. Despite the fact that the couple have been estranged since 2010 when Petrakis first filed for divorce, the proceedings were put on hold by the court until the the prenup matter could be settled. Now the two will be able to move ahead to make their split official.

The pressure of the case pushed her to extremes. “I almost took my own life because of the depression and stresses,” she said. “I wound up in the hospital with a nervous breakdown.”

A positive outcome of the ordeal, though, has been Cioffi-Petrakis starting her own business, Divorce Prep Experts, a divorce-court advisement service, which has been slowly getting off the ground since 2008.

“I’m not a lawyer, but I think I have advocated for myself better than any lawyer has,” she said. “My mission is to empower and protect anyone in this position. I know what to look out for, and I bring reputable professionals together to help.” Her company, she said, offers her clients invaluable advice and knowledge from judges, mediators, divorce coaches and child psychologists, in the hopes of saving time and money through the divorce process.

“Divorce Prep Experts can save lives,” she said.

Sam Miguel
03-13-2013, 08:18 AM
Disputable

A LAW EACH DAY(KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY)

By Jose C. Sison

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 13, 2013 - 12:00am

Since we consider marriage as an inviolable social institution, absolute divorce is not allowed here. But how about a foreign divorce decree, is this recognized in this jurisdiction? This is the question raised and answered in this case of Conrad and Carmen.

Conrad was a German citizen who married Carmen, a Filipina, in Hamburg, Germany. Their marriage was subsequently ratified here in Carmen’s hometown. Out of their union were born Gina and Karla.

Later on however, Carmen separated from Conrad. And after 16 years of rocky marriage, Carmen already filed a petition for declaration of nullity of their marriage before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Conrad asked that the petition be dismissed but the RTC denied it. Then he took a series of legal moves questioning the denial of his motion to dismiss all the way up to the Court of Appeals (CA) where he filed a petition for Certiorari questioning the RTC ruling.

Meanwhile in a summary proceeding held in a German Regional Trial Court where Carmen was not present or represented by counsel or given the chance to comment, Conrad was able to obtain a decree of divorce pursuant to the German Civil Code provision declaring that when a couple lived separately for three years, the marriage is deemed irrefutably dissolved. By virtue of said decree, the parental custody of their two children was also granted to Conrad.

So back here, when the CA denied his petition and remanded the case to the RTC, Conrad filed a Second Motion to Dismiss before the RTC on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit as a decree of divorce had already been promulgated in Germany dissolving their marriage and granting the custody of the children to him.

Initially the RTC granted his motion and recognized the legal effects of the divorce decree obtained in Germany as far as Conrad was concerned under the nationality principle in our civil law on the status of persons. In fact the RTC said that under Article 26 of the Family Code Conrad and Carmen can both remarry.

But upon Motion for Partial Reconsideration filed by Carmen, the RTC, partially set aside the order of dismissal for the purpose of tackling among others the issue of the support and custody of their children. Was the RTC correct?

Yes. As a general rule, divorce decrees obtained by foreigners in other countries are recognizable in our jurisdiction, but the legal effects thereof, like the custody, care and support of the children must still be determined by our courts. A foreign judgment, such as the award of custody to Conrad by the German Court can be recognized and be effective here only if the other party involved in the judgment like Carmen in this case, has been given ample opportunity to be heard. A foreign judgment in cases of actions in personam (against a person) as distinguished from actions in rem (upon a specific thing) is only a presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest. It may be rejected by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to a party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact (Rule 39, Section 48, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure).

In this case, it cannot be said that Carmen was given the opportunity to challenge the judgment of the German Court with regard to the right of Conrad to have custody of their two children. The proceeding was summary, Carmen’s participation is unclear and she has not been represented by counsel. It did not touch on who was the offending spouse that caused the dissolution of the marriage. Absent any finding that Carmen is unfit to have custody of the children, the RTC was correct in setting aside the order of dismissal for further hearing to resolve the issue of parental custody (Roehr vs. Rodriguez et. al. G.R. 142820, June 20, 2003)

* * *

Sam Miguel
06-05-2013, 09:06 AM
Belmonte changes mind, divorce law not priority

By Christian V. Esguerra

Philippine Daily Inquirer

2:24 am | Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

The reproductive health law may have successfully hurdled the congressional wringer despite stubborn opposition from the Catholic Church, but another potentially divisive measure also opposed by the Church may not be as lucky in the incoming 16th Congress.

“It’s bound to be a divisive measure and it’s not going to be prioritized,” Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said Tuesday.

Belmonte’s lack of enthusiasm for the divorce bill was in stark contrast to the optimism he expressed soon after the House passed the RH bill last December. At the time, he said he was in favor of the divorce bill and wanted his fellow congressmen to have the measure “at the back of our minds.”

“I want that to remain in the consciousness of the congressmen so that, at some point, we could take it up again,” he had said then.

He had also said he believed the bill would pass the 16th Congress.

Despite Belmonte’s apparent change of heart, party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan (Gabriela) on Tuesday said she would file the divorce bill again in the next Congress, “with a few enhancements.”

“It may be divisive from the point of view of another sector, the Catholic Church, but it may not be divisive if the people understood, if people knew where we were coming from,” she said in a phone interview.

In the explanatory note to the divorce bill that she had filed, Ilagan pointed out that “there are many failed, unhappy marriages across all Filipino classes.”

An antithesis to the Gabriela bill was the one filed by Marikina Rep. Marcelino Teodoro. His proposed “Anti-Divorce and Unlawful Dissolution of Marriage Act” seeks a “guarantee that no legislation encouraging or facilitating the dissolution of marriage and recognizing divorce shall be passed.”

In the explanatory note, Teodoro said divorce would “undermine the value of marriage by encouraging couples to put an end to their relationship instead of allowing them to reconcile immediately or fix the same over time.”

The Gabriela bill remains stuck at the committee level where it was tackled “only in passing” during discussions on a related bill filed by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

The Rodriguez bill sought to amend the Family Code and “harmonize” it with a Supreme Court ruling on “divorce obtained by the alien spouse in another country.”

Sam Miguel
06-06-2013, 08:22 AM
Bishop vows hard fight vs divorce bill in Congress

By Jocelyn R. Uy

Philippine Daily Inquirer

5:30 am | Thursday, June 6th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Wednesday said the divorce bill will struggle if pushed in the next Congress.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said that just like the divisive reproductive health (RH) law, which took so many years to be passed, the other bills of the same nature, such as the divorce bill, will not come easy.

“I think the Philippines is not that excited in following the example of other countries. We still believe that with continued prayerful evaluation and study, [the country] will not come to that,” Palma told reporters in an interview.

Earlier, Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, coauthor of House Bill No. 1799, or an Act of Legalizing Divorce in the Philippines, said she was poised to refile the measure with a “few enhancements” in the 16th Congress.

But Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said the divorce bill was bound to be a divisive measure and won’t be prioritized in the next Congress.

The Catholic Church has stubbornly opposed the passage of the RH law, which it said undermined the value for family and life. It is also against the other so-called “death” bills proposing to legalize divorce, same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia.

Palma said the Philippines, so far, was not keen on following the footsteps of other countries that have already legalized these measures.

“As of now, we feel that a lot of our people also have a different view with it comes to such laws,” the prelate added.

Sam Miguel
06-18-2013, 09:06 AM
More couples seek to nullify marriages in cities

By Jocelyn R. Uy

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:25 am | Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

More couples in urban centers like Metro Manila are seeking to nullify their marriages, but overall, a drop in annulment cases in the country has been observed this year, according to Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz.

Cruz, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, estimated that the number of marriage cases that the Church had recorded for nullity had decreased over the years by at least 10 percent to 15 percent.

“As far as our cases here are concerned, it’s less than 10 to 15 percent, but there are also cases that go directly to Rome and no longer pass us,” Cruz told reporters on Monday.

He said the tribunal was handling not more than 100 cases every year and out of this number, only about 9 to 10 cases got an affirmative decision.

In 2011, the Office of the Solicitor General released data showing that annulment cases had risen by 40 percent in the last 10 years, with at least 22 cases filed every day. It also reported that the number of cases had risen to 8,282 in 2010 from 4,520 in 2001.

‘Canonical separation’

Cruz acknowledged that while the Church might be observing a declining trend in annulments, it could not be true with respect to the courts since those who married civilly would need to go to the courts to obtain annulments.

He also pointed out that in order to dissolve a bond formalized in Church, a couple must not only seek to nullify their marriage in the Church but must also file an annulment in the civil court.

To avoid the hassles of the proceedings, Cruz said, some would rather separate on their own—referred to by the Church as “canonical separation.”

Metro Manila and Cebu

According to Cruz, the majority of Filipino couples seeking annulments come from the urban areas, where the influences of Western countries are more present and felt than in the rural areas.

He said among the urban centers where the number of annulment cases were still high were Metro Manila and Cebu.

“Marriage is more difficult in an urban setting precisely because of the influence of the First World countries, which [allow] divorce and same-sex marriage, among others,” the prelate said.

He also said couples residing in these bustling cities were more preoccupied with matters like “questions of property and support of children.”

“They have more concerns than those who are in the rural areas,” he added.

Cohabitation

Cruz also noted that fewer annulment cases were being filed in the Church because many couples were opting to practice “cohabitation,” or living together without marriage.

“It’s becoming more and more common … there are fewer cases than before precisely because of the trend that they just live together. So if they do that, they could also part whatever time they like,” Cruz said.

But this does not mean that fewer Filipino couples are tying the knot in church, Cruz was quick to add.

In fact, new data collected by the CBCP showed a jump in the number of couples getting married in church, he said.

Naga weddings

Based on the Catholic Directory of the Philippines, 186,367 couples sought the blessings of the Church from 2012 to 2013—a 12-percent increase from the 165,100 recorded in 2010 to 2011.

The Archdiocese of Caceres in Naga City recorded the highest number of church weddings with 23,235.

Sam Miguel
06-18-2013, 09:14 AM
^^^ When the hell is the Catholic Church in this country finally going to accept the fact that marriages, contrary to what they teach, is not a perfect union and can at times go so wrong that the only option left is total and absolute separation? Let's not talk of those who supposedly fall out of love, or other such nonsense, but actually and practical cases such as in the case of a physically abusive spouse, or a spousal lout, or a derelict spouse. Surely staying married to such a person cannot possibly be good for anybody, and upholding such a marriage cannot possibly be what God wills.

Plus annulment, especially the Church variety, is woefully expensive, a minimum of P150,000 for starters, and could conceivably climb to a cool P1 to 2 million if you want proceedings to go a little more expeditiously (still at least half a year). Speaking of expeditious, the typical proceedings can run up to 6-7 years, and one that is contested all the way could run well over 15-20 years.

For an institution that prides itself in its foundations of ethics and logic the Church seems not too sensible in this regard.

Sam Miguel
06-19-2013, 08:39 AM
‘Macho men’ back battered husbands bill

By Cathy C. Yamsuan

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:55 am | Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Call them “machonurin.”

Two members of the Senate’s so-called “macho bloc” have expressed willingness to support a bill that would protect battered husbands.

Senators Tito Sotto and Gregorio Honasan admit, albeit jokingly, that they sympathize with their beleaguered “bros” since they are both “under the saya” (henpecked husbands).

The idea of a law that would protect battered husbands surfaced on Father’s Day after deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte was asked whether Malacañang would be open to such a proposal.

Honasan, in an earlier query, said he would support such a measure should one be filed in the Senate. He cited the “equal protection clause and principle in the Constitution” as a basis for this.

Birds of same feather

Upon hearing of Honasan’s opinion, Sotto agreed his colleague would favor such a measure.

“Kasi under the saya siya, eh, kaya malakas ang loob n’ya, haha (It’s because he is a henpecked husband, that’s why he can talk so bravely),” Sotto said jokingly in an impromptu interview with reporters.

Sotto added that Honasan would not simply support the bill. It is also likely Honasan would file the bill himself.

“Tell him I said that. And when he hears about it, I already know what Greg would answer—‘So is he,’” Sotto said.

True enough, Honasan expressed willingness to support moves to protect battered husbands. In a text message, he also acknowledged—in jest—that “I am really afraid of Misis, hehehe, like my BFF (best friend forever), Senator Sotto.”

Honasan, a former Army colonel, grabbed the headlines in the 1980s as among the leaders of a military rebel group that staged several coup attempts against then President Corazon Aquino, the incumbent President’s late mother.

Helen and Jane

Sotto’s wife is the once very popular film star and singer Helen Gamboa, who has become active again in show business.

The Senate website says Mrs. Honasan, the former Jane Umali, is a “medical technologist by vocation and an interior designer by training” with whom Honasan has five children.

Now that his and Honasan’s support for battered husbands has been established, Sotto said the next concern would be whether a beaten-up hubby would be willing to testify as a resource person in a Senate hearing should his colleagues consider the bill.

Bill on wife-beating

Sotto recalled that during the 12th Congress, the Senate women and family relations committee chair, Teresa Aquino-Oreta, held hearings on a bill filed by Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito penalizing violence committed against women, including wife-beating.

Sotto said he once stood up to interpellate Oreta when the latter sponsored the measure on the session floor. He asked Oreta and Ejercito why their bill did not include battered husbands.

“Are you willing to testify?” Oreta asked Sotto that time.

No one will testify

Sotto maintained he still believed that while the Senate would be open to the measure, finding resource persons who would testify that husband battery exists would be difficult—unless a hubby who had endured it would be man enough to admit it.

“There are some but not too many,” Sotto said. “No one will testify. It will be difficult to pass. The intention is good but no one will come forward to defend it.”

Sotto concluded: “Magpapakalalaki na lang kami (We’ll just have to show them we’re real men).”

Sam Miguel
06-26-2013, 01:37 PM
No collusion

A LAW EACH DAY(KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY)

By Jose C. Sison

(The Philippine Star) | Updated June 26, 2013 - 12:00am

In all cases of annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage, the court shall ensure that there is no collusion between the parties and that the evidence is not fabricated. For this purpose, it shall order the prosecutor or fiscal assigned to the case to appear in behalf of the State to take steps to prevent them (Article 48, Family Code (FC). This is the rule invoked in this case.

The case is about a high society couple Jerry and Becky who got married on June 3, 1972 at lavish wedding rites and reception. After seventeen years of marriage and begetting two children, their marriage hit the rocks. Becky filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) a petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage to Ricky after first obtaining a church annulment.

In her complaint, Becky alleged Jerry’s psychological incapacity to comply with his essential marital obligations that surfaced only later. Specifically she alleged: that they had violent fights, one of which caused physical injuries to her and impelled her to file a criminal complaint against him; that Jerry also used prohibited drugs for which he was sentenced to a one year suspended penalty; that Jerry is a womanizer and in fact left the conjugal home to cohabit with three women in succession; that after leaving the conjugal dwelling, he gave minimal support to the family and even refused to pay for the tuition of the children compelling her to accept donations and dole outs from family and friends; that he mismanaged their conjugal properties and spent extravagantly incurring large obligations from banks and financial institutions. Becky also asserted that attempts at reconciliation were made but the all failed because of Jerry’s refusal to reform.

Jerry answered denying the imputations against him. He blamed Becky for the break-down of their marriage and alleged that she did not accord him the respect and dignity due him as a husband but treated him as a persona non-grata; that due to extreme animosities he left the conjugal home for a cooling off period; that it was Becky who took drugs and had an affair with another man; that he was not a womanizer but his work in media exposed him to gossip linking him to various women; and that he was forced to dispose of some conjugal properties due to financial reverses in his business. Thus he petitioned the court to allow him to return to the conjugal home and continue administration of the conjugal properties.

At the trial, Vicky presented four witnesses including herself, their marriage counselor, a close friend and her own counsel to prove her allegations. She also presented documents including news articles about her husband’s relationship with other women, his arrest by authorities for illegal possession of drugs and the copy of the church annulment.

Upon resting her case the court scheduled the reception of Jerry’s evidence. But it was postponed twice for non-appearance of Jerry and/or his counsel. Thus Becky moved that Jerry be declared to have waived his right to present evidence and that the case be deemed submitted for decision. The RTC granted the motion and rendered a decision declaring the nullity of Becky’s marriage to Jerry and awarding custody of the children to her.

Counsel for Jerry received a copy of the decision but no appeal was taken so it became final and executory. But when Becky tried to execute the decision, Jerry opposed it and filed a petition for relief from judgment before the RTC. The RTC however denied it which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA).

Jerry questioned the CA ruling before the Supreme Court contending among others that when he failed to appear at the scheduled hearings, the trial court should have ordered the prosecuting officer to intervene for the State and inquire as to the reason for his non-appearance to prevent collusion between the parties pursuant to Article 48 of the FC. Was Jerry correct?

No. The facts of this case do not call for the application of Article 48 of the FC. For one, Jerry was not declared in default for failure to answer. He even contested Becky’s allegations and actively participated in the proceedings and cross-examined Becky’s witnesses. It is crystal clear that every stage of the litigation was characterized by a no-holds barred contest and not by collusion. Under the circumstances, the non-intervention by a prosecuting attorney to assure lack of collusion between the contending parties is not fatal to the validity of the proceedings in the trial court.

Collusion between the parties should be prevented to strengthen the family as a basic social institution. Our family law is based on the policy that marriage is not a mere contract, but a social institution in which the state is vitally interested. The state can find no stronger anchor than on good, solid and happy families. The break-up of families weakens our social and moral fabric and hence, their preservation is not the concern alone of the family members (Tuason vs. Court of Appeals, 256 SCRA, 158 ).

Sam Miguel
06-26-2013, 01:38 PM
^^^ Isn't this basically divorce proceedings by any other name?

Sam Miguel
07-04-2013, 10:11 AM
Antidivorce law looms in 16th Congress

By Leila B. Salaverria

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:55 am | Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Divorce could be one of the major battles in the 16th Congress, with the early refiling of a bill that opposes it and the declaration by its advocates that they will press its adoption in the Philippines.

Marikina Rep. Marcelino Teodoro has refiled his “antidivorce and unlawful dissolution of marriage” bill, which he says is intended to protect marriage as an inviolable social institution and of the family as the foundation of the nation.

In the 15th Congress, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. made a pitch for the divorce bill, and said he wanted it taken up in the succeeding Congress.

But Belmonte also said the proposal would not be a priority of the House of Representatives.

Gabriela, a women’s party-list group, is intent on pursuing the passage of the bill in the 16th Congress and is planning to file a new version of the measure.

The Philippines and the Vatican are the last two states that prohibit divorce.

In his explanatory note to his bill, Teodoro says there have been efforts to introduce divorce in the Philippines so that couples in failed marriages can have another chance to remarry, in addition to getting an annulment of marriage or a declaration of nullity.

Teodoro says he believes the proposal poses a danger to the institution of marriage.

“Despite its apparent worthy objective, it still undermines the value of marriage by encouraging couples to put an end to their [union] instead of allowing them to reconcile immediately or fix the [problems] over time,” he says.

Unacceptable here

Teodoro’s bill seeks to make divorce “unacceptable” in the Philippine legal system, and only legal separation, which allows spouses to live independently of each other but not remarry, would be allowed.

It states that divorce obtained by a Filipino citizen abroad is not valid in the Philippines.

The bill also proposes to prohibit knowingly committing acts at the time of marriage or prior to it that would give grounds for legal separation or the annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage. These would include the failure to get a marriage license, or using an officer who has no marriage authority.

The bill seeks to penalize connivance to obtain an annulment or a legal separation, as well as the issuance of a decree of legal separation without the court taking steps to get the couple to reconcile, and without determining beforehand that reconciliation would be highly improbable.

Access to remedies

In an earlier push for divorce, Gabriela noted that for some women, the inequalities and violence in their marriage negate the ideal that it is the embodiment of love, care and safety, and erode the values on which marriage is founded.

Given those realities, Gabriela said couples must have the option of having access to remedies that would allow them to attain their full human development and self-fulfillment as well as protect their human rights.

Divorce could protect battered women and their children from further violence and abuse, Gabriela said.

The group added that with the predominance of the Catholic faith in the country, the fear that divorce would erode personal values pertaining to marriage appeared to be unfounded.

The divorce bill could prove to be another contentious issue between Congress and the Catholic Church.

Earlier, Church officials railed against the enactment of the reproductive health bill, which mandates the government to, among other things, provide public access to contraceptives and family planning programs.

Equality in family

Another newly filed bill in the House seeks to ensure that women and men are treated equally in the family, by amending the Family Code’s provisions that support the “outmoded presumption” that men’s decisions are superior to those of women.

The bill, filed by Bukidnon Rep. Lourdes Acosta Alba, wants to amend the Family Code provision that gives primacy to the consent of the father when it comes to allowing children between the ages of 18 and 21 to get married. The bill would give the mother’s consent equal weight as the father’s.

Alba’s bill also proposes to change the provision on the spouses’ joint administration and enjoyment of community property by removing the part that states that in case there is a disagreement, the husband’s decision will prevail.

The bill also seeks to remove a similar provision concerning conjugal partnership property.

Parental authority

Alba’s bill also seeks to amend the Family Code’s provisions on the parents’ joint exercise of parental authority over their children, and on the joint exercise of legal guardianship over the property of unemancipated common children.

It proposes to remove the phrase contained in both provisions stating that the father’s decision will prevail in case of a disagreement between the spouses.

In pushing for the measure, Alba pointed out that the Constitution guaranteed the principle of equality between women and men.

“But ironically, some of our current laws continue operating under the outmoded presumption of the superiority of men’s decisions over those of women’s,” Alba said in her explanatory note.

Sam Miguel
07-04-2013, 10:13 AM
^^^ They should also remove the provision in the Family Code that says that children seven years old or younger are "deemed to have chosen the mother" as the general rule when granting custody of children to separated spouses. They should make this equal opportunity and ultimately let the child decide to which parent he / she would have custody over him / her.

Sam Miguel
07-09-2013, 09:13 AM
What man has put together

By Conrado de Quiros

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:52 pm | Monday, July 8th, 2013

The battle lines are being drawn in Congress. That’s between Church and State, and that’s over divorce.

The State is being championed by Sonny Belmonte and the Church by Rep. Marcelino Teodoro of Marikina. The Speaker is all for divorce and wants it taken up by the current Congress, though saying it won’t be a priority. Teodoro finds it an abomination and has re-filed a bill seeking to block it. His bill, he says, will fight the “unlawful dissolution of marriage,” and protect the family as the inviolable foundation of the nation.

Well, if divorce is going to pass, now is the best time for it. RH showed how the stranglehold of the Church on Philippine life, or Philippine electoral politics, has greatly waned. Gone are the days when it could threaten politicians with hellfire, or its secular equivalent which is losing in the elections. The Church’s condemnation of those who voted for RH hardly produced a ripple, other than as sideshow entertainment, such as when a church in Bacolod put up a sign in front of its yard separating the saved from the doomed. There’s a better chance this time of debating the thing without this extraneous element, or pretty much on its merits.

Which augurs well for it. The opposition to it is not based on moral grounds, it is based on hypocritical ones. Let me count the ways:

One, the sole justification for proscribing divorce is St. Luke’s account of Jesus Christ saying, “What God has put together, let no man put asunder.” That may be true, but why should you construe every marriage as something God put together?

Look at the reasons why many Filipinos marry: Variously because the woman is “damaged goods,” nagalaw na; because that’s what their parents want; because with the Church proscription against premarital sex that is the only way the magkasintahan can exchange affections physically—and ask yourself if God had anything to do with it. The last is particularly benighted and is probably the biggest cause of failed marriages in this country. Marrying for sex is an almost surefire guarantee for failure. One or the other of the couples soon discovers that sex is overrated, or discovers it is so underrated they want to have more of it elsewhere (the husband in particular, the wife is banned from it on pain of stoning, or its modern equivalent).

Why drag God into that arrangement? As we say in Filipino, “Dinamay pa ang Diyos sa kanyang kalokohan.”

Two, except for the Vatican, a city of less than a thousand souls, we’re the only country that bans divorce. Is it possible Italy itself, the one country known for its fetish with family it even calls the Mafia so, can be so unprotective or dismissive of the very foundation of its life? Is it possible most of the 7 billion souls in the world today are condemned to go to hell for abiding so reprehensible a thing as divorce? It’s enough to overpopulate Dante’s favorite place. Well, maybe it’s a good strategy to get Beelzebub to rethink his policy of letting loose temptation upon the earth to ease up on the massive exodus to his dominion.

Three, the Church finds divorce anathema but annulment not so. In fact, annulment is the alternative to divorce which is available only to the rich. It takes time, effort and money. What is annulment? It is the act of dissolving a marriage by proclaiming that the marriage never really took place because: the marriage was infirm, there was really no consent on the part of one or both of the parties; there was no consummation, one or both are impotent physically or psychologically; the husband was an a–hole and/or wife-beater from the start, etc. etc.

An annulment may not, repeat not, argue that there was love there at the start but which soured and died. There must not have been any affection at all at any time. What is that but a bunch of lies? What is that but institutionalized lying? What is that but hypocrisy?

Four, we are a country that bans divorce but accepts concubinage, which is just a fancy term for kabit. A term that not quite incidentally shows gender bias: A man has a kabit, he is guilty of concubinage, which is officially punishable by a fine and unofficially rewardable by the envy of peers. A woman has a kabit, she is guilty of adultery, which is officially punishable by jail, and unofficially so by having her kabit’s sexual organ pistol-whipped by her irate estranged husband who keeps an entire harem himself. You know the guy, he boasted about it.

I’m almost tempted to say, I’ll agree to ban divorce if you agree to jail people who keep, indeed flout, their kabit. But that will keep Erap in prison for longer than 10 lifetimes.

Finally, divorce in fact is respectful of marriage in that it recognizes it enough to initiate a legal process to dissolve it. Opposing divorce is the best thing to discourage marriage, a thing the kids in particular are already shunning. Why bother getting married at all? Why get into a fix you can’t get out of? “Sapagkat tayo ay tao lamang,” Pilita Corrales’ song goes, except that you can’t cite that excuse in the courts.

In the end, that’s what makes the opposition to divorce silly even from its own perspective. It is counterproductive, it achieves the opposite of what it sets out to do, which is to defend the family as the foundation of this society. Of course who says you can’t have a family, and probably a more loving one, without marriage? The virtues of marriage more than those of sex have certainly been more convincingly argued to be overrated. The groups opposing divorce should drive it home even more convincingly, by showing the quality of mind they draw into their ranks.

Maybe they’re contributing something positive, if quite unwittingly, to life after all.

Sam Miguel
09-25-2013, 09:53 AM
Laws that discriminate against women

by Ana P. Santos

Posted on 09/24/2013 10:30 AM | Updated 09/24/2013 12:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Under Philippine law, a woman may be accused of adultery or having sexual relations with a man that is not her husband. Adultery may be substantiated with the presentation of circumstantial evidence. However, under the same law, a man may only be accused of concubinage.

The difference? There are three and they are not limited to what happens in between the sheets.

Concubinage requires evidence to prove that a man is having sex with a woman who is not his wife under scandalous circumstances, that he is keeping the woman [with whom he is carrying on sexual relationship with] in the conjugal home or that he is cohabiting with her in another dwelling.

Concubinage requires proof while adultery may be premised on circumstance.

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the government agency tasked with championing gender equality, has included the amendment of the Infidelity Law in the Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda for the 16th Congress. The PCW is also calling for the amendment or repeal of other specific provisions of the Revised Penal Code and Family Code , an amendment to the Anti-Rape Law and Anti-Sexual Harassment Law and the enactment of the Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy

“Certain laws really need to be amended, either they are updated to reflect the issues of the current times or they should be repealed altogether,” said Anette Baleda, PCW Chief of the Policy Development and Advocacy Division.

Archaic and outdated

The Infidelity Law is based on the Revised Penal Code issued in 1930.

The Revised Penal Code superseded the Spanish Legal Code, which was in place from 1886-1930.

“The rationale for this law was to protect the lineage of the family. Women who have sexual relations with a man who is not her husband may get pregnant and bring in foreign blood to the family,” said Baleda.

“This really needs updating because in this day and age, there are modern ways of proving paternity. Also, apart from the varying definitions of infidelity, the degree of punishment also discriminate against women,” added Baleda.

Under the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for women who commit adultery ranges from 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to a maximum of 6 years. The penalty for men who commit concubinage ranges from 6 months and 1 day to a maximum of 4 years and 2 months.

A policy note issued by the PCW proposes addressing the inequalities in this law while still protecting the institution of marriage by not distinguishing between the infidelity of a man from the infidelity of a woman, imposing the same penalties for offending parties, and barring an offended party from instituting a criminal prosecution if he or she is also guilty of committing infidelity.

But a women’s rights NGO has a different view and is calling for the complete repeal on the penal provision on adultery.

“Equalizing the penalty for marital infidelity does not promote equality of women. The provision on adultery infringes on one's right to sexuality. Moreover, in reality, the batterer-husbands are the ones who file such adultery cases to harass their wives,” said Clara Padilla, executive director of EnGendeRights.

Discriminatory

Other similar provisions in the Revised Penal Code included in the Women’s Legislative Agenda that the PCW says discriminate against women is Article 247 on Death or Physical Injuries Inflicted Under Exceptional Circumstances.

Article 247 states that if any legally married spouse who unexpectedly catches his or her spouse having sex with another and shall kill or seriously harm one or both of them shall face the penalty of destierro, which prohibits the convicted person from entering court‐designated places or a specified radius of those places.

Article 247 also makes a direct reference daughters under 18: “These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to parents with respect to their daughters under eighteen years of age, and their seducer, while the daughters are living with their parents.”

“Our recommendation is to have this provision repealed all together. The provision on daughters discriminate against women and killing is killing; people should not be allowed to take the law into their own hands,” explained Baleda.

Another provision, Article 351 on Pre-Mature Marriage prohibits women to re-marry within 301 days from the death of her husband or prior to delivery if she was pregnant at the time of his death.

“The period 301 days is roughly equivalent to the nine months of pregnancy and is again linked with protecting the lineage of the family. With the modern scientific ways we now have to prove paternity, we are recommending that this provision be repealed,” said Baleda.

Why is it taking so long?

There have been a number of laws and international agreements the Philippines has entered into promising equality and the to promotion the rights of women.

The Magna Carta of Women, which was passed in 1999 provides for the amendment or repeal of laws that are discriminatory to women, as does the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development (PPGD).

So why is it taking so long to have these laws amended or repealed?

“Unang – una na lang, tignan natin ang hystorical composisyon ng Congress, karamihan mga lalaki. Sinasabi nga natin ng macho ang Congresso,” said Rhoda Avila, secretary-general of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP). “Pangalawa, kahit na babae ang Congressista, hindi ibi sabibin pro-women ang pananaw nya sa mga batas.” [First of all, we have to look at the historical composition of Congress; they are mostly men. We say that we have a macho Congress. Secondly, even if we have female legislators, it doesn’t mean that they are automatically pro-women.”]

DSWP is a nationwide grassroots organization that has been lobbying for policies that will women’s empowerment, women’s sexual reproductive health rights, among others.

Kung titingin mo nga, kapag ang panukalang batas ay dudulot ng kabutihan sa sambayanan, lalong lalo na sa mga kababakihan, napakahirap ito ipasa. Hindi ito ang nagiging priority ng Congresso, said Avila citing the experience of policy activists in pushing for pro-women legislation. “The amendments in the Anti-Rape Law took 10 years, the VAWC (violence against women and their children) Law, 10 years din. Ang RH Law, 14 years na kasalukuyang pa din nakabinbin sa Courte Suprema.”

But the PCW remains positive that the Women’s Legislative Agenda will be given priority in the 16th Congress.

“The PCW is optimistic that the proposed measures will be passed in the 16th Congress, especially now that the House of Representatives has 79 women legislators and the Senate with six women senators, the highest in the history of Philippine politics,” said in a released statement. – [I]Rappler.com

Joescoundrel
02-26-2015, 03:03 PM
South Korea legalizes adultery

Agence France-Presse 2:31 PM |

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

SEOUL, South Korea—South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalized extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years.

The nine-member bench ruled by seven to two that the 1953 statute aimed at protecting traditional family values was unconstitutional.

“Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals’ private lives,” said presiding justice Park Han-Chul.

It was the fifth time the apex court had considered the constitutional legality of the legislation which had made South Korea one of the few non-Muslim countries to regard marital infidelity as a criminal act.

In the past six years, close to 5,500 people have been formerly arraigned on adultery charges — including nearly 900 in 2014.

But the numbers had been falling, with cases that ended in prison terms increasingly rare.

Whereas 216 people were jailed under the law in 2004, that figure had dropped to 42 by 2008, and since then only 22 have found themselves behind bars, according to figures from the state prosecution office.

The downward trend was partly a reflection of changing societal trends in a country where rapid modernization has frequently clashed with traditionally conservative norms.

Public views ‘have changed’

“Public conceptions of individuals’ rights in their sexual lives have undergone changes,” Park said, as he delivered the court’s decision.

Under the 1953 law, adultery could only be prosecuted on complaint from an injured party, and any case was closed immediately if the plaintiff dropped the charge — a common occurrence that often involved a financial settlement.

The law was grounded in a belief that adultery challenged the social order and damaged families, but critics insisted it was outdated and represented state overreach into people’s private lives.

The debate over its future had simmered away for years, bubbling over from time to time especially if a public figure fell foul of the statute.

Such was the case in 2008 when one of the country’s best-known actresses, Ok So-Ri, was given an eight-month suspended sentence for having an adulterous affair.

At that time, Ok unsuccessfully petitioned the Constitutional Court, arguing that the law amounted to a violation of her human rights in the name of revenge.

The court had previously deliberated the issue in 1990, 1993 and 2001, but those moves to strike down the law had failed to gain the support of the six judges required.

Ok’s 2008 petition had come close with five judges deeming the statute unconstitutional.

Improving gender equality

The law was originally designed to protect the rights of women at a time when marriage afforded them few legal rights, with most having no independent income and divorce carrying enormous social stigma.

But even socially conservative civic groups who had supported the legislation in the past acknowledged that times had changed.

“Adultery must be censured morally and socially, but such a law is inappropriate in a modern society,” said Ko Seon-Ju, an activist with the Seoul-based civic group Healthy Families.

“It used to be an effective legal tool to protect female rights, but equal rights legislation has improved,” Ko said.

“Adultery is an issue that should be dealt with through dialogue between the partners, not by law,” she added.

While the adultery law may have been ruled out of existence, social disapproval of marital infidelity remains potent.

In April last year, South Korea blocked the newly launched Korean version of the global adultery hook-up site Ashley Madison, saying it threatened family values.

Sam Miguel
03-10-2015, 08:29 AM
SC relaxes rules on psychological incapacity as ground to annul marriages

Tetch Torres-Tupas

@T2TupasINQ

INQUIRER.net

5:20 PM | Monday, March 9th, 2015

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has taken a liberal stand in allowing the annulment of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity as it reversed itself and nullified the marriage of two individuals saying a strict implementation of the rules would allow diagnosed sociopaths, schizophrenics, narcissists and the like to stay married.

In a 25-page decision, the high court’s Special First Division through Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin reversed its September 2011 ruling “after taking a second hard look” at the facts of the case.

In the September 2011 ruling, the high court upheld the Court of Appeals’ decision in upholding the marriage of the two private individuals.

The high court said the lower court failed to make factual findings, which can serve as legal bases for concluding that one of parties is suffering from psychological incapacity.

But in its recent ruling, the high court said Article 36 of the Family Code should not be so strictly and too literally be applied.

Article 36 provides that “a marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.”

The high court, in 1997 has set specific guidelines before a marriage can be nullified on the ground of psychological incapacity. Some of the guidelines include: the root cause of the psychological incapacity must be medically or clinically identified, alleged in the complaint, sufficiently proven by experts, must be proven to be existing at “the time of the celebration” of the marriage, clinically or medically incurable, among others.

“The foregoing guidelines have turned out to be rigid, such that their application to every instance practically condemned the petitions for declaration of nullity to the fate of certain rejection,” the high court said in its recent ruling.

“Instead, every court should approach the issue of nullity “not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations, but according to its own facts” in recognition of the verity that no case would be on ‘all fours’ with the next one in the field of psychological incapacity as a ground for the nullity of marriage; hence, every “trial judge must take pains in examining the factual,” the high court said.

In this case, the high court granted the motion for reconsideration filed by the husband against the wife who loves to play mahjong and frequents the beauty parlor, displaying narcissistic behavior.

Aside from medical experts, the high court also gave credence to the testimony of Fr. Gerard Healy S.J., a canon law expert and a consultant of the Family Code Revision Committee who testified that the wife’s duties to her husband and children had become secondary to her beauty, being a former model, her going-out, going to beauty parlor and mahjong.

The high court added that taking her children with her while playing mahjong is exposing them to a culture of gambling, which was “a very grave and serious act of subordinating their needs for parenting to the gratification of her own personal and escapist desires.”

In relaxing the rules in determining psychological incapacity for nullification of marriages, the high court said they are “not demolishing the foundation of families but is actually protecting the sanctity of marriage, because it refuses to allow a person afflicted with a psychological disorder, who cannot comply with or assume the essential marital obligations from remaining in that sacred bond.”

The high court added that the courts may be flooded by petitions for nullity of marriage but there is no reason to be worried because of ample safeguards such as intervention of the government.

“The court should rather be alarmed by the rising number of cases involving marital abuse, child abuse, domestic violence and incestuous rape,” the high court added.

admiral thrawn
03-11-2015, 09:40 AM
Theodore Te..clarified this case..please see the link http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/449889/news/nation/spokesman-says-sc-did-not-relax-rules-on-marriage-annulment

Sam Miguel
03-18-2015, 01:45 PM
Proper and adequate remedy

A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away)

By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) |

Updated March 18, 2015 - 12:00am

In order to terminate the effects of a subsequent marriage contracted after a court has wrongfully declared the presumptive death of a spouse of the first marriage, what is the proper remedy of the first spouse? Is the mere filing of an affidavit of reappearance enough? This is answered in this case of Nina.

Nina has been married to Ricky for almost 27 years already when the latter left their conjugal dwelling to cohabit with another woman. Five months later, she learned that Ricky has already remarried the woman. On further verification she also discovered that in order to remarry, Ricky filed a petition in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for declaration of her absence and presumptive death.

In the petition, Nina found out that Ricky made the following false allegations: that after their marriage they first resided in San Juan City but later on moved to Tarlac City where they engaged in buy and sell business; that when the business did not prosper, Nina convinced him to allow her to work in Hong Kong as a domestic helper; that while he initially refused he allowed her to work because of her insistence; that she supposedly left Tarlac after living together as husband and wife for almost 15 years and was never heard from again; that he exerted efforts to locate her by inquiring from her parents but they too did not know her whereabouts; that he also inquired about her from other relatives and friends but no one gave him any information; and that it is only after almost 12 years since she left that she filed the petition.

Nina also discovered that the notice of hearing of the petition was never published in a newspaper of general circulation and that the RTC already rendered a decision declaring her as presumptively dead only one month after filing the petition, thus enabling Ricky to remarry the other woman three months after the RTC decision.

Nina learned about Ricky’s petition and the RTC decision more than a year later when she could no longer avail of the remedies of new trial, appeal or petition for relief from judgment. So what she did was to file a petition before the Court of Appeals (CA) for annulment of the RTC decision on the ground of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. She claimed she never resided in Tarlac; she never left their conjugal dwelling in QC and worked abroad but it was Ricky who left her and their children to cohabit with another woman. She argued that she was deprived of her day in Court when Ricky misrepresented their conjugal dwelling to be in Tarlac despite the fact that, all the time, they were residing in QC.

But the CA dismissed Nina’s petition for being the wrong remedy. According to the CA, the proper remedy was to file a sworn statement before the civil registry declaring her reappearance. Was the CA correct?

No. Mere filing of an affidavit of reappearance would not suffice for the purpose of not only terminating the subsequent marriage but also of nullifying its effects and the effects of the declaration of presumptive death. Annulment of judgment on the ground of extrinsic fraud is the proper remedy. There is extrinsic fraud when a litigant commits acts outside of the trial which prevents a party from having a real contest or from presenting all of his or her case, or when there is no fair submission of the controversy.

Nina’s allegations in her petition for annulment of judgment constitute extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. In fact there was even no publication of the notice of hearing of Ricky’s petition in a newspaper of general circulation.

Nina does not admit to have been absent so it would be inappropriate to file an affidavit of reappearance if she did not disappear in the first place. Besides, she seeks not merely the termination of the subsequent marriage but also the nullification of its effects. So an affidavit of reappearance is not a sufficient remedy because it will only terminate the subsequent marriage but not nullify the effects of the declaration of her presumptive death and the subsequent marriage.

Since an undisturbed subsequent marriage under Article 42 of the Family Code is valid until terminated, the “children of such marriage shall be considered legitimate, and the property relations of the spouses of such marriage will be the same as in valid marriage. If it is terminated by mere affidavit of reappearance, the children of the subsequent marriage conceived before the termination shall still be considered legitimate. Moreover, the judgment declaring presumptive death if not annulled is a defense against prosecution for bigamy (Santo vs. Santos, G.R. 187061, October 8, 2014).

* * *

Sam Miguel
03-24-2015, 10:32 AM
6 of 10 want divorce legalized

By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) |

Updated March 24, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Six in 10 Filipinos are in favor of legalizing divorce in the country, a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed.

The SWS poll, taken from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, found that 60 percent of adult Filipinos agreed and only 29 disagreed that “married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can get legally married again,” for a net agreement of 31.

The remaining 11 percent of respondents were undecided on the matter, the pollster said.

The 31 net agreement in December 2014 is classified as “strong” – an upgrade from the “moderate” 18 in March 2011, and a double upgrade from the “neutral” -2 net agreement in May 2005.

The 13-point rise in the overall net agreement from March 2011 to December 2014 was due to an increase of 29 points in Metro Manila, 18 points in Mindanao, eight points in balance Luzon, and seven points in the Visayas, the SWS said.

The survey found 67 percent of adults in Metro Manila agreed with the proposition, up from 52 percent in March 2011 and 44 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of strong 46 is above the moderate 17 in March 2011, and the neutral -1 in May 2005.

In balance Luzon, 62 percent agreed, up from 54 percent in March 2011 and 51 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 32 is above the 24 in March 2011, and the 11 in May 2005.

In the Visayas, 55 percent are in favor of divorce, up from 50 percent in March 2011 and 32 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 20 is above the moderate 13 in March 2011, and the poor -24 in May 2005.

In Mindanao, 55 percent agreed with the proposal, up from 44 percent in March 2011 and 36 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of moderate 27 is up from the neutral 9 in March 2011 and -7 in May 2005.

Advocates from the masses
The December 2014 survey found 57 percent of those in class ABC agreed to the proposition, similar to 57 percent in March 2011 and 59 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 21 compares to 16 in March 2011, and 25 in May 2005.

In class D, 60 percent support divorce, up from 52 percent in March 2011 and 42 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of good 32 is above the moderate 20 in March 2011, and the neutral -2 in May 2005.

In class E, 58 percent agreed, up from 45 percent in March 2011 and 37 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 28 is up from the moderate 11 in March 2011, and the poor -13 in May 2005.

Since 2005, SWS said the net agreement with legalizing divorce for separated couples has always been moderate in class ABC, while it switched from neutral to strong in class D, and from poor to moderate in class E.

More male, female backers
Support for legalization of divorce rose among men and women – with stronger support coming from the former – regardless of whether married, living-in with a partner or single, according to the SWS.

The survey showed that 62 percent of men agreed with the proposal to legalize divorce, up from 52 percent in March 2011 and 44 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of strong 36 is above the moderate 21 in March 2011, and the neutral 1 in May 2005.

Among women, 57 percent agreed, up from 49 percent in March 2011 and 41 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of moderate 25 is above the moderate 14 in March 2011, and the neutral -5 in May 2005.

Among men with live-in partners, 65 percent agreed, up from 63 percent in March 2011 and 54 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of strong 38 is similar to the 36 in March 2011, and above the moderate 23 in May 2005.

Among women with live-in partners, 66 percent agreed, up from 62 percent in March 2011 and below the 71 percent in May 2005. The net agreements of 39 in December 2014, 35 in March 2011, and 48 in May are all strong.

Among married men, 61 percent agreed, up from 50 percent in March 2011 and 43 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of strong 33 is above the moderate 18 in March 2011, and the neutral -3 in May 2005.

Among married women, 55 percent agreed, up from 47 percent in March 2011 and 39 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 22 is up from the moderate 10 in March 2011, and the poor -10 in May 2005.

Among single men, 64 percent agreed, up from 53 percent in March 2011 and 45 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of strong 42 is above the moderate 23 in March 2011 and 11 in May 2005.

Among single women, 56 percent agreed, up from 51 percent in March 2011 and 44 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 22 is similar to the 20 in March 2011, and above the neutral 4 in May 2005.

Since May 2005, support for divorce has always been “strong” among those with live-in partners, according to SWS.

Among those with live-in partners, 66 percent of respondents said they are in favor of the proposed divorce bill, up from 62 percent in March 2011 and 63 percent in May 2005.– With Paolo Romero

Sam Miguel
03-24-2015, 10:32 AM
6 of 10 want divorce legalized

By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) |

Updated March 24, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Six in 10 Filipinos are in favor of legalizing divorce in the country, a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed.

The SWS poll, taken from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, found that 60 percent of adult Filipinos agreed and only 29 disagreed that “married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can get legally married again,” for a net agreement of 31.

The remaining 11 percent of respondents were undecided on the matter, the pollster said.

The 31 net agreement in December 2014 is classified as “strong” – an upgrade from the “moderate” 18 in March 2011, and a double upgrade from the “neutral” -2 net agreement in May 2005.

The 13-point rise in the overall net agreement from March 2011 to December 2014 was due to an increase of 29 points in Metro Manila, 18 points in Mindanao, eight points in balance Luzon, and seven points in the Visayas, the SWS said.

The survey found 67 percent of adults in Metro Manila agreed with the proposition, up from 52 percent in March 2011 and 44 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of strong 46 is above the moderate 17 in March 2011, and the neutral -1 in May 2005.

In balance Luzon, 62 percent agreed, up from 54 percent in March 2011 and 51 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 32 is above the 24 in March 2011, and the 11 in May 2005.

In the Visayas, 55 percent are in favor of divorce, up from 50 percent in March 2011 and 32 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 20 is above the moderate 13 in March 2011, and the poor -24 in May 2005.

In Mindanao, 55 percent agreed with the proposal, up from 44 percent in March 2011 and 36 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of moderate 27 is up from the neutral 9 in March 2011 and -7 in May 2005.

Advocates from the masses
The December 2014 survey found 57 percent of those in class ABC agreed to the proposition, similar to 57 percent in March 2011 and 59 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 21 compares to 16 in March 2011, and 25 in May 2005.

In class D, 60 percent support divorce, up from 52 percent in March 2011 and 42 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of good 32 is above the moderate 20 in March 2011, and the neutral -2 in May 2005.

In class E, 58 percent agreed, up from 45 percent in March 2011 and 37 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 28 is up from the moderate 11 in March 2011, and the poor -13 in May 2005.

Since 2005, SWS said the net agreement with legalizing divorce for separated couples has always been moderate in class ABC, while it switched from neutral to strong in class D, and from poor to moderate in class E.

More male, female backers
Support for legalization of divorce rose among men and women – with stronger support coming from the former – regardless of whether married, living-in with a partner or single, according to the SWS.

The survey showed that 62 percent of men agreed with the proposal to legalize divorce, up from 52 percent in March 2011 and 44 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of strong 36 is above the moderate 21 in March 2011, and the neutral 1 in May 2005.

Among women, 57 percent agreed, up from 49 percent in March 2011 and 41 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of moderate 25 is above the moderate 14 in March 2011, and the neutral -5 in May 2005.

Among men with live-in partners, 65 percent agreed, up from 63 percent in March 2011 and 54 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of strong 38 is similar to the 36 in March 2011, and above the moderate 23 in May 2005.

Among women with live-in partners, 66 percent agreed, up from 62 percent in March 2011 and below the 71 percent in May 2005. The net agreements of 39 in December 2014, 35 in March 2011, and 48 in May are all strong.

Among married men, 61 percent agreed, up from 50 percent in March 2011 and 43 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of strong 33 is above the moderate 18 in March 2011, and the neutral -3 in May 2005.

Among married women, 55 percent agreed, up from 47 percent in March 2011 and 39 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 22 is up from the moderate 10 in March 2011, and the poor -10 in May 2005.

Among single men, 64 percent agreed, up from 53 percent in March 2011 and 45 percent in May 2005. The latest net agreement of strong 42 is above the moderate 23 in March 2011 and 11 in May 2005.

Among single women, 56 percent agreed, up from 51 percent in March 2011 and 44 percent in May 2005. The net agreement of moderate 22 is similar to the 20 in March 2011, and above the neutral 4 in May 2005.

Since May 2005, support for divorce has always been “strong” among those with live-in partners, according to SWS.

Among those with live-in partners, 66 percent of respondents said they are in favor of the proposed divorce bill, up from 62 percent in March 2011 and 63 percent in May 2005.– With Paolo Romero

Joescoundrel
03-29-2015, 06:24 PM
CBCP: Failed marriage no argument for divorce

ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at 03/27/2015 12:36 PM |

Updated as of 03/27/2015 12:37 PM

MANILA - The president of the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines believes failed marriages cannot be used as an argument to pass a divorce law, saying divorce only encourages a married couple to no longer work out their differences.

In a statement, CBCP president and Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas took exception to a statement of Sen. Pia Cayetano that the Philippines having no divorce law is nothing to be proud of.

"To that, I hasten to add: Neither is it something for which we should be apologetic! That all countries of the world save ours have [a divorce law] is no compelling reason to have it," Villegas said.

Villegas said the reasons being advanced for a divorce law fail to convince since the reasons only prove that only mature people should enter into marriage.

He said that if a spouse is oppressive and cruel, a woman could avail of legal separation or annulment of voidable marriages. He said nullity of marriage because of psychological incapacity is also available under the Constitution.

The CBCP president said one reason why some people are advancing a divorce law is because they want "another go at marriage" despite failing at first. He likened the situation to a person test-driving a car and then getting a replacement if the first car proves unsatisfactory.

"It is plainly dehumanizing to both spouses to allow for a test-run, through a first marriage, and then grant the possibility of a replacement of spouses should the test fail," he said.

"Divorce is a deterrent to working on differences. Marriage is and ought to be a work in progress...When the expedient of divorce is readily available, a couple will be less likely to work on differences, dialogue and reasonably work out solutions because there is a quick fix to 'incompatibilities.'"

Villegas said legalizing divorce would mean partners can just give a token effort to making a marriage work since the possibility of ending the union through divorce is already offered by the State.

He also said setting forth grounds for divorce is a tricky business "because it assumes that one is in a position to grade degrees of misery or difficulty, and to say of some that they are worthy of the 'relief' of divorce while others are not."

"A divorce law will either grant divorce on any ground – in which case marriage becomes a mockery – or on some grounds. But if it is granted on some grounds, irreconcilable differences, for example, who is to say that a person is more greatly challenged by irreconcilable differences than by the snoring of a spouse at night?"

House Bill 4408, the divorce bill filed in the 16th Congress by Gabriela party-list Reps. Luz Ilagan and Emmy de Jesus, has five grounds for divorce:

- the petitioner has been separated de facto from his or her spouse for at least 5 years at the time of the filing of the petition and reconciliation is highly improbable;

-the petitioner has been legally separated from the spouse for at least 2 years at the time of the filing and reconciliation is highly improbable;

-when any of the grounds for legal separation has caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage;

-when one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations;

-when the spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage

Among the grounds for legal separation in the bill are:

-repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct against the petitioner, a common child or child of the petitioner;

-physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation;

-attempt of the respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement;

-final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than 6 years even if pardoned;

-drug addiction or habitual alcoholism;

- lesbianism or homosexuality;

-contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage whether in the Philippines or abroad;

-sexual infidelity or perversion;

- attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner and abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than 1 year.

Joescoundrel
03-29-2015, 06:34 PM
The Last Country in the World Where Divorce Is Illegal

Welcome to the Philippines, home to philandering politicians, millions of “illegitimate” children, and marital laws that make Italy look liberal.

BY TOM HUNDLEY, ANA P. SANTOS

JANUARY 19, 2015

MANILA, Philippines — On the occasion of his 84th birthday in 2011, friends of former Filipino Senator Ramon Revilla, a darkly handsome film star turned politician, unveiled an imposing 10-meter-high bronze statue in his honor.

Revilla’s films are mostly forgettable and his accomplishments as a lawmaker were marginal, but he will be long remembered in the Philippines for having sired at least 72 children by 16 different women, only one of whom was his wife. Thirty-eight of the children bear his surname.

It’s unclear what the statue is supposed to honor, but it is a fitting monument to something that is sorely lacking in the Philippines: a divorce law.

The Philippines is now the only country in the world that denies divorce to the majority of its citizens; it is the last holdout among a group of staunchly Catholic countries where the church has fought hard to enforce its views on the sanctity of marriage. Pope Francis, who visited the Philippines last week, has urged his bishops to take a more forgiving stance toward divorced Catholics, but this is a moot point in the Philippines: There is no such thing as a divorced Catholic.

A bill that would legalize divorce in the Philippines is now before the legislature, but it has little chance of becoming law without the support of President Benigno Aquino III, who is on record saying divorce is a “no-no” for this archipelago nation. Aquino, a bachelor and a practicing Catholic, said he does not want the Philippines to become like Las Vegas, where “you get married in the morning [and] you get divorced in the afternoon.”

Aquino ignored the bishops and their threats of excommunication three years ago when he signed a reproductive health law that provides subsidized contraceptives to poor women, but most analysts here believe that he has no appetite for another politically bruising battle with the Catholic hierarchy on another of its hot-button issues.

For its part, the global church has been steadily losing ground in the fight against divorce. The first big blow came in 1970 when Italy legalized divorce, despite the ferocious opposition of the Vatican. An attempt to repeal the Italian divorce law was soundly rejected in a 1974 referendum. Next came Brazil, which legalized divorce in 1977, followed by Spain (1981), Argentina (1987), Ireland (1997), and Chile (2004).

That left only the Philippines and the tiny Mediterranean island nation of Malta (and, of course, the independent but mostly celibate Vatican city-state). In 2011, Malta held a referendum on divorce. The church pulled out all stops in a particularly nasty campaign against legalization, but came up short. Soon after the referendum, the archbishop of Malta issued a rare apology for the church’s harsh attacks on pro-divorce activists.

Here in the Philippines, the Catholic hierarchy takes particular pride in the country’s status as the last holdout. One archbishop emeritus called it “an honor that every Filipino should be proud of.” Another said Filipinos should not follow the example of “de-Christianized countries.”

It wasn’t always thus. Before explorer Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippines for the Spanish crown and began converting the natives to Catholicism in 1521, divorce was commonly practiced by the archipelago’s traditional tribes, according to anthropologists. But four centuries of Spanish rule, carried out for the most part by Catholic religious orders, effectively stamped out the custom.

Things eased up a bit when the Americans became the new colonial masters after the 1898 Spanish-American War. A 1917 law allowed divorce, but only for adultery if committed by the wife or for “concubinage” on the part of the husband. The Japanese, during their otherwise horrific World War II occupation of the Philippines, introduced modern divorce laws, but those were canceled and the old 1917 law restored when, in 1944, U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur famously returned. Six years later, after the Philippines had been granted independence and the church had reasserted its authority, the 1917 law was revoked and divorce was banned outright.

Separation, but equal

Philippine law does allow divorce for the country’s Muslim minority — about 11 percent of the population — but for now, the only legal option available to non-Muslim couples who want out of a bad marriage is to seek either a church annulment or a civil annulment. (The church accepts legal separations, but separated persons are not allowed to remarry.)

Annulment is different from divorce in that the parties must establish that the marriage was defective from the beginning: that one or both were too young to get married (the minimum age in the Philippines is 18; for male Muslims it’s 15, for girls “puberty”); that proper parental consent was not obtained; that one of the parties was already married or had an incurable sexually transmissible disease; or — most commonly — was “psychologically incapacitated” at the time of the marriage. A church tribunal or civil judge can then declare that the marriage never happened.

The usual problems that cause the breakdown of a marriage — infidelity, physical or mental abuse, or plain old “irreconcilable differences” — don’t count in an annulment proceeding.

Sen. Pia Cayetano, who was the main sponsor of the controversial reproductive health law and who is frequently mentioned as a potential successor to Aquino, called the absence of a realistic and reasonable divorce law in the Philippines “a travesty.”

“It needs to change, definitely. Do I see it happening soon? No, it will take a while for the Philippines to separate human rights and civil rights from religious belief,” she said.

Professional services

What is most troublesome about using the annulment process as a substitute for divorce is that it forces two people who might otherwise have a reasonably civil split into manufacturing or faking an adversarial relationship with each other and with a state prosecutor — or in the case of church annulment, a “defender of the bond” — whose role in the proceeding is to defend the sanctity of the marriage by arguing that the unhappy couple stay together.

“It’s inhumane — and I speak from experience,” said Cayetano, whose own annulment was granted in 2013.

Joescoundrel
03-29-2015, 06:37 PM
^ Continued

The process is not only slow and psychologically painful, but it’s also expensive. It can take years to finalize a civil annulment unless you are wealthy enough to pay the judge a substantial bribe to speed things long.

Michelle, a 40-year-old Manila physician from a well-to-do family, got her civil annulment in a mere six months. All she had to do was hire the right lawyer and pay 350,000 pesos (about $8,000), more than triple the per capita GDP in the Philippines and thus well beyond the reach of most Filipinos.

About a third of the money went to the judge as a “professional service fee.” Michelle, who asked that we not publish her last name, said her lawyer and the judge were pals from law school days, which helped smooth things considerably. She only had to appear in court once, and she was asked only one question: her name.

Michelle and her husband, also a physician, were both 30 when they married. Michelle told us she felt pressured because she was pregnant at the time. Although the marriage lasted seven years, she said that she regretted her decision almost from the beginning and that an annulment, despite the social stigma attached to it, somehow felt right.

“It’s like I am forgiven,” she said. “It’s like going to confession. It erased whatever sin I committed.”

A lawyer … or a hit man

Most people, however, find the process to be less than uplifting. Paolo Yap, 35, a graphic designer in Manila, separated from his then wife in 2004 and stopped communicating with her entirely two years later. Four years ago, when he and his new partner decided they wanted to marry, Paolo needed an annulment.

He hired a lawyer for 300,000 pesos, but let her go when he realized it was going to cost at least twice that. So he made a deal with a lawyer friend who agreed to take the case in exchange for Yap’s services as a designer.

A psychologist was hired to certify “mental incapacity.” Yap was found to be “depressive and anti-social”; his former wife “narcissistic and histrionic.”

As the case was wending its way through the system, Yap made the startling discovery that his former wife had already obtained an annulment. Her lawyer’s strategy had been to file the case with a local court in a remote corner of the Philippines that had a reputation as an annulment mill.Her lawyer’s strategy had been to file the case with a local court in a remote corner of the Philippines that had a reputation as an annulment mill. Yap was never notified, even though the court papers seemed to suggest he was actually present, as the law requires. And even when the former wife learned that Yap had started annulment proceedings, she didn’t tell him, allowing him to spend hundreds of thousands of pesos unnecessarily.

“You know, it’s only about 10 or 15 thousand pesos to hire a hit man to kill your spouse,” he noted sardonically. “Much less than an annulment.”

Philanderers and statesmen

In the fight to uphold the sanctity of marriage, the Catholic bishops of the Philippines can bank on solid support from an unlikely quarter: the country’s male politicians, for whom multiple mistresses and maintaining second — and even third — households is a seemingly sacred privilege and a badge of manly pride.

Former Senator Revilla, of course, is the gold standard in this department, but Joseph Estrada, who served as president from 1998 until 2001 (and, like Revilla, is a former film star), proudly sired three children by his wife and at least nine additional offspring by six other women.

Longtime ruler Ferdinand Marcos also had numerous extramarital affairs, while Fidel Ramos, Estrada’s predecessor in the Malacañang Palace, acknowledged at least one well-publicized dalliance.

The lack of a divorce option provides “a sense of comfort to male philanderers,” according to Evalyn Ursua, an attorney who specializes in annulment cases and who has advocated for the legalization of divorce. “With a [law prohibiting divorce], they know they can continue this lifestyle where they have their beautiful and loyal wife — and also the comfort and status of their mistress,” she said. “A divorce law would allow women to put an end to it.”

Despite a veneer of religious piety, philandering is deeply embedded in Philippine society, from the privileged to the poorest. “It’s the machismo thing … and wives are expected not to make a fuss about having mistresses,” said Rep. Emerenciana De Jesus, who is co-sponsoring the divorce bill. But while rich men often continue to support their wives and children for appearances’ sake, poor women generally find themselves abandoned and left to care for their children on their own. There are laws that require gainfully employed fathers to support their biological children, but they are so rarely enforced that most people don’t know they exist.

Joescoundrel
03-29-2015, 06:38 PM
^ Continued

A poverty of options for the poor

In a typical year, civil courts in the Philippines will grant about 10,000 annulments — a very small number for a country with a population of more than 100 million. This is not an indication of widespread marital contentment in the Philippines, but rather that annulments are only available to the well-off.

As a result, experts say, most Filipinos who find themselves in an unhappy relationship simply move on to the next one. The women, of course, are expected to deal with the children. “For these women, the survival mechanism is to find another guy to support her and her kids,” said Mary Racelis, a sociologist at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Among the very poor, there is a growing tendency toward what the government calls “unions without benefit of valid marriage,” or what the church calls “living in sin.” Precise statistics are not available, but Racelis estimates that only 30 to 40 percent of the urban poor now bother to get married in the first place.

“It’s too expensive,” she said. “You’re expected to have a big celebration, and they simply can’t afford it.” That and the realization that once you enter into a marriage there’s no getting out.

The social cost is compounded by the Philippine economy’s heavy reliance on its most important export: cheap labor. An estimated 10 million Filipinos work abroad. Although men used to dominate the field, the majority are now women. They work as nannies, nurses, caregivers, maids, and shop clerks, sending home some $25 billion in 2013, according to the Philippines’ central bank, to support families back home. Unsurprisingly, the long separations are a strain on married life, and women who work overseas frequently discover that the money they faithfully send home each month is supporting hubby and his new girlfriend.

Far from turning the Philippines into another Las Vegas, as suggested by President Aquino, the divorce bill that has been put forward by De Jesus and the Gabriela Women’s Party is very conservative and, according to its authors, respectful of the “cultural sensibilities in the Philippines.” Grounds for divorce in this bill include physical violence against a spouse or child, imprisonment of a spouse for more than six years, abandonment for more than a year, sexual infidelity or perversion, bigamy, homosexuality, or drug addiction. Except in cases that involve violence against women or children, the court would not be allowed to take any action for six months after the initial filing — a kind of cooling-off period. The bill also obliges the court to “take steps toward the reconciliation of the spouses” before granting the final decree.

Most importantly, the bill provides guidelines for the division of assets, child support, and payment of damages to “the innocent spouse.”

De Jesus, the bill’s co-sponsor, says the Catholic Church remains the loudest opponent of divorce because it “is afraid of losing its cultural dominance over the majority of the country.”De Jesus, the bill’s co-sponsor, says the Catholic Church remains the loudest opponent of divorce because it “is afraid of losing its cultural dominance over the majority of the country.” But she noted that under the 1987 constitution, the separation between church and state in the Philippines is supposed to be inviolable.

The church and its faithful, De Jesus argues, are entitled to their beliefs on the sanctity of marriage, but are not entitled to impose those beliefs on others who may disagree. The state, she added, shouldn’t view divorce as a damnable sin, but rather as a civil right. “The state should recognize that if you have a right to enter into a contract, you have the right to get out of it,” said De Jesus.

The church begs to differ. “[Proponents of divorce] see marriage as a contract. For us, it is a sacrament,” said the Rev. Edgardo Pangan, a canon lawyer who specializes in annulments. “We cannot compromise with the laws of God.”

Who’s your daddy?

One result of the church’s opposition to divorce and its opposition to virtually every form of contraceptive has been millions of “illegitimate” children. No one knows the number, but one study suggests that about 30 percent of births in the Philippines go unregistered, often because of the stigma of illegitimacy.

Former Senator Revilla, who has probably contributed more to this problem than anyone, has at least acknowledged and tried to do something about it. He is the father of the so-called Revilla Bill, which allows children born out of wedlock to legally use their father’s surname so long as both biological parents give their consent.

“These children must be spared from the stigma attached to being ‘illegitimate,’ and their parents’ faults must not be passed on to them,” he said in 2004. “It is the state’s responsibility to shield them from unwarranted shame and discrimination.”

Revilla, who is said to be a generous provider to all his children, has also made provisions to leave behind samples of his DNA so that any claims of paternity that arise after his death can be verified.

Some portions of this article were previously reported in the Washington Post.

fujima04
03-29-2015, 07:31 PM
Wrong method
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) By Jose C. Sison
(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 27, 2015 - 12:00am (http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2015/03/27/1437948/wrong-method)

Poll surveys are not and should never be used as means to determine what is right or wrong, what is true or false, what is legal or illegal, or, most importantly, to find out the most qualified persons who should be elected to public office. If we persist in this practice, it will eventually result in mob rule instead of the rule of law. While the methods of the surveys may really be scientific enough to determine the pulse of the people, the danger of manipulation is still clear and present. Besides, there are certain issues that are resolvable only by using certain objective standards rather than by purely subjective and misguided public opinions.

Unfortunately, it looks like this administration has been exploiting public opinion polls as means even in determining what is good or evil. And this is very obvious in the recent poll survey on divorce: on whether we should have divorce in this country. While Malacanang is distancing itself from said survey, all signs indicate its imprint on the project because of the similarity in the style it used here and in pushing for the passage of the RH bill.

In this case, it is quite obvious that the respondents to the survey may not have a correct and accurate understanding of the question propounded, especially on the word “divorce” itself. A lot of people may not realize that we already have a “divorce” in this country technically known as “relative divorce”, or the separation of the husband and wife from bed and board (a mensa et toro). This is provided for in Article 55 of the Family Code (FC). It is the only legitimate way to get out of a soured relationship without violating the sanctity of the marriage bond protected by our Constitution. It affords the aggrieved spouse enough remedies should his or her marriage becomes unbearable.

The respondents to the opinion survey may not have been informed about this legal form of divorce or they may have been actually referring to it when they replied that they are in favor of divorce. The worse part here is that they may not be aware of the other kind of divorce which the proponents who commissioned the survey are actually referring to, which is the divorce legalized especially in western countries where broken homes, disintegrating families, pre-marital sex and teen-age pregnancies, violence and hooliganism abound. This “divorce” is technically known as “absolute divorce.”

Absolute divorce actually refers to and affects marriages which have no vice or defect at the time of celebration but are nevertheless dissolved for causes arising after their celebration. Here there is a perfectly valid marriage which the law already considers as an inviolable social institution. So when it is dissolved under the proposed divorce law, this accepted public policy enshrined in our Constitution and family law will be infringed. In this kind of divorce the spouses are entitled not only to live separately but to remarry, so the inviolability of marriage as a social institution is desecrated.

To be sure, there are really broken marriages beyond repair. And our law (FC) already recognizes it. This is the marriage contracted by any party who at the time of the celebration was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. In fact the Supreme Court has already made several rulings in this connection. But in this case, no marriage bond has been severed as no marriage existed at all from the very start (Art 36, FC). Hence the constitutional provision protecting the inviolability of marriage (Article XV, Section 2) is not violated.

Filipinos are better known to be faithful and true to their commitments (walang iwanan); more so with respect to their marriage vows. But if divorce is legalized here, this admirable trait will be disregarded and the commitment to the marriage vows will become so fragile because they will enter into a marital relationship secure in the thought that they can easily get out of it. It countenances “love at first sight” or a situation where a person can marry the first woman or man he/she meets and takes fancy on, believing that anyway he/she can later on divorce his/her partner and jump into another marital relationship with the next woman or man he/she meets and falls in love with. Love is no longer a decision but a mere feeling or emotion. The bill is actually abetting a “marry go round.”

It is erroneous to contend that by recognizing divorce, we will be doing a great favor to the innocent spouse, especially the battered wife as it will enable her to get out of an unbearable marital relationship. On the contrary, it will be doing a greater favor to the guilty spouse particularly the philandering and violent husband because divorce enables him to get out of the marital relationship by battering his wife and/or committing acts that constitute grounds for divorce and then remarry again and still continue to commit those acts every time he wants to get out of the marital relationship he has repeatedly entered into. In fact, it works both ways, it can also be the wife who is the guilty spouse committing infidelities and similar acts constituting grounds for divorce and rewarded with freedom to remarry again and again.

Of course we are one of the few countries at present without any divorce law. But that is not something to be ashamed of. On the contrary it is something to be proud of. We should be proud to be known and distinguished as: the only country which continue to preserve and even strengthen marriage and family ties under any circumstances, like being separated for sometime because of need to work abroad; the only country where family members continue to respect and take care of their elders especially the sick and the infirm, instead of dumping them in nursing homes or homes for the aged; the only country where parents and siblings toil and sacrifice for the sake of the other members of the family; the only country where the greater majority of husbands and wives continue to live together in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.

Joescoundrel
02-12-2018, 08:53 AM
Define criteria for marriage dissolution, House urged

By: Vince F. Nonato - Reporter / @VinceNonatoINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:50 AM February 12, 2018

The University of the Philippines Law Center (UPLC) has called on the House of Representatives to tighten its definition of "irreconcilable differences" and "severe and chronic unhappiness" as criteria in the pending bill on the dissolution of marriage.

These two reasons were listed as valid grounds for the dissolution of marriage under House Bill No. 6027, which was filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and several administration and opposition lawmakers.

'Misunderstanding'

In a 10-page paper submitted to the House committee on population and family relations, UPLC said the lack of definition of these two grounds "will lead only to misunderstanding of the law and laxity in dissolving marriages."

"It can be presumed that all spouses who file a petition in court will claim severe and chronic unhappiness. It goes without saying that those who will go to court will claim that their differences are beyond repair and reconciliation is improbable," the paper read.

Vagueness

This will be similar to the vagueness in the controversial term "psychological incapacity," which was listed under Article 36 of the Family Code as a ground for the currently allowed annulment of marriage.

In fact, while the Family Code took effect in August 1998, the Supreme Court only laid down the "guidelines" on "psychological incapacity" in the 1997 decision in the case of Republic v. Molina.

UPLC warned that the current text of the bill containing such "broad and ambiguous language will most likely result in the same confusion as Article 36 does and will, consequently, be in need of 'statutory and jurisprudential parameters.'"

UPLC also found it "unclear" if the bill would abandon Article 213 of the Family Code, providing for the "tender years" presumption, which states that children below 7 years old cannot be separated from the mother.

Since the bill only provided that it would leave the issue of parental authority to the spouses unless overruled by the court, UPLC said the wording could allow the child to be placed in the father's custody with the court's approval.

Clarify

"To avoid future acrimonious litigation that will traumatize the children, the House Bill should clarify this point," the paper read.

While the bill sought to penalize the use of coercion by one spouse on the other, UPLC said it found unclear the effect of such a finding on the status of the marriage being dissolved.

UPLC also said the term "dissolution of marriage" was a "disguised 'divorce'" and added that Congress did not have to come up with the name because the Family Code already allowed divorce for Muslims and foreign spouses.

It said the dissolution of marriage, or divorce, would allow couples to terminate their union on grounds (such as abuse) arising after the celebration of marriage.

Joescoundrel
03-16-2018, 02:35 PM
Do not rush divorce bill, bishop tells lawmakers

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:08 AM March 16, 2018

SANTA BARBARA, Pangasinan – Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Thursday appealed to lawmakers to allow more debates on a bill establishing divorce as an avenue for dissolving marriages.

“Do not hurry. If you will allow reasonable debates and give people an opportunity to give their views, I know you will be able to think clearly,” Villegas said.

Second reading

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved the bill on second reading after starting its period of debate and interpellation on the measure on March 12.

The measure would allow “spouses in irremediably failed marriages” to get divorce under limited grounds to “protect children from pain and stress resulting from their parents’ marital problems,” and to allow divorced people to remarry.

‘Sacred’

“What God has joined together, let no man, let no law, let no government separate,” Villegas said.

“[Marriage] is sacred and allowing divorce will not be of help to our moral fiber as Filipinos,” he said, adding that divorce would have “adverse consequences” for children. - GABRIEL CARDINOZA

Joescoundrel
03-16-2018, 02:37 PM
Poor pay high price for divorce ban

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:06 AM March 16, 2018

For well-off people like Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, getting out of a bad marriage in the country is pricey but feasible.

But for the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, it is nearly impossible.

That’s because the Philippines and the Vatican are the last two places on Earth where divorce is outlawed.

For the nation’s 100 million people, the only exit from a union gone wrong is an embarrassing and labyrinthine process that often amounts to a luxury.

But lawmakers, including Alvarez, have launched a new legislative effort to legalize divorce which activists believe could transform the lives of impoverished women trapped in toxic marriages.

Civil procedure

The bill has been propelled forward by Alvarez, a staunch ally of President Duterte.

In an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP), Alvarez said ending his first marriage cost him P1 million, which was more than triple what an average family in the country made in a year.

Alvarez did it through a civil procedure called annulment, whereby a judge declares a marriage invalid, generally because the spouses had a “psychological incapacity.”

Annulment requires applicants to undergo a mental exam, testify in court, and sometimes even claim they or their spouse entered the union with a disorder like narcissism.

The process can take anywhere from one to 10 years to wind through the creakingly slow and overburdened Philippine court system, costing at least P245,000.

Since 1999, lawmakers have regularly filed a bill to legalize divorce, only to see it languish in committee limbo until now.

‘Badge of stupidity’

For the first time ever, members of the House of Representatives are poised to approve the bill after backing it in preliminary votes.

The measure would then head to the Senate where it faces opposition from conservative members.

However, the bill seems to enjoy rare bipartisan support, a sign Alvarez says of the urgency of addressing broken marriages.

“It’s a badge of stupidity because we are the only nation that does not see the problem,” said the 60-year-old Alvarez.

The proposed legislation would allow divorce and exempt poor people from legal fees, listing domestic violence, attempts to engage a spouse in prostitution and irreconcilable differences among the grounds for splitting up.

Not surprisingly, the country’s powerful Catholic Church, which counts about 80 percent of Filipinos as followers, has fiercely opposed the bill.

“It is not according to the Scriptures, to the will of God and it does not help,” said Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo.

The Church fought a pitched but ultimately unsuccessful battle in 2012 to halt a law providing free contraceptives to poor couples and teaching sex education in schools.

It has also backed an existing ban on abortion and gay marriage.

Notwithstanding Church opposition, surveys show a majority of Filipinos have supported legalizing divorce since 2014.

At the same time, the number of the people filing for annulments have grown steadily in the past decade, hitting over 10,000 in 2017, according to government statistics.

“Filipinos have become more open. They’ve been exposed to norms from other countries,” said Jean Franco, assistant political science professor at the University of the Philippines.

But with Catholic clergy lobbying and protesting against the bill, its final passage is uncertain.

Duterte stand ambiguous

The country’s outspoken President, whose own marriage was annulled, has yet to wade into the debate. Although he spoke in favor of upholding the ban during his 23 years as mayor of Davao City, he is mercurial on social issues.

A longtime critic of the Church, Mr. Duterte voiced support for gay marriage in 2015, only to backtrack after winning the presidency in 2016, before endorsing it yet again last December.

He also has plenty on his plate, with international war crimes prosecutors launching a preliminary probe of his deadly war on drugs, which has also aroused the ire of the Church.

Campaigners say the bill could offer a lifeline to women trapped in violent marriages.

Divorce is a woman’s issue, especially for poor women who are being abused because it could provide them an out legally,” said Elizabeth Angsioco, national chair of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines.

‘Strangling, screaming’

For women like Melody Alan who says she has endured 14 years of abuse from an unfaithful, alcoholic husband, the ban cannot be overturned soon enough.

“He strangled me, pushed me against a wall. I was crying and screaming. I couldn’t breathe,” said Alan, secretary general of the Divorce Advocates of the Philippines.

Alan, 44, said her husband agreed to accept an annulment if she paid for it, something she could in “no way” afford while raising four children.

In 2010, she separated from her husband, who now has two children with another woman, but they remain legally married.

“I will file for divorce to get freedom (to say) that this is who I am now,” Alan said. “I can start anew.” - AFP

Joescoundrel
03-22-2018, 08:10 AM
Church survey: More Filipinos ‘strongly agree’ to divorce law

By: DJ Yap, Tina G. Santos - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:45 AM March 22, 2018

More Filipinos “strongly agree” to the legalization of divorce in the country, with more women than men expressing their approval for it, a survey by the Catholic Church-run Radio Veritas has indicated.

Based on the Veritas Truth Survey (VTS) released on Tuesday, 39 percent of the 1,200 respondents from urban and rural areas nationwide said that they “strongly agree” to making divorce legal, with 35 percent saying they “strongly disagree.”

The House of Representatives on Monday passed the bill allowing divorce and the dissolution of marriage. The bill will be transmitted to the Senate for its concurrence.

Of those surveyed, 13 percent said they “somewhat agree,” while another 13 percent said they “somewhat disagree.”

The survey was conducted by the Research Department of Radio Veritas from December 2017 to January 2018.

‘Wake-up call’

Radio Veritas president Fr. Anton Pascual described the results of the survey as “a wake-up call and a big challenge to the Catholic Church” which, he said, opposed divorce because this would further destroy the bond between husband and wife.

More female respondents “strongly agreed” to legalizing divorce at 43 percent, versus

34 percent of male respondents expressing strong approval for it. Thirty five percent of female and male respondents, respectively, said they “strongly disagreed” with having divorce in the country.

Younger, richer

Younger respondents “strongly agreed” to the legalization of the divorce, with 43 percent aged 13-20 years old, 34 percent aged 21-39, 38 percent from 40-60 years old, and 19 percent aged 61 and above.

Respondents who are better off economically tend to favor divorce as well, with 46 percent of those who “strongly agree” coming from Class A; 62 percent from Class B; 55 percent from Class C2; 48 percent from Class C1; 40 percent from Class D, and 31 percent from Class E.

Not any less Catholic

Prodivorce lawmakers, meanwhile, assured the faithful that approving divorce would not make the Philippines any less Catholic.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the bill’s coauthor, pointed out that many other Catholic countries have legalized divorce, including Ireland, Italy and Spain.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that even Jerusalem - where Jesus Christ lived - has a law on divorce.

In the meantime, he added, there was still time to change the mind of President Duterte, who had expressed reservations on divorce, saying he had the welfare of children and neglected spouses in mind.

Joescoundrel
03-23-2018, 10:16 AM
Irregular families?

By: Michael L. Tan - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:20 AM March 23, 2018

I don’t know if the term is used much, but some years back, when I applied for my eldest child to be admitted to a preschool, I was gently told that she could not be taken in because she was from an “irregular” family.

It seems we were irregular on two counts: adoption (I look at it as two-way: A child adopts a parent as much as the other way around), and solo parenting. Maybe we lost on still another count: a solo father.

I got the message, found a good preschool that is inclusive, and never bothered trying to get into a “regular” school again.

“Irregular” is a term used by some people to refer to anything that doesn’t fit into the stereotype of a family as consisting of a father, a mother, two or three children, and maybe a dog and a cat.

Think of the last family reunion you had, probably around Christmas and New Year’s Day, and you probably encountered more “irregular” families - single parents, separated parents, maybe even same-sex parents.

But irregular families are here to stay, and in large enough numbers that need more attention. I even suspect, with so many Filipinos having to work away from their families, that irregular families are now the norm.

Declining marriages

Let me start off with one clear trend from the Philippine Statistics Authority, and I’m quoting from its latest report: “In a span of 10 years, the reported number of marriages decreased by 14.4 percent from 2007 to 2016.” The actual figures are 490,054 in 2007 and 419,628 in 2016.

The decline is incongruent with the growing population, including the segment of young adults. These “marriageables” just aren’t getting married.

Are they perhaps postponing marriage? That certainly is happening, with the median age of marriage in 2011 as 23 for females and 28 for males. We know, too, of the phenomenon among low-income families of couples living together because they can’t afford a grand church wedding. They postpone, and postpone, until they reach middle or even old age, and then sign up for a mass wedding sponsored by some politician, with their grandchildren or even great-grandchildren attending.

But postponement just can’t explain the declining number of marriages, which covers all age groups.

I looked for statistics on the number of couples living together and there weren’t any, at least not as research with the enumeration of live-in couples as the main objective. But there is the National Demographic Health Survey done every few years and involving large numbers of women, to look at the number of children they have, family planning, and other aspects of maternal health. The last NDHS was conducted in 2016, with results released only recently.

For the 25,074 women in the survey, designed to reflect the national population across regions, 35 percent had never been married; 42 percent, married; 18 percent, living together; 3 percent, separated; and 1 percent, widowed. (I’ve rounded off the figures, which is why they don’t add up to 100 percent.)

The “never married” segment of the female population deserves more attention. We know all too well from our own clans of aunts who postponed marriage to support younger siblings through school, until, as one of my own aunts described it, “time passed us by.” That said, many did unofficially adopt nephews and nieces, raising them as their own children as an irregular family. Just last weekend, someone in our clan who was everyone’s favorite aunt passed away, and the wake was not so much sorrowful as it was a celebration of her very full life—a nanay in every sense of the word.

As for the other figures, note that 18 percent of the women in the NDHS were in live-in relationships. I would not be surprised if the actual numbers were higher. When surveys are conducted, women are simply asked: “May asawa ba kayo?” (Are you married?) and even in a live-in relationship, they will answer “yes”.

It is important to establish just how many live-in couples there are because they do not enjoy many of the social services and privileges granted to married couples. Women in live-in relationships are vulnerable because the men can abscond any time, fleeing their responsibilities for the children. Women do leave their live-in partners as well, usually because they suffer domestic abuse, but take their children with them.

What happens then, especially in urban poor areas, is that women might move from one live-in relationship to another. The men they live with may also have children from previous relationships. These are called blended families, although I wonder just how blended they can be, given the natural tensions that come from having stepparents and stepsiblings. Blended families happen, too, when widows or widowers remarry.

Informal social sector

If there is an informal economic sector, there is also an informal social sector—couples in live-in relationships, children unofficially adopted by an unmarried aunt, or even, in poor communities, by neighbors.
Very quietly, too, there are many same-sex couples in the Philippines who have been adopting children, again unofficially since they can’t even marry.

I’ve written occasionally about the sandwich generation, or people who have dependents going up and down across generations. One very extreme example that I documented had several generations of males having children very early, ending up with a newborn son, a father aged 16, all the way up to a great-great-greatgrandfather aged 92. And who do you think was providing most of the support for all these generations? Yes, the 92-year-old. A club sandwich family.

A variation now getting attention in the Western media is the boomerang parent. In the West, it used to be that children would leave their parents during college or right after college, and never return home.

These days, because of the economic crisis in the West, the children who have moved out, sometimes already in their 30s, will move back in with their parents. Boomerang. Again, we’ve had boomerang parents in the Philippines and other poorer countries for decades, some of them even being boomerang grandparents (the grandchildren moving in).

All these “irregular” families have it tough, facing social discrimination as well as a lack of government support, varying from one “irregular” family type to another. Rightly so, more government support is now extended to single mothers, but single fathers have practically no benefits. Live-in couples have no official benefits as a couple, but their children do have some benefits from SSS, GSIS and PhilHealth.

The many changing configurations of Filipino families, irregular as they may sound, still fall back on basics: the need to survive, the need for companionship, the need of societies for biological as well as social reproduction, particularly value systems. In the current war on drugs, I have found in urban poor communities kind neighbors taking in children whose parents are in prison, or who have been killed.

Take time to get to know some of those families in your clan and in your community and you will find they uphold family values much more than regular ones.

Joescoundrel
03-27-2018, 09:26 AM
Trusting Church wisdom on void marriages

By: Cristina A. Montes, Jaime B. Achacoso - @inquirerdotnet 05:05 AM March 27, 2018

Proponents of divorce as a solution to spousal abuse cite the difficulty of obtaining a civil declaration of nullity of marriage.

The process does need reform. Getting marriage nullity declarations from courts would be easier if the provisions of the Family Code (FC) on void and voidable marriages resembled their counterpart provisions in the Code of Canon Law (CCL) more.

Law students hear that the Catholic Church influenced the drafting of the FC, making its provisions “oppressive.” But the FC provisions on void and voidable marriages were, in fact, not influenced enough by the CCL. This is unfortunate for many who otherwise would have cases for obtaining marriage nullity declarations.

The CCL has more, not less, grounds for nullity of marriage. It recognizes “grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and duties, which are to be mutually given and accepted” (often shortened as “lack of due discretion”) as a ground for nullity. By contrast, the FC does not.

Furthermore, under the CCL, marriages are either valid or void, never voidable. Marriages that are voidable under the FC are simply void under the CCL.

While a petition to annul a voidable marriage must be filed within five years from the discovery or disappearance of the ground or from the marriage, as the case may be, a petition to declare a marriage void may be filed any time.

For example, under Article 45 (4) of the FC, a marriage where the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation, or undue influence is voidable. The petition to have it annulled must be filed within five years from the disappearance or cessation of the force, intimidation, or undue influence. After five years, the only way to have the marriage declared void is the famous Article 36, with the need for the testimony of fee-charging experts to prove psychological incapacity.

If such marriages were void instead of voidable under the FC, the petition may be filed even more than five years. This happens in canon law, where the grounds for the declaration of nullity of marriage do not lapse with the passage of time, and can be alleged any time. And all that would be needed is proof that the marriage was obtained by force, intimidation, or undue influence.

More: While Article 45 (4) of the FC states “force, intimidation, or undue influence,” Canon 1103 of the CCL states “force or grave fear inflicted from outside the person, even when inflicted unintentionally, which is of such type that the person is compelled to choose marriage in order to be freed from it.” This is broad enough to encompass shotgun marriages, as well as marriages contracted because of threat of shame due to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, or fear of displeasing one’s parents who arranged the marriage.

There are more reasons why the CCL is more flexible than the FC with regard to marriage nullities.

Indeed, the CCL is based on a holistic view of the person, and of marriage with its specific nature and telos. Thus, the CCL provisions on void marriages are internally consistent and “just right”—protecting marriage, while providing solutions to putative marriages that are marriages in name only.

Divorce inflicts heavy costs on society and is unnecessary. Most of the extreme cases cited by divorce proponents are cases of either void or voidable marriages (in FC terminology), which are invalid ab initio (in CCL terminology). The reason such unions appear irreparable is that often, there was no marriage to begin with: either because of an inherent lack of capacity for marriage on the part of one or both parties, or a defect in the consent that is at the heart of the marriage covenant.

It is said that “what God has put together, let no man put asunder.” The converse is also true: What God has not put together (the case of a marriage that is invalid ab initio), should also not be forced to remain in force purely on legalistic reasons—i.e., that the marriage contract is in force. What is needed is a more efficient way to have such a defective contract declared invalid ab initio, rather than legalizing divorce, which is nothing but the recension of a valid marriage contract to satisfy the minority cases of spouses who choose not to honor such a covenant.

* * *

Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, a canon lawyer and a Catholic priest, holds a doctorate in canon law from the University of Navarra in Spain. Cristina A. Montes holds law degrees from the University of the Philippines and the University of Navarra.