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  1. #31
    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).

    * * *

  2. #32
    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

  3. #33
    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

  4. #34
    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.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  5. #35
    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.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  6. #36
    ^ 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.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  7. #37
    ^ 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.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  8. #38
    Wrong method
    A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) By Jose C. Sison
    (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 27, 2015 - 12:00am


    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.


 
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