It seems the divorce bill is again alive in Congress (House Bill 1799; explanatory note and full text). Controversial issue, equally supported and opposed by a multitude. Yet it’s going nowhere. I don’t think we’ll see a divorce law in our lifetime.
Update: P-Noy says no-no to divorce
A few days after this post was published, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was quoted as saying that “divorce is a no-no” (stories from GMA and MB), although he notes that couples who are separated should be allowed to remarry at some point.
The Pinoy blogosphere went ablaze over the announcement. The LivingRice notes that marriage is a sacrament that should not be broken. JRocas noted that it’s “time to move forward into the modern era and away from medieval times.” Jappysworld observed that the Philippines is the one of the only two countries without a divorce law (the other is Malta). Maria of AllebaPolitics asserts that the “biggest arguments against divorce are the consequent illegitimacy of the children and the high price (both financially and emotionally) of annullment.”
Let’s re-open the Divorce Poll
We had an informal poll, which ran from 4-27 November 2007, asking if readers were in favor of divorce. There was a total of 68 votes. According to 14 votes (21%), divorce should not be allowed in the Philippines. On the other hand, 54 votes (79%) says that divorce should be allowed in the Philippines. Another poll was opened since 30 September 2009. As of this writing, 19 September 2010, a whopping 77% (379 votes) favors divorce.
Previous comments on divorce
Let’s roundup the comments and arguments made regarding the subject of divorce in this site. Given the number of discussions, we’re constrained to focus on the comments which garnered the most number of ratings from readers (at least 20 ratings, except that of John which is added for balance):
I am in a bad marriage right now. I am one of those who rushed in without thinking. My spouse and I always argue about money and all the people that my wife hates. She hates my parents and my brother. I am just trying really hard not to boil over and hurt her. She launders all the money i earn and I just cannot take it anymore. (Well now I am the one managing finances). And I have fallen out of love because of these situations.
I would support Senators and Congressman who would push for absolute divorce in the Philippines.
I guess, divorce is NOT the answer of marital crisis. Many people dive into the challenging and rather satisfying life of marriage without the needed preparation emotionaly, spiritualy, physically and financially. They think entering into a married life is like buying clothes, and, if they no longer like it or the clothes has torn for long use, they would just discard it. Marriage is a sacred thing, lest some people do not know it. A marriage life can be a satisfying, enjoyable and blessed commitment. But since humans are born imperfect, marriage life cannot be without flaw. But a prepared individual who contemplates on committing himself/herself into a sacred bond like marriage will be able to withstand or cope the challenges they may face. Allowing divorce could not solve marital problems, it only aggravates the problem. Think of the emotional pain the children will suffer. The depression that will follow and linger for a long time that preceeds a more devastating effect-juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, prostitution, abuse by relatives, suicide and a long list of more unbearable problems. Some people are just selfish. They don’t think of what might happen to their children when they decide to divorce. Well……still..the solution lies in being educated to prepare oneself before going to marry. Legislators, must, and should learn to address the root rather than the symptoms.
Human beings are imperfect and obviously some think that the concept of marriage should also be (perfect) — that doesn’t make sense. There will be couples who are successful at this union, while other couples will fail. For those who succeed, well and good. Congratulations – you and your children have the blessings of the Philippine Catholic Church. Unfortunately, if you don’t — cases like you, your wife, your illegitimate children, your querida, your children by her, and other abominations are largely ignored by the Church. In otherwords, you will have felt that God has foresaken you.
Here’s the update, after so many years of being one of the few holdover countries without divorce (the tiny island nation Malta is the other) — those cases are still growing exponentially. Isn’t it high time that Philippine Catholic Church join the ranks of modern Catholic Churches around the world and serve and protect both its legitimate and illegitimate children & realize our human imperfections? If a married couple makes a mistake or could not recouncile their differences, shouldn’t they be allowed a second chance at life (i.e., be granted divorce), especially if no children were involved?
By the way, what’s this I hear the Philippine Catholic Church has got the Philippine National Government “by the balls?” No way! The Philippines is not a theocracy (like Iran, which is controlled by its ayatollahs and mullahs). Tell me — are our cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and priests, building a theocractic republic? Last I heard, that would be scandalous at least and rebellious and separatist, at worst. Accordining to our constitution, the Church and State must be separate. But in terms of divorce, however, the Philippines, ironically it seems, is not.
As the years go by, we can expect more of these abominations. Question is, we are still children of God and citizens of the Philippines, with inalienable rights. But where are those rights, may I ask? Yes, we can understand that the Church cares about the greater good. But, what is it doing about those marginalized by a lack of divorce and the consequential pitfalls (e.g., crooked lawyers, a corrupt legal system, etc.)?. Thousands of pesos have been milked from people like us, but whatever strategy that is employed – e.g., psychological incapacity, presumptive death, etc., etc., the fact remains – no strategy should be employed except to tell the truth.
Here’s one truth: She and I would like a divorce — we both agree to it — no coercion, just pure free will. Why can’t we get the ball rolling on getting divorce? Sadly, they call this “collusion;” I call it the truth and reality. Why can’t our wishes be respected by both Church and State?! We didn’t marry the Church or the State — we married each other.
Again, people should be free to pursue a divorce if they feel they cannot continue their marriage! Why does the Philippine Catholic Church have such a hold on our givernment to forbid divorce is beyond me. It seems it has more clout that the Catholic Churches of predominantly Catholic countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, amongst many others — that it has embarassed our country to be one of only two countries in the world without divorce. Add that to another list of laughing stock facts of our beloved country.
The Philippines had better wake up and join the ranks of modern countries (and modern churches), otherwise generations of people who couldn’t remarry or had to bear illegitimate children because of the absence of divorce laws, will only have one question – God, hath thou foresaken us?
i strongly agree with you johnny zelaya, i am bitter with philippine laws, separated for 18 years, raising two children by myself, but still have to spend all my savings 150K for annulment and get denied, court says good only for legal separation. catholic religion is a curse to the nation, practicing idolatry, selling hell, filipinos need to realize that catholic countries are the poorest and the most corrupt. as a woman that for 18 years feel not protected by my country, i want to throw my citizenship to the dogs if only there is a way. i need to be dead first before philippines laws recognize i have to be free from an abusive husband. what good is that? when there is no collusion, chances for your petition for annulment is denied. when there is collusion, sure it will be granted. that’s how catholic courts operates. that is reality.
Allowing absolute divorce in the Philippines
As early as 2006, we were calling for arguments on divorce (see Divorce – a call for arguments). A comment by djan notes that it is high time that the Philippine government look unto the possibility of enacting a law on divorce, “Philippine Style”.
We also have a previous post detailing the arguments why divorce should be allowed in the Philippines (see Allowing Absolute Divorce in the Philippines). We’ve already noted before that we won’t see a divorce law in our lifetime, and that you could use the power of your vote to support divorce (see Using the Power of your Vote on the Divorce Issue). Let’s continue the debate — should the Philippines allow divorce “Pinoy-style”?