MANILA, Philippines - Party-list group Gabriela has revived the Divorce Bill in Congress. [Yup. That's right.]
Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus said divorce is a more affordable option than annulment, for which the ground of psychological incapacity is often difficult to prove. [So it is because of affordability and nothing else that pushes them to have divorce in the country. Like that worked in soooo many countries. And what is these psychological incapacity with annulment cases? If one of the parties is proven to be psychologically incapable to be in a relationship, then why do we see some public personalities getting married or in a relationship all over again?]
Family law expert [aka "I get my salary from breaking up families"] Atty. Evelyn Ursua said there are many problems that come with having a marriage annulled.
"Conceptually it's problematic. We do creative interpretation. It encourages corruption. It's a tedious and expensive process. Almost all the cases that reach the Supreme Court were denied petition for declaration of nullity, except in very few cases. Kung sufficient ang remedy na 'yan, we would not propose a divorce bill," she said.
Ursua estimated the cost of divorce proceedings to run up to P300,000 or below minus the cost of clinical psychologists. [But attorney's fees do not go down, right? Right...]
She admitted that given the tediousness of annulment proceedings, they have been riddled with the practice of paying off people involved in the process, including psychology experts, to get a decree of annulment on the ground of psychological incapacity. [So she has admitted in the interview that she bribed a psychology expert to fake an exam report. Isn't that ground for disbarment?]
Ursua noted that adultery is not a ground for annulment, and concerned parties have to show that it is a manifestation of a psychological disorder that constitutes psychological incapacity to perform the essential marital obligations.
Given the range of problems and difficulties that come with having a marriage annulled, Ursua believes divorce may be a more practical remedy for Filipinos who need to get out of a bad marriage.
Ursua said there are also more specific and quantifiable grounds for divorce.
1) separation in fact: parties separated for 5 years wherein reconciliation is highly improbable;
2) legal separation for at least 2 years wherein reconciliation is highly improbable;
3) when the grounds for legal separation cause the irreparable breakdown of the marriage;
4) psychological incapacity; and
5) when parties suffer from irreconcilable differences [Another used up term.] that cause the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.
[But if any of these is proven, why allow them to get married again?]
Ursua noted divorce also provides a period of support.
"For a period of one year, pwede humingi ng support ang isang party, depending on their financial capacity, to give the spouse time to look for work and regain lost ground," Ursua said, adding divorce will not affect the children's right to parental support.
Despite such perceived advantages, the measure is expected to meet opposition from the Catholic church. [You think? The bishops are so highly opinionated you think they would sit down on an issue that even caused the creation of a new church?]
[sic. This should have been Retired Archbishop] Bishop Oscar Cruz has said, in the absence of divorce, the church can declare a marriage void if domestic violence is proven.[Archbishop Cruz is a canon lawyer. This is his forte. He knows what he is talking about.]
Currently, divorce is allowed in Italy, home of the Vatican, [Dumb! The Vatican is a separate sovereign state. Vatican City is located within Rome which is the capital of Italy. But Italy is not the home of the Vatican. See how the play on words paints a picture that Italy is soooo anti-Catholic then why the Philippines is so stubbornly faithfully Catholic?] where the law of the state is separate from the Church law. [Belch! That Church vs State thing again.]
Despite such opposition to the measure, Ursua believes there is strong public clamor for a divorce bill. [Ahhh. The prophet of the people!]She called on the public to voice its support to the measure for it to gain ground, and not to leave the measure to the country's legislators alone.
Ursua also hopes the Church and the State see the need to provide couples with a solution to a problematic marriage. [So divorce is her solution. If she is indeed looking for a solution, I was hoping divorce would be last on the list.]
"There's no prohibition in the Constitution against the legalization of divorce. The state law should not discriminate and prefer one religious belief against another," she explained. [But she forgets that you cannot enact a law that would discriminate the sentiments of the majority of the people, which happens to be all Catholic!]
Conservatives have called for the need to strengthen families, saying making divorce available may only encourage couples to separate. [BINGO!]
Ursua disagreed. [In the earlier paragraph she wants the Church and the State to provide couples with a solution to a problematic marriage. Then lo and behold she does not want solution such as "strengthening families". All she wants is an over-the-counter solution. You want to get married? Go pick your choice. You don't want it? Give it back, just don't forget the receipt. No...the receipt is a sarcastic jibe.] "We should trust the cultural restraints in Philippine society, the value given to marriage and family, but we need to give remedies to people who need to terminate a failed marriage." [We have one. It's called annulment. Just go a fall in line. There is no express lane here. So before getting married, think very hard.]
Historically, Ursua noted, divorce was practiced in the Philippines under the 1935 Constitution before it was removed in the New Civil Code. [Because that Constitution was shoved down our throats by...Americans!]
"We used to have a divorce law in the Philippines before August 30, 1950," Ursua said, adding former Vice President Arturo Tolentino was among the Filipinos who availed of it and remarried before the law was changed. [So?]
To this day, Ursua added, the remedy is available for those under the Muslim law. [So.]
"The Muslim Filipinos have divorce under the Muslim code so it's only non-Muslim Filipinos who can't avail of divorce at this time." [And a Muslim man can marry as much as five times! But why ask Catholics to do this when it is an abomination that Christ Himself condemned!]
The Philippines and Malta are the only two countries in the world that don't allow divorce.
As debates are expected to heat up on the Divorce Bill, in the same way as the Reproductive Health Bill, time will tell whether the measure gains ground in a country where family unity is held as sacred, if not more so than the very rite of marriage. [You can say that again.]
The problem with most Filipinos is that they love imitating what they see on TV. Fashion, culture...name it! Filipinos would never be the last to have it.
But divorce? This is no cellphone or new pair of jeans. This one is both cultural and religious.
Lines are clearly drawn.