Lagman files new divorce bill for 19th Congress

For the umpteenth time, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman has introduced a bill legalizing divorce, hopefully through the 19th Congress.

Lagman was the principal author of previous bills legislating absolute divorce.

Through Bill 78, Solon hopes “at last” that “besieged and tormented women may soon be freed from irreparably dysfunctional marriages or excessively abusive marital relationships.”

A similar bill passed third reading by the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress, but was not implemented by the Senate due to time constraints.

An identical divorce bill was approved by the Population and Family Relations Committee in the 18th Congress, but stalled by the Appropriations Committee due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill restoring absolute divorce “is an appropriate sequel” to the Reproductive Health Act, which Lagman also authored, since in both measures the central figure is the woman, he said.

The Philippines is the only country, aside from the Vatican, that still prohibits absolute divorce even though the Catholic hierarchy grants canonical dissolution of marriage.

All other Catholic countries recognize absolute divorce with varying degrees of liberality, the lawmaker noted.

Lagman’s bill restores absolute divorce because it was previously practiced by pre-Spanish Filipinos and during the American era and Japanese occupation.

Paraphrasing the decision on Te v. Te (GR No. 161793, February 13, 2009), Lagman said that “nothing less than the Supreme Court has ruled that the severance of a marriage bond is a proper burial of a long-dead marriage. ”

“Notwithstanding the 1987 Constitution’s adoption of the precepts that marriage is a social institution, the foundation of the family, and is inviolable, the commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Commission were unanimous that Congress is not not prohibited or prevented from instituting absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage under the current Charter,” Lagman added.

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