Manila, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to legalize absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage in the country.
Voting 134 for and 57 against, with two abstaining, the lawmakers approved House Bill No. 7303 – “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines.”
The House started its period of debate and interpellation on the proposed measure last March 12 and approved it on second reading two days after.
The bill seeks to provide spouses in “irremediably failed marriages” to secure an absolute divorce decree under limited grounds, to protect children from pain and stress resulting from their parents’ maritime problems, and to grant divorced spouses to marry again.
Grounds for an absolute divorce include the following:
- reasons stated under legal separation and annulment under the Family Code of the Philippines
- separation in fact for at least five years
- legal separation by judicial decree for at least two years
- psychological incapacity
- gender reassignment surgery
- irreconcilable differences
- joint petition of spouses
- The bill also provides for a mandatory six-month cooling-off period for petitioner spouses, and also recognizes the reconciliation of the spouses through a joint manifesto under oath submitted to the court.
The bill will then be submitted to Senate. Some members of the upper Chamber had already expressed opposition to the divorce bill.
President Rodrigo Duterte is also against the divorce bill, saying it would be bad for children of separated parents.