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DIVORCE

IN THE PHILIPPINES

Abad, Christine
Abecia, Joshua
Aboc, Marie Antoinette
Abuzo, Stephen
Cutayan, Malvin
Evangelista, Pamela Louisse
Olamit, Karl
Tabamo, Laurence Jess
Ybanez, Welfred

MR. ZARDO J. TOROY


I. Introduction

Currently, the only legal recourse available to Filipinos who want to exit
a failed union is through an annulment or a petition for legal separation. These
two options have different grounds and end results.
Under the Family Code of the Philippines, a marriage may be annulled if
any of the following grounds exist: lack of parental consent, psychological
incapacity, fraud, marriage by force or intimidation, inability to consummate the
marriage and if one party has contracted a sexually-transmissible disease. The
1987 Family Code was introduced under the presidency of Corazon Aquino.
Across the globe, the Philippines and the Vatican are the only states
without divorce but allow the annulment of marriages. The Vatican is an
independent state headed by the pope, who also heads the Catholic Church. The
Philippines, meanwhile, is a predominantly Catholic country. Majority of
couples also opt to marry in church.
Muslims in the Philippines, however, are not covered by the ban on
divorce. Presidential Decree No. 1083, signed by the late strongman Ferdinand
Marcos Sr., provides that a couple married under the Muslim laws "have the
right to divorce."
The Divorce Bill has been introduced to the by lawmakers during the 13th
Congress in 2005, however, up until today, there are still several issues and
people who are completely against this Bill. Considering that most of us,
Filipinos, are Catholic, we value the sanctity of marriage. On the other hand,
there is also a great number of people who supports the approval of Divorce Bill
in the Philippines. Thus, the Divorce Bill is a moral dilemma in the Philippines,
and lawmakers are having second thoughts on actually pushing through this bill.
II. OUR STAND
Personally, although against our belief as Catholics, we think that the Divorce
Bill should be approved in the Philippines. This is for the reason that, many people
are suffering because they can't get away from the marriage that they have been
forced to enter in the first place. Domestic violence can take place which disturbs
and destroy not only the married couple themselves, but also their children.
Failed marriage is not something that can be foreseen. Anyone can be happy
with their partner, and the next day, they can be completely violent against one
another.
On a senate hearing on divorce bills last September 17, 2019, few people
shared their experiences on their marriage. One of which is Stella Sibonga.
For Stella Sibonga, her marital purgatory took the shape of a machete. Her
husband used one to hack away at their house before turning on her.
“I grabbed the machete from him. I was afraid that he might hurt our children.
I don’t know what happened next because I lost consciousness,” said Sibonga in
Filipino.
Len, who asked that her last name not be mentioned, spoke about years of
enduring her husband's philandering and his physical abuse of her and her children.
She tried everything to keep their family intact, even proposing that her husband
divide his time between their family and his mistress. “I told him you can spend 5
days with your mistress and then 2 days with us, just so our family can stay together.
But he still left us.”
These people endured years of pain for they can't get away from the marriage
that they have been trapped which has been stopping them from having a normal
and happy life.

III. CONCLUSION
People marry the person they thought they knew. Sadly, there is much
more that is revealed about them after the wedding. Even long years of
engagement or live-in arrangements cannot always guarantee anything. It is that
commitment and respect (including for one's self) which are often abandoned or
forgotten by at least one of the parties that will eat up everything.
Family values. But what do we really value? Life, safety, and sanity
through divorce? Or that superficial image of a supposedly ideal marriage?
If you don’t believe in it and don't want to get a divorce, then don't get
one. But don't deprive others of the chance to start over and turn a new leaf after
enduring years trapped in a bad marriage.