For the nth time, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman has filed a bill legalizing divorce, hopefully through the 19th Congress.
Lagman was the principal author of previous bills legislating absolute divorce.
Through House Bill No. 78, the solon is “finally” hopeful that “beleaguered and tormented wives can soon be liberated from irretrievably dysfunctional marriages or inordinately abusive marital relations.”
A similar bill was passed on third reading by the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress but was not acted upon by the Senate due to time constraints.
An identical divorce bill was approved by the committee on population and family relations in the 18th Congress but was marooned in the Committee on Appropriations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill reinstituting absolute divorce “is an apt 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 outlaws absolute divorce even as the Catholic hierarchy grants canonical dissolution of marriage.
All other Catholic countries recognize absolute divorce in varying degrees of liberality, the lawmaker noted.
Lagman’s bill reinstates 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, Feb. 13, 2009), Lagman said that “no less than the Supreme Court has ruled that the severance of a marriage bond is a decent interment of a long dead marriage.”
“Notwithstanding the adoption of the 1987 Constitution 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 the Congress is not prohibited or precluded from instituting absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage under the current Charter,” Lagman added.