Reading the divroce bill and the idiots who fight it for the wrong reason

Taking a break from face-palming and debunking theistic creationist claims and homophobic assertions that same-sex lifestyles are a medical threat I’ve come back to the issue of divorce in the Philippines. I have finally managed to get my hands on a copy of the bill itself and have read through it.
The Bill I have below is House Bill 1799 first authored and presented to Congress July 27, 2010. And no amendments have been made to it as far as I know.
TAKE NOTE OF THE SECTIONS IN ALL CAPS.
AN ACT

INTRODUCING DIVORCE IN THE PHILIPPINES, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE
TITLE II, ARTICLES 55 TO 66 INCLUSIVE AND ARTICLE 26 OF EXECUTIVE
ORDER NO. 209, AS AMENDED, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE FAMILY CODE
OF THE PHILIPPINES, AND REPEALING ARTICLE 36 OF THE SAME CODE,
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in
Congress assembled:
SECTION 1. Title II of Executive Order No. 209, amended, otherwise known
as The Family Code of the Philippines, is hereby amended to read as follows:
“TITLE II
LEGAL SEPARATION AND DIVORCE”
SECTION 2. Articles 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62) 63, 64, 65 and 66 of
Executive Order No. 209, as amended, otherwise known as The Family Code of the
Philippines, are also hereby amended to read as follows:
“Art. 55(A). A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of
the following grounds:
(1)
Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against
the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
(2)
Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change
religious or political affiliation;
(3)

Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement;

(4)
Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more
than six years, even if pardoned;
(5)
Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;
(6)
Lesbianism or homosexuality-of the respondent;
(7)
Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage,
whether in the Philippines or abroad;,
(8)
Sexual infidelity or perversion;
(9)
Attempt by the respondent against life of the petitioner; or
(10) Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for
more than one year.
For purposes of this Article, the term “child” shall include a child
by nature or by adoption.
(B) A PETITION FOR DIVORCE MAY BE FILED ON ANY OF THE
FOLLOWING GROUNDS:

(1) THE PETITIONER HAS BEEN SEPARATED DE FACTO FROM HIS OR HER SPOUSE FOR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS AT THE TIME OF THE FILING OF THE PETITION AND RECONCILIATION IS HIGHLY IMPROBABLE;

(2) THE PETITIONER HAS BEEN LEGALLY SEPARATED FROM HIS OR HER SPOUSE FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS AT THE TIME OF THE FILING OF THE PETITION AND RECONCILIATION IS HIGHLY IMPROBABLE;

(3) WHEN ANY OF THE GROUNDS FOR LEGAL SEPARATION UNDER PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS ARTICLE HAS CAUSED THE IRREPARABLE BREAKDOWN OF THE MARRIAGE;

(4) WHEN ONE OR BOTH SPOUSES ARE PSYCHOLOGICALLY
INCAPACITATED TO COMPLY WITH THE ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATIONS;
(5)
WHEN
THE
SPOUSES
SUFFER
FROM

IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES THAT HAVE CAUSED THE IRREPARABLE BREAKDOWN OF THE MARRIAGE.”

“Art. 56. The petition for legal separation OR DIVORCE shall be denied
on any of the following grounds:
[(1) When the aggrieved party has condoned the offense or act
complained of;
(2)Where the aggrieved party has consented to the commission of the offense
or act complained of;]
[(3)] [1] Where there is connivance between the parties in the commission of
the offense or act constituting the ground for legal separation OR DIVORCE;
[(4) Where both parties have given ground for legal separation;]
[(5)] (2) Where there is collusion between the parties to obtain the decree of
legal separation OR DIVORCE; [or
(6) Where the action is barred by prescription.]”
“Art. 57. [An action for legal separation shall be filed within five years from
the time of the occurrence of the cause.] AN ACTION FOR LEGAL SEPARATION
OR DIVORCE MAY BE FILED AT ANY TIME.”
“Art. 58. An action for legal separation shall in no case be tried before six
months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition.THE SAME RULE SHALL

APPLY TO AN ACTION FOR DIVORCE BASED ON ARTICLE 55 (B), NUMBERS 3
AND 5 OF THIS CODE. THIS RULE SHALL NOT APPLY WHERE THE ACTION
FOR LEGAL SEPARATION OR DIVORCE INVOLVES ACTS OF VIOLENCE
AGAINST WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9262. IN
A SUCH CASE, SECTION 19 OF THE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9262 SHALL APPLY”.

“Art. 59. No legal separation OR DIVORCE may be decreed unless the Court has taken steps towards the reconciliation of the spouses and is fully satisfied, despite such efforts, that reconciliation is highly improbable.”

“Art. 60. No decree of legal separation OR DIVORCE shall be based upon a
stipulation of facts or a confession of judgment.
In any case, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that the evidence is not fabricated or suppressed.”
“Art. 61. After the filing of the petition for legal separation OR DIVORCE, the
spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other.

The court, in the absence of a written agreement between the spouses, shall designate either of them or a third person to administer the absolute community or conjugal partnership property. The administrator appointed by the court shall have the same powers and duties as those of a guardian under the Rules of Court.”

“Art. 62. During the pendency of the action for legal separation OR DIVORCE, the provisions of Article 49 shall likewise apply to the support of the spouses and the custody and support of their common children.”

My thoughts

Below is a link to a blog that published the “Explanatory Note” that Gabriela Representative Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana De Jesus wrote along with bill (I did not include it here because it would have made the post too long).

http://jlp-law.com/blog/proposed-divorce-law-in-the-philippines/

It’s a relatively short bill and not such a bitch to read or to understand. I’ve already made my stand known on this issue and after reading the bill I’ve found that it was actually pretty conservative.

When you read back to Section (B) you’ll see that the divorce we’re talking about here is only applicable to couples who for all intents and purposes are already apart. The only possible objections I can see are on the (B)(5) and that’s already after I was purposely looking for bad points.

The possible question will arise: who,what,when,and how will be differences deemed irreconcilable causing irreparable breakdown of the marriage? And it is neatly answered in Art. 59.

So basically no one can get divorced right off the bat. A couple has to be legally or de facto separated for a number of years first before even being able to file for divorce after which it’ll take another six months before it goes to trial (barring special circumstance such as safety). And the court is compelled to take steps to reconcile the couple and can only give the divorce a go-ahead after they are thoroughly convinced that there is no other solution.

That is a lot of hoops to jump through and if you really want a divorce you must need it badly to invest this much time and effort just to legally get away from a person.

But then I saw this neat little article from thedisciplers.com (Is disciplers even a word?)

http://thedisciplers.com/divorce-in-the-philippines-say-no-to-it/

After reading it I was sure that none of them even bothered to read the bill or else they would have realized that the stand they are fighting so staunchly against is nothing like the imagined monster they make it out to be.

The first red flag was his mention of God. Ok, you’re religious but that’s not a valid argument. (I say again) The Church, the Bible or whatever they say has and should have no influence on state legislation just as the government has no right to interfere with religious affairs, that is the separation of Church and State (I can’t believe how many times I have to say it).

The next four topics he raises gives credibility to my assumption that he has not or has no intention of actually reading the bill. If he did then he would know that the divorce talked about in the proposed Bill is only an extension of legally or de facto separated couples, or applies the same principles to legally separated couples. But lets discuss them anyway.

He does not see divorce as a solution to wives and children being abused. Really? Does he provide a better solution? No, but let’s put that aside for a moment. He goes on to say that divorce will actually “extend to the growing problem of immorality and sexually related diseases and problems such as unwanted pregnancies and sexually related diseases.” *cough*Non-sequitur*cough*

In the next paragraph he says “Simply because people were given the so-called choice and chance to change while the fact is, it is where the so-called “rights” is abused. It is where many people make use of the right and abuse it for their own self-centered selfish quest for happiness and will only bring them to the same situation again and again and again. That’s why you will see people divorced not just once, nor twice, but multiple times.”

I invoke once again the amendment to Art. 59 where a dissident couple will have to convince a court that the union is irreparable before a divorce could be decreed. It will take a lot of money, time, effort, and money to go through the task of a divorce trial convincing an entire court that your marriage is a failure. I doubt anyone outside the circle of politics, big business, and entertainment will have the resources to go through it “multiple times” and let’s face it they’re already doing it anyway *cough*Kris Aquino*cough*

We do have agreements though. I have stated that the reason for my stand against divorce is based on the observable immaturity of the so-called “Filipino family”. Filipinos as a people do not have the responsible backbone to follow through on something as important as a marriage when given an easy way out because they do not think with their brains but with their ‘hearts’ (as if the heart could ever think of anything).

More often than not marriage is jumped into prematurely even without divorce, and that is my fear. Apparently he thinks the same because he already stated “it could be easily abused” (even though I already provided that it would be highly improbable). However, I, on the one hand, am hoping am wrong about my observation and assertion on the Filipino temperament. There is a small sliver of hope that they may not be jumping the gun, that maybe it is time to trust that the mass populace of the country has gained a more mature way of dealing with society and their peers. He, on the other hand, uses it as an ace in the hole, as if this behavior is cemented into their DNA, irrevocable and cannot or ever be changed.

In the next topic he provides the pros and cons of divorce or at least he tried. The pros were…well, poorly represented is a very polite way of putting it. Saying he dribbled through it with general-isms without putting in much thought or research is a very accurate way of putting it.

My goodness… is there any solid advantages of divorce bill than being self-centered and selfish reasons?”

Yes, if you actually bothered trying to put together a coherent list of advantages you might have been more believable.

He did put together a respectable list of negative side effects (And by that I mean copy-pasted it). The entire list he attributed to another blog post which posted its source as the Michigan Family Law Journal.

Here’s the answer. The studies were conducted on the after-effect of divorce laws IN THE UNITED STATES! Anyone who even bothers to look at any law book or even has a minute understanding of political law would know that no universal rules exist. Laws, though covering the same basic topic vary from one territory to another as per the cultural inclination and economic needs. A study made in the United States cannot apply to the Philippines because of the mere fact that we have different laws.

I have already said that the provisions proposed in the bill are very conservative. They are not the same laws that govern the State of Michigan, they are not the laws of the United States. Therefore the effects you have supplied are not valid.

I also scanned the Michigan Family Law Journal it may be my untrained eyes but I didn’t see the stats you were talking about, just a collection of trial manuscripts but if I’m wrong please inform me I’ve already gone over and beyond checking your source for you.

He goes then to provide a “real answer” and what is this real answer? “Fear of God and teach Morality… Morality… and Morality…. If we have the fear of God and we understand what morality means, then we understand the real answer to the growing problems related to violence against women and children” (of course).

It’s interesting that he mentioned understanding morality because if he actually studied his religion and the book it’s based on he might actually find how amoral it all is.

On a last note he quoted…someone (probably himself) as saying “HWAG PO TAYO MAGING “GAYA-GAYA SA IBANG BANSA”. Nag-approve lang ang Malta na magkaroon sila ng divorce, tayo gusto na rin natin. Wala na bang maisip na batas ang mga Congressman and Congresswomen natin kundi mga gaya-gaya na batas?

It’s a bit idiotic to say since though it may be a divorce law it is no way ‘gaya-gaya’ since the provisions are different. And no, laws are not thought up out of the blue as if lawmakers were professional dream prophets but are based on the perceived need of the populace. And the bill was (as I wrote) was filed on July of last year, way before Malta reached its final decision.

In conclusion, very little research was done in the writing of thedisciplers.com article that it borders on propaganda. He only has the vaguest idea of what he is talking about it is disheartening that people actually read it. We may find ourselves on the same side of the line for now but I refuse to stand next to you because you are clearly an amateur researcher in verifying your most basic claims and the arguments you proposed were fallacious and opinion-driven.

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4 Tugon to “Reading the divroce bill and the idiots who fight it for the wrong reason”

  1. So ano na stand mo? Are u still anti divorce?

    • Still waiting on the debates to decide. If the arguments against divorce don’t get any better I might not be.

      • amp naman kasi ang Church. walang pinaglalaban kundi ang bigoted views nila. umm. nung una pro divorce ako. nung nabasa ko yung post mo na advantages…, naconvince naman ako na maging anti. tapos nung nabasa ko naman to.. parang pro na ulit. waaah. i’m confused. haha. 😀 debate kasi namin sa philo next thursday, at ito yung topic. hehe.

        • The thing about debate is what side your on is more important than the actual truth of the matter. (I know it’s sick but bear with me).

          When dealing with a case like divorce in the Philippines most of the variables are theoretical especially in a subject like philosophy. The only recourse to gain any arguable grounds would be to compare and contrast the experiences of other countries but like I said is a flawed argument.

          Basically, if you know the subject your supposed to be debating well enough you can (based on your ability) debate either side of the argument and still be completely credible.

          So, it doesn’t matter which side you think is right but which side your assigned to argue for. In a debate setting at least.

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