‘DOM’ champion Alvarez sees his pet bill hurdling 3rd reading by end-March

February 14, 2018 - 4:08 PM
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Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, seen in combo photo with Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. The two lawmakers are both pushing the campaign to institute divorce in the country. iNTERAKSYON COMBO PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he expects the dissolution of marriage bill, to which he has given the acronym ‘DOM’, to inch its way to approval on third and final reading before the Congress break in March.

“My commitment is we need to pass it on third reading before we go on break,” he said in a news conference.

Alvarez said he reminded the committee on population and family relations to “simplify” the bill to make the process easier for couples who have agreed to dissolve their marriage.

“We will simplify it, ‘wag nating pahirapan dahil ang nakuha natin sa reactions mula sa mga committee hearings sana man lamang daw ‘wag mahal ‘yung proseso kagaya ng annulment of marriage ngayon [Let’s not make things hard for people, because the committee sensed from the hearings that people hope the process of annulment will not come at prohibitive costs],” he said.

Eh bakit pa pahihirapan ang tao, eh ayaw na nga eh, tulungan na natin ‘to [Why should we make things hard for people, when they don’t want to stay together? Let’s help them] move forward,” he added.

The House leader said he has talked to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III for the counterpart Senate bill.

Last week, a technical working group was created to consolidate all four bills on dissolution of marriage. The TWG is headed by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman. Alvarez is a principal author of one of the bills, House Bill No. 6027 or “An Act Providing For Grounds For The Dissolution Of A Marriage.”

Under his bill, a marriage may be dissolved based on irreconcilable differences or severe and chronic unhappiness of the spouses which caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.

House Bill No. 116 or the proposed “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce In The Philippines And For Other Purposes” authored by Lagman proposed that the grounds for a judicial decree of absolute divorce be the same as the grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines and grounds for annulment of marriage under Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines.

House Bill 1062 entitled: “An Act Amending Title I, Chapter 3, Of Executive Order No. 209, Otherwise Known As The Family Code Of The Philippines, Prescribing Additional Ground For Annulment,” authored by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, seeks to amend Chapter 3 of Executive Order 209 or the Family Code of the Philippines by prescribing additional ground for annulment. The amendment provides that a marriage may also be annulled if the parties have been separated for at least five years.

House Bill 2380, also known as “An Act Introducing Divorce In The Philippines, Amending For The Purpose Articles 26, 55 To 66 And Repealing Article 36 Under Title II Of Executive Order No. 209, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The Family Code Of The Philippines, And For Other Purposes,” authored by Reps. Emmi De Jesus and Arlene Brosas, seeks to introduce divorce as another option for couples in failed and irreparable marriages.

The bill proposes five grounds for divorce:
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; and
5) When the spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences that have caused the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.