By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Despite the House of Representatives’ approval of the divorce bill, members of the Senate are still not inclined to vote for a similar measure legalizing absolute divorce in the country.
But Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said they are open to entertaining the dissolution of marriage, which, he said House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, raised to him.
“Divorce as we know it in America, (is) doubtful. But this new idea being introduced, ‘dissolution of marriage’, should be studied. Speaker tells me there is a difference. Hence, we study if true,” Pimentel told reporters Tuesday.
The Lower Chamber last night voted to pass the controversial House Bill 7303, or the Absolute Divorce Bill.
A number of senators have earlier showed a cold shoulder on the legalization of divorce, proposing instead that annulment proceedings be simplified and made affordable.
Sen. Richard Gordon, in a separate interview after a Senate hearing today, said that for his part, the proposed divorce law would violate the 1987 Constitution.
“Because it states that marriage is a social institution that the government should try and protect,” he said.
“There should have really serious reasons why they should dissolve the marriage,” he added.
Recognize church annulments, gov’t asked
Amid the debates on divorce, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, meanwhile, filed a measure proposing to recognize the civil effects of the Church-decreed annulments.
Zubiri said annulment of marriage has been “inefficient and arduous,” and can take years before being resolved.
In his Senate Bill 1745, he noted the two motu propio documents issued by Pope Francis in September 2015 to make annulment process more efficient.
Zubiri said the State should recognize the annulment of marriage granted by the church just as it recognizes the union of spouses under religious rites.