Duterte position on divorce bill needs to be awaited

Published March 29, 2018, 1:23 PM

by Patrick Garcia


By Genalyn Kabiling

Will President Duterte veto the bill legalizing divorce in the country in case the two houses of Congress pass such legislation?

(Clems Dela Cruz / MANILA BULLETIN)
(Clems Dela Cruz / MANILA BULLETIN)

While the President has voiced opposition to divorce, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said it was prudent to wait for Duterte’s decision on whether or not to use his veto power to strike it down.

“It’s difficult to answer that. If it is approved by the Lower House, if it reaches the Senate, and is forwarded to the Office of the President, I could not say if he will veto it or not. Let’s just wait for the next chapter,” Andanar said in Filipino during a recent radio interview.

Andanar acknowledged that the President has already made a personal stand against divorce, and appears to prefer the country’s existing law on annulment. Duterte had his own marriage legally annulled.

“We have our views in life. Of course, the President stands firm on his beliefs, including opposition to death penalty. In the aspect of divorce bill, he is not in favor of that,” he said.

“Since he had a good experience in terms of the annulment law and its application to his life so maybe that’s his position. It’s really difficult to say why but that’s the stand of the President,” he added.

The country moved closer to having a divorce law after the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the controversial measure despite opposition from the Catholic Church.

House Bill 7303, titled “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines,” passed with 134 votes in favor and 57 against.

Under the bill, married couples could obtain absolute divorce for several grounds, including abuse, infidelity, and irreconcilable differences. The measure also allows the divorced spouse to marry another person as well as includes provisions for the care and custody of the children.

The Senate, however, seemed hesitant to pass a measure allowing divorce in the country.

At present, the predominantly Catholic Philippines and the Vatican are the only states without divorce.