Duterte maintains stance against divorce bill

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, April 18, reiterated that he is against the legalization of divorce and dissolution of marriage in the country.

Duterte said he could not support House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s bill because his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, is “not happy” with his proposed law.

“I’m sorry but I cannot follow you. My daughter is not happy with that, really,” the president said during his speech at the Change of Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Quezon City.

Duterte teased Alvarez, “Mag-usap na lang kayo ni Sara (Just talk with Sara).”

The Davao City mayor and House speaker earlier engaged in a word war after Alvarez reportedly called Sara a part of the opposition when she formed a separate regional political party.

Alvarez is one of the authors of the House Bill 7303 or “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines.”

Malacañang earlier confirmed that the president is against the bill.

“He doesn’t want to comment but since there was voting already in Congress, the president is against divorce,” Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said last month.

Duterte, according to Roque, thinks divorce should not be made legal as “children would be pitiful if there will be divorce.”

On March 19, the House of Representatives approved the proposed law on its third and final reading with a vote of 134-51-2. The bill, however, has no counterpart in the Senate.

The bill aims to give “the opportunity to spouses in irremediably failed marriages to secure an absolute divorce decree under limited grounds and well-defined judicial procedures to terminate a continuing dysfunction of a long broken marriage.”

It likewise aims to grant the divorced spouses the “right to marry again for another chance to achieve marital bliss.”

Among the grounds of  divorce include existing grounds for legal separation under Article 55 of the Family Code, and annulment under Article 45 of the same code, which include physical violence, homosexuality, marital infidelity, and affliction of sexually transmissible infection, among others.

Grounds also include separation in fact for at least five years, legal separation by judicial decree for at least two years, psychological incapacity, gender reassignment surgery, irreconcilable differences, and joint petition of spouses.

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