Divorce Bill Gains New Ground In The Philippines, In a recent report posted online by the Manila Bulletin, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. expressed his “full support to the proposal seeking to legalize divorce in the country.”
In a text message, the outgoing House Chief confirmed that he will push for the bill’s passage, something that the Gabriela Women’s Party-list intends to do in the next 17th Congress.
“I will vote for it,” Belmonte confirmed with MB.
House Bill (HB) No. 4408 or “An Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines” was originally filed by Ilagan and fellow Gabriela Party-list Rep. Emerenciana “Emmi” de Jesus. It was declared dead last 16th Congress.
Meanwhile, Representative-elect Geraldine Roman of Bataan, the first transgender woman to be elected in office, said she also supports the Gabriella bill.
“I’m in favor of giving second chances. We have to face the fact that there are relationships that have no hope,” said Roman. “I want a possible solution for people who are totally incompatible to remake their lives and pursue their happiness. I think they also have a right to do that.”
Roman considers herself as “legally and anatomically female” since undergoing sex reassignment surgery in New York when she was 26. She has since legally changed her name and gender.
Meanwhile, divorce has always been a sensitive topic in the Philippines, particularly because it is known as a Christian country and majority of the citizens are Catholic.
Once passed, HB 4408 will allow those who have been separated for 5 years and those already legally separated for 2 years to apply for a divorce.
Not everyone is in favor of the bill, however, with House leaders such as Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, vice chairman of the House Committee on Justice and outgoing Deputy Majority Leader and Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo I, saying that if the divorce bill will ever be passed, the 1987 Constitution has to be amended first.
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