Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel II said Friday he will support the approval of a law that would allow couples to separate as long as the separation was not called “divorce.”
“If what we’re after is a remedy for a married couple with irreconcilable differences, let us look for this remedy,” Pimentel said.
“But [let’s] give it another name. I would be open to that. For example, dissolution of marriage.”
Pimentel, whose marriage to former Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Jewel May Lobaton was annulled last year, believes couples in failed marriages should have the legal means to regain happiness.
The House of Representatives passed a divorce bill during the 17th Congress, but its counterpart bill in the Senate was left to die a natural death in committee.
Even before the 17th Congress, several lawmakers had made similar attempts to approve a divorce bill during the 14th, 15th and 16th Congress, but all failed.
As a result, Senator Risa Hontiveros filed another divorce proposal in the Senate saying spouses in failed marriages, particularly women, should be given all the chances to find true and meaningful relationships and build nurturing families.
Hontiveros’ focus was on women trapped in abusive relationships, but she acknowledged her bill would meet stiff opposition as the other lawmakers had experienced when they filed divorce proposals starting in the 13th Congress in 2005.
Hontiveros said a divorce law would give freedom to many Filipinos, allowing them to build new lives and show real respect for family and marriage.
“Not a few women have fallen victim to domestic violence and psychological abuse,” she said, citing the Philippine Statistics Authority that found in 2018 that one in four women was experiencing spousal abuse.
“Unhealthy marriages bring trauma that is passed on for generations through children,” Hontiveros said.
She said the passage of a divorce law was one of the ultimate forms of freedom we could give Filipino women.
Under Hontiveros’ proposal, the psychological incapacity of either spouse, irreconcilable marital differences, legal separation, marital rape, or being separated for at least five years could be grounds for divorce.