Catholic Bishop’s Conference exec: no need for divorce in the Philippines

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An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said Thursday the Philippines does not need divorce law because there are already legal remedies for separation available for married couples.

“Maraming legal na pamamaraan para mapaghiwalay mo ‘yung mga mag-asawa na hindi na talaga magkasundo,” said Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs said in an interview on Dobol B in News TV.

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(There are many legal methods for separating couples who cannot really agree with each other.)

“Mayroon tayong legal separation, mayroon tayong declaration of the nullity of marriage, mayroon tayong annulment… kulang pa ba? Bakit ka pa magdadagdag?” Fr. Secillano added.

(We have a legal separation, declaration of the nullity of marriage, annulment…are not those enough? Why do we need to add more?)

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday began consolidating three bills on absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage: House Bill 100 filed by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, House Bill 838 filed by Gabriela Woman’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas, and House Bill 2263 filed by former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Also read: Divorce in the Philippines: Pope to back simplified annulments

Catholic Bishop’s Conference exec: no need for divorce in the Philippines

Secillano emphasized that the Catholic church also helps couples to legally separate if all efforts to remain married fail.

Couples with low income who want to separate may avail free declaration of the nullity of marriage through the “pauper’s litigation,” he added. Those interested may inquire about it to their local churches.

The priest also said the Catholic Church itself had undergone reforms regarding the issue. He said Pope Francis created a document, an instruction that they should not delay the process of annulment.

“Hindi dahil gusto nating maghiwalay ‘yung mga mag-asawa kundi dahil tinutulungan natin silang hindi matagalan ‘yung proseso para mabigyan din sila ng hustisya dahil baka isipin nila na hindi sila nakakakuha ng hustisya sa simbahan,” he added.

(Not because we want couples to separate but because we help them through the process of giving them justice because they may think that they are not getting justice in the church.)

Secillano further said the Philippines should not be pressured to have a divorce just because other countries except Vatican City have it.

He suggested the House Committee on Population and Family Relations should instead make laws that would help build up the union and interaction of married couples.

He also believes the country has enough laws to protect women from abusive partners.

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