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CBCP official to Congress: No need for divorce law, just make annulment in PHL cheaper

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An official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Monday said a law on absolute divorce would not be needed if Congress would make the process of annulment affordable.

"I'm challenging Congress and the Judiciary, do something about our annulment process of today.  Pababain n'yo 'yan, tell these unscrupulous lawyers 'wag silang magcha-charge ng kalahating milyon. It's anti-poor," Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of CBCP's Public Affairs Committee, said in an interview with Bawal Ang Pasaway kay Mareng Winnie.

Secillano emphasized that under Executive Order 2109 or the Family Code of the Philippines, issued during the time of late President Corazon Aquino, there are already three existing measures for couples who wish to discontinue their marriage bonds: legal separation, annulment and declaration of nullity of marriage.

"There are already options na meron tayo sa Family Code. Nandoon na 'yung legal separation, nandoon na 'yung annulment, declaration of nullity. Tatlo na ho 'yan eh. So ngayon nagdadagdag pa sila. Hindi pa ba enough ito?" Secillano said, referring to divorce.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, in the same interview, said these opetions do not provide "full relief" to spouses experiencing "disoriented relationship."

"It's not enough because it does not give full relief to spouses who are in disoriented, dysfunctional relationship. 'Yung annulment tungkol to sa grounds existing at the time of the marriage. Hindi kinocover nito 'yung mas maraming causes which happen after the marriage," said Lagman, one of the authors of the absolute divorce bill.

Secillano said these existing laws should be amended.

The House Committee on Population and Family Relations chaired by Laguna Representative Sol Aragones approved the substitute bill for House Bills 116, 1062, 2380 and 6027. The new working title of the bill is "An Act Providing for Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines."

Under the proposed measure, when divorce becomes effective, marriage bonds will be severed and the former spouses will be given the right to marry another person either by civil or religious ceremony. —ALG/NB, GMA News

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