House Speaker Pantaleon Avarez’s proposed bills for dissolution of marriage, civil unions and the total separation of property as the governing regime in the absence of a marriage settlement or when the regime is void has drawn mostly negative reactions from different stakeholders.
Alvarez made the pitches over the weekend when asked what his priorities in the 2nd regular session of the 17th Congress which opens on July 24.
Last Saturday, Alvarez said under his proposed bill, parties will be spared the painful process of annullment by allowing couples to jointly petition a court for the dissolution of their marriage.
“gawin nating hindi painful sa parties kasi yung anullment painful masyado sa families kasi ang dami eh yung kabilang party aakusahan mo na merong psycyhological incapacity di ba. dito dissolution of marriage sabihin natin both parties will agree ngayon di pwede thats a ground for denial of annullment collusion between the parties. bakit niyo gagawin yan?
dito sa batas na ito both partries can agree and joiuntly petition the copurt for the dissolution of the marriage”
Gabriela Party List rep. Emmy de Jesus for her part notes that the speaker’s proposal sounds like their own proposal for a divorce law—House Bill 2380.” sa totoo lang yung divorce bill namin yun din naman ang ending marriage will be servered pero syempre context namin kaugnay ng rights ng kakababaihan sa kultura natin maraming kaso na hianwakan naminw ith regards to getting otu of marrage ay babaeng nakaranas ng violence”
de Jesus points out that most of the women who want to leave a marriage are victims of violence.”karamihan kasi ng kasong umalapit ay violence in the relationship kaya lang siguro di ko masasabi absolute numbers yung violence iba ibang klase mas marami emotional violence kasi ang ano rito may 2 organizations who support our bill which we filed last year. 2380 ang ano kasi namin gawing educative makatulong ang bill with regards to context”
But Alvarez explained this is not a divorce bill but merely seeks to free couples from an unhappy marriage. “ay hindi ito divorce dissolution of marriage ito halimbawa di tayo magkasundo., di na tayo masaya sa isat isa. we can go to court. and petition jointly for the dissolution of our marriage then doon sa petition na iyon mag agree na tayo custody of children paano mo hatiin yung properties ang duty ng judge ministerial na lang titignan niya kung walang intimidation kunbg may free will ba ang parties to enter into an agreement na didissolve ang marriage..”
Alvarez says should one of the spouses refuse the dissolution, the other spouse can still petition a court on the ground of unhappiness.
“ayaw nung isang party na idissolve ang marriage isang party can petition the court based on unhappiness di nako masaya eh. di ba petition so hearing yan bakit di ka na masaya. “
Family Law practitioner Claire Castro However asks, what should define a happy and unhappy marriage. “ now pagka sinabi nating di nako happy ano ba yung definition ng happiness kasi may mga pagkakataon na nag aaway talaga yung mag asawa at di iyan mawawala kasi pareho silang diff persons may kaniya kaniya silang attiude pero pag sinabi mong di ako happy sa iyo papaano mo mapoprove yung happiness papaano kung nag away kayo 1 week syempre during that time di kayo happy sa isat isa so siguro dapat maging strict tayo kung talagang mapapasa ito ano ba yung ibig sabihin ng happiness papaano kung yung asawa mo me edad na nakakita ka ng mas bata eh di nako happy sa iyo kasi mas mabibigyan ako ng kaligayahan ng mas bata pwede ba yan ok lang gumawa ng isang batas di ganun kaliberal at nandoon pa rin yung respeto sa marriage epro siguro mas ok talaga na maging mas easy for a couple.”
De Jesus however has the same question. “pag tinginan natin dissolution of marriage at ginamit ang salitang unhappy. subjective eh very sujective mahalaga para sa amin kaya nga sabi namin educational sana ang approach para ipakita ano ba batayan bakit nawawasak”
Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Judicial Vicar of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the CBCP reiterated the Catholic Church’s opposition to any dissolution of marriage. “itatanong ko rin wag ka na magasawa basta magsama pag di gusto maghiwalay bakit magpapaksal kung ganun lang pag di magkasundo nag aaway lets file for divorce , just stick togetehr the next day part ways walang prublema”
Cruz maintained problematic marriages can be covered by the rules on annullment. Cruz reminded the public that the dissolution of marriage affects children.”the 1st victims of this reality are the children i have not heard a child so far baka meron na pumapapalakpak mga magulang nagasundo maghiwalay ang unang biktima mga anak nila”
Cruz maintained that under the laws of nature, marriages can not be put asunder. “di sa ayaw ko di pwede kaliksan ang batayan kung ano pagsamama kung babaguhin ang family code dapat lalo baguhin konstitusyon its a state policy thta the state shall recognzie the family as a basic social unit the family as a basic social unit lalake babae mga anak di lang family code papalitan mismong constitution papalitan”
BUHAY Partylist Representative and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza criticized the statement of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that among his priority bills in the second regular session of the 17th Congress is one that would allow couples to jointly petition a court for the dissolution of their marriage.
“This proposal effectively destroys the institution of marriage in the country. This destroys the sanctity, respect and value of the family. I don’t know of any other country in the world that has adopted this kind of law which makes it easy to dissolve a marriage upon agreement. Kapag ayaw na ng mag-asawa sa isa’t isa, pwede na maghiwalay agad. The genuine essence of marriage is totally removed from the intention of his bill with the idea to make it easy for a couple to separate. Para bang mag-usap na lang kayo, pag ayaw na, hiwalay na. Papaano naman yung kontratang pinirmahan na ang testigo ay ang Panginoong Hesukristo?” Atienza said.
Castro’s concern is how such a bill may diminish the value the institution of marriage. “pero pag dumating kasi yung panahon na ganito ang batas natin baka magkaroon ng sinasabing mawalan ng vaue yung marriage. alam mo naman sa pilipinas talagang yung sanctity ng marriage ay talagang pinepreserve natin. “
But Alvarez says this wont undermine the institution of marriage and will in fact reinforce it because it will compel couples to work on keeping their marriages happy. “eto mas napoprotektahan natin yung marriage as an institution why because pag nagpakasal ang 2 parties kailangan yung spouses na yun must see to it na masaya yung kaniyang partner di ba kasi ngayon pagkatapos ng kasala isang party balik sa barkada inom dito inom doon
di na masaya yung isang party yung isang party ayaw magtrabaho. pinagtatrabaho yung wife so pagka di masaya yung kabilang party bigyan natin siya ng karapatan para idssolove ang kaniyang marriage.”
for her part, De Jesus is wary that the speaker’s proposal is risky because it may make separations too easy. “kasi ano yun kumbaga doonsa proposal ni speaker mabilis. sa amin kasi merong talagang matibay na pag pumasok o dinala na sa korte yung petition fo any of the party dadaliurtin icecarry yung reasons a legal separation icecarry reasons sa anullment 5 years na defacto na hiwalay na at irreparable marriage”
De Jesus fears this may put women at risk of being blackmailed by their husbands. “nakakatakot diyan kasi kung beilden ang ababe sa desisyon ng lalake kung wala siyang or kung beholden isa doon sa isa kung wala kapangyraihan lalo na kung economic power sasbaihan lang pumirma ka mapgeptisyon pwede ring di sa kagustuhan niya pwede ring tulak rin ng coercion dapat pagka didisolve na marriage magkaroon ng pruseso na malinaw nag batayan”
Cruz also disowned the proposal for the adoption of a total separation of property regime for married couples. Cruz explained this already sets the stage for the failure of the marriage. “this is so sad before theyre even united theyre alreday separating some things and usually the pre nuptial agreement sayo iyo aykin akin thats in reparartion for divorce or egal separation to me i find that preempting the reality of a union di pa nagsasama may hinhaiwalay ano yun saan galing mukhang taliwas sa mag asawa nagkakaisa sa ginahwa sa hirpa sa yaman at saka sa kakulangan ito hindi di pa nagsasama may hihiwalayan na”
Alvarez has already filed House Bill 5268 which amends the Family Code of the Philippines to say that future spouses may in the marriage settlements agree upon the regime of absolute community, conjugal partnership of gains, complete separation of property or any other regime. In the absence of a marriage settlement or hen the regime agree dupon is void, the regime of total separation of property as established in this code shall govern.
the same bill also seeks amend the family code to say that when a man and a woman, who are capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage, their respective wages, and salaries earned in their individual capacity shall be owned by them under the regime of total separation of property and the property acquired by both of them through their owkr of industry shall be governed by the rules of co-ownership.”
Alvarez said last saturday he is seeking to prevent marriages for money or convenience.
“ dito iniiwas natin gusto natin bigyang solusyon yung nagpapakasal for convenience na dahil mayaman yung babae mayaman yung lalake pinapakasalan pagkatapos nun yung 1 siyempre kung yun ang consideration hindi purely because of love hindi magiging successful yung marriage”
Alvarez explained that under his proposal, couples no longer have to sign a pre-nuptial agreement so that they can keep their properties separate. “magkaamyendahan natin ulti yan tatalakayin natin dito sa House. pag walang marriage settlement complete separation of property ang presumption and default provision complete separation of property para maiwasan natin yung nagpapakasal dahil sa pera dahil mayaman ang lalake dahil mayaman ang babae. di ba kultura ng pilipino nahihiya tayong magpapirma ng marriage settlement.”
if his bill is approved, properties of the couple will stay separate even after the start of the marriage . Currently, properties of maried couples become properties of both spouses unless there is a pre-nuptial agreement.
“yung default provision. separate ito default provision yung dati sa civil code natin pagka walang marriage settlement automatic nakalagay conjugal partnership ang regime of property., inamendahan ito hg family code ginawa from conjugal ginawa community property halo halo na lahat.”
further, if the proposal is approved, couples will have to come to a settlement on which properties will become joint properties of the couple. “so ngayon at least doon pa lang prinotektahan na kayo ng state ng gobyerno ngayon kung magpapakasal kayo sabihin niyo ah hindi gawin nating conjugal gawin nating absolute community o di ksalanan niyo nang 2 yan di na ksalanan ng state yan so”
Castro however favors a return to the old civil code provision that says that properties acquired by a couple before their marriage remain their individual property, but properties acquired during the marriage should be conjugal property. This she says, is meant to presevre the institution of marriage. “dapat pangalagaan marriage. kasi daarating tiem na babae naman lets face it walang trabaho. ano property niya kaya binigay na conjugal aprtnership dahil mga baabe na walang trabaho ay 50 50 pa rin ang sharing sa properties na napinudar during the marriage paano proteksyunan ang asawa na nasa bahay lang”
Cruz likewise maintained the church’s opposition to any form of same sex marriages. “same sex marriage etc masasabi ko diyan then that is never never the reality of marriage sila bahala kaya lang to my mind its an exercis efutility because there can be no union between 2 parties of the same sex there can be friendhsip there can be a united a harmonious bilateral cosndieration but nion is more than unity union is like communion they interpentrate community iba yun hindi marriage yun”
Cruz also is against any state recognition to same sex partnerships. “yes because its a contradiction in terms it is not the reality i have ntohing against i do not have anything against them iw rote about them i titled it gender identitify dififuclty there are realities which are downright realities human law cannot change human nature di mo wpede palitan naturalesa ng tao sa pamamagitan lang ng isang batas na ginawa din ng tao”
Last Saturday, Alvarez also said he will file a bill during the 2nd regular session of the 17th Congress that will allow civil unions for both same sex and opposite sex couples.
“ganito tatalakayin din natin yan yung mga taong ayaw magpakasala pero gustong magsama sa ngayon kasi walang batas. di natin napoprotekatahan yung karapatan ng couple magpapasa tayo ng civil union na batas kung saan yun ang magggovern ng relationship nila “
this bill will govern property rights, custodial rights over children and even adoption rights for childless couples. “kahit di sila kasal ano yun right to inherit right to support atbp (in case of emegrency) oo saka meron kang obligasyon na suportahan ang aprtner mo (adoption rights) yes tama yan pwede sila mag adopt nung mga halimbawa same sex di pwede mag anak yan pwede sila mag adopt.”
in effect, this would be genderless, Alvarez said, “genderless oo same sex oppoisite sex at ayaw magpakasal kasi takot.”
Cruz explained there is no place for same sex couples in the institution of marriage. “wala silang puwang sa kasal sa lahat ng ibang bagay may puwang sila at iyan ay mga anak rn naman ng diyos at wag natin sila maliitin kaya lang yung katotohanan eh katotohanan
yes as far as marriage is concerned sorry but there are things that cannot be done hindi pagkat ayaw ng simbahan di pwede ayons a rule of law of nature simbahan kasi kaniyang mga aral abse sa kalikasan di panay base sa langit lahat base sa kalisakan pareho kasarian di wpede union di pwede communion di pwedeng marriage”
castro meanwhile says same sex couples can already enjoy own property together without a civil union. “kahit walang ganiyang batas recognzied ang same sex relationship unang una when it comes to properties pwede naman sila bumili ng properties iregister as co owners when it comes to inheritance they can donate they can make a last will ilalagay partners allowed ito”
However castro says there maybe a problem when it comes to adoption rights. “when it comes to adoption , adoption can be applicable only to one person, medyo magcontradict ito sa family code na sabi nga natin woman and man lang pwede mag asawa yun lang din batas sa adoption”
Castro i suggests that a bill to specifically allow same sex partners to adopt be crafted instead.
De Jesus for her part wants a thorough study of the bills on civil unions and total separation of property for married couples.