Affordable annulment sought instead of expensive divorce

(L-R) Sen. Francis Escudero and Sen. Joel Villanueva (Photos: /

By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent

Sen. Francis Escudero said he is in favor of making the existing process of annulment under the Civil Code and the Family Code more affordable and accessible.

He said this is much better than expanding it in a new law on divorce.

But Senators Joel Villanueva, son of Jesus Is Lord founder Eddie Villanueva and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said they oppose the House-approved measure on divorce.

“I am strongly against divorce. Instead, I am pushing to make the country’s annulment laws to be simplified and not be anti-poor,” he said.

Sen. Win Gatchalian, the only bachelor among the senators, said he does not believe in divorce and likened it to a drive-thru in an American marriage.

“I don’t believe in no full divorce which means, ayoko sa mukha mo ayoko na.

What we need is a clear process and reasonable process for our constituents to follow because the process now, it’s very expensive for our countrymen to be separated.”

“I do believe (in divorce) on the grounds, there’s abuse or violence,” he further stated.

But he conceded that the measure would not encounter difficulty in its passage as the country already has an existing annulment, though very expensive.

The House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations made history when it submitted a divorce bill for plenary deliberations for the first time.

The Committee approved a substitute bill that consolidated all proposals to legalize divorce and the dissolution of marriage.

The approval by the Committee came after the substitute bill was transmitted by the technical working group led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, also an author of the Reproductive Health Law in the 15th Congress.

Lagman said they came out with the Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood law. He also said another compromise adopted is the option to pay alimony one time or periodically.

“Most probably, this would depend on the means of the spouse who’s supposed to give alimony and also the needs of the recipient,” he said.

Lagman added that another compromise is the option for when the presumptive legitime or legal right share can be given to the children. In the original formulation in the substitute bill, he said the presumptive legitime will be given to the children upon the dissolution of marriage but in the compromise, again there’s option whether it will be given at the time of the dissolution of marriage or where there is already a dead parent, “patay na,” he said.