Proposed divorce process not easy for those seeking it: Gabriela

MANILA — Gabriela party-list representative Arlene Brosas has debunked claims that the divorce process under House Bill No. 7303 would be easy for citizens seeking it.

“It will still pass through the court and undergo the same process, so it’s not very easy and a fast process,” Brosas pointed out in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday. “It will undergo filing for a petition of absolute divorce and hearings. It will still depend on the case. Through the bill, the state recognizes that someone had a fault during the marriage.”

She noted the divorce bill is a legal measure that women could use in an “abusive relationship”.

Brosas explained the bill differs from other laws, as it recognizes the problems that happened during the time of the marriage. The bill, however, only requires a PHP200,00 fine and imprisonment of five years from the offender.

She also emphasized that divorce is appropriate for couples that have failed marriages, based on irreconcilable differences, and the period of separation.

Meanwhile, the women’s rights representative cited the process for annulment is costly, estimated at PHP200,000 to 300,000, due to the requirement of personal lawyers.

The divorce law, on the other hand, mandates the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to serve as the victim’s counsel.

Brosas said Gabriela had interviewed overseas Filipino workers (OFW), who back the law, as they wish to divorce their foreign spouses. A section was dedicated to OFWs under the bill.

The representative clarified that the law does not cover all cases, recognizing that other options, such as the declaration of nullity of marriage and legal separation, are also available for complainants.

Currently, the divorce bill has passed the House of Representatives in its third reading and is set to be tackled in the Senate.