Is a simplified annulment process on its way in the Philippines, one of only a few countries that does not allow divorce? A bill was filed at the House of Representatives in the Philippines this past Monday that seeks to simplify the current draconian annulment process by including spousal violence, infidelity and abandonment as grounds for annulling marriages. This according to a recent article in the GMA NEWS online edition.While I certainly am not in favor of divorce laws such as in the States which make it too easy to divorce, it is doubtful the mostly Catholic nation of the Philippines will ever make divorce legal. However, there are thousands of abused Filipinas trapped in marriages where the husband regularly cheats on them or beats them, or both. (And yes, there are some Filipino men that also have cheating spouses.) They have no legal way out of the situation save the current annulment process which is so expensive and restrictive that a poor person's chances of obtaining such an annulment are next to impossible.
My own sister-in-law that currently works in Kuwait as a domestic helper (making the "huge sum" of $200 US Dollars a month) is married to a drug dealing, abusive, irresponsible Filipino man that constantly beat her, and though he has not been in contact with my sister-in-law, Marjorie, for over 12 years, she does not have the means to obtain an annulment. She has had several pen pals from the United States that were very interested in meeting her, but even though she is legally separated from her husband, the fact she cannot get a divorce (or annulment) makes it difficult, of course, to pursue any other relationships.
Rep. Neri Colmenares, who had filed the legislative bill to amend the "Family Code" said if passed into law, the measure will make annulment proceedings "less costly" and "more accessible" to the poor since there is no more need to hire "expensive" psychiatrists, psychologists and lawyers to prove their claims. Currently, one has to hire costly psychiatrists to annul their unfortunate marriage and prove they have a "psychologically incapacitated spouse." Is simplified annulment on its way in the Philippines? Looks like it possibly could be.