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Malta, the only country aside from the Philippines to have no divorce law, is proposing legislation which  make divorce legal after four years of separation leaving the Philippines as the only country in the world without a divorce law (OK,  Vatican City does not have a divorce law either, but when's the last time you thought of  them as a country?)DSCThe Catholic Church in the Philippines is vehemently opposed to the proposed bill which would legalize divorce  which has long been in congressional files but never enacted, just  days after voters from largely Catholic Malta approved a referendum to legalize divorce May 29. The bill is expected to pass making it possible for married couples to divorce after four years of separation.

The U.S. Catholic website reports the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines  has repeated its determination to protect marriage in the Philippines after the Maltese vote.

The debate over divorce in the Philippines, where 82 percent of the population is Catholic, comes as the country's legislature considers a controversial reproductive health bill, RH Bill. The bishops also have opposed that bill while calling upon Catholics to withhold taxes in protest if it passes.

The article from U.S. Catholic quotes the following clergy:

  • Father Jerry Oblepias, director of the Family Life Ministry in the San Pablo Diocese, told the bishops' news service that "divorce remains to be part of the death culture that seeks to destroy the family. Once the family is destroyed, degradation of values is surely at the doorstep."
  • Father Oblepias also said that Catholics "should stand on the side of morality," and not join the bandwagon.
  • Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan called the bill "anti-Filipino." (OK, Bishop, I don't get that one.)

Currently, annulment is the only type of legal separation allowed under Philippine law. Annulment can be costly and some see it as a privilege for those who can afford the legal proceedings while the poor are forced to remain in an abusive relationship because of a lack of money.

My personal opinion is that some type of law legalizing divorce should be enacted in the Philippines. I am opposed to any "quickie divorce" laws which are so prevalent in the United States. I just recently became aware that my own divorce back in the States occurred over 20 years this past May after cleaning out and organizing some old paperwork.  I threw away my old marriage certificate but kept my divorce decree. If you find yourself divorced, hang onto those divorce papers, you'll need them later if you ever plan to marry in the Philippines.

My ex-wife (who also had been divorced and single for six years) filed for divorce after only nine months of marriage. I did not cheat on her and neither did I abuse her. Her two younger daughters that lived with her threatened to move to their Dad's home if I stayed. They liked life as it was before I came along. I found a sheriff's deputy in front of my work place with divorce papers in hand, and my clothes and belongings in plastic garbage bags in our front yard.

I was devastated. I had married at the age of 37 and was alone again. After fighting the divorce for a year and making my lawyer richer, my estranged wife's lawyer presented a final offer. I would pay 400 dollars, and my "wife" would drop all claims to my pension from AT&T. We had no children of our own. I reluctantly agreed to the deal. Fortunately, years later,  I met my current Filipina wife, Melinda, The Sainted Patient Wife, who believe me, is EXTREMELY patient having put up with me for over 11 years. How she does it, I'll never know.

However, in cases of abusive or philandering spouses,  I am in favor of some sort of divorce law in the Philippines as I previously noted. Should there be a four year separation period as Malta is proposing? I'll leave that up to the Philippine lawmakers. With so many separated couples in the Philippines that simply illegally remarry since they cannot obtain a divorce or annulment,  possibly making the Philippines the bigamy capitol of the world,  I believe some kind of legislation legalizing divorce in the Philippines is needed. But that's just my opinion. What's yours?

27 thoughts on “Catholic Clergy: Just Say “NO” to Proposed Divorce Law in the Philippines

  1. I feel they should make it harder to get married. That should cut down on the divorce rate. God allows for divorce, so should the Philippines.

  2. There is already a “mandatory” pre-marriage counselling. As to how mandatory it is or not is the story there. People in city hall can sometimes be paid off to say you already went through the “mandatory” pre-marriage counselling (for purposes of getting a marriage license).

    While I can understand why some people need it. Making it easy for poorer people to get a divorce is just making it easy for everyone else to get a divorce. It is a double-edged sword.

  3. Hi Dave: If divorce is to be allowed in the Philippines, it should be attached to a law on mandatory child support. Mandatory child support should apply to Filipino citizens, expats, and visiting tourists. People will take pause before marrying and divorcing when financial matters are impacted tremendously.

  4. Hi Dave: My goodness! Only one year of child support. I believe that whoever drafted this bill was not sincere in doing his or her task. There seems to be hardly any thought in the crafting of this bill.

  5. Hi Dave: Just to add to my comments. Glad to see you back and thanks for sharing your personal story. The closest experience I’ve had to your divorce was going through the personal papers of my late parents. However, I had closure. I can’t imagine how it is to go through a divorce. I’ve been married for 30 years and have elected not to have children. I saw those children that you saw in Manila. I am a career woman and would suck to high heaven if I had children. I would win the world’s worst mother award!

      1. Dave,Rosalyn

        Thats unbelieveable! Only one year of support. What were they thinking. Totally agree with both of you. Dave you do inspire us with your adventures and humor. Would definately like to meet you when i retire to there. Rosalyn you do bring class to this site with your knowledge, insight and life stories of growing up in the Philippines with your family. Maybe we will meet someday when we retire to the Philippines.

      2. Dave,Rosalyn

        Totally agree with both of you. Dave you do inspire us with your adventures and humor. Would definately like to meet you when i retire to there. Rosalyn you do bring class to this site with your knowledge, insight and life stories of growing up in the Philippines with your family. Maybe we will meet someday when we retire to the Philippines.

  6. Meriam and I went to the marriage counseling class here in Tagum City. Lasted all of 3 hours. I would make people wait at least a year before they were married. No need to rush into anything that important.

  7. Dave:

    Having been divorced twice, been there, done that.

    I agree with Gary that making marriage more difficult is a solution, but one that may have unintended consequences (As in more people shacking up and having kids without stability)

    As to pre-marriage counseling here, our session was a whopping 5 minutes… As the official told me, we were both over 40, so what could she tell me that we did not already know?

    With marriage, the thing that most people forget due to love, hormones, etc. is that they are signing a legal contract, not a religious or moral one, and a contract that tends to skew in favor of the wife in most jurisdictions.

    Foreigners here need to really realize that, should they choose to live here, if the marriage fails, they are 100% screwed with any and all assets acquired here (Yes, I know the 50% communal property bit, but any foreigner that thinks they will receive an equitable, collectable judgement here is truly deluded in their thinking, and they deserve whatever they get).

    In my case, I entered my marriage with Rebecca 100% conscious of that fact.

    In the States, I was clouded in my thinking, and quite stupid. Things like alimony are relics of the past, where most women did not have careers. Child support is an entirely different matter altogether.

  8. I was hit with alimony just this year. Didn’t see that coming. Thing of the past? Still alive and well in Michigan. Now I don’t have enough money for my health care.

    1. Gary: By relic, I meant useless, rather than in practice. I get tapped every month, too. 7 more months and I’m done.

      I guess I understand it if one spouse makes a ton more than the other, after a long term marriage. I guess I understand it if someone gives up a career to raise kids.

      However, in my case, it was retribution (Pay it, and it’s over quickly), plain and simple.

      1. I wish I knew what happened Jack. I was never served with any court papers. Just had SSA tell me it happened and how much they are paying the court each month. I am sure I will never live long enough to see it end.

        1. Gary,

          I just sounds like your ex just found out she could get alimony from you. But you should have been served some kind of notice. Here in Florida when you get served, you have 20 days to repond or it goes into default. Hope it all works out for you. Take care

  9. Divorce after 4 years seperation is a bit excessive. If you’re seperated for a year, you’re not getting back together. I guess it’s better than no divorce, though.

    Forcing incompatible people to stay together isn’t the “moral” choice. Divorce is horrible, but what is worse is trying to force 2 unhappy people to remain married; ruining their lives and any children they may have. Nothing is more painful than seeing the two people you love the most (mom and dad) hate each other. Divorce is often the lesser of two evils and many times the “moral” choice.

  10. Dave,

    Thats unbelieveable! Only one year of support. What were they thinking. It must have been drawn up by a male for sure. Have a nice day!

      1. Hi Papa Duck: Thanks for the compliment. I definitely would like to meet you and Dave when I retire. However, I have a long ways to go like 14-15 years. I wish that I could pack up and leave to the Philippines like yesterday. I do plan to visit now and then. In that way, I keep up with the changes.

  11. There should definitely be way way to divorce. I have never understood the diference between divorce and annulment (someone explain please!).

    I am not Catholic, I’m Episcopalian..
    I am also divorced after being married for nearly six years and freed from the bondage of a bad marriage since 2004..
    I had to give up an apartment to the ex (she had a son and didnt make half the money I did so guess who made up the financial shortfall?) and alimony for 2 years and we had no children.. It was painful but looking back the idea of being physically and mentally free is priceless..

    Phils has a thing for traditions but its self serving and to a point that is detrimental. The idea of trapping people in a marriage that is only on paper serves no purpose.. Who benefits? Lawyers? The government that gets to whop on clerical fees, triplicate, etc on a population that can barely afford life?. They should come up with a way to make it within reach for most. It serves no one to have unhappy people who may be living seperate lives bound together because of dogma. I have been told a divorce in Phils can cost about 2400 US?? Thats draconian when a family of four may be lucky to earn 300 a month..
    They should work out some basic rules for abandonment, abuse, adultery, etc as well as child support issues..Thats the complexities of this but they can come up with something that can work for all involved. It cant become like how divorce is in the US. It is just looking like marriage is a thing to do but no meaning at all.
    I know a man who is only 44 yet has been married 4 times. I joke that he prints money. Once is painful but 4 times?..

  12. I'm from singapore & i'm in favor of the divorce law,if you are young you had a one night stand with a guy & get pregnant but you do not love the man,you may be young,naive,high on drugs or even drunk when having sex bur being married because of this & not being able to divorce is against human rights,the catholic church & the phillipine government can only say no but can they think we are human beings,if we are tied to a person you do not love anymore,isn't that cheating God as well.Which God in the World ask people to lie & cheat,i don't think you have one,may it be muslim,bubddist or even christian or hindu,your God teach you to lie?That aside this is totally against human rights,have we as as a human decided for ourself,what phillipine is doing is even worse than communist or terrorist,how can you bind two persons forcefully for the rest of their life,what right have the church or the government have in stoping people's freedom.Even you are the parents of the couple you have no right to stop your son or daughter from divocing,are you telling me they are not mature enough,must they be 99yrs old then you say they are mature,i think what catholic church & the government of phillipine is doing is worse than even communist China,this is simply an outrageous act of ignorance to the welfare of their fellow citizens.If i've the chance to speak to the government or Pope i'll ask them who are you to decide people's fate,they are not God & God has given us a choice to choose.You want to talk about the bible,if you do not allow people to divorce then they go have sex with another person,isn't that aduldtry as well,then better you ban sex as well,who can ban sex,noone!No even Jesus Christ himself.If i can send this article to human rights organisation i'll do so,if i can send it to vatican city i'll also do so,what right does the pope have to stop human being & their rights & freedom,he himself is a human as well!

  13. I’ve watched too many Crime features on CI channel to note a lot of men in the west actually KILL THEIR WIVES to avoid paying alimony and child support. In some ways, not having a divorce law in the Philippines may have helped preserve the necks of Filipina wives from their philandering husbands!

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