Philippines considers legalizing divorce


MANILA – Philippine President Benigno C. Aquino III on Thursday said he is opposed to a proposed law on divorce but favors legal separation. Aquino, 56, and still a bachelor is a devout Roman Catholic.

”Definitely I cannot support something like what they are doing in Las Vegas wherein the stereotype is you get married in the morning and you will get (a) divorce in the afternoon,” Aquino told reporters in a chance interview.

”But I do recognize that there have been unions that were wrong that no matter what interventions are done, no matter what counseling are done, they really cannot stay together and there is one or both parties in that particular marriage and especially the children,” he said.

”So in my own personal position at this point, a study will have to be done (on legal separation). In divorce is a no, no. But in legal separation that will be very, very stringent. You really have to ascertain that there really (are) irreconcilable differences,” adding that in such circumstances they must “go under strict scrutiny,” Aquino said, speaking in English and Tagalog.

Aquino said he would study the present legal separation law, even as he expressed support for the idea that separated couples under the legal separation be allowed to remarry.

Under the present legal separation law in the Philippines either couple cannot remarry. The president said it is “pitiful for those who commit mistakes.”

In the Philippines there is no divorce, only annulment, but applying for annulment is extremely difficult. In addition to being the expense of an annulment, the courts have many procedural requirements that complicate the process.

There have been moves time and again to legalize divorce in the Philippines but none were successful, considering that the Philippines is the only Christian country in Asia with more than 80 percent belonging to the Catholic Church.

Asia, ReligionBen Cal