For the 5th time, Gabriela files divorce bill

Mara Cepeda
For the 5th time, Gabriela files divorce bill
'It is high time that the state give couples in abusive and irreparable marriages the option to divorce,' says Representative Emmi de Jesus

MANILA, Philippines – For the 5th time, the Gabriela Women’s Party refiled the bill seeking to institutionalize divorce in the Philippines on Wednesday, August 3.

Gabriela Representatives Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas filed House Bill (HB) Number 2380 that aims to include provisions on divorce in the Family Code of the Philippines.

Past representatives of the party-list organization passed versions of the said bill since the 13th Congress, but it had gone through only one committee hearing. (READ: Divorce: Yes, we need to talk about it

“It is high time that the state give couples in abusive and irreparable marriages the option to divorce. We hope that this time, both Houses of Congress will finally approve the divorce bill,” said De Jesus.

HB Number 2380 would allow for divorce if one of the following conditions is met:

  • Petitioner has been separated de facto from his or her spouse for at least 5 years at the time of the filing of the petition, and reconciliation is “highly improbable”
  • Petitioner has been legally separated from the spouse for at least two years at the time of the filing, and reconciliation is “highly improbable”
  • When any of the accepted grounds for legal separation “has caused the irreparable breakdown” of the marriage
  • When one or both spouses are psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations
  • When the spouses suffer from irreconcilable differences that “have caused the irreparable breakdown” of the marriage

Brosas is hopeful that the bill will finally be passed into law in the 17th Congress.

“Three of every 5 Filipinos or at least 60% are in favor of the legislation of divorce. This shows not just the public pulse but the de facto need for the option of divorce to be given,” said Brosas, citing a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations survey in 2014. 

This is contrary to The Standard poll released in June 2015, which showed that two out of 3 Filipinos or about 67% are against divorce.  

Opposition of the Catholic Church has been one of the biggest hindrances to the passage of the divorce bill. This has left the Philippines the only country in the world, apart from Vatican City, without divorce. (READ: The sanctity of divorce

Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman also filed his own version of an absolute divorce bill in the 17th Congress.

On Wednesday, the Gabriela Women’s Party was joined at the Batasang Pambansa by their supporters from the Divorce Advocates of the Philippines and the Association for Divorce and Women Empowerment.  

They held a short program at the South Gate of the Batasang Pambansa after the press conference.

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.