divorce in the Philippines

Opposition bets say it’s time for divorce law in Philippines

Mara Cepeda

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Opposition bets say it’s time for divorce law in Philippines
In a TV forum, opposition senatorial candidates Florin Hilbay, Chel Diokno, and Samira Gutoc push for a divorce law in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Three senatorial candidates from the Otso Diretso opposition slate believe it is time for the Philippines to pass a divorce law. But administration bet and former journalist Jiggy Manicad thinks otherwise.

Manicad and 3 opposition senatorial bets – former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, and Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc – were asked during the “Fast Talk” segment of “Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate” if they support legalizing divorce in the Philippines.

“Marami na pong abusadong relationship (There are many abusive relationships). It’s time,” said Gutoc, the sole female and Muslim candidate in Otso Diretso, during the forum aired on Sunday, February 17.

Pressed further by ABS-CBN’s Karen Davila if Gutoc would allow herself to be one of the 4 wives of a Muslim she loves, the senatorial candidate disagreed.

“Hindi po (No)… It’s my choice. Women are given a choice,” she said.

Hilbay and Diokno, meanwhile, both said “yes” when asked if they support divorce. They also said they support same-sex marriage in the Philippines. (READ: Hilbay says he would support ‘fault-based’ divorce bill)

The views of the Otso Diretso candidates on divorce, however, are different from that of Manicad.

“‘Di po ako pabor diyan. Dapat gawing matibay ang pamilyang Pilipino (I am not in favor of that. The Filipino family should be strengthened),” said the ex-journalist now running as an independent candidate endorsed by Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the regional party of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.

The House of Representatives already approved the bill that would legalize absolute divorce in March 2018. The Senate version of the measure remains pending at the committee level.

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. – Rappler.com

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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 mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.