Jinggoy Estrada suggests changes to grounds for annulment instead of legalizing divorce

(POLITIKO) Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada has questioned the need to legalize divorce when annulment is an option for unhappy couples in the country.

“I have been and still am not in favor of legalizing divorce in our country,” Estrada said on Tuesday (May 28).

“Instead of pushing for an absolute divorce law, which is proscribed by the Constitution, perhaps a bill with a well-defined ground for nullifying a marriage would be a much welcomed alternative,” he added.

Estrada made the statement after the House of Representatives passed the divorce bill on final reading. This means that the ball is in the Senate’s court.

Estrada said instead of absolute divorce, a bill can be filed making the process of annulment easier and cheaper for Filipinos.

“In fact, I filed a bill during the 15th Congress defining certain indications of psychological incapacity as a ground for the declaration of nullity of marriage,” Estrada said.

“Imbes na divorce, bakit hindi na lang natin pag-aralan kung paano mas katanggap-tanggap at mapapagaan ang proseso ng pagkuha ng annulment ng kasal?” he added.

Estrada earlier said he conducted a survey among 24 senators and came out with the following names who share his opposition to the legalization of divorce – Senate President Francis Escudero, majority leader Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, and Ronald Dela Rosa.

Meanwhile, those who responded in favor of divorce are Senator Risa Hontiveros – who filed the Senate version of the divorce bill – Robin Padilla, Grace Poe, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano, and Raffy Tulfo.

Those who have not yet responded to Estrada’s survey as of press time are – former Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, minority leader Koko Pimentel, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay, Alan Peter Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Bong Go, Lito Lapid, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Cynthia and Mark Villar.

The Philippines is the only country in the world where divorce is illegal because of pressure from the Catholic Church. Divorce is also prohibited in the Vatican, a city-state and the seat of Roman Catholicism.