Divorce law ‘not a done deal’ says Abante

May 28, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 82 views

AMID possible issues surrounding the House vote on the Divorce Law, Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr. on Tuesday urged his colleagues in the chamber to “slow down” on pronouncements that the said measure would become law.

“The House has deferred transmission of the Divorce Law to allow those like myself to raise our concerns regarding the vote taken on this measure, and I believe holding the bill is a prudent move given that there are legitimate issues here that must be resolved,” said Abante, one of the over 100 legislators to vote against House Bill Number (HB) 9349 or the Absolute Divorce Act.

The Secretariat of the of the House of Representatives earlier announced that it would hold the transmission of HB 9349 so that those questioning the vote on the measure can raise their concerns when Congress resumes sessions on July 22.

Abante said he echoed the sentiments of Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and CIBAC party-list Rep. Eddie Villanueva, both of whom have argued that HB 9349 did not get the required votes to pass on third reading.

“When sessions resume in July, I will definitely raise this issue. This Divorce Law is not a done deal.”

Abante added that “far from it, even assuming the measure hurdles the House, it must still be taken up in the Senate, and several senators have already indicated that they are not inclined to support the measure.”

The lawmaker pointed out that even Senate President Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero has stated that he would rather amend the existing annulment law instead of passing a measure that would pave the way for divorce.

The solon said that expanding the grounds for annulment and making it accessible to the poor “is a better alternative to a Divorce Law.”

Abante is the author of HB 10488 or the Expanded Dissolution of Marriage Act of 2024. Under the measure, indigent and underprivileged petitioners who file for annulment can be provided free legal assistance by the Public Attorneys Office.

The measure also expands the grounds for annulment to include domestic and marital abuse; physical violence or abusive conduct; drug addiction and chronic gambling; and marital infidelity.