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Jan 25th
Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Divorce (sic) in RP Is Only for the Rich, the Famous and the Influential
Divorce (sic) in RP Is Only for the Rich, the Famous and the Influential PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 02 June 2008 08:30

Filipinos joke that civil divorce will soon be legalized again in the Philippines. Why? Wags say that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo needs this option of getting herself rid of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Yes, the Mike Arroyo of the Pidalgate fame.

Pundits say that there is actually divorce (sic) in the Philippines. But it is an option only for the elite (the rich or the famous or the influential people).

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a four-article series on the topic of divorce. Two of the four articles were written by Ms. Ana de Guia (not her real name, as she prefers to remain an anonymous author). Ms. Ana is a Filipino who now resides in Europe. Excerpts of these articles were published in the of New York in 2004.)

The elite class can use its wealth and connections and petition the Philippine civil courts for the annulment of the marriage. With the assistance of high-priced lawyers, usually annulment is granted. There are documented cases of Philippine movie stars whose marriages were annulled in a civil court and who married validly before a judge or a mayor for the second time to equally famous personalities or politicians.

Oftentimes people in the Philippines get married in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and which wedding is registered also before the Civil Registry. When a couple separates and is able to obtain a civil annulment of the marriage, they cannot yet get married again (to different spouses) in the RCC.

The next step is to engage the services of RCC dignitary and/or canon lawyers and petition the Vatican for an annulment. More often than not, the Vatican grants the annulment after the petitioner spends a small fortune in fees and donations to the coffers of the church.

Perhaps it is high time for Philippine society to deal with this obvious practice of hypocrisy. The Philippine Congress must pass legislation that once again allows divorce in the country, as was practiced in the 1920s and 1930s. The primary reason for opposing divorce is the argument of the RCC for preservation of the sanctity of marriage as an institution. What sanctity is there when too many children are actually born out-of-wedlock and RCC prelates baptize them in often formal and elegant ceremonies? Isn't the practice of baptizing the children of common-law spouses who live in mortal sin recognition of such "immoral" unions?

What is needed is to penalize the practice of those who can afford to maintain paramours, especially married lovers, and flaunt the relationship in public.What the country needs is to make sure that married people have the tools to become and remain happy in their marital relationships. The Philippine society must do away with hypocrisy by legalizing civil divorce. What the civil authorities should do is to penalize the practice of those who can afford to maintain paramours, especially married lovers, and flaunt the relationship in public.

Perhaps the country must also tax illicit relationship in the same manner that the government imposes the so-called "sin taxes" on liquor and tobacco products. Perhaps if movie actors and actresses were to be levied half of their pay in hosting television shows or acting in movies, there will be less flagrant display of immoral affection on the idiot box. Perhaps the government must impose a hefty tax on children born out of wedlock, especially the children fathered by members of the clergy that practice celibacy. Because in most cases, the government ends up spending scarce resources in educating, and providing medical care to, these children from illicit relationship. # # #

To read Part II of this series, please click on this link:

Getting Out of a Bad Marriage: How Some Filipinos Do It

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 February 2009 04:52

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