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Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Getting Out of a Bad Marriage: How Some Filipinos Do It
Getting Out of a Bad Marriage: How Some Filipinos Do It PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - MiscellaNEWS
Tuesday, 03 June 2008 01:27

(Part II of the Series on Divorce, Filipino Style)


The non-existence of divorce in the Philippines apparently does not prevent people from getting out of a bad marriage anyway.

I am skeptical that divorce would limit anything at all in the Philippines for that matter.

Let me tell you my own story based on first-hand knowledge. (I do not wish to cite "causes celebres" involving stars, presidential daughters, local politicians, etc., because I don't know those people.)

Out of, say 20 girlfriends I have in the Philippines, mostly belonging to certain strata or social class, more than half have left their husbands. They are now cohabiting with someone else who is not their legal spouse.

One of these girl friends used to work very, very closely with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo until some two years ago but had a falling out with Mike Arroyo and left her position in the Office of the President. She went to school with Gloria, had the same strict Catholic upbringing, yet her prominent social status and her religious inclinations did not get in the way of leaving her husband and instead went on to love and live with another man. From all appearances, she still enjoys the trust and admiration of everybody I know, including me. She says she cannot sue her husband for legal separation (or even get a church annulment) for it would disrupt the status quo, socially, politically and religiously and so that is a no-no.

As a matter of fact, the few girls I'm slated to see in Manila during my forthcoming visit are all separated from their spouses without exception. They are happily living a new life with another partner or have changed partners for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th time. Their new partners have also left their own wives but a couple of these men still maintain their matrimonial links with their legal wives while enjoying a "second home."


The Filipino so-called civil society is not lagging behind its counterpart in the West, defying all notions that it is a highly traditional-Catholic society.What surprises me is the fact that in a so-called traditionally conservative Catholic society like ours in the Philippines such non-marital or even concubine status does not entail social or religious rebuke. On the contrary, I believe that many of them are admired for their courage to face society. I actually have come to the conclusion long ago that the Philippines' so-called civil society is not lagging behind its counterpart in the West, defying all notions that ours is a highly traditional-Catholic society.

What is strange, however, is the fact that when I asked many of my girlfriends why the Philippines refuses to adopt a divorce law in order to legalize a clearly adulterous relationship, most would answer that Filipinos are very Catholic. They say that since it is against Church dogma, one shouldn't even think about it. Very perplexing reaction, don't you think?

This is why I still have my apprehension about a certain class of the Filipino attitude to life – there is an inherent weakness somewhere because of a litany of moral, religious, pious, etc., contradictions extending to the political realm, a double standard of sorts.


My girlfriend could not sue her estrange husband for legal separation (or even get a church annulment) for it would disrupt the status quo, socially, politically and religiously and so that is a no-no.Why? Because I found it even stranger when these same girlfriends and their partners were with the mob at EDSA 2 to help topple then President Joseph Estrada.  And they did it (all of them without exception) based on their strong belief that Estrada was immoral, a womanizer, a gambler, a drunk, a dolce-vita lover, etc. They objected to his "immoral" way of life. A judgment, which I believe, is double standard, almost apartheid. How very strange!

Well, I am a liberal and a strong believer in democratic practices. (Although the toppling of President Estrada, in my opinion, did not conform to the spirit of democracy.) So I suppose I must not judge lest I be judged, after all we all have our own personal contradictions.

Suffice to say that I remain friendly to my friends even if they find it strange that someone with my so-called sophisticated outlook in life should be "pro-Estrada." Some of my friends who are supposed to be intellectuals seem unable to appreciate the basis of my objection to EDSA 2. I was not pro-Estrada. I was for my own conviction that EDSA 2 was not democracy in action. It was nothing less than mob rule in total defiance of the Philippine constitution and all that is logical in a real democracy.

But perhaps it is the same way some Filipinos get out of a bad presidency, in the same manner that some of them get out of a bad marriage.


(To be continued . . .)


Editor’s Note: To read Part I of this series, please click on Divorce (sic) in RP Is Only for the Rich, the Famous and the Influential

To read the Part III of this series, please click on these link:

An Alternative to Ending Civil Marriages Without Calling it "Divorce"




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Last Updated on Thursday, 05 June 2008 01:52
 

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