Where is the divorce law?
Aside from the Vatican, we are the only country in the world with no divorce law. Even Italy where the seat of Catholicism is found has such a law.
The Catholic clergy which has forestalled the passage of such a law since time immemorial was of course the main factor that allowed the Spaniards to conquer then rule the Philippines for about 300 hundred years. In effect it is a conspirator in our subjugation to a foreign power that made sure we would be backward so we can’t resist their control over us. One such measure was to deny Filipinos (they called us Indios) the right to education. There was no mass education then, only when the Americans took over as our rulers did we learn the meaning of the concept. That is, despite the abuses they also inflicted on us.
When Cory Aquino became our president in 1986, there was a sincere effort to pass a divorce law, but the Catholic Church successfully thwarted the effort. The compromise was Art. 36 of the Family Code which allows for the declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity of any of the parties (the spouses) to contract such . The process however is very tedious and expensive. And the application of the law has become like a yo-yo. Sometimes the courts are stringent in the evaluation of cases. And one would be lucky if the government would not appeal a judgment granting the annulment of a marriage. If it does, chances are, the decision would be reversed if the appellate courts opts to become strict in evaluating the case.
Why a divorce law? Just one instance as an example. A wife went abroad to work as a nurse. When she came back, the husband was living with another woman. So they became de facto separated but in the eyes of the law they were still married. In many cases, the Supreme Court said that was not enough basis to grant an annulment of their marriage.
In the beginning of this Duterte administration there was hope a divorce law would be passed that would simplify the dissolution of the marriage of unlucky couples. A divorce bill was immediately filed but it still remains a bill not a law. So even the relationship of the President with his woman partner now with whom he has a daughter, remains illegal.**