MANILA—A majority of senators prefer to shorten the annulment process instead of passing a policy that would legalize divorce, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Friday.
Most of the senators are not in favor of divorce, Zubiri told reporters when asked about his bill that sought to hasten the annulment process by automatically requiring the state to recognize annulments sanctioned by the Church and other religions.
"Marami sa amin (senador) tumututol sa divorce. Parang pito-pito lang na sige mag-asawa lang, pagkatapos naman ng limang araw o limang buwan pwede naman tayong mag-divorce," he said.
Zubiri said his Senate Bill 1059 would be a better option as it will allow couples to leave unhappy marriages quicker, provided that they cite reasonable grounds for dissolving their marriage.
"Dapat bigyan din natin sila ng pagkakataon na pagkatapos ng prosesong ’yun, bibigyan na lang sila ng certification from the church to the civil courts para sa ganu’n ay mapabilis ang proseso at hindi na dadaan uli sa napakahabang uling process, which I think would be destructive to the family," he said.
Under the bill, civil registrars must update its records to reflect the new status of couples within 30 days after the Church annuls a marriage.
The proposed bill is in line with Pope Francis' directive to shorten the annulment process, Zubiri said.
The Philippines is the lone state in the world, besides the Vatican, that does not allow divorce.
The House of Representatives earlier this week passed its version of the divorce law.
Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality chair Risa Hontiveros, who sponsored the dissolution of marriage bill in the Senate, said she plans to take the divorce policy to the plenary next week.
"Gusto natin buo ang pamilya as much as possible, pero alam ko din na merong those who live through hell dahil sa mga pang-aabuso. And we need to give them an option," she said.
— Report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News