You are on page 1of 25

Introduction “When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn't a sign that they "don't understand" one another

, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to.”

- Helen Rowland

The Philippines had been firmly holding its stand on the issue of divorce. It is, after the Maltese Parliament passed new legislation (2011) legalizing divorce, the only country in the world, except for the Vatican City, that had not legalized divorce. However, attempts of legalizing divorce in the Philippines still pursue up to now. Two bills on this note have languished the Philippine Congress for more than a decade now and the debate still continues.

Divorce is a controversial topic and Filipinos, like any other issues, is divided on the two sides of the coin. The first, the pro- divorce side which is urging for the legalization of the divorce bill and the other, the anti- divorce side which halted the legalization of the said bill. Talks about the issue had been very rampant but stated and talked in a very hush voice for both of the sides of the issue do not really want to discuss the matter in the public. The only venue that this issue had been talked about is inside the legislative offices of the Philippine government that, like the whole Filipino population, also has the two sides of the coin.

In lieu of the issue and the talks on divorce, it is but a necessity to look at the current status of the bill in the policy making process and in the local setting.

To know the status of the policy in the policy making process and the local environment, this paper aims to answer the following questions through the given methods:

1. How did the issue on divorce tagged as a social problem and a public agenda?


This paper will seek how was divorce bill formulated and who were the actors or the people behind the divorce bill. This paper will use Anderson‟s (2011) Agenda- Setting Process and Problem Creation Process.

2. What are the factors that hinder the legalization of the divorce bill in the Philippines? Using Anderson‟s (2011) explanation on the political environment, this paper will look into the political, social and cultural environment of the Philippines that is greatly contributing to the political processes of the said setting. This paper will also analyze the political system of the local Philippine government and the local Philippine politics.

3. How is the agenda set in the area of divorce and marriage policy? Using Kingdon‟s (1995) Agenda Setting, this paper will look at the different areas of analysis of the policy window of divorce in the Philippines- its problem stream, policy proposals and the politics stream of the bill. This question will also be analyzed using Birkland‟s Level of Agenda to determine the current status of divorce bill in the agenda space.

4. What is the future of the divorce bill in the agenda space?

This paper will analyze the possibilities of the divorce bill in the Philippine political stream in comparison with the case of the legalization of the divorce in Malta.


When marriage is annulled. as though it had never happened. While divorce merely ends the marriage. domestic abuse Grounds: Misrepresentation or fraud. underage. annulment is legal in the Philippines and this remains the only choice of individuals wanting to end their relationships to their husbands/ wives. on divorce and annulment on almost all aspects from the grounds to the effects. In the Philippines. However. At present.Chapter I Background of the Study The Philippines remains the only country in the world (with the exemption of the Vatican City) that does not acknowledge and does not have a law legalizing divorce. There is a big difference. Below is a tabular presentation of the difference of divorce and annulment. though. concealment of facts like already married. the country has its own annulment rules that the citizens must follow. a person in the Philippines that wishes to end his or her marriage life will have to face a formidable barrier in making that choice because divorce is prohibited (Guzman. an annulment declares the entire marriage void. lack of consummation forced to get married or the spouses are closely related 3|Page . 2009). Troubled couples in the Philippines turn to annulment to declare that their marriage is null and void. An annulment is a legal procedure in which a marriage contract and marriage are determined to be null and void. the union is treated as if it never existed. infidelity. Table 1: Difference of Annulment and Divorce Annulment What is it?: Legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void Divorce The dissolution of a marriage permanently based on a court order Incompatibility. Grounds for annulment are stricter than grounds for a divorce. irreconcilable differences.

Figure 1. The most common grounds filed for annulment was psychological Since divorce is not legal in the Philippines.Annulment Problems arose: Issues settled by: Result: Before the marriage took place Court Marriage considered void from the beginning Usually after a marriage of short duration Each party keeps assets they owned prior to marriage If marriage involves children.diffen. the only option for troubled couples is to turn into annulment which. is getting popular. Source: http://honrado-oria. child support paid by nonprimary-career Sometimes awarded Children: Alimony: Rarely awarded Source: http://www.wikispaces. The increasing trend in of annulment cases filed in the Philippines shows that more and more couples are wishing to end their marriage. from 2001 of 4520 cases. it rose up to 8282 cases in 2010 which means that the cases filed rose up to 40%. According to the Office of the Solicitor General of the Philippines. statistics says. handled same as divorce Divorce After the marriage took place Court Marriage dissolved Timeframe: Marriage of any length Assets: Assets divided between parties at a judge‟s discretion Parents must submit parenting 4|Page .

the options for Filipino couples seeking to separate are annulment and legal separation.Current Options for Separation (Yan. The grounds for annulment are as follows: 1. Lack of parental consent in certain cases. 2. which applies to a marriage that has been void or invalid from the beginning. unless the party. 3. non-disclosure of a previous conviction by final judgment of the other party of a crime involving moral turpitude. existing at the time of the marriage. Annulment is the legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage. she was pregnant by a man other than her husband. but there are grounds to nullify it. b. Fraud includes: a. If the consent of either party was obtained by fraud. either party was of unsound mind. unless if upon reaching 21. after gaining full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud. Insanity. Fraud. after coming to reason. c. and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of his or her parents or guardian. concealment of sexually transmissible disease or STD. regardless of its nature. the spouses freely cohabited with the other and as husband and wife. 2011) Currently. freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife. or 5|Page . It is applicable to a marriage that is considered valid. If at the time of marriage. If either party is at least 18 years old but below 21. unless the party. This is different from a declaration of nullity of marriage. freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife.

the court is required to schedule the pre-trial conference not earlier than six months from the filing of petition. 5. unless the complaining party freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife after the force.d. either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmitted disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable. The grounds for legal separation are as follows: 1. Moreover. As in an annulment. Legal separation is the legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de factoseparation while remaining legally married. 4. Force. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation. either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other and the incapacity continues and appears to be incurable. concealment of drug addiction. If the consent of either party was obtained by any of these means. they may not remarry. 6|Page . intimidation or undue influence has ceased. STD. If at the time of marriage. intimidation. This six-month period is meant to give the couple an opportunity for reconciliation. If at the time of marriage. Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner. Since the couple is still considered married to each other. Impotence. or undue influence. a common child. habitual alcoholism or homosexuality or lesbianism existing at the time of the marriage. 6. the petitioner is required to prove the allegations contained in the petition. 2. or a child of the petitioner.

even if pardoned. the defenses in legal separation are as follows: 1. Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent.3. Mutual guilt (both parties have given ground for legal separation) 5. 4. whether in the Philippines or abroad. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent. On the other hand. Condonation 2. Sexual infidelity or perversion. Connivance (in the commission of the offense or act constituting the ground for legal separation) 4. Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner. 9. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years. Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage. 10. Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner. or a child of the petitioner. a common child. or connivance in such corruption or inducement. Consent 3. Prescription (5 years from the occurrence of the cause for legal separation) 7|Page . 5. 7. Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year. Collusion (to obtain decree of legal separation) 6. 6. to engage in prostitution. 8.

thus. AngaraCastillo. to name a few. 8|Page . E. Before the Spanish colonial rule in the early 16th century. 782). marginalizing the ordinary people of the rights to be freed from abusive marriages. Our civil laws on marriage justify and allow the separation of married individuals but does not confer them the legal right or remedy to extricate themselves from the ordeal of a broken marriage. the Gadang of Nueva Vizcaya. The Family Code sanctions relative divorce (a mensa et thoro). The highlights of the explanatory note of House Bill No. Biazon. similar bills were filed in the Senate (Bill No. 878). 227. absolute divorce had been widely practiced among our ancestral tribes — the Tagbanwas of Palawan. the Manobo. Bila-an and Moslems of Visayas and Mindanao islands. House Bill No. There were prior divorce laws. Act 2710 allowed divorce on the grounds of adultery on the part of the wife and concubinage on the part of the husband. In 2005. 209. the Sagada and Igorot of the Cordilleras. As Amended by Executive No. Legal separation is a recognized remedy for victims of failed marriages. was promulgated providing for ten grounds for divorce.Efforts of legalizing divorce in the Philippines Efforts in the legalization of divorce in the Philippines had been very rampant. 6993 or the “An Act Legalizing Divorce. In 2001. introduced by Senator Rodolfo G. No. According to Representative Masa. Otherwise Known as the Family Code of the Philippines” which was filed by Honorable Manuel C. Amending for the Purpose Title II and Article 55 to 67 Thereunder of Executive Order No. During the Japanese Occupation. 141. introduced by Honorable Bellaflor J. GABRIELA representative Liza Masa filed a divorce bill primarily to free women suffering from traumatic marriages and to give more access to women that wishes to end their marriages. the annulment process in the Philippines is very expensive. and House of Representatives (Bill No. Divorce is not exclusive to contemporary times. These laws are no longer in effect. Ortega of the First District of La Union during the Eleventh Congress (1999). 6993. in support of divorce. a new law on absolute divorce.O. are as follows as explained by Attorney Pamaos (2008): Divorce is not a novel legal right. In 1917.

9|Page . it is recommended that “irreconcilable marital differences” be included in our present civil laws as a justifiable cause for absolute divorce because not all circumstances and situations that vitiate the institution of marriage could be specifically categorized and defined by our lawmakers. absolute divorce is widely practiced among many ancestral tribes in the Philippines. Spouses living in a state of irreparable marital conflict or discord should be given the opportunity to present their marital contrarieties before the courts and have such differences adjudged as substantial grounds to dissolve or sever the legal bond of marriage. the bill seeks to introduce divorce in the Philippine law as an additional option.Based on the increasing number of failed marriages which confines many of our citizens to a perpetual state of marital limbo. The present grounds for legal separation which are recognized in our society as justifiable bases for relative divorce should be re-enacted as lawful grounds for absolute divorce. In addition. it has become morally and socially acceptable for many Filipinos to grant spouses of broken marriages the legal right to remarry. 1799 or the “Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines” filed by GABRIELA Women‟s Party Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana De Jesus during the Fifteenth Congress (2010). there seems to be a big question on why. The most recent effort to legalize divorce in the Philippines is the House Bill No. up to now. Timeline of marriage dissolution policy in the Philippines Early 16th Century: In pre-Spanish period. Even with the number of attempts of legalization of divorce in the country and the obvious urge of the public to have a system of change. thus retaining the options and remedies of legal separation. 1521-1898: Spanish law Siete Partidas only allowed relative divorce (or legal separation without right to re-marry. declaration of nullity of marriage and annulment. This is to be respectful and sensitive to differing religious beliefs in the country. divorce had not made it into the current political mainstream. According to the explanatory note.

179) to inquire into the propriety of enacting a Divorce Code. This resolution was never discussed. No. 754) seeking to provide recognition of divorce obtained abroad by Filipinos. Jr. 141 was promulgated. This law provided the legal basis for the granting of absolute divorce. this more liberal law expanded the grounds for which the legal remedy may be invoked. Res. 2710. and which renders the marriage void. This embodies the concept that certain individuals may have incapacity to assume the obligations of marriage on grounds of a psychological nature which may exist prior to marriage.S. 1987: The Family Code was signed into law by President Corazon Aquino. 1992: Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani filed a bill (S. 320) seeking to recognize marriage dissolutions by religious sects or denominations. 1950: The New Civil Code of 1950 took effect. filed a bill (S. This bill was never discussed. No. No. This law effectively abolished divorce and prohibited the civil dissolution of marriage. It repealed the Siete Partidas (or the Spanish law that only allows relative divorce or legal separation but without right to re-marry). 1917: The Philippine Legislature. 1988: Senator Aquilino Pimentel.1899: American Governor-General Weyler suspended the Siete Partidas.B. The bill was never discussed. enacted Act No. 1943: The Japanese Executive Order No. This reflects the change in the position of the Church regarding the absolute indissolubility of marriage on the basis of new findings in psychology regarding the link between marriage breakdown and premarital causes. 1995: Senator Nikki Coseteng filed a resolution (P. It can be invoked in cases involving adultery on the part of the wife or concubinage on the part of the husband. Also allowing divorce. functioning under the 1916 Philippine Autonomy Act (or Jones Law).B. It was passed by the First Congress of the Philippines on 18 June 1949. Among its provision is Article 36 which incorporates Canon 1095 of the 1983 New Code of Canon Law. 10 | P a g e .

3461). One year after its referral to two Senate Committees. Since time immemorial. Even during the times of American and Japanese occupation in the Philippines. 461) seeking to delete the provision on legal separation. 2010: Representatives Ilagan and De Jesus of GABRIELA filed a new divorce bill (H. Until then. No. to integrate it as grounds for annulment of marriage. marriage dissolution had been in the context of the Philippines. No. disguised as an amendatory bill. No. 4016) seeking to introduce divorce in the Philippines. 2005: Representative Liza Masa filed a divorce bill (H.B. No.B. 782) seeking to legalize divorce. divorce was legal until the establishment of the First Philippine Congress which prohibited the civil dissolution of marriage and abolished divorce in the country. 878).B. 2001: Senator Rodolfo Biazon filed a bill (S. From then on.1998: Senator Teofisto Guingona filed a bill (S.B. The timeline posted above shows that divorce had been practiced in the Philippines even before the Spaniards came and it was a sort of a culture among tribes. No. Representative Bellaflor Angara-Castillo filed a divorce bill (H. No. Also. 11 | P a g e . This bill. is actually a bill seeking to provide for divorce. 1999: Representative Manuel Ortega filed a bill (H. The bill was never discussed. divorce had been in the political culture of many Filipinos but with difference of the grounds and the effects and limitations.B. No. 2008: Representative Masa re-filed a new divorce bill (H. B. divorce had not found its way back into the political mainstream. a committee hearing was conducted but the bill was not reported out.B. 6993) seeking for the legalization of divorce. 1799).

The most recent of the issue on divorce bills being filed is the openness of Senator Pia Cayetano to file another divorce bill at the Senate (Inquirer. proposal and politics) (Anderson. Problem Creation despite of numbers of attempts. do problems reach the agendas of governmental organizations such as the legislative branch (both the lower and the upper house)? In the case of divorce. June 2012). This is according to the model of Professor John Kingdon. The Philippines is the only country (with the exemption of the Vatican City) with a no divorce law but the possibility of following the suit. In an analysis that has captivate many political scientists. Agenda Setting. have these bills been debated about. Priority Setting and Political Environment in the Context of Divorce Bill filed in the Philippines Despite the pressure given by the international community. he holds that agenda setting can be viewed as comprising three mostly independent streams of activity (problem. still remains vague in the status quo. then.s Agenda 12 | P a g e . the Philippines is making a big statement again on being firm with its stand on divorce. what is their status. did divorce arrived in the problem arena? The study of agenda setting concerns how politicians and solons consider a situation a problem and how an issue ends up in the arena of the agendas. There is already a number of bills filed but the question is. Here is what is happening in the Philippines in terms of the divorce bills filed.Chapter II Conceptual Framework for the Analysis of Problem Creation. how. 2011). This is mostly termed as Kingdon. where are the bills now. then. There is a number already of divorce bills being filed in the lower and the upper house of the legislative body yet the issue and the talks on these divorce bills have reached only the narrow points and narrow analysis of the bills. What will happen next is that another persona will file the same divorce bill and leave the past divorce bills hanging.

depending on their own issues. because of the limited grounds as basis for annulment. It is. however. Statistics also says that of all the petitioners. it needs to be tagged as a problem. Sen. Statistics also shows that annulment cases have rose 40% in the span of almost a decade (OSG. But even before an issue has the power to enter the local agenda space. according to an interview. Pia Cayetano (2012). 2010). most of the 13 | P a g e . (Anderson. 61% are women and most of the grounds for marriage.Setting Model (1995). This means that the existing law of the Philippines. This can be analyzed that there is an urge for couples. Conditions. thus. do not become problems if they are defined as such. 2011) Figure 2 Problem Creation STANDARD OR VALUE CONDITION PROBLEM GOVERNMENT ACTION IS POSSIBLE The present Philippine law offers annulment. together with legal separation. It is seen here that annulment contains many flaws. is even more harmful than helpful for the formulation of the individual filling it. going through the process of annulment is a rigorous process. people must have some value or standard by which the troubling condition is judged to be unreasonable or unacceptable and appropriate for the government to handle. to end their marriage. For a condition to be converted into a problem. The process dictates that the couple should blame one another for the process to proceed. seen to be as a very drastic process. in the context of marriage dissolution. to be the primary marriage dissolution policy of the country.

the Presidency is the only actor that does not prioritize the divorce bill as much as the other three actors. there is also a number of senators and representatives that are eying divorce as a possible solution to the problem and issue of abusive and unhappy marriages. Stewart. divorce will guarantee women‟s rights. GABRIELA is an interest group that aims to give women empowerment and protect women from the abusive society. From 1992. however some of it was not even discussed and some of it was left by the congresspersons that filed it as soon as they left the office. people will still be filing for marriage dissolution for a number of reasons. Hedge and Lester (2008) identify four major actors in the policy formulation: different government agencies. For the group. that the introduction of divorce as one means of marriage dissolution does not mean the abolishment of the other given means. the Office of the Solicitor General submitted researches on the hiking up number of petitioners for annulment. Ilagan and Rep. the measure of divorce as a means 14 | P a g e . The couples still are given the choice. 1799 is pointing out. even without divorce.petitioners result to psychological incapacity even if the issue or the problem between the partners are more serious like spousal violence. The most recent cases of divorce bill filing were done by congress representatives and party-list leaders Rep. up to now. In the congress. This can also be stated as what the explanatory note of the H. there are nine (9) attempts of congresspersons to legalize divorce. For the government agencies. interest groups and the congress. Is there a need for divorce in the Philippines? That is the primary question in the process of problem creation. infidelity and/ or abandonment. the groups or individuals undertaking research to back up necessary actions. 2011). Meaning to say. De Jesus of GABRIELA party. presidency. legalize abortion? Problems are defined or perceived by different persons or groups. like other nations in the world. According to them. Examining the different actors in the filing of divorce bill in the context of the Philippines.list.B. What is the condition of the local setting to prove that it is high time for the Philippines to. divorce was not really given priority by the congress. This can be explained as. protect them from abusive marriages and will be a remedy for unhappy marriages (Umil.

especially when Malta left the Philippines in the stream of the non. that there are marriages that turned sour. Articles about pro. in reality. 15 | P a g e . 4. shows their opinion and stand on the issue rises up. 8. even violent and there are bigamous marriages and divorce. In all of her statements. Divorce has no religious bias. She cited the following reasons: 1. it is clear that the Philippines had been ready and will be ready for the legalization of divorce and it will even benefit more people rather than harm them whatever their religious biases maybe.divorce stand had been very rampant at present. The current laws that allow for legal separations and annulment are flawed. There are sectors in the Philippine society that practices divorce. According also to Ilgan. that are given the freedom and venue to express their insights. Even individual. particularly the women.divorce countries. especially those who are victims of domestic violence for it provides an immediate venue to end the abusive marriage. Divorce does not destroy the family. An annulment is an expensive process that not everyone can afford. There are also marriages that are abusive. making it the sole country that does not legalize divorce. People are in favor of divorce. as well as other marriage dissolution law. 2. It is a recourse for women who are in abusive relationships 5. 7. will be their option in ending the traumatic marriages. Santos (2011) wrote an article and enumerated the reasons why divorce should be legalized in the Philippines.of marriage dissolution will benefit. 6. The stipulations of annulment are destructive. 9. Divorce used to exist in the Philippines 3. we can‟t deny.

the Church and the localities. With the given issues. The debate had been very much critical back year 2011 when the Maltese Parliament (Malta) legalized divorce in their country making the Philippines alone as the non-divorce country. despite of the 1987 Freedom Constitution‟s statement that the separation of the Church and the State be observed. To make a non. Agenda Setting and Priority Setting Professor John Kingdon (1995) proposes a way on how to look at issues transforming into an agenda in the local political arena. 2011). divorce had been one of the talked about issues in the status quo. the Catholic Church will be the first and the strongest opposition of the divorce bill. being predominantly Catholic. even up to now. According to the Church (as a statement in an interview of CBCP Secretary General Msgr. 2011). As expected.biased call. In their side. marriage dissolution in the process of divorce had been seen as an agenda of the local Philippine politics.Setting Process explains that the agenda of the government can be explained into three (Kingdon. policy and 16 | P a g e . The Kingdon‟s Agenda. Juanito Figura. opening up a new arena for marriage dissolution will just attract more and more couples to file for marriage dissolution and that it will not cater the most pressing needs of the Philippine society at present. depending on the sides of the one perceiving it.What is the other side of the coin? In all issues. The debate continues. the government must focus more on helping strengthening the family and husband wife relationships instead of entertaining the possibility of divorce in the country (Yan. With all these. the other side of the coin of the divorce-as-a-possible-solution issue had been contradicted by the Catholic Church. 1995): problem. whether be it in the academe. interviews and the people backing up divorce as a remedy in the country. statistics. there are always the two sides of the story. the Catholic Church holds a stand in the issues of the society and even in politics. The Philippines.

Proposals represent the process by which policy proposals are generated. Because competing proposals can be attached to the same 17 | P a g e . and adopted for serious consideration. debated. This type of model is concerned on how the agenda is set. problem recognition is critical.Setting Model Source: http://www. presentation of statistical indicators and the likes that will likely to draw the attention of the public. using the media. 2009). Figure 3 Kingdon’s Problems refer to the process of persuading policy decision makers to pay attention to one problem over others. how issues come to be issues and how they come to the attention of policy makers (Guzman. Different focusing events are dramatization of the issue in ways of protest activities.politics. 2007). This uses focusing events to manipulate the agenda setting process of the locality (Harvard Family Research Project.hfrp. Because a policy proposal's chances of rising on the agenda are better if the associated problem is perceived as serious. revised.

In the current status of the marriage dissolution laws of the Philippines. The agenda setting is also a competition about timing and luck. persuading that your means is. tax averse). not better. however. the Church had been the one leading the argumentation on the legalization on different marriage dissolution means. the issue on the marriage dissolution and the introduction of divorce as one of the means can be analyzed. reasonable in cost. the means of getting into the solution varies according to the views and the means of the proposal. Proposals are likely to be more successful if they are seen as technically feasible. Using the multiple streams of the Kingdon‟s Agenda Setting Model. compatible with decision maker values. and the voices of advocacy or opposition groups (Harvard Family Research Project. conservative.Setting Model) to issues of power has the potential to direct us on a theoretically.. Not all that reached the agenda stage and agenda space reached the priority list of the policy makers. it is but a must to say that for over 20 years. recommending and above all.g. describing. political climate or mood (e. getting a proposal on the “short list” typically takes time and the willingness to pursue it by using many tactics. The issue of abusive and traumatic marriages and abused wives had been deliberately argued and discussed among policy makers. 2007).problem. but the best of all means presented. 18 | P a g e . 2007). The „lucky break‟ that paves way for a proposal to be tabled on the agenda for decision is called a „policy window‟ (as shown in Figure 3). It is a process of recurrent explaining. such as changes in elected officials. This „policy window‟ can also be considered as a window of opportunity that policy entrepreneurs or policy actors must grab whenever it opens. Politics are political factors that influence agendas.informed examination of why there has been lack of change in Philippine marital laws since 1950 when the Church successfully prevailed in decision to prohibit divorce. and appealing to the public (Harvard Family Research Project. This approach (Agenda.

But the efforts just ended up with no resolution and with no result at all. did not see the condition as an issue or a problematic case. President Corazon Aquino passed the Family Code which incorporated the statement of the Pope and acknowledges a marriage dissolution process. the proposal came from a highly regarded institution. How this condition was explained can be considered in Kingdon‟s suggestion that development of a shared understanding of nature of problems is a critical factor in understanding why issues come on to a government‟s agenda (Guzman. GABRIELA. This resulted to an era where dissolution of marriage was prohibited that left the people of broken marriages left without any remedy to get out of legal relationship and remained trapped. 2009). More efforts on changing the policy on marriage dissolution came after the approval of the Family code. it is very evident that marriage dissolution laws had been into the mainstream politics as when the Vatican City. clearly. On the issue of divorce. The Family Code of the Philippines signed by former President Aquino was signed because the political actors and the problem. it is easy to understand why the proposal successfully got its agenda status in the Philippine laws. although it was 19 | P a g e . saw a need for the law to make a move out of the issues of failing and breaking marriages. in the Kingdon‟s Agenda Setting process. This. 2009). In this matter. proposals and politics. benchmarked on the streams of problems. after the establishment of the First Philippine Congress. The buzz on the filing of the divorce bill came again into the arena of discussion when active women‟s group. however most of the petitions and bills filed was not even discussed by the local solons. Knowing the background of former President Aquino which was known as a devout Catholic. This policy position on the dissolubility of marriage settled in favor of that which was preferred by the Catholic Church (Guzman. This opened the arena for the potential policy change. filed for the legalization of divorce in the country in 2005. divorce was eliminated as a means for marriage dissolution as the Philippines adopted the New Civil Code. as well as. but in a limited ground of psychological issues.Since divorce had been part of Philippine history. which is the most regarded in issues of sanctity of marriage. the government. it is not an alien topic for most Filipinos but surprisingly. Sudden change of the situation when Pope John Paul acknowledged in 1983 the possibility of couples to not hold on to their marriages due to causes which are psychological in nature.

According to the authors of the said bill. at present. According to them. Legislators in the Fifteenth Philippine Congress seem to value the idea and the approval of the church more than the idea of the Filipino people. the problems identified or the bases of filing the divorce bill is primarily to serve the empowerment of women. the divorce bill caters the needs of couples that are suffering from domestic violence. to empower and give more access to women in traumatic and failing marriage to end the legal binding and start a new and improved life. This. Agenda Setting in House Bill No. various interest groups. 1799 Pressured on the note that Malta. The House Bill 1799 was filed July.discussed and debated inside the congress. Since the Philippines. Another bill was filed from the area of the women‟s group of Garbiela in 2010 spearheaded by Representative Ilagan and Representative De Jesus. particularly Gabriela. 1799 had been discussed and debated in the legislative branch of the government. legalized divorce in their country after a referendum on May 2011. see the opportunity that it is high time to pursue their call of legalizing divorce.divorce law country. Presented on the explanatory note of House Bill No. alongside with another controversial Reproductive Health Bill.list in the attempt to legalize divorce. interest groups found an arena of the need to pass a petition on legalizing divorce in the country. 1799 which is the second bill filed by the same party list group about the issue on divorce. Gabriela representatives also explained that 20 | P a g e . Comparing annulment grounds in the grounds of the proposed divorce bill. the only country that does not acknowledge divorce as a means of ending a legal binding of marriage. 2010 after the much awaited approval of the divorce bill in Malta which left the Philippines the only country without a divorce law. again on the exemption of Vatican City. is. is the primary hindrance to the approval of the Divorce Bill. the approval seems to farfetched at this moment. this will. Although House Bill No. This is the House Bill No. the most pressing issue of women nowadays is domestic violence and this happens while inside the legal binding of marriage. more likely. Another bill was filed by the party. the Philippines‟ sole partner in pursuing a non. 1799. even with the principle of separation of church and state of the Philippine Constitution. The filing of the divorce bill came into reconsideration of the GARBIELA party list considering the issues of women in abusive marriages.

According to an interview to one of the Philippine senators. an issue will be tabled as an agenda with the help of political actors and policy entrepreneurs. the Philippines. traditional beliefs and customs and education and preaching of the Church. the House Bill No. Another is the Catholic Church. on ending a legal binding of marriage and it will not be the sole means. 2012). is like declaring a war against the Church ( taken good care of. the possibility of passing the divorce bill alongside with the talks and debates on another controversial bill. political and religious unit of the society. 1799 will give more options and more access to end a problematic marriage. economic. divorce seemed to have a difficult time to enter its legalization stage. At present. With some of the senators that are in favor of legalizing divorce. This statement means that the Philippine senators are so keen with their image on the Catholic Church and what image will they give this dominant institution. 21 | P a g e . the issue is currently being discussed. therefore making it sacred and should. in his model of multiple streams. therefore the Church has gained its own support and ally in contradicting the legalization of divorce. divorce has slowly creeping its way into the priorities of the legislative for the number of Senator. Almost 81% of the population of the Philippines is Roman Catholic. divorce will be an added arena or means. demographically speaking. is dominantly Catholic in nature. Guzman (2009) in his research found out that the biggest barrier to the passage of divorce in law is the Philippine culture. slowly. Reproductive Health Bill. With this note. What is stopping the legalization of divorce in the Philippines? Despite the public approval and the support coming from legislators and other interest groups. together with annulment and legal separation. This can also be pointed out that Filipinos believe that the family is the basic social. Adding to this notion. if not abusive and traumatic. when legalized. Kingdon (1995). (which is also strongly opposed by the Catholic Church).the proposed divorce bill is more diverse in the context of religion and cultural beliefs.Judges in the Philippines had separated from their own partners. aside from the global pressure and despite the stand of the Catholic Church.

considers the historic vote on the legalization of divorce. but the will of the majority. thus the divorce law is enacted. Roman Catholic. the arena for agenda status and the local political arena for divorce is. Since. same as the Philippines. in the sense. being predominantly Roman Catholic with 95% of the population of more than 400. 2009). the country also allows Church annulment and legal separation through courts. a Roman Catholic country. Malta and the Philippines. personally. and given the political will of the parliament of hearing the demands and pressure of the citizens. from being active in the 1917 and 1950 to one of the latency and dormancy afterwards (Guzman. Malta: A Pressure on Philippine Divorce Policy Before the year 2011. 000 being Roman Catholic. The global community now pressures the Philippines to legalize divorce and enter the 21st century.Clearly. this left the Philippines. there are three countries in the world that has no divorce law namely Vatican City. knowing that their religious culture is. Malta. have joined other countries in the world that legalize divorce. mentioned in the previous 22 | P a g e . with the Vatican City the only countries in the world that has no divorce. According to Prime Minister Gonzi. The Philippine divorce policy issue has been through various phases of conflict in the political arena. it can be noted that the Divorce Bill has its way and is on its track on the public policy arena. going through a hard time. Possibilities and Future of the Divorce Bill A year after Malta legalized divorce in their country. Before the enactment of divorce law in Malta. There is more possibility now in the attempts of policy change in the Marriage Laws of the Philippines especially that the public participation and the masses‟ participation on political decisions are now increasing. Malta. the result in favor of divorce is not the result he wanted. After the referendum (May 2011) and the approval of divorce law. Upon the historic legalization of divorce in Malta.

by the time that the political culture acknowledges more the public decision rather than few institutions‟ demands.statements. divorce bill had been supported by the public. the possibility of legalizing divorce in the country will be on its height. 23 | P a g e .

Indeed. Evident in the political culture of the Philippines. For more than 30 years of fighting itself to be in the political setting. sectors of Philippine society affected by the lack of a divorce provision in the country have either remained quiescent or have been prevented from raising the issue (Guzman. the Catholic Church has mobilized a concrete amount of biases to stop. The more powerful an institution is or an interest group or even an individual. the issue of policy change in the arena of marriage law had been kept of the scen in the local political arena in the Philippines. 24 | P a g e . Despite of the efforts of policy makers in filing legislative bills aimed at re-establishing the divorce policy and the obvious public support. It seems that the efforts to change the law are being frustrated at every step. For a very long time.Chapter III Conclusion For many years. the Church had been its biggest opposing party. 2009). the voice of the church and the dominating power of the Catholic Church and traditional culture and beliefs are keeping the issue of divorce in the arena of public policy. It is a must to note that despite of overwhelming support gained. power still remains a big issue on the policy making process. it has the capability to manipulate the political culture and setting. if not slow down. Most of the bills filed were not even heard inside the legislature. the policy change on the marriage law of the Philippines had been very obscure. the approval of divorce bill in the country.

the voice of the public still remained the biggest basis for the enactment of the divorce bill. The power domination in the Philippine political culture is very evident and thus calls for a serious change. which is predominantly Catholic. 25 | P a g e . With regards to the case of Malta. The review of current statistics. This study shows that. not only on the issue of marriage law or divorce or the controversial issue of the Reproductive Health Bill but on all of the political decisions made and enacted. the powerful institutions and not the direct public were accounted and that the powerful institutions‟ voices and ideas were given accounts and priorities. This kind of situation has to change in the Philippines. Times had changed and the needs and the situations of the people have also changed therefore old measures and means have to be reviewed if it still addresses the current needs of the people. the review of the present Family and Marriage Law and the review of the present political culture is also a need in the status quo of the Philippines.Chapter IV Recommendation There is a high need for the Philippines to look at a wider scope of participation in many areas of politics especially in determining the needs of public policies. more often than not.