Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why I Support HB 1799, or the Divorce Bill

This post has been in my mental incubator for months. Ever since I heard about HB 1799, more commonly known as the Divorce Bill, the topic has been on my mind. And I knew I was going to write about it. I am finally starting to put my thoughts to paper, but I honestly do not know where this will lead.

I grew up in a Christian household. Not the Catholic kind, but the Bible-thumping Southern Baptist kind. From the get go, my parents instilled the love and fear of God and His teachings in me and my sister. Part of what I learned to believe - and what I still believe now - is the sanctity of marriage. Just so we're clear.

As with every other single human being on Earth, we go through a continuous series of changes in life. That little girl who held on blindly to faith is gone, replaced by a woman who has gone through some of the craziest crap she can imagine. A woman who still holds on to the very same faith.

Sure, I may not go to church every Sunday. My perspective on specific issues have changed. I probably do not fit the bill of a "good Christian". But you know what? My faith in the God who has been with me all this time resides deep inside me. And believe me, this has gotten me through the toughest times in my life.

This is where the Divorce Bill comes into the picture. You see, about six years ago, I got married. You know how the story goes. Girl meets boy. They fall in love. No matter what everyone else around them tells them, they are determined to say their vows and live happily ever after.

My wedding day is still crystal clear in my memory...snippets...


  • I woke up late, and my then fiance was fretting because of that.
  • The wedding rings fell to the floor because the Pastor accidentally let go of them when we were supposed to put the rings on.
  • My hands shook as I said my vows.
  • My dad sobbed in his seat.
  • We went to a coffee shop early in the evening after the wedding.
  • Oh, and my best friend got hit by a car as she was crossing the road to the restaurant where we were holding the reception. I kid you not.

I share these details with you because I want to paint a picture. A picture of a young couple who were deeply in love with each other. A young couple who said their vows with God, a minister, and their families and friends as witnesses. Isn't this the same picture that we see with most weddings? Two people committing to live their lives together. Till death do them part.

What I didn't understand back then - and there really was no reason for me to think about it then - was that "death" can easily be replaced by "infidelity", "physical abuse", "verbal abuse", and "psychological abuse".

What I know now is this: Just because you uttered your wedding vows with your heart, soul, and mind, it does not guarantee "happy ever after".

Now I don't really want to go into the details of what happened to my marriage, but this is the long story cut short. It ended almost two years ago when my ex-husband had an affair with another woman and told me he hated me and that he wanted to leave me. Not long after, I found out that the other woman was pregnant. All this time, the ex didn't admit to anything. I found out through his friends and coworkers. He would still come home every now and then for clothes, in spite of the fact he said he wanted to leave.

On my part, I was still hoping that we would get things sorted out. Yes, I have been called stupid, pathetic, and crazy because of how I behaved during those months. But I believed in marriage. I believed in our marriage.

I held on for what seemed like forever. Even when he finally got his stuff out of our condo, I still held on. We would have occasional talks over the phone. We even reached the point that he said he was just waiting for the baby to be born and that he would return then. I even acquiesced and said that I would raise the baby as my own if that meant being back together again.

You know what happened? I never heard from him. I found out about the baby's birth from my in-laws.

At the end of the day, the conclusion is this: it never worked out, and I know it never will. I don't even have the desire to try anymore. I have moved on, and so has he.

My question then is this: What am I supposed to do? Should I continue the rest of my life being legally obligated to a person who is not part of my life? Should I stick to the "age-old" principle that marriage is for life (no matter what)?

I say NO.

No one should be put in that position. Life is too short to be stuck in a rut because of notions and laws that may not be applicable in certain situations.

The Divorce Bill may touch a raw nerve among many people, but it is not a reason to sit back and not do anything about people who may have a need for it. I am only one among countless men and women who have a need to get a divorce.  I am only one among the countless Filipinos who are still stuck in relationships - or non-relationships - because of legalities. I think that if we want to give Filipinos better lives, the Divorce Bill is one of the things we need to consider. Hard and long.

Sure, there is the potential for abuse, but can we really disregard something because of this possibility? There are so many things in life that we accept as true and right, even if they have the potential to be abused. We cannot discount a concept because of the exceptions. We cannot stand aside and let those who are already suffering continue to suffer simply because "some people might take advantage" of the bill.

I am realistic, though. The opposition is strong, and rather understandably. If we do try to be more open minded and try to understand the situation of other people, we might find it in our hearts to see the good that can come out of this. Sure, this bill might never see the light of day in my lifetime, but I am not letting go of the hope that enough people will be less judgmental and that one day, the Philippines might give people like me the closure that we need.

This is why I support HB 1799.




3 comments:

  1. The divorce bill isn't as easy to go through as it sounds though, especially if you have a lot of assets. For some people, it may probably be the biggest expenditure in their lives.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Under the law, the grounds or conditions for cheating is still punishable

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy families are broken each year because of divorce. Bills such as this will only encourage couples to have an excuse on infidelity.

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    ReplyDelete

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