Five Ilonggo lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill 9349 or An Act Reinstituting Absolute Divorce as an Alternative Mode for the Dissolution of Marriage.

The five legislators were First District Rep. Janette Garin, Second District Rep. Michael Gorriceta, Third District Rep. Lorenz Defensor, Fourth District Rep. Ferj Biron, and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel.

On Wednesday, May 22, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the bill, with 126 lawmakers voting in the affirmative, 109 in the negative, and 20 abstentions.

Fifth District Rep. Raul Tupas, USWAG Party-list Rep. James Ang, Jr., and Iloilo City Lone District Rep. Julienne Baronda were among who voted against the bill.

Principally authored by Albay First District Rep. Edcel Lagman, the proposed measure allows couples to terminate their marriage through absolute divorce.

Under the bill, the grounds for absolute divorce include psychological incapacity, irreconcilable differences, domestic or marital abuse, when one of the spouses undergoes a sex reassignment surgery or transitions from one sex to another, and separation of the spouses for at least five years.

The grounds for legal separation under the Family Code of the Philippines can also be considered grounds for absolute divorce. 

“As the only country in the world besides the Vatican where divorce is still illegal, this is a clear and resounding victory and signals the imminent liberation for Filipino wives who are entombed in toxic, abusive, and long-dead marriages,” Lagman said.IMT