Grace seeks to add abuse to grounds for marital separation
MANILA – Sen. Grace Poe is seeking to expand the grounds for legal separation to include sexual violence and abusive conduct.
Her Senate Bill No. 1366 seeks to amend Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines which enumerates the different grounds for legal separation.
The provision currently requires “repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct” to justify a legal separation.
Such wording, according to the senator, is “problematic” since a “repeated” abuse or sexual violence puts the life of the victim at risk.
“The seemingly innocuous wording of this ground has put undue burden on victim spouses who woul have wanted to legally separate from their abusers but could not do so until they are physically and emotionally battered due to multiple instances of abuse,” Poe said.
“Why should we wait until abuse has become repetitive or gross? We should stop abuse at the first instance and we should not allow abusers take refuge behind gaps in the law.”
In filing the measure, the lawmaker cited the country’s committement to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
The human rights treaty for women requires party-nations to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations.
Poe said her proposal applies to both spouses regardless of gender.
Other grounds for legal separation include physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation; attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement; final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned; and drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent.
Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent; contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad; sexual infidelity or perversion; attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; or abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year could also lead to a dissolution of marriage./