House OKs absolute divorce bill on final reading
House OKs absolute divorce bill on final reading
House OKs absolute divorce bill on final reading
by Christhel Cuazon23 May 2024
Photo courtesy: Freepik

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 22 approved the third and final reading of the absolute divorce bill.

During the plenary session, House Bill No. 9349, or the Absolute Divorce Act was approved with 126 lawmakers voting in the affirmative, 109 in the negative, and 20 abstentions.

According to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the author of the bill, its passage on the third reading signifies a significant shift in societal attitudes towards marriage and relationships.

By legalizing divorce, he believes that the Philippines acknowledges the need to provide options for individuals trapped in "unhappy and irreparable marriages".


"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.

Lagman clarified that the bill does not recognize "no-fault, quickie drive-thru, email or notarial divorces" as there are limited and reasonable grounds for divorce and a petition will have to undergo judicial scrutiny to prevent abuse and collusion of the parties.

The bill stipulates the grounds for absolute divorce, which 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.

Under HB 9349, the grounds for annulment of marriage under the Family Code of the Philippines are also grounds for absolute divorce:


• Physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
• 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;
• Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than 6 years;
• Drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, or chronic gambling;
• Homosexuality of the respondent;
• Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage;
• Marital infidelity or perversion or having a child with another person other than one's spouse during the marriage;
• Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner; and
• Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year
The bill was approved two months after it was referred to the plenary by the House Committee on Population and Family Relations.

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