Women warned on revisions of Family Code

Mar. 11, 2008

In the wake of the National Broadband Network (NBN) deal scandal, a legislation has been passed in Congress that the public, especially the women, must be wary about, said Davao Judge Jesus Quitain on the passage of House Bill 2420.

The bill, which seeks to amend the Family Code of 1987, was among the first measures approved by Congress a day after the ouster of Speaker Jose de Venecia in the House of Representatives.

Quitain, a retired judge, said House Bill 2420 would put women at a disadvantage, as it seeks to amend “three radical laws” in the Family Code that gave women the rights they never enjoyed prior to its enactment in 1987.

These include Article 26 of the Family Code which gives a woman, who is divorced by a foreigner husband, the right to remarry; Article 36 which provides the right to declare the marriage void once the husband is found to be psychologically incapacitated; and Article 75 which abolished the antiquated “conjugal property of gains rule” and replaced it with the “absolute community of property” rule that now allows a wife who is legally separated from her husband an equal share of all the properties incurred prior to and during the marriage.

Quitain questioned the seeming underhandedness by the way the Bill was passed, pointing out that even its title, “A Bill Amending the Family Code,” appeared intentionally put in a way that would look rather “innocuous.”

“I don’t think a lot of legislators noticed it, or knew about it; or, even if they did, whether they considered the ill effects it will have on women,” Quitain said during an interview with reporters.

Quitain fears that once House Bill 2420 becomes a law, it will take back the gains achieved by women after the Family Code was passed.

Former Supreme Court Justices Cecilia Muoz-Palma, Flerida Romero and Haydee Yorac, who were advisers to former President Corazon Aquino, introduced the Family Code after a People Power revolt in 1987 that put a woman President for the first time.

“They must have anticipated objections so they passed it a time when Congress was abolished and only the President had the power to make the laws,” Quitain recalled.

“With the rule of “absolute community of property” in place in the Family Code, wealthy husbands are somehow prevented from messing around with his wife for fear that a break-up would make him lose part of the properties he owned before marriage,” Quitain said.

He also argued that he does not see the need to change the law which provided relief to Filipinas “who are duped into marriage by devious men who were sick in the head and whose weird acts only came out after marriage.”

He sees it unfair to women, especially, in a condition where properties are still largely concentrated on men.

In most cases, too, he pointed, it is the husband who causes the fighting between spouses due to adultery, alcoholism, gambling habits, wife beating and psychological incapacity, and that most of the annulment and separation cases are filed by wives who just could not take it any more.

“But now that we are bringing it back to the pre-1987 times, I am afraid that it might increase the likelihood of wealthy spouses to commit abuse in relationships, thinking they have no properties to lose, anyway,” he said.

Quitain hopes something would be done to stop it before the Bill passes through Senate, and finally, becomes a law. (Cheryll D. Fiel, davaotoday.com)

  • The marriage laws being followed in the PI are really antiquated and they serve only one purpose. 1) they imprison the women into a bad marriage with no out –
    2) The men can jump from woman to woman even after marriage. 3) The women have not rights and basically are set up to be legal whores…after a husband abandons them – The husband can leave and jump from bed to bed..and the Wife has no escape.
    That is a very prime example of why the Catholic Church should stay out of the marriage business. They can’t marry. Have not a clue about bad marriages and then they condemn a woman for life that makes a bad choice in a marriage.
    Women of the PI..should protest and refuse to marry ever..They have more to gain from not ever marrying than they do
    in marrying.
    Maybe one day the Government of the PI will stop acting like a third world country and take care of its people and give them human dignity and the ability to fix a bad marriage by opting out and regaining the freedom they should have as human beings.

comments powered by Disqus