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MANILA, Philippines Senator Loren Legarda is proposing one more reason to have a

marriage annulled in the Philippines if both parties have been separated for at least
five years.
Legardas proposal is ontained in Senate !ill """# that see$s to amend %hapter & of
'(eutive )rder No. "*+ also $no,n as the -amily %ode of the Philippines, presribing
an additional ground for annulment.
.he bill states that a /marriage may also be annulled if parties have been separated in
fat for at least five years.0
/)n this ground, both parties may mutually see$ for the annulment, and ,hile no
1udgment on the pleadings, summary 1udgment, or onfession of 1udgment shall be
allo,ed, the parties shall both be re2uired as far as pratiable to present affidavits or
ertifiations from parents, hildren of legal age, and other relatives attesting to the fat
of the separation period ,ithout pre1udie to ,hatever douments the ourt may further
re2uire,0 it said.
If either or both parties are indigent or annot afford the servies of la,yers, the bill
said, the ourt should dispense ,ith the need for la,yers and $eep the proesses as
simple and as e(pediently as possible to avoid tedious and e(pensive litigation
/In ases ,here both parties mutually see$ the annulment on this ground, the ourt shall
li$e,ise find ,ays to e(pedite the proeedings to avoid protrated and e(pensive trials,0
it further said.
At present, the -amily %ode of the Philippines listed the follo,ing valid grounds for
La$ of parental onsent
-ore, intimidation, or undue influene,
Impotene, and
Se(ually transmissible diseases
All e(isted grounds, ho,ever, are still sub1et to ourt investigation, Legarda said in
e(plaining her bill.
/Parties see$ing annulment thus re2uire legal ounsel for assistane in filing petitions
and substantiating laims. 4ene, annulment is ,idely onsidered a lengthy, tedious,
and finanially e(haustive proedure,0 she said.
5espite its high ost in funds and time, Legarda noted that many -ilipinos ,ere still
see$ing annulment /sine it severs a union ,hile allo,ing remarriage.0
She then ited the reent reords from the )ffie of the Soliitor 6eneral 7)S68, ,hih
sho,ed that a total of 9*,#": annulment ases ,ere filed in "*9", ompared to the
+,9&& ases in "*99.
Legarda hopes that the immediate passage of her bill ould help address this onern.
4er o,n marriage ,ith former !atangas 6overnor ;ose Antonio Leviste ,as annulled in