By Mario Casayuran
Detained Senator Leila De Lima has sought congressional approval of her bill seeking to guarantee equal rights and protection for husband and wife in their own homes, especially in their upbringing of children.
De Lima’s measure, Senate Bill (SB) No. 1730, sought to amend Articles 14, 12, 124, 211 and 225 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 209, or the Family Code of the Philippines as they illustrate inequality between spouses by providing more privilege, power and control to men.
“This bill seeks to rectify the inequality in decision-making in the household by amending certain provisions in the Family Code of the Philippines,” she said.
De Lima explained that these provisions are deemed patriarchal and detrimental to establishing the status of married women as partners and equals in their own homes.
‘’Progressive amendments more apt with the current times are thus introduced in this bill,” she explained.
The articles under E.O. No. 209 all gave preferential treatment for the father/husband, thus promoting gender inequality, she pointed out.
De Lima proposed that in cases of disagreement between the spouses on exercising parental authority over the persons of their common children, the spouses shall always resort to the courts to decide the case.
Under Sec. 5, Art. 225, De Lima likewise, proposed that the spouses shall also resort to the courts in terms of deciding the guardianship over the property of unemancipated common child, in case of disagreement.
“These provisions are not to be taken for granted knowing that the woman’s importance in nation-building starts from her role in the basic unit of society, the family,” she said.
In her bill, De Lima also sought to revise Sec. 2, Art. 96 and Sec. 3, Art. 24 of the E.O. 209, which originally favor the husband’s decision in terms of the enjoyment of the community property and conjugal partnership, respectively.
De Lima, a former Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary during the Aquino administration, explained that on matters relating to the disagreement, neither of the spouses shall unilaterally carry out acts of administration over the community property and conjugal partnership without first obtaining a proper judicial order.
She proposed revision for Sec. 1, Art 14 of the same measure to clarify the requirements needed for couples ages 18-21 who are planning to get married.