“It is shameful, and a betrayal to our families and family values.”
That was the reaction last night of Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon to the approval by the House of Representatives on third and final reading yesterday of the bill that seeks to grant absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage in the Philippines.
House Bill No. 7303 or “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines” passed with 134-57 votes, with two abstentions.
The Philippines is the only country apart from the Vatican to ban divorce.
The measure will allow a divorced partner to marry another person of the opposite sex.
The bill will become law if the Senate also passes it, and President Rodrigo Duterte fails to use his veto.
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said yesterday it was ironic that the divorce bill was approved by the Lower House on the Feast of St Joseph - the Protector and Guardian of the Holy Family and of the Universal Church!
As national chaplain of the Christian Family Movement, Alminaza said he reiterates the CFM stand that is no to divorce, but yes to annulment of marriage as defined by Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines.
Psychological incapacity as ground for annulment of marriage is so broad and all-embracing that it can include any conceivable situation in marriage, he said.
“Let us retain the present ground for annulment of marriage, and the conditions required for its allowance, meaning the psychological incapacity must be pre-existing. This is consistent with our Catholic faith tradition, Alminaza said.
Negrense Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo), said he voted no to the divorce bill because it will open all the more the floodgates of failed marriages in the country.
“I expect that a divorce law, once passed, will bring with it a great deal of injuries that shall inflict itself upon women, families, and to the whole of Filipino society,” he said.
“I recognize that there are irreparable marriages or, are otherwise, invalid ones. To address this, we already have pre-existing legal remedies like annulment, the only criticism of which is the time and resources it takes to undergo such process,” Alejano said.
“The point of contention, then, is to make annulment an expedient process and a more affordable one, especially for the poor. We should not haphazardly pass a divorce law, without considering its adverse ramifications,” he said.*CPG
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