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House chief pushes same-sex union bill

BY: Ben R. Rosario

Getting out from “unhappy marriages” will be easy for troubled couples under a bill that the leadership of the House of Representatives has placed high on the list of legislative priorities.

In his speech opening the second regular session of the 17th Congress yesterday, House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez officially made the inclusion of the same sex and heterosexual civil union measure in the priority list of legislation requiring swift processing in the House.

Alvarez said a third social reform measure in the list of legislative priority is a bill that would put legitimate and illegitimate children on equal footing under the law.

The proposed shift to the federal form of government through constitutional amendments and the refilled Bangsamoro Basic Law, this time cleared of objectionable provisions, will also be treated with urgency on the floor.

The House official underscored the importance of approving the bill before the end of the 19th Congress in 2019, saying he is aware of the Catholic Church’s stand on issues on divorce and same sex marriage.

“Admittedly, there is a sad reality about some marriages. We do not always get it right the first time around,” stated Alvarez.

House Deputy Speaker and Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano has made a commitment to file the bill that would ease the requirements and judicial procedure for the dissolution of marriage.

Alvarez said Cayetano’s bill provides for separation of legally married couples “without the need for an extensively adversarial system.”

“Mas simple. Both parties can file (for dissolution) based on unhappiness,” said Alvarez, who has once publicly admitted being separated from wife, Emelita, and currently having an extramarital affair.