By Hannah L. Torregoza
The measure seeking to introduce divorce in the Philippines faces rough sailing in the Senate as five senators have thumbed down the proposal of the House of Representatives to legislate an absolute divorce law.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, a bachelor, said he doesn’t believe in the essence of the measure, saying he doesn’t believe that marriage should be like a “drive-thru.”
“What we need is a clear process and reasonable process for our constituents to follow because the current process of separation right now is so expensive for them that they have to go through the eye of a needle,” Gatchalian said.
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson won’t support the bill “at the outset” but said he is willing to see the salient features of the House bill and whatever bill might be filed in the Senate. “My primary concern is the sanctity of marriage. Needless to say, I don’t want marriage and separation to be a ‘dime a dozen’ affair,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III said he is “definitely” against divorce and chances of it passing in the Senate is “slim.”
Sen. Francis Joseph “Chiz” G. Escudero, who has undergone an annulment process with his first wife, said he is in favor of making the existing process of annulment under the Civil Code and the Family Code more affordable and accessible instead of expanding the grounds provided therein via a new law on divorce.
Sen. Joel Villanueva said he is strongly against divorce, and instead, will push “to make the country’s annulment laws be simplified and not anti-poor.”