MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is against divorce, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque about the chief executive's latest stance on a proposed measure to allow divorce in the Philippines.
"He doesn't want to comment but since there was voting already in Congress, the President is against divorce," said Roque on Monday, March 19, during a press conference in Camarines Sur.
Duterte thinks divorce should not be made legal because it would negatively affect the children of the couple, explained Roque.
"He said the children would be pitiful if there will be divorce," said Roque in Filipino.
Malacañang had previously refused to comment on Duterte's latest stance on legalizing divorce, merely citing cases in the past when he had voiced concerns about it.
Another reason is that Duterte thinks legalizing divorce will rob the abandoned spouse of his or her right to file charges against his or her abusive partner.
"And if there will be divorce, the abandoned spouse will lose the right to file cases against their spouse," added Roque.
The spokesman later on clarified to Rappler that Duterte meant the right of a person to file a case in order to get support from their partner.
But the divorce bill includes a provision that would require alimony be given to the "innocent" spouse.
It's the House of Representatives, dominated by allies of the President, that has been most active in moves to legalize divorce. (READ: EXPLAINER: What are the grounds, provisions in House divorce bill?)
Last March 14, one of its committees approved on second reading a bill to introduce divorce and the dissolution of marriage in the Philippines. This is the farthest a divorce law proposal has gone in the legislative process.
The bill, in its declaration of policy, states it is intended to "save the children from pain, stress, and agony consequent to their parents' constant marital clashes" and "grant the divorced spouses the right to marry again for another chance at marital bliss." – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.