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Most Senate bets vs divorce
Posted on 02/14/2013 6:49 PM  | Updated 02/15/2013 10:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines – When love fades in a marriage, divorce is not an option for Filipino couples. The Philippines holds the record of being the only country in the world – save for Vatican City – that has not legalized it.

Some legislators have pushed for a divorce law in Congress, but to no avail.

Where do senatorial candidates stand on this divisive issue? After scanning old interviews and news reports, Rappler found at least 14 candidates who oppose divorce. We found only 4 candidates in favor.

Yes to divorce law

Risa Hontiveros: "We should talk about it. The current situation is not good enough especially in situations of wife battering or when children are beat up, marital rape, and incest… I believe harmonious societies start with harmonious families." (statement at UP's 'The Rundown' debate)
Ricardo Penson: "I would push for divorce because annulment is just another term for divorce. There's not much difference. People may hide behind some moral veil but believe me, it's one and the same." (statement at ANC's 'Harapan 2013')
Ed Hagedorn: "It's better for a couple to separate if they're not understanding each other anymore. It would be better that way for me." (statement at GMA's 'Hiritan 2013')
Jack Enrile: "it is now high time that Filipinos start discussing divorce and for legislators to draft a good version of it for the conservative Philippines." (statement of support to the divorce bill filed in 2010)

No to divorce law

Jun Magsaysay: "There have been divorce bills filed in each Congress but they never passed. We don't need a divorce law because we already have civil annulment. It protects the two parties and the children. Divorce law is not necessary. It would further divide the country." (statement at UPLB's 'Ang Pagsusuri' debate)
Antonio Trillanes IV: "I am against divorce bill. We're pushing our society into an issue that's very divisive." (statement at UPLB's 'Ang Pagsusuri' debate)
Gringo Honasan: "Responsible parenthood is important. Parents should know where their kids at, who they're with, and what they're doing. We must preserve sanctity of marriage and family life." (statement at the YouthVote2013 debate)
Mitos Magsaysay: "Everyone should have been prepared prior to marriage. We have legal separation and annulment, anyway. We dont need divorce." (statement at UP's 'The Rundown' debate)
Rizalito David: "Look at the U.S. Has America benefited from divorce? There are more negative impacts on American families. A lot of teachings in the church are based on empirical evidence." (statement at UP's 'The Rundown' debate)
JC delos Reyes: "I am against divorce. People change. Divorce closes doors on hope that there will be change of heart, mind." (statement at the YouthVote2013 debate)
JV Ejercito: "Maybe the reason why we're not ready for a divorce bill is because we might be like America, where people keep on marrying and eventually end up divorcing. In our case, the family is something sacred. That's why it's difficult for couples here to separate. They're given the chance to fix their problems and keep their families complete until the end." (statement in a radio interview)
Nancy Binay: "I think the government should strengthen the family, not break it up. Besides, we already have annulment and then there's legal separation." (statement in an interview with ANC)
Bam Aquino: "I am against divorce. We have provisions, anyway, for annulment, although that's a difficult process." (statement in an interview with Bandera)
Sonny Angara: "Let us just strengthen the Family Code, declaring marriages void." (statement in an interview with ANC)
Koko Pimentel: "Inspite of what happened to me I am still not in favor of divorce. I’m playing with the idea kung merong Philippine-style na divorce. As of now I’m still against the American concept ng divorce." (statement in an interview with Bandera)
Miguel Zubiri: "Not in favor. But we should loosen the rules of annulment. My sister got her marriage and it was very expensive. The problem with divorce is I don’t want the type of divorce that can create dysfunctional family." (statement in an interview with Bandera)
Ernie Maceda: "I'm not in favor of divorce because I see more couple will divorce when such law is passed. We should also respect the Catholic Church's teachings against it." (statement at GMA's 'Hiritan 2013')
Alan Peter Cayetano: "I'm against divorce... I think annulment is enough. We should improve the parameter for citing 'psychological incapacity'. I think we should fix that system rather than allowing a 'no-fault' divorce. (statement at the Kapihan forum)

Legislation history

Congress records show 3 senatorial candidates supported divorce bills in the past. Six rejected proposals.

In 2008, a divorce bill reached as far as third reading in the Senate. Former Senator Richard Gordon was among the few who voted in favor of the bill. Those who voted against it were Senators Alan Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Gringo Honasan, Migz Zubiri, Jamby Madrigal, and Loren Legarda.

In 2010, Bayan Muna Rep Teddy Casiño co-authored a divorce bill in the House of Representatives. Cagayan Rep Jack Enrile supported the bill, but it did not get the necessary support. – Research by Reynaldo Santos, Jr/

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