Dumaguete City

Dumaguete bishop hails 109 lawmakers who voted against divorce bill

Erwin Delilan

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Dumaguete bishop hails 109 lawmakers who voted against divorce bill

Dumaguete Catholic Bishop Julito Cortes

courtesy of Diocese of Dumaguete

The Catholic bishop claims that majority of people in the predominantly Catholic Negros Oriental oppose the divorce bill

BACOLOD, Philippines – Dumaguete Catholic Bishop Julito Cortes lauded on Saturday, May 25, the 109 lawmakers who voted against the proposed law that seeks to allow absolute divorce in the country in show of support for traditional marriage values. 

Cortes said their objection showed that they were upholding the sanctity of marriage, and a reflection of deep Christian convictions and a defense of an institution that cannot be dissolved by human law.

“I wish to thank you most sincerely for your vote against the divorce bill. It is a consolation to us, and truly appreciated. Your votes came from your deep conviction in your Christian faith that it is God Himself who has created the institution of marriage, thus making it sacred and unable to be undone by any human instrumentality,” Cortes said.

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Cortes claimed that the majority of people in the predominantly Catholic province of Negros Oriental oppose the divorce bill, and commended Negros Oriental 1st District Representative Jocelyn Sy-Limkaichong for raising an objection.

HB 9349 or the proposed absolute divorce act was passed on its third and final reading on Wednesday, May 22. A total of 131 lawmakers voted in favor, 109 opposed, and 20 abstained.

According to the Press and Public Affairs Bureau of the House of Representatives, the bill aims to provide absolute divorce as a legal remedy for irreparably broken marriages under specific grounds and judicial processes. Those who favor it said the goal is to cushion the impact of the emotional strain on children from parental disputes and to allow divorced individuals to remarry.

Negros Occidental 5th District Representative Dino Yulo said his objection was a “conscience vote.” 

He said he was concerned for children, who he believes would suffer the most if the controversial bill is enacted.

Iloilo City Representative Julienne Baronda cited Section II, Article XV of the Constitution as the basis for her objection. She said the constitutional provision clearly defines marriage as an inviolable social institution protected by the State.

Baronda also expressed concerns that legalizing divorce could lead to rampant abuses against women and “trial-and-error” marriages, which, she said, could harm families and children. 

She advocated for safeguards to ensure that only legitimate marriages are dissolved after a thorough judicial process.

Uswag Ilonggo Partylist Representative Jojo Ang said it was his religious faith that made him vote against the bill, saying he believes that God is the center of relationships, particularly marriages. 

“This faith will continue to strengthen the family – the very fabric and foundation of our nation,” Ang said.

On Sunday, May 26, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson also joined those who spoke against the divorce bill.

Lacson, who is separated from his wife, said marriage annulment or legal separation should be enough “as a way out of any failed marriage.” – Rappler.com

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