‘Duterte seals fate of divorce bill’

Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte’s refusal to support the divorce bill has doomed the proposed law that would lead to easier dissolution of marriage, Rep. Lito Atienza of party-list group Buhay said yesterday.

“His latest statement of opposition to the bill has sealed the fate of this measure. The bill is now dead,” Atienza said.

He was referring to the remarks the President made in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Wednesday.

Acknowledging Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte told him: “I’m sorry but I cannot follow you (on the divorce bill). My daughter is not happy with it. You just talk to Sara.”

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Alvarez recently had a bitter word war, which ended when the latter said, “No comment, I surrender.”

Earlier, the President changed his stand on the issue of divorce by opposing it, saying the children of separated couples would be greatly affected.

The House of Representatives has passed the measure on third and final reading.

There is no counterpart bill in the Senate. What senators are considering is a proposal to add more grounds to the present law on legal separation and annulment of marriage.

“I think that with the President’s opposition to this unconstitutional and anti-family and obviously anti-marriage measure, the Senate will not pass it. Even without the President opposing it, I don’t believe a majority of our senators will support it,” Atienza said.

He lauded the position taken by the President against the divorce bill.

“We welcome and fully appreciate his stand. The President has saved the Filipino family with his strong position against divorce. We strongly agree with the President that divorce would be very detrimental to mothers and children,” he said.

He said he admired Duterte’s “display of strength and character.”

“He did not allow himself to be stampeded by the mob on this critical issue. His strong leadership will forever be remembered for saving the Filipino family and future generations. I am sure that with his strong position against divorce, this bill will most likely be relegated to the archives,” he added.

Another divorce opponent, Rep. Gary Alejano of Magdalo, said authors of the bill, several of them congresswomen, are mistakenly promoting it as a pro-woman measure.

“They have failed to mention, however, that divorce would most likely force Filipino women to destitution,” he said.

He cited a British study showing that divorce had a positive effect on men’s finances, while women became poorer. – With Artemio Dumlao

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