Washing dirty family linen via Nat’l TV

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

That sad spectacle of a wife of a Bicol politician, who exposed on TV, complete with a very popular lady lawyer at her side, narrating in lurid details, how her husband governor allegedly subjected her to ''violence','' psychological or otherwise, reflects, much to our regret, the deterioration of what used to be one of the strongest Filipino values, which is the sanctity of the home and the family. No matter what our problems are between spouses and among family members, we are not supposed to go on national television and inform the world about matters that should be confined to the walls of the conjugal dwelling. I'm not prejudging her. She may have her reasons. But, I'm commenting on family matters in general.

I remember two politicians in the Ilocos region whose respective wives also went on TV to denounce their husbands. One was a former movie and TV starlet who married a Bar topnotcher, who is now an incumbent member of Congress. The actress died a few years back but when still around, she complained of having been allegedly battered by what she portrayed to be a very jealous and allegedly violent husband. The other was a governor's wife or love partner who ran away because of supposed physical and other forms of violence. There was an incumbent senator's wife who was a beauty queen who also went on TV to denounce her senator husband, also a Bar topnotcher.

Whatever is the emerging pattern, e.g. that senators and Bar topnotchers, or that governors and congressmen do not make good husbands, we do not care. Our point is very simple: when there are marital troubles and family frictions, let these be settled within the confines of the family and home. Let marriage counselors intervene and spritual advisers mediate and conciliate. Let the ninongs and the ninangs give counseling and help. But never, never should confidential matters be exposed in public. The children, the innocent victims of marital conflicts, should be spared from trauma and the stigma of ridicule and mental anguish.

If the husband commits violence against women and children, let him be charged in court, arrested, booked and prosecuted. If guilty, he should face the penal system and be jailed if need be. If he has homicidal tendency, there are legal remedies that can be availed of. Restraining orders can be issued. Injunctions can be slapped at them. But TV and radio people should never feast on the difficult situations that spouses are facing. Lawyers should advise their clients from appearing on TV, unless they are engaging in the unethical practice of gaining media mileage at the expense of their clients, in particular, and at the institution of marriage, in general.

I am a staunch defender of the marriage institution. I am married to my wife for 36 years and I'm proud to say that I studied in Ateneo for nine weeks on how to solve marriage problems. I am active in the MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER movement and I support the COUPLES FOR CHRIST programs. My daughter has gotten marriage yesterday. My son married last December and my eldest will tie the knot next year. We pledge never to desecrate the sacrament of matrimony by appearing on TV and exposing our own failures to preserve what the Lord Himself established in Cana. As Shakespeare would rebuke us: The fault, my dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings. We should not go on TV confessing what and how we all failed.

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