MANILA – The House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations has been working on the absolute divorce bill for more than 2 years before unanimously passing it on Tuesday, said Representative Edcel Lagman, after his fellow lawmaker accused the commission of “shoeing” the measure.
Buhay party list representative Lito Atienza on Wednesday lambasted the panel for passing the measure “in record time, treating it as lightly as changing the name of a public street”.
“The committee took more than two years to approve this measure establishing absolute divorce. The committee conducted several public hearings to which opponents as well as lawyers were invited, ”Lagman said.
He said some of those opposing divorce invited to their hearings were:
- Bro. Jerome Secillano, President of the Public Affairs Commission of the Philippine Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCP)
- Atty. Lyndon Caña, President of the Affected Families Coalition of the Philippines
- Atty. Ronaldo Reyes, host of Advocates for Family and Life
He said these resource people have been given the flexibility to express their views on absolute divorce.
Lagman also noted that Atienza was “unusually quiet” during Tuesday’s meeting, to which he and the regular and ex-officio members of the committee were invited “well in advance”.
“He didn’t demonstrate, he didn’t cast a negative vote, he was exceptionally quiet,” Lagman said.
The lawmaker noted that divorce is not for all married couples in the Philippines.
He added, however, that divorce is an opportunity for battered, abandoned and neglected women to regain their humanity and self-respect.
Lagman said the Constitution does not prohibit Congress from passing an absolute divorce law.
“In fact, the commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, headed by Fr. Joaquin Bernas, were unanimous in their position that Congress can legislate an absolute divorce law,” he said Thursday.
–ANC, August 20, 2021
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