Buhay Partylist deputy chairman and representative Lito Atienza on Wednesday (August 18) lamented the House of Representatives’ alleged plans to pass the highly controversial absolute divorce bill after it was approved in committee on Tuesday.
Atienza aired the accusation as vice president and representative of the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption Party (CIBAC). Eddie Villanueva criticized the passage of the bill after a meeting of the House Committee on Population and Family Relations.
Atienza and Villanueva are both supported by the largest religious sects in the country, the Catholic El Shaddai and the Jesus Is Lord Ministry respectively.
Atienza noted the surreptitious nature of the conduct of Tuesday’s hearing which allegedly barred media coverage.
“The timing of the expert group meeting is also suspect as it was scheduled simultaneously with the Public Accounts Committee’s investigation into the mismanagement of 67 billion pesos from COVID 19 funds,” he said.
“By the time I left the public accounts hearing for the divorce zoom meeting, the bill had already been approved,” said the former mayor of Manila.
He said the committee’s rushed action on the divorce proposal came close to the railroad approval of controversial bills granting Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company new legislative franchises.
“They can rush all the legislative franchises they want, but not the measures that would harm the family and the sanctity of marriage. The 1987 Constitution is very clear, the sacredness of the family is inviolable, ”Atienza stressed.
Villanueva also attacked the adoption of the Consolidated Divorce Bill.
“CIBAC strongly believes that any law that will effectively minimize the inviolability or inviolable status of the family as a social institution is directly and inherently unconstitutional and contrary to the deeply held Filipino value of preserving and striving for marriage. , “he explained.
“The adoption of any measure which effectively cancels this constitutional mandate will promote the relentless decadence of our families”, underlined the evangelist.
He added: “Marriage, as an inviolable commitment, would henceforth be reduced to a contractual relationship, subject to the whims of unscrupulous individuals. “While I understand the plight of marriages that have become hostile and untenable, allowing divorce is not and never will be the answer to problematic unions,” Villanueva said.
The still unnumbered bill consolidated three legislative proposals tabled by the former president and representative of Davao del Norte Pantaleon Alvarez; Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and members of the Makabayan bloc.
Lagman said President Lord Allan Velasco showed his support for the measure when he submitted amendments that the population and family relations panel accepted.
Chaired by Guimaras representative Lucille Nava, the approved bill aims to legalize absolute divorce in the country. The reasons include the following:
1. The grounds for legal separation under section 55 of the Philippine Family Code; 2. Grounds for annulment of marriage under section 45 of the Philippine Family Code; 3. When the spouses have been de facto separated for at least five (5) years at the time of filing the petition for absolute divorce and reconciliation is highly unlikely.
4. The psychological incapacity of one of the spouses provided for in article 36 of the Philippine Family Code, whether or not the incapacity existed at the time of the marriage or arose after the marriage; 5. When one of the spouses undergoes a gender reassignment operation or switches from one sex to the other; 6. Irreconcilable marital difference which refers to a substantial incompatibility of the spouses due to their intransigence or fault in clinging to divergent and conflicting behaviors resulting from the total breakdown of their marriage which could not be repaired despite serious efforts of reconciliation; 7. Domestic or conjugal violence; 8. When a valid foreign divorce has been obtained by the foreign or Filipino spouse; and 9. When a marriage is annulled or dissolved by the competent canonical tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church or any other recognized sect or religious denomination.
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