MANILA, Philippines – Who’s afraid of the divorce bill? Certainly not Sen. Pia Cayetano, who chided fellow Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero for saying that the Philippines is not ready for a divorce law.
“Eh ang problema naman sa kalalakihan, lagi naman sila takot humarap sa mga bills that seem to affect [their] personal relationships eh. That is the tendency of men. On the one extent, men are very strong but on the other, they seem to be very hesitant to explore these issues which are very important,” she told reporters.
Cayetano, head of the Senate committee on youth, women, and family relations, is one of 4 senators who have split from their spouses. The other 3 are Escudero, Loren Legarda and Koko Pimentel.
'PH needs divorce law'
Cayetano earlier said it is high time that the country pass its own divorce law. She said her own annulment to former husband, Ari Ben Sebastian, has yet to be completed after being separated for the past 8 years.
“The divorce bill is long overdue because we prefer not to touch issues that we regard sensitive and personal. But the time has come for us to realize that many things that go on in a family’s home require legislation and where the rights of every individual are respected. This would also involve looking into the Family Code which for now recognizes annulments and voidable marriages but no divorce,” she said.
The senator said the Philippines is now the only country in the world without a divorce law because of the refusal of lawmakers to face the issues.
She said there are many women who want to end their marriages to abusive husbands but cannot.
Only PH families willing to suffer?
“We are the only country in the world [without divorce], other Catholic countries in the world have divorce. So what is our point? We want to say we're the only country with families willing to suffer? Is that something we are proud of? What does it mean? Does it mean na mas mapag-tiis tayo? Does it mean na mas ignorant tayo? It just means that the policy makers refuse to look at these issues,” she said.
She said that while there is no pending divorce bill in the Senate, she can easily file one.
“Wala pa tayong pending bill. I took it up by way of analyzing what are the various issues in the Family Code [which need to be amended]. So walang divorce bill na nakafile pa sa atin. I can easily file one. There’s no issue about it,” she said.