MANILA, Philippines - Lost in the drama of Chief Justice Renato Corona's impeachment trial is a little known fact: 4 of the senator-judges have separated from their partners.
On Tuesday, Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III announced that he had separated from his wife, Jewel May Lobaton.
"This may well be the most difficult public pronouncement I will ever be making in my entire life,” he said in a statement.
“And painful too, as every separation involves a certain degree of pain. I confirm my separation from my wife of close to 12 years, Jewel May Lobaton. We have been living separately since November 2011.”
Pimentel said he tried his best to resolve their differences “for the sake of our two boys but have failed to do so.”
“Now that we have separated, my main concern is the welfare of the boys,” he said.
Pimentel is just the latest senator to admit that he has separated from his spouse. Last month, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero wrote "separated" as his marital status in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, thus confirming news that he broke up with his wife of 10 years, Christine Flores.
Another senator, Loren Legarda, has been separated from her husband, former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste even before the 2004 election.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, meanwhile, said she and former husband, sportsman Ari Ben Sebastian, have been separated for 8 years but are still in the process of annulment.
Cayetano said she does not know if there are other senators who have ended their marriages.
"I don’t know, there might be, I don’t really check," she told ANC's Headstart.
Time to pass divorce bill
She added, however, that it is high time to pass a divorce bill because of the pain couples go through during annulment.
"You know I really think it’s high time for the divorce bill. I’ve talked to lawyers, and psychologists and psychiatrists, and it is so traumatic for people to go through annulment because under our Philippine law, you have to blame someone, you have to say ‘you are incapacitated,’ you are saying, ‘this marriage never existed,’ which is not true.'
"I mean ask anyone, I’m sure that at some moment in time, whether it was one year, or ten years, or twenty years, they loved each other. So why can’t you call it what it is? We loved each other, something went wrong, it’s done. Why will you say it never existed because, ‘hayop ka, wala kang puso, wala kang capacity?’"
"It’s not true, it’s not human, it’s not humane. So for me, it is high time, let’s bring it to the level where it should be and call it divorce."