MANILA, Philippines - House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. believes that the divorce bill may finally be tackled in the 16th Congress.
He said the bill has no chance to be passed in the current (15th) Congress since there is not much time left.
The bill, which he supports, is still in the committee on constitutional amendments. Only one hearing has been set for the bill filed Gabriela Party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan.
Just like the reproductive health (RH) bill that Congress passed on Monday, the Roman Catholic Church is strongly against the divorce bill. They believe it will destroy the Filipino family.
Belmonte said there is no sense to live with a spouse if a person has fallen out of love with him or her because of an attitude or personality that did not manifest during the “boyfriend-girlfriend stage.”
Ilagan was elated to hear the statement of Belmonte, saying it is time that battered and unhappy women who are stuck in bad marriages be freed of their bondages.
Meanwhile, Belmonte said Congress can now reconcile both versions of the RH bill via a bicameral conference. If the bicam committee manages to finish its work today, the RH bill can finally be ratified tomorrow.
President Benigno Aquino III can then sign it into law before or during the Christmas break, he said.
Belmonte also said that now that the issue on the RH bill is settled, it is time to reach out to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and anti-RH lawmakers to heal the animosity of the past.
He said that he welcomes any move of the bishops to go to the Supreme Court in case the RH bill becomes a law.
Belmonte said that it is the right of anyone to go to the SC and question the constitutionality of a law.
After the successful passage on third and final reading of the RH bill, Belmonte said the lower House will next tackle two other controversial bills: the freedom of information bill and the anti-trust bill. He said that both bills will have to go through the regular process.
House committee on public information chairman Cong. Ben Evardone is scheduled to deliver a sponsorship speech this afternoon on the freedom of information bill that will pave the way for interpellations on the session floor.
The bill allows the government to adopt a policy of full disclosure of transactions involving public interest, except on sensitive information on national security and defense.