Alvarez on dissolution of marriage: Why force unhappy partners to stay?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2017 11:52 AM

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Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez defended Wednesday a bill seeking to allow dissolution of marriage, saying spouses should not be forced to stay married if they are no longer happy with their partners. 

"For me kasi, pag ayaw na ng isang party, bakit mo pipilitin? Ayaw na niya e. Hindi na siya masaya. We have to remember kaya tayo nabubuhay kasi gusto natin masaya tayo. Hindi para malungkot," Alvarez told ANC's "Headstart" with host Karen Davila. 

The congressman insisted the bill will make marriages stronger "because you have to strive to make the spouse happy." 

He said that in his law practice, he had many female clients who wanted to leave their husbands because they were not providing for the families. 

"Kasi pag hindi na siya masaya, he or she will always have that option to dissolve the marriage. Magsusumikap ka," he said. 

"Ang kino-conceptualize ko dito, alam mo, of age naman yung couples. Alam nila kung pupwede pa o hindi na. Why go through that process kung alam mo na pwede pa kayo magkasundo at pwede pa ayusin yung marriage?" 

Alvarez denied that the bill is self-serving even though he is now estranged from his wife and is seeing someone else. He also claimed that as a member of the Manobo tribe, he is allowed multiple marriages.

Alvarez's wife, Emelita Apostol, earlier revealed that she was abandoned by her husband after he became Speaker of the House. 

"I was abandoned right after SONA when he became the Speaker. We've been together for almost 30 years and I’ve been there since the very start," she told ABS-CBN News. 

IN HAPPIER DAYS. Emelita joins husband Pantaleon Alvarez during his oath-taking. Photo from House of Representatives

She added that she long knew of her husband’s illicit affair but it was only last year that the Speaker left their family home. She also pointed out that she is unaware of the lawmaker’s "conversion" to the Manobo tribe.

Asked for her views on her husband’s proposed bill allowing the dissolution of marriage, Emelita said she thinks Congress has far more important bills to address.

“For me, this is not a priority bill because number one, I’m talking now I’m speaking in behalf of the Filipino people… I’m saying that the bill is gender biased palagi na lang talo ang babae,” she said.

WHY NOT DIVORCE? 

During the interview, Speaker Alvarez said he did not push for a divorce bill because he had not even read the proposals submitted to the House. 

"Ayoko nang mangopya, Karen. Buong buhay ko nung nag-aaral ako, nangongopya ako. Hanggang ngayon ba naman," he said. 

He also said annulment of marriage is "hypocritical" since there is legal presumption that there was no marriage at all. 

According to House Bill 6027 filed last July 24, a marriage may be dissolved over irreconcilable differences or severe or chronic unhappiness. 

A verified petition for dissolution of marriage may be filed with a joint plan for parenthood for common children.

Any one who is found to have coerced a spouse to file a petition shall face jail time of as long as five years and a fine of up to P200,000.

ANC, August 16, 2017