Senators have rejected a proposal to legalize divorce in the Philippines despite surveys showing majority of Filipinos agreed to legalize “irreconcilably separated” couples.
Senator Serge Osmeña III said he will also reject a divorce law for fear that his wife, Bettina Lopez, may use it against him.
“I cannot favor a divorce law. My wife might use that against me,” Osmeña said in a text message on Tuesday.
Acting Senate minority leader Vicente Sotto III said any proposal to legalize divorce will unlikely pass both in the Senate and the House of Representatives which remains dominated by male lawmakers.
“That’s unlikely. In the Lower House, lawmakers there might face their wife’s fury if they try to pass it,” Sotto said, adding that he will personally reject the proposal.
Senator Nancy Binay, one of the only five lady senators, said the government should find ways to strengthen and empower the Filipino families instead of legalizing divorce in the country.
“Besides, there is already legal remedy, which is annulment, for couples who have problems,” Binay said.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said there is no reason for him to support the divorce legalization.
“No. I love my wife. I do not want to divorce her,” Marcos said in a text message.
Marcos is married to Louise Cacho Araneta. They have three sons — Ferdinand Alexander III, Joseph Simon and William Vincent.
On the other hand, Senator Pia Cayetano said she is open to discuss the divorce law.
“I am of the belief that there is nothing to be proud about (the fact) we are the only country in the world that still doesn’t have divorce, that we are self-suffering, that we allow women, or men, for that matter, to stay in horrible relationships and possibly not even be good parents to their children, simply because our laws does not recognize they should live separate lives,” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters.
Cayetano is the chairperson of the Senate committee on youth, women and family relations.
A recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that 60 percent or three out of five Filipinos are in favor of a divorce law while 29 percent disagreed and the remaining 11 percent are undecided.
Aside from Vatican City, the Philippines is the only country in the world that does not allow divorce.
In 2005, Gabriela Party-list Representative Liza Maza filed a divorce bill. It was re-filed in August 2010 by Gabriela Women’s party-list although the committee deliberations started on June 1, 2011.