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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Divided on Divorce: Estrada survey shows senators split over controversial bill

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Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada has conducted a survey among his colleagues to gauge their positions on the controversial Divorce Bill, which the House of Representatives recently passed on final reading.

Ten senators have so far responded, revealing a stark division in the upper chamber, with six in favor and five against the proposed measure.

“I thought it was a good idea to conduct this survey after the House passed the Divorce Bill on its third reading,” Estrada told reporters during a phone interview.

Opposition to the Divorce Bill came from several prominent senators, including Senate President Francis Escudero, Senate Majority Leader Francis Tolentino, and Senators Joel Villanueva, Ronald Dela Rosa, and Estrada himself.

Estrada, who claims to be a devout Catholic, reiterated his opposition to divorce. He is advocating instead for expediting the annulment process, which he understands is very costly at present.

On the other hand, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Pia Cayetano, Grace Poe, Imee Marcos, Raffy Tulfo and Robin Padilla have expressed their support for the Divorce Bill.

Hontiveros, principal author and sponsor of the measure in the Senate, emphasized that the committee report on the Divorce Bill has been ready for some time.

“We are just waiting for the committee report to be reported out in the Senate plenary session,” stated Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality.

Hontiveros presided over the hearings on the Divorce Bill and is eager for it to be discussed openly in the Senate. She pointed out that the goal of divorce is to give people a second chance at love and happiness, especially for those in marriages that have lost their essence.

Tulfo believes introducing a divorce law is an act of social justice that would give people a fresh start from a miserable marriage.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito has not yet voted on the survey but, reflecting on his position, said he is currently in the process of discernment. Having been raised a Roman Catholic, he noted that he understands the defense of the Church on the sanctity of marriage.

“As a representative of the people and a Catholic, I am currently in the process of discernment. I intend to listen, and actively participate in the deliberation in the Senate. I am leaning at this time to be in favor,” he told reporters.

Ejercito also recognized the fact that many Filipino couples are trapped in loveless and unworkable marriages. “It’s not their fault. Sometimes things just don’t work out,” he said.

Other senators have yet to make their position clear on the proposed divorce measure.


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