Following House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’ revelation of his extramarital affairs, Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas filed House Bill No.2380 which calls for the Philippines to have its own divorce bill.
However, this doesn’t come well to the Catholic leaders who head the biggest religious institution in the country.
According to Balanga bishop and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People Ruperto Santos, divorce is not the solution to extramarital affairs.
“Divorce is not a solution to an extramarital affair. Nor is extramarital affair an excuse for divorce. An extramarital affair is cheating,” he said. “It is infidelity, breaking one’s trust and marital vow, and a grievous sin. Plain and simple. Even a criminal offense.”
He added that legalizing divorce will only lead to the further destruction of the family as an institution and that what the country needed is to protect the stability and sanctity of marriage.
“Divorce will only enhance the separation and destruction of the family.” he said.
Fellow bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon agreed by saying that divorce is “one of the greatest evils in modern society that destroys the heart and essence of the the family, the fundamental unit of human society willed by God and nature.”
“Right now we have the honor and glory of being the country following the command of our Lord: Keeping the indissolubility of marriage – a dogma of the Church.” he said.
Bastes is the chair of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Missions.
This is not the first attempt of lawmakers to call for the legalization of divorce in the country. Albay Representative Edcel Lagman had filed a divorce bill last year. He contended that creating and enforcing a divorce law in the country would provide “a merciful liberation of the hapless wife from a long-dead marriage.”
Although the fate of legalizing divorce is still in the works, the Philippine law provides two options to address marriages; legal separation and annulment. These options, however, do not cover domestic violence as ground to end the marriage between two parties and it is not available to the general population of the country as the litigation process can cost at least P150,000.