MANILA, Philippines – Senator Pia Cayetano, head of the Senate committee on youth, women and family relations, is ready to engage in another controversial issue, the proposed divorce bill, but only after Congress is done with the Reproductive Health measure.
“Hayaan nyong tapusin ko muna ito tapos magbabaran tayo sa divorce, ok?” Cayetano told reporters on Wednesday, referring to the RH bill now being tackled at the bicameral conference committee.
But in May this year, the senator openly expressed in a television interview the need for Congress to start debates on divorce.
“I really think it’s high time for the divorce bill,” she said when asked if there is now a need to pursue discussion on the proposed divorce bill.
“I’ll tell you why. I’ve talked to lawyers and psychologists and psychiatrists and it’s so traumatic to go through annulment because under our Philippine laws, you have to blame someone, you have to say you’re incapacitated, you’re saying that this marriage never existed, which is not true,” she said.
“Ask anyone, I’m sure at some point in time whether it’s one year or 10 years or 20 years, they loved each other, so why can’t you call it what it is? We loved each other, something went wrong, it’s done. Why will you say it never existed?”
Cayetano herself has been separated for the past eight years and is now in the process of annulment.
She described the process of annulment as “terrible.”
“It’s terrible. It’s not true, it’s not humane,” she said. ”So for me, it’s high time. Let’s bring it to the level where it should be and call it a divorce and deal it that way.”
But Senator Ralph Recto, in a separate interview this Wednesday, joked about being against allowing divorce in the country for fear that his wife, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, would use it against him.
“Kung papayagan ko yung divorce bill baka i-divorce ako ng asawa ko,” Recto said in jest.
“Against ako natural na yung aswa ko idi-divore ako,” he added.
Turning serious, Recto said, he has yet to read the proposed measure before commenting on the issue.
“Alam mo, many of us, titulo pa lang, we’re judging bills. That’s not my job in the Senate. I don’t judge bills by its title, similarly you don’t judge a book by its cover so kelangan basahin muna lahat…”he added.