Solons hope Cayetano will have open mind on divorce bill
MANILA, Philippines — As debates on the controversial divorce bill move closer to the House plenary, proponents of the measure expressed hope that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano would have an open mind and hear out arguments on the proposed law.
Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said she is expecting colleagues to engage in a lively discourse that would lead to a thorough discussion on the provisions of the bill that would institutionalize divorce in the country.
“Tingin namin magiging talagang masaya ‘yung plenaryo dahil maraming gustong – malamang maraming gustong mag-interpellate dito. Pero we are expecting na sana, katulad din last time, maging bukas o maging open ang mga mambabatas natin para talakayin ‘yung mga provisions,” Brosas said in a press briefing on the occassion of International Women’s Month.
(We think the discussions in the plenary will be fun because there are probably a lot of lawmakers who would want to interpellate. But we are expecting that like before, lawmakers would be open to tackling the provisions in the bill.)
She also said she anticipates Cayetano, who has expressed disapproval of the bill on several occasions, to change his mind and listen.
“I think kaya naka-dalawang TWG (technical working group) tayo at nakapag-committee hearing tayo, hindi naman siya (Cayetano) umangal o wala naman siyang ginawang move para harangin ‘yung ating mga pagdinig so we are expecting na magiging open din,” Brosas said.
(We were able to conduct two TWG meetings and we were also able to conduct committee hearing on divorce. Cayetano did not react or there were no moves to block the bill so we are expecting that he will be open about this.)
“Go through with the process, with the procedure ng ating pagdinig sa batas (with the procedure of hearing bills). ‘Yan naman ang kahilingan ng maraming mga divorce advocates natin, mapakinggan sila (That is the wish of many divorce advocates – to be heard),” the lawmaker added.
ACT-Teacher Party-list Rep. France Castro, meanwhile, said Cayetano should also be open to hearing all parties on the divorce bill, similar to the Speaker’s previous pronouncements with regard to the franchise renewal bid of media giant ABS-CBN.
“Inaasahan nating magiging [open-minded] ang Speaker, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, katulad din ‘yan ng sabi niya sa issue ng ABS-CBN franchise – gusto niyang dinggin ‘yung pro and con so dapat maging open din siya kung madadala ito sa plenaryo,” Castro said.
(We are expecting Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to be open-minded. Like in his pronouncements on the ABS-CBN franchise issue, he wants to hear both in favor and against so he should be open for discussions once the divorce bill is brought to the plenary.)
For Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago, the divorce bill reaching the House plenary is, in itself, already a “big step”.
“Magandang balita po kung makakarating sa plenaryo itong divorce bill, kung matapos na sa kumite at madala sa plenaryo, malaking hakbang na ito para sa mga advocates na nagtutulak ng divorce dito sa Pilipinas para yang mga proponents mailapit nila at mas malawak ‘yung pagkakataon na maintindihan kung bakit kinakailangan ngayon na maipasa ‘yung divorce,” Elago said.
(This is good news if the divorce bill is finished at the committee level and reaches the plenary. This is a big step for divorce advocates.)
In October 2019, Cayetano said he does not believe that absolute divorce is the solution to dysfunctional marriages, but assured that he would not stop any committee from deliberating on it.
The controversial bill managed to get the approval of the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress but faced a dead end at the Senate.
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