Escudero: No common stand among senators on divorce

Escudero: No common stand among senators on divorce

Escudero: No common stand among senators on divorce

Senate President Francis Escudero speaks during the Kapihan sa Senado forum on Thursday, May 23, 2024. Noy Morcoso/

Senate President Francis Escudero on Thursday said there was no common stand in the Senate on the matter of divorce in the country and he would not try to influence the passage of the proposal once it reaches the chamber.

“My position on this issue of divorce is that it should be a conscience and personal vote, and should involve a personal decision of each and every senator,” Escudero said at a news briefing in the Senate.


“There should be no party, majority or minority stand here, only the personal decision of each senator based on their beliefs and religion,” he said.


“As the Senate President, I have no intention of exerting influence either in favor or against it,” he added.

Escudero made the assurance of impartiality after the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the divorce bill proposed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on the third and final reading by 131 votes in favor, 109 against and 20 abstaining.

The House secretariat initially reported 126 ayes, 109 nays and 20 abstentions, prompting former Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto, who had always opposed divorce during his tenure, to question the bill’s approval.

The House reported that on the day the bill was passed, there was a quorum of 255 legislators present, indicating a plurality of 128 votes.

The next day, the secretariat issued a statement correcting the actual vote to 131 ayes, 109 nays and 20 abstentions.

Sotto questions process

No congressman has disputed the corrected vote tally, and lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill disputed Sotto’s claim that the bill did not go through the proper process. Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel clarified that there was a quorum when they put House Bill No. 9349 to a vote on the last day of the 19th Congress’ second regular session. The third and final session is set to convene on July 22.


“There was a quorum and secondly, abstain votes are not counted, and lastly, the majority of those who voted, voted ‘Yes,’” Manuel said.

“There is no question that the bill underwent the right process and in fact so many days were dedicated just for questions about the bill … it was not railroaded and went through the right process.”

Echoed Brosas: “We did get the majority votes in the plenary, so that was actually the right way of characterizing it.”

Lawmaker’s concern

Brosas said she was more concerned about what would happen to the proposal in the Senate because a similar bill was passed by the House during the 17th Congress only for it to be ignored by the Senate.

“What we want is to have an intense lobbying and discuss divorce with our colleagues in the Senate in the upcoming days,” Brosas said. “This is important as this would become a milestone, especially for women.”

Lagman, the bill’s principal author, said that they would begin their campaign in the Senate during the break “so that its counterpart measure which has long been ripe for plenary deliberation shall similarly be passed.”

In the Senate, a similar proposal, Senate Bill No. 2443 or the proposed “Dissolution of Marriage Act,” has been pending since 2023.

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SB 2443 is a consolidation of seven related Senate bills, but it has not moved forward since it was filed.

TAGS: Chiz Escudero, divorce

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