Lagman says 1987 Charter has no provision against divorce
An opposition lawmaker stressed on Tuesday that the bill on absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage now being debated before the House plenary is constitutional.
Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman noted that three commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Commission (ConCom), that drafted the 1987 Constitution, were unanimous that Congress has the authority to pass a divorce law under the present Charter.
He said records of the proceedings of the ConCom document that Commissioners Fr. Joaquin Bernas, Chito Gascon, Jose Bengzon and Maria Teresa Nieva concurred that despite the adoption of these principles on marriage and family life in the 1987 Constitution, the legislature is not prevented from instituting absolute divorce.
“No Commissioner registered a dissenting view on this issue,” Lagman said in a statement. “In fact, there is no provision in the 1987 Constitution which prohibits divorce.
Similar or identical provisions on marriage and family life are found in the constitutions of countries which allow absolute divorce like Ireland, Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Portugal, Brazil, Poland, France, Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation and Cuba, among others, according to Lagman.
“No rule or doctrine is cast in stone as to be immune from exceptions,” Lagman said.
“Unfortunately, what God has put together, couples in irremediably dysfunctional marriages put asunder because of human frailty and mortal limitations,” he added.
While the State protects and preserves marriages, the lawmaker said it is also duty-bound to extend protection to spouses of shattered marriages beyond repair “by allowing them to secure absolute divorce and save their children from the agony and distress of being exposed to their interminable strife.”
Lagman’s statement comes after the House started plenary debates on the absolute divorce bill.
Meanwhile, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza claimed divorce would “not protect the lives of women.” He even linked the occurrence of school shootings to divorce.
“We do not want to reach the point where children who grow up in separated and divorced marriages would bring guns to their schools to shoot their principal and their classmates. That’s what’s happening in countries where divorce is common,” he said during Monday’s plenary debates.