Alvarez ‘optimistic’ on Duterte rethinking stance on divorce bill
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez remains optimistic that President Rodrigo Duterte would still reconsider his stand against legalizing divorce and dissolution of marriage in the country.
“Yung concern naman ni Presidente maganda, ’yung tungkol sa mga bata. Ngayon kung kailangan magpaliwanag kami, or lalung-lalo na yung principal sponsors at saka committee, na itong concern na ito ay matagal napag-usapan at naiayos ng maganda ng committee para ma-ensure yung welfare ng mga bata,” Alvarez told reporters on Tuesday.
(The President’s concern about the children is good. Now, if we need to explain to him, or especially the principal sponsors and the committee, that this concern has been discussed for a long time and the committee has fixed this aspect to ensure the welfare of the children.)
“Oo (optimistic). Kasi si Presidente naman he has an open mind. Pero syempre kailangan dumaan muna sa Senado bago natin idudulog kay Pangulo,” he added.
(Yes, optimistic. Because the President has an open mind. But of course it has to go through Senate first before it’s presented to the President.)
On Monday, the lower House, voting 134-57, approved on third and final reading House Bill House Bill 7303 which seeks to legalize absolute divorce and dissolution of marriage. Alvarez is one of the authors of the said bill.
Some members of the upper Chamber had already expressed opposition to the proposed bill, but Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel said they are inclined to study the bill.
“Dissolution of marriage is a new concept; hence, give us time to study it,” he said Monday.
Duterte had also expressed opposition to the divorce bill, saying it would be bad for the children of separated spouses.
Alvarez said they are willing to explain and discuss the divorce bill even to senators.
“Kung kinakailangan din magpaliwanag kami (sa Senate) gagawin din namin yun kasi itong problemang ito matagal na at ang daming mga kababayan din namin na apektado dito na matagal na nilang hinihintay to,” he said.
(If we need to explain to the Senate, we will also do that because this problem has been around for a long time and a lot of Filipinos are affected by this and are waiting for this.)
The House leader, meanwhile, dismissed reports that he is being pressured by the Catholic Church to not push through with the controversial legislation.
“So far sakin wala naman pero sa ibang miyembro I understand, tinawagan sila para huwag bumoto. Kung walang tawag, baka mas malaking boto pa yung nakuha natin,” he said.
(So far, there’s none, but the other members I understand, they were called not vote. If they weren’t called, maybe we would have gotten a bigger vote.)
When asked if the Church should now be open for a divorce bill since it also has its own church annulment with the same grounds under the proposed measure, Alvarez said: “Ang problema naman sa church bawal naman sila ikasal eh (The problem with the church is that they’re not allowed to marry).”
“Sinasabi nila Pilipinas at Vatican ang walang divorce. Don’t use Vatican dahil bawal talaga mag-asawa mga tao doon kaya ‘di nila kailangan ng divorce or dissolution of marriage.”
(They’re saying that the Philippines and the Vatican have no divorce. Don’t use the Vatican because they’re really not allowed to marry there, that’s why they don’t need divorce or dissolution of marriage.)
“Saan ba pinanganak si Kristo? Sa Jerusalem. Meron bang divorce dun? Meron. ‘Di nga rito pinanganak si Kristo eh,” he added.
(Where was Christ born? In Jerusalem. Is there divorce there? Yes. Christ wasn’t even born here.) /je
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