Student council presidential bets in favor of divorce in PH

Santos (left) and Cruz (right)

PRESIDENTIAL candidates in the upcoming Central Student Council (CSC) Executive Board elections backed proposals to allow divorce in the country during their mandatory debate last April 3.

Francis Gabriel Santos and Karizza Kamille Cruz said divorce was an alternative to annulment, and would be a quicker process to end abusive relationships.

“[M]arami tayong data na magpapakita na maraming babae o maraming couple na nagkakaroon ng unhealthy relationships to the point na nawawala na yung sanctity of marriage. Para sa akin mahalagang protektahan ang pamilya, pero ano pang po-protektahan natin kung wala naman na talagang nagwo-work? So para sa akin, I’m for divorce,” Santos said.

He said however, that the decision of lawmakers on the divorce bill won’t affect UST.

“Naniniwala ako na kung ano mang mangyari o ano mang gawin ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas, naniniwala ako na walang magiging epekto ‘yun pagdating dito sa [ating] University,” he added.

Cruz said Thomasians should balance their beliefs when it comes to divorce and the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage.

“I am in favor of divorce. Una sa lahat, dapat natin balansehin ang paniniwala natin bilang andito tayo sa Catholic university sa sanctity of marriage,” the Civil Law sophomore said.

Like Santos, Cruz said divorce would be a cheaper and faster process compared with annulment.

“Sa mga kababaihan na inaabuso… kagaya ng aking tita, gustong-gusto na niyang makawala sa kasal nila ng aking tito pero hindi niya ‘yun magawa dahil mahal ang annulment. Pero dito po sa diborsyo, magiging mabilis na po na makawala siya sa kasal na ‘to,” she said.

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The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the bill titled “The Act of Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage” on March 19, with 134 congressmen voting for the measure, 57 voting against, and two opting to abstain.

Seeking to grant divorce in “irremediably failed marriages,” the grounds for divorce in the bill include: reasons stated for legal separation and annulment under the Family Code of the Philippines, psychological incapacity, gender reassignment surgery, irreconcilable differences and separation for at least five years, among others.

The bill also aims to make divorce proceedings affordable by waiving filing and lawyers’ fees and ordering courts to provide psychiatric and psychological services.

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, had said marriages and families were “bound to break up more easily” when divorce is presented as an easy option.

“The social costs that go with an easy recourse to the dissolution of a marriage when couples begin to face the difficult challenges of marital love and commitment are what we ask our legislators to consider seriously,” he said.

“Even couples in seemingly successful marriages would often look back and recall the countless challenges that had almost brought their relationship to a breaking point if they had not learned to transcend personal hurts through understanding and forgiveness, or sometimes through the intervention of a dialogue facilitator such as a marriage counselor,” Romulo said in a pastoral statement last March 13.

The Davao prelate urged lawmakers to reconsider voting for divorce as it “might end up destroying even those marriages that could have been saved by dialogues or the intervention of family, friends, pastors, and counselors.”

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