THE DIVORCE bill is a threat to both the nation and the family and is unconstitutional, the dean of the Faculty of Civil Law said.

“[The] divorce bill is unconstitutional because it does not strengthen, and in fact, weaken the family,” Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina said at the 11th Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Forum last Feb. 2 at the Civil Law Auditorium. “Divorce is like a medicine, only that it is not recommended and could produce vast side effects.”

He added that the bill is inconsistent with the Philippine Constitution, which says that “the state recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation” and Articles I, II, and XV of the Family Code of the Philippines, which define marriage as a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman.

“[The divorce bill] merely gives the couple the chance to commit the same mistakes only in a different situation,” Divina said.

The bill supposedly makes the case that women are traditionally regarded as primarily responsible for making the marriage work and are expected to sacrifice everything to preserve marriage and solidarity of the family.

The dean, however, said marriage requires the participation of both spouses for it to work out.

“Whoever may be responsible in working a relationship out has nothing to do with the plausibility of the divorce law,” he said.

Proponents of the bill also argue that absolute fidelity is demanded of wives while men are granted sexual license to have affairs outside marriage, but when the marriage fails, women are blamed.

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But Divina said this could only “increase the proclivity of men to shop for women.”

The bill itself states that there are many failed and unhappy marriages across all Filipino classes.

“Divorce will only increase the incidents of broken marriages,” he said.

Divina added that more broken families would result from the bill’s passage and that Filipinos would have a greater tendency to enter into ill-considered marriages. Passing the bill will also not guarantee that women will no longer be beaten by their spouses.

“After the impeachment proceedings, they (legislators) will again resurrect this bill, then you have to speak up,” Divina told the audience.

Other speakers in the forum organized by the Institute of Religion were Dr. Edna Victoria Monzon, who talked about the “incomparable worth of human life” and the proposed reproductive health bill, and Dr. Edilberto Gonzaga, who discussed the potential impact of divorce on the Filipino family. Bernadette D. Nicolas

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