Palace snubs divorce bill, wants to win back RH critics

Posted at 12/20/2012 12:30 PM | Updated as of 12/20/2012 5:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is not looking at supporting the divorce bill especially now that the administration is trying to mend fences with critics of the reproductive health bill, a spokesman said Thursday.

Speaking to ANC, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang reiterated that the divorce bill is not on the radar of President Aquino or Palace officials.

"If people want to talk about it, they are free to talk about it but it is not something that the administration is thinking about at this point in time," he said.

Carandang said the Palace is interested in prioritizing other things such as mending fences with people who fiercely opposed the RH bill. The bill was ratified by the bicameral conference committee Wednesday.

"What is important is to reach out to people who opposed reproductive health and mend fences and introducing a divorce bill is certainly not a good way of mending fences. It is not on our radar at this point," he said.

He also noted that Aquino had already opposed calls to legalize divorce in the Philippines.

"I think he said that already in public and I think that's all that really needs to be said of that issue at this point in time," he said.

In an interview with reporters in August 2010, Aquino said: "Sa divorce, definitely I cannot support something like what you do in Las Vegas— ‘yung stereotype is you get married in the morning, you can get divorced in the afternoon. But I do recognize that there have been unions that were wrong, that no matter what interventions are done, no matter what counseling is done, they really cannot stay together. And there is danger to either one or both parties in the marriage especially the children."

"So my own personal position on this point, but there are studies that have to be made, divorce is a no-no. But in legal separation, that will be very, very stringent. You really have to assert that there really are irreconcilable differences. Medyo long period. Sa Tagalog, parang padaanin sa sampung butas ng karayom. But at the end of the day, they should be allowed to re-marry."

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier said he believes that the divorce bill may finally be tackled in the 16th Congress.

He said the bill had no chance to be passed in the 15th Congress since there is not much time left.

The bill, which he supports, is still in the committee on constitutional amendments. Only one hearing has been set for the bill filed Gabriela Party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan.

Just like the RH bill that Congress passed on Monday, the Catholic Church is strongly against the divorce bill. They believe it will destroy the Filipino family.

Belmonte said there is no sense to live with a spouse if a person has fallen out of love with him or her because of an attitude or personality that did not manifest during the "boyfriend-girlfriend stage." With Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News