By Ben Rosario
Despite the House of Representatives bid to rush approval, the controversial divorce bill and proposal to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will make it to the expanding list of contentious measures “parked” in the Senate.
House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez made this prediction as he noted that Senate leaders made no commitment to act on the legislative proposals that have been included in the legislative priorities the Lower House leadership wants to be passed before the next congressional break scheduled next week.
Suarez said like the death penalty bill that brought division among leaders of the Malacañang-backed majority bloc, the divorce bill and the proposed cancellation of the barangay elections set on May 14 will be ignored in the Senate.
Suarez was among the senior officials of the Lower House that met Senate leaders on Wednesday to discuss legislative priorities to be passed next week.
Senior Deputy Minority Leader and BUHAY Party-list Representative Lito Atienza yesterday welcomed Suarez’s information, saying that senators were expected to snub the divorce bill because they are fully aware of the constitutional implications of the bill.
Atienza said House Bill 7303 proposing institute absolute divorce in the country directly contradicts provisions of the 1987 Constitution that protect the family and marriage.
“This proposed law is definitely unconstitutional! It is expressly stated in Article XV on The Family, Section 2, that ‘Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State,” said Atienza.
He further explained: the Constitution is very clear and there is no room for misinterpretation. So how can Congressman Edcel Lagman interpret their proposed law as constitutional?”
He stated that he word “inviolable” clearly means that marriage is “unassailable, cannot be broken, cannot be interchanged” and thus is considered “hallowed.”
“This s precisely why I did not interpellate regarding the other provisions and sections of the proposed law – because the whole law is unconstitutional and Congress should not be tackling this at all! This cannot be considered as part of the law of the land,” the former Manila mayor stressed.
With Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez among its author, HB 7303 is now the object of intense plenary debates in the Lower House as the Catholic church and other religious sects continued to aired strong objection to its passage.
Like the death penalty bill, the divorce proposal counts on the support of congressmen belonging to the majority bloc headed by Alvarez. However, it may suffer the same fate as the restoration of the death penalty that was placed in the legislative back burner in the Senate, predicted Atienza.
The Lower House is also set to debate within the week the proposed postponement of the barangay and SK elections.