Two family-centered pieces of legislation getting much public attention

By Elinando B. Cinco

Elinando B. Cinco
Elinando B. Cinco

Two proposed measures are attracting public attention and participation. The reason is that they fall smack at the very fiber of the Filipino family. I am referring to the Divorce Law and the Anti-Dynasty Law now pending in Congress.

The consensus now among lawmakers is that a final deliberation (when they get back to work after their Holy Week break) will decidewhether there will be a majority vote for them becoming a law, or they be again thrown to the archives.

Of major interest to many sectors of the public is the proposed Divorce Law legalization. It saw some rough sailing in the House, with some groups opposing the bill growing in number and their militancy soaring.

The Catholic Church is the strongest and biggest opposition. It has always lowered the boom on anything that will imply a dissolution of marriage. Both the clergy and the lay organizations of the Church are the prominent flag-bearers. Their campaign was lumped up with the denunciation of the Reproductive Health Bill.

However, early this week, the anti-divorce law advocates saw their first major setback. A survey conducted by Radio Veritas operated by the Catholic Hierarchy came out with survey results that said “many Filipinos agree with the legalization of divorce in the Philippines.”

The radio station said there were 1,200 who were asked, whether they agree with the legalization of divorce in this country. Thirty-nine (39) percent answered they “strongly agree,” compared to 35 percent who “strongly disagree.”

Labelled Veritas Truth Survey, the opinion poll was conducted nationwide in urban and rural areas that were not identified by the radio station. The survey was done from December last year to January this year.

Some other pertinent revelations: Forty-three (43) percent of female respondents “strongly agree” with the legalization, while 35 percent said they “strongly disagree.” But 35 percent of male respondents “strongly disagree,” slightly above – just 1 percent – of those who “strongly disagree.”

The other family-centered piece of legislation I mentioned above is the ticklish Anti-Family Dynasty Bill. This one measure that has remained in the archives for decades now.
Mainly opposing the bill are the now sitting congressmen, governors, mayors, and other elected LGU officials.

Curiously, President Duterte made it known publicly last Wednesday that he is “amenable” to the abolition of political dynasties in the country. He said so in a speech before the convention of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines at the Manila Hotel.

However, the Chief Executive is skeptical about political dynasties’ abolition becoming law. His reason, without saying it, is the same as I mentioned above. And that is it jeopardizes the interests of incumbent elected officials, national and local.

Meanwhile, as this column piece was being written, relevant pieces of news were being blurted out over the radio. They are:

House Bill 7185 was approved on final reading by the House of Representatives “recognizing a divorce decree obtained in a foreign country.” Voting result: 202 affirmative votes, as against 3 negative.

In the Senate, 14 senators signed the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill – Senate Bill No. 1765 – a consolidated measure that bans political dynasties in the country.

The committee vice chairman Sen. Francis Pangilinan defines a political dynasty as “the concentration, consolidation, and/or perpetuation of public office and political powers by persons related to one another within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.”

Honorable Congressmen, is that loud and clear?