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House to survey members’ view on divorce, controversial bills

THE LEADERSHIP of the House of Representatives will conduct a survey to determine the views of lawmakers in navigating the fate of controversial measures, including the proposed law legalizing absolute divorce and the death penalty, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Thursday.

“The House will be conducting, during the break and the first week of November, a survey to ask the members of the House, ‘Ano sa tingin ninyo ang divorce? Ano tingin n’yo ang death penalty? Ano ang tingin n’yo sa federalism? Ano ang tingin niyo sa Charter change? But as I’ve said, maraming controversial diyan (What are your views on divorce, death penalty, federalism and Charter change? There are a lot of controversial bills out there),” Cayetano said in a media interview.

“We have to act depending on our conscience, pero babalansehin din natin ‘yun sa priorities ng administrasyon (but we also have to balance it with the priorities of the administration). Kung ‘yung konsensya natin at gusto ng administrasyon ay pareho, wala tayong problema (If our conscience and the priorities of the administration are similar, there is no problem),” he said.

Cayetano said bills that enjoy wide support or consensus from the majority of House members will be prioritized.

“I will not stop (the process), but we will act with caution on bills that have no consensus,” he said, citing the issue of divorce, as an example.

Cayetano said he is personally against divorce, but assured the public that he would not block the free flow of intelligent debates on the issue, which ironically is being pushed by his sister, Senator Pia Cayetano who is separated from her husband.

The lady senator filed Senate Bill (SB) 288 to legalize divorce on certain conditions while at least four similar bills had been filed at the House of Representatives.

“I can tell you my personal stand, pero hindi lang ako ang masusunod (but I am not the only one who will decide). So I can assure you of full debates and discussions on this issue,” Cayetano said.

Nevertheless, he acknowledged the need to find a solution for couples who are trapped in a failed or troubled marriage, owing to the possibility that children caught in the marital conflict might suffer trauma.

“Definitely for impossible marriages, ibig sabihin ‘yung ginugulpi ‘yung asawa (such as in the case of a battered spouse) ‘yung psychologically incapacitated, we have to find a solution. Some believe that divorce is a solution, some, like me, do not believe that divorce is a solution. Let the committees and the plenary debate this,” Cayetano said. (By Jose Cielito Reganit)

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