STATEMENT OF REP. DENNIS M. SOCRATES BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON REVISION OF LAWS IN OPPOSITION TO HOUSE BILL NO. 1799, “AN ACT INTRODUCING DIVORCE IN THE PHILIPPINES...” (1.VI.2011)
Madame Chair, may i be heard in opposition to House Bill No. 1799, “An Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines...”
With all due respect to the authors and supporters, the proposed measure—and any proposal to introduce divorce, for that matter—would run counter to the Constitution.
Section 12, Article II of the Constitution states: “The State recognizes the sanctity of the family and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution”. This is reiterated in Article XV, particularly Sections 1 and 2 thereof, which read: “Section 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development. Section 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.”
The concept of divorce is diametrically opposed to the “solidarity” and “development” of the family. Divorce is precisely the breaking apart of the marriage and the family. It is also a direct attack on the institution of marriage—which the Constitution says should be “inviolable”—since marriage is meaningless if it is not “indissoluble”. Kung hindi rin lang “until death do us part”, hindi dapat tawaging "marriage": "live-in" lang yon o "em-yu".
On the practical aspect, while there are cases where the marriage may be considered a “failure”, the social benefits accruing from an accomodation of those exceptional cases could not possibly outweigh the costs of weakening the institution of marriage in general. We would then be reducing the dis-incentives for failure—which, in the final analysis, is a matter of choice on the part of the spouses. Norms should not be made out of exceptions.
Finally, on the question of divorce, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “Have you not read that the Creator, from the beginning, made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? Therefore now they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Mt 19:3-6)
For those who think they are serving the will of the people by promoting divorce—and i strongly believe that the majority of our people do not want divorce—may i paraphrase St. Thomas More, who was martyred over this same issue of divorce: We are good servants of the people, “but God’s first”.
Thank you, Madame Chair.