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Lagman affirms divorce bill aligns with religion

By Jason B. Neola


ALBAY Representative Edcel Lagman asserted over the weekend that the absolute divorce bill, recently passed by the House of Representatives, does not violate religious doctrines.


The bill, which passed on its third and final reading on March 22, aims to provide an absolute divorce option for Filipino couples.


Lagman emphasized that the 1987 Constitution does not prohibit absolute divorce, recognizing marriage as a social institution susceptible to human weaknesses that can irreparably damage marriages.


“No less than the commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, led by Fr. Joaquin Bernas, had a unanimous consensus that Congress can enact an absolute divorce law,” Lagman stated.


He noted that the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, which included commissioners Fr. Joaquin Bernas, Chito Gascon, Jose Bengzon, and Maria Teresa Nieva, did not present any dissenting opinions on the matter. Lagman also pointed out that Muslim Filipinos, who are covered by the Constitution, are granted the right to divorce and remarry.


“Moreover, the Family Code itself provides for relative divorce by judicially recognizing the separation of spouses from bed and board without the right to remarry,” Lagman added.


Lagman argued that the prohibition of absolute divorce leads to moral and social issues, as separated spouses often cohabit with other partners, resulting in adultery, concubinage, and the birth of illegitimate children.


He clarified that those who marry under Catholic rites but later separate do not commit sacrilege or sin, as even the Catholic Church has provisions for canonical divorce under the guise of “dissolution of marriage” based on psychological incapacity.


“The fact that all Catholic countries worldwide, except the Philippines and the Vatican, have legalized divorce is a veritable testament that divorce does not infringe on the doctrine of the Catholic Church,” Lagman stated.


He concluded by reiterating that divorce is not the cause of the breakdown of marriages and families. Instead, he pointed to marital abuse, infidelity, and abandonment as the true culprits.

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