June 17, 2024

The very first legislative bill that was filed by Sen. Robin Padilla was to legalize divorce in the Philippines.

His bill is premised on the necessity of protecting the Filipino family as the basic foundation of the nation by letting couples who are no longer enjoying a stable marriage divorce. He further reasons out it is in compliance to the changing needs of the times and to attune our laws to be in accord with the existing practices of other nations. He is cognizant of the fact that aside from the Vatican, which is technically not a nation, our nation is the only country in the world that does not have a divorce law.

The divorce bill that was filed by Padilla is nothing new.

Earlier, Rep. Edcel Lagman of Camarines Sur has filed his own version of the divorce bill which is already his third try. The two other bills he previously filed did not pass approval. The farthest it reached was on third reading. Thereafter, the divorce bill was shelved due to the strong opposition from religious lobbyists who claim that a divorce law is against the law of God. Really?

No less than Jesus Christ, in his discourse about marriage as recorded in the book of Matthew, recognizes the right of a husband to divorce his wife on the ground of infidelity. It is the same in the Mosaic Law promulgated by the Jews during the olden times.

By the way, the Mosaic Law is the foundation of all laws since it supposedly proceeds from the command of God. Hence, if in a marriage, as discussed by God himself in both instances, recognizes as valid ground for a husband to divorce his wife, what moral authority does man have to contradict otherwise?

The reason that “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder,” is an over-played rhetoric that finds no sweeping application in current times. Divorce had become a universal ploy to fix broken marriages and render unto husbands and wives their proper regard to decency and honesty.

Look, a man or a woman who is in an unhappy union becomes a hypocrite and is more prone to sin. Are not the hypocrites the most hated men in the Bible? The Good Book itself makes hypocrisy as one of the most detestable sins while condoning divorce and separation. Otherwise, all the prophets like Abraham, Jacob, Isaiah, Lot and others like them who maintained polygamous relationships with their relatives and left their wives would have been condemned to perdition. On the contrary, they were exulted, sainted and immortalized.

Besides, it is not only on religious grounds that divorce is allowed. Practical considerations, too, demand that Filipinos, much like all other people in the world, be granted the right to divorce. It must be stressed that not all marriages “are made in heaven.”

The truth must be told that marriages, few it may be, fail due to some opportunistic or violent spouses who have no qualms in inflicting physical, mental or emotional stress on their partner. Yet, husbands and wives have to bear and live with this failure because there is no way out except death. Oh yes, “‘til death do us part” is also a vow in marriage.

But the death here contemplates a pleasant death, something that happens naturally without anticipation. What if the impending death is caused by one spouse against the other? Truly, only death is the remedy for a happy and a failed marriage although in the latter, something could have been done to prevent it.

The standard of morality does not change but the values we recognize as a people change. This is why our fashions change, our desires change, our way of thinking change, the way we live change. It is a changing world and if we are to adapt, we need to conform to what is real and practical.

Without a divorce law, we stagnate. And stagnation is a fear that finds its roots in ignorance.