MANILA, Dec. 27, 2012—To insist on legalizing divorce is to destroy the nation and to teach Filipinos to belittle the value of sacred promises, according to a family advocate who is not at all surprised that legislators are broaching the idea of divorce nowadays.[The move to legalize divorce] has to be stopped because it will undermine the sacredness of the marriage bond, and the children are always the victims. The family is a basic unit of society. You strengthen the family and you strengthen society. Conversely, you undermine its foundations and you form a sick society. Just look at the rest of the world,” said Chet Espino, husband for 21 years and father of a son and two daughters.
He added that to believe in divorce is to “make a mockery of the marriage vow: ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health till death do us part.’ To believe in divorce is to take away the meaning of these words.”
Espino, author of “88 Days in India: A Pilgrimage of Faith, Hope and Love”, explained the reverence with which he treats the matrimonial vow, saying he believed in “the sanctity of the marriage vow [because] it is a covenant with my God.”
“To change my mind later and turn my back on my wife is to turn my back on God who was there present when I made all those vows in his name,” he said.
In “88 Days in India…” the journalist and businessman wrote about his harrowing ordeal of dealing with his wife’s life-threatening situation after she experienced two episodes of aneurysm, meningitis, infections in the brain, bed sores, and a serious bout with pneumonia while overseas in 2008. The title refers to the length of time the couple spent in the South Asian country where the wife fell unconscious and where Espino nursed her back to health before both flew back to Manila for additional medical treatment.
Being no stranger to seriously tough times in married life, Espino – also a convenor of Families Against RH Bill and is involved in Catholic Vote Philippines – pointed out the need for individual couples to work through the hardships, not for the government to intervene by way of institutionalizing divorce.
“We all know that there are extremely difficult situations in a lot of marriages. It is up to the couple in such cases to find a solution to their individual situation and we sympathize with them,” he said. “But for the state to intervene is to open the floodgates to an easy way out, and destroy many other marriages that could’ve otherwise been saved.”
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte in a December 18 luncheon with reporters mentioned his desire to pursue a divorce law in the country.
Gabriela Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana de Jesus have a pending bill – House Bill 1799 — which seeks to amend the Family Code to include a provision on divorce.
Espino regards the expected moves of the Speaker and the legislature as a manifestation of the same misguided reasoning behind the reproductive health (RH) bill’s promotion and passage.
“This early they are conditioning the minds of the people,” he observed.
“There’s nothing surprising about the divorce bill being floated so soon after passing the RH bill. It is the same misguided reasoning, coupled with a secular mentality that drove them to push for contraception, that now wants to legalize divorce to facilitate an easy way out of what should otherwise be a point of struggle for every relationship.” (CBCP for Life)