House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez claims his proposal for a law allowing the dissolution of marriage strengthens the institution of marriage and empowers women.
Speaking to ANC Head Start, Alvarez said, “‘ How? Ok. Nagpakasal kayong dalawa, so kung talagang mahal niyo yung isa’t isa, kailangan you have to strive to make the other person happy, to make the other spouse happy. Kasi, kapag hindi na siya masaya, he or she has always that option to dissolve the marriage, hindi ba? Magsusumikap ka.”
Alvarez adds that from his own knowledge, women are the ones who want their marriages over. “Ngayon kasi, based on my experience noong nasa law practice ako, karamihan ng kliyente ay babae. Sila mismo ang gustong magpa-annul ng marriages nila, kasi nga… ako, aaminin ko, karamihan din ng mga husbands din ay tamad. Ayaw magtrabaho, yung mga babae talaga yung may mga career…”
Alvarez adds that comedy king Dolphy died without getting to marry the one he loves. “Hindi ba? Oo. So hindi naman sila makalabas-labas doon sa marriage dahil nga ang hirap, ang hirap. In fact, si Dolphy nga namatay, hindi nga napa-annul yung marriage… Hindi niya napakasalan yung gusto niya sa buhay.”
Alvarez also says this proposal protects women. “Siyempre, kung ikaw, halimbawa yung wife, ano? It will protect her in a sense na mayroon siyang option available just in case yung husband niya ay hindi ginagawa yung tungkulin niya bilang asawa. Yes, yes. Kasi halimbawa, yung husband, hindi nagtatrabaho, hindi umuuwi sa bahay, palaging naglalasing, hindi nagbibigay ng suporta…”
asked about the possibility that the bill will make it easy to break up a family, Alvarez said, “ Ang tanong diyan, ano ang nagiging effect doon sa home kapag nahihirapan na yung couples? Yung mga anak hindi na maganda yung environment, kasi pangit na talaga. Tapos yung couples, hindi na nagiging productive citizens.”
Alvarez hopes a counterpart bill maybe filed in the Senate. “Well, I hope mayroong magpa-file din, kasi alam niyo, problema talaga ito sa buong bansa, marami pong may problema rito. In fact, noong one time nagpunta ako sa Japan, pinasalamatan ako noong isang employee noong ating embassy, sabi ko bakit kayo nagpapasalamat sa akin? Sabi niya, kasi Speaker, mayroong kang fi-nile na divorce… na dissolution of marriage. Sabi ko why, sabi ko may problema ba yung marriage mo? Sabi niya, hindi po, kasi yun kasi po yung problema noong karamihan ng mga OFW doon. So palagi nilang sinasangguni doon sa embassy.”
Alvarez also dismissed criticisms that his proposal maybe self serving, sinec he himself is estranged from his wife.” Hindi po, because I don’t need this bill, actually. Pero aaminin ko, I may, or may not avail of that bill. Why? Because I am a member of a tribe in Mindanao that allows multiple marriages.” Alvarez admitted he is a member of the Manobo tribe which allows poligamy and that he was never married in the Catholic Church. Alvarez maintains that the law on indigenous people’s rights guarantees that he can get married in Church or in tribal rites.” May option ka naman, puwede kang magpakasal sa korte, puwede kang magpakasal doon sa tribo.”
Alvarez says he is inclined to get married in tribal rites.
For Alvarez , poligamy should not be equated with infidelity. “Paghiwalayin po natin, kasi magkaiba, iba yung dito sa civil law, iba rin yun… kasi kami, mayroon kaming sariling kultura na gusto rin naming i-preserve.”
Alvarez however declined to talk about his estranged wife.
Alvarez assures the public that the House won’t forget its priorities even as it tackles this bill. “Hindi po namin nakakalimutan yung ibang tungkulin namin sa House of Representatives. In fact, yung mga campaign promises ni President Duterte, halos nadeliver na namin iyan…”