(Published in the column 'From My Viewpoint' on VIEWLINER PUBLICATION September 22-28, 2014 Issue)
The Philippines and the Vatican City are the only states in the globe without a law on divorce. The absence of a law on such here is probably the most apparent manifestation that marriage is highly regarded in the Filipino culture being a predominantly Christian Catholic.
Most filipinos believe that marriage is meant to last forever as vows normally include the phrase ‘till death do us part.’ But what if forever is not meant for a lifetime?
All the rest of the countires have found a way to solve the problem by enacting a law on divorce. Divorce is a legal action between married people to terminate their relationship. In the Philippines, there are many unhappy and failed marriages and the legal remedies available to them are declaration of nullity, legal separation and annulment. Although efforts have been introduced in the Congress for a law on divorce, these have been challenged by many religious groups.
Under our present legal system, a marriage is adjudged to be valid from the start cannot be terminated under any ground. This, nothwithstanding, there exist the remedies of nullity and annulment which both legally sever marriage ties. In nullity, a spouse seeks to prove that the marriage is void dating back to the time of its celebration, while in annulment, the spouse must establish that the marriage is afflicted with a legal defect that is exisiting when marriage was formalized. In legal separation, the spouses are only allowed to be physically separated, but their marital ties remain as they are not free to marry another.
Article 36 of the Family Code states that marriage may be declared void by any party if at the time of the celebration, one spouse is ‘Psychologically Incapacitated’ to perform marital obligations. This Article 36 is dubbed by many as the ‘unofficial Filipino divorce law.’
Congress latest attempt to pass a law on divorce was in 2011. It was referred to the Committee on Revision on Laws on January 2011. Sadly, the 2011 Congress adjourned without the bill being passed. Sadly indeed.
‘Everybody deserves a new beginning.’ This is not just a statement of a shallow idea. It has truth in it, especially on failed marriages.
Understandably, people have a negative perception on persons who had come from a bad relationship. The biblical passage that says ‘...what God has joined together, let no man put asunder’ still reverberates in the culture of Juan dela Cruz. The said bible verse is found in the Gospel of Matthew, supports the church’s stand on marriage.
Clearly, the church teaches the marriage is ordained by no less than God Himself. It is God who is the author of marriage. Therefore, the phrase “God has joined together” speaks that God himself is actively pursuing ordination of the sacred activity of marriage. And the latter phrase ‘let no man put asunder’ explicitly declares that the ultimate objective of marriage is one of permanance.
This lead me to the question ‘are all marriages authored by God?’ One can no longer close his eyes to the present sociological realities that many people enter into a contract of marriage with less noble intentions such as convenience, money, sex, power and other ill motives far from love. Hence, I find the idea that God is the author of all marriages absurd.
God cannot be a part of any ill motive design in marriages. A Holy God cannot support or encourage a marriage founded on intentions that are not pure.
In consideration of the present realities, the hypothesis that all marriages are authored by God should be visited by our theologians, moral philosophers and even our law makers. One should understand that a law on divorce will surely include legal grounds (that should be satisfactorily proven in court) in order for divorce to be obtained and safeguards so it will not be abused.
To the person who nullified his or her marriage (under our present law of course), here is my message. Start picking up pieces of your life and stop doing self-pity and blaming yourself. Do not be afraid to fall in love again for love is sweeter the second time around. Though be extra careful this time in choosing the person whom you will give your heart. Today, you are free as the birds in the sky... be abundant in life. And never....never stop loving, for love makes the world go round.
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men” - John Emerich Edward Dahlberg Acton
While I may not believe on the veracity of the abovementioned quote from the great moralist and historian, nevertheless it is worthy of highlight on the issue of the Banyan Gate Incident which involved the Makati Mayor, Junjun Binay.
Here in the Philippines, all people are equal in the eyes of the law. It’s just that some families are more equal than others. Thanks to modern technology, the Binays have exemplified this before the lens of a closed circuit television (CCTV).
Three security guards at the Banyan Street Gate of the Dasmarinas Village in Makati were arrested by the men of the Mayor. Their crime? Doing their job.
It was past 10:00PM, and the Banyan Gate is supposed to be closed for all vehicles, Mayor Binay thinks otherwise. With the power that he has, he expects any gate in Makati to be open for him. As can be gleaned in the video footage, commotion did happen, guns were cocked, and poor security personell were arrested.
On their defense, the Makati Mayor in an interview denied any malice or any power tripping on his part. Joey Salgado, the public information officer of Makati City said that no arrests were made and that the security guards “voluntarily” went to the police station. Salgado said the news reports misquoted the mayor who actually said “Si Mayor Binay ako. Baka pwedeng makiraan lang. [I am Mayor Binay, may I pass?]” Salgado said Binay did this after the guards refused to believe that it was the the mayor’s convoy.
Salgado admitted that Binay did call the Makati police not to force their way in but to lessen tension between the Binay’s personell and the village guards.
Now, if you will ask me, that is one heck of a story.
The CCTV footage of the incident is posted online. Check for yourself and decide whether to believe the official statement from the City of Makati.
Their version of the story is highly opposed to logical thinking, ergo, incredible and is not worthy of belief. Anyone will not voluntarily go with armed men, logic dictates that they were forced to come with the police because they were armed. It is not rocket science to drive into such a conclusion. And FYI to Mr. Salgado the public information officer, it is wrong to say that there was no arrest that happened.
If you will ask me, I am clearly opposed to their words of defense. In fact I am categorically stating here that the Honorable Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Sombillo Binay is a straight faced liar. His sister, the Honorable Lady Senator Maria Lourdes “Nancy” Sombillo Binay is also a straight faced liar. She was one of the passengers of the Mayor’s convoy that fateful night, surely she knows what really transpired. Yet, she’s saying it did not happen. Woe to the both of you and may the God of Truth serve His justice upon you two.
As regards their father, the Honorable Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, let me give him my benefit of doubt. He was not there, and I also expect him to act as a loving father to his favorite son. He is spared in being called a straight faced liar on this essay, yet let me clarify here that I am merely reffering to the Banyan Gate Incident, because as regards his politics, i am not much of a fan.
In the novel "Animal Farm", author George Orwell has shown us that no matter how hard in society we try, equality will never truly be reached by mankind for the reason that, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely!," yet, with due respect to the novel and its revered author, i refuse to believe such.
It is humbly opined that evil prevails because power is given to the wrong hands. Most filipinos fail to remember that the power reside in them and not to the chosen few.
What are we in power for? Are we called “boss” by no less than the President himself only to be under the mercy of these power tripping politicians? Did the Constitution vested sovereignty on us only to be ruled by thieves and liars? Did our freedom heroes died in vain?
Let the Banyan Gate Incident be an eye-opener for every Filipino that power trippers should not be given any chunk of power. And may the people realize, that liars deserve hell and not a public post.
It is my prayer that no liars will win any election. For they do not deserve any trust from the Filipino people. May shame visit their hearts.
To the Binays, We the Sovereign Filipino People is watching your family very closely.
On May 2010 the whole nation will vote for the new President. Automated election will be used as a method, for the first time in our history. New method of election as it may be, still, many old faces in the political arena will try to join the race to Malacanang Palace. The ousted President Estrada will try to make a comeback and the ousted Senate President Villar will join the race as well. Incumbent Vice President deCastro is making a little bit of noise now that the election is near (why only now?). The leader of the Judicial department Honorable Puno is testing the waters if he can make a giant leap from the Judiciary to the Executive department. Many more are aspiring…in this country almost all “politicos” wants to be the President. Some of those “politicos” who are not so popular yet for the presidential race will vie for a senate seat. The unpopular incumbent President Gloria Arroyo made a statement that she may run for a congressional seat. Many more happenings may still uncover as the nation waits for the coming of May 14, 2010.
As I see these moments unfold from my very eyes through my television set, all I can do from the comfort of my sofa is to sigh. “Magulo ang pulitika ng Pinas.” Even foreign Nations will agree.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH ON NATIONAL PROBLEMS?
The Election Code prohibits heads or superiors of religions from coercing or intimidating their followers in the choice of candidates. Experts say this is so because of the Constitutional mandate of the “separation” of Church and the State. A mandate that is impliedly saying that Priests, Pastors, Imams and other religious leaders has nothing to do with the election so we should not take their opinion on who to vote. I may not yet be an expert in the law now but I believe that such thought is a gross misunderstanding of the principle of the separation of Church and State.
The “separation” came into being to protect the Church from the undue intrusion by the State, not vice versa. The principle doesn’t mean that the Church will just let everything happen in the political realm and practice a “hands off” attitude for it is outside of its jurisdiction. It doesn’t mean that the Church will have nothing to say on the conduct of the government or the quality of our public servants. Or that a spiritually matured Pastor or Priest may not influence another’s vote like anybody else.
It simply means that the State shall not try to run the Church’s business and vice versa. Elections must be conducted by the State and not by Church of course, and no religion may require members to show him his filled ballot before dropping it in the ballot box. Coercion violates the freewill of a human being, and must be forbidden anywhere.
In my personal opinion, although the Church and the State are independent from each other, they are joined together by a same subject: man. The people whom the State wants to be employed, educated and be protected from the A(H1N1) are the same people whose souls the Church wants to save.
The State sees me as a citizen but to the Church I am a man and we don’t need a PhD in Philosophy to know that a man is more than a citizen. The citizen pays the BIR or tax evades it, votes “politicos” or be the “politico” to be voted upon, but he is a man who worships hisGod and goes to Heaven or hell afterward. Church and State serve the same person, they cannot be truly separated.
SHOULD THE CHURCH TELL THE FAITHFUL WHO TO VOTE OR WHO MUST NOT BE VOTED ON 2010?
The answer is usually no, but this becomes a yes whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls require it. At a time when many politicians are propagating platforms which are anti-life, anti-morality and anti-Church? The Church does not only have the right but also an obligation to propose the certain types of men should be rejected from one’s ballot.
But as a rule, Christians, the most numerous in the nation, does not involve itself into partisan politics. The religion “Iglesia ni Cristo” (INC) however believes that members must exercise unity in the choice of candidates. Those who oppose the belief will certainly will not be a part of the INC, they should be free to leave the fold, if they are members already; they would probably violate it, if they stayed. Such belief is already a part of the INC doctrine. That is what freedom of religion is all about.
I believe religious organizations have a right to be involved in partisan politics whether they practice it or not. The Church has a right and a duty to perform in this chaotic nation, form the Christian conscience of all, and lead them in defending Christian values, even after the most unlikely people have been cooped, degraded or silenced.
Churches must deal with national problems if they are to be faithful with their task. If the sovereign God is concerned not only with spiritual matters but also even from the physical realm of man – food, clothing, shelter even the government. God is Sovereign above the State and all, things therefore He cannot be confined purely to spiritual things for He made the same world for which his Son Jesus gave his life. Churches cannot pretend to be blind and dumb in the face of poverty, exploitation and injustice. By their silence they are involving themselves to the injustice.
We, men in the eyes of the Church and citizens in the eyes of the state shall and must respect the laws and the Constitution, but in the event of conflict, our bias must be on the Lord’s side rather that man’s law. Let us all desire order but only to when it is balanced with the human aspiration for freedom, equality and the human dignity.
“With This We Call For Change”
By Manuel Rodriguez II, UST - Students' Democratic Party(SDP)
“…DEMOCRACY… IT IS OUR DUTY NOW, IN DANGER AS IN SECURITY, TO UPHOLD AND SUSTAIN IT WITH ALL THAT WE HAVE AND ARE.”
-excerpt from the Democratic Creed by Stephen Bennet
(Standard creed of the SDP 1st party convention)
The case of Mr. Jocjoc Bolante on the 728 million pesos fund for fertilizers, the disappearance of the 3.1 billion budget for irrigation, Arroyo’s fraudulent acts on the 2004 national elections that made her an illegitimate president, left and right cases of extra-judicial killings and the most recent and controversial NBN-ZTE deal scandal.
For 7 years the Arroyo regime failed to uphold the trust of the Filipino nation, our country is left tortured and wounded. The continuous issues and scandals in the country’s political arena have effectively placed into the spotlight the crisis in the administration of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – the crisis which has transformed the people’s search for truth and justice into an advocacy to oust an immoral leader of the land.
The whole truth about the anomalous NBN-ZTE contract is slowly being revealed by the statements of a very credible individual in the persona of our fellow Thomasian, Eng’r Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, former President of PhilForest, a corporation owned by the government. According to Lozada, Mr. Jose Miguel “Mike”Arroyo the husband of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, and the former ComElec Chairperson Benjamin Abalos are one of the people who are very willing to close the deal between the Philippines and China, because of their self interests to earn a 65 million to 130 million US dollars commission.
While majority of our people live their everyday life with only 65 pesos or lower on their pockets, people like Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Abalos are earning millions without sweat.
Under this kind of administration our search for truth will not and never be easy and will face many crossroads and obstacles. We can expect the government to discredit witness like Eng’r Lozada and block possible bearer of truth like Sec. Romulo Neri of CHEd.
If the University of Santo Tomas (UST) demands from its students which are their main stakeholders commitment, compassion and competence, then the nation as the same expect from the Thomasians to make use of their education in defining and knowing the difference between justice and injustice with very strong fervor.
In a three page paper titled “Why I Cannot and Will Not Support Calls for the Presidents’ Resignation,” pro- administration priest Fr. Ranhillio Calangan- Aquino pointed out that “when one protests his earnestness in search for truth, and at the same time presses for the resignation of the President (PGMA), one is guilty ofperformative contradiction.”
“If you search for truth, you do not know yet the whether she is guilty or not. But if you do know this yet, what reason is there to ask her to resign?” Fr. Aquino retorted.
My response to his statement? It is not that the current President has lost her capacity to govern the country, however due to many controversial events, I believe that the President should step down or be ousted from her position because of her inability to gain the trust of the Filipino people. Leadership requires influence; clearly the President has lost that.
With this we call for change.
Often recalcitrant, but always principled.