Divorce bill uncertain with 5 senators opposed

(PHILSTAR) MANILA, Philippines — The fate of the divorce bill remains uncertain in the Senate, with five senators – including the Senate president – so far against it, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada.

Estrada surveyed 24 senators on their stance on the divorce bill.

Among those who replied, Senate President Francis Escudero, majority leader Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, Ronald Dela Rosa and Estrada himself are against divorce.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros – the main proponent of the Senate version of the divorce bill – Robin Padilla, Grace Poe, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano and Raffy Tulfo support the measure.

The Senate version of the bill was approved by Hontiveros’ committee on women and family relations last year but it has yet to be forwarded to the plenary for interpellation.

Escudero on Tuesday explained that he opposed the House version of divorce as it lacked a provision allowing the Public Attorney’s Office to take on divorce cases for indigents.

Estrada’s survey did not include the positions of former Senate president Juan Miguel Zubiri, minority leader Koko Pimentel, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay, Alan Peter Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Bong Go, Lito Lapid, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Cynthia and Mark Villar.

Zubiri, who has been vocal about his position against divorce, on Tuesday said he is a “conservative senator. I’m pro-family and pro-life.”

Pimentel on Tuesday said he cannot vote for the measure after seeing the contents of the House bill on divorce.

Binay on May 25 said she has always been against divorce ever since she ran for the Senate in 2013.

Angara, Revilla and Ejercito said they are still thinking about their positions. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Evelyn Macairan