Arroyo denounces Philippines divorce bill


President Gloria Arroyo and Roman Catholic Church leader Cardinal Jaime Sin on Friday denounced a divorce bill presented to Congress, with the Phillipine leader claiming it was un-constitutional.

Senator Rodolfo Biazon, a retired marine general, filed the bill as a way out for married individuals who were mentally or physically abused by their partners.

Divorce and abortion are illegal in the Philippines, where 82 percent of the population are Catholics.

“Divorce is immoral. It is un-Filipino. It is absurd. I trust that we have enough sensible and intelligent legislators to fight this insane proposal,” Sin, the influential archbishop of Manila, said in a statement.

Arroyo, speaking separately, told reporters: “I believe we should resist divorce because it will weaken the Filipino family.”

She said “the family is the central unit of society. It is the basic source of our national bond and fraternity. In the words of the constitution, the state recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as the basic autonomous social institution.

“I believe we should protect the mandate of the constitution on the sanctity of the family.”

The cardinal added: “The strength of the nation is in the family. Destroy the family by a bill like divorce and all the other values will come crumbling down. It only takes common sense to see this.”

He said divorce “will increase the number of poor people in our midst. Divorce will bring about more spiritually impoverished children because their spiritually impoverished parents do not like to keep their marital commitments.”

Arroyo, a devout Catholic, described divorce as “a plague visited on children of divorcees,” and which had “the effect of a nightmare” on children with separated parents.