Press Release
December 19, 2012

Interview transcript re: RH Bill

On the plans of some members of the Catholic church to petition the Supreme Court to junk the RH Bill once it becomes a law

I'm very happy as a lawyer if they would do that because it would give the Supreme Court a chance to elucidate it or explain further what is the meaning of the doctrine of separation of church and state. We now have a dearth of jurisprudence on that subject. We are not guided by many cases because there are very few cases concerning the doctrine, and all the cases have something to do with limitations on the power of the state. Now I am sure that although they will try to argue that the state has exceeded its powers, the solicitor general on the other hand--who will defend the RH Bill--will also argue that the church is exceeding its own powers. So there will be at least a clarification of the doctrine which I look forward to.

I am of course ready to help defend the RH Bill. I will submit place myself at the disposal of the solicitor general, and I am going to, if necessary, enlist the help of all the experts in constitutional law from UP.

On the opinion that divorce and abortion laws will be tackled next after the success of the RH Bill

No. Abortion, never. I am a very avid supporter of RH, but I will definitely fight to the death against abortion as a lawyer, not necessarily as a religious person. I equate it properly with the crime of murder.

With respect to divorce, I don't see anything wrong as long as the divorce law will have very strict grounds. In fact there should only be two grounds, the same two grounds that are at present recognized by law as grounds for annulment for marriage, at least recognized in the past--now there are more and more grounds added. So I want to return to the old order where civil annulment was allowed only in two cases: one is an attempt on the life of the spouse by the other, and the other is when one spouse is already living with another person, that is adultery or concubinage. Iyon lang two grounds. On other grounds, I don't advise it, I will not support it because it might trivialize the institution of marriage--young people might rush into marriage, particularly when they are young, and then change their minds and get a divorce. They will not have the maturity or enough patience to work on their marriage. In effect, if make divorce accessible in substantial grounds, we are telling young people "If you cannot get along, divorce." Right now, the message of our society is that you cannot get along, try and get used to each other. But there has to be a limit. For example, when you become homicidal at the sight of your spouse, it's time to leave each other.

You don't believe on the psychological grounds for divorce?

That is a slippery slope. Once you go there, it will become open-ended. I don't think so.

Will a bill for divorce encounter difficulty like the RH Bill did?

Sigurado iyon. The Catholic church will fight tooth and nail even on those two grounds. So I think the best compromise there, since the church itself grants religious annulment in addition to civil annulment, then we'll just adopt the grounds for annulment of the Catholic church.

On Malacañang calling for reconciliation after the approval of the RH Bill

Yes, that is the better attitude. We should always emulate President Aquino's example. Winston Churchill said the proper attitude is "in victory, magnanimity; in defeat, graciousness." We should all try, if we are pro-RH, to try and become magnanimous, and those who are anti-RH should try and be gracious.

Should you be like that with Sen. Enrile?

I hope so.

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