It is heartening to note that the Philippines’ esteemed men-in-robes have come out and reportedly stated that they consider themselves to be “at war”. I have long asserted that there is, in fact, such a war in the Philippines, between the forces of progress and the forces of primitivism. In the aftermath of the passing of House Bill 4244 also known as the ‘Reproductive Health Bill’ (RH Bill), the Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines have upped the ante — gone up to DEFCON 3…
“God has a good plan. He tolerated the [loss] of the battle to purify all of us. It’s sad, but God will finish the war for us. We did our best,” Batanes Bishop Camilo Gregorio said in an interview over Radio Veritas yesterday.
That’s just as well considering the next battle against the country’s Catholic jihadists is about to be waged in Congress according to House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte who is planning to support the passing of a divorce law in the Philippines.
After Malta legalized divorced last year, the Philippines has become the only country in the world — apart from the Vatican — without a divorce law.
Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana de Jesus of the militant group Gabriela have a pending bill [HB 1799] seeking to amend the Family Code to include a divorce provision.
Belmonte said the measure remained at the committee level and was unlikely to be passed soon.
“Not this time, but it’s there at the back of our minds,” he said. “I just want the idea to be there — I want that to remain in the consciousness of congressmen so at some point, we can take it up again.”
For now, the only option available to Filipinos to escape imrisonment in unhappy marriages is the concept of “annulment.” My colleague Kate Natividad in her recent article called the process of annulment “a perverse philosophical farce far beyond [the average Filipino’s] financial means” and made the point that the recently-legislated obligation for either party in a marriage to deliver “satisfying sex” to their partner is pointless unless an opt-out is available in said marriage in the event this obligation is not met.
Annulment is not such an option befitting the supposed spirit of “empowerment” of the RH BIll, something its proponents insisted was its whole point. Annulment is in practice utterly inaccessible to the resource-poor of the lot. Indeed, the irony of its origins as a workaround to keep the country’s Roman Catholic Taliban happy seems to escape the pointed heads of those who seek to block any efforts to enact a modern divorce law in the Philippines.
What’s up with the moronosim known as “annulment”, anyway? I wrote about just how moronic it is waaaaayyyy back so allow me to rehash my most reliable personal source of insight — my own work. For me it is quite simple, really:
“Annulment” is no more than a legal process for a state-sanctioned acceding to the tantrums of childish people crying over spilt milk.
The process of annulment aims to void the fact of the marriage so that both parties may, in principle, be free to re-marry without “moral” consequence. Contrast this with divorce which, conceptually, recognises the fact of the marriage and opens both parties to exercise options.
Annulment retroactively removes the fact of the marriage and, with said fact nullified, parties have none such to be accountable for. Divorce, on the other hand, moves on from the fact of the marriage to be terminated. It leaves the involved parties to opt for next steps under the presumption that said parties are personally accountable for any implications on their individual values (moral and ethical) associated with moving on.
In short, annulment seeks to unspill milk, while divorce seeks to mop it up.
Framed in this way, which of the two represents the thinking of a saner society? It’s no wonder that a people raised in an environment laced with moronic philosophical frameworks that include fantasies such as “annulment” are renowned for their disinclination to take control of their futures.
In her bestselling book The Art of Choosing, author Sheena Iyengar implies an interesting proposition — that some cultures habitually frame their world around pre-set paths also known as “destinies” in contrast with Western societies where the key guiding principle is choice.
In short, to the Western mind, every situation is framed by choice. The question is usually What happens next? — and therefore oriented to prospect. To the Filipino mind lorded over by idiocies such as “annulment”, the question seems to be more around What was it that pre-ordained us to this situation? — and therefore oriented to retrospect.
Prospect implies a desire to control, whereas retrospect inclines towards resignation.
Is Philippine society framed by choice, or by destiny?
One of the key insights offered by Iyengar’s book is that people — and even animals — who were raised in environments where evaluation of options is encouraged and a semblance of control over the outcomes of these choices is felt are more likely to fight for survival — and success — more ferociously. That picture provides a stark contrast to a culture such as ours — one famously propped up by the three pillars of loser mentalities: pwede-na-yan (that’ll do), bahala na (come what may), and impunity.
It’s high time that we start to re-think the very fundamental philosphies that underpin the things institutionalised in our society. It’s high time that we junk this insult on the already meagre intelligence of Da Pinoy known as “annulment” and implement a decent Divorce Law. Only in that way will the “empowerment” of Filipino women (as pitched to us by our “activists”) be truly complete.
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