Kris Aquino is not just another screeching Filipino showbiz personality. She is the sister of the President of the Philippines. Her marital woes with basketball player James Yap back in 2010 couldn’t have been good for the spin machinery of her brother President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III — a man who owes much of his appeal to the masses to the Catholic mind of the Filipino.
Poor Kris. Flushing her marriage with James Yap down the crapper back then was not as simple as pushing down on a lever. Like the national economy, the landscape of options available to her in a backward theocratic society such as the Philippines is poor.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN’s Marie Lozano, lawyer Anna Liza Logan said the TV host is not seeking legal separation.
“We will have the court decide [that the] marriage was void from the beginning,” she said.
What’s up with the moronosim known as “annulment”, anyway? 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.
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