Speaking Out Against Abuse

Photo credit: Our Time Press

Fr. Shay Cullen
7 December 2017

The front cover of Time Magazine for its last issue of 2017 shows a group of brave women who eventually found the courage to speak out against the sexual exploitation and harassment they suffered at the hands of abusive males and made the hash tag #MeToo trend on social media. There is a growing movement to name and shame the women abusers by going public, talking to the media and signing affidavits. Women have been trying to expose the abuse for many years using other hash tags but none has been so successful as #MeToo.

It came to light when some women began to speak out against the well-known Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein. That became world news and many more women then found the courage to tell their story also to the media. He was forced to leave his position and go abroad and has since lost all prestige and power.

According to Twitter, as many as 1.7 million women and men used the #MeToo hash tag in 85 countries around the world. Many better known media personalities and politicians have stepped down or have been fired from their posts as a result of a number of similar allegations being made against them.

This is a movement that could greatly help the dignity of women and to change the male perception of them as objects or lesser human beings that can be used to satisfy their lustful desires and whims. This is a challenge to men to respect and to speak out against abuse and sexual harassment where they know of it.

They ought to take a stand on behalf of women and children and to teach their own children to do likewise. The next generation could be very different if they did so and break down the machismo-dominated attitude that makes some men believe that they are superior and can abuse those weaker and more vulnerable than them. The culture of silence and looking the other way when adults know of sexual abuse and harassment have to change. It is making them complicit and as it is tantamount to approving the abuse. This kind of social media and community education is vital to empower women and children.

In the Philippines the public attitude is slowly changing from indifference to child sexual abuse to that of concern and knowledge of how awful a crime it is and the need to report it and take fast action to help children and women victims to get help. This is not coming from the leadership but from the grassroots. Local and national leadership support the sex industry and the abuse of women and children as witnessed by the local government giving operating permits and licenses to sex bars and clubs where children and women are sexually exploited with impunity. The national leadership allows it despite that fact the sex bars are rife with illegal drugs. They are not a battlefield for the war on drugs. That can be easily won by legislation canceling all the operating permits and closing them down.

There is the growing knowledge that child sexual abuse is a serious crime especially by children themselves. When eight-year old Jessica was on her way to school in Bacong, Bataan, her neighbor Reynaldo Quiambao accosted her and asked her to go buy him a cigarette. She did it and when she came back to him he took her inside his house, into a bedroom and raped her. She was crying and begging to be let go. After the act of sexual abuse, he gave her twenty pesos (about $0.40 ). She went to school and was crying. Her teacher told her to stop crying and asked why but she was afraid of her teacher. When she went home she was crying and courageously told her elder sister Juliet. That was in August 2011. Her mother was very angry and immediately they went to the police and reported the incident. They responded and as it was within the legal time frame the accused was arrested and jailed under the inquest procedure.

The family sought the help of the Preda Foundation legal team and since Jessa was still traumatized she was admitted to the Preda Home for Girls. There, she felt safe and secure from her attacker and was welcomed by the other children who had similar experiences. She took the Emotional Expression Therapy and overcame the trauma and began to be happy and play and study again in Preda. She was empowered even at that early age and she was able to testify in court and point out the abuser and tell her story. It was like another #MeToo. Continue reading

Statement on the Impeachment Complaint against Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno

The Supreme Court is aptly called the last bulwark of democracy. As the final interpreter of the Constitution and the law, the Court occupies a critical role in the protection of civil liberties and the prevention of excesses by both the legislature and the executive. In short, a truly democratic State cannot exist without a stable and independent judiciary, which ironically happens to be the weakest among the three co-equal branches of Government.

An impeachment proceedings is an extra-ordinary way to remove from office a high public official occupying a position created by the Constitution. Because its target is an important public official, such proceedings has a very disruptive effect and must, therefore, be resorted to sparingly and only in extreme situations where the grounds relied upon are clear and compelling.

The impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno comes closely in the heels of the impeachment and subsequent removal of then Chief Justice Renato Corona. We fear that this consecutive attack against the head of the judiciary might create an unintended chilling effect on present and future justices that will eventually weaken the Court.

Without going into the merits of the impeachment complaint, the LAIKO unequivocally expresses its full support for Chief Justice Sereno. Our knowledge of how the Chief Justice conducts herself gives us reason to believe that she is a person of integrity unsullied by any hint of corruption. Her well-written opinions for the High Court are masterful and demonstrate an uncommon probity, impartiality, and intellectual acumen worthy of her high position.

Under Chief Justice Sereno’s watch, the Supreme Court has accomplished unprecedented reforms in the Judiciary, not least its computerization initiative that ensures transparency and accountability in the High Court and in the entire judiciary. Indeed, she is not only a woman of principles but a leader of action as well.

We therefore enjoin all Filipinos to speak up for what is right and to defend our democratic institutions. We also endorse the statement of the Coalition for Justice.

For the Board of Directors of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas,

ZENAIDA F. CAPISTRANO
National President

Noted by:

+MOST REV. BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D.
LAIKO National Director
Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity

06 December 2017

Palawan 5 Summit Statement of Support for Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno

We, the 230 delegates of Palawan 5, representing over 100 Christian organizations, denominations, churches and ministerial fellowships in the Philippines do hereby declare our support for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

In her half-decade at the helm of the Philippine Judiciary, Chief Justice Sereno has served with integrity, independence, and impartiality, conducting herself in a manner that befits her office and consistent with the canons of the Bar and the Bench.

Under her stewardship, the Supreme Court has spearheaded much-needed reforms in the Judiciary to ensure transparency and accountability in the High Court and to uphold the independence of the nation’s last bulwark of democracy.

The Book of Proverbs in the Sacred Scriptures teaches us, however, that “one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked” (Proverbs 29:27). At the first hearing of the House Committee on Justice we witnessed this, as its members brazenly denied Chief Justice Sereno her most basic rights, while her accuser was accorded every concession imaginable to present a poorly conceived case built on hearsay and misrepresentations of fact and law.

We believe that the persistent efforts of a powerful few to impeach the Chief Justice on charges that are clearly baseless and malicious are a brazen move to silence a jurist who has consistently handed down decisions that are pro-people and pro-Constitution.

Thus, the present impeachment proceedings are a mockery of the Rule of Law. These are not only an attack on the Chief Justice, they are an assault on the independence of the Judiciary and the institutions necessary to preserve democracy. Should political forces succeed in removing the Chief Justice by the simple expedient of violating her basic rights, they would have damaged the country irreparably y severely weakening one of the institutions we can rely on to check abuse in government and to uphold individual rights under the Constitution.

A rigged process is ultimately a mockery of the Constitution— and sets democracy for a fall. Our own painful history has shown that a government allowed to run roughshod over the rights of one can only be emboldened to trample on the rights of all. Our own experience of authoritarian rule in the not-so-distant past illustrates the danger we all face if but one person is denied his or her basic rights.

If this administration does not recognize the basic rights of the Chief Justice of the Philippines, how do we expect it to respect the basic rights of any Filipino?

this patent injustice. We call on our fellow citizens to stand with Chief Justice Sereno in the face of this partisan attack on judicial independence. We ask our people to echo her call to come to the defense of the Rule of Law.

The time to make a stand for truth, justice and righteousness is NOW. The time to fight for what is right is NOW.

“… and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.” – Jeremiah 4:2

Palawan 5 Campaign Signature Sheet
List of Members of the House of Representatives 
Materials for Information Campaign:
Briefer on Impeachment
Simplified Answers to Impeachment of CJ Sereno
Judicial Reforms of CJ Sereno
Pray for Chief Justice Sereno

Sa pagdiriwang ng Pagbubukas ng 2018 bilang Taon ng Kaparian at ng mga Relihiyoso 

CBCP Pastoral Exhortation

Unang Linggo ng Adbiyento, ika-3 ng Disyembre 2017

Mga minamahal na kapatid kay Kristo,

Pagbati ng biyaya at kapayapaan sa inyong lahat!

Sumapit na tayo sa ika-anim na taon ng ating siyam na taong paglalakbay patungo sa 2021 – ang ika-500 taon ng pagdating ng pananampalatayang Kristiyano sa Pilipinas. Naganap noong 1521 ang kauna-unahang pagdiriwang ng unang Banal na Misa at ng sakramento ng Binyag sa kapuluan ng Pilipinas. At nagsimula ang debosyon sa Santo Nino sa Cebu. Yan ang pasimula ng pangangaral ng Mabuting Balita sa ating bansa.

Ang taong 2018 ay itinakda para sa Kaparian at sa mga nasa Buhay-Relihiyoso. Kung tutuusin, sila ay maliit na bilang lamang sa Simbahan, ngunit ginagampanan nila ang isang mahalagang papel sa misyon ng Simbahan. Sa ating kultura, sila’y mahalagang instrumento sa mga Layko nang tunay nilang matanggap ang Mabuting Balita at maging isang komunidad ng mga alagad na nangangaral ng Mabuting Balita. Ngunit, hindi rin sila nakaiiwas sa kambal na kamalian ng paghihiwalay ng pananampalataya at kakulangan sa pagiging alagad ni Kristo.

Pinagbagong pinunong-lingkod para sa panibagong pagpapahayag ng Mabuting Balita – ito ang hantungan ng ating mga panalangin at mga gawain sa taong ito. Hangad nating makamit ang pagbubuo at pagpapanibago ng ating mga pagpapahalaga, kaisipan, asal at paraan ng pamumuhay ng Kaparian at ng mga Relihiyoso. Bilang pagsunod sa halimbawa ng Mabuting Pastol, sila’y inaanyayahang maging mga pinunong-lingkod na nangangalaga sa mga minamaliit, nawawala at pinahuhuli. Ito rin ay magiging taon ng muling pagsusuri ng mga pamamaraan ng mga seminaryo at ng paghuhubog sa buhay-Relihiyoso at ng pakikilahok sa mga Layko sa gawain ng misyon at paglilingkod.

Sa pagsapit natin sa pinanibagong pagpapahayag ng Mabuting Balita nabatid natin ang liwanag na sumisinag sa ating daan. Masipag na ipinagdiriwang ng ating mga pari araw-araw ang mga sakramento sa mga abalang lungsod at mga malalayo at liblib na barangay. Ang mga Relihiyoso naman ay nangangasiwa sa mga institusyong pang-simbahan, nagtuturo ng katesismo at naglilingkod sa mga parokya. Sila’y nagdudulot ng kagalakan sa mga bahay-ampunan, ospital at mga bilangguan. Ang ilan ay nagsimula narin umalalay sa rehabilitasyon ng mga nalulong sa ipinagbabawal na gamot. Bagama’t walang abito, ang mga kasapi ng mga institutsyong pang-Layko ay buong katapatang kumikilos para sa ikatataguyod ng Kaharian ng Diyos sa kanilang abang kapamaraanan. Sila’y tunay na nagbibigay sa atin ng inspirasyon at lakas, halimbawa na lamang ay ang pari ng Marawi na si Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganub na muntik nang mamatay dahil sa pangangalaga sa kanyang mga parokyanong naipit sa putukan ng digmaan. Binibigyang pag-asa nila tayo sa kinabukasan.

Sa kabilang banda, hindi maitatanggi na ang liwanag ng mga ilaw ay nakukublian ng mga nakapamamanglaw na anino mula sa ilang Kaparian at Relihiyoso. May mga pagkakataong nalulungkot tayo dahil sa kanilang karupukan at mga eskandalong kinasasangkutan. Ang mga maling asal na ito ay nananawagan ng tunay na pagninilay at buong kababaang-loob na pagsisisi at pagbabayad-puri. Ang mga kamaliang ito nawa’y magdala sa atin sa bago at mas malawak na pagkakatong magpanibago at makiisa sa mga mahihina at nasisiraan ng loob. Nawa’y ang ating mga pari at Relihiyoso, sa kabila ng kanilang karupukan at pagiging sugatan, ay magpatuloy na maglingkod at gumabay sa mga kapwa-makasalanan taglay ang kagalakan ng Mabuting Balita na maghahatid sa kaganapan ng buhay. Pinalalakas ni Hesus ang ating loob sa pamamagitan ng kanyang salita: “Magdaranas kayo ng kapighatian sa sanlibutang ito, ngunit tibayan ninyo ang inyong loob! Napagtagumpayan ko na ang sanlibutan!” (Juan 16:33)

Ang pagpapanibago ng Simbahan ay nangangailangan ng pagpapanibago ng Kaparian at ng mga Relihiyoso. Dahil dito, kumukuha tayo ng inspirasyon at halimbawa sa magiliw na yugto nang hugasan ni Hesus ang mga paa ng kanyang mga alagad.

ANG PAKIKIPAGKAISA NI HESUS SA AMA

“Alam niyang siya’y mula sa Ama …” (Juan 13:3) – Hindi nawala ang kaisahan ni Hesus sa kanyang makalangit na Ama nang siya’y namuhay dito sa lupa. Ang kanyang pakikiisa at pakikipagpalagayang-loob sa Ama ang nagtulak sa kanya na abutin ang mga makasalanan at mga nangangailangan. Ito ang pinagmumulan ng bisa ng kanyang pananalita at mga himala (cf. Juan 6:38. 46; Juan 8,19. 29).

Bilang mga Layko, mga pari at mga Relihiyoso, inaanyayahan tayong makibahagi sa “pakikipagkaisa” at “pakikipagpalagayang-loob” kay Hesus at sa Ama. Ang Kaparian at mga Relihiyoso ay kaisa ni Kristo sa pagpapahayag ng Salita, sa pagdiriwang ng mga Sakramento at sa Espirituwal na pamumuno. Yan ang dahilan kung bakit tayo tinatawag na mga “alagad ng Diyos”, mga maka-Diyos at ang mas naangkop “lingkod ng Diyos”. Sa pamamagitan ng kanilang paglilingkod na nagpapabanal sila mismo’y napababanal (cf. CCC, 1534).

Ngunit minsan, sila’y tila nalalayo sa Diyos at sa pagtupad ng kanyang kalooban. May ilang nalululong sa mga materyal na bagay, sa kanilang pag-aasam sa sarap ng buhay at sa kapangyarihan. Sa halip na maging mga pinunog-lingkod ng pagkakaisa sila’y nagtutulak pa sa atin sa kalituhan at pagkakawatak-watak. Ipanalangin nating lagi tayong maging kaisa ni Hesus katulad niya na laging kaisa ng Ama! Ipinapanalangin natin ang Kaparian at mga Relihiyoso na patuloy na tumalima kay Hesus ang maging mga ganap na alagad ng Panginoon na laan sa Panibagong Pagpapahayag ng Mabuting Balita. (cf St. John Paul II, Pastores DaboVobis III, 26)

TUMINDIG SI HESUS NANG BUONG KABABAANG-LOOB NA MAGLINGKOD

“Tumindig si Hesus…” (Juan 13:4) – Tumindig si Hesus mula sa hapag upang hugasan ang mga paa ng kanyang mga alagad. Ang kanyang pagmamahal sa kanila ang nag-udyok sa kanyang maglingkod nang buong kababaang-loob.

Sa pamamagitan ng kanyang walang kapagurang lakas sa pakikipag-isa sa Ama, buo ang loob ni Hesus na paglingkuran at mahalin ang mga ipinagkatiwala sa kanya, kahit na hanggang kamatayan, kamatayan sa krus (cf Filipos 2:8). Tayo, bilang kabahagi ng kanyang Simbahan, ay inaanyayahang gawing ganap ang Kaharian ng Diyos na nasa ating piling. Tinatawagan tayong kalingain ang mga higit na nangangailangan, na mahalin at paglingkuran ang mga malalayo sa atin. Ang Kaparian at mga Relihiyoso na binigyan ng tungkuling pamunuan ang ating mga komunidad, na minsan ay nabibigyan ng mga prebilehiyo at entitlement, ay kinakailangang bumangon mula sa kumportable at maalwang posisyon upang bukas-palad at buong kababaang-loob na makapaglingkod. Manindigan nawa sila laban sa mundong na unti-unting nagiging manhid at minsa’y napopoot sa Mabuting Balita, ngunit patuloy na nagugutom sa isang bagay na hindi nito batid. Sa huli, Ang Mabuting Balita ay magwawagi, ang pananampalataya kay Hesus ay mabibigyang-matwid, sapagkat kanyang sinabi: “huwag kayong matakot sapagkat nagapi ko na ang mundo” (Juan 16:33)

“…AT KANYANG HINUGASAN ANG MGA PAA NG MGA ALAGAD.”

“…at hinubad niya ang kanyang damit …kanyang hinugasan ang mga paa ng mga alagad…” (Juan 13:4-5) Habang nakaluhod sa paanan ng mga alagad, hinubad ng Pangnioon ang damit na pananggalang at ibinigkis ang tuwalya ng paglilingkod. Ipinakita niya ang halimbawa ng kababaang-loob sa paghuhugas niya sa kanilang mga pagod at maruruming paa. Pinaalalahanan niya silang gawin iyon sa isa’t isa, “…kung ano ang ginawa ko sa inyo, gawin din ninyo sa isa’t isa” (Juan 13:15)

“Anong ganda ng mga paa ng mga naghahatid ng Mabuting Balita” (Isaias 52:7; Roma 10:15). Kinikilala ng Banal na Kasulatan ang kanilang kagalakan, sila na naghahatid ng mensahe ng Mabuting Balita. Ang tungkuling maghatid ng Mabuting Balita ay may kaakibat na pagdamay, at pagtawid sa kalayuan, dito sa ating bansa at sa mga bansa ng Asia. Dapat nating siguruhin na hindi mawaglit ang sinumang nangangailangan ng galak at pag-asa na hatid ng Mabuting Balita. “Sa mga nasa laylayan!” Ilusad ang ating mga manggas at kumilos! Ang Simbahan ay isang ospital sa larangan ng digmaan! “Duc in altum!”

Continue reading

Renewed servant-leaders for the New Evangelization

CBCP Pastoral  Exhortation (English)

On the Occasion of the Opening
of the 2018 Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons
First Sunday of Advent, 03 December 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace and Peace to all of you!

We are on the 6th Year of our 9-year Spiritual Journey towards 2021 – the 500th Year after the arrival of Christianity to the Philippines. It was in 1521 that the Holy Mass was first celebrated and the Sacrament of Baptism was first administered in the Philippine archipelago. Then the Santo Niño devotion began in Cebu. That was the start of our Evangelization

The year 2018 is dedicated to the Clergy and Consecrated Persons. They comprise just a small portion of the Church, yet they are fulfilling a vital role in her mission. In our culture, they are greatly instrumental for the lay to become truly an evangelized and evangelizing community of disciples. Yet they are not immune to the twin errors of a dichotomy of faith and inadequate discipleship of Christ.

Renewed servant-leaders for the New Evangelization – this is the goal of our prayers and activities this year. We aim towards the integral renewal of the values, mind-sets, behavior and life-styles of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons. Following the example of the Good Shepherd, they are invited to become servant-leaders who care most especially for the least, the lost and the last. It will be a year, too, of revisiting ways of seminary and religious formation and the collaboration with the laity in the work of mission and ministry. (Cf. Pastoral Exhortation on the Era of New Evangelization)

As we embark towards a new Evangelization we have become aware of the bright lights along the way. Our priests faithfully celebrate the sacraments daily in the busy urban areas and in the distant and lonely barangays. Our men and women religious administer church institutions, teach catechism, and serve in the parishes. They bring joy to orphanages, hospitals and prisons. Some have started working for rehabilitation of drug dependents. Working without habits, but no less committed, are the members of lay institutes, promoting the Kingdom in their own humble way. They truly inspire and strengthen us, like the priest of Marawi, Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob, who almost lost his life caring for his parishioners caught in the crossfire’s of war. They make us hopeful for tomorrow.

On the other hand, the bright lights undeniably go at times with some dismal shadows, brought about by some of our Clergy and Consecrated Persons themselves. There were occasions of frailty and scandals that sadden us. Such misconducts call for sincere reflection and humble repentance and reparation.  May these faults point us to new and vast possibilities of renewal and communion with those who are weak and broken. May our Priests and Consecrated Persons, in their weakness and woundedness, continue to serve and guide fellow sinners with the joy of the Gospel that leads to the fullness of life. Jesus himself encourages us with his words: “In the world you have tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33)

Renewal of the Church requires the renewal of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons. For this, we take inspiration and example from the tender scene of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.

JESUS IN COMMUNION WITH THE FATHER

“Fully aware that he comes from the Father…”(Jn 13:3) – Jesus never lost that unity with his heavenly Father while he lived on earth. His communion and intimacy with the Father moved him to reach out to sinners and needy. It was the source of the impact of his words and the effectiveness of his miraculous deeds. (cf. Jn 6:38. 46; Jn 8:19, 29)

As Lay, Clergy and Consecrated persons, we are invited to share in this “communion” and “intimate relationship” between Jesus and the Father. The Clergy and Consecrated Persons are united with Christ in the Proclamation of the Word, in the celebration of the Sacraments, and in their Spiritual Leadership. That is why they are called “alagad ng Diyos,” men and women “of God” or even more accurately, “servants of God.” It is through their very ministry of sanctification that they too are sanctified (cf. CCC, 1534)

But at times, they seem far from God and from following his will. Some get entangled in their concern for material possessions, in their need for pleasures and in their desire for power. Instead of becoming servant-leaders of communion they may even lead us to confusion and disharmony. Let us pray that we may remain ever closely united to Jesus as he is in constant communion with the Father! We pray that all the Clergy and Consecrated Persons continue to abide in Jesus and become perfect disciples of the Lord for the New Evangelization. (cf St. John Paul II, Pastores DaboVobis III, 26)

JESUS STOOD TO HUMBLY SERVE…

“Jesus stood…” (Jn 13:4) – Jesus “rose up from the meal” to wash his disciples’ feet. His love for them moved him to serve them humbly.

With this inexhaustible strength in communion with the Father, Jesus was determined to serve and love those who were given to him, even to the point of death, death on the cross. (cf Phil 2:8) We, as members of his Church, are invited to actualize the Kingdom of God present in our midst. We are called to reach out to those in greatest need, to love and to serve those considered different and far from us. The Clergy and Consecrated Persons, given their role of leadership in our communities, and who often enjoy privileges and entitlements, should stand up from a comfortable and privileged position to generously and humbly serve. May they stand out in a world that is increasingly indifferent and even hostile to the Good News, and yet hungering for something it knows not. In the end, the Gospel will prevail, faith in Jesus will be vindicated, for as he said, “fear not, I have already conquered the world.” (Jn 16:33)

“…AND HE BEGAN TO WASH THE DISCIPLES’ FEET.”

“…and he set aside his vestments…began to wash the feet of the disciples…” (Jn 13:4-5) The Lord, kneeling at the feet of his disciples, set aside his garment of protection and put on the towel of service. Showing his example of humility, he washed their tired and soiled feet. He later admonished them to do the same to one another, “…just as I have done for you, so also should you do.” (Jn 13:15)

“How lovely are the feet of him who brings the good news!” (Is. 52:7; Rom 10:15). The Scriptures acknowledges them who come with joyful tidings, who bear the Gospel message. The task of sharing the Good News entails reaching out, and traversing distances, here in our country and in neighboring Asia. We are careful not to neglect anyone needing the joy and hope that the Gospel brings. “To the peripheries!” Let us roll up our sleeves and work! The Church is like a field hospital! “Duc in altum!”

My dear people of God, please continue to support our clergy and consecrated persons in their journey as “servants to the servants of the Gospel.” As shepherds to the Lord’s flock, may they “take on the odor of their sheep.” As vulnerable “lovely feet” of the New Evangelization, may they encourage others to mission by serving with humility, by loving in action, and by strengthening the poor, the hopeless, the victims of injustice and oppression (cf. Is 52:7; Rom 10:15)

Let us also pray for the young men and women in the seminaries and formation houses. As they prepare for a life of self-offering and service may their communion with Jesus be the source of their inspiration, strength and joy.

Let us all together, Lay, Clergy and Consecrated Persons, remain united with Jesus. With Mary let us proclaim the greatness of the Lord and rejoice in God our savior. May we become servants of the new evangelization to one another so that one day, God may finally and truly be all in all. (cf 1 Cor 15:28b)

From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, December 3, 2017, First Sunday of Advent


+ ROMULO G. VALLES, D.D.
Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Position Paper on the Dissolution of Marriage Bills

We, members of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, signify our objection to the House Bills that will enact into law the dissolution of marriages.

When a man and a woman pledge themselves to keep a covenant of unity for a lifetime, they are accountable to each other and to the rest of humanity. Marriages and families are the foundation of our communities, society and civilization- our whole way of life. We need strong marriages and families.

Numerous arguments have been given in favor of divorce and other forms of dissolution of marriage. Persons who seek divorce think and believe that divorce is the solution to their marital problems- at least it allows the individual to escape the miserable situation they are in. However, what are not popularly known are the resulting complicated problems from divorce. This ends up in greater misery for both parties, leaving them to lament, “If only I had known this would happen after the divorce.”

The tragic effects of divorce impact not only the lives of parties involved, but also their children, grandchildren up to the fourth generation.

Children of divorce have low self esteem, feel abandoned, think less of themselves, and are often unable to function effectively as a responsible partner in their own marriages. The pain, shame and being in doubt about the love of significant persons in their lives fester.  Continue reading

A Call to Action

The Philippine House of Representatives  Committee on Population and Family Relations will hold another hearing on the Dissolution of Marriage Bills on December 6, 2017, at 1:30 p.m., at the House Speaker’s Conference Room, Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City.

We invite the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas national organizations, diocesan and archdiocesan councils of the laity, and all concerned Catholics, to bring their statement  and attend said hearing. The concerned bills are the following House Bills:

  • HB 116 “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce in The Philippines and for Other Purposes”
  • HB 1062 “An Act Amending Title 1, Chapter 3, Of Executive Order No. 209, Otherwise Known as the Family Code Of The Philippines, Prescribing Additional Ground for Annulment”
  • HB 1629 “An Act Legalizing Church Annulment or Dissolution of Certain Marriages and for Other Purposes”
  • HB 2380 “An Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines, Amending for the Purpose Articles 26, 55 To 66 And Repealing Article 36 Under Title II of Executive Order No. 209, As Amended, Otherwise Known as the Family Code of the Philippines, and for Other Purposes”
  • HB 3705 “An Act Recognizing the Civil Effects of Church Declaration of Nullity, Annulment and Dissolution of Marriages and for Other Purposes”
  • HB 6027 “An Act Providing For Grounds for the Dissolution of a Marriage”
  • HB 6446 “An Act Recognizing the Capacity of the Filipino Spouse to Remarry when the Alien Spouse Has Obtained a Foreign Judicial Decree of Absolute Divorce, Amending for the Purpose Executive Order No. 209, Otherwise Known as the Family Code of the Philippines”

Sangguniang Laiko will be honored to have your designated official representatives join.

Please leave a message with your name and organization at the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas Facebook page or send a text to Joseph Jesalva at 09771794938 or 09283933184.