MANILA, OCTOBER 8, 2003 (MALAYA) Now on her own: Ninoy's sis (and Kris's aunt) says the Kris-Joey imbroglio will be sidelined when Ping drops his bombshell this week

FEMINISTS whose hearts bled during Kris Aquino's tearful revelations the other week on TV have an ally in the Senate-Kris's aunt, opposition Senator Teresa Aquino Oreta. No, this isn't a matter of family closing ranks. The lady senator has always championed the cause of women since she joined public service. One such bill, a long pending one, would protect women from violence and other forms of abuse in domestic disputes, Oreta told reporters Friday.

The Congress should not sideline this bill despite the amicable settlement of the row between Kris Aquino and Parañaque City Mayor Joey Marquez.

Oreta said she hopes and prays that after the out-of-court settlement of this incident, her niece, Kris, would be able to move on past this sad episode in her life and finally find the man who will truly love and care for her.

She likewise commended Mayor Marquez for being man enough to own up to his mistakes after publicly apologizing to Kris.

Oreta expressed the hope that both Kris and Joey have grown wiser in their affairs of the heart in the aftermath of this sorry incident in their lives.

Oreta admitted that like every other person in this town, she was gripped by her niece's dramatic confessions in primetime news, more so since she's related to the principal figure in the story. She believes however that the Kris-Joey brouhaha will be eclipsed once the Congress gives the floor this week to Sen. Ping Lacson's fresh revelations about Jose Pidal.

But did the countless text messages about Kris and Joey and Cory that went around during the week reach her? "Yes, but I deleted them right away," she said.

"I also hope that despite the amicable settlement of this controversy, which is expected to die soon after both parties pledged to keep silent from now on about the issue, our colleagues in the Congress would continue to breathe life to the anti-domestic violence bill so that Filipino women languishing in silence can finally find the protection they need from their abusive partners," Oreta said.

Earlier, Oreta urged the Congress to speed up the passage of new legislation criminalizing domestic violence, after Kris' startling revelations about the alleged sufferings she underwent, broke the silence over the surfeit of cases of emotional and physical abuse committed against women by their partners.

Oreta said there should be a special measure penalizing domestic violence, because this involves not only physical maltreatment, but also other forms of abuse against one's domestic partner, such as psychological and emotional cruelty, which does not fall within the ambit of existing laws.

She said her version of the anti-domestic violence law-Senate Bill No. 864-treats domestic abuse as a human rights issue and emphasizes the value of dignity of every person as a member of a family.

Besides SB 864, Oreta has also written and sponsored at least 14 women-friendly laws that would help eliminate gender bias in the workplace; protect women from exploitation, human trafficking and violence; help them strengthen their families and fulfill their roles as mothers; and recognize their pivotal role in nation-building.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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