Sotto warns he can filibuster on RH bill as regular senator
Critics demanding that Sen. Tito Sotto resign as majority leader for his stand against the population control bill should think twice.
Sotto said he could resign his post but becoming a “regular senator” would allow him to filibuster and block passage of the contentious measure.
An obviously peeved Sotto told the Philippine Daily Inquirer he has been getting a lot of flak on networking sites for his critical stance against the reproductive health (RH) bill that would require the government to distribute or make available contraceptives and other forms of artificial birth control pills to poor couples.
Columnist and therapist Dr. Margie Holmes, for instance, mockingly surmised in her blog at www.interaksyon.com that Sotto lacked sympathy toward families with many children because his sperm behaved like “heat-seeking missiles” only when he wanted children.
Holmes dared Sotto to “train the sperm of your countrymen” to behave like his does.
Sotto and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile have been scored for allegedly causing the delay of the bill’s approval in the chamber despite debates on it for a year now.
The Senate closed the period of interpellation before Congress adjourned last June.
Enrile, however, clarified that Sen. Pia Cayetano, the principal RH sponsor, had agreed to reopen debates “if I have additional questions.” Enrile said he was then preoccupied as presiding judge in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona who was later ousted.
“They should not accuse me of delaying action on the bill because I just might call their challenge,” Sotto fumed in a phone interview. Sotto is to deliver a speech against the RH bill on Wednesday.
“As a regular senator, I would be more effective in filibustering than a majority floor leader. As majority leader, I still schedule discussions on the RH bill (despite my objections to it),” he said. “But as a regular senator, I could just throw a monkey wrench at the bill.”
Sotto said his speech would delve on his stand that contraceptives should be classified as abortifacients and not “special medicines” as provided in the RH bill; the P3 billion budget allotted for an information campaign on the measure; and the international groups and persons involved in a “sinister plot to try and lessen the population in Third World countries.
Sotto was reported to have named the UN Population Fund, the International Planned Parenthood Federation and a large pharmaceutical company as the groups behind the RH bill campaign.
“I would read into the Senate records the speeches and pronouncements of these leaders,” Sotto complained.
“When the RH proponents had their turn on the floor, they left a lot of questions unanswered. Now their supporters are charging us of being repetitive by reopening the period of interpellation. I will be asking questions because the proponents did not answer them,” Sotto explained. /INQUIRER