Pro-RH bill lawmakers urged to show up at House deliberationsBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers supporting the Reproductive Health Bill should show up at the plenary deliberations, a member of the leadership of the House of Representatives said on Tuesday.
House majority leader Neptali Gonzales II told reporters that while meeting with members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines seem unlikely, what lawmakers for House Bill 4244′s passage should ensure was their attendance to the plenary deliberations. “Dapat makita kayo, kailangan nandiyan kayo, dapat nagbubutas ka ng bangko” was his message to the pro-RH House members.
Otherwise, if the pro-RH lawmakers are always outnumbered by the opposition, Gonzales said the proposed measure would always face delays.
He said that while “moral and spiritual support” was always there, the pro-RH lawmakers should ensure they were present to show physical support. “Pro-RH (lawmakers) alone must be able to maintain quorum (kahit) hindi mo bibilangin ang (antis). Ang grupo mo ay dapat enough to sustain a quorum.”
“If 142 ang kailangan para magkaroon ng quorum, at least 150 dapat ang pro-RH,” said the majority floor leader. “Mas madali silang (magbigay ng) moral and spiritual support, ang kailangan namin ay physical support, continuous sustained physical support.”
This was echoed by Marikina Representative Romero “Miro” Quimbo who said that the anti-RH lawmakers only needed some “48 members to perpetually delay us, mahirap lumaban sa delaying tactics.”
But as both warring factions at the House claim enough numbers on their side, Gonzales said that “you will only know at the time of nominal voting.”
Although the possibility a sit-down with members of the CBCP seems bleak after it declined to discuss the RH Bill with the informal technical working group formed by legislators and other representatives of the government, Gonzales said that deliberations on HB 4244 would continue once they were done with the 2013 proposed national budget.
“Itutuloy ang (We will continue with the) deliberations but you still have to anticipate a full-blown parliamentary warfare,” he said.
On the issue that there was little time for the bill to be passed, Quimbo said “people forget that the Sin Tax Bill was passed in a week. Anything can happen.”