Bishops say oust-JPE plot just a ploy to weaken anti-RH group
MANILA, Philippines –The plot to oust Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile could be just a ploy to weaken the fight against the controversial reproductive health bill.
“This may be a ploy to discredit the old man, to weaken the anti-RH group in the Senate,” Lipa, Batangas, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said Friday.
“The squabble might have been instigated to remove Enrile from his post [because he is] prolife,” Arguelles said. Information about that possibility, he added, is circulating among groups opposed to the RH bill.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV confirmed on Thursday that he was working for the ouster of Enrile.
Trillanes left the majority bloc on Wednesday to join the minority in the Senate after accusing Enrile of railroading a bill that would divide Camarines Sur into two provinces.
Father Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (CBCP-ECFL), echoed Arguelles’ views.
Castro said the removal of Enrile from the Senate presidency would weaken the opposition to the RH bill.
“Since Enrile is the Senate President, he is a big help to us … In our experience in the House of Representatives the RH bill is moving very fast because the Speaker of the House [Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte] is pro-RH,” he said.
Castro said he hoped Enrile’s stand on the bill was not the real reason behind the ouster move against him.
“I hope not. As far as I know, Senator Trillanes has reservations [about] the RH bill also,” he added.
Both church leaders said they would continue to pray and hope that Enrile would retain his job.
“I hope he retains his post. I’m against his being removed from the Senate presidency because he is doing very well, at least in his propeople stand,” Arguelles said.
“[W]e cannot interfere with that because it’s an internal issue. We will just pray and signify our support for him,” Castro said.