Tired of “all the drama” over the reproductive health (RH) bill, Sen. Pia Cayetano urged her colleagues to submit all their amendments once and for all so the Senate could finally approve the measure.
“I will not allow the RH bill to be put aside,” she insisted after Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile was heard saying the contentious measure has to be sidelined since the chamber is busy with the equally controversial “sin tax” bill and the proposed 2013 budget.
Cayetano said the senators’ willingness to extend the plenary session from 2 p.m. to
8 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays for discussions on the sin tax bill and the 2013 budget is indicative of their willingness to roll their sleeves and get down to business.
Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate committee on women, children and family relations, said she recalled that only Enrile and Sen. Ralph Recto would be introducing amendments to the RH bill.
“It would not take long, we only need a few minutes (to accommodate those),” she noted in an ambush interview Wednesday.
Cayetano, principal author of the RH bill, recalled it took only 30 minutes for senators to discuss and resolve the most debatable amendment introduced in the measure so far.
The senator questioned the Senate leadership’s quick resolve to drop the RH bill just so other supposedly more urgent measures could be approved.
“Honestly, I’m a little bit disappointed with all the drama. We (RH proponents) have worked hard for this bill. Why is it that the RH bill has become a favorite every time a measure needs to be shelved,” she complained in Filipino.
Earlier, RH cosponsor Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago challenged Senate leaders to put the RH bill to a vote already.
Cayetano said the RH bill could have been included in last Wednesday’s agenda when senators first tried out that 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. session schedule. But it was not.