House resumes deliberations on RH bill but…



House of Representatives. RYAN LEAGOGO/

MANILA, Philippines — Fresh from their meeting with President Benigno Aquino III, legislators on Monday resumed deliberations on the Reproductive Health Bill but not without a hitch.

There were initially 210 members of the House of Representatives at the plenary after roll call at 5 p.m. but the RH Bill was only brought up at past 6 p.m.

But what should have been a resumption of the discussions on the RH Bill, majority of the session focused on whether or not they will allow Palawan Representative Dennis Socrates to have 10 minutes to speak against the acceptance of the measure’s substitute version.

Before this, a verbal clash erupted between Nueva Ecija Representatives Josefina Joson (first district) and Czarina Umali (third district) on the former’s clan’s supposed abuses in their province. Joson stood up to make a manifestation, defending herself after her name was linked by Umali to a media killing in Nueva Ecija.

Then Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez gave a lengthy privilege speech questioning China’s move to board and expel ships from the West Philippine Sea.

But such speeches are part of the rules for Mondays when the “privilege hour” takes place.

Batangas Representative Hermilando Mandanas tried to extend the privilege hour but Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III, the presiding officer, said that a unanimous vote was needed. The privilege hour was eventually suspended, making way for the approval of bills and resolutions.

By the time Iloilo Representative Janette Garin tried to resume discussions on the RH Bill, Socrates raised the issue of his pending motion back in November 26 when the substitute bill was accepted.

He was eventually given five minutes, after much debates with House majority leader Neptali Gonzales II, for his personal and collective privilege in which he denied delaying discussions on the RH Bill. “We want to prevent that national calamity from happening!”

When he was told by Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III that his time was up, Socrates tried for an extension to speak against the acceptance of the substitute version of the RH Bill last November 26.

Another roll call resulted in an attendance of 187 warm bodies on the floor. Gonzales said that 38 votes were needed to push through with nominal voting to allow Socrates to rise on a question of personal and collective privilege for 10 minutes. Thirty-nine voted to allow nominal voting for the Palawan lawmaker his 10 minutes.

Socrates lost his appeal after the nominal voting conducted resulted in 91 affirmative, 99 negative and 1 abstention votes.

However, Cebu Representative Pablo Garcia questioned the acceptance of the substitute bill saying it could only be done through a unanimous vote.

Gonzales, who made the amendment by substitution, said that the process was “allowed and has happened in the past”, further citing rules which applied to how the substitute version was accepted.

Aquino has earlier called on lawmakers to put the RH Bill to a vote within the week to end the divisiveness that the measure has caused.

Pro-RH lawmakers want HB 4244 passed before they go on Christmas break by December 22.

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  • jinx

    “We want to prevent that national calamity from happening.” Cong. Kapalmuks Socrates

    From where I’m at, I can smell FEAR among the anti-RH lawmakers.  That’s why they make a lot of excuses just to delay the voting.  The irony of it however is that,we are in a calamity as long as politicians like Socrates and Rodriquez hold the Filipinos hostage on the fate of the RH bill.

    • John

      I think pro-RH are the ones who are afraid. Why don’t they want RH voting near the elections? Because people will remember that they voted for it and it will be bad for these politicos. That’s why they want to vote on it now…

      • Ganymede

        Please check on how many maternal deaths per day happening in our country just because of the lack of maternal care. That is why time is critical on passing the RH Bill. We cannot afford to tackle it again on the next Congress after the elections. Lives are lost and these Anti-RH lawmakers are delaying the bill. How insensitive!

      • jinx

        Ano kamo, pag malapit na eleksyon? Hello?! Sa history ng ating bansa walang matinong botohan nagaganap bago eleksyon dahil ang mga trapo, kanya-kanya ng pangungampanya na yan.  Noon pa dapat ginanap ang botohan kaso itong mga anti_RH lawmakers sadyang dini-delay, tulad yang si kapalmuks Socrates at Rodriguez. Kung talagang matapang kayo, ituloy nyo ang botohan, at pagdating ng campaign period, maglagay kayo ng higanteng billboard na nagsasabing kinontra niyo ang RH bill.  Kaso sadyang walang mga bayag ang mga tongresistang ito.  Gusto lagi debate kahit tapos na. Nakakasawa na panoorin magsasalita at magsisinungaling mga buwaya sa Kongreso tulad ni Socrates at Rodriguez.

  • UPLB-2008-3****

    Down with the unnecessary meddling of the roman catholic church!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

  • yvonne

     RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD aka REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL: FOR TAGALOGS ONLY!!! (to exterminate the population of selfish, greedy, corrupt and discriminatory people)


  • indiosbravos2002

    A leader should always stand on what he thinks is right regrdless of the consequences. That is why he was voted in a public position because people were convinced he will do what is best for the country, the filipino people and his district. Now, being afraid of a nonexistent catholic bloc vote shows his true selfish loyalty… to himself and his politicsl survival.

    • Hein S

      Not like GMA who hid under the robes of the MITSUBISHOPS.

  • Facile1

    For those of you who overstate the power of the Roman Catholic Church, please note the following:

    1. The Catholic Church is NOT against Family Planning. The Catholic Church is against the use of oral contraceptives in Family Planning and the use of State power to control population growth.

    2. The Catholic Church, unlike Islam, does not advocate the violent overthrow of governments. Therefore, its only recourse is to work within the existing Constitution and the Bill of Rights that may limit the abuse of State power. Not all countries have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. The Philippines is one of the lucky few.

    3. When Marcos set aside the 1936 Constitution, he eliminated all legitimate avenues for non-violent dissent. Marcos was able to promulgate presidential decrees without challenge from anyone — including the Roman Catholic Church. There can be NO Catholic vote if there can be NO FREE ELECTIONS.

    4. Lastly, though one might argue that the Catholic Religious are under the constraint of their vows of obedience to vote according to the wishes of their Superiors, this is definitely FALSE for the Catholic laity.

    Regardless of the position of the Roman Catholic Church on the RH Bill, exposing HEALTHY Filipino women (albeit the “poorest of the poor”) to the UNNECESSARY risks (however small) of oral contraceptives when free, safer and healthier alternatives exist shows CONTEMPT.

    The RH Bill has only contempt for the Filipino woman.
    The RH Bill has only contempt for her social status.
    The RH Bill has only contempt for her religious convictions.
    The RH Bill has only contempt for her constitutional rights.

    BUT most of all, the RH Bill has only contempt for her healthy female body.

    Vote ‘NO’ to this contemptuous — and contemptible — RH bill.

  • Hein S

    Do not be afraid of the catholic IMAMS.
    PH is not a Theocracy like IRAN.

    Majority Rules here.

    • John

      Uhmm, that’s called disrespect to both Catholics AND Muslims. Do you really need to hate and disrespect people just to get your point across?

  • John

    RH Bill not really popular in the country side BUT congressmen will get flak if they vote for it…

  • Edgardo Mendoza


  • Edgardo Mendoza


    • felipe

      are u still surprise why there so many “men of the cloth”, guilty of pedophilia, bearing children,  queridas, sexual abuse, etc. etc…because “reproduction is more fun in thePhilippines” (from the mouth of the cardinal) !!!!!!

  • disqusted0fu

    delays, delays, and more delays. when are they ever going to move on from this and start working on current issues the country is facing now?! laws are not properly enforced and properly followed in this government anyway.

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