A Catholic Church official on Monday called for nominal voting on the reproductive health (RH) bill in Congress for purposes of transparency as he urged the faithful to observe days of fasting and prayer to counter the impending passage of the measure.
Under nominal voting, each lawmaker will be allowed to explain his or her vote on the measure, which has been fiercely opposed by the Church.
Some Church leaders earlier warned pro-RH lawmakers of a backlash from Catholic voters in the May 2013 elections.
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said all believers were being called to discover the “weapons of prayer and fasting” in upholding the sanctity of life.
“Let us pray and fast in the following days so that our lawmakers will not pass the bill,” Reyes said ahead of a meeting Monday in Malacañang between President Aquino and lawmakers supporting the passage of the family planning measure.
Church officials were expecting Mr. Aquino to push for a vote on the measure at the meeting. Reyes said Congress was expected yesterday to discuss the “substitute” RH bill and vote on it on the same day.
The bishop said he was demanding a nominal voting on the measure because it was necessary to uphold transparency.
“Let us demand from our congressmen, especially the leaders of Congress, that the voting be nominal, whenever a vote on a part or on the whole of the substitute RH bill is taken,” said Reyes.
He said it was the right of the people to know how their respective congressmen would vote on this important bill.
In August, many bishops were disappointed when lawmakers concluded the debate on the RH bill through a “viva voce” following a meeting with the President.
Over Radio Veritas Monday, Kidapawan Bishop Romulo de la Cruz said he personally carried out a “text blast” to friends and constituents urging them to fervently pray and perform acts of sacrifice to enlighten lawmakers to take the stand of the Church on the RH bill.
“Last night (Sunday) I sent text messages to many people and today I am sending again encouraging them to pray and sacrifice so that our congressmen will vote according to the stand of the CBCP,” De la Cruz said.