Latest Stories

Bishops will be watching RH vote


Catholic bishops are expected to troop to Congress on Wednesday to watch how the lawmakers will vote on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill and to show their support for those who stand by the Church’s position.

According to Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (CBCP-ECFL), the presence of the prelates in the gallery would be an expression of support for lawmakers who would vote against the family planning measure in line with Church dictates.

On the other hand, President Aquino had earlier called on his Congress allies to finally vote on the measure, which he has endorsed.

All the lawmakers are now in the “pressure cooker” because of the interest groups watching and trying to influence the outcome of the measure in the House, said Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, a coauthor of the bill.

These include Catholic Church officials and church groups, as well as Malacañang, Baguilat said, adding that both sides were expected to mount their own pressure tactics to attain victory.

Nonetheless, Baguilat urged his colleagues to take a stand and not shy away from the voting.

He said it would do the lawmakers good to listen to their constituents when they decide on how to vote on the bill. And as a coauthor of the measure, he believes they are on his side.

The majority of the population, particularly women, are in favor of family planning, surveys have shown.

Listen to the people

“It’s best to listen to what the people, the final arbiter in this debate, have to say,” he said. With this, no lawmaker should be afraid to take a stand on the bill, he added.

The RH bill mandates age-appropriate sex education in the schools and the promotion of birth control methods—both natural and artificial—by government health center. The measure is in line with women’s rights to information and access to reproductive technology. It also supports a more vigorous campaign against the spread of HIV-AIDS.

The Catholic Church, which is against artificial contraception, launched an all-out campaign against the passage of the bill.

In an interview with reporters, Castro said anti-RH legislators had urged the attendance of the bishops at the House gallery, saying they “need moral, spiritual [support] and the physical presence of the bishops.”

Prayer the main thing

“But the main reason the bishops will be there is to pray for the lawmakers,” the priest said.

While he couldn’t say how many bishops were expected to observe the crucial voting, Castro said he was hopeful there would be more of them on Wednesday than at previous deliberations on RH measure.

Before proceeding to Congress on Wednesday, anti-RH supporters, together with the bishops, will attend a noon mass at St. Peter’s Church on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, Castro said.

“After, there will be a procession all the way to the Batasan. If all of us cannot be accommodated inside then we’ll just stay outside to pray,” Castro said.

Many other religious groups in the Philippines, however, are not against the measure.

Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II said the important thing was to get the lawmakers to attend the session and vote.

The House had been beset by attendance problems since November. But following the meeting with President Aquino last Monday, a quorum has usually been attained.

Gonzales said he hoped the lawmakers would participate in the actual voting and not stay away to avoid having to take a stand.

“I prefer that all members cast their vote one way or the other, or even abstain if that is their position, rather than not attend sessions or skip the actual voting round,” he said in a text message.


Each side has numbers

Supporters and opponents of the controversial bill both say they have the numbers on their side.

The reproductive health bill only got moving again last week with the opening of the period of amendments after a personal call from President Aquino to finally put the measure to a vote.

Since August the bill has not moved forward because of quorum problems and because opponents of the bill had been making lengthy privilege speeches.

The period of amendments has been moving relatively slowly as well because opponents have introduced nearly line by line amendments to the measure.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life , CBCP-ECFL , Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat , Reproductive Health Bill , RH bill , RH vote

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Lacson eyes P106-B ‘Yolanda’ rehab masterplan
  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Marketplace