MANILA, Philippines — The fight isn’t over yet, so said Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile just hours after the Senate passed the Reproductive Health bill on third and final reading Monday night.
Enrile, speaking at a Christmas party with Senate media, said that many of them were almost in tears after losing the fight against the bill uncertain of the country’s future once the biil is signed into law.
“Itong pangyayari ngayong gabi e palagay ko hidi ito ang hangganan ng paligasahan dito sa issue na ito [I think what happened this evening is not the end of the contest on this issue],” he said.
“Meron pang third stage yan. Yung bicameral conference committee kaya abangan,” he said.
In the bicameral conference committee, a panel from both the Senate and the House of Representatives sits together to iron out the differences in their respective versions of the measure.
After reconciling the differences, the panels will return to their respective chambers and submit the bicameral for ratification before the bill is transmitted to President Benigno Aquino III for signature.
When the Senate voted to ratify the sin tax bill, the bicameral report on it almost lost in the chamber with a vote of 10-9.
Enrile noted the vote for the RH bill was close with 13 senators voting for it and eight against it.
Two of 23 senators were absent and they were Senator Sergio Osmena III, who has expressed his support for RH bill, and Senator Lito Lapid.
Enrile though acknowledged that the 133-79-7 vote on RH bill in the House might be difficult to reverse.