CATHOLIC CHURCH leaders and their allies bewailed the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill at the Lower House and its approval on second reading at the Senate, but said they will fight on.
“I’m not surprised because the president has been using money, power, and influence so the bill will become a law,” Msgr. Esteban Binghay of the Cebu Archdiocese told Cebu Daily News.
He said the Catholic Church will continue to preach against the RH bill since some of its provisions are contrary to morals.
Binghay said the passage of the RH bill can be an occasion for more people to become martyrs by denouncing it.
“We can’t force their (people) freedom. (But) we can guide their freedom. We did our best so the bill won’t be passed but since we failed we now have to deal with people and form their conscience,” Binghay said.
Dr. Ligaya Acosta, executive director of Human Life International (HLI), expressed disappointment over congressional support of the RH bill which is nearing approval.
“This is really the saddest Christmas we’ll ever have. All Filipinos have to know the the president is the worst dictator ever. This is not the end. This is not over. Certainly, we will do something. I can’t make it public now,” she said.
Acosta said pro-life advocates are proud of legislators who voted against the RH bill.
She said President Benigno Aquino III dangled P280 million as future pork barrel for each congressman who votes for the bill.
Despite their uphill battle ahead, pro-life advocates like Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, HLI director, said they hope to remove some questionable provisions of the RH bill before the bicameral committee and plan to go to the Supreme Court to stop implementation of the RH bill.
Pro-life advocates in Cebu held a prayer vigil at the Basilica del Sto. Nino in downtown Cebu City last Monday afternoon.
If the bill is enacted into law, Bullecer said they may call for acts of civil disobedience.
“I hope we will not come to this point,” he said.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma Archbishop Palma is set to arrive today from Vietnam where he is attending a conference.
Palma earlier said the Catholic Church will continue fighting against the RH the bill.
“If it passes, it’s not the end of the world. There will be other ways to challenge the way to live a Christian life. We will act on that,” he said.
The Church vehemently opposes artificial family planning methods that includes among others, pills, injectables, condoms, ligation, and vasectomy.
After third reading in the Senate, a bicameral Senate-House conference committee will finalize the RH bill or the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011 for submission to the Palace.
Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district, in a text message, said he “was not absent” in Monday’s third and final reading for the RH bill as reported in several newspapers.
He said he abstained from voting on the measure.
Osmeña earlier said he favors the RH bill but won’t vote for it in deference to his close political ally and former congressman Raul del Mar, who is against the RH bill like his daughter Rep. Rachel del Mar of Cebu City’s north district who voted against the bill.
Among the few Cebuano officials who supported the RH bill was Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon, a former urban poor leader with ties to the partylist group Akbayan.
Dizon said the passage of the RH bill “will immeasurably advance the rights and welfare of the women.”Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol and Doris C. Bongcac