Arroyo arrives in Congress to vote against RH bill
MANILA, Philippines—Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is out on bail for the charge of electoral sabotage, arrived at the House of Representatives in time for the voting on the debates of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill on Monday. Arroyo is a staunch opposer of the bill.
Wearing her neck brace, a deep red jacket with matching skirt, the lawmaker took her seat at the session hall.
HB 4244’s proponent, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, said that the decision to vote on Monday instead of pushing through with the previously scheduled voting on Tuesday came after President Benigno Aquino III rallied lawmakers during a meeting the same daw to terminate the debates on the much-debated proposed measure.
He said that the President suggested that members of the House of Representatives cast a “conscience vote” on HB 4244, telling them to be brave enough to make a stand on the issue for their constituents, not give in to intimidation, and to address backlogs in the health and education systems.
Lagman said that Aquino also warned them that ignoring the issue would result in “inordinately large families” and urged them to support the idea of “children by choice, not by chance.”
CIBAC Partylist Representative Sherwin Tugna clarified that Aquino’s advice was no marching order but a suggestion for “conscience votes”.
He said that some 180 lawmakers were present during the meeting with the chief executive in Malacañang.
The party-list lawmaker estimated that some 200 members of the House of Representatives will be voting for the termination of the debates on HB 4244.
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