‘RH bill will be voted on when lawmakers tire of debates’ | Inquirer News

‘RH bill will be voted on when lawmakers tire of debates’

By: - Reporter / @cynchdbINQ
/ 12:04 AM July 24, 2011

The leadership of the House of Representatives is just waiting for its members to get tired of the plenary debate on the controversial reproductive health bill before finally putting it to a vote, according to Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II.

“We will wait for the saturation point. It’s really a feel of the plenary. At a certain point, you can only discuss something for so long. There will come a point in time when we will have to terminate (the debates), hopefully, before the year ends,” Gonzales said when asked about the status of the controversial measure.

Gonzales said it would be a long process as only three of the 33 anti-RH bill lawmakers who had registered to interpellate bill proponents had finished doing so before the close of the first session.


When Congress resumes for its second session on Monday, Gonzales said he expects the legislative mill to grind even slower.


“There will be attempts to tone down or eliminate some of the provisions, that’s why it’s taking so long, but we’ll resume the discussions when we return,” he said.

Gonzales said he expected the Catholic bishops and religious groups to intensify their opposition to the bill and express their sentiments to the representatives as well as their parishioners.

House Bill 4244 or “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011,” authored by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman now has a total of 96 co-authors.

Lagman said he was hoping the debates would not extend to next year and vowed to work for its passage because “this is our commitment.”

The bill has proved to be highly divisive, with experts, academics, religious institutions and major political figures both supporting and opposing it, often criticizing the government and each other in the process.

At one point, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines threatened to excommunicate the bill’s main proponent in the executive branch, no less than President Aquino.


So far, Mr. Aquino has stood his ground.

Several non-Catholic religious groups have endorsed the bill, among them the Iglesia Ni Cristo, some Muslim groups and protestant Christian groups.

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TAGS: Government, House of Representatives, RH bill, Social Issues

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