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Pangasinan lawmaker uses Twitter to let off steam over RH bill delays

/ 03:13 PM November 21, 2012

Pangasinan Representative Kimi Cojuangco. Congress,gov photo

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker who vowed to wage war against those delaying the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill took to Twitter on Wednesday, saying that maybe the House leadership has chosen not to take it up during session.

Pangasinan Representative Kimi Cojuangco, who earlier this month said she was prepared to go to war over House Bill 4244, asked why priests and nuns hardly went to observe their sessions. “Do they know something I don’t?”

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The RH Bill was not included in the agenda, despite reaching a quorum Monday and by Tuesday there were, again, too few warm bodies at the plenary to form a quorum. The House of Representatives has been plagued by lack of quorum for three sessions straight before lawmakers mustered enough numbers on Monday.

But Bagong Henerasyon Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy told reporters on Wednesday that there was still no word on when the House leadership would hold a caucus to iron out contentious issues on the RH Bill.

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Delays in tackling the RH Bill despite the introduction of a new version with amendments crafted as compromise with its staunch critics have rankled Cojuangco who said that her “heart bleeds for the downtrodden that have to wait.”

In a reply to former lawmaker Teddy Boy Locsin, she said, “I am tired of playing ball. Too much BS in Congress!”

“I am told just keep quiet and play ball…I am told you might sabotage bill…OK so am I supposed [to] be silent while [you] dribble till eternity?” asked Cojuangco.

She pointed to House majority floor leader Neptali Gonzales II as the only person who knows what was to become of HB 4244. “So for those that keep asking me when are we going to take up amendments #RHBILL, I don’t know! Only MFL knows!”

“Kapag gusto ni Speaker may quorum…kapag ayaw, wala! (When the Speaker wants something there’s a quorum…if he doesn’t like it there’s no quorum). So MFL I will keep on asking WHEN are we going to take up the RH Bill?” lambasted the Pangasinan legislator, adding that Gonzales might not be keen on tackling the RH Bill.

“I had a realization that maybe you just don’t want to take up #RHBill,” she said.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. merely brushed off the criticisms coming from Cojuangco.

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“Of course when there’s no quorum we’re the first to be criticized,” the Speaker said.

He however denied that the House leadership was deliberately delaying developments on the RH Bill.

Gonzales also hit back, saying, “I don’t know what she had for breakfast today.”

“In fairness to all the Catholic priests, monsignors, and bishops in Mandaluyong, they never tried to influence me,” said the majority leader. “Besides, when Cardinal Rosales became the Archbishop of Manila, he chose to live in Manila and not in Mandaluyong.”

His advice for Cojuangco: “It would be wise for her, for the sake of RH advocates, to keep her mouth shut.”

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