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Antis scramble to defeat RH bill

Students from Catholic schools, religious, civic groups, seminarians and clergies from the Diocese of Lucena in Lucena City marched from the Saint Ferdinand Cathedral to the Quezon Convention Center Saturday to protest against the controversial reproductive health bill. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Groups seeking a defeat of the reproductive health bill are burning the lines to help ensure that the measure does not get past the second reading during the crucial vote set on Wednesday.

Though confident of his group’s numbers, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said Saturday that getting the support of some 30 “undecided” congressmen remained a significant effort in the campaign against the RH bill.

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“There are still around 30 congressmen who have not made up their mind so we hope to convince them (to vote against the bill),” he told the Inquirer by phone.

Rodriguez earlier insisted that at least 136 House members had already committed to vote against the measure.

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But Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, principal author of House Bill No. 4244, belittled the claim, saying “neither braggadocio nor dilatory antics win votes.”

“The purported winning count against the RH bill boasted by an anti-RH legislator is baseless extrapolation akin to imagined hazards of voluntary contraception,” he said in a statement. “Superiority in reason coupled with ascendancy in numbers certainly wins the votes.”

Lagman’s optimism was apparently fuelled by the defeat of key changes introduced by the anti-RH bloc on HB 4244 during the last three days of individual amendments.

“The voting pattern rejecting all ‘killer’ amendments to the RH bill introduced by critics is irreversible as succeeding nominal voting registered wider margins of victory for the RH advocates confirming the results of the viva voce voting,” he said.

Rodriguez said anti-abortion groups were set to attend a noon Mass at the St. Peter’s Parish church on Commonwealth Avenue, before marching to the Batasan complex in time for the House session on Wednesday.

He said supporters and opponents of the RH bill in the House had agreed to put the measure to a vote on second reading on Dec. 12. He said the date was particularly meaningful for the anti-RH bloc because it is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn.

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TAGS: congress vote, News, Reproductive Health Bill, second reading
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