With President Benigno Aquino III certifying the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill as urgent, at least two lawmakers opposing the measure have virtually given up the fight against the measure's passage.
“I voted no on the RH bill but I think it will be passed,” conceded LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty in a text message to GMA News Online. “I pray that we are wrong and they are right. I pray that this bill will uplift the life of the poor.”
Negros Oriental Rep. Pryde Henry Teves agreed: “Even if I'm against it, I know it will pass,” he said in a separate text message. “It's in the book of Revelations, the prostitute women in purple consorting with the beast. It's a sign of the times.”
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A bill certified urgent by the president bypasses the three-day rule between readings in the legislature, effectively fast-tracking its passage. Aquino bared that he has certified the RH bill urgent Thursday night.
The House of Representatives approved the RH bill on second reading Thursday morning with a 113-104 vote — the first time the chamber approved on second reading a bill on reproductive health in more than a decade.
With Aquino's certification, some senators at looking at the possibility of approving the RH bill on second and third reading on Monday. Lack of power Other critics of the bill at the House of Representatives, however, remained adamant.
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Zambales Rep Ma. Milagros Magsaysay, for one, said Aquino's certification only shows the lack of power of those in favor of the bill to convince other lawmakers.
“It shows na under the present situation, hindi kaya ng power brokers ng pro-RH to convince the congressmen to vote their way as manifested last Wednesday. Even the presence of Cabinet secretaries didn't sway the no votes to a large extent. Let's see what happens,” she said.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said he hopes the certification is not meant to pressure other lawmakers who have yet to decide on the matter to vote for the measure.
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At least 64 lawmakers were either absent from the voting or chose not to vote despite their presence in the plenary last Wednesday to early Thursday.
Their number is more than enough to reverse the result of the second reading voting. The voting for the third and final reading of the bill at the House of Representatives is expected next week.
“It really depends on the congressman or congresswoman's personal conviction,” Nograles said. “Of course, we still trust the President's word that this will remain to be a conscience vote, without any pressure from the Palace or the party or the leadership.”
“At the end of the day, we all vote based on personal beliefs and experiences on what we think is good for our country and our people,” he added. — KBK, GMA News
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