Anti-RH solons win round 1 in House
MANILA, Philippines - Critics of the Reproductive Health bill (RH bill) have won Round 1 of the battle in the House of Representatives. On Tuesday, August 14, they successfully blocked the House plenary from tackling the controversial measure.
The legislative chamber was scheduled to begin the period of amendments for the RH bill Tuesday, August 14.
Palawan Rep Victorino Dennis Socrates took the podium to question the "integrity" of the House after the rush it took to terminate the period of debates on the RH bill last week, August 6.
Socrates even linked the recent flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces to the August 6 vote. He also said "Ondoy" happened in 2009 after the 14th Congress advanced the RH bill in plenary.
"I was mentioning Ms Baby Nebrida, who is a known visionary. A month before Ondoy happened, she said kapag umusad ang RH bill may mangyayaring sakuna. Nangyari nga ang sakuna. RH bill advanced on August 6 - with some stealth. On the same evening, we were hit by rains that flooded the country," Socrates explained to reporters after the session was adjourned on Tuesday.
Socrates vowed "to fight the bill every step of the way."
Aside from Socrates, Lanao Del Sur Rep Mohammed Hussein Pangandaman and Cagayan De Oro Rep Rufus Rodriguez also delivered privilege speeches against the bill.
The House leadership had no choice but to entertain the privilege speeches. Under its rules on motions, privilege speeches take precedence over the discussion of bills.
The House leadership tried to stop Socrates so lawmakers can proceed to the period of amendments. But in the end, the House was forced to adjourn when Socrates questioned the quorum.
A total of 194 district and party-list representatives were present at the start of the session but many of them left after the roll was called.
RH bill principal author Albay Rep Edcel Lagman said Tuesday was a temporary victory for critics of the RH bill.
"Delay is a very temporary victory because that will only temporize the passage of the measure. I think by tomorrow, we will have to try again more particularly on the part of leadershp to muster a quorum, which we did today. And take the initiative of putting the bill in the priority so much so that when a quorum is established, the bill will be called," Lagman said. - Rappler.com