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6 RH bill co-authors withdraw support a week before crucial vote

July 30, 2012 6:39pm
Six co-authors of the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill have expressed the intention to withdraw their support for the measure’s passage, the leader of the House opposition said Monday.

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said he and five other opposition lawmakers no longer wish to be co-authors of the RH bill a week before the lower chamber is set to put the measure to a crucial vote.

“Nagsabi sila sa meeting kaninang umaga na they are withdrawing support… We will just not vote, abstain during the voting,” he said in a phone interview.

Suarez declined to comment on whether the Catholic Church’s opposition to the RH bill affected some of his colleagues' stand on the measure.

The five other opposition House members who chose to withdraw their support for the RH bill were:

- Camarines Norte Rep. Elmer Panotes,

- Lanao del Sur Rep. Mohammad Hussein Pangandaman,

- AA-KASOSYO party-list Rep. Nasser Pangandaman,

- ALE party-list Rep. Catalina Bagasina, and

- Siquijor Rep. Orlando Fua.

None of the lawmakers was immediately available to explain their decision to withdraw support for the bill.

‘Thorough discussion’

The RH bill, formally known as House Bill 4244, has been undergoing debates at the House for more than a year now.

The measure, which as been identified by President Benigno Aquino III as a priority legislation, endorses the use of both natural and artificial modes of family planning.

The bill is being opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, which promotes only natural family planning methods.

Last week, the House leadership decided to put it to a vote on August 7 whether to continue plenary debates on the measure or not.

Suarez said that members of the minority believe that interpellations on the RH bill should continue.

“We think we should have a thorough discussion. Hindi naman ito bagay na puwedeng agad-agad ipasa. This is an issue of human rights,” he said. - BM, GMA News



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