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House vote on RH bill stalled by anti-RH solon’s filibustering

December 3, 2012 9:05pm
The House of Representatives on Monday night spent more than an hour deciding on a lawmaker’s request to speak about procedural matters, forestalling a vote on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
 
Palawan Rep. Dennis Socrates, a critic of the RH bill, questioned the adoption of the new version of the proposed measure, which targets the poorest families in the country.
 
“We are not trying to unduly delay the passage of House Bill 4244. We want to prevent a national calamity from happening. We are just using all parliamentary procedures that are available,” Socrates said during his speech.
 
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada, who was presiding over the session, ruled Socrates out of order, saying the chamber had already decided on the matter last week. Tañada’s decision was affirmed by a majority voice vote after Socrates appealed the ruling.
 
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who also opposes the RH bill, however called for a nominal voting. This caused to House to deliberate Socrates’ appeal for almost an hour.
 
During the nominal voting, House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II appealed to his colleagues to settle the RH bill controversy once and for all.
 
“I would rather na pag-usapan kung ano ang maganda para sa ating taumbayan… Para malaman ng taumbayan na tayo’y hindi mga duwag,” Gonzales said.
 
Bukidnon Rep. Jose Maria Zubiri III, for his part, asked RH critics why they are so “afraid” to know the outcome of a vote on the bill.
 
“This issue has been debated to death. Any attempt to delay the RH bill is an attack on the democratic principles on which this House stands. Those of us who are pro-RH are not afraid of the outcome,” he said.
 
In the end, Socrates’ appeal was junked with finality after 99 lawmakers voted against it.
 
Earlier in the day, President Benigno Aquino III met with members of the House majority to call for a vote on the RH bill, which is one of the administration’s priority legislations.
 
The RH bill promotes both natural and artificial forms of family planning. It is being opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, which supports only natural birth control methods. Andreo C. Calonzo/KBK, GMA News
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