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Anti-RH solon loses temper, shouts during argument over head count

A lawmaker opposing the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill lost his temper after questioning a head count during the plenary session on Tuesday afternoon.   Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez shouted at members of the House secretariat, whom he accused of miscounting the number of lawmakers inside the plenary hall.   The House secretariat declared that there were 155 lawmakers present after a roll call during Tuesday’s session. Rodriguez, however, claimed that there were only 111 House members on the floor, based on his personal count.   “They can never fool us by saying that there is quorum. Based on perception alone, you can say there were no warm bodies on the floor,” Rodriguez told reporters after the incident.   He added that the supposed “misinformation” was a ploy by pro-RH lawmakers to start tackling amendments to the RH bill on the floor.   “We will rise everyday here if there is no quorum… It is the responsibility of the pro-RH side to ensure there are enough warm bodies here,” he said.   However, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, who was forced to ask for the adjournment of the session after Rodriguez started shouting, said that the RH bill was never on the lower chamber’s agenda on Tuesday. Gonzales heads the House committee on rules, which sets the agenda of each session.   The House leader said that the lower chamber was supposed to only tackle local bills and measures of national importance, particularly the Kasambahay Bill.   “Wala naman na-accomplish iyong nagawa niya kung ma-block lang iyong ibang bills,” Gonzales said in a separate interview.   “Ang masama pa rin, he ascribed na nandaya ang secretariat. Kung gusto niyang siya ang magbilang, e di mag-resign siya as congressman at mag-member siya ng secretariat,” he added.   The RH bill, one of President Benigno Aquino III’s priority bills, promotes the use of both natural and artificial methods of family planning. It is being opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, which promotes only natural forms of family planning.   The measure has yet to hurdle the second reading in both chambers of Congress. — BM/HS, GMA News