Monday, August 06, 2012

House ends RH bill debates in voice vote


After more than a year of exchanging arguments on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill, the House of Representatives voted on Monday to end the period of debates on the measure.

The lower chamber decided to end interpellations on House Bill 4244 through a voice vote Monday afternoon. There were 231 members present during the session.

Before the debates were terminated, several lawmakers tried to block the voting. Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez questioned why the House is “accelerating” the passage of the RH bill.

“The RH bill is anti-life. Anybody who says that this is pro-life is telling a lie. This is an assault on our faith,” Rodriguez said at the plenary.

Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas also objected to the motion to terminate the debates, calling it “out of order” since the voting was originally scheduled on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

The House was supposed to take the crucial vote Tuesday afternoon, but the lower chamber’s leadership decided to do it a day earlier after a meeting with President Benigno Aquino III, whose administration listed the proposed measure as one of its priority bills.

Even before the plenary vote, 180 pro- and anti-RH lawmakers reached a consensus – after meeting with the President – to terminate the period of interpellation.

The RH bill endorses the use of both natural and artificial modes of family planning. It is being opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, which promotes only natural family planning methods.

The bill will now undergo the period of amendments. Under House rules, lawmakers are given the chance to introduce and challenge amendments to a proposed legislation during this period.


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