CBCP exec nixes move to end RH debates

Posted at 08/06/2012 4:59 PM | Updated as of 08/06/2012 4:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A representative of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the government is set to lose its moral credibility “beyond repair” following a decision to end Monday night the debates on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

Father Melvin Castro, Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family Life of the CBCP, said: “They are breaking their own rules. Pinupwersa talaga today.
Representative democracy dies today if they do that.”

After a caucus in Malacañang, allies of President Benigno Aquino III will push today to terminate the debates on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, which have stalled its passage.

Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales Jr. told reporters this was arrived in a caucus in the Palace by Liberal Party leaders.

The lower House will not yet vote to pass the bill into law but only end the debates. The development today, however, is a major move to push the controversial bill.

Castro said Aquino would be “hard-hearted” if the bill is passed.

“God have mercy on him, on us. We will not take this simply. 2013 is just around the corner. The bishops will not think twice. It's railroading. They're destroying the very essence of democracy,” he said.

CPCP secretary-general Msgr. Joselito Asis earlier said the CBCP will be more aggressive in influencing its faithful to vote only for “pro-life” candidates.

He said the members of the CBCP will issue pastoral letters endorsing the candidates, specifically those seeking Congressional seats. These are on top of the issuance of a catechesis on elections, which will serve as a checklist for voters in assessing the moral ascendancy of candidates to handle government posts.

Castro likewise warned the lawmakers not to push the Church against the wall.

“We are faithful and voters too. They cannot blame us if we vote according to how they vote. We will not dictate on the voters but the bishops can always issue stronger guidelines given the circumstances,” he said.