Garcia: RH bill shouldn't 'tempt' people

Posted at 12/05/12 2:03 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia on Tuesday continued his efforts against the reproductive health (RH) bill, as he proposed amendments to mold it to his liking.

Under an amendment that he wanted to be inserted in the measure, the government will be barred from adopting a policy that will "tempt" people into violating a tenet or teaching of their religion.

He then sought a nominal vote.

Garcia's proposal was shot down, with 100 voting against it and 74 others agreeing with the Cebu lawmaker.

He then introduced another proposed amendment, which requires the state to use only reproductive healthcare services that "do not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum in the uterus, or endager in any manner the life of the unborn from conception."

The lower House also rejected the proposal.

Garcia later expressed doubts if there are enough lawmakers present to conduct a vote on the bill.

Other ant-RH bill lawmakers Rufus Rodriguez and Mitos Magsaysay also joined the fray, with the lower House rejecting a proposed Rodriguez amendment.

Magsaysay then questioned the result of nominal voting, claiming that they did not have a quorum.

The House of Representatives later suspended their session for the night.

RH bill author Rep. Edcel Lagman left the session hall with a smile on his lips, telling reporters that "bukas, pagbobotohan na iyan."

This, despite the fact that after 2 days in the thick of the period of amendments, the lower House is still on page 2 of the 27-page RH bill.

Long after pro-RH lawmakers left the hall, anti-RH congressmen remained and talked to priests and supporters, most of whom were wearing red.

The crowd suddenly broke into prayer with anti-RH congressmen, their voices echoing through the hall that was already empty, save for them.

The anti-RH groups then marched out of session hall chanting "RH bill, ibasura!" and "bukas ulit!"

Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of the Archdiocese of Lipa was among those who stayed.

He said the insistence of pro-RH congressmen to fast-track proceedings is an "insult." - report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News