Bishop: Palace 'corruption' behind RH bill nod

Posted at 12/17/12 11:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The reproductive health (RH) bill would have not been approved by the House were it not for Palace pressure, a Catholic bishop said Monday.

Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines' (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said Malacañang had a direct hand in the measure.

“What is very sad also is that Malacañang has pressured our congressmen to vote yes. Had Malacañang not pressured our congressmen in second reading, we would have won, majority is for the truth,” Reyes said.

He accused the Palace of committing "corruption" by allegedly "pressuring congressmen and dangling pork barrel in exchange for their vote."

“Maraming nagbaliktaran nung tinawag ng Liberal Party ang mga members… pati yung hindi Liberal Party. Ang malungkot ay mismong executive department nagiging corruptor ng ating congressmen by promising government projects, political favors… and that pork barrel funds will not be given if they don’t vote for the RH bill,” he said.

Reyes said the CBCP will continue to campaign against the use of contraceptives.

"For those who voted yes, we do not make a hate campaign,” he said.

The Senate and the lower House approved RH bill on 3rd and final reading Monday.

The lower House version of the bill was first approved 133-79, with 7 abstentions.

The Senate, meanwhile, approved it 13-8, on 2nd and 3rd reading.

Msgr. Clemente Ignacio, rector of the Shrine of Black Nazarene in Quiapo, said those against the measure should be magnanimous in defeat.

"Let us not judge those who have voted for the RH bill. They have their own convictions [and] own views on the issue. We do not know where they are coming from. It only shows that there are many things the Church has to do with regards to this. They are our brothers and sisters even if they are on the other side," Ignacio said.