'Gapangan', other tactics could delay RH vote

Posted at 12/17/2012 10:33 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada on Monday said anti-RH lawmakers in the House of Representatives could resort to several tactics to further delay the third and final voting on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill.

Speaking to ANC, Tañada said some congressmen could question the need for President Aquino's decision to certify the bill as urgent. He said that historically, lawmakers usually do not question the President's decision to certify any bill before Congress.

"We will see a little skirmish there and we will see what will happen if it will take a vote to determine that. Based on past experience in Congress, usually certification by the President is never anymore questioned," he said.
 
The certification is expected to boost the chances of the passage of Senate version of the RH bill. With the certification, senators can immediately vote on the bill on third and final reading after closing the period of second reading.

Tañada said some anti-RH lawmakers might also ask for nominal voting on the measure, which would allow them  to approach their colleagues and convince them not to vote for the measure. "That would give them time to do their homework or convincing. Gapangan," he said.

Anti-RH lawmakers and some Catholic groups earlier said they would focus on more than 60 congressmen who were either absent or abstained in the last voting.

The deputy speaker, however, said there is an adjustment on the rules of the 15th Congress for third and final voting.

Under the rules of the 15th Congress, the congressmen must first vote on the measure on final reading and the votes tallied immediately. It is only after the final vote is determined that the congressmen will be allowed to explain their vote.

Tañada said he is confident the final vote will not last to the wee hours of the morning, similar to what happened to last week's vote on the same measure on second reading.

"We expect it to be finished by 8-9 this evening," he said.

He also said he expects pro-RH lawmakers to win the vote despite the close vote last week.

"I think we need the bill. I respect the position of the antis and I think history will judge us in the next decade if this bill has helped us or not," he said.