Cruz on RH bill fight: 'Palace wins'

Posted at 12/18/2012 9:43 AM | Updated as of 12/18/2012 3:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A Catholic prelate on Monday said he has seen the end of the fight against the reproductive health bill even if some groups are not yet giving up on their efforts to stop the measure from becoming a law.

"Kung ako ang tatanungin - pero siyempre nga hoping against hope, may nagsasabi na baka may remedyo pa - para sa akin, it is accomplished, tapos na ito," Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz told dzMM.

"Hindi naman sa sumusuko, pero kailangang tanggapin na, ngayon pa lamang, na talagang nagwagi ang Malacañang. Anong gagawin natin? Sila ang may kapangyarihan, nasa kanila ang power of the purse. Wala naman po sa lehislatura ang power of the purse," he added.

Cruz said he has been hearing news that some Catholic organizations are gearing up to question before the Supreme Court the divisive measure, whose Senate and House versions passed final reading on Monday.

However, the prelate is casting doubt whether the anti-RH groups will be able to turn the tide, noting the current composition and leadership of the SC.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, co-sponsor of the bill in the House, said he expects for some groups to seek help from the high court. He, however, assured that the bill did not violate any provision of the Constitution.

"'Iyun talaga ang gagawin niyan. Lahat naman ng controversial measures dito sa atin ay dinadala sa Korte Suprema as the final arbiter of Constitutional questions. Kami naman ay handa," he told dzMM in a separate interview.

"Itong panukalang batas na ito ay pinag-aralan nating mabuti. Ito ay constitutional, walang nilalabag na provision sa Constitution at ito ay susog lamang sa mandato sa Saligang Batas."

The Senate on Monday approved the bill on final reading, 13-8. The House passed it by a landslide vote of 133-79, with 7 abstentions.

The two legislative chambers can now meet to consolidate and ratify their versions of the bill.

President Benigno Aquino III hopes to sign the bill into law before the year ends.