Bishops to watch solons cast votes on RH bill
MANILA, Philippines — The scheduled vote on the controversial Reproductive Health bill - House Bill 4244 - on Wednesday, December 12, happens to fall on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the unborn. Catholic bishops said they will be present in the plenary to watch the solons cast their votes.
The date was chosen by the critics of of the measure themselves. “We, anti-RH lawmakers, are ready for a vote and we want to do it on Wednesday but we will still pursue our amendments line by line, page by page," Cagayan De Oro Rep Rufus Rodriguez earlier said.
Fr Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines's Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL), said the anti-RH solons asked for their presence.
“It was a sentiment presented by the anti-RH legislators because they said they need moral, spiritual, and physical presence of the bishops,” the CBCP web site quoted Castro.
CBCP-ECFL head Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes also called on the faithful to block the bill. “Let us come together to offer continued prayers for the non-passage of the RH bill,” Reyes said.
Reyes also attended last week's plenary proceedings on the RH bill.
Before trooping to Congress, the bishops will first hold a Mass at the nearby St. Peter Parish Church along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. Other critics of the RH bill from the Catholic Church will also gather outside Congress to hold a prayer rally.
RH bill sponsor Albay Rep Edcel Lagman said the bishops are welcome in the House of Representatives but cautioned them against "demeaning congresspersons by treating them like docile sheep to be watched and shepherded."
"If the veiled purpose of the Bishop's presence in the gallery is to sow fear or employ intimidation against legislators, they will not succeed because fear is destitute of reason and must be resisted with conviction, and not be allowed to deter or delay legislation," added Lagman. - Rappler.com