MANILA, Philippines - Catholic bishops held simultaneous masses on Wednesday, December 12, hours before the House of Representatives votes on the controversial Reproductive Health bill that they staunchly oppose.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle held a Mass at the Guadalupe Church at noon and exhorted Filipinos to protect and preserve human life, which Catholic bishops believe would be imperilled by the RH bill.
At the St Peter's Church in Quezon City, Bishop Ramon Arguelles called on lawmakers "not to sell [their] souls for P280-M." He added: "You are worth more than that. Your eternity is at stake." Arguelles was apparently referring to speculations that President Benigno Aquino III dangled pork barrel to members of the House of Representatives for them to vote in favor of the measure.
At least 21 lawmakers opposed to the RH bill were present at the mass in St Peter's. The church was packed with Catholics opposed to the bill. They intend to proceed to the Batasan Pambansa later to add pressure to lawmakers to vote against the measure.
Anti- and pro-RH blocs in the House reached a consensus last week to set the date for the vote on Wednesday. As part of the agreement, anti-RH solons will be allowed to continue introducing their amendments provided that voting will be done by ayes and nays, and not by nominal voting (or voting one by one).
Regardless of whether anti-RH solons finish introducing all their proposed amendments, Cagayan de Oro Rep Rufus Rodriguez, a staunch RH critic, gave assurances that they are prepared to put the controversial measure to a vote on Wednesday.
"Definitely. We're going to vote on Wednesday. We're going to finish amendments tomorrow. It will be a long night because we want our amendments to be considered or rejected," Rodriguez said Monday night. - Rappler.com