Identities of the abductors are still unknown
MANILA, Philippines - After more than 5 hours of voting, the House of Representatives approved the Reproductive Health bill before dawn Thursday, December 13, first through viva voce voting, then a subsequent nominal vote.
To address each lawmaker seeking to explain his or her vote, presiding Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III asked a standard question: What is the pleasure of the gentleman/lady from, say, Quezon City? When it was the turn, for example, of Akbayan Rep Walden Bello, Tañada asked the same question: "What is the pleasure of the gentleman from Akbayan?"
Bello, who voted yes to the RH bill, quipped: “I hesitate to answer the question, because 'pleasure' has become a controversial word in this debate."
The lawmakers' explanation of their vote ranged from the boring to the outrageous.
Davao Oriental Rep Thelma Almario said the Philippines is a migrant country and that's why she was voting against the bill.
“I wish that in my lifetime we will have enough Filipinos so we can 'Filipinize' the whole world," she said.
Pampanga Rep Dong Gonzales, who has 12 siblings, shared his life story. After a lengthy explanation, he voted no. “My parents told me to say no before they passed on,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Citing the communist movement, Anad party-list Jun Alcover voted a "double no" to the RH Bill, saying that it will "destroy choice and divide the nation."
Association of Laborers and Employees (ALE) partylist Rep Catalina Bagasina invoked Typhoon "Pablo" when he voted against the bill.
“The recent natural calamities are a sign that the RH Bill is bad,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sarangani Rep Manny Pacquiao, fresh from his defeat to Mexican boxer Juan Miguel Marquez, said his resolve to vote no was strengthened by the Las Vegas fight.
"My wife cried. Some thought I was dead. Kung akala nila isang buhay na naman ang nawala, what happened in Vegas strengthened my already firm belief in the sanctitiy of lilfe," he said.
"Ang nangyari sa Vegas ang nagpaigting ng aking paniniwala na ang buhay ay sagrado." Pacquiao added.
No to RH Bill
Zamboanga City Rep Beng Climaco cited a familiar reason in explaining her no vote - that maternal care for women is already addressed by the Magna Carta of Women, a law she co-authored.
But the most overwhelming reason cited by those who voted no is religion.
Manila Rep Amado Bagatsing perhaps best summed up the anti-RH bloc's arguments in his speech: "The RH Bill is anti-Catholic, anti-poor, against life and against the family."
Cebu Rep Pablo Garcia, who, along with Cagayan Rep Rufus Rodriguez, led the charge against the measure during the period of amendments said, "God is the source and giver of life. The RH Bill seeks to prevent and constrain the law of God from giving that life by the use of condoms, contraceptives, IUDs, tubal ligation and what have you," he said.
Ilocos Norte Rep Imelda Marcos agreed. "Any law against natural law or the fundamental law of God is against God," she said.
Batangas Rep Tom Apacible offered his vote to Mother Mary: “I offer my vote to the Lady of Immaculate Conception and the Lady of Guadalupe.”
Iloilo Rep Augusto Boboy Syjuco recited the entire apostles creed:
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into the dead. On the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost. I believe in the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body. And the life everlasting. Amen.”
Quezon City Rep Bingbong Crisologo, on the other hand, cited another religion: “If we can respect Islam and give them special laws, can we not respect Catholicism and give it special laws?”
The yes votes
"I am not against life. I am against ignorance," Diwa party-list Rep Emmelyn Aglipay said in explaining her "yes" vote.
In explaining their votes, Ppo-RH solons addressed the misconceptions surrounding the bill.
Senior Deputy Majority Floor Leader Janette Garin said, "The RH bill is not about religion nor population control, this is about pure and simple responsible legislation," she said.
Bayan Muna Rep Teddy Casiño said he was a living testament that there's nothing wrong with sex education, which is part of the RH bill.
"I studied in a Catholic school. Gradeschool pa lang itinuro na sa amin ang sex education. Di ako lumaking manyak," he said.
RH Bill principal author Rep Edcel Lagman called on lawmakers to allow Filipinos to practice responsible parenthood.
“Let us have children by choice, not by chance.” he said.
Quezon City Rep Bolet Banal for his part revealed that there was indeed a "secret dialogue" between lawmakers and members of the Church. The consolidated bill that was approved in the House Thursday was the product of a technical working groups composed of opponents and proponents of the RH Bill that was convened in September.
"Ako po, Katoliko rin po ako. Ikinararangal ko pong bumoto ng yes," Banal said. - Rappler.com