LP members defy Aquino on RH bill

The proxy vote on Monday forced House members to divulge their stand on the RH bill

MANILA, Philippines – In the proxy vote on the Reprodutive Health bill (RH bill) Monday night, December 3, at least 31 of the total 63 Liberal Party members in the House of Representatives voted against the Reproductive Health bill (RH bill), based on numbers shown to Rappler.

The ruling LP was split, just like the other major political parties. This despite the closed-door meeting that President Benigno Aquino III held with his party mates on Monday in Malacañang 30 minutes before the scheduled general meeting with all House members. (Read: Profile of the Liberal Party)

In the meeting attended by 170 solons, Aquino personally appealed to them to put the controversial measure to a final vote this week. Some of his party mates even thought that the vote was going to happen Monday night, but this did not come about.

The House voted 99-90 – very close – to reject a motion made by anti-RH Palawan Rep Victorino Dennis Socrates asking for 10 minutes to speak about the supposedly railroaded substitution of the RH bill. The approved substitute bill includes amendments from Malacañang.

House members decided on nominal voting (voting one by one), because there was also a sufficient number of solons supporting the bid of Socrates to delay the measure. The voting took about an hour.

In the end, a total of 31 LP members voted in favor of Socrates.

Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II said something good came out of the vote because the House members were forced to divulge their stand on the measure.

Here’s how the major political parties and party-list groups voted on the motion of Socrates to delay the process Monday night:

Political Party

NO (Pro-RH)

YES (Anti-RH)

Liberal Party 32 31
Nationalist People’s Coalition 17 10
Nacionalista Party 6 5
Naitonal Unity Party 5 16
Party Lists 29 12

In the Monday meeting, Aquino stressed that he was in favor of the RH bill, but he did not insist on a party vote. Like other political parties in the House, LP adopted a conscience vote. – Rappler.com

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