Three session days left before Congress takes its holiday break, President Benigno Aquino III gives the Reproductive Health bill another boost by deciding to finally certify it as urgent. This last-minute presidential move speeds up the legislative process. It allows Congress – both the House of Representatives and the Senate – to possibly pass the bill on third and final reading as early as Monday, December 17. Despite earlier calls by his allies, Aquino had hesitated to certify the bill as urgent. On December 3, he met with members of the House over lunch and urged them to muster a quorum to formally start the period of amendments. He said he was in favor of the bill but fell short of ordering them to toe the line. The Catholic Church is expected to intensify its lobby against the measure.
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