Packed 'RH' gallery: The pros and the antis
MANILA, Philippines - It was a show of force for both the pros and the antis as the House of Representatives moved closer to putting the Reproductive Health bill to a vote.
On Wednesday, December 12, the gallery of the Batasang Pambansa was packed with supporters and opponents of the bill. Both sides, however, have been observing the proceedings since it became clear that the lawmakers would be voting on it.
Here are some of the key personalities that Rappler spotted in the House gallery in the past week:
The anti-RH side was led by leaders of the Catholic Church, who are opposed to the the measure. Here are some bishops who have been the most active in campaigning against the RH bill:
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, chair of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, has been one of the most outspoken bishops against the RH bill. Since the period of amendments started last week, Reyes has been regularly seen in the gallery.
Cardinal Ricardo Vidal was also seen in the gallery. When President Benigno Aquino III expressed support for responsible parenthood, it was Cardinal Vidal who proposed that the Catholic Church withdraw from talks with government regarding the measure.
Along with Bishop Reyes, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles has also been a regular gallery visitor. To show how much he opposes the bill, Arguelles on Tuesday asked asked 62 of his fellow bishops, through text, to watch the scheduled RH voting on Wednesday.
A few hours before Wednesday's session, pro-RH ACT Teachers party-list Rep Antonio Tinio spotted bishops in a meeting with anti-RH lawmakers. Retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani was one of them. The bishop earlier slammed Malacañang for allegedy dangling pork barrel to lawmakers in exchange for a vote for the bill.
Also spotted was former Akbayan party-list Rep and senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros, one of the co-authors of the RH Bill in the 15th Congress. A regular gallery visitor, the social media-savvy politician has been tweeting updates on plenary proceedings.
The pro-RH advocates in the photo above are only 3 of the many academics who have expressed support for the RH Bill.
UP College of Law Institute of Human Rights Director Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan was one of the academics from the University of the Philippines who challenged anti-RH lawmakers to a final debate.
As the public information officer of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network, Rochit Tañedo is at the forefront of promoting RH policies and programs to the public.
Former Health Secretary Alberto Romualdez is a regular fixture in pro-RH press conferences and has consistently argued for the value of the RH bill in promoting women's health.
Entertainer Jim Paredes has been using his stature to promote the RH bill. An active Twitter user with close to 316,000 followers, Paredes has been using the micro-blogging site to express his support for the measure. - Rappler.com