MANILA, Dec. 18, 2012— With President Benigno Aquino III allegedly having pressured lawmakers to vote for the reproductive health bill, a Catholic bishop fears the chief executive may be turning to a dictator.
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes criticized Malacañang for allegedly using the pork barrel to get the majority of lawmakers into their side.
“It’s already like dictatorship because the executive already controls the Congress and the Judiciary,” said Reyes, chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. “That’s why I’m very sad.”
The soft-spoken prelate revealed that some lawmakers admitted to him that Malacañang also threatened to hold projects for their respective districts if they vote against the measure.
“I know of at least five congressmen, who from the very beginning are against the bill, but when they were called by their (Liberal) party for a meeting they changed their position,” according to him.
“Maybe other lawmakers also changed their position because of the pressure from Malacañang,” Reyes said, adding that may become a threat to the country’s democracy.
“I’m not saying he is at present a threat, but there might come a time,” he said. “As it is going, there might come a time that he would be a threat to democracy because the Executive Department is already controlling the Legislative and Judiciary.”
Aquino has repeatedly denied the accusations.
Reyes said that to dangle the priority development assistance funds (PDAF) of lawmakers to gather enough votes to pass the RH bill may be considered a form of corruption.
“Forcing a congressman to change his principle and conscience for pork barrel, government projects, political favors…it’s also as if you are bribing the congressman. Isn’t that corruption?” he said. (CBCPNews)