MANILA, Dec. 17, 2012—The reproductive health (RH) bill was passed on third reading today at the House of Representatives, with a 133-79 vote in favor of the measure, with seven abstentions.
It was a full house, with nominal voting concluding in less than two hours, and with key people from both sides of the issue present to witness the proceedings.
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, chair of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL), who had been attending the proceedings in the last several session days, lamented the voting outcome and the apparent intervention of the Palace.
“If Malacanang had not interfered, the ‘no’ vote would have won, especially in the second reading,” Reyes said.
“Maraming nagbaliktaran nung tinawag ng Liberal Party ang mga members… pati yung hindi Liberal Party. Ang malungkot ay mismong executive department nagiging corruptor ng ating congressmen by promising government projects, political favors… and that pork barrel funds will not be given if they don’t vote for the RH bill.”
Such is an example of bribery and of corrupting people, he pointed out.
The prelate also emphasized the importance of keeping up the efforts to inform people with the truth, specifically that contraception is wrong. He added that “we need to explain to our fellow believers that they ought to refuse contraceptives even when they are being offered these. We also need to help them understand the nature and beauty of family, of marriage, and the importance of doing what is good for the children.”
Reyes congratulated the heroism and faithfulness of the legislators who voted “no.”
“I really praise them, I admire them for standing by their principles. Despite [threats to withhold] pork barrel, promise of political favors and government projects, they stood for what they think is right,” he said.
He hopes that those who voted “yes” will “change their minds and that they will realize that voting for the RH bill is something that is harmful for the country.”
The bishop concluded with an assurance that the good will ultimately be upheld.
“Do not be disheartened. Of course, we are sad. The good will always prevail so I’m sure God will help us.” (CBCP for Life)