QUEZON City, Dec. 4, 2012—It’s a numbers game, so they say.
For the pro-life youth who came to show their vigilance over the RH Bill at the House of Representatives yesterday, how the RH Bill vote will turn out depends, to some extent, on the presence of visibly committed supporters — something they are calling the ‘impact of numbers’.
What numbers can do
According to Kiboy Tabada of UP for Life, who was in Batasan yesterday for the session together with some 500 anti-RH bill supporters, “We see the impact of what our numbers in the gallery can do. When we come here our legistlators actually think twice [whether they will be] voting yes or no on particular issues.”
The session, which extended beyond 9 p.m., revolved around the issue of whether Rep. Dennis Socrates of Palawan should be allowed to give a 10-minutes speech on the RH Bill.
Viva voce voting was done first, but eventually, nominal voting was carried out for clarity.
Some shared Tabada’s impression that the first round of voting, which was done by calling out “nay” or “aye”, seemed to be overwhelmingly against Rep. Socrates’ request for a speech.
But once nominal voting was done, where each legislator had to individually cast his vote by a thumb up or down sign, it was clear that it was a close vote.
The House voted to deny Rep. Socrates his privilege speech, 99 – 91 last night.
Physical presence counts
Despite the vote far from being for or against the RH Bill itself, supporters of both sides seem to share the sentiment that the Socrates vote could be a preview of how close the vote will be for or against the controversial bill.
For young pro-lifers like Dani Villanueva, Antipolo diocesan youth coordinator, the physical presence of anti-RH Bill supporters will always translate to a concrete message legislators can understand.
“We took the advantage, the opportunity of being near to the Congress. (sic) [To be] aggressive in terms of making ourselves…felt by our legislators,” he explained.
According to Villanueva, who was the only one from Antipolo to be allowed into the gallery because of too many pro-lifers packing the area already, they will continue to be visible during sessions in Congress, especially for the RH Bill issue.
Yesterday, anti-RH Bill supporters filled the Congress galleries to the rafters, up to the 3rd floor, forcing security to deny entrance to more coming in. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]