House minority withdraws support for RH bill

by Jay Ruiz and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2012 12:03 AM | Updated as of Aug 01 2012 06:55 PM

MANILA, Philippines - House Minority leader Danilo Suarez confirmed on Tuesday that the minority bloc in the House of Representatives has withdrawn its support for the reproductive health (RH) bill. 

According to Suarez, most members of the minority bloc decided to withdraw their support for the measure after a closed door meeting wherein they reached consensus on opposing the bill being pushed by the Aquino administration.

Most members of the minority signed and even co-authored the RH bill but they are now withdrawing support after consultations and meetings with their colleagues. 

Suarez said they will formalize their withdrawal of support for the bill and submit the list of congressmen who intend to do during the minority bloc's press conference Wednesday.

He said that in the past, House minority members signed the bill and even co-authored it because of Rep. Edcel Lagman led them.

The House leadership has scheduled to terminate the debates in the plenary session on August 7 to give way for the members of the House to vote on the controversial issue on second reading.

Palace: Answer your constituents

The Palace, in reaction to the minority congressmen's withdrawal of support for the consolidated RH bill pending in Congress, said it is up to the lawmakers to answer to their pro-RH constituents.

"Sagutin ng mga nag-withdraw ng support sa kanilang mga pro-RH constituents 'yung kanilang decision," deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
She said that the current RH bill version is not solely a Palace version since it has been consolidated with the bills filed by pro-RH legislators.

She said the 5-point position of the President on "responsible parenthood bill has been incorporated into the consolidated bill."
"Mabuting basahin po natin 'yung mga bills that were filed by their authors and compare it with the consolidated House bill," Valte said.
On reports that the Church will lead an anti-RH rally at EDSA on Sunday, the Palace appealed to rally participants to make the demonstration peaceful.

She said police will be on hand to help with the security and crowd control.