MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang refused to comment on the Catholic Church’s opposition to the Reproductive Health Bill during Saturday’s prayer rally.
In an interview with radio dzRB, however, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said President Benigno Aquino III’s position on the matter “remains the same.” She said Aquino is “against abortion, pro-life and pro-quality of life.”
On Saturday, the Catholic Church’s faithful gathered at the EDSA Shrine to remind people of the repercussions of the RH Bill.
“Corruption is the cancer of the Philippines that prevents us from growing. My dear youth, contraception is corruption. The use of government money, taxpayers’ money, to give out contraceptive pills is corruption,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a message read by former Ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta de Villa.
But Valte said, “When it comes to issues of national importance, we should focus on merits and demerits [to elevate] public discourse.”
During his State of the Nation Address (SONA), Aquino received the most cheers when he mentioned in passing the responsible parenthood bill.
The latter is Malacanang’s version of the RH Bill. It is similar in terms of the provisions on maternal health care. Both differ, however, on the purchase of contraceptives.
Some quarters criticized the President for issuing a “safe” stance on the issue. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said Aquino’s statements are not clear.