MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Instead of Tuesday, allies of President Benigno Aquino III will vote today to terminate the debates on the controversial Reproductive Health Bill.
Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales Jr. told reporters this was arrived at during an ongoing caucus in Malacanang by Liberal Party leaders. He said some 200 lawmakers were present in today’s caucus.
He said House leaders were assured that they would have the numbers to terminate the debates. Leaders earlier said a vote to continue the debates may effectively shelve the bill because Congress has begun to prioritize next year's budget before focusing on campaigning for next year's elections.
Pro and anti-RH Bill leaders will next duke it out during the period of amendments.
In a statement, RH Bill champion Edcel Lagman said Aquino suggested to the members of the lower House to cast a conscience vote and not to be cowed by intimidation of reprisal at the 2013 polls.
“The President also cautioned that the ‘bahala na’ attitude results in inordinately large families, which presidential prescription adopts the call for ‘children by choice, not be chance,’” Lagman said.