Sotto: I want RH bill 'out of my hair'

by Jojo Malig,

Posted at Sep 03 2012 09:28 PM | Updated as of Sep 04 2012 04:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Monday said he wants the reproductive health (RH) bill "out of his hair" as soon as possible.

In an interview with media, Sotto denied that he is delaying proposed legislation.

"Of course not, it has always been their claim... If delaying tactics are going to be used, then they will not have it on the floor, [it's] as simple as that," he said.

"We have just a difference of 1 day or 2 days, 1 week or 2 weeks, hindi 'yon ang delaying tactics. Ang delay, uupuan," Sotto said. "If regular bills or even local bills are subjected to scrutiny, why not a very controversial bill that seeks to divide the country and it is dividing the country right now. Bakit kailangan apurahin 'yan at hindi natin pag-usapan mabuti rito."

He said everything depends on the length of the bill's period of amendments.

"Kung ako mismo ang tatanungin, I want this out of my hair, I want this out of the Senate Hall," Sotto said.

"Kung pwede lang ngang pagbotohan ngayon araw na ito, pagbotohan na natin eh. Either reject it, dispose it or approve it in whatever form," he added.

"Mas gusto 'yon, kaso, there are processes to follow. May mga proseso tayong kailangan sundin at 'yung mga taong nago-oppose ay meron kaming karapatan na tanungin," he said.

Sotto said he is only halfway through explaining why he is opposing the bill.

"Meron pang kalahati and I scheduled it on Wednesday," he said. "Wednesday tatapusin ko and hopefully pakinggan n'yong mabuti sapagkat 'yung last 2 parts, pagsasamahin ko sa isa, although medyo may kahabaan pero sa palagay ko, ito na ang pinakamahalaga."

Enrile seeks vote on amendments

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who is also opposing the RH bill in its current form, said Monday that he will seek a vote on his proposed amendments to the measure.

"Ang stage ngayon nung RH bill ay tinatapos ni Tito 'yung kanyang turno en contra. So, siguro, wala ng magsasalita. We are going to a period of amendments," he said.

Enrile also denied that he is delaying the proposed legislation.

"There's no effort in any one of us to delay the proceedings pero gaya ng sinabi ko, doon mo malalaman how many amendments will be presented," he said.

"Ako, I have my own amendments. So, I will ask for a vote on the amendments. If they will accept my amendments, immediately, I'll keep quiet," he added.

Enrile backtracked from his earlier statement that discussions on the bill may reach June 2013.

"Hindi naman siguro. Sinabi ko lang 'yun with the presence of many pending issues here gaya ng budget. Budget iyun. Sin tax pa. Pinag-uusapan namin. Lahat 'yun priority bills. I cannot say how many will be presenting amendments and how soon the amendments will be disposed," he said.

He declined to say if the RH bill will be put to a vote by the Senate before the end of the current 15th Congress.

"I don't know. I cannot tell you. Chances, timing, I do not know," he said.