MANILA, Philippines – One of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill's sponsors in the Senate and one of those staunchly opposing it had a heated exchange over the uses of contraceptives during the continuation of debates on the measure on Tuesday.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who is against the bill, asked health and demography committee chair Senator Pia Cayetano if there are contraceptives that can cure diseases.
"I'm not aware of a contraceptive that can cure, but I will state that it can prevent," Cayetano said.
As an example, Cayetano said condoms can prevent the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
"I'm talking about curative. I'll deal with prevention later on," Enrile said.
Enrile then enumerated different kinds of contraceptives, and repeatedly asked if each has curative properties.
In one of the questions, Cayetano answered, "I've replied, Mr. President. It is a contraceptive."
Still, Enrile asked about other contraceptives. Cayetano insisted that she has been giving the same answers.
"Please don't teach me how to interpellate," Enrile told Cayetano. "I am going over these things one by one to put them into the record."
"And, Mr. President, may I also ask that you do not teach me how to answer. I am simply responding to the question," Cayetano replied. "I repeated my answer a couple of times. They are not curative. They are preventive."
Aside from Enrile, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III is also openly against the bill.
Senate debates on the RH bill are scheduled every Monday and Wednesday until the period for interpellation is closed on second reading.