MANILA, Philippines - The sin tax bill lost main priority Monday afternoon when the Senate decided to tackle first in its session the amendments of Senators Juan Ponce-Enrile and Ralph Recto on the reproductive health (RH) bill.
Since last week, the Senate has been ready to discuss the amendments on the sin tax bill and its approval on second and third reading, in just one session.
But when Monday's session started at 2 p.m., Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile took the podium and asked if he can give his amendments to the RH bill.
Enrile explained that he felt bad that he was made to look like he is delaying the RH bill.
Senator Pia Cayetano last week asked Enrile if the Senate can give 30 minutes of its time to discuss the remaining amendments in the RH bill.
She said Enrile and Recto are the only remaining senators who have yet to submit their proposed amendments.
Cayetano noted that RH bill has been pending for 2 years and needs approval for the sake of Filipino women.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto declined Enrile's move to submit his RH bill amendments.
"I don' t usually disagree with the Senate President, but this time I will disagree and will just leave it to the house to decide," he said.
The senators, however, voted in favor of Enrile discussing his proposed amendments, 17 in total, on the RH bill.
The senators also agreed to discuss the sin tax bill after the RH bill.
Two hours later, the Senate was only able to discuss 6 of 17 amendments proposed by Enrile.
The Senate also allowed Recto to present his amendments, which ate up an hour and a half of the Senate's time.
The Senate later took up the sin tax bill.