PNoy stance on RH bill the same amid Tagle encounter

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Dec 02 2012 01:46 PM | Updated as of Dec 03 2012 05:00 PM


After Church leaders, PNoy to meet with lawmakers

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III’s presence at the Thanksgiving Mass for Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle does not mean he already had a change of heart in connection with the reproductive health (RH) bill.

In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential adviser Abigail Valte said: “I disagree there was a change of heart, the [responsible parenthood bill] has always been his position.”

The responsible parenthood bill is Malacanang’s version of the RH bill, which has somehow damaged its relations with the Church.

Aquino said the Palace’s version is in favor of giving couples the right to choose how best to manage their families. Nonetheless, a Malacañang-led discussion with the Church broke down when officials of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) felt he will not drop a provision on contraceptives.

“[Aquino’s] presence yesterday will show you that men of principle can [have opposing views] but still, they can break bread together,” Valte said. The mass was for Tagle’s elevation to the College of Cardinals.

During his homily, Tagle acknowledged Aquino and other government officials, led by Vice President Jejomar Binay. Tagle and Aquino also exchanged pleasantries after the mass.

Another Enrile ouster?

Some pundits claim Aquino was only trying to pacify the Church ahead of a luncheon meeting with lawmakers tomorrow, December 3, in connection with the RH bill.

On Saturday, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life executive secretary Fr. Melvin Castro asked for prayers for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile after receiving reports that he may be ousted from his position because of his stance versus the bill.

“We beg you to pray (to) Our Lord through Our Lady to thwart all their plans. O Mary, save our country from danger. We are yours. Help us in this hour of need,” Castro asked.

Valte shrugged off the news. “We have no response to that.”

Several CBCP officials earlier urged the faithful to use the “Catholic vote” in choosing their rightful leaders this coming 2013 polls.