MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III wants a vote on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill this week so that this can finally be tackled by both houses of Congress, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said.
In a statement issued after the lawmakers’ luncheon meet with Aquino, Lagman said: “[Aquino] impliedly suggested that a vote be taken on the bill this week in order to afford time for the Senate to pass its own version and for both chambers to conduct a bicameral conference.”
Lagman said Aquino wants to hasten the process in order to “resolve a divisive issue, legislate solutions, give children the chance to live dignified lives, and best serve constituents.”
He said Aquino’s endorsement was “loud and clear” on the matter.
Lagman noted that while Aquino did not ask them to vote for the controversial bill, the president said he would vote “yes” if only he could cast a vote himself.
“The President said that the amendments by substitution to the original bill are sufficient to address the objections and reservations of critics, thus obviating the need to prolong the period of individual amendments,” Lagman said.
Malacanang earlier pushed for the responsible parenthood bill, its version of the RH bill that 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 would not drop a provision on contraceptives.