MANILA, Philippines - Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and 15 others from the ecclesiastical province of Manila has called on the House of Representative not to rush the passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill.
In a statement provided to the media, they said: “We are appealing to the Honorable Representatives to give ample time to the deliberations and discernment and not to unduly rush them.”
The statement was arrived at during a pre-Christmas gathering today, where they “reflected” on the discussions pertaining to the RH bill.
“We also appeal to them to conduct the deliberation and decision with transparency through nominal voting and respect for the diversity of views,” said Tagle and his colleagues.
This comes amid a call from President Benigno Aquino III to the lawmakers in the lower House to finally proceed with the RH bill so that any dialogues will be made in the bicameral conference.
He had a luncheon meeting with lawmakers on Monday.
His allies made the first move during plenary sessions that afternoon, but these were again suspended late into the evening.
Tagle was joined in the statement by Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, who denied a newspaper report that he gave inputs to the substitute RH bill. He told Radio Veritas that it was a “malicious misrepresentation” from a lawmaker that he joined them during the lunch meeting.
Besides Tagle and Reyes, the other signatories are: Bishops Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, Deogracias Iñiguez of Kalookan, Jose Oliveros of Malolos, Antonio Tobias of Novaliches, and Jesse Mercado of Parañaque, Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig, Leo Drona of San Pablo, and Leopoldo Tumulak of the Military Ordinariate.
Bishops Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princesa and Edgardo Juanich of Taytay also signed the statement.
Auxiliary Bishops Francisco De Leon of Antipolo and Broderick Pabillo and Bernardino Cortez of Manila also signed as well as Fr. George Morales, the Diocesan Administrator of Imus.