MANILA, Philippines - Catholic bishops are welcome during the scheduled voting on the reproductive health (RH) bill but they should behave themselves, one of the measure’s sponsor at the House of Representatives said.
In a statement, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said bishops are welcome but should refrain from pursuing “fear and intimidation.”
“Catholic bishops are welcome during the consideration and voting on the RH bill, but they are cautioned not to demean Congresspersons by treating them like docile sheep to be watched and shepherded,” he added.
He said bishops will not be successful in sowing fear. He said fear is “destitute of reason and must be resisted with conviction, and not be allowed to deter or delay legislation.”
He noted: “Fear has always been used by the clergy as an instrument of repression and reprisal like fear of eternal damnation, fear of excommunication, fear of offending religious ministers, fear of contraceptives as abortifacients and carcinogenic, and fear of a demographic winter, all of which are wanting of reasonable and empirical anchorage.”
In a report from the CBCP News, ECFL executive secretary Melvin Castro said bishops will be at the gallery during the voting. “It was a sentiment presented by the anti-RH legislators because they said they need moral, spiritual, and physical presence of the bishops.”