Sotto: I am no longer against RH Law

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

One of the staunchest critics of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill during the Senate deliberations is no longer against the enacted law.

"I am no longer against the RH Law; I was against the RH Bill," re-electionist Sen. Vicente Sotto III said in an interview with ANC's Headstart Thursday.

"Once we passed it, and we were able to remove the apprehensive provisions or issues there—like abortion, population control, and abortifacients—it’s all for the good, especially for maternal health," added.

Sotto vowed to monitor the Department of Health's (DOH) implementation of the programs provided for in the law. If the agency fails, he said he will immediately inform the people.

He clarified that he did not cause the elimination of the P1-billion family planning budget in the 2016 national budget.

He said the DOH had an excess of P2 billion from their 2015 budget so they inquired what the additional budget was for.

"The only point I raised during the plenary debates on the budget was amounting to P295 million of procurement of the DOH of items that were included in the TRO (temporary restraining order) of the Supreme Court."

He said his colleagues on the floor, including Senator Loren Legarda, who was the chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, and the officials of DOH agreed with his proposal.

Aside from his position on RH, Sotto also reversed his position on the death penalty, saying it would not solve the country's problem with illegal drugs.

"It only shows that the issues that I have been apprehensive about are no longer there," he said.

He recalled telling some bishops when they met months ago, "don’t worry about the RH Law. It’s alright. It’s good, it’s alright but they’re not implementing it well."