Forget RH bill, impeach Merci instead: bishop

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2011 09:16 PM | Updated as of Mar 17 2011 07:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A Catholic bishop on Wednesday implored lawmakers in the House of Representatives to prioritize the plenary vote on the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez instead of deliberations on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.

Bishop Teodoro Bacani said he was surprised to learn that the Lower House will tackle the RH bill first before moving on to the impeachment complaint against Gutierrez.

He said the impeachment process is more important since it will help eradicate corruption in the country.

He said congressmen should not waste time on the RH bill, which he described as a poison that kills the lives of innocents.

Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay supported Bacani's proposal, saying that the RH bill would be a waste of taxpayers' money.

She said that while government struggles to allocate funds for basic services such as education, better roads and other infrastructure, some lawmakers still want to pass a reproductive health law with a corresponding budget.

Metro Manila Catholic leaders have slated on March 25 the “grandmother” of all rallies against the RH Bill.

House justice committee chairman Niel Tupas Jr. earlier said the impeachment of Ombudsman Gutierrez is giving way to deliberations on the RH bill and a proposal to synchronize the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao elections to the 2013 polls.

Tupas said he received assurance that the House plenary will vote on the impeachment complaint next week before Congress adjourns.

Gutierrez is facing possible impeachment at the House of Representatives for betrayal of public trust due to her low conviction rate and inaction on the NBN-ZTE scam, fertilizer fund scandal, "Euro generals" scandal, and the Philip Pestaño case. -- Report by Zyann Ambrosio, ABS-CBN News