Pia to colleagues: Tackle RH bill first

SENATOR Pia Cayetano on Monday “cried out loud” against the contention of some Senate leaders that the controversial Reproductive Health bill will be side sweep anew in lieu of amending the 1987 Constitution.

“I don’t care what bills are pending. I don’t care what time we finish, but the RH Bill should be on the agenda everyday and those who have concerns should raise it now and then we vote on it,” Cayetano said in an interview.

“Before they begun amending the Constitution, we should tackle first the RH bill. It is pending more a year now since I and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago introduced the measure,” Cayetano added.

Earlier, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said that RH bill will have a hard time passing the plenary vote.

Enrile said, the measure is still under interpellation because there are some lawmakers who wants to scrutinize the measure particularly on the funding requirements.

“Mahihirapan pa siguro (within the year) maramo pa tayong gustong magtanong about the bill in the plenary,” Enrile.

“I don’t know. It depends. We will leave it to the Senate,” Enrile added.

The Senate chief also did not mentioned the controversial measure on his opening speech earlier.

For his part, Sotto said that he will definitely opposed the passage of the bill because it is not only contradicts the dictum of the Church, but also the funding requirements will only benefit foreign multinationals.

“Kahit sa Agosto, I will make a kontra speech on the bill. Hindi papasa sa akin yan,” Sotto said.

Like Senators Francis Escudero and Panfilo Lacson, Cayetano however challenged both Enrile and Sotto to put the controversial bill into a vote in order to know the real sentiments of the whole Senate.

“When the impeachment process was going on, in caucus, sinabi sa akin na, “Wag na daw. Sa July na raw ang RH.” And I fought for it and I said ‘No.’ Every morning when we have session ready po akong i-debate ang RH Bill, wag niyo naman i-isantabi yan kasi yung ibang measures naman tinitake-up. So, ready ako araw-araw,”  she explained.

“So, the same way, pag-resume natin nitong third term nitong 15th Congress, ready din po ako and I think all of our colleagues should be ready also to put it to a vote. Before they put a vote they can make their individual amendments and then make a vote. How difficult is that? It’s an embarrassment to the Filipino people to say that ‘we are not ready.’ Ibig sabihin, hindi tayo nag-aaral, hindi tayo nagbabasa [ng panukala],” Cayetano added.

“What is so difficult about that? We vote. I am not being overconfident. I am not claiming that 100% may victory. I am just doing my constitutional duty which is to propose bills and to fight for it and then every other Senator here in this hall must do their duty, which is to vote for i,” she said.

Escudero for his part supported Cayetano to put RH bill into a vote in order the resolve the long impasse on the measure.

“Pabor akong pagbotohan ang RH bill, one way or another. Kailangan maresolbahan na ito, napakatagal nang naka-pending ang panukalang batas at siguro naman panahon na at napapanahon na mapagpasyahan ito para hindi lamang nakabitin ang Kongreso sa isyung ito. One way or the other each and every member of the Senate and the House should take a stand on this matter,” Escudero said.

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