Starting September 8, 2012, anonymous comments -- whether for or against the RH bill -- will no longer be permitted on this blog.

Monday, December 3, 2012

CBCP-ECFL statement on the voting process for the RH bill

Bp Reyes Statement on RH Voting Procedures

From CBCP for Life:

MANILA, Dec. 3, 2012—Despite the public outcry against the highly controversial population control bill, it looks like Malacanang is doing what it can to influence the legislature and speed up action on House Bill 4244, prompting Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes to enjoin Filipinos to demand transparency from legislators should they insist on putting the measure to a vote.

“Let us demand from our Congressmen, specially the leaders of Congress, that the voting be nominal, whenever a vote on a part on the whole of the Substitute Bill of the House Bill 4244 is taken,” the bishop, who heads the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL), said in a recent statement on the voting procedure on the bill.

“It is the right of the people to know how their respective Congressmen voted on this important bill,” Reyes pointed out.

Solons averse to nominal voting?

The apparent lack of transparency in the process of legislation involving the highly controversial reproductive health (RH) bill has been noted twice particularly in the last three months.

The period of interpellations was suddenly halted at the Lower House when, on the afternoon of August 6, majority of the lawmakers voted viva voce for the termination of the debates on the bill, following their meeting with President Benigno Aquino III earlier that day. The vote had originally been scheduled for August 7.

On November 26, the House accepted – again through viva voce voting – individual amendments by way of substitute bill as the new one under consideration. Viva voce (live voice) voting refers to voting by speech – saying “aye” or “nay” (yes or no) instead of by written or printed ballot (nominal voting refers to a scheme in which lawmakers cast their votes one by one and will be allowed to explain their votes on the bill).

Seconds later, after Cebu Representative Pablo Garcia made a motion for nominal voting, ALAGAD Party-List Representative Rodante Marcoleta moved for adjournment.

Deputy Speaker Crispin Remulla hence declared session adjourned till the following day.

Social analysts and pundits have pointed out that highly controversial measures – of which the RH bill has proven to be one – ought to be dealt with in legislative proceedings not by shouting one’s preference, which viva voce essentially involves.

Reyes also issued a statement on December 2, calling on all believers to a day of prayer and fasting today to uphold the sanctity of life, as a meeting in Malacañang between President Benigno Aquino III and his allies in Congress takes place noon, followed by the expected push for the RH bill’s passage at Batasang Pambansa in the afternoon.

Pro-life and pro-family organizations from different parishes and dioceses, as well as life advocates from secular groups are expected to troop to the House of Representatives today to express their anti-RH sentiments and show their support for the anti-RH lawmakers. (CBCP for Life)

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