Prelate admits supping with 40 legislators after RH vote-A A +A
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
CEBU CITY -- The Reproductive Health (RH) bill seems to be the main dish served at meals of congressmen these days.
Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal revealed he had dinner with 40 members of the House of Representatives Monday evening, shortly after the Lower House voted to end debates on House Bill 4244.
On the same day, at lunch, 180 members of the Lower House met with President Benigno Aquino III to discuss the same bill.
The Catholic Church leads the opposition to the proposed Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.
Vidal said, however, that he did not call for a meeting with the congressmen at his residence in Wack-Wack subdivision in Mandaluyong.
“They (congressmen) just went there and it happened to be supper time, so I let them eat,” he said.
The 81-year-old prelate did not divulge what was discussed during the meal, but he said anti-RH Bill legislators, among them Representative Pablo Garcia (Cebu, second district), were present.
Two Cebuano congressmen who are against the bill said they voted to end the debates.
“I voted to end the debates so I can go ahead and vote no,” said Representative Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, third district).
Representative Ramon “Red” Durano VI (Cebu, fifth district) said he also voted last Monday to end the debates but he remains opposed to the bill.
During the blessing of the site of the national thanksgiving mass for the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod at the South Road Properties on Tuesday, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia expressed support for the Catholic church’s stand and reminded members of Congress who are Catholics to obey the church’s teachings.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama made the same call.
“Let’s not talk about party affiliations. Let’s talk about faith, let’s talk about rule of the majority, and the right thing to do to solve the problems of this country,” he said.
Rama said controlling the population is not the solution to poverty, adding that some countries that controlled their population now have aging populations.
Catholics for RH representative Leny Ocasiones said the end of the debates means “the real battle is about to start.”
With the end of the debates, House Bill 4244 enters a period of amendments before it is placed for a vote on second reading.
Ocasiones said her group has limited resources but it is determined to continue community education and online campaign for the passage of the bill.
Meanwhile, Rama said there is no need for the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill as the right to access public information is already protected by the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.
Government officials are also bound by the Local Government Code to give the public access to information, he said.
The mayor said the public must understand that there are procedures to be followed in obtaining public documents. He added that some documents must remain confidential, particularly where national security is concerned. (BAP/LRC/OCP/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 08, 2012.