House leader: RH bill has slim chance of passage-A A +A
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
THE controversial reproductive health (RH) bill stands little chance of passing Congress due to time constraint, a leader of the House of Representatives said Tuesday.
"Realistically, the chances of it (RH bill) getting approved is getting slimmer and slimmer. We don't have enough time to have it approved at the House," Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said.
House Bill 4244, the chamber's version of the RH bill has been debated upon since March 2011. At least 20 lawmakers are still lined up for debate.
But Gabriela party-list Representative Luzviminda Ilagan, one of the staunch advocates of RH, criticized the House leader for being "biased."
"We should let the legislative process run its course. Why should he pre-condition the minds of Congress and the public that the bill will not pass? Isn't that making it very obvious where his bias lies? The Speaker himself said he will take up the bill. The majority leader should not say otherwise," she said in a text message.
Gonzales said he will ask the House leadership to call for a caucus of all its members where they can decide on a definite date when they can take a vote on whether or not to terminate the period of debate.
"We hope that by August, a vote will be taken already. If there's no quorum, then that's already an indication that there is no support for RH," he said.
The House plenary is expected to devote all of its time to the approval of the 2013 national budget by September after it has hurdled deliberations in the appropriations committee.
Once the period of interpellation is terminated, the proposed RH law will go into the process of the period of amendments before lawmakers then vote for its second reading approval.
"One hurdle is the debate, then we go to the process of period of amendments which is harder hurdle," Gonzales said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)