Pro-RH lawmakers slam bishops' group for threatening 'defiant' schools-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
MANILA -- Lawmakers supporting the reproductive (RH) health measure in the House of Representatives criticized the influential Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for threatening schools of losing their Catholic status if they openly support the passage of the controversial measure into law.
"The CBCP warning is irrational and exposes the bishops' hypocrisy. How come they chastise President [Benigno] Aquino when he expresses his opinion about RH to congressmen but emphasizes it's a conscience vote and yet threatens to censure educators for expressing free will?" Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. said in a text message.
The CBCP earlier called for the investigation of around 190 faculty members of Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) who openly expressed support for the enactment of an RH law.
In a report posted at the CBCP website, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said educational institutions "should not teach anything contrary to the official teachings of the Church."
"In some of the universities, we say that if you want to teach that idea, do not do it in a Catholic school because we are confusing the students… do it in other universities," he said.
In a separate statement issued Monday, ADMU president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin said that while they respect the position of their professors, their school does not support the passage of the RH bill.
Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing, a known anti-RH lawmaker, supported the position of the CBCP.
"They [Ateneo] are a Catholic school and as such should follow Church teachings," he said in a text message.
The pro-RH camp, meanwhile, defended the constitutional freedom of expression of Ateneo faculty members.
Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list Representative Sherwin Tugna said the professors were only taking a position on the issue when they signed the statement of support for the measure.
"It does not mean that they are teaching their position on the RH to their students," he pointed out.
Akbayan party-list Representative Walden Bello added that threatening sanctions against those who disagree with the CBCP is "wrong" and "really medieval."
The House of Representatives will resume deliberations on the RH bill next week. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)