THE Reproductive Health (RH) bill must be discussed instead of wasting time tackling the interpolation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), said Akbayan Representative Walden Bello.

“It is crazy to deviate an hour and a half each day to the BNPP that is really not going anywhere,” he said.

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Bello said Akbayan could not understand why the RH bill has not come to the floor when the plenary has spent a total of three and a half hours debating the interpolation on the BNPP.

“And it seems the House leadership is going to fill up empty space by discussing this again,” he added.

According to Bello, the BNPP bill has no chance of being passed because it has no counterpart bill in the Senate.

RH bill, as well as the BNPP, is not on the list of priority measures.

“One of the members of the House lobbying for the bill has told me that they are receiving order form above and outside in order not to put this bill in the table," he said. “I think what he means is that this is coming from Malacañang.”

Earlier, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, who is also an RH bill advocate, said the Church lobbying to Malacañang for the blockage of the passing of the RH bill could be a possible scenario.

Bello called on the Church to stop their reported calls advising people not to vote for those who will be supporting the RH bill and to “follow their conscience” in considering who to vote for in the upcoming elections.

According to Akbayan, the Church disseminated a Catechism on Family and Life for the 2010 elections that says “it would not be morally permissible to vote for candidates who support antifamily policies, including reproductive health.”

“This is a form of blackmail and unfortunately the House leadership and Malacañang have really caved in to this violation of the separation of Church and state,” Bello said.

If the bill is not passed by the closing of the 14th Congress session on February 3, the bill would have to be re-filed all over again on the next Congress.

Such scenario has already happened thrice, according to Bello. “We have been pressing them (House leadership) but all we get are shifty kind of gestures that do not make a commitment.” (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)