A PRO-LIFE advocate said they find it hard to convince Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) to be one of the defenders of the church’s stand against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

The proposal, which seeks a national family planning policy and advocates freedom of choice on how one could manage his or her family, was re-filed last week by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman in the 15th Congress.

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Human Life International (HLI) country director Rene Josef Bullecer thinks that among the nine lawmakers in Cebu, Osmeña will be the most difficult to persuade based on the previous pronouncement of the former mayor.

Osmeña, however, clarified he is convinced with the advocacy of pro-life crusaders and is even following the church’s teaching.

But what he doesn’t like is when a proposal is designed to conform with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“The law is not the Catholic Church. They should convince all the Catholics to follow the teachings of the church, wa ko’y problema ana, but the law should not be used as an instrument of the Catholic religion, simple kaayo na,” Osmeña said.

“If the proposal will prevent you from practicing your religion, of course, I’m against it because I believe that freedom of religion includes freedom from religion so, the law should not be designed to promote only one religion,” Osmeña added.

New members

Although some new members of the 15th Congress are pro-life defenders, Bullecer is worried because President Benigno Aquino III and the incoming House speaker and Senate president are more likely to support the RH bill.

He, however, clarified they are not losing hope and they are more determined to win in their fifth attempt.

The controversial bill was first filed in 1999 or during the 11th Congress and was reintroduced in the 12th, 13th and 14th Congresses.

The proposal did not get past the committee level in previous Congresses, largely due to the opposition from the Catholic Church.

In the 14th Congress, it got past the committee level and reached the plenary deliberation stage but the proponents were still unsuccessful.

Lagman is hoping it will get through this time, but Bullecer said they cannot allow that to happen.

Bullecer is scheduled to meet all its leaders and other pro-life advocates to map out counter-measures.

Bullecer said they will ensure the support of lawmakers who are against the bill.

He disclosed that Rep. Roilo Golez will head the pro-life congressmen in Manila, Rep. Pablo Garcia in Cebu and Rep. Rufus Rodriguez in Mindanao.