MANILA (Updated 4:36 p.m.) -- President Benigno Aquino III on Monday urged Congress to end debates on the controversial Reproductive Health bill and move on to the next level in the legislative process.
The Chief Executive relayed his stand during a multi-party caucus in Malacañang composed of members of the majority and minority of the House of Representatives.
Around 180 congressmen for and against the measure were present during the luncheon held at Palace Heroes Hall.
"The President expressed his opinion on the Responsible Parenthood Bill and had a healthy discussion with Congressmen with different persuasions and positions," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement after the caucus.
"All sides were heard and considered. Even minority Congressmen and those opposed to the measure were given the opportunity to air their side," he added.
"The President echoed the view that the Responsible Parenthood measure had been discussed thoroughly over the past several years and expressed his desire that Congress move on to the next step in the legislative process," the Palace official said.
Following the meeting, the lawmakers decided to hold the voting on the termination of debates on RH bill when Congress session resumes at 4 p.m. Monday.
If the lawmakers supporting the RH bill win in the viva voce vote (voice voting), House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said a small committee will be created to handle the provisions in the proposed law.
The voting was originally scheduled on Tuesday. (Jill Beltran/Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)