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Proponents maintain support for RH bill despite Church opposition
In The Press Posted on January 18th, 2010.
Proponents of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill on Monday said they are standing by the controversial measure despite top bishops' call for Catholics not to vote for the bill's supporters.
Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros Baraquel and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza, senatorial candidates of the Liberal and the Nacionalista parties, respectively, said they would not pull out their support for House Bill 5043 even though the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has issued "election guidelines" saying Catholics should not vote for pro-RH politicians.
"All is fair in politics," said Hontiveros at the weekly press conference of the House minority bloc inside the Batasan Pambansa.
"Respetado ko naman yung kanilang posisyon sa RH bill, but I have to say kesa pa guidelines laban sa authors ng RH bill, mas nakatulong sana kung ang nilabas mga guidelines laban sa mga kandididato na, halimbawa, ay di lumalaban sa katiwalian (I respect their position on the RH bill, but I have to say that instead of issuing guidelines against its authors, they should have issued guidelines against those who are not fighting off corruption)," she said.
Admitting that she was somewhat "hurt" by the CBCP's election guidelines, Hontiveros, a Catholic, asked for "mutual respect" on the part of RH bill proponents and Catholic leaders.
Maza also said there should be a clear delineation between the Church and the state.
"I'm always bothered when the Church actively intervenes in the function of the state," said Maza during the same press conference.
Maza maintained that the women's party-list she represents is steadfast in its support for HB 5043, and urged the House leadership to immediately act on the bill as the country needs a comprehensive policy on reproductive health.
Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino likewise said his party-list is maintaining its support for the bill even though anti-RH groups are waging a "hate campaign" against RH supporters.
HB 5043 is currently up for plenary debates, but House leaders have said it is not among the priority measures that will be tackled when Congress session resumes Monday afternoon.
The CBCP's election guidelines were a product of the national gathering of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life’s (ECFL) directors and lay coordinators last November 30 in Antipolo City.
The CBCP said voters who would elect pro-RH bill candidates would become willing accomplices to "evil."
“It would not be morally permissible to vote candidates who support anti-family policies, including reproductive health, or any other moral evil such as abortion, divorce, assisted suicide and euthanasia," the CBCP said.
ECFL executive secretary Fr. Melvin Castro said the initiative was aimed at ensuring the voters would choose the “right candidates" who will lead the country. - RJAB Jr./GMANews.TV