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November 14, 2012

Sens. Enrile and Cayetano Clash Over RH Bill Delay

Senate President Enrile shoots down the appeal to move the discussion of the RH Bill forward.

Sen. Pia Cayetano and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had a disagreement on the Senate Floor on November 13, when the former asked the latter for 30 minutes to discuss the the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill ahead of the sin tax, according to a news article on Rappler.com

While Cayetano said that she understood that the Senate is prioritizing the 2013 national budget and the sin tax, she also pointed out that the Senate President and Sen. Ralph Recto were the last to introduce individual amendments, and that if the RH Bill were left to be tackled later, there would be no senators left on the floor.

“It doesn’t have to be but I’m only being reasonable. If I take it up after, then some of you will question the quorum, that is unfair to me, the sponsor, and to every person who would like to see this measure come to its rightful end,” Cayetano was quoted as saying.

The Senate President, however, did not back down. “I don’t think there’s anyone who can compel any senator to jump simply because they want him to jump. I’m ready to defend my position in any debate here. I hope that they will understand that I’m not ready yet to propose any amendment,” Enrile said.
 
The RH Bill has been pending for almost two years and has met several delays since its inception. Advocates of the bill intend to move it up for a second reading before the holiday break on December 22, as getting a quorum might prove to be difficult afterward because of the campaign season.

(Photo of Juan Ponce Enrile by U.S. Government via Wikimedia Commons; photo of Pia Cayetano by Piacayetano media via Wikimedia Commons)

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