I have enough votes to pass RH bill — Cayetano

November 15, 2012 11:11 pm 

By Jelly Musico

MANILA, Nov. 15 – Sen. Pia Cayetano, co-author of the Reproductive Health bill, has expressed optimism to get needed votes for the passage of the controversial measure in the Senate.

”All I can say is that I believe I have the votes,” Cayetano, chairman of the Senate committee on women, youth and family, told the weekly Kapihan sa Senado Thursday.

Cayetano admitted that she is having hard time to put into a vote the RH bill as no less than Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III openly opposed the measure.

”They have one or two people opposing it but at the end of the day, I do have more than 12. Then they are trying to delay it as much as possible knowing that they have ran of ways to oppose it,” Cayetano said.

Last Tuesday, Cayetano moved to resume the period of amendments of the bill.

But Enrile told the lady sponsor of the bill: ”I’m not ready yet to propose any amendment,”

Cayetano asked Enrile when he would be ready for his amendment but the latter responded: "I do not know madam senator when I’m ready.”

Cayetano expressed dismay with the way Enrile employed tactics to delay the bill which has been pending in the Senate for 11 years now.

”As a senator defending a bill on the senate floor, I can’t deny that it is disappointing to me and a bit offensive for a colleague to tell me that they can do nothing and have no intention whatsoever to give time to the measure,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano said she would again move Monday to resume period of amendments after Sen. Ralph Recto assured him he will be read for his own amendments on the bill.

”I will proceed with Sen. Recto’s amendments on Monday and then after that there will be Senators Enrile and Sotto, who repeatedly told me in the past na after his turno-en-contra, he is done but suddenly (he) changed mind. I think it is reasonable to give them a day,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano said Enrile and Sotto had been given enough time to speak on RH bill with Enrile doing it nine times and Sotto 10.

”I humbly request that they make themselves available. If not, then I will avail of the remedies available to me under the Senate Rules,” she added.

Asked what remedies she would employ, Cayetano said she would move to put the bill into a vote whether or not to close the period of individual amendments.

”Under the Senate Rules, by majority vote of the body, we can move a measure forward. We can close the period of interpellation or we can close the period of amendments. So, I can avail (myself) of those remedies,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano, however, refused to name the more than 12 senators who would likely vote in favor of the RH bill’s passage.

”The records will bear me out that I have been very patient in accommodating the needs of every senator to give them time to interpellate and to amend,” Cayetano said.

Meanwhile, Cayetano appealed to his re-electionist colleagues not to be swayed by the so-called Catholic vote, saying the Roman Catholic population is in favor of the bill.

”The Catholic vote is a yes to RH vote. Look at the surveys that the popular vote is making RH available to people. So there is nothing for politicians to fear,”

Cayetano said re-electionist senators are withtholding their opinion on the bill for fear of the popular Catholic vote.

In the 2013 mid-term elections, the re-electionists are Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Aquino Pimentel, Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero. (PNA)

HBC/JFM

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