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           The majority in the House is again dancing to the baton of Malacañang.

           This time the tempo coming from the President is for the postponement of the  ARRM   elections which the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms and the  Committee on Muslim Affairs have endorsed.

            The Aquino administration has taken contradictory positions on the holding of elections.

With respect to the barangay elections where more than two dozen bill and resolutions called for its postponement as being expensive and too proximate to the divisive national elections, Malacañang insisted against postponement to sustain the momentum of Aquino’s victory.

 Now taking an opposite posture, Malacañang wants the cancellation of the ARMM elections because it appears it has no viable candidates yet and allow the President to appoint officers-in-charge.

 

          The precipitate decision of the House Committee on Justice to resume the impeachment proceedings without waiting for the finality of the Supreme Court decision recalling the status quo ante order is rash and regrettable.

           The right of a litigant to interpose a motion for reconsideration is a component of due process. Thwarting one’s opportunity to file a reconsideration effectively tramples the right to due process.

           The House leadership and the Committee on Justice have recognized the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court by filing pleadings and appearing for oral argument in connection with the petition of the Ombudsman. Perforce, they have to wait until the decision of the Supreme Court becomes final after the projected motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsman is disposed with finality.

           Prudence must temper victory and rashness is the image of prejudice.

           The sixty-day period within which the Committee on Justice has to resolve the impeachment case has been tolled by the pendency of the Supreme Court proceedings and will resume to run after the decision has become final.

           There is no need to rush. Ill-advised alacrity will lead to further delay.

 

           What the US House of Representatives “defunded” was limited to financial assistance to private entities performing abortions but no funds were withheld for contraceptives for family planning and for legal abortion performed in hospitals.

            Fr. Melvin Castro of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is utterly misinformed about the US “defunding” measure or he is conveniently misleading the public.

            The US Congress did not withhold funds for family planning and contraceptive use. Section 1009 of House Resolution 217 which was passed by the Lower House of United Sates merely states that “(a) Prohibition.- The Secretary shall not provide any assistance under this title to an entity unless the entity certifies that, during the period of such assistance, the entity will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion.”

           This particular section “does not apply with respect to an abortion where (1) the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape, or an act of incest against a minor” or when the woman is “(2) … is in danger of death unless an abortion is performed…” (Subsection [b] Exception)

           Moreover, hospitals are also exempt from Subsection a of Section 1009. HR 217 clearly mandates that “Subsection (a) does not apply with respect to a hospital, so long as such hospital does not, during the period of assistance described in subsection (a), provide funds to any non-hospital entity that performs an abortion (other than abortion described in subsection b).”

           It is unmistakable that only non-hospital entities will not be granted federal funding for abortions. Clinics and hospitals all over the United States will still receive much needed appropriations not only for family planning and the purchase of contraceptives but also for abortions which remain legal in the United States.

           In fact, there is completely no mention of any cut, let alone the prohibition, of funding for contraceptives and family planning.

           Let me remind Fr. Castro that House Bill 4244 (consolidated RH bill) does not in any way endorse abortion as a family planning method nor does it propose to change the country’s current laws prohibiting abortion.

           What it aims to achieve is the promotion of the right to reproductive health and reproductive self-determination by making available to couples who want to plan their families all forms of family planning options as long as they are legal, medically safe and effective.

          The RH bill will also definitely help lower the incidence of abortion because contraceptive use and abortion have an inverse correlation – regular and correct use of contraceptives reduces abortion rates since unplanned and unwanted pregnancies are avoided.

          Research from the Guttmacher Institute even states that contraceptive use reduces abortion rates by as much as 85%.

  • Rep. Edcel C. Lagman
  • 0916-6406737/0918-9120137
  • 16 February 2011

 

           Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman, the principal author of the RH bill, announced that the members of the Committee on Appropriations all but guaranteed today “the inexorable progression to enactment of the reproductive health bill.”

           The Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly approved the appropriation provision of the consolidated RH bill which reads: “The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act for reproductive health and natural and artificial family planning under the DOH and POPCOM shall be allocated and utilized for the initial implementation of this Act. Such additional sums necessary to implement this Act; provide for the upgrading of facilities necessary to meet Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care standards; train and deploy skilled health providers; procure family planning supplies and commodities as provided in Sec. 10; and implement other reproductive health services, shall be included in the subsequent years' General Appropriations Acts.”

             The Committee voted 20 to 3 in favor of the measure.

             The current substitute bill is a consolidation of House Bills 96, 101, 513, 1160 and 3387 as approved previously by the Committee on Population and Family Relations.

             After getting the approval of the Committees on Population and Family Relations and Appropriations, the substitute bill together with the Committee Report of the Committee on Population and Family Relations will be submitted to the Committee on Rules so that the RH bill could be calendared for plenary debates, Lagman said.

             He also underscored that, “we do not only have the superiority of numbers; we also have the superiority of arguments.”

             Lagman added that “central to the bill is freedom  of informed choice and access to information and services promoting both natural and modern family planning methods.”

              The proponents of the RH bill in the House are confident that the controversial measure will finally become a law before the year ends.

             Lagman stated that the enactment of an RH law will  confirm the results of almost two decades of surveys documenting  the peoples’ overwhelmingly support for the passage of an RH law.

PRESS RELEASE Rep. Edcel C. Lagman 0916-6406737/0918-9120137 16 February 2011 Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman, the principal author of the RH bill, announced that the members of the Committee on Appropriations all but guaranteed today “the inexorable progression to enactment of the reproductive health bill.” The Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly approved the appropriation provision of the consolidated RH bill which reads: “The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act for reproductive health and natural and artificial family planning under the DOH and POPCOM shall be allocated and utilized for the initial implementation of this Act. Such additional sums necessary to implement this Act; provide for the upgrading of facilities necessary to meet Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care standards; train and deploy skilled health providers; procure family planning supplies and commodities as provided in Sec. 10; and implement other reproductive health services, shall be included in the subsequent years' General Appropriations Acts.” The Committee voted 20 to 3 in favor of the measure. The current substitute bill is a consolidation of House Bills 96, 101, 513, 1160 and 3387 as approved previously by the Committee on Population and Family Relations. After getting the approval of the Committees on Population and Family Relations and Appropriations, the substitute bill together with the Committee Report of the Committee on Population and Family Relations will be submitted to the Committee on Rules so that the RH bill could be calendared for plenary debates, Lagman said. He also underscored that, “we do not only have the superiority of numbers; we also have the superiority of arguments.” Lagman added that “central to the bill is freedom of informed choice and access to information and services promoting both natural and modern family planning methods.” The proponents of the RH bill in the House are confident that the controversial measure will finally become a law before the year ends. Lagman stated that the enactment of an RH law will confirm the results of almost two decades of surveys documenting the peoples’ overwhelmingly support for the passage of an RH law.