RH Bill Finally Approved

After a year of debate in plenary, the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill is approved in the Senate and House after the ‘second and third reading’.

In polling done in the Senate, 13-8 in favor of proposal and no ‘abstention’ while the Lower House of Congress, 133 voted Yes, No, 79 and 7 abstention.

The senators who voted “yes” on the RH bill were Joker Arroyo, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Ralph Recto, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.., Loren Legarda, Teofisto Guingona II, Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and Panfilo Lacson.

In other turn, ‘no’ vote were from senators Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Vicente Sotto III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Aqui­lino Pimentel III, Jinggoy Estrada, Manuel Villar and Gregorio Honasan.

The two senators, Sen. Serge Osmeña and Sen Lito Lapid weren’t able to vote since they were out in the plenary when the voting of RH bill was done.

Before the vote, Sotto stood aside to insert some amendments to such bills.

Arroyo also hopes that the decision of the Senate and House in the RH bill will be respected in the bicameral conference committee.

Lacson also praised Enrile and Sotto due to their resistance to their ‘beliefs’ and ‘conviction’ of such measures.

Meanwhile in the House, it appears to raise more yes vote compared on second reading last week that only reaches 113 while it is noticeable that no votes lessen more that first earned 104 votes.

Because of this, Albay Rep.. Edcel Lagman said their contingent is already preparing for Bicameral conference meeting that is expected to do today.

“We are now preparing for the Bicam,” Lagman said after polling ended, he said, with almost 18 years of fighting to have the RH law in the Philippines.

“Eto na ang pinakamasayang araw,” stated Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin after the polls.

‘No Need For Noy To Sign Waiver’

Malacañang sees no need for President Aquino to sign any waiver on his bank accounts despite the challenge hurled by Senators Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano, who want all members of the Cabinet to give the public access to their assets.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte pointed out that doing so would lump Aquino with expelled chief justice Renato Corona, who was found guilty of non-disclosure of assets, betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

“Is it fair to put the President, who has not been accused of graft, who has not been accused of dishonesty, to put him in the same category as the man who was just removed from his post, from being the highest magistrate of the land?” Valte asked.

Despite Aquino’s promise during the 2010 presidential campaign to sign a waiver of his bank accounts once elected president, Valte argued there is no need at this point to make good on this promise, since it was made in a different context at the time.

Valte echoed the statement of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that signing bank waivers are mere “theatrics,” especially because such waivers have always been included in the annual statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) that they regularly submit.

“Under the Bank Secrecy Law, there are exceptions there that would trigger the opening of the accounts,” she said.

“It’s all theatrics. Again, there is already a waiver in the SALN that authorizes the Ombudsman to get all the relevant information from all government offices,” she said.

She also added that Aquino has always made available his SALN, from the time he entered government service when he won as Tarlac congressman in 1998, when he was elected senator in 2007 and until now that he is President.

“From 1998 onward, they have all been available publicly. Nobody had said that his SALN disclosure was incomplete or they have not been truthful. And the same goes for members of his Cabinet,” Valte said.

So far, no incumbent Cabinet official – perhaps even past ones – has declared his dollar account/s, if there are any, in the SALN that he has submitted.

Valte qualified, however, that it will be up to members of the official family – in an individual capacity – to sign a waiver if they want to, either on their peso or foreign currency deposits.

“It will be the personal decision of the Cabinet members if they want to sign a waiver under the Bank Secrecy Law and under the FCD Law if applicable,” she said in her weekly interview over state-run radio dzRB.

Chiz: wishing Mar well

Chiz Escudero

Chiz Escudero

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said he is wishing his colleague and Liberal Party vice presidential bet Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II well in the coming days.

Escudero said he hopes they can work for the country “in whatever capacity,” regardless of how Roxas fares in the elections.

“I wish him well. Whatever the outcome of the elections may finally be, I hope we can work for the country and our people in whatever capacity,” he said in a chance interview in Quezon City.

Although Escudero supported the candidacy of LP standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in the May 10 elections, he had campaigned for Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) vice presidential bet Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay instead of Roxas.

Speculations are rife that Roxas and Escudero are both eyeing the presidency in 2016.

Escudero said Roxas has no reason to harbor ill feelings at him for supporting Binay, adding that Roxas should instead respect the decision of those who did not vote for him. No ill feelings, please

He also said that even Aquino, considered a runaway winner in the presidential race after getting some 14 million votes, still has to contend with the fact that 36 million did not vote for him.

“Mahirap magalit sa mga hindi bumoto at sumuporta sa iyo dahil mas marami sila palagi (I hope Roxas does not get mad at me. It is hard to get mad at those who did not vote for you because there are more of them than those who voted for you),” he said.

On the other hand, Escudero said he already made it clear to Aquino as early as January that he would campaign for Binay and not Roxas. He said he told Aquino that supporting Binay was his personal decision.

Escudero also refused to say the game is over for Roxas, who still trails Binay based on unofficial counts.

A GMA News partial and unofficial tally as of 3:42 p.m. Tuesday showed Binay ahead in the vice presidential race with 13,492,375 votes compared to Roxas’ 12,680,050.

The LP, however, said that based on the 88 certificates of canvass (COC) that the party has access to as the dominant minority party, Roxas is ahead of Binay by 137,404 votes. (KBK, GMANews.TV)

Love story starts with a song

MANILA, Philippines – Music is like a prerequisite to a love story, an element that’s almost always present if only to provide romantic dimensions.

Their love story is no exception. As with most people, all that happened at the start was rather inconsequential, as with initial attractions go between a man and a woman. He was a young lawyer who would frequent this hotel lounge, a watering hole for his group. The place had a band that supplied music, simple rhythm and blues to keep the atmosphere alive.

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Enrile defends provision on school building funds

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile defended yesterday a provision in the 2009 budget of the Department of Education, which provided for the concurrence of congressmen before construction projects are started in their respective districts.

Enrile said he does not see anything wrong with such a provision in the budget.

He, however, denied responsibility for the inclusion of the provision because he has relinquished his chairmanship of the finance committee. Enrile said he was not in the bicameral committee when the agreement was reached.

“Because the congressmen would determine where the school buildings will be located, what barangays, what towns. They know the condition of the needs of the districts. I don’t think they will make money out of that,” Enrile said.

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