Yesterday, August 6, the House of Representatives finally voted to end the period of debate for the Reproductive Health Bill. This was a surprise move by the bill’s proponents as it had been expected that the vote would be on August 7.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales put forward the motion to end, which faced several objections. Deputy Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella allowed all representatives some time to voice out their positions on the vote with Rep. Amado Bagatsing furious about the early vote. He cited the bill’s opposition to the nation’s “public religion” and that the date, August 6 was unlucky and that 6 was the number of the devil. From these premises, the honorable representative from Manila concluded that it was not a good day to vote for the bill. Rep. Rudolfo Biazon was the last to speak, asking his fellow congressmen whether they ought to listen to the people of the Philippines or to the clergy.
The RH Bill pushed through into the period of amendments despite a last minute attempt by anti-RH congressmen to force a nominal vote. This would have given congressmen 3 minutes each to explain their vote, further delaying the procedures. Such a procedure requires 20% of the representatives to agree to it, which was 50 given the attendance that day. The anti-RH representatives were unable to muster the numbers, belying the Catholic Church’s claim that they had 140 representatives against the bill.
The day ended with severe rains that continue as of this writing. Several areas in Metro Manila are flooded to as high as 6 feet. Several opponents of the RH bill see this coincidence as divine punishment. The following is a collation by Red Tani of several posts on Twitter by users finding divine purpose in completely natural phenomena.
Update (1:00 PM, August 7): One of those objecting to the vote, Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay has put her say regarding the rains, calling it “heaven crying.”