16 "undecided" senators to make or break RH bill; Senate President Enrile chooses nay

(SPOT.ph) As the issue of the Reproductive Health Bill reaches the Senate, 16 "undecided" senators have yet to make known their stand on the issue, reports Newsbreak. As of the moment, only seven have made their opinions clear-two against, and five in favor. Twelve are needed to junk or pass the bill.

The five, according to Newsbreak, include Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who authored the bill in the Senate; health and demography chair Sen. Pia Cayetano; Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson who has his own version of the bill; Sen. Edgardo Angara; and Sen. Ferdinand "Bong-Bong" Marcos Jr. who co-authored the bill as a representative. Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III have voiced out their disapproval. "It is a matter of faith for me. I will be voting against it. I do not want to tinker with God's design," said Enrile.

Based on past statements, however, Newsbreak deduced that four more senators would be likely to vote nay to reproductive health. Sen. Manny Villar has announced his opposition during his presidential campaign while Sen. Gringo Honasan has stood against promoting contraception and teaching sex education to Grade 5 students since the issue broke out last year. Sen. Antonio Trillanes also echoed Honasan's sentiments. While Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said he was still undecided, Newsbreak reported that he had co-authored Senate Bill 2497 with Sotto and Enrile, a bill that increases penalties on abortion and contraception.

In their favor, the RH camp may count on three more votes from Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who likes the idea of family planning but is against abortion. Senators Joker Arroyo and Ralph Recto, however, are still deciding, though both have leanings toward the bill, according to Newsbreak.

Nine other senators are still unclear about their decision  and Santiago is already preparing herself for the start of the debates in the last week of July. "I am preparing my battle gear. After the SONA, we will be ready for a shootout," Santiago said in an interview with Newsbreak.

For more on this story, log on to Newsbreak.

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