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Palace might pressure SC on RH - bishop

A Catholic church leader told reporters on Thursday he fears Malacanang would exert effort to pressure the Supreme Court justices to move for the approval of the Reproductive health law after the High Court issued a status quo ante (SQA) order, stopping the implementation of the law for 120 days. Lipa Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles said he will not be surprised if the justices suddenly changed their minds. “I won’t be surprised. They had long prepared for that. I think they enjoyed their congressional victory that they underestimated the wounded judiciary,” Arguelles said. Arguelles, who is a member of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that during deliberations on House Bill 4244 in December last year, the presence of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, press secretary Ricky Carandang and Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda at the House of Representatives triggered reports that the Palace pressured the lawmakers by dangling the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel in exchange for their vote for the measure. The CBCP, in its previous statements, reiterated that the controversial “reproductive health” bill if passed into law “can harm” and “will put the moral fiber of our nation at risk”. The bishops refute claims by the Aquino administration and the RH bill proponents that the measure will benefit the poor Filipinos, Arguelles said. Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, chair of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) also expressed apprehension that the ruling on the RH law now being reviewed in the High Court might be railroaded. Arguelles called on anti-RH Law supporters "to work double time and team up to prepare for June 18" when oral arguments begin.
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