Pia prepared to defend the RH bill as co-sponsor Miriam goes on leave to jumpstart ICC campaign

Senator Pia Cayetano is prepared and “raring” to continue her sponsorship of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill when the Senate resumes plenary debates on the measure next week.

Cayetano, principal sponsor of Senate Bill No.2865, will be defending the measure next week without Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, her co-sponsor and the measure’s principal author.

Defensor-Santiago will go on official leave from September 24 to October 2 to travel to The Hague in the Netherlands, to jumpstart the first leg of her campaign as the country’s official nominee to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as one of its judges.

Cayetano and Defensor-Santiago comprise the ‘all-women’s team’ that has been defending the measure on the Senate floor since debates on the RH bill started last August.

But the lady senator won’t be left by her lonesome as she is expected to get support from fellow pro-RH senators, particularly Senator Ferdinand ‘Bong Bong’ Marcos Jr., Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Local Government, who will step up to take on the role of co-sponsor.

It should be noted that Cayetano, Defensor-Santiago and Marcos all ran and won Senate seats under the Nacionalista Party (NP) banner in last year’s national elections.

Meanwhile, Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate committees on Health and Demography and Youth, Women and Family Relations, downplayed suggestions that the chamber should craft new rules on the language that will be used in deliberating the RH bill in plenary.

“The Constitution recognizes Filipino and English as our official languages of communication. The Senate rules do not specify, but it is incumbent on the senators to follow what the Constitution prescribes,” she said.

“Many times I emphasize key points in my explanation by translating these in Filipino, as I’m also aware that there are people watching in the gallery and through live streaming.”

She stressed, “What’s important is the senators are able to communicate in the language that’s most comfortable to them. Thus there’s no need to set rules on what language to use and when to use it in the course of the RH debates.”

“We recognize that there are a number of medical terms and concepts that are difficult to understand, but I always try to simplify these and use layman’s terms.” #

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