Press Release
November 27, 2012

Interview transcript

On the RH Bill and the "Catholic vote"

I have always said that it is a political myth because it has already been disproved by empirical experience in actual elections. The candidate the Catholic Church focused on to defeat still won, so there is no such thing as a Catholic vote. We've never had it in our electoral experience and to talk about it as if it were fait accompli, as if it were something that happens in our elections, is to mislead the public.

It is said that Catholic clergy has influence over local politics and politicians.

Yes. In fact when I started campaigning, the first stop is always the bishop's palace or the parish priest. I thought that it was strange and an aberration because elections are a political exercise. The clerics are free to discipline their own constituents or parishioners within the structure of their own religions, but they cannot ask--as the Catholic church is apparently is asking--for preferential treatment as against all the other churches in the Philippines. That will become a step towards establishing an official religion. The Catholic church is not the official state religion. It has to exhibit an attitude of tolerance to the other religions because the rule in constitutional law is the state should be neutral to all religions, plus it must be neutral to those who have no religion at all--the atheists and the agnostics.

Is the majority of Catholics are pro-RH?

Yes, absolutely, because the surveys say so, and the Catholic Church has not come up with any survey that would be credible that indicates the contrary.

We are looking forward to maybe three weeks after we pass the budget hopefully this week, before we adjourn in December 21 for the Christmas break. We hope we can finish the period of amendments, and even if the President does not certify it as urgent, we can still afford to wait for three days between the approval in second reading after amendments and the approval on third reading, which is just nominal voting.

Do you think there would be voting before the Christmas break?

We hope so. We hope it would be a Christmas present for all infanticipating, for all pregnant women.

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