Press Release
December 5, 2012


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said that she "could smell victory in the air" for the RH bill, based on the fact that last Tuesday, during the period of amendments, the Senate majority voted down four proposed amendments.

"The voting showed that the RH group in the Senate has core support from at least 11 senators. There are actually more, but some were absent last Tuesday," she said.

Senate Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile, leader of the anti-RH group, tried to propose amendments to two provisions deleting the phrase "save and satisfying sex life" and the phrase "pleasurable and safe sexual experiences."

Santiago stood up to oppose the amendments which were defeated by a vote of 11 against and 6 in favor.

"These phrases might be unfamiliar to certain senators, but they are the accepted linguistic formula in international human rights law, particularly international women' rights law," she said.

Santiago, an international law expert, said that in contemporary international law, the Final Act of an international conference can be considered as a treaty-making law among the signatories to the Final Act.

She added that the Philippines is a signatory to the Final Act of the International Conference on Population Development," and therefore is now bound to provide for "safe and satisfying sex life."

Santiago also pointed out that the phrase "pleasurable and safe sexual experiences," is used in certain international documents, most notable by the World Health Organization.

During the debate on these two amendments, Enrile tried to be snide and sarcastic against Santiago, saying that in international law, "he was not as brilliant as others here."

Santiago immediately jumped to her feet and said, "I feel alluded to! I am very offended!"

Enrile then went on to propose another amendment, which was also defeated.

Sen. Ralph Recto followed with his own amendment to replace the phrase, "each LGU" with the phrase "the national government," in the provision for the establishment of hospitals for obstetrics and newborn care. Recto's amendment was also voted down, with 9 against and 8 in favor.

The second Recto amendment, which is still pending, states that minors should get the written consent of their parents before they can buy contraceptives. Again, the co-sponsors, Sen. Pia Cayetano and Sen. Santiago opposed the amendment.

Santiago issued her statement at the impromptu assembly in the Senate of the Reproductive Health Advocate Network, led by the NGO Likhaan under Executive Director Dr. Junice Melgar.

The RH advocates went to the Senate after starting from the Quezon Memorial Circle and staging a motorcade.

The pro-RH group is campaigning for enactment of an RH law before Congress session ends on December 21, under the theme "Paskong RH, RH law na!"

The pro-RH group of some 150 RH leaders and community women leaders, presented the RH parol to both Santiago and Cayetano.

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