Press Release
December 14, 2012

Statement by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago
Principal author and co-sponsor, Reproductive Health Bill

President Aquino is my hero! He has cut the Gordian knot! I am very enthused with him. This is manifest proof of executive leadership. By one stroke, he has ended the time-wasting prevarication of the last 13 years over the RH bill. Other presidents shirked their duty, but Pres. Aquino rose to meet the challenge, and he has slain the monster.

Under the Constitution, the President's certification removes the three-day waiting period between the second and the third readings of a bill. This means that immediately after closing the period of second reading, the solons could proceed immediately to the third and final reading.

Under the Constitution, the President certifies to the necessity of the immediate enactment of the RH bill, to meet a public emergency. The emergency consists of the mounting deaths EVERY SINGLE DAY of Filipino mothers, from the poor, owing to childbirth complications, brought about by sheer ignorance of RH. According to the latest surveys, 13 TO 15 SUCH MOTHERS DIE EVERYDAY.

For the Senate, voting to close the period of second reading (aka the period of amendments) is scheduled for Monday. The President's certification means that, as early as Monday, the Senate can already proceed to third and final reading. The same can be said of the House of Representatives.

By Tuesday, the bicameral conference committee of the two chambers can already meet. Therefore, it is possible for the two chambers to ratify the bicam report by Wednesday, before going on Christmas break.

Pres. Aquino will be able to approve the bill starting Thursday, December 20, or at any time within 30 days after he receives it.

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