Twelve days before Christmas,
before dawn on the 13th of December,
after 14 years in the House of Representatives backburner,
the 15th Congress of the Philippines finally put the Reproductive Health Bill to a vote on second reading.
Tallying the nominal voting results was nerve-wracking, with the nation hanging on every Representative’s vote.
It was a close fight, but in the end, the ayes had it: 113-104, with 3 abstentions. Sixty-three Representatives were not present.
Even the ruling Liberal Party was divided on the issue. One-half of LP members in the Lower House voted for the RH Bill, while over a fourth of them voted otherwise. Its “coalition-mates” in next year’s elections, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and the Nacionalista Party (NP), shared the same sentiments.
The newly-created National Unity Party (NUP), meanwhile, was overwhelmingly against the RH Bill, with only six of its Congressmen voting “Yes”.
The same goes to representatives from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) coalition, with only two members (and the sole PDP-Laban congresswoman) favoring the bill; and to Congressmen from the LAKAS-KAMPI-CMD party, wherein majority of its members were against the bill and/or were absent during the session.
I proceeded to break down the voting results even further. The next chart looks at the voting results of district representatives per island group.
With five months before the next local elections, was re-election and/or “continuation of a political dynasty” a factor in a Congressman’s vote on the RH Bill? It turns out, as the next chart shows, not so much.
Out of the 226* district representatives, 161 are seeking re-election on May 2013, while 45 of them would “give way” to a relative who will seek to replace him/her in Congress.
And finally, with the RH Bill also seeking to improve the welfare of women and their reproductive health, let’s see in the following chart how the male and female members of the Lower House voted.
Seventy-eight male Congressmen voted for the RH Bill on second reading, but it is only 36% of the male population of the current Congress.
Meanwhile, twenty female Representatives voted “No” and 11 were absent, but their combined numbers were lesser than the 35 women who voted for the RH Bill.
For your reference, here is the tabulation of voting results sorted by vote and by surname.