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Cayetano: Impeachment trial should not affect passage of RH bill

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Senator Pia Cayetano said on Tuesday the impeachment trial of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona is not a valid excuse to sideline the ongoing debates on the Reproductive Health bill.

Cayetano, co-sponsor of the controversial measure, made her reaction after Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the impeachment trial could delay the passage of the RH bill.

"Those who are vehemently objecting to the RH bill can offer every conceivable excuse to further push back plenary deliberations on this measure. But I take exception to one anti-RH senator's statement suggesting that our lawmaking duties would have to be sidelined by the impeachment trial,” Cayetano said, referring to Sotto.

”I disagree, because it is our job to continue our work even with the trial. We know we can do better than that by using efficient time management,” she added.

Cayetano said the Senate can adopt the same setup it made for the aborted impeachment trial of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez seven months ago.

”The chamber agreed (then) to adjust its schedule so it could take up legislative matters in the morning from Monday to Wednesday, while conducting the trial as an impeachment court in the afternoon from Monday to Thursday. I can't see why we can't adopt a similar approach for the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice," Cayetano explained.

The Senate is expected to convene as an impeachment court when it resumes sessions from Christmas break on January 16.

The House of Representatives formally transmitted the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Tuesday morning.

Recently, Cayetano made manifestation to proceed in the period of amendments of the RH bill but Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sotto quickly turned it down, saying more senators have lined up for interpellations.

By PNA




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