Gloria Arroyo:The New Darling of the Anti-RH Bishops?

The darling of the Pajero Bishops

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“All anti-RH people are welcome to join us on Saturday.”
“Regardless of the political party or affiliation, every single vote versus the RH bill is welcome for us.”


Like Batman in the hit movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is emerging from the pits to help defuse fears of a population bomb.
Seven of Arroyo’s allies had withdrawn as authors of the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill that the Catholic Church vehemently opposes.
As such, the Pampanga representative has become the darling of the Church hierarchy, some of whose prelates were gifted with SUVs when she was the President but unfortunately had to give them up following a Senate inquiry.
Wearing a neck brace and lumbar support, Arroyo showed up for the first time in a year—the past eight months under hospital arrest on election sabotage charges—in the House on Tuesday.
The former President, who is being treated for a rare neck ailment, described her appearance there as a “dry run” for the crucial vote on August 7 on the RH bill. She said she would vote against the Malacañang-backed measure.
“This is an issue that she feels strongly about as a devout Catholic, although she never used her term in the presidency to push things her way,” House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said Wednesday. “But now, as a member of Congress, she will be free to vote [with] her heart and her mind.”
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) announced Wednesday that it was opening its doors to Arroyo at a Mass prayer rally it was leading against the RH bill on Saturday at the Edsa Shrine.
“All anti-RH people are welcome to join us on Saturday,” said Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life.
“Regardless of the political party or affiliation, every single vote versus the RH bill is welcome for us,” he said in a phone interview.
Suarez also announced yesterday that he and six other lawmakers had withdrawn as coauthors of House Bill No. 4244, which essentially seeks to bring down the country’s population growth rate. The turnaround of the seven, brings to 20 the number of congressmen opposing the bill.
Turning water into wine
The CBCP earlier expressed confidence that as many as 140 congressmen were opposed to the RH bill, with only 49 in favor of the measure.
Representative Edcel Lagman, chief architect of HB 4244, ridiculed the CBCP position, saying “Catholic bishops extrapolate the votes against the RH bill like turning water into wine.”
“The bishops forget that the miracle of life should not result in the death of the mother, and the quality of life of children must be enhanced by empowering parents, couples and women to freely and responsibly determine the number and spacing of their children,” he said in a statement.
Lagman insisted that “RH authors and advocates have the numbers inside and outside the Congress.”
“Legislators are fully aware of the realities on the ground about gripping mass poverty spawned by an inordinately huge population growth rate because couples and women in the marginalized sectors do not have access to correct reproductive health information and effective supplies and services,” he said.
A matter of conscience
The August 7 vote would decide if interpellation should be closed and the process of approval of the bill be moved forward. Some 20 more members will still question authors of HB 4244 on the floor. In the Senate, Senator Pia Cayetano complained on Tuesday that the  leadership had not moved to end debates on the measure, putting it in limbo.
“Changing your mind is no joke,” Suarez said. He said that  “conscience” played a role in the minority members’ reversal of position.
Suarez and his six colleagues formally informed Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of their decision in a letter dated July 30. Belmonte’s office officially received the letter Wednesday and Suarez gave a copy to reporters.
It carried the signatures of Representatives Suarez, Orlando Fua (Siquijor),  Reena Concepcion Obillo (Una Ang Pamilya), Mohammed Hussein Pangandaman (Lanao del Sur), Nasser Pangandaman (AA Kasosyo), Elmer Panotes (Camarines Norte) and Pastor Alcover Jr. (Anad).
Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano Jr., also part of the 28-member minority and a supporter of the RH bill, on Wednesday said he was now rethinking his position. He admitted that he was “convinced by the reasoning and interpellation” done by Deputy Minority Leader Milagros Magsaysay on the bill.
“I’m looking at it conscientiously and [I will] come out with a [final] decision,” he said in a joint press conference with Suarez.
Suarez and his six colleagues arrived at their decision to abandon the RH measure following a caucus on  Monday.
“We’re talking about human life here. It’s not taxation. It’s not about economics or boundaries or dispute with other nations, treaties,” he recalled telling the group. “No, we’re talking of human life.”
Fears of marching order
Suarez said he was hoping that congressmen would vote on the move as a matter of “conscience.”
He said: “There should be no marching order from the administration because honestly, I’ll be scared if the administration issues a marching order.”
Suarez said he  himself was convinced to reject the RH bill after being exposed to other countries that had adopted a similar measure to control their population growth. Those  countries, he said, were saddled with problems of an insufficient labor force because the death rate was now greater than the number of children being born.
“Our component is the people—they’re our asset. Yet we will control [population growth]?” he argued. “That’s the reason why I had second thoughts and [withdrew] my support [for the RH bill].”
But unlike other opponents of the RH bill, Suarez was in favor of including in the Department of Health’s budget for next year a program providing free vasectomy and ligation. From INQUIRER

In the wake of the first plunder case filed against her, former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has turned to Catholic bishops for prayers of courage to accept things she could no longer change.
 Ate Glo: “We women have proven without doubt that we can do what men can.” -Speech, International Women’s Day, ULTRA, March 8, 2001
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.” Mahatma Gandhi
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The Gloria Arroyo Mistakes

We hope Gloria will reflect on what went wrong in her decade-long misrule.Hopefully ,this self-reflection will encourage her to own up to her big mistakes.
Gloria should reflect on the 10 most important mistakes that shaped her presidency.It’s a pretty solid list.
We list them in the order of gravity of the mistakes.
1) Orchestrating HR 1109.Members of the opposition had warned of a possible proclamation of martial law and possible “Arroyo dictatorship”, following the approval of House Resolution 1109, which empowers a Senate-Less Congress to convene itself into a Constitutional Assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution.
2) Lifting the phone and calling Garci. This infamous phone call raised very serious doubts about her electoral victory in 2004.
3) Blocking all impeachment attempts against her. The House of Representatives, which is dominated by Arroyo’s coalition allies, blocked all attempts for an impeachment trial. No trial has taken place thus far to clear her of all the serious allegations against her and her accomplices in government.
4) Pardoning Erap so quickly.Estrada, 70, was convicted on charges he took bribes and kickbacks while in office. He was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to forfeit a mansion and more than US$15.5 million (€11 million).As it turned out, Arroyo pardoned Erap almost immediately after his conviction in September 2007.
5) Promising not to to run in the 2004 elections. In front of the Jose Rizal monument in Baguio,Arroyo announced on Rizal Day 2002 that she had to decided to drop out of the presidential race in 2004.”It is God who puts ideas in my heart,”explained Arroyo.
6)Changing her mind about not running in 2004.”I will run for president in the May 2004 elections,Arroyo said in a speech in Clark .”I remain married to the country.Thus,I have deferred my retirement.”
7)Issuing EO 464.In September 2005, Gloria Arroyo clipped the powers of Congress to conduct hearings and to summon officials of the executive department to testify before congressional inquiries.
8)Invoking executive privilege on the scandal-tainted ZTE-NBN deal. Did Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo follow up the national broadband network (NBN) project with then socioeconomic planning secretary Romulo Neri? Was Neri dictated to prioritize the Chinese firm ZTE Corporation? Did Arroyo tell him to go ahead and approve the project despite being told about the alleged bribe? We will never know the answers to these three all-important questions of the Senate.
9) Spending extravagantly in junkets and expensive dinners abroad. Remember her famous call to action for frugality :”I ask our people to spend on the basics before the luxuries so our children will have enough to eat.” Enough said.
10) Deciding to stay in the U.S. while typhoon “Frank” battered the Philippines.Seemed pretty callous!


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