ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Church may boot Aquino
President Aquino quickly reacted to the threat, saying that his stand on promoting responsible parenthood has not changed despite the threat to excommunicate him.
Tandag (Surigao) Bishop Nereo Odchimar, the CBCP president, said during an interview over Radio Veritas that there are many grounds for President Aquino to be excommunicated, one of them his supposed advocacy of abortion.
According to Odchimar, distributing contraceptives could make the President an "accessory" to the crime of abortion..
The bishop advised the president to consider the position of the Catholic Church, particularly the moral aspect of contraception.
Odchimar added that they are open to having a dialogue with Mr. Aquino on the matter.
The bishop said that population control is not the main problem in the country, and that corruption and lack of jobs result in poverty, which the President must address.
Odchimar added that they have been consistent in opposing passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill pending in Congress.
Mr. Aquino said that he is unfazed by the threat of the Catholic Church to excommunicate him.
"We are all guided by our consciences. My position has not changed. The State's duty is to educate our families as to their responsibilities and to respect their decisions if they are in conformity with our laws," the president said.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that the president will not change his position on responsible parenthood despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church.
"Our position is responsible parenthood-the decision to determine what size and what method should be with the parents as the decision-makers," Lacierda told reporters.
But he said that Mr. Aquino is open to hold a dialogue with the bishops to explain his stand on responsible parenthood.
But Mr. Aquino can get an ally in the House of Representatives if he supports the passage of the RH bill.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. also said that they will seek the support of the president for the controversial bill since he has "bitten the bullet," referring to Mr. Aquino's stand to provide contraceptives to poor couples.
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