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Monday, March 28, 2011

Truth is not a question of numbers

A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) 
By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) Updated March 28, 2011 

It is quite plain and clear now. The Aquino administration is overly concerned with the “numbers game” – the number of people supporting or opposing a particular stand, a planned move or a proposed measure. It is still on a campaign mode up to now, always watching out for survey results or the size of the crowd turning out for or against the raging issues of the day. Its stance is apparently influenced by popular public opinion. Hence it tends to overlook or refuse to see what is right or wrong, what is good or bad, about the pros and cons on current issues.

This is especially true with regards to the RH bill now pending in Congress. Yesterday’s news reports say that the prayer rally at the Luneta last Friday, March 25, 2011 was not a “cause of concern” on the part of Malacanang despite the number of people participating which media has rigidly fixed at 40,000. Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang said last Saturday at the PNP graduation rites in Silang Cavite, that the “Aquino administration’s position on responsible parenthood would not change despite the rally organized by the Catholic Church”.

Malacanang’s position in this regard calls to mind the Marcos stand following the assassination of Ninoy Aquino when people started street demonstrations demanding “Justice for Ninoy Justice for All Marcos at that time felt safely ensconced at Malacanang despite the demonstrations and refused to listen to the people’s demand. This stance challenged the people who then organized more and bigger demonstrations leading to the EDSA people power revolution in 1986 that toppled his regime.

The point of comparison or the lesson to be learned here is not to challenge the people by refusing to listen and by remaining adamant simply because the over 40,000 attending the rally is not “a cause of concern”. In the first place that figure is merely based on media reports during the early hours of the rally. Anyone who was there up to the end of the rally would attest that attendance swelled to about 200,000-300,000. Besides, other mass demonstrations are also held or will be held in other parts of the country like Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Tacloban Baguio and other parts of the country. These are definitely enough “causes of concern” for Malacañang.

Actually, two rallies were also held during the Ramos administration in the 90’s with almost the same number of attendance at the Luneta. The first was also about an intended population control program of the Ramos administration that had detrimental effects on family and life. The second was the Ramos plan to change the charter that would mainly extend his stay in Malacanang. Both rallies were spearheaded by P-Noy’s late mother Cory. They were enough to cause Ramos to heed the people’s demands and to abandon his plans. P-Noy should learn from these incidents.

PCDSPO Secretary Carandang said that he was not talking “specifically about the RH bill pending in Congress but the President’s position on modern family planning”. But “modern family planning methods” indubitably refer to no other than the artificial chemical devices like the pills, or mechanical ones like the IUDs. Undeniably, these devices cause abortion or lead to abortion because they prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus of the mother and thus violate the Constitution mandating the State to protect... the life of the unborn from conception (Article II Section 12) which means from fertilization of the ovum as defined by the framers of the Constitution. They also violate the Revised Penal Code (RPC) which penalizes abortion (Articles 256-259).

But the RH Bill authors still insist that the bill does not violate the Constitution and the RPC. They say that conception or the beginning of life is not upon fertilization of the ovum, but upon the implantation of the fertilized egg in the wall of the uterus. So the use of contraceptives or modern family planning methods before implantation, to prevent implantation, is not abortion. This is however contrary to the meaning adopted by the framers of the Constitution and the medically and scientifically proven fact that life begins at fertilization, that a fertilized egg is already a live human being even before implantation. Apparently when P-Noy’s mouthpiece says that P-Noy is maintaining his position on modern family planning, he is adopting this erroneous position of the RH bill authors. He must thus clarify or change his position on this matter because it is wrong.

Indeed P-Noy’s spokespersons seem to anchor P-Noy’s position on this vital issue only on survey results. Again Carandang explained that P-Noy has not changed his position that as part of responsible parenthood the family should plan its size and that the government has reason to believe that most Filipino couples would like to be educated on how to plan their families. Then he again cited figures and pointed out that “something close to 70% of people surveyed consistently say they want access to modern family planning”.

Of course, couples indeed have the right to determine the number of children they want to have, in the exercise of “responsible parenthood”. This is not wrong. What is wrong here is the use of modern family planning methods that may cause or lead to abortion. Besides, responsible parenthood does not consider sex solely for self satisfaction free from any responsibility of giving birth by using artificial modern methods that supposedly prevent conception but actually cause abortion. Responsible parenthood means that couples should look at sex as always open to the possible transmission of life, so that in planning the size of family, they should not use “modern artificial methods” to prevent such possibility, but practice self control and abstinence for the meantime. Thus the government’s position to provide access to these modern family planning methods with harmful effects will never be right or justified simply because 70% of the people surveyed wants access to them.

Expect more prayer rallies therefore asking God that P-Noy and our legislators obey His will by saying No to RH Bill.

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