Starting September 8, 2012, anonymous comments -- whether for or against the RH bill -- will no longer be permitted on this blog.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Atty. Joe Sison responds to Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on the "Right to Privacy" issue

From Mr. Sison's regular Philippine Star column:

A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) 
By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) 

The confusion is getting worse. There are now three RH bills: the Lagman bill in the Lower House, the Santiago bill in the Upper House and the bill coming from Malacanang called Responsible Parenthood bill which is included among the list of priority bills sent to the Lower House for approval. The stakes must really be getting higher and the “pressure” becoming more and more “irresistible” as more and more people not only from the Legislative but also from the Executive Department are getting into the act. Hence it is really important to identify the groups lobbying and their motives in aggressively pushing for the passage of the bill as called for by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.

Apparently the only thing clear at this stage is that the three bills contain provision about the use of contraceptives as a means to limit the size of the family under the guise of exercising responsible parenthood and women’s reproductive health. They are just the same dog with different collars. This is the main objectionable and most controversial feature of the bill because of the effects of contraceptives.

Indeed in her sponsorship speech of the bill, Senator Santiago was quoted as saying that the “state cannot restrict the right of married persons to use contraceptives. The state cannot prohibit the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried persons. And the state cannot require that contraceptives should be sold only by pharmacists”. Readily, something is misleading in this statement because, at present, contraceptives are not prohibited by the state. There is no law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives. In fact the state itself has distributed contraceptives for free during the time of Cabral at the DOH. Anybody can already buy them at the market even without any RH bill. So if Santiago’s purpose is just to make the contraceptives available, there is no need for an RH bill.

Clearly therefore, the real reason behind the RH bill, whether it is the Lagman, Santiago or Malacanang version, is to appropriate taxpayers’ money for the purchase of contraceptives and make them available especially to the poor who cannot afford them supposedly to solve the problem of poverty by preventing the increase in the number of poor people. In this connection, noteworthy is Senator Sotto III’s observation that one of the groups lobbying for the passage of the bill is the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), the largest family planning NGO in the country. FPOP is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) established by Margaret Sanger, “the inventor of eugenics or the scientific strategy of eliminating the poor, the weak, the useless and the uneducated”. Coincidentally, this strategy resembles and jibes with the purpose of the RH bill. Hence there must really be some “sinister motive” in pushing for the RH bill which should be looked into as Senator Sotto III suggested.

Worse still is that Senator Santiago now even uses the right of privacy as justification for passing the bill. She said that “the Reproductive Health measure is an affirmation of the constitutional right to privacy”; that “the right to privacy applies to sex, marriage and procreation”. In using this new angle, Santiago cites the US case of Griswold vs. Connecticut, 381 US 479 (1965). In said case, the US Supreme Court invalidated a Connecticut law prohibiting the use of contraceptives because it violates the “right to marital privacy”.

Offhand, one could readily see the flaws and contradictions in this latest stance of the Senator. First of all, the case cited pertains to a law prohibiting the use of contraceptives. In our case here however, there is no such law involved. Hence the cited case is plainly inapplicable to the present controversy on the RH bill. Secondly, and the irony of it all, is that the RH measure she is advocating precisely intrudes into the most intimate life of a couple as it attempts to influence them on how and when to have sex. It even cheapens sex and leads to marital infidelity because with contraceptives supposedly assuring “safe” sex, being made available, couples may be lured into satisfying their sexual urge with anybody else. So the RH bill is clearly an intrusion into and not an affirmation of the right to privacy. Third, and most importantly of all, by citing Grisworld, Senator Santiago has even confirmed the link between contraception and abortion, that contraception is the cause of abortion. Indeed after the Griswold ruling came the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision (410 US 113) where the US SC legalized abortion in America and confirmed that “in some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception”.

Senator Santiago’s stance on the RH bill even places the right to privacy superior to the right to life. This runs counter to the principle enshrined in our Constitution that “all rights are subject and subsequent to the right to life”. In short, the RH measure that Santiago is advocating which encourages and even subsidizes the use of contraception violates the constitutional policy requiring the state to protect the life of the unborn from the moment of conception.

Even politicians must listen to the guidance given by the Church

From Bishop Teodoro Bacani's column this past Wednesday ("On the RH bill again"):

The El Shaddai DWXI Prayer Partners celebrated their 27th anniversary last August 20-21. August 20 was also the birthday of the founder and servant-leader of the group. It was a mammoth celebration, the biggest after the 10th and 11th anniversary celebrations many years ago. The size of the congregation gathered in the Amvel City compound, San Dionisio, Paranaque, showed clearly the resurgence of the El Shaddai Prayer Partners, which in the past were assailed by attacks and political winds. 
During my homily, the congregation roared loudly its disapproval of the RH bill. That is why I cannot understand what is often reported: that the majority of our people approve of the bill. Why, if this is true, do the votes cast after the public debates on TV show the votes going against the RH bill? In no public debates have they won after the issues have been clarified for the listeners. In all the public fora I have participated in, I could sense the tide going against the RH bill. Certainly, the El Shaddai Prayer Partners, the biggest charismatic group in the Philippines, are massively against the bill. 
That August 21, I was talking to a congressman from a southern Tagalog province. He assured me that the anti-RH congressmen are in the majority, and provided President Aquino does not twist arms, the RH bill would not pass the Lower House. We had with us that evening the new senator, Koko Pimentel, who is also anti-RH. Those who are crowing already of the certain approval of the bill may find themselves in the position of the Texters who found themselves losing to the less favored Petron team in the recent PBA championship game. What we anti-RH people are asking is a free and fair discussion of the issues. We are aware that monetary considerations have been openly dangled before the government by foreign groups. There may be even more baits than those published in the papers or broadcast on radio and TV. 
Catholic congressmen and congresswomen should be aware of the teaching of the Pope and of the Church on this matter. The RH bill proponents keep on saying that they are against abortion and will not countenance it. If this is so, I challenge them to include this amendment to the bill: “No abortifacients will be distributed by government hospitals, agencies, and personnel. By ‘abortifacients are meant any and all means, devices or procedures which prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum or dislodge from the maternal womb the implanted ovum.” 
The reason I propose this amendment is because when RH bill proponents speak of abortion, they do not include the prevention of the fertilized ovum from being implanted in the uterus. Abortion for them occurs only if and when the implanted fertilized ovum is expelled from the womb. 
Let me cite to you here the teaching of the Church as clearly enunciated by Blessed Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter, “The Gospel of Life” : “ . . . the Church has always taught and continues to teach that the result of human procreation, from the first moment of its existence, must be guaranteed that unconditional respect which is morally due to the human being in his or her totality and unity as body and spirit. ‘The human being is to be respected and treated as a human person from the moment of conception, and, therefore, from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which, in the first place, is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.’” (no. 60) 
The Church’s highest teaching authority has given us here authoritative moral guidance, which should guide Catholics—also legislators—in both their private and public actuations. The issue here is not only responsible parenthood or family planning, against which the Church has no complaint. In fact, the Church is an advocate of responsible parenthood and family planning. But the issue of means is also important. You cannot do wrong in order to achieve a desired good; the end does not justify the means. In the choice of means, we should also heed what the Church tells us: “The human being is to be respected and treated as a human person from the moment of conception” and should not be deprived of life. And by conception here is meant “the result of human procreation, from the first moment of its existence.”

Can one be clearer than that?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A doctor speaks out on the moment of conception and the definition of "abortifacient"

This is the document that is cited in the Filipinos for Life press release that, in turn, forms the basis of the following article on CBCP for Life: Debate over conception settled decades ago, lawmakers told.


The following questions are frequently asked in connection with the debates over the Reproductive Health bill:

1. What's the scientific basis of conception occurring at fertilization?
2. What contraceptives can therefore be considered abortive under that definition?

The following is my response. 

The key feature of a human pattern is its organization towards the production of a mature human body. Basic embryology teaches us that the instant of fertilization (the union of the ovum and sperm) is time zero of human development. Fertilization results in the formation of a new cell that is distinct from the cells that give rise to it, because the fertilized ovum/zygote/embryo, as a stage in human development, possesses the material composition (genetic and molecular) and behavior (developmental pathway) necessary for its maturity.

Since LIFE is defined as an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction, and it is governed by the law of biogenesis, which states that all life comes from preexisting life, the fertilized ovum/zygote/embryo, whether it has implanted on a woman’s endometrium or not, is ALIVE and is HUMAN.

Historically, the terms fertilization and conception were used interchangeably. However, in the 1960s, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO) redefined conception as the implantation of a fertilized ovum, citing that the union of sperm and ovum cannot be detected clinically unless implantation occurs. Pregnancy was subsequently defined as the state from conception to expulsion of the products of that conception. This invariably changed the definition of conception from fertilization to implantation. Coincidentally, this redefinition was not brought about by any scientific breakthrough during that time but was made at around the same time that the first intrauterine device (IUD) was sold in the market and birth control pills were legalized in the US.

It must be emphasized that pregnancy is the state of the mother, not of the unborn. Therefore, non-implantation does not negate the status of the fertilized ovum/zygote/embryo as a living human being.

The confusion over the term conception and whether it refers to fertilization or implantation is not a result of lack of scientific data but of verbal engineering. The implications of redefining conception are seen in the mechanisms of action of contraceptive pills and IUDs and whether they act as abortifacients.

From the pharmacologic standpoint, hormonal contraceptives (pills and injectables) have multiple mechanisms of action. Katzung’s Basic and Clinical Pharmacology 11th ed (2009) states that:

“The combinations of estrogens and progestins exert their contraceptive effect largely through selective inhibition of pituitary function that results in inhibition of ovulation. The combination agents also produce a change in the cervical mucus, in the uterine endometrium, and in motility and secretion in the uterine tubes, all of which decrease the likelihood of conception and implantation. The continuous use of progestins alone does not always inhibit ovulation. The other factors mentioned, therefore, play a major role in the prevention of pregnancy when these agents are used.”

(Note as well that in pharmacology textbooks, conception is used to refer to fertilization and is clearly distinguished from implantation.)

On the other hand, the IUD incites an inflammatory reaction on the endometrial lining. This inflammation acts as a spermicide AND as a means to decrease the likelihood of implantation should fertilization occur (Comprehensive Gynecology, 5th ed 2007).

By virtue of the ACOG/FIGO redefinition of conception, the post-fertilization effect of preventing implantation does not SEMANTICALLY equate to the abortifacient effect of contraceptive pills and IUDs, since abortion is technically defined (again by ACOG and FIGO) as the expulsion of all the products of conception before the twentieth week of pregnancy.

HOWEVER, this is in direct contradiction to the Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Health, Education and Welfare statement which affirms that life begins at fertilization when it states that:

All measures which impair the viability of the zygote at any time between the instant of fertilization and the completion of labor constitute, in the strict sense, procedures for inducing abortion.”

It is therefore only logical that, if we subscribe to the scientific fact that human development begins at fertilization, the prevention of implantation terminates life. While it may be argued that the prevention of implantation is not the PRIMARY mechanism of action of these drugs and devices, fertilization can occur, as evidenced by breakthrough ovulations and contraceptive failures. A contraceptive failure is a human being. THUS, the SECONDARY mechanism of preventing implantation constitutes the abortifacient effect of hormonal contraceptives and IUDs.

However, it is logistically, technologically, and ethically impossible to determine which “successful” prevention of pregnancy is due to inhibition of ovulation, fertilization or implantation. This is where World Health Organization (WHO), medical societies and scientific journals use the term “no evidence” in reference to the lack of empirical data, and NOT to the fact that a phenomenon does not occur.

In this light, it is imperative that the precautionary principle, which states that:

“if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action,”

be applied. When science finds a plausible risk, social responsibility must compel us to protect the public from exposure to harm, until such time that further scientific findings provide sound evidence that ABSOLUTELY NO HARM TO LIFE will result from the action.

Ultimately, as human beings, our actions must always PROTECT LIFE in order to be truly PRO-LIFE, because we cannot afford to risk even one human life.

Abraham Daniel Campo Cruz, MD
Instructor A, Department of Pharmacology, FEU-NRMF Institute of Medicine
Master of Science (cand.) in Pharmacology, UP Manila
Associate Member, Philippine Society of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology
Member, Filipinos for Life

Fr. Coronel's collection of anti-RH ribbons and pictures

A few months ago, Fr. Louie Coronel OP posted a small collection of anti-RH pictures / graphics on his blog A Priest's Stuff. Here are five of those:

The foreign hands behind the RH bill

Powerful pro-RH lobby
By Malou Guanzon-Apalisok
Cebu Daily News

Is there an unseen foreign hand lobbying for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill in Congress? This was the point raised by Senate Majority Leader Vicento “Tito” Sotto III during last Tuesday’s plenary debates on the controversial bill.

Senator Sotto was elected to a new term in the Senate in 2010. He was elected senator for two terms from 1992 to 2004, but he has never found a key issue that would define his stint in the Senate. He tried to champion the anti-drugs issue in 1992 but it was a painful time for him. He did not only fail, the issue also tainted him.

If he is serious in his efforts to unmask local lobbyists and invisible partners actively pushing for the controversial legislation, he could be treading on dangerous territory but this will become the acid test of his will to serve and who knows, might yet rewrite his legislative record in a way that will make his grandfather, the late Cebuano senator Vicente Y. Sotto, proud.

Talks that lawmakers who are supporting the RH bill receive money from powerful lobbyists had been going around, but no government agency or nongovernment organization is pressing to look into the matter. In fact, this is the first time in legislative discussions about the RH bill, whether in its previous or current version, that a lawmaker is raising the issue of lobbying and lobbyists.

The definitions on lobby by online resources are aplenty, but Wikipedia has an interesting output because it presents a timeline that shows how the word evolved.

“Lobbying,” by the account of the British Broadcasting Corp., comes from the gathering of Members of Parliament and peers in the hallways (or lobbies) of Houses of Parliament before and after parliamentary debates. In this segment, the word “lobby” refers to campaigns or moves aimed to influence the outcome of legislation.

Another story states that the term originated at “the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, where it was used by Ulysses S. Grant to describe the political wheelers and dealers who frequented the hotel’s lobby to access Grant—who was often there to enjoy a cigar and brandy.”

Grant was President of the US from 1869 to 1877. His major advocacy is support for civil rights for the freed slaves of his era. However, history has judged his presidency poorly because of its “tolerance for graft and corruption.”

By moving to make known the forces rallying behind members of Congress who are pushing for the passage of the RH Bill, Senator Sotto is telling Senate sponsors like Miriam Defensor Santiago and Pia Cayetano to look closely into the activities of the RH lobbyists, in particular, the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP).

The senator’s objective has yet to unravel but perhaps he intends to ask the FPOP, which is said to be funded by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), about family planning interventions that are being underwritten by the IPPF.

The IPPF is the largest family planning organization in the world. It is the pet peeve of the Population Research Institute in Virginia, USA and its president Steven Mosher.

Mosher has been attacking IPPF for allegedly circumventing anti-abortion laws in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and India.

The staunch pro-lifer said the IPPF has brought 200 menstrual regulation kits supposedly for demonstration purposes and distributed the paraphernalia to local doctors in the Philippines. Mosher alleged that the importation of the menstrual kits subverted our laws because the procedure, “menstrual regulation” or “menstrual evacuation” is actually another name for abortion.

With Sotto’s interest in the pro-RH lobby, indeed now is the time to inquire about NGOs’ intervention in family planning programs and whether these are in conformity with our laws and cultural tradition.

Advocates of the RH bill like FPOP, which works in alliance with IPPF, are not ordinary lobby forces.

The IPPF is “financially supported by governments, trusts and foundations including the European Commission and the United Nations Population Fund for special projects.

“Half of the balance of their funding comes from government official development assistance programmes. To achieve their goals as an organization, the IPPF often collaborates with the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development,” according to Mr. Wiki.

To the long list of strong financial supporters, IPPF has added one more, billionaire mogul Warren Buffet, whose personal wealth is estimated at $50 billion.

A report by The New York Times last year said the Warren Buffet Foundation gives tens of millions of dollars to IPPF. The investing mogul is said to be “secretly backing a campaign to combat the decrease in doctors who are training as abortionists and to bring abortion into the mainstream of medicine.”

“The New Abortion Providers” by journalist Emily Bazelon said the campaign involves abortion “rights” activists working to “recast doctors, changing them from a weak link of abortion to a strong one.” The scenario they wish to make is to “integrate abortion so that it’s a seamless part of health care for women, embraced rather than shunned.”

Friday, August 26, 2011

From pro-RH bill to pro-life: a public school teacher's conversion story

From Teresa Tunay's blog:

Following is the story of a public school teacher who went with friends to the Batasan to give moral support to the sponsors of the RH Bill. Here’s her account, as told to this writer:

“I am a public school teacher. I grew an interest in the RH Bill because of my friends who work in a Non Government Office (NGO) and are in favor of the bill’s passing. Ever since I learned that we women would have at last a law dedicated to our health and empowerment, I followed the developments in the news. I watched ‘Harapan’ and ‘Grand Debate’ on television. I rooted for the pro-RH side, convinced beyond doubt that I would be among the first to benefit from the RH Bill if passed. I voted online for the bill’s passing, and although I wondered why the anti-RH gathered more votes, I thought people voted against the bill because they did not know what I and my friends knew; or maybe they were nuns and society women who do not experience the same problems we lower class women do.

“I am still of reproductive age, I take the pill, and I am married to a brute. My children are aged 8, 7 and 5. When talking with my friends about the helplessness of women in our society and under the law, I would get mad and think ours is really a male-dominated society. Women who get to the top (like women in politics, business or movie stars) do so because they are born rich or beautiful and therefore have the support of men in power. They have the luck which we other women do not have, but I am not complaining. At least I finished college and have a good job; however, that does not put me in a much better place than my fellow Filipinas who never even got beyond Grade 6.

What forces are behind the RH bill? The public must know!

Posted today on CBCP for Life:

MANILA, August 26, 2011–A lawmaker interpellating the Senate sponsors of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill is on the right track by asking for the identities of the powerful lobbyists behind the controversial measure.

In a statement, Filipinos For Life (F4L) agreed with Sen. Vicente Sotto III on the need to unmask the foreign hand behind the RH bill.

Sotto had pointed out that one of the bill’s proponents, the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the worldwide organization founded by known eugenicist Margaret Sanger.

F4L took exception to a statement by former partylist lawmaker Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel that “Only 3% of IPPF’s services worldwide are abortion-related.”

“That may be IPPF’s spin on its public identity, but the truth is Planned Parenthood is the largest single provider of abortions in the US,” said F4L.

“IPPF is a pro-choice organization. In the US, pro-choice is synonymous with pro-abortion.”

A check on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s website shows the group openly offers abortion services.

“Thinking about abortion? Find a health center,” the website states.

“There are two kinds of abortion in the U.S. — in-clinic abortion and the abortion pill. Abortions are very common. In fact, more than 1 out of 3 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old,” the website states.

F4L noted that a vocal supporter of the RH bill, with a long history of interfering in the national policies of different countries, is the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR).

On its website, WGNRR says it “places a particular focus on access to safe and legal abortion, access to contraceptives, sexual rights and the special unmet demands of young people.”

“Lawmakers should be wary of the language used in the RH bill. In international usage, the term ‘reproductive rights,’ as well as ‘reproductive health’ as publicly stated by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, includes access to abortion,” F4L added. (CBCP for Life)

Kit Tatad's response to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago's sponsorship speech for the RH bill

From the blog Usap-Usap, Isip-Isip

By Francisco S. Tatad



On Monday, August 1, 2011, my good friend and neighbor Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago delivered a speech co-sponsoring Senate Bill No. 2865, “An Act Providing For A National Policy On Reproductive Health and Population and Development.”

She titled her speech, “Primacy of Conscience in Catholic Theology,” the first of three parts, and signed it not as senator but as “Doctor of Juridical Science and Master of Arts in Religious Studies (cand.).”

The display of academic credentials was probably meant to lend authority to what she was going to say and moderate the skepticism of her audience. As a student of parliamentary procedure and a Senate majority leader for many years, I have not seen anything like it, certainly not a sponsorship or co-sponsorship speech in three “gives”.

Church attacked

The speech focused on Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life and the evil of contraception, as contained in Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, and reiterated emphatically since then in such papal documents as Blessed John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, Familiaris Consortio, and Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate, among others.

It argued that Humanae Vitae is not binding on all Catholics because it is based on the “minority report” rather than the “majority report” submitted by the papal commission tasked to study the problem, and that many clerics, theologians and laymen do not agree with it.

It pointed out that out of 48 Catholic countries, only the Philippines and five others have not enacted a reproductive health (RH) law, and that here, the Catholic Church is “the only major religion” opposed to the RH bill.

It was a spirited defense of the “right” of Catholics to exercise their individual “conscience,” without qualification, against the teaching of the Church on a fundamental moral question.

A serious misreading

But the good senator failed to recognize that the real conflict, with respect to the bill, is not between Church authority and individual conscience, but between the claims of Congress (on behalf of the State) on the one hand, and the rights of the Church and of individual conscience on the other.

She called on Catholics to ignore what the Church says about contraception, and simply “follow their conscience” without any qualification, but she failed to tell them not to let Congress or the State be “their conscience.”

It was a serious misreading of the bill and the problems it has spawned.

What the RH bill is and is not

Miriam is too good a lawyer not to know what the RH bill is, and what it is not.

Despite the dogged attempt to portray the RH bill as an effort to “guarantee” the “right” of women (and men) to practice contraception and sterilization, that is not what it is. No law prohibits contraception or sterilization, so there is no need to “guarantee” that “right” through an RH bill.

The senator herself has been voting, year after year, to fund the RH program, which the Department of Health (DOH) and Population Commission (POPCOM) have been running since the seventies. Even foreign governments and multilateral institutions are now operating their own RH program, with rank impunity, through our local governments.

The Philippine Constitution's Article on the Family and the Catholic principles behind it

From Bernardo Villegas' article, "Christian Roots of the Family" (emphases mine):

The very Constitution of the Philippines is exceptional in its mandating the State to strengthen the family and respect marriage as an "inviolable institution." It is also the only Constitution in the world that explicitly commands the State to protect equally the mother and the unborn baby from conception. 
Even professional organizations such as those of seafarers go out of their way to recognize the need to strengthen the link between seafarers who are away for a long period of time and their family members left behind. 
Although the family is a natural institution whose strength and sustainability can be fostered in any society regardless of creed or culture, precisely because it is based on natural law, there is little doubt that in the Philippines, it is Christian principles and tradition that contribute most to its stability. Thanks to the Catholic Church, there is no divorce in the Philippines. To give credit to whom it is due, I remember that it was the late Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma, who chaired the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Philippine Constitution, who was most responsible for the whole article on The Family. 
It was her strong Catholic convictions that inspired her to ensure that the family would be protected in the fundamental law of the land. It will be Christianity, above all, that will help Filipinos, now and in the future, to ensure that the breakdown of the family that is so rampant even in formerly Christian societies as those in Europe will not contaminate our shores. 

There is no room for complacency, however. The very phenomenon of Filipino Overseas Workers is a threat to the stability of the family because of fathers and mothers leaving their families behind for long periods of time. Through the media of mass communication, especially television and the Internet, anti-family lifestyles are being absorbed almost by osmosis by the youth in the Philippines. 
To make matters worse, there is a vocal minority — funded and goaded by foreign groups — who are aggressively supporting legislation to introduce such anti-family measures as artificial birth control, divorce, and same-sex marriage. They are heedless of empirical studies by social scientists abroad, like Nobel laureate George Akerlof, showing that the widespread use of artificial contraceptives inevitably leads to more abortions, divorce, single mothers, and mentally troubled adolescents. 
We have to learn from the sad experiences of many European countries. Because they have abandoned their Christian principles and traditions, the institution of the family is in shambles. Pope Benedict XVI has been waging an admirable campaign to convince Europe to return to its Christian roots. In a best seller entitled Values in a Time of Upheaval, the Pope wrote: "Now I come to a second point for European identity: marriage and the family. 
Monogamous marriage, as the basic structure for the relationship between a man and a woman and as the cell for the construction of civic society, has been formed by biblical faith. It has given Europe — East and West — its specific 'face' and its specifically human character, precisely because one must struggle again and again to realize the form of fidelity and of renunciation that monogamous marriage by its very nature requires. Europe would cease to be Europe if this basic cell of its social construction were to disappear or to be changed in its essence. We are all aware of the risks confronting marriage and the family today — partly because its indissolubility is watered down by an ever easier access to divorce, and partly because of the increasing cohabitation of men and women without the legal form of marriage. 
"The paradoxical modern demand of homosexual partnerships to receive a legal form that is more or less the equivalent of marriage is a clear antithesis to this tradition. This trend departs from the entire moral history of mankind, which despite all the variety in the legal forms governing marriage — has always been aware that this is essentially a special form of the relationship of men and women, open to children and hence to the formation of a family. This is not a question of discrimination. 
Rather, we must ask what man is as man and as woman, and how we may correctly shape the relationship between them. If this relationship becomes increasingly detached from legal forms, while at the same time homosexual partnerships are increasingly viewed as equal in rank to marriage, we are on the verge of a dissolution of our concept of man, and the consequences can only be extremely grave..." 
Filipinos as individuals and the Philippines as a nation have a serious responsibility and challenge to defend the family as a natural institution and to strengthen its roots in the Christian faith. In the midst of an increasingly pagan world, we have to have the faith, fortitude, and hope of the early Christians. Just picture the pagan environment in which they had to preach the doctrine of Christ. American author Leo Trese describes it vividly in his book A Trilogy: 
"There was no sense of the dignity of human beings; two-thirds of the people were slaves, chattels of their owners. Life was cheap; a father had the right to kill his own children or his own slaves if he felt in the mood. Marriage was a mere gesture; all a husband had to do, to divorce his wife, was to put her out and close the door upon her; women were looked upon as the servants of men and tools of male pleasure." 
But the early Christians were not daunted. Thanks to them, we are now Christians and it is now our turn to bring back the doctrine of Christ to the world, including Europe from whom we received the faith. As Trese continues: "This was the world that the poor apostles were expected to convert. 
In the face of slavery, they would have to preach the inviolable dignity of the human person. In the face of pagan contempt for human life, they would have to preach God's exclusive dominion over life. In the face of easy divorce, debased womanhood and rampant lust, they would have to preach the sanctity of marriage, the true ideal of womanhood, and the obligation to continence..." Without exaggerating, Filipinos are among those in today's "time of upheaval" called to live their faith as the early Christians did. Our very human happiness depends upon it. 
For comments, my e-mail address is

Why the State must listen to the Church

August 25, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — Whatever the outcome of the RH Bill controversy, one thing is sure: there has to be a continuing dialogue between the Government and the Catholic Bishops about public policy that has manifestly moral or doctrinal dimensions.

Whatever the extreme secularists may say, they cannot ignore the fact that the dominant religion of the country is Roman Catholicism, a major belief of which is that morality cannot be limited to private consciences of individuals but must also apply to the "things of Caesar" that are covered by the social doctrine of the Church and public morals.

Examples of public policy issues that have clearly moral dimensions are those related to the family and marriage, the regulation of private property such as agrarian reform, the setting of a just family wage, the protection of the physical environment, human trafficking, gambling, drug abuse, etc. Not only the bishops and priests but also the lay faithful have all the right to bring up moral principles in judging the legitimacy of public policy in such matters.

Here I summarize the main points concerning the relations between Church and State that have been stressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his book "Values in a Time of Upheaval." There are seven of them:

1. The state is not itself the source of truth and morality. It cannot produce truth from its own self by means of an ideology based on people or race or class or some other entity. Nor can it produce truth via the majority. The state is not absolute. To maintain otherwise would pave the way for more Hitlers, Stalins, and Pol Pots.

2. The goal of the state cannot consist in a freedom without defined contents. In order to establish a meaningful and viable ordering of life in society, the state requires a minimum of truth, of knowledge of the good, that cannot be manipulated.

3. Accordingly, the state must receive from outside itself the essential measure of knowledge and truth with regard to that which is good. The moral principles of Christian faith could possibly be such guiding principles.

4. The "outside" might, in the best possible scenario, be the pure insight of reason. It would be the task of an independent philosophy to cultivate this insight and to keep watch over it. In practice, however, such a pure rational evidential quality independent of history does not exist. Metaphysical and moral reason comes into action only in a historical context.

All states have recognized and applied moral reason on the basis of antecedent religious traditions, which also provide moral education. In the Philippines, Christianity is the source of such religious traditions and moral education. For close to five centuries, the Philippines has provided a positive model of a relationship between moral knowledge based on religion and the good ordering of the state.

5. Christian faith has proved to be the most universal and rational religious culture. Even today, it offers reason the basic structure of moral insight which, if it does not actually lead to some kind of evidential quality, at least furnishes the basis of a rational moral faith without which no society can endure.

6. There should always be distinction between the Church and the State. By merging with the State, the Church would destroy both the essence of the State and its own essence.

7. The Church remains something "outside" the State, for only thus can both Church and State be what they are meant to be. Like the State, the Church too must remain in is own proper place and within its boundaries. It must respect its own being and its own freedom, precisely in order to be able to perform for the State the service that the latter requires.

The Church must exert itself with all its vigor so that in it there may shine forth the moral truth that it offers to the State and that ought to become evident to the citizens of the State. This truth must be vigorous within the Church, and it must form men, for only then it will have the power to convince others and to be a force working like a leaven for all of society.

I cannot think of a better framework for the continuing dialogue of the government with the Catholic bishops and other moral leaders of the major faiths in the Philippines. But more importantly, the Catholic lay people with a well formed conscience must be very proactive in educating government officials in all the branches of government about the moral principles that they are able to arrive at with the use of their reason aided by their faith.

We can apply to ourselves these words of Pope Benedict XVI to the Europeans: "Today, at this precise hour in history, Europe and the world need the presence of the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ and remains close to us in the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, we are responsible for maintaining the presence of God in our world, for it is only this presence that has the power to keep man from destroying himself." 

For comments, my e-mail address is

"It is a population measure but it's not population control." Huh?

Here's more proof of the incoherent and muddled thinking behind the RH bill.

This happened less than 2 weeks after the pro-RH Population Commission had gone on record as denying that the RH bill is a population control bill. 

From Human Life International (HLI) World Watch:
RH Bill “Definitely” Population Control Admits Co-Sponsor

As debate over the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill continued Wednesday in the Philippine House of Representatives, a co-sponsor of the bill admitted that the RH Bill was a means to control the population size of poor Filipinos in apparent contradiction to statements made by other bill sponsors. 
Rep. Kimi Cojuangco of the Pangasinan province, a co-sponsor of the bill, admitted that the RH Bill, widely criticized by Filipino pro-lifers and the Catholic Church, was a means of population control during an exchange with Rep. Ma. Milagros Magsaysay of Zambales. 
Rep. Cojuangco’s admission was a surprise to her co-RH Bill supporters, and she quickly tried to backtrack on her statements. 
According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for Life blog, the dialogue took place as follows: 
“Is [the RH bill] a population measure?” asked Rep. Magsaysay. “Of course,” responded Rep. Cojuangco  
“Of course? It’s a population measure? To curb poverty, do you need to curb population? In your eyes?” asked Rep. Magsaysay.  
“Definitely,” said Rep. Cojuangco.  
“In other words, you are contradicting the position of all your other co-sponsors there who said that this is not a population measure, that this is not a poverty alleviation measure,” said Rep. Magsaysay.  
Rep. Cojuangco then paused for a few seconds before saying, “Well, it’s not a population… ay, it is a population measure but it’s not population control.”  
After a few more moments of silence in the hall, Cojuangco insisted, “It’s a population measure but it’s not population control.” 
Filipino pro-lifers insist that the RH Bill seeks to impose a Western population control agenda through contraception and other “reproductive health” services. Startling provisions in the bill would also fine or jail opponents of the bill’s programs if they were to give “false or misleading” information about the bill. 
Philippine Senate Majority Leader Vicente Soto recently expressed concern over the “sinister” population control motives of some of the bill’s backers. 
“We find groups, NGOs, pharmaceutical companies or business interests behind the bill or supporting people behind the bill, so this adds to our fears,” Sotto said. 
Sotto cited the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines as among the groups lobbying for the passage of the RH bill. The organization is the largest non-government family planning group in the country, and a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) founded by Margaret Sanger, according to Sotto. 
“She (Sanger) is the inventor or founder of eugenics and eugenics is the scientific strategy of eliminating the poor, the weak, the useless and the uneducated,” Sotto stressed. 
The bill also directly contradicts the protections of life and family guaranteed in the Philippine constitution according to Article 2 Section 12: 
The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. 
Human Life International recently produced a short documentary film, “The Philippines: Preserving a Culture of Life,” that highlights the fight against the RH Bill as one of the most dramatic social and political struggles for life and family in the world. The film premiered on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in the Philippines last week, and is currently playing in the United States and Canada. The next scheduled air date is Friday, August 26 at 9:00pm EST.

Major Filipino Jesuit theologian speaks out versus the RH Bill

From the website of the Loyola School of Theology:

RH Bill vs. Five Levels of Self-Transcendence
Walter Ysaac, S.J.

The Reproductive Health (RH) bill is “a mindset and a value system” that are “secularist, materialistic, individualistic and hedonistic in the guise of development and modernity.” Thus, according to the CBCP statement during the “dialogue” meeting last May 10, 2011 (Philippine Star, May 11, 2011, pp.1 and 3), even the good provisions of the Responsible Parenthood (alias RH) bill are “inextricably woven” with the “bad provisions.” Example, it would include authorizing the government buying with taxpayers’ money artificial contraceptives that are already doubtful with regard to being abortifacient or dangerous to health of mother and child and father and to good family relationships, and distributing them upon request to anybody until prohibited by the Food and Drug Administration.

But the main defect and danger of the RP (“Responsible” Parenthood) bill is that it is imposed on the people, particularly the poor, by a government without regard for the culture or “world mediated by meanings and motivated by values” of the Filipino people. To really develop and update or “modernize” a people is to make them transcend and sublate themselves from the level of their experience to that of their understanding to that of their judgment to that of their decision up even to the highest level of their unconditional love which is a pure gift of God to us and can only be attained through authentic prayer or truly living relationship with God.

Now, the experience of the people must start from what they are now in their present culture, their presently accepted meanings and values. Anything imposed on them from above will be received according to their own experienced meanings and values which they have understood, affirmed and practiced and unconditionally loved as their own. If the RP bill has, from the start, meanings and values foreign or contrary to theirs, it will be ineffective, (i.e., will not produce the results desired by the bill, namely, reduce population growth), or worse, it will be like an experiment imposed on the throbbing flesh of the Filipino people, causing a lot of suffering and disruption in their lives as a people. Witness what happened to all the other countries who have allowed the imposition of such a mindset and value system to enter into their laws and cultures.

To have authentic development there is no substitute to self-transcendence (being attentive in experience, intelligent in understanding, reasonable in judgment, responsible in decision and unconditional in love) and sublation (the development from one lower level of living to a higher one will not only not result in any loss of what is good in the lower one but would raise and lift the good in the lower one to the richer level of good of the higher one and so will even need that lower-level good to grow into and become the richer higher-level good).

Thus, if reducing population growth is the end of the RP bill, then it should not impose from above a mindset and value system opposed to the culture of the Filipino people but must start by moving within that culture of the people and go hand in hand with them to develop that culture to more and more attentiveness, intelligence, reasonableness, responsibleness, and finally, to an unconditionalness in love that can transform their responsibleness, reasonableness, intelligence and attentiveness to an even higher (divine) level.

Fr. Walter L. Ysaac, S.J. is a Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the Loyola School of Theology.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Filipinos for Life in defense of Senator Tito Sotto (and more on the maternal deaths issue)

Posted on 24 August 2011


Akbayan’s tirade vs. Sotto unfair, out of context, narrow-minded

FILIPINOS FOR LIFE (F4L) strongly condemns Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party for unfairly and maliciously accusing Senator Tito Sotto of ignoring the plight of women.

The statement by Akbayan’s youth leader is at best narrow-minded and out of context.

Sotto was merely questioning the basis of the oft-repeated statistic of 11 maternal deaths a day, in the context of a legislative debate on a bill that seeks to establish a wide-ranging national policy. It is therefore fair to examine the basis of this bill. THERE IS NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR.

In the first place, there was no derogatory statement on women, and the sarcasm, if at all, is directed at foreign lobby groups, some of them pro-abortion, that routinely peddle this statistic. The supposed offense is in the creative, nay, malicious imagination of Akbayan’s propagandists.

Based on our own estimates, the correct figure is 4.8 maternal deaths a day, based on 2008 data from the National Statistics Office and the National Statistical Coordination Board. This assumes a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 99 per 100,000 live births and 1.784 million live births in 2008. Assuming a high MMR of 169 per 100,000 live births, the figure is 8.3.

We do not downplay the problem of maternal deaths. Indeed, it is a problem that needs concrete solutions, like more birthing centers and midwives. But we should guard against the excessive emotional use of the outdated statistic to influence Philippine government policy.

If Akbayan is really pro-women, it should tell its women constituents that contraceptive pills that would be distributed for free under the RH bill are considered by a WHO agency as a Level 1 carcinogen. Pills, according to reputable literature produced by entities such as the US National Cancer Institute and the Mayo Clinic increase the risk of breast and other cancers.

If Akbayan really is pro-women, it should tell mothers that the pills it wants them to ingest daily could expel a fertilized ovum, which is already a human being. It should inform women that pills don’t always prevent ovulation. In case the pills do not prevent ovulation and fertilization occurs, the pills have been proven to create an environment that is hostile to the beginning of life. Akbayan’s lawmakers should be reminded of what the Constitution says about the protection of the unborn.

Likewise, may we remind former Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel to elevate the level of the debate on RH. Her repeated references in social networks to an incident decades ago involving a dead movie starlet are uncalled for and below the belt.
Contact: Anthony Perez (

More on Muslim opposition to birth control

Dear Senator, Why Did You Have to Deceive Us?
Rowell Alan Rocaberte

Dear Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago,

Why did you have to deceive the Filipino people? Why were you misleading us?

You publicly said, last August 1, 2011, in your sponsorship speech for the RH Bill, that the Assembly of Darul-Iftah of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the most authoritative body of Islamic clerics in the Philippines, supports the RH Bill as endorsed by some Christian churches. This is not so.

(Read more HERE).

See also: Dear Senator, Why Did You Have to LIE?

NB: Mr. Rocaberte is not Muslim. His post discusses the actual position of the Assembly of Darul-Iftah of the ARMM regarding birth control; it is not his personal confession of faith. 

The moral costs of the RH bill

Melissa A. Poblete

(Melissa Poblete is an Evangelical Christian -- CAP)

At the TV5 RH Bill debate televised last Sunday, August 21, 2011, the studio audience was comprised of people who were all undecided about the RH bill.They were the ones allowed to vote on the questions. Results of the voting were flashed after two seconds. The pro-lifers and the RH advocates were there but were not voters, only spectators.

At the end of the program, after hearing all the arguments and debates, the undecided-on-the-RH-bill audience was asked: "Pabor ka ba sa RH bill?" This picture shows the results. 100% -HINDI pabor sa RH bill. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.

Given all the arguments and information, the undecided see what is wrong with the bill and decide against it.

Again, we say that there is nothing wrong with maternal health, prevention of disease and responsible parenthood in themselves. But this bill is a part of the package of a culture of death--it is the means and the ways to achieve these health goals which is immoral. Six years of state-controlled mandatory non-moral, non=Biblical sex education is unacceptable in any form to Christians, because sex is always a moral issue. Even in many states in the US they have no such mandatory sex ed. And it is not six years where it is mandatory. The next generation, starting with next year's students, if the bill is passed, will be recipients of the sex ed. The sexualization of an entire generation of Filipino young people will begin.

State provision of free contraception is also not done in a first world country like the US. Why should it be done in our country?

Population control is not Biblical. The Bible always welcomes children and considers them a blessing. Successful population control in the Bible was done by Herod and Pharaoh.

Freedom of conscience of health professionals is also trampled upon by the RH bill. Freedom of speech of those who disagree with the RH bill is also trampled upon as it promises to punish anyone who will give disinformation on the bill. Moreover, the RH bill's declaration of policy says that it will eradicate any laws or policies that infringe on reproductive rights. In countries where abortion is legal, reproductive rights include access to abortion.

RH bill advocates, save for one doctor, consistently, though unethically, deny medical research from the WHO and the Mayo CLinic and cancer research journals that say that oral contraceptives are carcinogens. RH bill advocates also absurdly say that life begins at implantation in the womb when any embryology text book and elementary/middle school science textbook will tell you that life begins at fertilization, when the egg and the sperm unite and the zygote forms. There is consistent dehumanization of the zygote, the embryo and the fetus by some RH bill advocates to suit their stand on embryocidal and abortifacient contraception and abortion. Some RH bill advocates and lobbyists are vocal for their support of legalization of abortion. There is not one provision nor mention on the humanity of the zygote,embryo,or fetus in the entire RH bill. Children are called "unplanned/mistimed pregnancies".

Therefore those who support the RH bill for its health ends ought to rethink what they are bargaining for. The RH bill is not merely a health care program. It will be a law if passed, with a huge budget, implementation mechanisms to ensure it is followed, punishments and imprisonments for violations. The DOH already has maternal health care programs, family planning programs, and already purchases contraceptives to be given for free. Half of its budget goes to such programs already. An existing law,The Magna Carta for Women, RA 9710, already contains all the maternal health, obstetric care and family planning provisions seen in the RH bill. RA 8504, Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act, already addresses HIV and AIDS.The health ends of the RH bill are already addressed by existing programs and laws. Therefore the RH bill is not necessary for the health ends it wants to address. We must not let the soul of our nation be sold to an immoral, God-hating culture of death. The moral costs of the RH bill are too great for the benefits it claims to give.

Raul Nidoy responds to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Conscience and the RH bill

An Initial Critique of Sen. Santiago’s Pro-RH Speech
Raul Nidoy

(This was written in response to the first part of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago's sponsorship speech for the RH Bill - CAP)

1. The speech rests its arguments on the “authority” of specific theologians and historians. The words of these few teachers are used to critique the Catholic Church and its hierarchy.

a. Here is a short backgrounder on some of these teachers:

• McBrien: his book quoted by Sen. Santiago was called “inaccurate” and “misleading” by the U.S. National Council of Catholic Bishops. Also: ““The problem is that this [book’s] embrace of modernity is so enthusiastic as to imply a certain naive denigration of premodern thought.”[1]

• Bokentotter: his book was reviewed and said to be "tendentious Modernist ideology masquerading as history" by Professor Toner.[2]

• Wilhelm: his book was called a “theological deception” at Catholic Culture. [3]

• Dwyer: A chapter in this book was critiqued as having “strong roots in a Marxist sociology of knowledge.” [4]

b. Modernism and Marxism form part of the doctrinal confusion and the flight from truth that characterized what is now called the Post-Vatican Crisis, a period of misinterpreting the actual documents of the Vatican II. The Church has also taught that in some aspects of liberation theology, there are “deviations… damaging to the faith.”[5]

2. On the poor and Liberation Theology. One of the latest notifications or admonishments of the Vatican to a liberation theologian stated that it issued the document as a service "to the people of God, and particularly to the simple and poorest members of the Church." They emphasized the people's "right to know the truth...about Christ," and therefore their corresponding duty to intervene. The notification was premised on Benedict XVI's teaching that "the first poverty among people is not to know Christ."

The Catholic Church it should be noted is one of the largest pro-poor organizations --if not the largest-- in the world.

3. On the Primacy of Conscience.

Sen. Santiago quoted the Popes and put in bold certain things. It is enlightening if we put in bold the words she did not.

In all this they must follow the demands of their own conscience enlightened by God’s law authentically interpreted.

The authority of the Church, when she pronounces on moral questions, in no way undermines the freedom of conscience of Christians. This is so not only because freedom of conscience is never freedom “from” the truth, but always and only freedom “in” the truth, but also because the Magisterium does not bring to the Christian conscience truths which are extraneous to it; rather, it brings to light the truths which it ought already to possess, developing them from the starting point of the primordial act of faith.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s Conscience and Truth has several points that can clarify the issues raised by Sen. Santiago:

• judgments of conscience can contradict each other
• the identification of conscience with superficial consciousness, the reduction of man to his subjectivity, does not liberate but enslaves. It makes us totally dependent on the prevailing opinions and debases these with every passing day. …Conscience's reduction to subjective certitude signifies at the same time a retreat from truth.

• Nazi SS would be justified and we should seek them in heaven since they carried out all their atrocities with fanatic conviction and complete certainty of conscience.

• It is never wrong to follow the convictions one has arrived at—in fact, one must do so. But it can very well be wrong to have come to such askew convictions in the first place…. The guilt lies then in a different place, much deeper—not in the present act, not in the present judgment of conscience but in the neglect of my being which made me deaf to the internal promptings of truth. For this reason, criminals of conviction like Hitler and Stalin are guilty.

• the really critical issue of the modern age. The concept of truth has been virtually given up and replaced by the concept of progress. Progress itself "is" truth. But through this seeming exaltation, progress loses its direction and becomes nullified. For if no direction exists, everything can just as well be regress as progress.

On the truths established by science regarding contraceptives and RH, one can find a summary in what I put together at Science Facts on the RH Bill. For example, the world's leading scientific journals have established that the pill and the IUD are abortifacient, causes cancer, stroke and heart attacks. The wide use of condoms promote the spread of AIDs, according to Edward Green, Harvard Director for AIDS prevention, and leads to the more premarital sex, fatherless children, single mothers, abortion, poverty, decline of marriage and social pathology, says Nobel Prize Winner George Akerlof. Also the RAND Corporation, associated with 30 Nobel prize winners, has shown that there is little evidence that population growth affects economic growth.

Furthermore, there is no national law that restrains the choice of people to buy contraceptives, nor has the Church put up a police force to enforce its teaching, which is essentially a moral prophetic teaching rather an political directive. On the other hand, the RH Bill is the one that will violate consciences when it forces government employees and Catholic hospitals to contribute to the distribution of these birth control devices.

4. On the alleged shift from Pre-Vatican authority to Vatican II democratic system

Here is what the main document of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, actually states:

This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Savior, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as "the pillar and mainstay of the truth". This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. (italics added)

It should be pointed out against modernist theologians that the enduring authority of the Roman Pontiffs to teach the truth is based on the revolutionary fact of the Incarnation of God. If it is true that God became man, then what he said and did are true:

• promised that he will be with the Church until the end of the world,[6] and that “the powers of death shall not prevail against it”.[7]

• appointed apostles and gave them sacred power not just to “baptize all nations” but also “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” [8]

• told the apostles, and through them the bishops of his Church: “he who hears you, hears me”,[9]

• gave Peter (Rock) the power to bind and lose, and it is on him as Rock that Jesus built his Church,[10] with Peter’s successors at the head of the Church.[11]

On the so-called majority report versus the minority report, history has shown that democratic votes can be mistaken, and that whole cultures and peoples can be miseducated, e.g. human sacrifices, cannibalism, drunkenness, abortion, divorce.

The scientific findings on the damaging effects of contraception I mentioned earlier confirm the prophetic quality of the teachings of the Church hierarchy. Prophetic here refers to the reception of divine truths and their communication to the faithful.

5. Sen. Santiago said: "In 1986, the Vatican made a positive critique of liberation theology by issuing the document entitled Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation."

The document itself states: “For this reason the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has considered it necessary to draw attention to 'deviations, or risks of deviation, damaging to the faith and to Christian living'. Far from being outmoded, these warnings appear ever more timely and relevant.”

6. On so-called changes in Catholic doctrine, for example usury, we must take into account that "The teaching concerning usury was based on malleable economic conditions; the teaching concerning contraception is based on unchanging human nature." (C. Kaczor)

7. There are other things that have to be pointed out and can be further discussed. For example:

• The use of statistics from surveys commissioned by pro-RH groups and which Prof. Mangahas, who is pro-RH, admitted as not having included any mention of penalties:

• The Moslems’ Imam Council, which is like its authoritative organ of government, is against birth control pills, because they “underestimate God”.

• The tens, and even hundreds, of thousands of people, many of them Catholics, who have risen up against the bill in inter-faith rallies, as compared to a few thousands who have rallied in favor of it. If one adds up reports from newspaper accounts, the pro-life rallies have a total of around 200,000 to almost 400,000 participants while the pro-RH rallies have a total of less than 10,000:


[1] NSCCB (1996).




[5] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1984). Instructions on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation”. Rome.

[6] Mt 28:20

[7] Mt 16:18

[8] Mt 28:20

[9] Luke 10:16

[10] Mt 16:18-19: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven

[11] On biblical basis of Papal succession:

A doctor's open letter to Pia Cayetano

Open Letter to Cayetano by Rey Echavez, MD

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pro-lifers win the TV5 RH bill debate

From Primacy of Reason:

In the TV5 RH Debate of August 21, Filipinos in the studio audience voted 100% against the RH Bill, and 58.7% of texters were against while 41.3% in favor. 

Read more here.

The following images are from Filipinos for Life:

Final Text Poll Result

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A counselor for pregnant women comes out versus the RH bill

by Fredi D'Alessio

In the following letter, a dear friend and associate warns her fellow Filipinos of what she has witnessed first hand in the West: the breakdown of morality, family and faith due to sex education and contraception. Her letter is in response to “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011″ (commonly known as the Reproductive Health Act, the RH Act or RH Bill), which is currently being debated in the Philippines.

To My Dear Fellow Filipinos:

The unfolding possibility of the RH Bill’s passing by our government fills me with horror and foreboding because so few understand the impact that such a bill would have on our children, our families, our moral values and the future of our nation. My conscience would never let me rest if I didn’t make a small effort to weigh in with what I have come to discover while living in the United States for almost 23 years.

The birth of my grandchild when my daughter was in crisis led me to get involved with mothers in crisis pregnancies so that they, like my daughter, would choose life for their babies. After 50 million abortions resulting from Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion in the US, there are millions of women that have suffered its devastating consequences.

In the nearly 22 years I have been actively involved with these women, I began to see so clearly that the ultimate devastating decision to abort came as a direct link to failed contraception or its ensuing contraceptive mentality. There is a tremendous array of “effective” contraceptive drugs, many of them abortifacients, and devices available to women (some as young as 12) promoted through sex education in schools, magazines and the multi-media. Yet they have only served to increase the number of abortions (1.5 million annually) and the number of sexually transmitted diseases from a handful to over 50 strains in just a little over 40 years. Condoms do not prevent the transmission of many of these strains.

I have spoken to and mentored hundreds of teenage girls and young women, not one of whom was told of her unique gifts and dignity as a woman and mother. They were very receptive to messages of abstinence and natural family planning once they understood their true meaning because they have been naturally and divinely wired to believe those truths.

These are statistics and facts, but I have had the unique experience of seeing these young women heartbroken and hurt by this contraceptive culture. Most of them come from broken homes and parents who are also products of this contraceptive age. How is it not possible to see an epidemic of pregnancies among young teenagers (14, 15, and 16 year-olds) with contraception and sex education available to all? (Day care centers are now being built at public high schools.) We see so many at the center where I work. Our modern woman is told she can finally claim her reproductive rights, but she has only become a victim to greater exploitation and worse, having been convinced that destroying her unwanted, unborn child is also her option and right.

Make no mistake; the bitter fruit of contraception is abortion and the devastation of the family. Look at Thailand, the country so successful at controlling her population through a massive condom program – she is now the Aids capital of Asia. Look at its bitter fruit in the West, with its runaway abortion numbers, countless divorces, the threat to legal marriage between a man and a woman and the spread of socially transmitted diseases that are resistant to treatment. Without the building block of healthy families, these nations will soon be ungovernable, if they are not already.

There is a quiet desperation I feel as I watch the country I deeply love go down the path so many others have gone, abandoning their Christian principles and moral roots. The poet George Santayana once said, “Those who have not learned from history are doomed to repeat it”. If we go down the same path, we will lose out greatest assets – our family values and our faith-filled people.

I urge those who have the power to do so, not to pass this bill—and for those that don’t, to pray to a much higher Power that it doesn’t. If it isn’t passed, if we can find the means to control our population the natural way without destroying our values, we will see our country blessed in ways we can never imagine. Our nation once again can show the world that a people that successfully resisted a tyrant can resist the tyranny of outside influences that seek to destroy our families. In 1986, our people fought for democracy; today,we fight for our national soul. If we do succeed, it will make People Power look like a minor miracle.

Patsy M. Sevilla-Gonzalez

Patsy Gonzalez counsels pregnant mothers at Juan Diego Society Women’s Center in San Jose, CA. She also volunteers as an “angel” for The Gabriel Project of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and has extensive experience in sidewalk counseling.