Monday, December 19, 2011

Hitler Nabuang sa Hindi Pagpasa ng RH Bill Ngayong Taon

RH Bill won't be passed this year: Hitler goes into a tantrum. LoL.

Fact References:

1. 350 pesos per hakot -- see Inquirer article: -- The group scheduled the "peak" of its pro-RH rally for September and set aside P1,750,000 to organize a rally of "at least 5,000 people." Each participant was supposed to receive P350.
2. More Pro-life People than Anti-Life --

3. RH Bill can be defeated at Senate:

4. Million of dollars of funding --

5. Pro-RH Groups back abortion --

6. Cabral admitted that pills cause breast cancer -

7. TV Debates won by Pro-life:

8. Pro RH stats are wrong (maternal death, abortion) - /

9. Non-existent lobby groups (not registered or revoked) getting massive funding --

10. Pro-Life Victory of 2011 -

11. Population Control connection with Hitler- /

Monday, December 5, 2011


(Reposted from The Catholic Position on the RH Bill)

What we've been saying all along: foreign money funds pro-RH activities

A pro-lifer's speculation on what the people in this anti-Catholic protest might actually have been thinking.

An article published on December 2 of this year by Philippine Daily Inquirer brought to a wider audience some of the details of a state of affairs that has been known for a long time to the pro-life movement, and which many activists of the "pro-RH camp" have been denying without success. I am, of course, referring to the continued infusion into our country of money from foreign countries and institutions, earmarked for the propagation of the RH Bill and of other similar bills that espouse the Culture of Death and the anti-values of sexual anarchy.

In particular, the Inquirer article "No delay but RH bill won't be passed this year - Enrile" showed that the pro-RH camp has been practicing the age-old tactic of corrupt politicians: the "hakot" (paid) crowd:

Early this year, the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) received P4.4 million from the United Nations Population Fund to push for the passage of the RH bill before the end of 2011. Dr. Junice Melgar, RHAN secretary general, admitted that her group solicited the amount because it “has no ongoing funding.”

Based on RHAN’s budget proposal, the amount was to be spent on activities such as “education and mobilization” program. One item worth P2,837,500 was to go to organize “two nationally coordinated (and) high-profile mobs.”
The group scheduled the “peak” of its pro-RH rally for September and set aside P1,750,000 to organize a rally of “at least 5,000 people.” Each participant was supposed to receive P350.
In response to this report, Filipinos for Life has published an official statement delving in greater detail and with many proofs into the foreign funding that has been propping up numerous anti-life initiatives in the Philippines:

Official Statement: Documents bare millions of dollars in funding for RH lobbyists

CBCP for Life also published the following article regarding the Filipinos for Life statement linked above:

Documents bare millions of dollars in funding for RH lobbyists
MANILA, Dec. 2, 2011–Pro-abortion groups have been showering “reproductive health” (RH) lobbyists with millions of dollars in funding for years to promote the Western agenda of contraception and population control, documents showed.
Funders include Planned Parenthood and its international arm, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Marie Stopes International, the Packard Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In a statement, the group Filipinos for Life (F4L) said the paper trail of multimillion-dollar lobby funds reveal the hand of foreign interest groups out to dictate what policy the Philippine government should follow.
“Nearly a decade ago, lawmakers condemned the presence of the American lobby group AGILE in Congress. This time, however, the RH lobby is apparently succeeding, thanks to a formidable war chest from pro-abortion groups,” it said.
Documents revealed the following financial grants for RH lobby groups:
* $90,000 to the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) for promotion, from the UN Population Fund or UNFPA (2011);
* $6.6 million to Planned Parenthood arm Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) from UNFPA (2009);
* $1.6 million to FPOP from IPPF for the years 2005, 2009, and 2010;
* $1.2 million to PSPI from Marie Stopes (2009);
* $39,000 to Likhaan from Planned Parenthood (2007);
* $88,000 to FPOP in 2009 from Marie Stopes for RH kits; and
* $75,000 to “Catholics” for Choice to promote RH, from the Wallace Global Fund (2009).
This was aside from $6.8 million from the Packard Foundation for the years 2006-2008; $18.4 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation from 1997 to 2008; $8.86 million from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2004 for a “social acceptance” project; and $239.5 million from the World Bank for 2010-2012.These amounts could have better been used for direct poverty alleviation programs, F4L said.
F4L said pro-RH lobbyists cannot deny the overt abortion agenda of most of their financial backers, notably Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider, and UNFPA, which has been condemned for its coercive abortion programs.
“Abortion was not legalized in the US overnight. It started with the birth control movement founded by Margaret Sanger, which today is called Planned Parenthood,” F4L pointed out.
Where are the millions going?
Meanwhile, the Philippine Daily Inquirer today ran a story containing a more detailed breakdown of RHAN’s budget earmarked for a more aggressive push for RH. According to the article, the millions in pesos provided by the UNFPA were to be spent on “education and mobilization.” Based on the same document, nearly P3 million was allocated for “two nationally coordinated (and) high-profile mobs.”
“The group scheduled the ‘peak’ of its pro-RH rally for September and set aside P1,750,000 to organize a rally of ‘at least 5,000 people.’ Each participant was supposed to receive P350,” the article further stated.
F4L called on lawmakers to examine further the lobby groups behind the RH bill, saying interpellations should be exhausted to unmask the real intentions of those promoting it.
“Pro-RH groups and Malacañang spokesmen are being irresponsible by calling for a vote and an abrupt end to debates,” the group said. (CBCP for Life)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More on NFP-BOM

From an upskill NFP-Billings Ovulation Method seminar I attended last Sunday, some bullet points:

Correlating the signs and symptoms of fertility

-new CYCLE commences
-HYPOTHALAMUS produces GnRH, tells PITUITARY to produce FSH
-reaching THRESHOLD for a few of the most sensitive FOLLICLES
-these follicles begin their RAPID GROWTH PHASE
-OESTROGEN is produced
-FSH rises to INTERMEDIATE level, follicles continue rapidly growing
-rising oestrogen levels stimulate growth of ENDOMETRIUM (proliferative phase)
-and CERVIX responds (produces mucus)
-36 hours after beginning of LH surge,
-17 hours after LH peak,
-rupture of follicle,
-ruptured follicle is transformed into the CORPUS LUTEUM
-if fertilisation has not occurred, corpus luteum REGRESSES after 6-7 days
-suppression of FSH and LH lifted
-MENSTRUATION commences 11-16 days after ovulation

Some more highlights:

-When a young woman is on the pill, her OESTROGEN and PROGESTERONE are flat all
throughout, similar to imposing a menopause on her young body. That is why she is prone to depression, among other things.

-The ovulatory cycle is an intricate system, all occurrences affect other factors in the
body in an amazing complexity of nature-driven cause-and-effect. Thus if you disrupt the
system, you naturally wreak havoc on the body in ways you cannot imagine - besides cancer.

-Q: At what age does a woman produce the healthiest egg?
-A: At around 16 years of age. Interestingly, the NFP expert said that marrying at a young
age for the woman is customary in the olden times. She is married to a man that is considerably older than she is, so the element of financial and moral support is addressed. It is only in modern times that couples tend to marry at a later age due to economic reasons. Nowadays marrying couples also choose a partner within their age range.

-Q: What about the other NFP methods (SDM, Two-Days, BBT)
-A: SDM relies on beads which are NOT part of the woman's body. SDM also considers all
pre-ovulatory days as fertile days. Two-Days method is not compatible with what NFP-BOM
teaches in fertility monitoring, and in fact contradict the concepts. BBT is the only method compatible with BOM, but one needs an accurate digital thermometer which may not be available everytime.

-Some terms equivalence:

-GnRH = Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone
-FSH = Follicle Stimulating Hormone
-LH = luteinizing hormone
-SDM = Standard Days Method
-BBT = Basal Body Temperature
-MP = Manny Pacquiao. Good that the seminar already ended at 1pm, I was still able to catch the telecast at home.

related post
somewhat related post
another somewhat related post

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The 2 o'clock duwende

(A Halloween story)

My wife and I were sleeping quite soundly one night and as usual our 2 year-old child Raphael lies sleeping between us on the bed as he used to. All of a sudden my child sits upright from bed, he was screaming in apparent fright. My wife and I were startled and realized Raphael was having a bad dream. He had this terrified look in his eyes. We hug him tight and reassured him everything was ok, mama and papa are here beside you. He whimpered more for a few minutes until he fell asleep again. I look at the clock - it is 2 in the morning.

The next night the same disturbing thing happened. My son Raphael seemed to be terrified of a certain presence inside the room. We turned on the lights and looked around but there was nothing. There was also no sound at all except the soft whirring of the electric fan and the occasional chirping of night crickets. Again we hugged and comforted our son back to sleep. I turned off the lights and before Iying down I glanced at the clock. It was 2AM.

The third night it was the same thing all over again. This time my son jumped up the bed and ran around the room as if trying to scamper away from something. He jumped at the middle of the bed and pointed at the dark corner of the room with a terrified look in his eyes. We turn on the lights and gingerly looked at the corner of the room where he was pointing at. There was nothing there, even as my son hugged me and shut his eyes. My wife and I looked at each other and this time both of us were terrified too. We prayed the Our Father together and went back to sleep fitfully. Yes it occured at around 2AM too.

This happened two more nights even as we dreaded the approach of 2 o'clock in the morning. Now my wife and I are not the least bit superstitious, but this uncanny and dreadful event seemed the work of some dark and unknown evil preying on our kid. There was nothing unusual about Raphael. He was just a normal boy in every respect except that at that age he was not yet very articulate with words, so it was futile asking him what was transpiring and what was that
he was terrified of in the dead of the night. Five straight days of the same occurrence was too much.

That weekend I happened to relate our experience to my sister. She told me that she knew of a male mystic who is gifted to drive away evil spirits. I asked her what does he do? Apparently he goes around the house lighting candles while praying the Our Father and Hail Mary. Well, I suppose there is nothing wrong with a gifted mystic who goes around praying Catholic prayers. The service is free, I just had to pay a small sum for the colored candles he is bringing.
Ok, let us give it a go then.

The following morning the mystic arrived accompanied by my sister. He greets me and my father-in-law who was there at the time. He conveyed some trivial personal details about us and it was uncanny that he knew such small private details without us being acquainted beforehand. Hmm...

So there he goes about planting candles in some areas of the house, lighting them and saying some prayers as he goes along. He said it was the presence of a dark duwende that must be driven away. In due time the whole exercise was over, and the mystic paid his leave while we thanked him.

That night my son Raphael slept soundly all through the night. 2AM passed by without any incident. The terrifying incident was never repeated again.

This happened around 15 years ago.

There goes my Halloween special but it is not meant to be an endorsement of belief in the occult in any way. I am just trying my hand at fiction.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Porta Fidei


1. The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return.
Confessing with the lips indicates in turn that faith implies public testimony and commitment. A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him. This “standing with him” points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes. The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one’s faith fearlessly to every person. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us fit for mission and strengthens our witness, making it frank and courageous.
“That the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph” (2 Th 3:1): may this Year of Faith make our relationship with Christ the Lord increasingly firm, since only in him is there the certitude for looking to the future and the guarantee of an authentic and lasting love. The words of Saint Peter shed one final ray of light on faith: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet 1:6-9). The life of Christians knows the experience of joy as well as the experience of suffering. How many of the saints have lived in solitude! How many believers, even in our own day, are tested by God’s silence when they would rather hear his consoling voice! The trials of life, while helping us to understand the mystery of the Cross and to participate in the sufferings of Christ (cf. Col 1:24), are a prelude to the joy and hope to which faith leads: “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). We believe with firm certitude that the Lord Jesus has conquered evil and death. With this sure confidence we entrust ourselves to him: he, present in our midst, overcomes the power of the evil one (cf. Lk 11:20); and the Church, the visible community of his mercy, abides in him as a sign of definitive reconciliation with the Father.

Let us entrust this time of grace to the Mother of God, proclaimed “blessed because she believed” (Lk 1:45).

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 11 October in the year 2011, the seventh of my Pontificate.


Monday, September 26, 2011

PNoy on same-sex marriages this time

Does he understand?

If one still has any doubts that the current sitting President, Benigno Aquino III Jr, has firmly decided to alienate himself from his Catholic identity, then his recent pronouncement should leave no more doubts. His defiant attitude towards the Church by his unabashed support of the RH bill is now firmly reinforced by his recent pronouncement in apparent support of same-sex marriage.

President Noynoy Aquino, who prides himself in being Jesuit-educated, says in response to a query on same-sex marriage:

"Gay marriage—I don’t think I’m ready to tackle that fight right now. But the perspective... it is their choice. Normally I would say, you’re adults, you should be able to do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t harm anybody else...."

One wonders whether PNoy's "principled" stand is simply contingent on whether or not he is ready to "tackle that fight". One further wonders whether his principle is simply dependent on his targeted mass popularity by kowtowing to the liberal public. His perspective on placing individual "choice" over and above an essential principle in Catholic doctrine clearly puts himself in direct contradiction to a "non-negotiable" in the public sphere which is clearly spelled out by the Catholic Church of which he claims to be a follower.

Pope Benedict XVI emphasizes that the Church is consciously drawing particular attention to three principles which are non-negotiable, wherein the second non-negotiable goes as follows:

[The] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defense from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

Yet perhaps the president is a devout advocate of the principle of "Separation of Church and State", which is pretty much interpreted these days as equivalent to saying that just about anything the Church says should be altogether disregarded and repudiated in these modern times. Pope Benedict XVI in his recent address to the German Bundestag shreds such a positivist approach to nature and reason as being opposed to true human freedom, but then again it may be too much to expect PNoy to train his ears towards the Holy Father's words. Perhaps his ears may have been too much attuned to the proclamations of the self-proclaimed "messiah": President Obama of the United States.

Be as it may, with regards to Church-State separation and its misguided interpretations, we may yet look into what the State - specifically the Philippine State - has to say on the matter. It is no secret that the Philippine Constitution enshrines the principle in Article II Section 12:

"The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution"

Unless the Philippine president has purposely ignored this fundamental constitutional provision with the same nonchalance he has shown to fundamental Catholic teachings, it would be at least charitable to say that his phalanx of presidential advisers have taken a vacation - since day one of his presidency. Perhaps even with the same strange stance on PNoy's part, it is worth remembering that his own mother (God bless her), the late President Corazon Aquino was the very person who in 1987 promulgated the Family Code of the Philippines, which in Article II states to wit:

"No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present: (1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female"

Note: must be male and female. In supporting same-sex marriages, PNoy has chosen to contradict the Church, the State, and his own mother in his dalliance with his own shadow. Let it be said that today's Gospel is about obedience, even if one does not understand fully. Apparently, PNoy's dillema is more about not being able to understand more than having the virtue of obedience. But maybe, perhaps both.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Family and Life Ministry Articles

(draft articles for Q4 2011 Family and Life Ministry Newsletter)


Renato Manzano (brother Along to his many friends), once gave an NFP seminar on the Standard Days Method (SDM) to Family and Life Ministry coordinators at the Cubao Diocese formation center. Brother Along spiced his NFP lecture with many interesting and humorous anecdotes that made the short seminar entertaining as well as very educational. He emphasizes that husbands should not move the beads two or three at a time beyond the wife’s knowledge - an amusing reference to the counting of beads that is a simple method in the SDM to keep track of fertility cycles.

Brother Along is one of the many Family and Life coordinators and NFP volunteer resource persons who have been trained under the auspices of the Cubao Diocese and its various parishes. In the Christ the King Parish of the Sta Rita Vicariate where brother Along is the Family and Life coordinator, he joins hands with 5 other NFP volunteer consultants to provide NFP consultancy to its parishioners. They have been trained in all modern NFP methods such as the Billings Ovulation Method, Standard Days Method, Two-Days Method, Thermal, and Sympto-Thermal NFP methods. Under the pastoral stewardship of Fr. Henry, these NFP volunteers are available on-call, anytime to render able assistance to those who seek NFP consulting services. This initiative is replicated in at least three other parishes of the Sta Rita Vicariate, where 11 others Parish NFP “consultants” likewise selflessly devote their time and effort towards reinforcing the promotion of NFP which is a major Diocese-wide thrust of the Family and Life Ministry. Brother Along’s group is set to stage an NFP seminar in their vicariate this coming October to beef up their resources, a strategy that is similarly meant to be sustained Diocese-wide.

This NFP program has been envisioned by the Diocesan Family and Life Ministry as a practical effort to counter anti-life forces in the country, a step beyond the usual campaigns of conducting pro-life forums which the Diocese has already undertaken many times in the past. So anytime any parishioner feels the need to get informed about NFP towards its practical use, they can always seek the services of Family and Life workers like brother Along and many others in the Diocesean NFP program who are ever willing to instruct, evangelize, and at the same time – entertain.


The Christ The King Parish in Green Meadows is one of the busiest parishes in the diocese in terms of number of marriages solemnized. According to CK FLM coordinator brother (Doctor) Doy Lopez, they can average over 20 marriages in a month! It is therefore fitting that we chose them to share their experiences in conducting precana seminars.

CK’s precana team is composed of 12 couples who alternate in delivering 7 precana topics over a successive two-day, 8am to 5pm weekend schedule two months before the actual wedding. Each session numbers around 24 to 30 couple participants. NFP is delivered as the concluding topic to wrap up the seminar.

The husband and wife team of Dr Doy and Estrelle Lopez has been fully dedicated in coordinating the precana seminars, which is scheduled bi-monthly. They have been very active as coordinators of the Family and Life Ministry since 1996. With parish workers such as the Lopez couple and their precana team, those who tie the knot are assured of starting married bliss on the right path – with boundless blessings for a happy family devoted to God.


Lina Espina goes to Mass every Sunday at 7:15am. She actually arrives 15 minutes before the Mass to ensure the families that assigned to lead the Prayers of the Faithful as well as the Family offerors are all set and ready. When a volunteer family fails to show up for some unexpected reason, she approaches another family right there in the church to ensure that the Prayers for the Faithful and the Mass offering is covered. She not only does this for the 7:15am mass but for the rest of the seven Sunday masses as well.

Sister Lina, as parishioners fondly call her, has been at the service of the Family and Life Ministry at the Holy Family Parish Kamias, St Joseph Vicariate for over 20 years. For the past 5 years, she has untiringly focused her service to the “Simbang Pamilya” program of the Family and Life Ministry. She has well over 50 families in her “database” of volunteer families who serve either as Prayers for the Faithful leaders or Mass offerors.

Ever since 5 years ago when Bishop Ongtioco pioneered the “Simbang Pamilya” program for the Cubao Diocese, the Family and Life Ministry of the Holy Family Parish in Kamias has implemented it on all Sunday Masses (except the 6AM Mass). It has helped that 18 parish organizations have been tapped to invite families for the Simbang Pamilya either as readers or offerors. Each organization is assigned a mass slot every Sunday, with the encouragement of the Parish Priest Fr Ben Arceño. A similar approach is being practised Diocese-wide.

Sister Lina has many stories to tell in her service in the Family and Life Ministry. Once, she happened to invite a family where the father is not on speaking terms with the eldest son due to a long-standing argument. The family hesitantly obliged and went on to lead the Prayers for the faithful on one Sunday Mass. The reconciliation between the father and the son was sparked by that prayerful event and since then, they have patched up their differences and the entire family now goes to mass together consistently. Simbang Pamilya is truly a blessing to the Church, and parish workers all over the diocese like Sister Lina serve as powerful instruments of God to keep the family together.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The ultimate Pro-RH Bill Combox Guide against Prolifers

I LOL'ed at Matthew Archbold's post in NCR entitled "The Anti-Catholic's Guide to Catholic Comboxes". It gave me an idea to come up with a Top 10 List to guide Pro-RH Bill advocates in haranguing prolifers in the comboxes. Here goes

The ultimate Pro-RH Bill Combox Guide against Prolifers

10. Let the women decide for their own bodies, don't worry we are indoctrinating them.
9. What outdated views you have. Did you not know that St Augustine favored abortion? I am atheist by the way.
8. Unscientific! It's just a clump of cells, and my science says life starts at implantation, you clump!
7. You just do not understand separation of church and state, yeah we redefined that too.
6. Sure it causes breast cancer that kills, but its good for the cervix.
5. Your morality is different from my morality! (it sounds better in Tagalog).
4. Overpopulation !!! Who cares about steadily decreasing TFRs anyway?
3. We must be right because 90% of Filipinos are in favor (from surveys they don't understand)
2. You crazy prolife bigots are devoid of arguments and just resort to name-calling and character assassination. You #%@*# !!!!

1. The WHO said so, why don't you just adore everything they say? ...oops

Thursday, August 25, 2011

F4L: Akbayan’s tirade vs. Sotto unfair, out of context, narrow-minded

Maybe Senator Tito Sotto just wants to echo Mark Twain, but that is just my hunch.


ProLife advocacy group FilipinosForLife reacts (rightly so) by assailing the vitriol directed at Senator Tito Sotto for his interpellation of the sponsors of the RH bill in the Senate. Here goes...

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.
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.

Read the full statement here.

Indeed there is NOTHING, absolutely nothing to apologize for. Imagine, demanding an apology to ALL mothers for simply questioning a questionable statistic being irresponsibly bandied about ad nauseam: 11 mothers die everyday due to pregnancy. The corollary is that if contraceptives are freely distributed at taxpayers expense, the tragedy of mothers dying would be thwarted. The illogic behind this silly presumption has long been thrashed.

All pregnant mothers deserve genuine health care: pre-natal, delivery, and post-natal. The analogy behind the RH Bill folly goes this way: If many students are failing in a class, the obvious solution to reducing the failure rate is to reduce the number of students. Following this line of faulty line of reasoning, the RH bill aims to reduce the number of pregnancies and presto: the number of maternal deaths is obliterated magically.

Since when has official statistics been recognized as gospel truth that anyone who questions it should be derided and demanded of an apology? Are NSO statistics so infallible, sacred and beyond reproach? Whatever happened to the questioning mind according the sacred principle of "freethinking"? Note that these same people who takes offense at a simple gesture of questioning the "sacredness" of official statistics are the very same people who expresses no qualms about the desecration of the image of Christ under the pretense of a so-called "freedom" of artistic expression. They now deny Senator Sotto the simple freedom to question a questionable statistic? At any rate this is not the first time that official statistics have been rightfully called into question. Dr Bernardo Villegas and Dr Paco Sandejas have already questioned the official population figures before on an academic, empirical level. The proper response to Senator Sotto should have been to objectively defend the claimed soundness of the "11 maternal deaths" statistic, but no, all they can muster is a character assassination of the good Senator. Imagine Risa Hontiveros responding to the challenge by digging up an old, old controversy about a movie starlet just to heap dirt upon Senator Sotto. Look at these people who's so fond of insisting upon a high-level discourse.

Ms. Hontiveros goes as far as saying that Senator Sotto owes an apology to his own mother, sister, and daughter for the unpardonable act of questioning the 11 mothers statistic. Since when has Ms. Hontiveros been appointed as the spokesperson of Senator Sotto's own family? In contrast, I am quite sure that the family of Senator Sotto honors him proudly as he bravely stands to defend the mother Church and what it stands for. He is surely aware that he boldly ranges himself against the feisty Senator Miriam Santiago, who is well-noted to have far more superior academic credentials and bombastic eloquence that is capable of putting anyone to shame. Surely, Senator Sotto pales in eloquence and articulation, but the thing going on for him in this epic clash is that he is armed with the Truth, and that is all that matters.

Should Senator Sotto apologize to all women? On the other hand, these folks throwing dirt on Senator Sotto should apologize to all mankind by insulting our intelligence.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Senators argue inconclusively over when and where life begins

Senators argue inconclusively over when and where life begins

At least the tone has been set in the first session of the Senate interpellation on the RH bill. Senators Sotto, Enrile, Recto amd even Senator Lacson emphasized the primary importance of determining when life begins as a crucial point in the deliberation of the bill. Needless to say, the fate of the RH bill in the Senate rests on whether life begins at fertilization or implantation, to be in consonance with Article 2 Sec 12 of the Constitution.

Is the intent of the Constitutional provision already established at fertilization or was the intent left for legislative construction?

Whoever pounds on this issue to its conclusion seals the fate of the bill as well. All other issues are tangential, but pointing out the redundancy of the bill ices the cake.

Senator Sotto is doing it right. Thank you sir.

Here is a list of my related posts on when life begins:

Angsioco vs unborn
A response to the latest salvo of Fr Bernas (again)
Two interpretations of: "The State shall protect the life of the unborn from conception"
'When life begins' and the RH Bill
Lagman grasping at straws
Why pills, injectables, IUDs are abortifacient
Leaping mass of tissue

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Senator Santiago's "constitutional" follow-up to her "encyclical"

Miriam's "constitutional" follow-up to her "encyclical"

The Reproductive Health Act (Sponsorship speech part 2)

The meat of Senator Miriam Santiago's RH Sponsorship speech (Parts 2 and 3) rests in claiming that the enactment of the RH bill will enjoy a presumption of constitutionality. According to her since there is no clear constitutional prohibition, the passage of the bill would amount to a "legislative construction" of Article 2 Section 12 which is at the heart of the constitutionality issue.

I am not about to argue Senator Santiago's legal opinion point by point, for that is well beyond my reach. I would just like to point out that at least three legal luminaries do not share her legal constructions, and in fact flatly goes against them.

Here are the key passages of Senator Santiago's sponsorship speech.

There are a number of constitutional provisions that underlie the RH bill. But the most salient is what I would call the “Sanctity of Life” Clause found under Article 2, as a declaration of state policy:

Sec. 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.

This provision does not mention the term “reproductive health” or any of its affiliate vocabularies. This is in the nature of a constitution. As explained in the 1930 case ofLopez v. de los Reyes,[1] speaking of the Constitution:

It is an instrument of a permanent nature, intended not merely to meet existing conditions, but to govern the future. It does not deal in details but enunciates the general principles and general directions which are intended to apply to all new facts which may come into being, and which may be brought within those general principles or directions.

The Constitution should not be read like a newspaper story, on the basis of which each reader can feel free to express his own interpretation. Instead, to discover the intent and meaning of the Constitution, we have to turn to a process called “constitutional construction.”
The Constitution, directly or indirectly, does not prohibit the RH bill. Therefore, in constitutional terms, this Senate is free to enact this bill. It is now well accepted in our jurisdiction that under the “rational basis” test, so long as an act of Congress bears some reasonable relationship to the grant of power to the national government and it is not otherwise prohibited by the Constitution, a reviewing court must find the law to be necessary and proper.

If the Senate passes the RH bill, our action would amount to a legislative construction of the Constitution. The rule is that a practical construction by Congress of a provision of the Constitution is entitled to great weight and should not be lightly disregarded. Hence, if we pass the RH bill, it will enjoy a presumption of constitutionality if it is questioned in the Supreme Court.

In other words, Miriam says the Constitution does not prohibit the RH bill, and that the intention of Article 2 Section 12 may be constructed by the legislature.

Here I note that Fr Joaquin Bernas - a noted constitutionalist and member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission - clearly says otherwise.

The unborn’s entitlement to protection begins “from conception,” that is, from the moment of conception. The intention is to protect life from its beginning, and the assumption is that human life begins at conception and that conception takes place at fertilization of the zygote. Although the constitutional provision does not assert with certainty when human life precisely begins, it reflects the view that, in dealing with the protection of life, it is necessary to take the safer approach. For this reason the Constitution commands that protection be given from conception, that is, from the fertilization of the zygote.

This is reflected in one of the exchanges during the debate. Since the protection of the unborn was to begin from conception, Reverend Cirilo Rigos asked when the “moment of conception” was. Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, who was the principal sponsor of the provision, answered that the conception took place with fertilization since “it is when the ovum is fertilized by the sperm that there is human life.” When Commissioner Fely Aquino observed that at that point there would only be biological life, Bishop Teodoro Bacani did not contradict her but said that there would already be biological human life even if there was as yet no “person.”

From this it can be seen that the intention is to protect the “life” even before implantation in the uterus, that is, from the moment biological life begins. The constitutional intent, in other words, is to play it safe lest human life be destroyed and to impose the protection even before implantation in the uterus.

This brings us to the question whether the reproductive bill allows or even prescribes the use of birth control methods which have the effect of blocking a fertilized zygote from being implanted in the uterus or of expelling a fertilized zygote before implantation. This is a question which, while it has constitutional, religious and moral implications, must first be answered by medical science. Has this question been sufficiently explored in the course of the debates over the reproductive health bill? My impression is that it has not. And if the law is passed as proposed, the question will most certainly reach the Supreme Court.

Dr. Bernie Villegas, likewise a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission and the actual sponsor of the said constitutional provision, is more specific.

In the Philippine Constitution of 1987, conception is defined as fertilization, the moment the egg is fertilized by the sperm. This was the majority decision (32 to 8) of the members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 convoked by the late President Corazon Aquino. This majority decision was made after the most thorough debate...

Thus it is evident that Miriam Santiago's legal opinion on the Rh bill does not square with the legal positions of two prominent members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. In fact they contradict her and so it is incumbent for us to take Senator Santiago's opinion with a healthy dose of skepticism. At any rate, she avers that the Supreme Court would be tolerant of the passage of the RH bill in the event the ball is passed on to it. Now, if only she had come across Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona's earlier statements on the matter...

...The chief magistrate added that there are legal questions that will surely be brought before the SC once the bill becomes law.

If such questions were presented to the High Tribunal, Corona pointed out, it would be the court, not Congress , which will decide on the fate of the RH measure.

The SC could even inquire into pieces of legislation passed by Congress under its power of judicial review.

Such legislation [according to the Chief Justice] will include cases that are justiciable for “grave abuse of discretion or amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

Again if only Miriam paid attention to other notable but contrary legal positions...she might not sound so self-assured. Before that time comes, I guess hell will freeze over first.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Complaint vs CCP filed by Ang Kapatiran Party Chair

Complaint vs CCP filed by Ang Kapatiran Party Chair Manuel Dayrit

...for violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, among others...

Reflection on the Controversial Exhibit by CCP Trustee, Fray Paulo Casurao




I am writing this reflection as a response to Dr. Florangel Braid’s observations on the forum which occurred shortly after the CCP Executive Board Meeting on Friday, August 5, 2011, convened by Dr. Raul Sunico, CCP President, to discuss the brewing controversy spawned by the exhibit KULO, and also to reiterate some points I raised during the said meeting.

Present in that meeting were Dr. Raul Sunico, CCP President, Mrs. Emily Abrera, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the Trustees Dr. Florangel Braid, Mrs. Isabel Caro Wilson, Ms. Nedy Tantoco, Ms. Carol Espiritu, and myself. I was provided a copy of Mr. Nick Lizaso’s letter of objection to the exhibit and Mr. Antonio Yap’s email with the same objection. Mr. Nick Lizaso called me earlier to remind me to put his objection on record, which I did, at least, two times during the deliberations. To my recollection, there were six trustees who were opposed to the exhibit: Dr. Raul Sunico, Ms. Nedy Tantoco, Mrs. Isabel Caro Wilson, and I, who were present, and Mr. Nick Lizaso and Mr. Antonio Yap, who sent their objections by email. Those who were in favor of the exhibit were CCP Chairman Emily Abrera, Dr. Florangel Braid, and Ms. Carol Espiritu.

At the end of the meeting, the presiding office, Chairman Abrera, said she was not calling for a vote, but only to consult with the board members, and that the exhibit could not be closed due to the contract that provided for the use of the venue until the third week of August.

Of course heated exchanges were made during the board meeting. I, for one, restated my own expression of freedom of speech, which I sent by email at the very start of the uproar occasioned by the exhibit, in an equally dramatic fashion: May the families of those who rejoice in the insult against heaven be cursed for seven generations and may their households be consumed with misery for the same length of time. I added that it should not disturb those who do not share my faith and should it ever happen, they can shrug it off as mere coincidence, since the connection cannot be proven empirically.

The Plenitude of Life - John 10:10

I subscribe to the Liberal Humanism of Pope John Paul II, of revered memory, specifically with regards to culture and the arts. The gospel passage “…they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” has always been the reference of my involvement in cultural work since the 1970s as we battled Martial Law through theater and all through the years, even as a founder of one of the first arts councils affiliated to the CCP from 1988 onwards. That the CCP has accorded us, the Ibabao Arts Council of Calbayog, Inc. the PILAK HONOR in 2004 is a distinct recognition of our enduring work in the cultural transformation of our country. I believe this is also the principal reason why I was appointed to the CCP Board of Trustees in 2009.

The freedom that must come from this frame of reference is the freedom of expression with an important caveat - it must not harm others. That freedom is based on one preeminent task, as secular humanism would passionately argue - the founding of a just and peaceful society.

I submit, therefore, that the exhibit “KULO” is an incendiary attack against Christian Faith, as whole, and the Catholic Church, in particular. As all art exhibits are founded on the so-called creative intent of the artists, the counter-discourse cannot be dismissed by the claim to the so-called freedom of expression and hide behind the perceived constitutional guarantees, for the freedom of religion is also a paramount guarantee of a civilized constitution. The unjust vexations suffered by Christians, Catholics in particular, occasioned by the exhibit at government-funded Cultural Center of the Philippines might even give the wrong impression that the ruling political powers have let loose their hounds against the Catholic Church.

Into the “Devil’s Labyrinth”

In the debate that ensued during the CCP Executive Board Meeting, I asked the presiding officer, whether she would allow an exhibit that would feature a frame of the president treated in the same way at the debauched face of Jesus Christ in the exhibit. She answered that the President Benigno Aquino’s effigy has been burned in the street. I said that I am not referring to anywhere else but the CCP. I asked the question again whether she would allow an exhibit, at the CCP, of the President’s image being defaced in the same manner. Yes, she said. Then, I wondered aloud: How would the Aquino family feel if there was an exhibit at the CCP that defaced Cory Aquino?

When the officer in-charge of the Visual Arts was invited in, I asked her if she would have allowed another exhibit, God forbid, that blasphemed the revered Islamic prophet. She could not answer. She found the question difficult to answer; but, she seemed not to have any qualms about giving permission to an exhibit that mocked Christianity.

It was suggested that the exhibit also referred to the National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, who was a UST student and who attacked religious institutions. I protested that Rizal never hurled an insult at God. He was not expelled by the Dominicans from the university. To connect the exhibit to him is to abuse and dishonor his memory.

When Ms. Espiritu wanted to dismiss the voices of protest as coming only from the Catholics, I told her that no God-fearing Christian will not consider the exhibit offensive - Catholic or not. I hastened to remind her that the CCP is funded by taxes which Catholics also pay. A trustee retorted that the Bishops do not pay taxes. I argued that millions of Catholics like me pay taxes, directly or indirectly. At that point, I realized that the debate was pointless, even as Dr. Braid and I concluded that the debate at large on the matter should continue. I felt that the prejudice by some trustees against the Catholic Church precluded any further discussion.

Aftermath: You Reap What You Sow

If we argue for freedom of expression by allowing the “blasphemous” exhibit at the CCP, do we have the right to deprive those who were aggrieved or maligned by it to express their indignation as passionately and as strongly as the artists by their “artistic expression.” Are we not guilty of bigotry, if we want the Catholics to shut up because they are just Catholics. Would such attitude invite the millions of Catholic faithful to take us to task?

It seems that it is now “open season” against the Church that paved the way for another Aquino to ascend the presidency via the much televised funeral where he was endorsed by his younger sister to the grieving nation. It is ironical that the Church that offered sanctuary to Mrs. Corazon Aquino, in life and in death, should be the object and subject of attack by those who want to curry favor with the presidential palace.

The tragedy is, that in allowing an exhibit that would occasion such repulsion, the more important discourse on Art and National Transformation, as Dr. Braid would suggest, or Culture and National Development as I would advocate, has been overshadowed along extemely “partisan” lines.

Dr. Florangel Braid, who holds my utmost respect, even wrote in her e-mail: “I was just wondering that while we are witnessing many abuses of human rights (on children, vulnerable minority groups, etc.), which certainly are more shocking, these holy defenders of our morals have gone out of their way to spew insult to "betrayers of public trust" like us who certainly had no malicious intent. They even showed distrust by saying that this may have been timed with the Reproductive Health and Divorce bills. Which is farthest from the mind of Karen and our board...(I just wanted to get this out of my system too). .”

The inference that the Church has been remiss in fighting for human rights is unfair and cannot be sustained, considering the broad-involvement and advocacy by Church people on social issues. Lay people and priests have lost their lives in standing up for their commitment against human rights violations and even in campaign to save forests. (I also want to get this out of my system, too).

The greater tragedy is the chasm between the Church that stood-up against Martial Law and the Liberals who would want the Church to gobble-up whatever is served to it. The recent abuses heaped upon the Church by the operatives of the “Liberal” agenda now encourages disengagement from cooperation with government and distance from greater dialogue with liberal humanism, which is an essential element in the pursuit of the so-called UN Millennium Development Goals.

UNESCO Director General Irina Bukova, during her address at the dinner in the San Agustin Church grounds, hosted by the NCCA and the ITI Philippine Center in her honor, reasoned for what she called as “New Humanism.” The “Kulo” affair hardly contributes to this cause.

Redress of Grievance

I concurred with the lawyer present that the matter should go to court, so as to define the limits to the constitutional guarantee on the freedom of expression. I also told the trustees present that I would counsel the Catholics to write to their House Representatives and the Senators to voice out their concern regarding such policies by the CCP, which is a government institution. Furthermore, I said I would to bring the matter to Civil Service Commission so that accountability by civil servants, in this case those in the CCP, could be determined.

Other recourses can include a boycott of companies and products that sponsor CCP programs and events. These recourses are more preferable to other more violent responses that the fanatic may have in mind.

On my part, I am tempted to take the challenge to every parish and in every church of the Catholic faith in this country and bring the discourse to the attention of every tax-paying Catholic to the Chair that our Catholic voices matter and that the President of this Republic would do well to continue securing the cooperation of everyone, Catholics included.

There is an intensified clamor for the CCP Chair and Board to resign. Perhaps, it is the more honorable and decent way to deflect the arrows that will be aimed at the Presidency; an institution we are duty-bound as citizens to uphold and preserve whether we sympathize with the current occupant or not.

Even if I was indignant and opposed the exhibit, I have no qualms about resigning my CCP seat since I also feel marginalized as an appointee of the past administration. I spend congregational money when I have to travel from Cebu to Manila and back to attend the monthly board meetings. I have refused the paltry honorarium given to trustees. I even refuse the food served during meetings, hoping that I might be able to contribute to the Outreach Division that have been apportioned an almost token budget. I have been slandered too as every man and woman of good will and dedication to the welfare of this country have been slandered and maligned by their mere association with the past president.

The CCP that I have served, largely for free, since 1988 as a cooperator and advocate from the regions, has taken from me an enormous amount of joy in recent memory.

Fra. Paolo Maria Diosdado Granados Casurao, CSFP
CCP Trustee

Chairman, Pasundayag Cultural Network
Chairman, Institute of Drama for the Development of Peoples
Executive Board Member, ITI International Monodrama Forum
Executive Board Member, ITI Philipne Center
Chairman, Dulaang Laksambayanan
Chairman, Alsa Balutan Monodrama Festival

Copy furnished:

The President of the Republic of the Philippines
The Senate of the Philippines
The House of Representatives
The Papal Nuncio
The Catholic Archbishop of Manila
The Catholic Archbishop of Cebu
The UNESCO Director General
The Franciscans at the United Nations
The Conferenza Francescana Internazionale
The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"filthy rich Church" ???

Or is it filthy rich imagination?
More on the myth of the "filthy rich Church"
(reposted from The Catholic Position on the RH Bill)

Several weeks ago, the blog Adbokasiya published an interesting email thread / discussion regarding Elizabeth Angsioco's notorious screed on the Church's supposed wealth:

On the Church of the Poor Issue - further comments on the Church of the poor.

The thread includes the following intervention by Fr. Romeo Intengan S.J.

...just a very short initial reply for starters.
Pakipasa nga sa iba.
(1) The critics' article fails fails to distinguish between the significance of of stock holdings and bank holdings, on one hand, and annual available income from stocks and bank interest, on the other hand. Even if the Church owned, let us say, P200 B in stocks (not just the P35 B tallied by the critics, the rest of the wealth being conjecture), at a supposed rate of 10% a year from the stocks--I would say an optimistic figure--that would be P20 B. Think how much it costs to run all those thousands of parishes and schools, those dozens of hospitals, social action centers, and the like, especially at sufficient levels of quality. Then you will see that P20B is not enough, is a very modest amount, by any fair measure. Many of these, located in mission or poorer areas, are not supported by earnings and are subsidized by prosperous institutions and from the money of the Church in banks and stocks.
A large proportion of its income is used by the Church, through its institutions, to serve the poorest of the poor for free in remote areas where even the government cannot reach.
(2) It is not a fact that the Church is rich. The Church is not a monolith. There are perhaps five to ten prosperous dioceses and some twenty or thirty prosperous orders and congregations, but there are many more financially struggling ones. These critics ought to live for even just a week in any of the poorer majority of Church institutions and see what life there is like.
(3) The landholdings of Church institutions are quite moderate. The Church has hardly any farmland left, after the US colonial regime bought the friar lands, and after CARP. Do the critics begrudge the Church having churchyards and cemeteries, most of which are small and cramped? Do they want universities with cramped or no campuses? The Catholic Church does not even have the spare billions of pesos to own and run her own TV channel. Guess which religious group is rich enough to own TV networks? Not the Catholic Church. Instead of putting down what is already struggling, or damaging what is good, they should encourage the Church to raise the revenues to be able to serve the pastoral needs of the people.

One would think it more logical to encourage the State to improve the facilities of the public schools, rather than to scold to Church for having good facilities. In fact, the government recognizes the help of the Church in carrying the burden of filling the gap of public education, by helping private schools through the Fund for Assistance to Private Edcuation (FAPE).
(4) If the Church institutions sold all her stocks and gave away all the money they had in banks, the money raised for that one-time outlay would not be enough to make more than a small dent in the deficit of basic social services in this country. To claim otherwise would be to betray a ignorance of the dimensions of financing needed. It is the State alone, with its more than a trilliion pesos of annual tax income, that would have the capacity to close the gap in social services.
And after the Church sold all these, how would her institutions and works maintain themselves, considering that Filipino Catholics, on the average, contrary to the wrong impression given by the article, are not known for generous support of the Church ministries and pastors? Few Filipino Catholics practice tithing, and 3% support from their gross income would be a generous estimate, while the two richest non-Catholic churches in this country receive 15 to 20% of the gross income of her members.
(5) I agree that Church apparel could be simpler, but it would serve no good purpose to make this shoddy. Besides the sumptuous apparel of some clergy is worn only during liturgy, and on solemn occasions at that. The daily garb of the bishops is quite plain. To put together the images of bishops in sumptuous pontifical garb and a beggar in rags, as if this contrast was the normal, daily situation, is a cheap shot, good for hostile propaganda but far from reality.
(6) The Church is not "sitting on those billions." The latter phrase is another example of hostile caricature. These "billions" are invested in stocks or banks precisely to support the ministries, many of them gratuitous to the poorest of the poor, and the pastors. The Church is spending yearly the equivalent in goods and services of billions of pesos for the poor.

And please don't insult the poor. They are quite generous with what they have when they know it is for God or for God's holy purposes.

And as a matter of fact, one reason why the Catholic Church has not implemented Decree 118 of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), approved in 1991, and providing for tithing, is hesitation to burden the poor (while other religions expect their members, rich or poor, to tithe). That is why in the Philippines, the bulk of Church contributions comes from the middle class.
(7) Do you want the Church to be able to offer the high quality education and health care to all, and not just some of its members? Do you want the Church to be able to support its ministries? Then join my humble but urgent advocacy for the implementation of Decree 118 of PCP II on tithing. For as of now, contrary to what that figure-quoting but ultimately shallow article is trying to convey, the Church is not wealthy--it cannot even adequately finance the ministries it should give to its members. And this is true even if the money and property of the prosperous dioceses and orders were distributed equally among the Catholic institutions and circumscriptions.

Archie, SJ

Romeo J. Intengan, S.J.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Artists defend controversial exhibition, Palace refuses to comment

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) has rallied behind artist Mideo Cruz, whose work Poleteismo has become the subject of criticism by Catholic groups. According to the group the condemnation of art exhibit of Jesus mixed with symbols of pop culture "smacks of religious fascism".

“We believe … that this demand to suppress the show smacks of the religious fascism of the friars … and is certainly unacceptable in the 21st century,” said the statement issued by the CAP.

The exhibition features images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary adorned with objects not related to Christianity. One work includes a crucifix with a condom. Another features a Christ the King figurine with rabbit ears.

"The bishops and the lay leaders … are within their rights to speak … and they are free to admonish the Catholic faithful regarding what they find objectionable," the artists’ group statement said.

Neil Doloricon, CAP secretary general, said criticism of the art work is "part of the artistic process and contributes to the growth of the artist".

"We caution critics, however, not to resort to intimidation and defamation that threaten the artist’s freedom of expression," he added.

When the CAP secretary general was asked whether they would approve of a similar affront to the image of Islam's Mohammed, Doloricon responded by saying "Erm, ah.. next question please".

The CCP on Friday appealed for respect following the vandalism of the exhibit on Thursday. The statement said the exhibit was protected by right to free artistic expression.

The artists have the right to insult Christians anyway they want, please show the artists some respect, the CCP statement said, even as the CCP board scheduled a special meeting to deliberate the meaning of "double standard".

The offended Christians were dumbfounded: "huh???"

Meanwhile, Palace refuses to comment on the blasphemous CCP art exhibit.

"At this point, we refuse to comment on this issue precisely because the Palace was never consulted by CCP, which was acting through its own board, who decided to put on the exhibit", deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told state-run radio dzRB.

When spokesperson Valte was further asked whether Malacañang would comment if a similar affront was made to the image of Islam's Mohammed, she responded by saying "Erm, ah.. next question please".


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Miriam's "encyclical": The primacy of conscience says the RH bill is great and all the Popes were wrong after all

Senator Miriam Santiago delivers Part 1 of her sponsorship speech of the Senate version of the RH bill.

In so many words, Santiago attempts here to justify her dissent of a key teaching of the Catholic Church. Mainly, she cites the primacy of conscience as the primary justification for her support of artificial contraceptives.

She hinges her dissent on a "historically conditioned", "liberal progressive", personal appreciation of Vatican II. With her selective quotes of Vatican II passages and piecemeal excerpts from encyclical sources, she might indeed present a seemingly acceptable case to the gullible reader. Such is the case that adroit lawyers are wont to present their cases. It is commonly perceived that lawyers can easily portray the innocent as guilty or vice-versa with the crafty turn of words and selective citations. This reminds me of the joke commonly told about lawyers. You can always tell when they are not telling the truth: their lips are moving.

Senator Santiago's idea of progressive theology is that where one does not have to follow KEY traditional Catholic teachings. In this particular case, her dissent ranges herself against the constant, perennial teaching of the Catholic Church against contraception - from the earliest Church Fathers all the way to our present Pope Benedict XVI.

She rejects Humanae Vitae with her explication on the supremacy of her personal conscience. Even as she makes her case for "progressive theology" that sees "fellowships" held together in essentials by their "recognition of papal primacy", her research fails to uncover the fact that her supposed recognition of papal primacy falls flatly in stark contradiction to what Pope Benedict XVI clearly says. It was on the very occasion of the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, that Pope Benedict XVI clearly spells it out: "The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does NOT change. Quite the contrary, in the light of new scientific discoveries, its teaching becomes more relevant and stimulates reflection on the intrinsic values it possesses.". Clearly, Miriam Santiago's "primacy of conscience" is at odds with her "recognition of papal primacy" on the moral issue of contraceptives. Even as she liberally references Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes, she conveniently fails to note that the same document speaks of the "right conscience" guided by the "objective norms of morality". Senator Santiago on the other hand clearly proposes moral relativism: "what may have been perceived as morally wrong in one set of circumstances would be regarded as morally justifiable in another situation." In other words her definition of morality is: it depends on your own fallible conscience, period.

Here, one who values primacy of conscience should now carefully discern ("after proper study, reflection, and prayer" as Santiago recommends) who is right in this instance: Senator Miriam Santiago or Pope Benedict XVI with the whole weight of Catholic Tradition behind him? I take it to mean that when Senator Santiago says "after proper study", we don't confine our study to her speech alone for that would be far, far from proper. For starters, the early Church Fathers had much to say that Santiago contradicts. Pope Pius XI had much to say likewise. Pope Paul VI of course, as well as the Magisterium throughout the ages. One has to wonder what "historical" theology Miriam is referring to.

Particularly offensive is the part where Senator Santiago downplays the authority of the priests and bishops in emphasizing her dissent. She states: "The priest is not a special person, just because he performs strictly cultic tasks, such as presiding at the Eucharist and administering the sacraments.".To Santiago, the source, summit and very apex of our Catholic faith is reduced to a strictly cultic task that a priest presides over. This is not an attack on the identity of priests anymore, who has been ordained - not of their own power - to pronounce: do this in memory of me. It is an appalling, stunning irreverence of Christ himself - something I never expected even from the dissonant senator. It is a very sad and pathetic testament as to how far she has veered away from the faith.

Even as we should pray for her conversion, the thought most disconcerting is the likely possibility that her piece could be able to sway a considerable number of the flock to her own misdirected way of thinking. That is the very intention of her speech, make no mistake about it. It goes beyond just having the RH bill passed. It seeks to undermine the very fabric of the Catholic Magisterium for it leads us to follow our own conscience regardless. Jesus himself has some grave warnings in leading believers into sin in Mat 18:16 - whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Incidentally, in today's scripture the first reading portrays the namesake of the feisty senator: Miriam the brother of Moses and Aaron. (Nm 12:1-13). Moses' sister Miriam was equally feisty as she and Aaron questioned the divinely-inspired, primary authority of Moses and criticized him roundly: "Is it through Moses alone that the LORD speaks? Does he not speak through us also?". The Lord took grievous offense that his anointed leader was grossly disrespected. The narrative goes... "so angry was the LORD against them that when he departed, and the cloud withdrew from the tent, and...there was Miriam, a snow-white leper!"

We do not know whether Senator Santiago realizes she is practically asking to be turned into a leper or to be thrown to the depth of the seas with a millstone tied around her neck. Miriam the sister of Moses actually suffered only seven days, with the intercession of Moses. Senator Miriam Santiago looks pretty incorrigible but if only she would undergo a similar conversion experience, there is probably hope. Perhaps it would do good for Senator Miriam to be afflicted with leprotic lesions all over her body, while she is sent adrift on a tiny barge in the midst of the ocean, with a millstone around her neck, no food and water, and only a copy of Gaudium et Spes to read over and over again until she gets it right.


Monday, July 25, 2011


State of the Nation Address: President Benigno Aquino III

‎(initial reaction to PNoy's SONA)

"Naglalatag po tayo ng pagbabago upang mas mapatibay ang pundasyon ng maaliwalas na bukas para sa lahat."

I think this statement pervades the whole theme of PNoy's SONA. It is not such a bad idea to stick to such a theme under the circumstances. He stuck with the good points, played those up, and evaded confrontational issues. He highlighted results against corruption, cited data to back it up (those ones will need to be validated still). He obviously avoided mentioning controversial legislative agenda - this will not be consistent with his SONA's theme. Any mention of the RH bill would be out of place, though it should not mean he has abandoned support for it. The reference to the bishops is tasteful I must admit. Overall the tone is upbeat. I must say PNoy's speechwriter did quite well (who's the guy?), considering there was really not much to report in terms of strategic direction. The Pro-RH crowd will definitely be disappointed and I doubt they will understand. What's new.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Requiescat in pace: MANNY AMADOR

Information Technology pioneer. Writer. Musician. Motorbike enthusiast. Staunch Prolifer. Catholic blogger. A colleague in Filipinos For Life. A humble servant of God.


Requiescat in pace.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The third ticket

There is this story about a young farmer called Seamus who finds himself in dire trouble.

His farm has gone bust and he's in serious financial trouble. He's so desperate that he decides to ask God for help. He goes into the Church and begins to pray… “God, please help me, I've lost my Farm and if I don't get some money, I'm going to lose my house as well, please let me win the lotto”.
Lotto night comes and somebody else wins it.

Seamus goes back to the Church… “God, please let me win the lotto, I've lost my Farm, my house and I'm going to lose my tractor as well“.
Lotto night comes and Seamus still has no luck!

Back to the Church… “My God, why have you forsaken me? I've lost my Farm, my house, my tractor and my wife and 12 children are starving. I don't often ask you for help and I have always been a good servant to you. Why won't you just let me win the lotto this one time so I can get my life back in order??“.
Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and Seamus is confronted by the voice of GOD himself: “Seamus, meet me half way on this one: buy a ticket.“.
This Sunday's Parable of the Sower speaks about the Sower, the Seed, and the Soil. By analogy, the Sower is God himself, the Seed is the Word, and the Soil is our state of heart and mind. (Mt 13:1-9).

I have often been stumped as to why there is so much rabid anti-Catholicism in our highly secularized world. It becomes more astonishing when one realizes that mankind is supposed to have advanced to a very high degree of learning and self-consciousness, assisted by the benefits of scientific and social knowledge that is has accumulated over time. Instead, the so-called advances of "reasoning" has steered mankind to self-destructive initiatives that has materialized itself into a perversion of the very nature of its key to upliftment. Same-sex marriages, unbridled artificial birth-control, abortion, marginalization of religion and the traditional family, ...all these have been touted as hallmarks of a "liberated", "progressive" state, whereas the clear signs point to a self-inflicted destruction of mankind . These so-called "advances" have imperiled mankind more than anything else. A seed is supposed to thrive, grow, be fruitful and produce more seeds to replicate exponentially. Somehow, the secularist pseudo-intellectuals spite the Church and its teachings and haughtily calls it "progress" against antiquity, while actually destroying the seeds for the upliftment of humanity. They have eyes but they refuse to see. They have ears but refuse to hear. The seed cannot grow in a hardened heart.

We only have to realize that the secular world is willfully rejecting the boundless generosity and grace of God. It is free will that has lost its moorings. We only have to get that ticket at a pittance. Lest it be misconstrued, God does not want us to gamble, for what He offers us has no chance of losing. We only need to meet Him halfway and He will take our hand and lead us. Forget the lotto, a boundless jackpot awaits.

About Seamus, he never bought a third ticket. He sought an investor to partner with him on a project utilizing a novel farming concept Their venture became so profitable so much that Seamus not only regained his farm, but acquired two others as well. I am now thinking of buying that third ticket :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

The major cause of maternal deaths, really (Part 2)

(or why getting pregnant is like getting hit by a car) huh?

I came across an article which that annotates the problem with data and illustrations, and it helps understand the issue of maternal health. The article concentrates on showing data as a comparison of maternal deaths with our neighboring countries, and shows the 4 points where the RH bill aims to address the issue.

I like the analogy of pedestrians crossing the street - there are bound to be accidents. I think one of the obvious solutions is to reduce or minimize the number of people crossing the street. It's just the same as students taking exams where there is a high failure rate. You just reduce the number of examinees and ergo - you reduce the number of failures! I thought this was the magical solution of the RH bill in addressing maternal deaths. Reduce pregnancies via provision of free contraceptives and therefore reduce maternal deaths. So why don't we go a step further and eliminate pregnancies altogether by legislation and then presto: ZERO maternal deaths. I am just kidding, of course :-)

The overall picture in the article indeed shows that as far as maternal mortality is concerned, we are woefully behind in comparison with our neighboring countries.It would be better if we can further distill the attributes of the data. In cases like this, it is good to apply the principle behind the Pareto analysis. An applicable principle here maybe is that 80% of the problem is caused by 20% of the attributes. The most recent study I can get hold of that can be helpful here is one made by NSO statisticians, in a presentation made at a 2004 convention. It should be good enough for establishing the trend.

On page 7, the table shows that the areas of ARMM, Regions 12 and 9, account for the lowest utilization of prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care. The dismal 20.6% utilization of delivery care in the ARMM region is illustrative. If we go through the rest of the regions, we clearly see a strong correlation between low maternal care percentages and poverty by region. This is punctuated by the fact that the most populated (and by the way - the richest by per capita income) region in the country, NCR, has the highest percentage of prenatal and delivery care in the entire country: 96.6%. It is indeed ironic that among the regions that need more support in terms of health care, the poorest regions get the least attention. We must bear in mind with this observation that with the passage of the Local Government Code in 1991, delivery of health care services was devolved to the LGUs. And as we all know, the classification of regional areas directly corresponds to the budget of LGUs, leaving the needy LGUs with less resources than it actually needs. The RH bill aims to be objective in that it proposes maternal health care in terms of population and number of deliveries. However, this approach fails to take into consideration the demographics of the picture. The data shows that highly populated areas happen to be the high-income, high healthcare penetration areas, and if straight headcount data is used, this approach will only manage to perpetrate the imbalance of support that has become typical in the government approach to the delivery of basic services. The RH bill should have said the poor should be provided MORE instead of the SAME level of access. The poor, rural areas always happen to be the most neglected, in contrast with the developed cities where its residents can generally afford health care.

Talking about Region 12 and ARMM, these areas also happen to be perpetually saddled with conflict. It is a given that conflict-ridden areas suffer the most in terms of basic services: food, water, sanitation, electricity, education, and yes - basic health care. It is not any secret that these areas are also the poorest in the entire Philippines. Recurring and recent events also show they are also the most deprived of fair play and JUSTICE. As in healthcare, those who have less in life should have more of justice. Indeed, regional conflict that has historical roots is very complicated to solve. One solution proposed is to bombard these areas with free condoms to finally solve the problem. On this last sentence, I am again just kidding. :-)
Well, maybe not.

I agree with the four points raised in the article (in reference to the intents of the RH bill) in addressing maternal health. Hopefully, the actual methodology used in implementing any solution will be adjusted to take into consideration the concern I raise about demographics, and seamlessly integrated with existing DOH systems addressing the same needs. Also, I would like to point out further that the Pareto principle of 80-20 also has to assume a much more fundamental concept. It is called root-cause analysis.
Part 1 here.