Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bullying the bearer

"gracious madam, I that do bring the news made not the match"
- messenger to Cleopatra in Henry IV, part 2 by William Shakespeare
Sotto: Online critics can’t answer issues vs RH bill 

MANILA, August 29, 2012–Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday hit back at his rabid online critics, saying they would rather do a demolition job on him than answer questions raised on the “reproductive health” (RH) bill. 

Indeed. It appears that Sotto's critics who do not want the message, would rather shoot the messenger.  Earlier on, Senator Sotto delivered part 2 of his 'turno en contra' wherein he stated:

"And so, I will prove that this bill has been significantly influenced by various organizations, both local and international, which are of doubtful character. They have been pushing for the passage of this bill to serve their ulterior motives far-off from the aims of the proponents of the bill.". 

What was he referring to? Let us track back a bit to parts of Sotto's speech against the bill back in December 2011.  Among other things, Senator Sotto bared here that:

"... one particular lobby group – the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) – has a budget for “nurturing legislators” from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which has been criticized for its coercive abortion policies. The Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) has also been getting millions of dollars in subsidies from UNFPA and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the largest abortion provider in the world founded by the eugenicist Margaret Sanger..."

Sotto further cites the list of resource organizations who helped craft the bill, and said the database of the Securities and Exchange Commission yielded the following results:

• Pinasamang Lakas ng Kababaihan at Kabataan – “Not Found”
• Program for Adolescent Reproductive Health – “Not Found”
• Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines – “Does Not Exist”
• Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development – “Revoked”
• HIV-AIDS Network – “Revoked”
• Likhaan – “Revoked”
• RHAN – “No Records”
• Institute of Maternal and Child Health – “Does Not Exist”

Hmm, this is part of the message that they do not want, for they have avoided challenging it altogether just like the rest of the issues that Sotto raised. They would rather hit the person of Sotto to divert the flak. In other words, it is called Ad hominem. I have a few directly-related questions though.

 * If these organizations are receiving foreign funding for their advocacy, then are they not required to report all donations to the BIR?
* If they are really legit NGOs then they are supposed to file audited financial statements to the SEC. Have they done so?
* How are they supposed to report if they are not registered with the SEC anyway?
* Did these organizations tell their donors that they are not duly registered? Have they given receipts or certificates of donations to the donors?
* Why would a foreign donor donate to a non-registered entity? It would mean that the donations are not non-taxable.
* If an organization such as RHAN is not duly registered, why does it allocate a budget for "nurturing legislators".
* Sotto reveals that FPOP received $625,095 or almost P27.5 million from UNFPA in 2011. Have they denied it?
* Who are these donors? And what do they want?
* Why do Sotto's critics not face these questions and instead attack Sotto on the (non)charge of plagiarism?
* Why did Cleopatra get mad?