Thursday, March 8, 2012

P-Noy’s survival is the question now

Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s Senate impeachment trial has taken a dramatic turn, and the question now seems to shift from Corona’s own political survival to that of President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III.

After 26 days of trial, marked by serious lapses on the part of the prosecution, they finally rested their case by dropping five of the eight Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice.

The chances of convicting Corona, which the President is eagerly pushing for, appear to be getting slimmer by the hour. That is to say, if we go by the merits of the case.

In sharp contrast, P-Noy is already talking of a mysterious plot, by unnamed parties, to oust him from power. This looks like sheer paranoia, to some.

Should his claim hold, however, P-Noy would not be the first president to be ousted or to be so threatened. The last three decades offer enough examples. Ferdinand Marcos was ousted in 1986; Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada in 2001. P-Noy’s own mother, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, was constantly threatened from 1987 to 1992. So was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo since she replaced Erap in January 2001 until she left office in 2010.

But they never found it necessary nor prudent to announce that nameless forces were out to get them. For whatever reason, P-Noy is the first one to do so. But the military knows nothing about it. Even the normally gossipy media and coffee shops know nothing about it. He alone seems to know about it.

Alone and unaided, P-Noy has put his presidency virtually under siege. The resulting instability is entirely self-made. But the phantom threat could yet come to life, and P-Noy’s spoken fear fulfill itself, should he continue to mishandle himself vis-à-vis the sinking case in the Senate.

After the dropping of the five articles, the case against Corona has crumbled, for all intents and purposes. Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, for one, has openly accused the prosecutors of “bad faith,” and some critics have pointed out the complaint was fatally flawed from the very start and should never have been acted upon at all by the Senate.

The crimes alleged in the remaining three articles fall far below the gravity of the crimes for which an official may be impeached and removed from office, if convicted. These are “culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. ” Not one article seems to rise to the level of an “impeachable offense.”

The strongest of the three (Article II) alleges Corona’s failure to disclose his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALn). But it fails to allege graft and corruption, bribery, or ill-gotten wealth. Still the anti-Corona propagandists have been trying to prove what the complaint does not allege.

Corona may have misstated certain assets in his statement. At the proper time, the defense should explain it. But as a matter of practice, nobody seems to take the SALn all that seriously. Many, if not most, officials leave its filing to their lawyer, accountant, or secretary. In fact, one would be quite lucky to find a member of the Cabinet or Congress whose SALn meets the standard demanded of the respondent Chief Justice. Corona’s accusers may not be half as innocent as the accused.

But even if the alleged flaws in Corona’s SALn were left undisputed, the law allows him to correct his mistakes. The bad news for the prosecution though is that any purported evidence they had obtained from Corona’s bank records may finally be disallowed, for having been illegally obtained.

It is now public knowledge that the prosecution used an illegally leaked bank document to pry open Corona’s confidential records. That renders inadmissible any purported evidence obtained. Such evidence has no standing in court.

However P-Noy could insist that his Senate allies convict Corona, regardless of the evidence. And not all of them may be able to resist. At least two of them are known to have separately urged Corona to resign even before the trial started.

Another is said to have lobbied some of his colleagues for their votes in exchange for “soft projects.” Still another is said to have visited some camps to urge some contacts there to organize something if Corona is acquitted. Yet another sits as senator-judge while his congressman-son speaks for the prosecution to the press.

These are at least five senator-judges whose obvious bias against Corona cannot possibly help them “render impartial justice” to the respondent. They have every reason to inhibit themselves from the final judgment. But that would ensure Corona’s acquittal, so they are not likely to do it.

Yet a conviction based on P-Noy’s intervention rather than on the evidence could harm the President and the nation more than anything else. The entire nation may not be able accept nor withstand it. The moral and political thread that holds our people together could break.

The signs are up. One such sign is the mammoth crowd that filled Manila’s Rizal Park and adjoining areas on February 28---courtesy of the politically powerful Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), which supported P-Noy in 2010 as presidential candidate.

That immense sea of humanity drowned the trickle of government workers who had come to listen to P-Noy’s renewed blast against Corona on the anniversary of EDSA I.

It showed how much drawing power P-Noy really has, independent of the propaganda pollsters’ and the conscript media’s claims about his alleged popularity with the masses.

Billed as purely evangelical, the INC assembly did not have to say a single word to convey its message to P-Noy. The silence said it all. It was the INC’s strongest statement to him yet.

Depending on how Corona’s trial ends, an even bigger crowd could return to the streets, made up of all the other sectors and religious groups. And it may no longer be a passive and prayerful crowd.

Is there a way of avoiding it? There should be. But P-Noy must be prepared to think out of his mechanical box, and listen a little more attentively to those who have no desire to simply indulge his biases and fantasies.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Philippines inclines toward one-man rule

By Francisco S. Tatad[1]

More than a thousand people died in the Philippine floods before Christmas. But as Filipinos tried to cope with their latest tragedy, they also saw their country plunge into its worst political crisis in years. President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has virtually taken over Congress, and is now trying to remove the Chief Justice in his effort to subjugate the Supreme Court.

The President has openly attacked the 15-member High Court, defied its orders, and bulldozed 188 of the 285 members of the House of Representatives into impeaching Chief Justice Renato Corona, even without a verified complaint. He also threatens to impeach the other justices. He is now trying to pull in the normally independent Senate, which will try the impeachment case.

What is happening is the exact opposite of the Arab spring, which has replaced dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and is now about to do the same in Syria. Aquino has put himself at odds with the Constitution, which his late mother Cory Aquino promulgated in 1987, and turned against his parents’ legacy, which was the sole basis of his running in the 2010 presidential elections.

Aquino’s father, former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., was assassinated at the Manila international airport in 1983 as he returned from the US to resume his fight against the Marcos regime. Cory presided over the democratic transition that followed Marcos’ ouster during the “people power” uprising of February 1986.

The only institutions that now stand in Aquino’s way are the 24-strong Senate, and possibly the Catholic Church, which has condemned Aquino’s proposed population control legislation but has not weighed in on the current conflict. Virtually the entire legal profession is aghast at the turn of events. But part of the mainstream media and the propaganda pollsters appear to have been coopted by Aquino’s apologists. The United States and the country’s other democratic allies, all supporters of the Arab spring, have not said one word about Aquino’s shift to one-man rule.

The impeachment trial is scheduled to commence soon, but there may be no trial at all. A former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines has asked the Supreme Court to restrain the Senate from hearing the complaint, for being null and void. In their rush to please Aquino, the congressmen failed to come up with a verified complaint, and produced an unverified one instead. The complaint is void, on its face. Corona himself has asked the Senate to dismiss the complaint on the same and other substantive grounds.

What happens now if and when the Court or the Senate declares the complaint null and void? Would Aquino respect it? He should, but then he may not. Should that happen, he could plunge the country into so grave a crisis that the only possible outcome would be to either abolish the Constitution or remove the President. Passive or active resistance could then ensue, but Aquino could use the military and the police to crush any protest.

A lot depends on what the US says or does. Marcos stayed in power for 20 years with US support; he was taken out of power with US support. Aquino undoubtedly enjoys the same support. If the Dec. 23, 2011 issue of the US-based Executive Intelligence Review is to be believed, US President Obama’s search for Asian allies to support his “Ring around China” policy has yielded only two enthusiastic supporters: President Aquino and Nobuteru Ishihara, secretary general of LDP of Japan.

This could explain why Aquino seems so confident and secure in his drift toward dictatorship. Still the US must decide whether in trying to maintain its position as the first power in the Asia Pacific, its best interests lie in protecting the genuine democratic aspirations of peoples or in propping up the personality or ambition of their authoritarian leaders.


[1] The writer served as a Cabinet member for ten years and a senator for nine years. He was Senate Majority Leader of the Philippine Senate during the Estrada impeachment trial in 2000-2001. His book, A Nation on Fire: The Unmaking of Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the Remaking of Democracy in the Philippines, is a full documentation of Estrada’s trial and ouster in 2001.


By Francisco S. Tatad[1]

At the call of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, 188 members of the House of Representatives, which has the exclusive power to initiate impeachment cases, have impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona without reading the Articles of Impeachment, and without a committee hearing or a floor debate.

At first Malacanang tried to deny its involvement. But a Malacanang ally quickly disabused the public by saying the impeachment complaint was drafted at the Palace. And the President, who likes to be called Pinoy, formally thanked the congressmen for their “help.”

In urging the congressmen to sign an unread document in exchange for certain tangible gifts, Pinoy may have unduly risked his public reputation for being transparently incorrupt. Critics accuse him now of having become the first corruptor of Congress.

In their view, he has made himself impeachable in the very act of impeaching the Chief Justice. He, rather than Corona, should be the one impeached for culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, corruption, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes. He should be the one tried and removed from office.

These are strong words, but nothing more than words. Having full control of the House, Pinoy is in no danger of ever getting impeached, whatever wrong he does. But he has provoked a constitutional crisis, and strong words and strong passions are the first elements of this crisis.

The Articles of Impeachment, consisting of eight charges, are now in the Senate. The Senate has the sole power to try and decide impeachment cases. All 23 sitting senators have taken their oath to render “impartial justice.” Some of them, however, seem to take a cavalier view of the impeachment process.

They say that impeachment is nothing but a political process, to be decided on the basis of public opinion, not on the basis of the evidence. If that were the case, then the Senate should have no role in it. The case should be put to the people in a referendum, which should tell us what the “public opinion” is, so long as everyone participates and the process is not rigged.

But that is not what the Constitution says. Impeachment is a constitutional process. The Senate tries and decides all impeachment cases, on the basis of the evidence, not on the basis of party line or personal sentiment of the “judges.”

Now, a former assemblyman and former national president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has asked the Supreme Court to restrain the Senate from hearing the complaint, on the ground that the allegations are all null and void. Atty. Vicente Millora’s petition runs into a few pages. He is the first one; others, including the IBP itself, could follow suit.

What happens then if and when the Court finds the complaint invalid? Would the President recognize and respect such a ruling, given the fact that he seems to believe he is free not to obey what the Court says? Would it not create a crisis so grave that the only possible outcome would be either to completely abolish the Constitution or to remove the President?

Should the case come to trial, Pinoy may have to move heaven and earth to make sure the Chief Justice is convicted. Can he do to the Senate what he did to the House without creating a farce? And supposing he fails, how will it all end? Nobody knows.

In 1991, Cory Aquino, Pinoy’s mother, led a big march to the Senate to pressure the senators to approve the proposed RP-US treaty extending the term of the American bases by another ten years. She thought she could count on their votes, having helped 22 of them get elected in the 1987 senatorial elections. So she sat in the gallery and watched them vote. But the ingrates voted “according to their consciences,” and the treaty lost.

Pinoy could yet repeat his mother’s experience. Should that happen, after he had put his presidency on the line, he may no longer be able to govern. He may have to resign, or else be removed by other means. I don’t want to see that happen to Pinoy.

He deserves a break. He has made enough mistakes. He must redeem himself. He must abandon his zero-sum game and rethink his course. He must choose democracy clearly and irrevocably against any form of dictatorship. And he must do so now.

Pinoy is a democratically elected president, not a revolutionary one. He must act as one. He is presiding over a deeply divided country, in a time of troubled peace, amid so many natural and man-made calamities and other worries. He should show the world he has the will and the skill to unite his people and to mitigate the humanitarian disasters no man is able to prevent.

Senator Joker Arroyo, Cory’s former Executive Secretary and hardly an adversary, chides Pinoy for assuming control of all the three branches of government without proclaiming martial law, and without any of the conditions obtaining which could otherwise justify such a proclamation. Many agree with Senator Arroyo.

In 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law all over the country, in response to the communist rebellion that threatened to take over the government. It was a legitimate response to an actual emergency. By contrast, many see Pinoy’s rush into one-man rule as an attempt to conduct the presidency as a kind of video game, of which he is reputedly a master.

But neither life nor government is a game. Not anywhere, least of all in a constitutional democracy. Would Ninoy Aquino, Pinoy’s father, have approved of it, were he alive today? It is not unfair to ask that question, since Pinoy ran on his parents’ record, lacking one of his own. The best answer that comes to mind is--- maybe yes, maybe no, no one can say.

Filipinos remember Ninoy as the opposition leader whom Marcos jailed during martial law and who was eventually assassinated in 1983 at the Manila international airport while coming home from his medical furlough in Boston. But what most Filipinos do not know is that Ninoy was a most passionate advocate of martial law.

Ninoy liked to tell his friends in the press that should he ever become president, and many thought that would happen one day, the first thing he would do was to declare martial law, exactly as Park Chung Hee did in Korea, to consolidate power and accelerate the country’s economic development. But Marcos beat him to the draw.

Now Pinoy has fulfilled, or is about to fulfill, his late father’s dream without formally proclaiming martial law or national emergency. Is Pinoy simply trying to follow his father’s vision, or is he being egged on by some power or principality?

In its Dec. 23, 2011 issue, the US-based Executive Intelligence Review reports that Ninoy has become a frontline supporter of US President Barack Obama’s “Ring around China” policy, along with Japan’s Nobuteru Ishihara, governor of Tokyo and secretary general of LDP. EIR is not the least passionate when writing about Mr. Obama, but it was light years ahead of everybody else in predicting the collapse of the US housing bubble and the euro, and the continuing meltdown of the trans-Atlantic economies.

EIR says that during Obama’s recent Asia tour, Pinoy insisted that the US denounce China as an aggressor in the South China Sea. EIR then cites Pinoy’s recent speech calling on the Armed Forces to prepare for external challenges, not just internal ones. At the same time it sees more US warships being dispatched to the area close to the Spratlys.

Is President Obama the cartilege that has stiffened Pinoy’s back and made him believe he could take over the entire government without provoking resistance or hostility? Supported by the US, Pinoy could be tempted to believe he could do anything without risking his office. After all, the Filipino poor have remained docile until now, the remnants of the communist left that were a threat to Marcos are now his allies, the elite look only after their own, and the Americans will go after any dictator anywhere, except when he is their own.

Still history is full of strongmen whom the US had coddled for years and then dumped as soon as they were no longer useful to them. Pinoy would do well to learn from their experience, including from his own father’s. Ninoy himself may have narrated his own story to his wife and children.

In 1957, during the so-called Permesta revolt in Indonesia, Ninoy undertook secret operations for the CIA, according to the book “Subversion as Foreign Policy” by Audrey Kahin and George Mc T Kahin, quoting the late Senator Jose Wright Diokno as its source.

According to that story, Ninoy set up a clandestine radio station in Indonesia for the rebels, shipped them guns from a third country, and opened up Hacienda Luisita as a training ground for the rebel pilots. But when the Americans saw they could not topple President Sukarno, they promptly pulled out without telling Ninoy, leaving him in the dark and holding the proverbial empty bag.

It is not known how that affected Ninoy’s relations with the CIA. But in 1978, when Ninoy ran from his detention cell for the interim Batasang Pambansa, then Defense Secretary (now Senate president) Juan Ponce Enrile accused him of being a CIA agent. He did not deny it. His only reply was that he worked “with the CIA”, but “not for the CIA.” And nothing more was heard about it.

Twenty-eight years after Ninoy’s assassination, and no mastermind has been identified, conspiracy theorists have started saying that NInoy was terminally ill when he came home from Boston in 1983, and had agreed to be sacrificed in a foreign intelligence operation specifically intended to bring down Marcos, make Cory president, and restore the primacy of US interests in the Philippines.

I do not buy that theory. But others may. Pinoy has to intervene. He has to unlock the mystery about his father’s death, to end all speculation, once and for all. But he must, at the outset, make an irrevocable commitment to our constitutional democracy, respect the separation of powers, act more the statesman he is supposed to be, and make his countrymen, not any power or principality, the sovereign masters in their own country.

[1] The author was Senate Majority Leader during the 2000-2001 impeachment trial of then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. His book, A Nation on Fire: the Unmaking of Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the Remaking of Democracy in the Philippines, is by far the most authoritative documentation of the trial and ouster of Estrada.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Breaking The Grip of Population Control

A talk given at Sarangani Study Center, Manila

26 November 2011


The Reproductive Health (RH) bill has engaged us for so long, but until now the debate remains wrongly framed. We have been discussing what the proponents say the bill is all about rather than what the bill really says. It is time to set the basic premises right.


The bill has been completely misrepresented to the public. Mislabeled as an RH bill, it is actually a population control bill. Its reference to the Committee on Population rather than to the Committee on Health in the House of Representatives is the closest admission by its proponents that it is, in fact, a population control measure. There is a world of difference between health and population control.

Also deliberately misstated is the true intent of the bill. Its proponents have tried to tell us that the bill simply seeks to grant everyone the “right” to practice contraception and sterilization as a method of family planning. The facts say otherwise.

Nobody’s “right” to practice contraception and sterilization, if such a right exists, has ever been curtailed. There is no law prohibiting it in the Philippines. Anyone so minded can practice it, and they are doing so mindlessly, at the prodding and pleasure of the Department of Health (DOH), Population Commission (Popcom), and local governments now joyfully pursuing the RH programs of some intrusive foreign governments.

The present budget for it is at least P2 billion, not including the money coming directly to local governments from foreign population controllers. And that accounts for the national contraceptive prevalence rate of 51 percent.

So let us not be deceived.


What the bill really wants to do is to make birth control a necessary precondition and an essential component of marriage, and to make the State the primary and ultimate provider of contraceptives and sterilization agents.

Thus, no couple may be issued a marriage license unless they could show proof that they had received state instructions on the use of contraceptives and sterilization agents.


The RH proponents claim the bill gives everyone a choice . Indeed, there is an illusion of that, but only an illusion, nothing more. For while the bill mentions natural family planning (NFP) as an option, NFP is not a means of contraception or sterilization, but rather a way of life, a natural means of spacing birth for grave personal reasons, without resorting to contraception or sterilization.

Even so, the bill says nothing about how the government intends to promote NFP and make sure those who need it would get it. On the other hand, the bill reads like a virtual manual on how hospitals, clinics and other institutions and facilities, public and private, are to distribute contraceptives and sterilization agents as essential medicines.


But the real offence here is not just that you are given a bogus choice. The more outrageous offence is that the bill decides for you, at the outset, that you shall practice birth control as a necessary precondition and an essential component of marriage.

No longer will procreation and the rearing of children be the primary and natural purpose of marriage; contraceptive sex will now take its place.

Couples will still marry, no longer to procreate, but just to indulge in “safe sex” without any responsibility or consequence.

Thus, the maddening drive to promote gay or same-sex “marriage,” not only because it is totally unnatural but above all because it is absolutely childless.


That is the real evil. Even in the United States, Europe and other non-communist countries where abortion is allowed, the State has simply legalized the diabolical destruction of unborn babies. But it does not quite prescribe it.


The Nazis prescribed it within their occupied territories during World War II, but the Nuremberg military tribunal later condemned it as a crime against humanity. They did it and still do in communist countries, with the tacit support and encouragement, instead of condemnation or criticism, from the UN and the “great democracies.”

This is probably why our local communist friends in Congress and in the NGO world are among the most rabid and organized supporters of RH, even though the old party’s two warring factions---the “reaffirmists” and the “rejectionists”---cannot seem to agree on anything else.

We are neither a communist nor a totalitarian state. But if enacted into law, the RH bill will make us one or the other in practice. Indeed, the bill seeks to destroy not only the institution of the family and marriage but also the very nature and foundation of our constitutional democratic state. This has so far escaped the appreciation of the public.


Until now, we have argued to death the secondary and ancillary issues. But we have barely touched the real issue that should decide the fate of RH.

The proponents have tried to show us why we need the bill. And we have shown them why we don’t. But they have not shown us how they could transform this questionable bill into a valid and acceptable law. And we have not had enough opportunity to tell them they couldn’t.


This is what they have said:

We are poor because we are too many and the population continues to explode. Eleven women out of every 100,000 are dying everyday from pregnancy and childbirth. Our environment has become unsustainable because of “population explosion” and climate change. We need the RH bill to solve all of these.


And this is what we have said:

On population growth. Our growth rate is down to 1.9 percent, and our total fertility rate to 2.6 children per woman of reproductive age. Our population density stands at 315 (individuals) per square km., while those of much richer Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Monaco run into thousands per square km.

Japan’s median age is 45 years; ours is 22. This means that when the world’s 65-year-olds and above grown twice as many as the 15-year-olds and above, or when Japan’s economy becomes almost wholly dependent on robots, we shall still be having able-bodied young men and women in our workforce.

At Halloween 2011, world population passed 7 billion. Yet serious and responsible demographers have identified depopulation, not growing population, as the next world crisis. According to the Moscow Declaration issued at the end of the Moscow Demographic Summit on June 29-30, 2011, 42 percent of the population today live in countries where the birth rate has fallen below replacement level; the demographic winter in Russia, Europe and Japan is spreading.

On maternal death. The verified number is much lower than 11 a day, and so many times more than that number are dying from cancer, heart, respiratory and pulmonary diseases, tuberculosis, diabetes, malaria, and accidents.

This is not to say we should care less about maternal deaths. We should be concerned about every single person who dies, whether she is carrying a cancer or a pregnancy, delivering a child or a contagious disease, waiting for a bus ride or a heart attack, trying to cross the poverty line or a busy street. But problems of maternal death are best addressed by providing adequate maternal and obstetrics care, not by requiring everyone to contracept or get sterilized.

Something is terribly wrong when vast resources of foreign governments, multilateral agencies, the whole NGO world the conscript media and the propaganda pollsters are used to try to cure pregnancy, which is not a disease, while vast numbers of people die from killer-diseases and are treated simply as statistics.

On the environment. The Constitution says, “The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and natural harmony of nature.” But the human body is our first and most precious environment. We cannot be talking of preserving our forests, air, lands, waters and seas while destroying our delicate human bodies every day with cancer-causing contraceptives and sterilization agents.

Summing up, our healthy and dynamic population is our most enduring resource. We need only to invest in it to ensure sustained productivity and high returns. Our present investment in it is among the lowest in the world.


What then is the status of the RH debate? It’s not easy to say, and I am not referring to what’s happening floor in Congress. We reject what they say, and they reject what we say, and the apparent result is an unbreakable stalemate. But the conscript media and the propaganda pollsters seem bent on breaking it in favor of the party that pays. Truth suffers in the process.


But assuming everything they have said is right, and everything we have said is wrong, can Congress now enact this bill into law? This is the only question which, in the end, carries any real meaning in this debate.

My simple answer is, Congress cannot. Why? Because Congress can pass no law that violates the Constitution, and the RH bill violates the Constitution. It is null and void ab initio.


Whether or not it is specifically written in the Constitution, it is not the lawful business of the State to organize, control or direct the personal and private sexual lives of its citizens. This matter involves rights intrinsic to human nature and as basic and as self-evident as man’s right to breathe. Such state intrusion violates the primacy of the human person vis-à-vis the State, and betrays a patent lack of justice.


Thus, even if all the members of the two Houses of Congress, without a single exception, were to vote in favor of the bill--- a rather absurd possibility----the result would only be an unjust law. That law would simply divide the nation more deeply, but it would be a useless law. For an unjust law is no law. It cannot bind anyone. Not even in a dictatorship, much less in a democracy.

Assuming then that Congress passes the bill, the President has the duty to veto it, rather than sign it or let it lapse into law. He would render himself impeachable if he allows it to become a law, and that could be just one of the lesser problems of his presidency.


Let us now examine its constitutionality.

We turn to Article II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies), Article III (Bill of Rights) and Article XV (The Family) of the Constitution. In Article II, Sections 11 to 16 may be initially cited, but let us just focus on what I call the core of these provisions, Section 12.


1) Sec. 12 of Article II provides:

“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. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”

Let’s concentrate on that second sentence: “It (the State) shall equally protect the life of the unborn and the life of the unborn from conception.”

Clear enough? Crystal. But for even greater clarity, let us break the sentence into two parts. The first part says, the State shall protect the life of the mother as soon as she begins conceiving. The second part says the State shall protect the life of the unborn as soon as it is conceived.


Does that provision give the State the right or duty to do anything to prevent any woman from conceiving? Does it?

It does not seem so. Otherwise, the provision would have been worded differently. The provision would have said that the State shall protect the life of the unborn from conception, provided it survives the State’s program of contraception. But that is not what it says.

The necessary implication of protecting the life of the unborn from conception is that the State cannot do anything and shall not do anything to prevent even one solitary woman from conceiving.

As protector of conception, the State cannot at the same time be the preventer or destroyer of conception. That is the principle of non-contradiction, the first principle of speculative reason.


Now, the Constitution does not say exactly when conception occurs. How then will the State know when its duty to protect the unborn begins? Upon fertilization or upon implantation? We have always known the right answer, but that question does not arise at all.

Medical science has long established that conception takes place upon fertilization. The abortion lobby, however, has come up with the ideological position that it takes place upon implantation. With that abortionists could claim that no abortion was committed if the fetus was killed before implantation.

But, at whatever point conception occurs, the State’s duty under the Constitution does not change. As protector of the life of the unborn from conception, it cannot do anything to prevent any woman from conceiving. The protector of conception cannot at the same time be the preventer and destroyer of conception. The State cannot have a program of contraception and sterilization. Full stop.

Thus, on the basis of that single line in Article II of the Constitution, the entire RH bill falls. The debate ends here.


But there is an added dimension. This has to do with the religious question.

Sec 5 of Article III (Bill of Rights) provides:

“No law shall be made respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.”

Section 3 (1) of Article XV (The Family) further provides:

The State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood.’’

Now the Catholic Church condemns contraception and sterilization as intrinsically evil. It enjoins Catholics not to engage in contraception or sterilization for the good of their body and soul. That notwithstanding, the RH bill seeks to impose contraception and sterilization upon everyone, without regard to their religious convictions.


Not only does the bill require Catholics to act against their own moral convictions. It also requires them to use their taxes to pay for the program that seeks to destroy those convictions. They would be made to pay for the bullets that would be used to kill them.

Religious persecution pure and simple.

The Catholics did not have to be the overwhelming religious majority to have the right to profess and practice their faith, without any discrimination from any source. That right belongs to all. And the smallest religious group with only a handful of members has as much right as the most numerous church.

Whatever our faith, we do not have to explain to Congress why we believe what we believe. We do not have to justify our conviction that contraception is intrinsically evil, even though the legislators would probably benefit if we said something about it; and there is a chance some of them might be converted. It is sufficient for the State to know that we believe what we believe and its duty would be to respect our right to believe what we believe.

The fact that some “Catholics” do not follow what the Church teaches does not give Congress the right to enact a law against any particular teaching of the Church. We do not ask Congress to act as the official enforcer of our Catholic belief. But we cannot allow Congress to disrespect or trample upon our Catholic belief or any other religious belief.

In any case, we now ask Congress and the President to recognize the fact that the RH bill is an anti-Catholic bill which they have no right to impose upon Catholics. As Catholics and as democrats, we have a right, if not a duty, to resist it, with our lives if necessary, should they ever inflict it upon our people.


We are asked not to impose our Catholic belief on non-Catholics. We hear this even from well-meaning sources who should know the real score. There is no attempt to impose Catholic belief on anyone. Some non-Catholics and non-believers, however, expect Catholics to tolerate their belief or non-belief, without any effort or desire on their part to reciprocate. They construe the Catholic position against the RH bill as an assault on their “right” to practice contraception and sterilization.

This is a complete misunderstanding of the principles and the facts. Catholic rejection of RH has not prevented, and is not intended to prevent non-Catholics and non-believers from believing, if they do, that contraception and sterilization are good for their health and soul and from contracepting and getting themselves sterilized. The abandonment of the RH bill---which we hope and pray will come soon---would still not affect their “right” to contracept or get themselves sterilized.

But their insistence that Catholics practice contraception and sterilization, regardless of their moral and religious convictions, is an unprovoked, unnecessary and unacceptable attack upon the Catholic Church and its flock.

Their apparent readiness to allow the State, through the RH bill, to dictate the intimate details of their marital lives, without regard to the moral law and the Constitution, is an attack on the basic rights and freedom of all men and women, and of all religions, beginning with their own.


Regardless of their conflicting beliefs on contraception and sterilization, Catholics, non-Catholics and even non-believers alike should work together against such State imposition, if they truly value their inviolable dignity as human persons.

As Catholics we have a right and a duty to make sure that in this predominantly Catholic country the government should not stamp the boot of Nazi or communist totalitarianism upon the face of the Filipino family, whatever its religion. While there is no Catholic vote in a predominantly Catholic country, we should exert every effort to put in office the best qualified Catholic candidates, whenever that is possible. And we should exert greater effort to make sure that no known anti-life and anti-family candidate should ever win again.


In the 2010 elections, we failed to wage an earnest national campaign to elect the best qualified pro-life and pro-family candidates. Some well-meaning individuals and groups even made the mistake of naively characterizing as “pro-life” certain double-dealing politicians who had no sustainable record of standing for the family and human life, and who turned out to be “anti-life” and “anti-family” as soon as they were recruited by the population controllers. We cannot afford to make that mistake again.

As we prepare for the next elections, we must go down to the grassroots and begin to organize a parish-based national movement to separate the goats from the sheep, the lackeys and hirelings of global population control from the true friends and servants of the Filipino people. That is the only way we could hope to break the iron grip of the global population controllers upon our government and our people.