Friday, February 23, 2007

An Absurd Senatorial Election

Faced with a dearth of suitable senatorial materials for the May elections, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo decided to entice some of the more flexible elements of the “United Opposition”(UNO)---now renamed “Genuine Opposition” (GO)----to join her “unity ticket”----“Team Unity” (TU). Some senators who had won as her candidates in 2001 now shunned her official backing as a “kiss of death,” but former Senators Teresa Aquino Oreta and Tito Sotto, who used to call her a “bogus president,” readily jumped in from GO. Then Sen. Edgardo Angara, LDP president, followed suit.

For their part, former President Joseph Estrada and other GO leaders packed their ticket with candidates from outside rather than from their own ranks. This erased nearly every trace of the Estrada-led opposition which had succeeded in polarizing public opinion against the administration these last few years, in favor of an amalgam that has no distinctively oppositionist character. At least nine of GO’s 12 candidates had played a part in Estrada’s ouster in 2001 and in the opposition debacle in 2004. PMP, Estrada’s own party, the biggest in GO, is not represented, while much smaller parties are, two of them by dynasty candidates whose next of kin are sitting in the Senate until 2010.

The Nationalist People’s Coalition has two candidates with TU --- Oreta and Sotto, and four with GO -- Nikki Coseteng, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda and John Osmena ---or a total of six.. NPC’s former president Ernesto Maceda is also GO’s campaign guru. But party boss Danding Cojuangco is with Mrs. Arroyo. For its part, the Liberal Party has Michael Defensor in TU, and Noynoy Aquino and Francis Pangilinan in GO. The Nacionalista Party has Ralph Recto in TU, and Alan Peter Cayetano and Manuel Villar in GO. This has not happened before, despite our recurring history of political insanity.

Were these details less deranged, the senatorial race would still not pass the test of rationality. Contesting the election are an administration that has tried but failed to abolish the Senate, and therefore forfeited its right to field senatorial candidates, and an opposition that now wants to destroy what the entire nation had fought for by turning it into the family estate of a few self-seeking families. Neither side has anything to say to the electorate.

What can the TU candidates possibly say? That they regret having failed to abolish the Senate, but that they promise to get rid of it, as soon as elected?

And what can the GO candidates possibly say? That since the Senate has been saved, the Pimentel family in Cagayan de Oro should now be allowed to have a larger presence in that body than the whole of Muslim Mindanao, and that the Cayetano family in Taguig-Pateros now be allowed to claim a privilege denied, in principle, to all those who ever sat in the Senate, and denied to the 18 million or so families who make up the national population of 90 million Filipinos?

Never has our politics sunk so close to the sewer. It is totally unprincipled. No single moral principle defines the campaign, no moral advantage puts one camp above the other. With opposition defectors now eating out of Mrs. Arroyo’s hands, and Estrada’s old enemies displacing the original opposition, no one will be raising the legitimacy issue against Mrs. Arroyo anymore. GO’s naivete, rather than Mrs. Arroyo’s acuity, has buried it forever.

With candidates Cayetano and Pimentel insisting that the constitutional ban on dynasties is meaningless without an enabling law----and the other candidates entombed in sepulchral silence ----morality has lost all meaning to our would-be legislators. Since they refuse to be bound by the simplest moral rule, they cannot in turn bind anybody else to any moral rule. But since morality is the basis of law---every law, then they have rendered themselves totally unfit to become legislators. Yet they are obsessed with becoming senators for no other reason than that they want to become senators.

Just what are the prospects for clean and honest elections? Nil. The generals mentioned in the Garci tape are now in total control, and despite earlier reports, the military will yet again be on active poll duty in the May elections. Meanwhile, some of those most vocal in denouncing former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano for his alleged role in manipulating the last presidential elections were reported to have already sought his “help” to ensure their election. To his credit, he reportedly rejected their proposition.

Given the death of moral principles, and the dim prospects for clean and honest elections, renewed political turbulence looms large on the horizon. The people have the right to choose, but they have nothing and nobody to choose from. There is no longer any distinction between moral and immoral, between administration and opposition; one is no longer an alternative to the other. The people need an alternative to both. They need to replace the entire political elite, now rotten to the core.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Reply To PDI Editorial

Re your Feb. 3, 2007 editorial on my fight against political dynasties in the Senate, you contend that because I read to the nation Marcos’s martial law proclamation in 1972, and voted against the opening of the envelope that had intended to prove a charge not included in the Articles of Impeachment against then President Estrada in 2001, I should be the last person to propose anything that might help voters choose the right candidates in the May elections.

That certainly breaks new ground in editorial writing.

You also say that I have turned the dynasty issue into an exclusive problem of the opposition, although it afflicts the administration even more. That is a misstatement of my position.

Martial law was proclaimed in 1972, pursuant to the 1935 Constitution which allows the President to do so “in case of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, or imminent danger thereof, when the public safety requires it.” That I read Proclamation 1081 to the nation is now history. That I did not write it or proclaim martial law myself or administer it or send people to jail is also now history.

If reading that proclamation was a crime, then I should have been jailed after Marcos fell. If it was a moral offense, then the Filipino voters would not have elected me to the Batasan in 1978, and to the Senate in 1992 and 1995. If it had deprived me of my right to fight political dynasties, then Marcos would have rapped me for it when I broke with him in 1980 over the dynasty issue in Catanduanes.

The issue is this: I expected UNO to act more honorably than our adversaries. But our leaders were resolved to behave even less honorably and ram down our throats their dynasty choices without a debate or a process. How could they now denounce President Arroyo’s dynasty politics when they have decided to exceed her own excesses? That was my complaint.

At the Estrada impeachment trial, I refused to join the eight senator-judges who called for Estrada’s resignation and acted more like prosecutors despite their oath “to do impartial justice.”. I refused to prejudge Estrada and to entertain anything that tried to prove a charge not included in the original complaint from the House of Representatives. I wanted to follow the law, not the crowd. Then Senate President Nene Pimentel upstaged everyone else by announcing his “resignation as Senate president as soon as his successor shall have been elected.” He then went to EDSA and acted as microphone-holder for the acting President.

When Pimentel opened the controversial envelope later, he found nothing that implicated Estrada. That confirmed the correctness and wisdom of our legal position on that envelope. It had no legal existence before the court. Pimentel never resigned; he was the bitterest man when the senators finally replaced him at the opening of the next Congress.

Who do you think now should apologize to the nation, no matter how late?

What happened to me in 2004 is no secret, and I have tried to document it. But much of the data came after the deadline for filing protests. I did not have the money for it, and it was not necessary to proclaim to the world that it happened because we could not afford to pay for watchers in most places. And everyone wanted to focus on FPJ’s presidential protest. Thus, I had wanted to make electoral reform a precondition for participating in the May elections. I was the original proponent of a boycott.

I am initiating a movement for the restoration of human values in politics not on the basis on my own strength, which is open to question, but on the basis of the moral right of our people to demand the best that is their due from their political leaders, the political parties and the state.

Feb 3 Editorial in Philippine Daily Inquirer

Below you will find the text to the Feb 3 editorial published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which I have posted so as not to confuse any readers in the post to follow.


Tatad’s moral fight
First posted 01:39:44 (Mla time) February 03, 2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Former senator Francisco Tatad wants to start a moral crusade to clean up Philippine politics. Forgive us if we do not plan to join the line he obviously wants to form behind him.

That Philippine politics needs cleaning up, there is no debate. But Tatad is hardly the right person to hold the broom. His first appearance on history’s stage was to announce the declaration of martial law in 1972. His last appearance, almost 30 years later, was to execute on the Senate floor the majority’s decision to leave the second Jose Velarde envelope unopened. That decision, which was obviously designed to stop the discovery of the truth, doomed the Estrada impeachment trial.

These are not the actions of a moral leader. Perhaps if he were to apologize and then atone for these actions, we might hear the words that issue from him differently. But he has not done so; if anything, as in the continuing controversy over the events of 2001, he continues to insist on his version.

Like the disgraced former president, Joseph Estrada, Tatad is quick to claim a clean conscience, which he vividly characterizes as the ability “to snore quietly in my sleep every night in the hope of waking up in the morning to a loving and merciful God.” But if there is any moral lesson we have learned in the last six turbulent years, it is that conscience can be truly capacious—and that therefore it can neither be a true guide for nor a sure guarantee of collective moral action.

We need something a little more objective. Unfortunately for Tatad, that something is nowhere to be found in his now famous open letter.

We need our moral leaders to tell us the truth. But Tatad is parsimonious with the truth, beginning with the letter’s very first paragraph. “My only concern is the honor of our party and wellbeing of our people,” he writes. The United Opposition is not a party; surely Tatad knows that. And if the people’s wellbeing is in fact his “only concern,” why is removing himself from the UNO the only possible option? Surely he can fight for reform within. (Speaking of truth-telling: How does one snore quietly?)

We need our moral leaders to keep a sense of proportion. The dynasty issue is not the opposition’s problem alone. Take a look at the Arroyos: The President’s eldest son is a congressman from Pampanga province and the middle son wants to be a congressman from the Bicol region (dynasty-building and carpetbagging, a decidedly more lethal combination). But by oh-so-dramatically publicizing his “principled” fight, Tatad has succeeded in turning the dynasty issue entirely against the opposition.

We need our moral leaders to be grounded on reality. Tatad apparently is under the impression that he was cheated out of victory in the 2004 elections. “At the counting, my votes mysteriously shrank by something like 80 percent as they traveled from the ‘barangay’ [village] precinct to the national canvassing center.” This is news to us, and indeed to anyone who followed the 2004 elections closely. He wonders why, having gained “close to 11 million” votes in 1995, his 2004 total was “savaged to nearly half that number.” He does not seem to understand that running a dismal race for vice president in 1998, his role in the Estrada impeachment trial, three years out of office -- that all these had something to do with his current unelectability.

Not least, we need our moral leaders to be consistent. Tatad says he cannot accept a situation where three of the opposition’s candidates for the Senate have close kin already in the chamber. He rationalizes the presence of Sen. Loi Ejercito and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada as an aberration, “the result of an extraordinary situation.” There was a need for Estrada to show that he still enjoyed popular support, he says, hence Loi’s candidacy and then Jinggoy’s. But Loi ran in 2001. Surely her victory was enough to meet Estrada’s need? What is the difference, then, between Jinggoy’s candidacy in 2004 and JV Ejercito’s in 2007? Is Tatad saying Estrada no longer needs to show he continues to enjoy public backing?

Here’s the difference: Tatad was a candidate in 2004. He wasn’t even considered as a candidate this year -- at least until he laid down his objection to something he had previously not objected to, and Estrada took him aside to offer him a slot. By then it was too late -- for Tatad most of all.

Letter to UNO

15 January 2007

President Joseph Ejercito Estrada
Chairman Emeritus
United Opposition

Dear Mr. President:

I write to make of record my position on certain issues related to the May 2007 senatorial elections. My only concern is the honor of our party and wellbeing of our people.

I shall start by recalling our UNO meeting on Polk Street on New Year’s day (morning). Joining the President then were Mayor Jojo Binay, Ernie Maceda, Tito Sotto, Chiz Escudero, Boy Morales, and myself. Fred Lim and Baby Asistio joined later.

The meeting followed no set agenda or structure. Tito Sotto had much to say about his group which he believed should be on the UNO ticket. This included:

1. Tessie Aquino Oreta, who did not seek reelection after her first term ended in 2001;

2. Sonny Osmena, who ran unsuccessfully on the administration ticket in 2004;

3. Greg Honasan, who is now under detention on charges of rebellion following his highly publicized capture in Quezon City;

4. Loren Legarda, who wants to go back to the Senate at the cost of her vice presidential protest against Noli de Castro; and

5. Tito Sotto himself, who is back on entertainment tv in preparation for the campaign.

It was the first time I heard of this group earnestly wanting to run under the Opposition. Last year, they sent Johnny Rojas to represent them in our UNO meetings. From him we learned that they had been preparing to run, but that they would rather stay “somewhere in the middle,” than identify themselves openly with the Opposition. Many of us (notably Jojo Binay) were particularly anxious about that statement. So I listened to Tito with undivided attention.

Tito and Chiz Escudero provided most of the conversation, with Ernie Maceda occasionally interjecting. Mention was made of:

1. Ping Lacson, who has abandoned his earlier decision to run for Mayor of Manila and decided instead to seek reelection;

2. Ed Angara, who was reported to be putting up a "unity ticket," but in whose behalf Loren Legarda had reportedly telephoned the President for possible inclusion in the opposition lineup;

3. Manny Villar and his group, which includes Joker Arroyo, Ralph Recto, and Kiko Pangilinan;

4. Drilon’s Liberal Party, which was reported to be pushing for Noynoy Aquino’s inclusion in the UNO slate.

No one opposed Lacson’s reentry, but no one pushed for Angara’s inclusion. There was not much information about Villar’s group---not even Jojo Binay could say whether or not his friend Joker was running again. The President said he expected to meet shortly with Villar. Upon mention of Noynoy Aquino’s name, Tito Sotto promptly cut in to say that between Nonoy and his auntie, Tessie Aquino Oreta, the latter would have better chances of winning. Fred Lim disagreed, saying that if Noynoy ran, his sister Kris Aquino, who is a tv host, would certainly ensure his winning.

I made two short interventions.

1) I proposed that UNO set some criteria or standards before admitting anyone who wants to ride the opposition bandwagon. Some of these people had junked the President without ceremony to support Mrs. Arroyo in 2001 and 2004; now they want UNO to give them a ride because it seems no longer profitable to be identified with Mrs. Arroyo, although they have not openly abandoned her. They want to collect on every throw of the dice even after they’ve lost the game. And we seem so eager to provide the revolving door for their crass opportunism. Has it never occurred to us that UNO, rather than Ed Angara whom UNO has excluded from its lineup, could end up putting together the “unity ticket” that combines the best and the worst administration and opposition personalities?

2) With great pain, I expressed some reservations about drafting Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano and J.V. Ejercito as UNO candidates while Koko’s father -- Senate Minority Leader Nene Pimentel, Alan Peter’s sister --Sen. Pia Cayetano, and J. V. Ejercito’s half-brother --- Sen. Jinggoy Estrada are sitting in the Senate until 2010. I just could not accept the idea of such bright young men doing what the “trapo to end all trapos” would probably not do, and for the Senate, with all its absurdities, to end up as a mad and shallow “Family Ball.” Where Malacanang failed, UNO just might succeed ---we would abolish the Senate’s reason for being.

I would have been proud to campaign for these young men if this one impediment did not exist, or if their next of kin gave up their Senate seats right now. But under the circumstances, the Titanic would sink if the three wonders came on board. I would rather encourage J. V. Ejercito to go for a third term as Mayor of San Juan; Koko Pimentel to try his luck a second time in Cagayan de Oro, where he lost his mayoralty bid when his father was Senate President; and Alan Peter to do something exciting in Taguig in the meantime. They have all the time in the world to wait; they can wait; they should wait.

I had to die in that meeting to be able to say the first line of a long sentence. I had already lost too many friends because of politics, and I did not want to lose any more than I already have. But the truth needed to be said, and nobody else seemed willing to say it. I had to take the risk. The ancients said it so well: Amicus Plato, amicus Socrates, sed magis amica veritas –“Plato is dear to me, Socrates is dear, but the truth is dearer still.”

This was not a question of the Constitution or the law, but simply of ethics -- of-what is right and proper.. Article II, Sec. 26 of the 1987 Constitution says, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.” No enabling law has been enacted, but we have a serious moral duty to live by the spirit of the Constitution, and not to make the problem of dynasties any more messy than it already is.

Political dynasties are either appreciated or hated, tolerated or feared. But even in the worst of cases, dynastic family members try simultaneosly to occupy as many different offices as possible, or else they alternate or rotate in holding on to a particular office that allows them to exercise power.. Never do they sit together in the same office at the same time. This is precisely what the three young men’s senatorial bid threatens to alter.

The obvious assumption is that the voters are so pissed off with GMA that they will eat any kind of dung we give them. This is false. We cannot have such a very poor opinion of our people. In the end, they will prove us wrong, whatever the paid pollsters tell us. But should error and madness prevail, three families would be holding six Senate seats---one-fourth of the Senate---after May 2007, Thereafter, twelve or eight or six families could end up controlling all 24 seats. Husbands and wives, together with their sons and daughters, and uncles and aunties, why not, could end up running as one big gang.

You, Mr. President, and we, your friends in UNO, have a special responsibility to make sure this does not even begin to happen. The Senate is a small body of 24 members, representing a nation of 90 million Filipinos or about 18 million families. No single family has a vested right to be represented there. Membership in the Senate is a privilege conferred by the people. It is a gift from them, except when cheats manage to rig the electoral process. No two senators from a single nuclear family had ever sat there until Jinggoy was elected in 2004, after his mother Sen. Loi Estrada had been elected in 2001. But this was the result of an extraordinary situation, an exception which proves the rule.

We all know how and why it happened. In 2001, the President was removed in a coup after his impeachment trial was cut short by a walkout of the prosecutors. He wanted to show ---and the opposition and the voters agreed with him then--- that despite his removal he continued to enjoy popular support which the people were willing to translate into Senate seats for his wife Loi and his son Jinggoy. That, however, was to be a one-shot deal only, not to be used as a precedent or model.

Now that Senator Loi has decided, in your words, “to retire” and become your “caregiver,” that exceptional situation would cease to exist, and what many believe was truly an error would be finally cured. But were the President to inflict his other son J.V. Ejercito on the UNO ticket, then he would be perpetuating the error, and encouraging others to follow his example, as seems to be happening now to the two otherwise bright young men---Alan Peter Cayetano and Koko Pimentel.

Not only would the President be perpetuating an error. He would also be confirming the suspicion of those who reject any possibility of his assuming any leadership role in a post-Arroyo scenario before or after 2010 ---- that his idea of the national interest is seriously impaired by his devotion to the personal. This is totally unnecessary and unfair.

We at UNO cannot possibly support this error without in effect telling the masses, whose champions we say we are, that, contrary to what we have been saying to them, and what we have led them to believe, our primary interest has never been to serve them but only to serve ourselves. We would thereby be throwing away our moral advantage, and making our party the most effective campaigners for the administration.

I have no doubt that if the administration tried to do what the leaders of UNO want to do now, we would be the first ones to shout to the high heavens in outrage and anger. Why then should we ever want to do it ourselves? Our people expect us to do better, and we have so assured them. Have we been lying to them all this time that we have been saying Mrs. Arroyo is the liar? If we are no better than the ones we denounce, what right have we to be here at all? To whom will our people turn if they see that the administration and the opposition have cancelled each other out? Would this not be the cruelest betrayal?

In that meeting, I waited to hear someone say I was wrong. I waited to be told that the reason or reasons for drafting the three next-of-kin of sitting senators were far beyond my ability to grasp in one short lifetime. But there was no effort to shoot down or refute my objection. No effort to explain why UNO has to have all the star fruits and the three wonders on its dream ticket. You will, therefore, understand why when you and Ernie Maceda agreed to release to the media the names of the three wonders as part of your proposed ticket, while my objection was waiting to be addressed, I felt that my long service to the Opposition and my presence in that meeting had just been annulled. That was the worst possible slap I had ever received -- and from my party colleagues yet. For that reason, I decided that any future participation in any UNO activity on my part would be completely superfluous.

The real issue here is our moral integrity as the presumed alternative to the Arroyo government. I have fought for this, a little more than many of those you see in the street marches. After the 2001 coup, many simply decided to cross over to the administration.. Many others decided to watch and see, to bury their heads in the sand, or to negotiate the terms of mutually beneficial coexistence. I decided to keep on, clarifying the issues for myself, the opposition and the nation. Many of those now groveling before you used to laugh at the very line which they now superficially spout for your pleasure.

There were times when all I could hear was my lone solitary voice ---and that of Prof. Alan Paguia, whose right to practice and teach law has since been cancelled --- madly questioning President Arroyo’s legitimacy after almost everyone else had caved in.

But I refused to back down. With the help of a few brave souls on the Citizens vs. Corruption Task Force, I continued to expose major scams in government, including the P100-billion customs bonds scam, the P100-million DOTC airport land scam, the $2-million BSP fund diversion in Hong Kong, the misuse of OWA funds, and the P728-million Agricultural Modernization Fund scam, now known as the Jocjoc Bolante affair, which became a cause celebre at the Senate in 2006, two years after I had exposed it at the start of the 2004 campaign.

That entailed a heavy price, and I paid it in full. In the 2004 elections, which I thought was the best of my senatorial campaigns, I was singled out for demolition. . This was known to PMP and to KNP, whose members had read or heard about Oplan Checkmate, which detailed the plot against our presidential ticket and me, and which had surfaced at the start of the campaign. As always, you did what you could to help, but if there was any party or coalition effort to save my candidacy from the Oplan, it never caught my attention.

On the campaign trail, radio-tv coverage suddenly vanished as soon as it was my turn to speak. My campaign posters everywhere were brought down by the wrecking crew in less than 24 hours. On election day, my name disappeared from the 12-man KNP senatorial slate on the Comelec official list of candidates posted in every voting booth to guide voters, and appeared separately as the lone PMP senatorial candidate at the bottom of the printed form.

At the counting, my votes mysteriously shrank by something like 80 percent as they traveled from the barangay precinct to the national canvassing center. In contrast, the votes of one losing candidate were padded by at least 200 percent to make the recipient one of the top senatorial winners. Ultimately, my recorded “historic vote” ---a term known to seasoned political players and analysts---which in two successful senatorial elections had risen to close to 11 million by 1995 was savaged to nearly half that number. .

Today, I am a defendant in a criminal libel case filed by the First Gentleman in a Manila court, arising from a 2004 post-election newspaper article which attributes to me certain statements that are not even slightly libelous.. My name had been dropped from the complaint in 2004, but was reinstated in 2006, upon motion of the complainant --- after the supposed crime had legally prescribed.

All this is par for the course. None of it should have been mentioned here were I not obliged to show that I have earned the right to be heard on the basic morality of our cause.

Before I left Polk street, you came over to say you would like to have me included in your senatorial slate. I begged off. “Please don’t, Mr. President,” I said. You tried to insist, but I pleaded, “please, Mr. President.” You did not say so, but you seemed to be under the impression that I was objecting to certain candidacies because I wanted to be a candidate myself. That was not the point at all. It was a total misimpression. We should know each other well enough by now for you to know if there was anything I have ever done or would ever do just for my own self-interest.

My one consuming desire is to see the country return to a state of normalcy where all can live a morally upright life, and one does not have to be part of a power structure to get the respect he deserves. Where law and justice are one and truth presides, where deserving individuals are elected to high office because the office needs them, and not because they need the office. For this reason, I wanted to see electoral reforms before the parade of celebrities and popular incompetents begins. Thus, I was for boycotting the elections, if no electoral reforms were put in place.. However, that position was quickly vaporized after a swarm of ambitious innocents, whose idea of national politics consists purely of packing public office with synthetic personalities, started hyping the opposition’s alleged ability to give Mrs. Arroyo the same “thumping” the Democrats gave the Republicans in the last U.S. elections. This was capped by the President’s premature announcement of his dream ticket.

This, I thought, was a serious mistake, as did a number of respected foreign analysts. Under these circumstances, I could not bring myself to consider running again, even though I honestly believed I had a right and duty to regain the Senate seat which was fraudulently taken away from me in 2004. So when you asked me why I would not want to join your ticket, I said: first, because I wasn’t sure elections would be held –(to date, there is still no budget); second, because I wasn’t sure the elections would be honest, assuming they were held---we have not insisted on electoral reforms and no reforms have been put in place; third, because I did not believe I could be part of a ticket whose other candidates I could not even endorse to the public. There were two other reasons: I could not allow it to interrupt the joys of grand parenting, and I need to honor some publishing commitments, which can no longer be delayed.

This, for me then, is a new turning point. I began my political career in 1969, when I was appointed to the Cabinet at 29, the youngest such appointee in our history. Through the years, I have fought many fights, many of them lost causes. I have not learned to exchange principle for personal pleasure or profit, and I have always paid the price. This allows me to stand on my own, with no fear of powers or personalities, of the dark or of the light; to snore quietly in my sleep every night in the hope of waking up in the morning to a loving and merciful God, and to speak up whenever truth demands a witness, and something that needs to be said in speech and in silence is not being said.

I would be untrue to myself if I said that what the leaders of UNO propose to do with their “Unity Ticket” is right. It is most certainly not, and I will not dishonor our friendship by keeping silent or pretending that it is right, or of little or no consequence. I want to thank you for your friendship and for the many personal kindnesses you have extended to me and to my wife, in the course of that friendship. We shall remain friends for as long as we both put ourselves and our personal interests in the service of truth, justice, and the common good.

May the good Lord guide you always.

Sincerely yours,

Francisco S. Tatad

Human Life and Human Dignity As Law

The speech below was delivered at the 2007 International Conference on Bioethics and the Family hosted by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines last January 9 and 10, 2007 at the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel.

Legislating for Human Life and the Family
Human Life and Human Dignity as Law

By Francisco S. Tatad
Former Senate Majority Leader, Philippine Senate;
Board Member, International Right to Life Federation; World Youth Alliance

Your Excellency, Most Reverend Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished Speakers and Reactors, Esteemed Delegates, Friends:

My first and most pleasant duty is to thank the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines most sincerely for organizing this wonderful conference, and for including in its program the topic of this lecture. The preceding papers by our distinguished experts from the Holy See, the United States, Europe, and the Philippines ---none of whom we can ever thank enough--- have shown us how the genetic revolution, which has thrown up so many amazing discoveries in biomedicine, has ineluctably raised questions of ethics which must be resolved in life and in law in favor of the dignity of the human person. Having seen that, we shall now try to examine: 1) how lawmakers and political leaders have responded to the dizzying pace of biomedical progress, 2) what ethical criteria they have employed, and 3) what we – or they -- must do to mitigate any lapses which they or others before them may have committed, and reaffirm the position of man as the true end, rule and measure of all genuine scientific achievement.

At best, the record is mixed. The possibility of cloning of humans causes the gravest moral concern, and a great number of moral philosophers, bioethicists, legal luminaries, and eminent scientists appear to be in agreement that this is a “limit case” in the area of scientific research and experimentation. It is forbidden territory which none may breach. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made this abundantly clear in its 1987 document Donum Vitae [1], which absolutely rejects human cloning, and which teaching the Holy See had since reaffirmed with utmost clarity after the cloning of a sheep was performed in an industrial research project in Britain. [2] The world does not want us to play God ---and neither does God. Yet when the UNESCO Declaration on Human Genome, prohibiting reproductive cloning of human beings, came to the United Nations General Assembly it passed by only a few votes’ margin, with so many reservations. And it obviously has not dampened some people’s enthusiasm for cloning. In his report to the International Right to Life Federation board, Dr. John Willke cites the case of Missouri, where a referendum premised on the state’s vaunted opposition to cloning ended with a vote in favor of “nuclear cell transplant,” which is simply another term for cloning. [3]

There are any number of issues where the principles of ethics and the pride of science stare at each other across a great divide. This is most evident in medically assisted procreation ---i.e., in vitro fertilization with embryo transfer (ivf-et); in the use of human embryos as well as embryos obtained by in vitro fertilization for research and experimentation; and in other procedures involving embryos in search of new human reproductive technology. Ethics rejects anything that assaults the life or dignity of the human person, the integrity of procreation, the dignity of marriage. Any number of scientists, however, simply want to see how far science can go; and any number of lawmakers and politicians simply want to cooperate with science, without any ethical consideration. And the parliamentary majority prevails.

Even in the case of antibiotics, which has proved to be such a boon to mankind, no biomedical discovery has ever been free from ethical debate. What is of genuine regret, though, is not so much that some scientists could believe themselves and their work to be above ethics – there can be no greater illusion -- as that lawmakers could believe they could enact anything as law, including that which is intrinsically wrong and harmful, just because they are lawmakers, and quicker to enact laws than to sort out ethical questions.

Indeed, it is to be regretted that sitting as lawmakers around the world today are men and women whose idea of law or lawmaking bears no resemblance whatsoever to anything found in any text or tenet of philosophy or legal doctrine. Thus, we have such “laws” legalizing that which can never be made right or good or binding upon conscience---- abortion, sterilization, divorce, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, assisted suicide, etc.

None of these “laws” meet the moral requirements of law, strictly speaking, if by law we mean St. Thomas Aquinas’s timeless definition ---rationis ordinatio ad bonum commune ab eo qui curam communitatis habet promulgata---an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community, and promulgated. [4] Because state-of-the-art biomedicine speaks of endless discoveries and endless possibilities, and these endless discoveries tend to demand a new ethics -- now called “the new global ethic” [5]----and new laws, morally indifferent legislatures mechanically grind out such laws. But because ethics cannot, does not, and will not bend or break to pressure, man – rather than science--remains the absolute value, although not the only absolute value, to which all scientific and material progress is, and should be, subordinate. The insistence of some scientists to be free from ethical criteria – supported by irresponsible legislation -- is what creates the moral, cultural and legal disconnect of our day.

All this, however, is a consequence rather than a cause of our global disarray. Throughout his long pontificate, John Paul II spoke of the culture of death that threatens to engulf the whole of humanity. Just before Pope Benedict XVI was raised to St. Peter’s chair, he spoke of the “dictatorship of relativism” [6] that seeks to place everything on the altar of one’s ego. Relativism divests everything of its objective character and value – “things are valued only in relation to the culture of the time, to what is ‘generally accepted’ here and now, practically eliminating all absolutes, all permanent realities,” in the words of the Spanish philosophy professor, Joseph M. de Torre. [7] These are, indeed, manifestations of a great evil, but even these are mere consequences of a more fundamental cause.

The more fundamental cause, it seems to me, is that the world has forgotten the truth of man. Men and women no longer know what and who they are ---whether in relation to themselves or in relation to others, most especially in relation to the Wholly Other. Christianity, according to Frank Sheed, produced a civilization that listened to God while looking at man. Post-modernity has simply exploded our ear drums. Men and women have become so absorbed and so immersed in themselves that they have forgotten whom they should be listening to and what they should be looking for. The lament we heard in T. S. Eliot’s Choruses from “The Rock” more than three quarters of a century ago is the same lament we hear today:

The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance.
All our ignorance brings us near to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycle of Heaven in twenty centuries
Brings us farther from God and nearer to the Dust”

Indeed, we have so filled ourselves with ourselves to overflowing that we have no space left for anyone or anything else. This is apparent in our social discourse, in our politics, even in our worship, and certainly in our laws. To postmodern man, the pleasure principle has replaced the first principle of practical reason (synderesis), which commands us to do good and avoid evil.

This first became apparent when the “sexual revolution” unleashed the pleasure principle as the foundation stone of the “dogma of hedonism” [9], which would eventually turn upside down everything that Christian moral philosophy and anthropology had tried to teach mankind. But the Cold War was still there, and not even the recklessly amoral invitation of Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979), one of the high priests of that revolution, for everyone to “try all types of sexual situations” [10] could grab the thunder from that ruling madness of the day, which fed on the universal fear that the world could go up in flames at any time, from one single act of madness or carelessness by any one of those who had their fingers on the nuclear trigger. After the Cold War ended, a purely materialistic order, driven by the pleasure principle, quickly filled the void created by the “end of history” or the “end of ideology,” and turned the two previously antithetical camps into each other’s “other self.”

It became clear that a new paradigm was out to reshape the world --- one that called for the deconstruction of language, of sexuality, of reproduction, of family relations, of education, of religion, of culture, of law, and of society as a whole. Deconstruction is a philosophical and literary technique that tries to show that “things—texts, institutions, traditions, societies, beliefs, and practices, etc.—do not have definable meanings and determinable missions, that they are always more than any mission would impose, that they exceed the boundaries they currently occupy.” [11] According to most accounts, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche invented this technique. [12] But for many years the French philosopher Jacques Derrida held court as its acknowledged master until his death in 2004.

Derrida deconstructed philosophy, and tried to show that certain fundamental Western concepts---like democracy, like state, etc---are not truly universal. In one memorable interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, Derrida proposed that the word “marriage” be deleted from the French civil code to clear the juridical path for homosexual couples. [13] From Derrida the gender feminists learned how to “deconstruct gender” in their bid to destroy what they called “hegemonic ideas,” defined as ideas or concepts universally accepted as natural but which are no more than social constructs. These include the permanent subordination of women to men, which they called “patriarchy”; “mandatory heterosexuality,” which is self-explanatory; and “homophobia,” which means fear of relations with persons of the same sex. From the ashes of these hegemonic ideas would rise the sun of “polymorphous sexuality,” which would allow everyone to direct their sexual desire to anyone they chose. [14]

Thus, the two sexes known to man from the beginning of time –- male and female – were quickly sucked inside the belly of the beast called “gender” and then thrown up again as male, female, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual and transvestite. In 1949, when Simone de Beauvoir famously declared, “You are not born a woman! They make you into a woman,”[15] many thought ---naively, it now turns out ---that she was simply talking of the rite of passage a female must go through to become fully a woman. But homosexuals and lesbians have since made it clear that since gender was merely socially determined, the biological male, if so minded, could turn himself into a female, and the biological female into a male –thereby defying the principle of non-contradiction.

In 1994, the European Parliament, by resolution, asked member states of the European Union to remove the prohibition on same-sex marriage or its equivalent, and end all restrictions on the “right” of homosexual and lesbian couples to adopt and raise children as their own. In 1999, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee urged the governments of Chile, Armenia, Belarus, and Ireland to revise their laws in order to change the stereotypical role of women as wives and mothers chained to the kitchen. It called on Belarus in particular to abolish “Mother’s Day,” on Chile to legalize divorce, and on Liechtenstein and China to decriminalize prostitution. [16]

That same year, the Youth Forum of the Five-Year Review of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo came out with a Declaration that demanded, among other things, the following: [17]

1) Sexual and reproductive health services, including emergency contraceptives, must be furnished to all youth, and those services must be confidential, accessible, free, non-judgmental, with most of the services designed, composed of and evaluated by young people in collaboration with trained professionals;

2) Comprehensive sex education should be mandatory in school programs at all levels. Teachers must receive an adequate education in this domain.

This so angered the 22 year-old Canadian-American music scholar Ana Halpine that she walked out of the U.N. hall where the document was being read, and came back a couple of hours later with a Declaration of her own, saying this ---rather than that ( the ICPD-inspired paper)– represented what the youth of the world were yearning for. That marked the birth of World Youth Alliance, an association of young people from the five continents of the world, working inside the halls and corridors of the United Nations and various organs of the European Union for the promotion of human dignity around the world. WYA has its central headquarters in New York. In March last year, upon invitation of WYA’s President and Chair, I joined its Governing and International Boards, composed of members from Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Today, same-sex marriage is performed nationwide in at least five countries, and in one American state; [18] actively debated in at least sixteen countries. [19] By judicial fiat, Israel recognizes same-sex marriage performed in other countries, but will not allow it to be performed within its borders. Civil unions, domestic partnerships, common law contracts, pacts of common interests, civil pacts of solidarity, etc. now grant to homosexual couples, benefits akin to those associated with marriage, in at least twenty-three countries, including some parts of the United States. [20]

Criticism against homosexuals and homosexual practices –described as homophobic -- is now punished by law in some jurisdictions. The World Health Organization could refuse to hire cigarette smokers and get away with it, but a preacher in Scandinavia may not quote the biblical text on homosexuals without risking arrest. At least one pastor in Sweden has drawn a prison term for quoting said text. In Britain and Wales, a new law requires schools to hire a fixed number of homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals as teachers under pain of sanctions. In the United States and Europe, some psychiatric organizations are forbidden to mention their success in helping homosexuals revert to heterosexual status. [21] In the Philippines, no one may publicly criticize homosexuals or homosexual practice without risking a beating in the daily press, where they seem to carry so much influence. Homosexuals in the Philippines are neither coddled nor discriminated against. Nonetheless they want to see a non-discrimination law passed by Congress, and they want to have party-list status in the House of Representatives.

Homosexual and lesbians got a leg up on everybody else when “reproductive rights” became the flagship of the sexual rights movement. From the fourth world conference on women in Beijing onwards, everything was presented as “human rights” in a language that made George Orwell’s Newspeak sadly inadequate. Conflated in “reproductive rights” were newly invented “rights”---gender equality, sexual preference or orientation, safe sex, safe abortion, safe motherhood, freedom of choice, non-discrimination, empowerment, mainstreaming, sustainable development, etc. Everyone was shocked to find out that “reproductive rights” did not include the right to reproduce, but only the opposite.

There is no such right as the “right” not to reproduce. Those who do not dispute the historical account in Genesis will probably point out that the Creator God entrusted to the first male and female a duty, rather than a right, to reproduce. “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” [22] This duty becomes a right only when the state or somebody else tries to suppress it, violate it, or even simply question it. But one who bears that duty has no right to reject it or denounce it. In a woman’s case, the performance of that duty constitutes an essential and indispensable part of her being, and the reason for her being. Her loving compliance , which happens in marriage, guarantees the other’s right to life ---that of the offspring. A violent rejection of it, as happens in abortion, sterilization, or contraception, is a naked rebellion against Life, against the truth of her being. Maintaining the biblical perspective, it amounts to a second rebellion of the non-serviam.

Since 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion, 148 other countries have followed suit. In all 149 countries, abortion is performed to save the life of the mother. In 105 countries, it is done to preserve the mother’s physical health; in 87, to preserve her mental health; in 48, in cases of rape or incest; in 68, when the child suffers birth defects or medical problems; in 50, when the mother cannot afford to support a child, or there are other economic and social reasons. In 29, abortion is on demand --no reason need be given to get it. Whatever the reason, killing the unborn is wrong, whether it is the doctor prescribing abortion or the mother telling the doctor to perform the abortion, which makes the crime even more bizarre.

In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court did not deny the humanity of the unborn -- it only ruled that the fetus was not a person. This was the same view that had denied negro slaves their inalienable rights as citizens in Dred Scott v. Stanford, 1857; the same doctrine invoked today by abortionists against the unborn everywhere. First, they deny the unborn human being’s personhood, then they break his skull and crush his bones without having to feel they had committed a crime. [23] But science fully recognizes that the biological identity of a new human individual is already constituted in the zygote which results from fertilization. By the use of reason, one can discern a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of human life. This forms part of the basis of the Church teaching that the human being has to be respected as a person from the first moment of his existence. [24]

An estimated 50 million unborn children—nearly the exact size of the combined population of Australia and Canada -- are aborted every year. The cumulative total is now greater than all the casualties in all the bloody wars since human warfare began. This is the most unspeakable crime, as far as the enforcers of life are concerned, but ironically not to the international human rights movement. Still, the question must be asked, even if only for purely academic purposes ---may not the same principles that have been invoked to justify the occupation of countries oppressed by dictators and bloodied by genocide be used to deliver those continents which abortion has marked permanently with the scourge of death?

The logic seems unassailable, except that there is no one with the power or zeal to do it. Not even the Pope could do it, even if it were shown that Stalin had erred in asking how many divisions he had. The Church is not such a power; it has no such role: the task more properly belongs to the United Nations, with its peacekeeping function. Yet not once has the U.N. General Assembly or the Security Council condemned this unending carnage. So it continues, to the eternal shame and horror of the human race.

Faceless U.N. bureaucrats, powerful governments, multilateral institutions, donor agencies, and repro-oriented NGOs continue to export their deadly game of deception and death, and poor countries are compelled to play, even though their pro-life and pro-family Constitution might recognize family life as “sacred” and guarantee “equal protection for the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from the moment of conception,” as in the case of the Philippines, [25]and even if the verified data show a double deceleration in population growth almost everywhere, particularly in Europe. Less and less babies are being born, and less and less people are dying because of medical science, resulting in what Prof. Gerard Francois Dumont of the University of Paris-Sorbonne calls ‘gerontocroissance’ or “gerontogrowth” [26] – i.e., a growing number of old people that must be supported by an aging and thinning labor force whose replacement is threatened by negative birth rates.

The inexorable advance of genetic engineering and biotechnology has incalculably compounded and complicated the issues. But even without it, we are confronted with a situation where the nation-state and the international organization of nation-states, whose very existence is premised on the protection of human rights and the promotion of peace, among others, have become, despite some notable exceptions, the first instruments to deny and cancel those rights. Many U.N. documents begin as “non-binding” but eventually end up as edicts. Some U.N. treaties simply need an x-number of signatures to bind all members, including those who never acceded to the treaty, and may in fact be against it. And although the U.N. was originally intended to govern the conduct and relations of states, it has now entered the realm of personal conduct and relations of individuals, which used to be the exclusive jurisdiction of the state. In fact, U.N. legislation has now entered hyper-sensitive areas which not even the liberal state ever attempted to breach. The greatest danger to human life, marriage, the family, and the society today is not the absence of law but rather the surfeit of laws --laws without justice --- that seek to destroy what is sacred in man, and which the law was meant primarily to enforce.

What then is to be done?

A world of new values is rising before us where the word “truth” is no longer heard ---it has been replaced by “transparency” and other euphemisms, as Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison told the Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on April 7, 2006; [27] a world where the meaning of words has been perverted, on Martin Heidegger’s word that “language is the house of Being,” and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theory that “meaning is use;” where things that have always been wrong and will forever be wrong have been made into law; and nothing has been spared to propagate all these errors. A perverse and retrograde world that celebrates what is morally wrong, provided politically correct, and denounces as “intolerant” those who maintain that human life is a gift that must be respected from conception until natural death; that marriage is an exclusive and indissoluble procreative union between a man and a woman, whom no two persons of the same sex may ever replace; that sex is a beautiful and sacred thing whose only assigned place is in marriage; that freedom to choose means freedom to choose the good rather than the bad, right rather than wrong, life rather than death. Indeed, a depraved and wicked world where the rule of law has been replaced by what one legal scholar has called the “rule by law” [28]; where what used to be a deviation from the norm has become the norm itself, while that which used to be the norm has become the deviation; where those who try to conserve the values that have stood the test of time are expected to “tolerate” those who wish to live by other values but who cannot tolerate those from whom they plead for “tolerance.”

We cannot allow such a world to prosper, while the one built on truth disappears. We need to restore truth to its rightful place, call things by their proper names, reject what is politically correct but morally wrong, unmask all those laws that do not deserve to be called by that name, and replace them with laws that consecrate the values of our faith and the integrity of the moral order. We need to employ every means available for this, but we also need to reach out for that which lies beyond our grasp. We just cannot “leave heaven to the sparrows, while we take care of the earth and make it a place where we can live,”as the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) tells us; [29] we must reach for the stars. This may require faith, which the agnostic or apostate will reject, but the practice of liberty demands it. For “despotism may govern without faith,” the old Cardinal Ratzinger, using the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, reminds us, “but liberty cannot.” [30]

We need to discover all over again, if not indeed for the first time, what truth is all about. “I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth,” [31] says Jesus to Pilate. “What is truth?” [32] Pilate answers, then turns away. We just cannot turn away anymore. We must remain engaged. “Truth is not the product of politics or the majority,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote before he became Pope, “but is antecedent to political activity and sheds light on it. It is not praxis that creates truth but truth that makes praxis possible.” [33]

I do not propose to engage here in an extended exegesis on the subject. But, the truth of man proceeds from his being. It exists even before the knower and speaker of that same truth appears, perhaps just as the song of the nightingale exists --to elaborate on an insight we owe to Jorge Luis Borges--- before the nightingale of Ruth and John Keats appears. It precedes the state, which cannot create its own truth. Man does not exist for science or the state; but both exist for him. Yet while superior to both, man does not create himself. And though he is now be able to produce men by artificial means, he nevertheless remains a creature who owes his nature and his existence to a Being wholly other and infinitely higher than himself. As citizen, he is subject to the laws of the state, but as man, he is the first law that governs the state. “The law must have as its finality the good of man,” writes a Polish theologian. “Man and his good should be the measure, the standard and the purpose of every law.” [34]

From the United Nations to Congress or Parliament, not to mention the courts that now also legislate above the head of Congress, every law or interpretation of law, as in Roe vs. Wade, that has put the life and dignity of the human person at risk has been justified by the will and wisdom of the majority that voted for it. It is democracy at work. The majority has the right to do what it wants to do, and so it has legalized the murder of the unborn, the “dissolution” of indissoluble marriages, the immoral cohabitation of persons of the same sex, the “mercy killing” of the aged and the sick, the harvesting of human parts for scientific purposes, etc. This is legal positivism at its extreme. But as the old Cardinal asks, are there not some things that can never be legalized, some things that absolutely always remain legally binding, things that precede every majority decision, things that majority decisions must respect? There are some unconditional values that follow from the essence of what it is to be human, and these cannot be altered by shifts in parliamentary majorities. [35]

The “ultimate authority” of the law, writes the Catholic scholar Cormac Burke, does not derive from a majority vote. “Its binding force does not come from popular consent (nor is it removed by popular dissent). It comes from justice. A law does not have more authority because it is approved by many, or less because it is enacted by a few, or even by only one. A just measure ought to be obeyed –i.e. it carries authority ---even if it is a minority decision; and an unjust measure ought to be resisted – it lacks authority ---even if it s backed by a landslide majority. A just law binds as much in a democracy as in a totalitarian state, an unjust law binds in neither.” [36]

We must get rid of all unjust laws, particularly those that trench directly on the dignity of the human person from conception until natural death, and cover them with laws that preserve man in his inherent and irrevocable dignity, which enables him to rise to a higher order of being and grace. But as morality is the basis of law rather than the other way round, these unjust laws will neither go away nor change until there is a real change in the moral order. Total respect for the sacred in man, which ultimately reestablishes his relationship with God, whom the postmodern world has shut out of its existence, is the conditio sine qua non for this change. Man needs to be converted and renewed, in self-knowledge and in love, in order to get there. He must be fully reconciled to the fact that his First End, to use the language of metaphysics, is also his Last End. In Eliot’s words, he must go back to his beginning, and arrive at “where he started and know the place for the first time.” [37]


[1] Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation, Feb. 22, 1987

[2] Vial Correa, J. de D., Human Genome, Human Person and the Society of the Future, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Citta del Vaticano, 1999

[3] Report to the International Right to Life Federation board which Dr. Willke chairs, Manila, 2007.

[4] Aquinas, Thomas, The Summa Theologica, I-II, Treatise on Law Q. xc, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952

[5] Peeters, Marguerite, The New Global Ethic: Challenges for the Church, Institute for Intercultural Dialogue Dynamics, Brussels, 2006

[6] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Homily at Mass, St. Peter’s Basilica, April 18, 2005

[7] De Torre, Joseph M., Christian Philosophy, Third Edition, Sing-Tala Publishers, Manila, 1994

[8] T. S. Eliot, Choruses from “The Rock,” The Complete Poems and Plays, Harcourt Brace and Company, New York, San Diego, London, 1950

[9] Cardinal Ratzinger used this term in his homily at St. Peter’s Basilica on April 18, 2005, just before he became Pope Benedict XVI

[10] Burggraf Jutta, Lexicon,Gender, Human Life International, Front Royal, Virginia, 2006

[11] Caputo, John D., Deconstruction in a Nutshell, A Conversation with Jacques Derrida, Fordham University Press, New York, Eighth Printing, 2004

[12] Pera, Marcello, Without Roots, Basic Books, New York, 2006

[13] Peeters, Marguerite, The New Global Ethic

[14] Cf Burggraf Jutta, Lexicon , Gender

[15] Ibid

[16] Hagan, Joseph, Lexicon, New family models

[17] Hermange, Marie Therese, Lexicon, Rights of the Child

[18] Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa; and Massachusetts

[19] Aruba, Australia, Austria, China, Estonia, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States

[20] Andora, Australia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Also certain parts of Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, and the U.S. states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont and the U.S. District of Columbia.

[21] Anatrella, Tony, Lexicon, Homosexuality and Homophobia

[22] Gen 1:28

[23] Cf Barra, Rodolfo Carlos, Lexicon, The legal status of the new embryo

[24] Donum Vitae, Holy See, 1987

[25] Article II, Sec. 12 of the Constitution 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. Article XV is entirely devoted to the protection of the family.

[26] Dumont, Gerard-Francois, Les evolutions demographiques dans le monde, Paper read at the Pastoral and Theological Congress, World Meeting of Families, Valencia, Spain, July 2006

[27] U.S. President George W. Bush was guest of honor at this breakfast at the Washington Hilton

[28] Cf Lugosi, Charles, Conforming to the Rule of Law: When Person and Human Being Finally Mean the Same Thing in Fourteenth Amendment Jurisprudence, Issues in Law and Medicine, Vol. 22, Numbers 2 & 3, Fall 2006/Spring 2007

[29] Quoted by Cardinal Ratzinger in Values in a Time of Upheaval, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2006

[30] Ibid

[31] Jn 18:37

[32] Jn 18:38

[33] Ratzinger Cardinal Joseph, Values in a Time of Upheaval

[34] Grzeskowiak, Alicja, Lexicon

[35] Ratzinger Cardinal Joseph, Values in a Time of Upheaval

[36] Burke, Cormac, Authority and Freedom in the Church, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1988

[37] Eliot, T.S., Little Gidding