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.

No Surrender, No Compromise

A speech delivered at the National “Philippines for Life” Congress

Summit Circle Hotel, Cebu City

16 November 2011

My first words will be to thank Dr. Rene Bullecer for organizing this Congress and for proposing the focus of our deliberations. And thank you all for coming to this forum.

“Surrender is not an option, Compromise is not the Solution.” That is our theme. It is the only correct position to take. That is to say, if we truly believe the sanctity of human life, marriage and the family is worth fighting for. Or even dying for.

Last October 31, according to the U.N. population count, the 7 billionth human being was born. In reality, given the poor state of our data gathering, no one can guarantee the accuracy of that claim. We may have long passed the 7 billionth mark, or we may not yet be there. Nobody knows for sure. But the U.N. bureaucrats had decided that the 7 billionth baby would arrive at Halloween, as if to make it part of the day we remember all our dead relations and friends.

So when Baby Danica arrived on Oct. 31, she became for us Filipinos the symbolic baby 7 billion. Other countries have their own symbolic 7 billionth. It wasn’t easy getting there. There were formidable obstacles. Universal contraception, sterilization, abortion, euthanasia, divorce, same-sex ‘marriage’, other means of population control---all these were (are) meant to suppress the population. It was therefore a great and godly thing that baby 7 billion came through despite the obstacles.

A few days before this event, population experts based in Moscow, Washington, DC, and London spoke to the world by skylink to suggest what 7 billion human beings mean for our planet. They concluded, among other things, that baby 7 billion would not have been possible if the world did not have so much more food, better health care, better housing, better education, greater capacity to cope with emergencies, conflicts, calamities and disasters. All of these helped people to live better and longer. And as they did, fewer people died young, and population rose, even though fewer and fewer couples continued to reproduce at or above replacement level.

Steven Mosher, President of the US-based Population Research Institute (PRI), lends us some useful statistics. In 1800, when the population stood at one billion, the worldwide per capita income was $100. Today, with 7 billion, it is $9,000. As late as the 19th century, four out of every ten (10) children died before reaching age five. The average lifespan was under 30 years. Today, the under-five mortality is under 6 percent and falling. And the average lifespan is 69.

So why do we hear that one billion people have nothing to eat? Has not population growth finally outrstripped food production, as Thomas Malthus famously warned in 1798? Let’s not be misled. There’s enough food for all to have a daily diet of 3,500 calories each. But ethnic wars, border wars, internal conflicts, economic sanctions and embargoes, natural calamities, man-made disasters, and the lack of processing, storage and transport facilities prevent the effective and equitable distribution of food. And stupidity and greed have created so much inequality that the richest 400 Americans own more than half of what the entire American population owns.

Now hasn’t the planet grown too small for our needs? Aren’t we running out of space? It’s all media hype. In the sixties, some demographers calculated that all of humanity could be made to fit inside the state of texas. The calculation still holds, except that Dr. Igor Beloborodov, the Director of the Demographic Institute in Moscow, likes to mention Australia or Arizona instead of Texas.

While the total population has grown, the growth rate has slowed down from 2.1 percent in 1960 to 1.2 percent this year. At that rate of growth, and falling, world population is likely to shrink back to six billion by the end of the century, with another billion falling off every 20 years thereafter, into the 22nd century. As Steven Mosher puts it, those who believe the population will continue to rise indefinitely only need to hold their breath, for by the end of the century, the population would fall below 7 billion all over again.

Depopulation or shrinking population is the real crisis staring us in the face . Africa’s one billion could treble by the end of the century, but the demographic winter in Russia, Japan and Europe could spread rapidly and irreversibly to the other continents. In at least 80 countries today, representing over half of the world’s population, the fertility rate has already fallen below 2.1 children per woman of reproductive age. Parents are no longer being replaced. Not enough young people are entering the workforce to support the retired 65 year olds and above, who will be twice as many as the 15-year-olds and younger in 40 years.

This has prompted some four hundred experts from 65 countries to convene the Moscow demographic summit on June 29-30, 2011, and consider what remedial measures to take. Having had the privilege of taking part in that summit and in framing the Moscow Declaration on the emerging demographic crisis, I now commend that same document to the attention of this Congress.

The Declaration calls on the governments of all nations and on international institutions to develop immediately a pro-family demographic policy; adopt a special international pro-family strategy and action plan; and “put an end to interference with the private life of the family under the pretext of so-called ‘family planning’, ‘protection of the rights of the child’, and ‘gender equality.’

But not everyone sees the errors we see. Far from renouncing those errors, many prefer to contribute to them instead.

For example, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon situates the arrival of baby 7 billion against the background of the Wall Street protests that have shaken official Washington and corporate America. For him, it is a grave contradiction.

The event calls for reflection rather than celebration, says Babtunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the UN’s principal agency for population control.

And the Center for Biological Diversity sees it as a curse, pure and simple. “Overpopulation and overconsumption are the root causes of environmental destruction. They’re driving the species extinct, destroying wildlife habitat, and undermining the basic needs of all life at an unprecedented rate. It has to stop,” says the US-based center.

From Thomas Malthus down to the present celebrities and icons of population control, it’s the same message the world has heard this past 200 years.

In 1968, the same year Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae, his prophetic encyclical on human life, Paul Ehrlich predicted in his book Population bomb that millions would die from famine if uncontrolled population growth persisted. In 1969, he advocated adding sterilants to the food and water supply to sterilize the entire cities. In 1977, he reiterated the idea in Ecoscience, a book he co-authored with his wife Anne Ehrlich and John Holdren.

Aside from putting infertility drugs into the food or water supply for general and massive sterilization, the book talks of using an armed international police force to dictate the most intimate details of family life under a planetary regime with the power of life and death over the lives of its citizens. Forcing women to abort their pregnancies is just one of them.

As dangerous as their ideas are, the Ehrlich couple have never been in a position to officially propose population policy. But his co-author Holdren is. Holdrin is the present Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is informally known as the Science Czar of the United States, a most powerful and influential position in the Obama administration.

In 1972, Maurice Strong, a former UN functionary and World Bank advisor, advocated government licencing for women to be allowed to bear children.

In 1988, Prince Philip of Britain was quoted as saying: “In the event I am reborn, I would like to return as a deadly virus in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.”

The statement may have been made tongue-in-cheek for the peculiar amusement of the British elite. But it encourages sordid speculation that some pandemics like HIV/AIDS, SARS and others were invented by mad military scientists to decimate Africa’s robust population.

In January 2000, CNN’s Ted Turner was quoted as saying that “Thou shalt not commit adultery” should be deleted from the Ten Commandments. And that, “A total world population of 250-300 million people, a 95 percent decline from present levels, would be ideal.”

In his last interview with Le Monde two months beefore he died in 2004, the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who developed the critical theory of deconstruction, proposed the abolition of marriage “in the civil and secular code” and its replacement by a purely civil union with no limitation as to the sex or number of the partners involved, and with no procreative intent.

In 1999, on the day and hour that Adnan Nevic, the UN’s symbolic 6 billionth baby, arrived to a refugee couple in Bosnia, I was speaking to the 102nd Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Berlin. In my statement to the world parliamentarians, I wondered why the event seemed to fill the richest countries with such gloom, alarm and panic when they should be celebrating it with champagne and fireworks—like the Fetes de Geneve. Many delegates from the developing world lined up to congratulate me after my speech, but some from the developed world showed visible contempt.

Nothing has changed since.

Outside of this Congress and other friendly places, the worldwide attack on human life, on marriage and on the family continues unabated. It continues to pour in from the UN, from the multilateral financial institutions, from foreign governments, from the NGOs, from the global media, both institutional and online. Through their local proxies, these forces have tried to create a false façade of public support for a morally repugnant, scientifically skewed, constitutionally twisted and foreign dictated population control measure, deceptively marketed as a Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

The administration has prioritized this bill as though it were the solution to all of the country’s problems. Its immediate effect has been to divide the nation and sow the seeds of religious and socio-political turmoil. Congress mercifully suspended the floor debates as it went on recess before Halloween. But until the President cancels or withdraws his original instruction to his Congress allies to fast track the measure, the danger remains. Official pressure from abroad bears watching.

Two UN reports provoke serious concern. The first one, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” seeks to nix the sovereign right of member states to prevent the legalization of abortion, and the fundamental right of individuals to freedom of thought, religion, and conscience. It seeks to endow the UN with a power it does not have--- to determine whether or not and to what extent abortion is to be legalized by member-states, without regard to their sovereign rights.

It misinterprets accepted international documents on reproductive health, ignores their avowed goal to reduce the number of abortions worldwide, and stresses instead the need for member-states to legalize abortion. It tries to create new rights in reproductive health by misstating in particular the provisions of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action.

Where Beijing says States should “consider reviewing laws containing punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortions,” the Report, misquoting Beijing, says, “States should consider removing punitive measures related to sexual and reproductive health.”

The Report also inveighs against the primary right and duty of parents to raise and educate their children and calls for the nixing of parental notification laws with respect to contraception and sex education for young girls.

The second report, the “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders,” seeks to expand women’s rights far beyond those agreed upon in consensus documents and enable human rights defenders to define new rights as they see fit, instead of simply defending well-established rights that flow from our innate human dignity.

Unless these reports are rejected, they are bound to impose new pressure upon Congress to ram through the extremely malignant and totally unacceptable bill. The world body that was seen from the very beginning as the first protector of human rights has now become the source of danger to many of these fundamental rights.

Thus far I have tried to describe to you the lay of the land where the battle against the rh bill must be fought and won. It is necessary to have a complete and accurate appreciation of the terrain and the various forces at play in order to know how and where we stand, and what we need to do in order to prevail. We shall now discuss the various steps we need to take in order to send the RH bill to the archives and discourage any further effort to revive it.

The very first thing we need is a clear understanding of what we are, what we are fighting for and what we are fighting against. With such understanding, there will be no surrender and no compromise. We shall stop the enemy at the gates. Without it, we cannot say, “No surrender and no compromise;” and the enemy will pass. Total understanding of what we are, what we are fighting for and what we are fighting against is the first imperative.

Until now, we have allowed the RH advocates to frame the debate. And they have done so, to their advantage. With all due respect, we have allowed ourselves to be drawn to the peripheral issues away from the central issue of the conflict. We must now set that right.

The right and duty to reproduce is not a right and duty conferred by law or local ordinance upon the citizens of a State. It is something the Creator has bestowed upon his creatures as part of their nature. That right and duty belongs to the human person before he becomes a citizen, or even if he does not become a citizen at all. It precedes the existence of the State, and is not subject to the approval or disapproval of the local sanggunian, Congress or the President. It is not and cannot be made the subject of any regulatory statute.

This is the first thing we must understand about RH and its proponents. The bill has no place in Congress, and its authors and sponsors are acting way beyond their jurisdiction as legislators. There are areas of human activity in which the State may not intrude. Our politicians need to understand this, and because they don’t, we must make them understand it.

The bill seeks to control our lives not simply as citizens but above all as human beings. Have our legislators considered its full implications? Do they really know what they want to do to us, to the Filipino family, to the natural institution of marriage, to the divine gift of procreation and childbearing? How well do they understand the meaning of law, and their role as legislators? By what power on earth do they believe they can do what they want to do to us through this bill? Do they believe their power to legislate is an unlimited and absolute power?

The RH proponents have tried to make the country and the world believe that the issue here is whether women (and men) should be allowed to practice contraception and sterilization as a method of family planning. And they have tried to bombard us with all arguments why we should have such a legislation. It would end mass poverty, maternal mortality, environmental degradation, the impacts of climate change, and even bad governance.

We have tried to marshal every evidence to show that all their arguments are specious and false, that contraception and sterilization have not solved, and will not solve poverty, maternal death, environmental degradation, climate change or official corruption anywhere. We reject what they say, and they reject what we say, and the Frankenmedia and the Frankenpollsters try to intervene by censoring our truth and exalting their falsehood, and then trying to create a false game of numbers.

The debate continues to revolve around the fringes, away from the center. We must now focus on the heart of the bill. I have tried to point out in all my public statements that the right to practice contraception and sterilization is not the issue here. That right, if you can call it that, has never been curtailed. There is no law prohibiting it in the Philippines. Anyone so minded can practice it, and they are doing so mindlessly, with the active encouragement and support of the Department of Health, the Population Commission, and the various foreign agencies and institutions who have decided to inflict their own RH programs on the Philippines.

The national funding for contraception and sterilization has been in the General Appropriations Act since the 1970’s, when the old Constitution that was silent on the legality of this question. It has remained to this day, even after the Cory Aquino-inspired Constitution came into effect. This proclaims the sanctity of human life, the family and marriage, and therefore renders such appropriation devoid of any constitutional basis. At least P2 billion is appropriated for it in the present GAA, not counting all the funds coming from the foreign population controllers. Thanks to all this, the national contraceptive prevalence rate is now 51 percent and counting.

So whose “right” to contracept or get sterilized is being denied, curtailed or violated, because of the lack of an RH law? What law is needed to create a “right” that is already being enjoyed by all who want to exercise it?

But as we just saw, it was never the purpose of the bill to give women (and men) a “right” they already have---namely, to practice contraception and sterilization whenever and wherever they want. The purpose of the bill has always been what appears in the bill, namely, to give the State a power, a right and a duty it does not have--- namely, to violate the sanctity of the conjugal bedroom and order the married couple to practice birth control as a necessary precondition and an essential component of the marital act.

The RH proponents will tell you---But the bill allows you to choose what methods to use. Indeed, the bill gives you an illusion of that. But it is an illusion, nothing more. For while the bill mentions natural family planning as an option, natural family planning is not a means of contraception or sterilization. And nothing is said about how the government will promote natural family planning, and make sure those who need it would get it. In contrast, the bill discusses at length how contraceptives and sterilization agents are to be distributed by clinics and hospitals as essential medicines.

But the point here is not just that you are given a bogus choice. The more important point is that while you are given the illusion of choosing what type of contraceptives to use, the decision that you must use one form of contraceptives or another has already been made for you by the authors of the bill, claiming the right to speak for the State.

This is an abomination. Even in the United States, Europe and other non-communist countries where abortion is allowed, the government has simply legalized the destruction of unborn babies. That is certainly barbaric enough, but in that case the government has merely legalized what was once known a crime against humanity; it did not and does not quite prescribe it, as they did and do in communist and other totalitarian states. The Philippines is neither a communist nor a totalitarian state. But the RH bill wants to imitate the communist and totalitarian practice. No wonder the congressmen identified with both both the rejectionist and raffirmist factions of the Communist Party of the Philippines who cannot seem to agree on a single issue are one and united in supporting the RH bill.

What the bill wants to do to the Philippine constitutional democratic state, it likewise wants to do to the divine institution of marriage. Procreation, not contraception, is the primary purpose of marriage. For which reason, the sexual act is licit only within marriage. But the bill wants to do away with procreation, and make contraception a necessary precondition and an essential component of marriage. This is simply too much.

This alone is sufficient for us to tell our pro-RH friends to cease and desist. But there is far more than this.

As Catholics, we have the right to profess and practice our faith without any discrimination from any source. We have the right to found a family in accordance with our religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood. We do not have to explain to Congress why we believe what we believe. Nor do we have to say why we believe ours is the right belief. We do not have to prove it to Congress, we may be able to do it. It is sufficient for the State to know what we believe and for it to respect that belief. Now as Catholics, our Church teaches us that contraception and sterilization are intrinsically evil. But the RH bill wants us to practice contraception and sterilization, and to use our tax money to pay for an RH program that attacks our belief.

Is this not religious persecution, and don’t we have the right, even the duty, to resist?

Some RH proponents, including some self-confessed lapsed Catholics, have tried to heckle and sneer at us for mentioning our Catholic faith or the teaching of Humanae Vitae in rejecting RH. Some of us politely obliged by putting forward eloquent and forceful arguments without quoting Scripture, the Popes or Humanae Vitae itself. They proved that even non-Catholics who had no access to the Magisterium, provided they used their practical reason to understand natural law, would see that the RH bill did not deserve their support.

But as Catholics, we should never apologize for our fidelity to the teaching of Mother Church. The RH bill is an attack on a teaching of our Catholic faith. We must vigorously respond to it and reject it as faithful Catholics should. Of course, we cannot tell the pagan, the non-Catholic, or the lapsed Catholic who says, “I am a Catholic, but I don’t follow everything the Church says,” to oppose the bill on the basis of our belief. We cannot ask Congress, and for that reason, we are not asking Congress, to act as the enforcer of our Catholic belief. But we can and we must ask Congress not to disrespect nor trample on our Catholic belief. We can tell, and we must tell the RH proponents, including His Excellency the President, that this is an anti-Catholic bill, and we shall resist it, with our lives if necessary, as Catholics.

There are some who have tried to tell us that we should not impose our Catholic belief on non-Catholics. That is a fair request---- fairly put and properly understood. But there is no attempt on the part of Catholics to impose their belief on non-Catholics. We are not trying to stop anyone who wants to contracept or get sterilized from contracepting or getting sterilized. If any religious sect or organization believes that contraception is good for one’s health or soul, our opposition to the RH bill as Catholics should not disturb them at all, for even now they are free to contracept and sterilize themselves. If and when the RH bill is finally archived---as I sincerely believe it should be archived----they would still be free to contracept and sterilize themselves. But they are the ones who want to impose their belief or non-belief on Catholics. They ask Catholics to show tolerance for their belief or non-belief, but they show complete non-tolerance for our Catholic belief.

As Catholics we have a right and a duty to make sure that in this predominantly Catholic country, no anti-Catholic edict should stamp the boot of totalitarianism on our Catholic convictions, our Catholic culture, our Catholic conscience, and the Filipino family. We must show the world that when the truth calls on us to stand for its defense, we Filipino Catholics shall stand together and march together, whatever the cost or consequence, for God, family and country.

God. Family. Country. I have spoken of God. I have spoken of country. Let me now speak of country. We are today a divided country. We have been divided by all the lies and falsehoods of our politics and the unceasing revision and reinterpretation of our history. The RH bill will plunge us into the deepest depth of national infamy. It will mean the total surrender of our sovereignty. For the RH bill is not of Filipino origin. It is dictated by foreign population controllers using many of our countrymen as proxies. Many avowedly “nationalist” politicians were happy to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Senate’s rejection of the treaty that would have extended the US bases in the Philippines for another ten years after 1992 as a “triumph of Philippine sovereignty.” A few others struck nationalist poses by questioning the open American involvement in the MILF issue as an infringement of Philippine sovereignty.

But many, if not most, if not all of them do not mind calling on their benighted followers to march behind the foreign-dictated RH bill, which seeks a new colonization of the Philippines, by taking hold not necessarily of the land but of the minds and souls of the Filipinos. And they like to be known as nationalists and patriots of our time. I ask for your prayers that these friends of ours be converted back to God, family and country, back to true Filipino patriotism and nationalism.

And I finally ask for you to pray that all our pro-RH friends in Congress, and in Malacanang, who are there to preserve and defend the Constitution, may learn to treat with greater respect the clear provisions of that Constitution. Congress can pass no law in violation of the Constitution. The President cannot sign a bill into law, or allow a bill to lapse into law, that is in violation of the Constitution. And the RH bill is patently in violation of the Constitution.

For the nth time, I shall point out---and I apologize to those who may have heard it more than once--- that the RH bill violates Section 11 to 16 of Article II, and the whole of Article XV of the Constitution. We need not go over them one by one. I shall simply focus on the core pro-life and pro-family provision. 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.”

I ask you to pay attention to the second sentence: “It (the State) shall equally protect the life of the unborn and the life of the unborn from conception.”

It is crystal clear. The State shall be the protector of conception. If that is so, then the State cannot be the preventer of conception. One is opposed to the other. The State can not be the source, agent or facilitator of contraception. It is as simple as that. The debate ends there. On the basis of that single line, the entire RH bill falls. And with it falls the long ongoing RH program of DOH, Popcom and local governments.

The long lachrymose pleading of the pro-RH band must end now. They may have run out of tears trying to convince us why we need the RH bill. Why? Because we are already too many and too poor. Why? Because four to eleven pregnant women are dying everyday for lack of proper care. Why? Because we are the only Christian nation, apart from the Vatican, that does not have an RH law.

But assuming everything they have said in answer to those three “whys” is correct, and everything we have said to refute their answers is wrong, the final question has been asked: Can Congress approve the RH bill, and can President Noynoy sign it into law, or let it lapse into law, under the Constitution? The Constitution answers, no, it violates the core pro-life and pro-family provision. Game over. Congress must attend to the more important things, and the President need not risk getting impeached for violating the Constitution and dividing the nation.

But ---and there is one final but – what about the fact the Constitution does not say when conception takes place, and human life begins? The anti-RH group says conception occurs upon fertilization of the ovum, while the pro-RH group says, upon implantation. This question was obviously intended to becloud the issue, and it has indeed succeeded in that, to some extent. But we need not be confused.

The answer to “when does life begin?” has nothing whatsoever to do with the constitutional issue at hand. The simple constitutional issue here is whether or not the State, as the protector of conception, can also be the preventer of conception. Can the State also be the primary and ultimate provider of contraceptives and sterilization agents whose purpose is to prevent women, even one solitary woman, from conceiving?

If you are a congressman, senator or the President, and you say, yes, it is possible, then you are saying that black is white, what’s false is true, and there is no difference. It is the death of reason, and human civilization.

The answer to “when does life begin?” may be material when discussing abortion. Since a baby is aborted upon or after conception, the pro-abortion lobby thinks they have something to gain by insisting that conception takes place upon implantation. In so doing, they are able to claim that no abortion has taken place if the fetus is killed before implantation.

However, the most determined pro-abortion advocates have not been deterred by such distinctions. Some UN bureaucrats, human rights lawyers, juges and others---all influential and otherwise believable people---have been so bold as to claim that there is an international human right to abortion, even though no international treaty supports such claim. The assertion spreads to all, including parliamentarians, lawyers, judges and others, people who have the power to change abortion laws. Colombia changed its abortion laws based on that false claim.

To finally put an end to this notoriously false claim, a group of 31 law professors, philosophers, parliamentarians, ambassadors, human rights lawyers, and delegates to the UN General Assembly---all known experts in international law, international relations, international organizations, public health, science/medicine, and government---met in San Jose, Costa on the third week of March 2011 to draft a series of nine articles for international consumption.

These are called the San Jose Articles, and they are now part of the patrimony of the international pro-life movement. I was invited to participate in that drafting, but because a marriage in the family did not allow me to leave Manila at that time, I had to participate in collegial drafting the document online. I am one of the 32 signatories to the articles whose names I shall read later, time permitting.

These articles have been launched at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the British Parliament in London, the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the World Pro-Life Congress in San Jose, Costa, and in Madrid, Spain. Mr. Chairman, I seek your leave to enter these articles and their signatories into the records of our proceedings, after which I should like to ask further leave to inform the official custodians of these Articles that they were formally launched at this National “Philippines for Life” Congress.

With your consent, may I now read:

Article 1. As a matter of scientific fact a new human life

begins at conception.

Article 2. Each human life is a continuum that begins at conception and advances in stages until death. Science gives different names to these stages, including zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, infant, child, adolescent and adult. This does not change the scientific consensus that at all points of development each individual is a living member of the human species.

Article 3. From conception each unborn child is by nature a human being.

Article 4. All human beings, as members of the human family, are entitled to recognition of their inherent dignity and to protection of their inalienable human rights. This is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international instruments.

Article 5. There exists no right to abortion under international law, either by way of treaty obligation or under customary international law. No United Nations treaty can accurately be cited as establishing or recognizing a right to abortion.

Article 6. The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other treaty monitoring bodies have directed governments to change their laws on abortion. These bodies have explicitly or implicitly interpreted the treaties to which they are subject as including a right to abortion.

Treaty monitoring bodies have no authority, either under the treaties that created them or under general international law, to interpret these treaties in ways that create new state obligations or that alter the substance of the treaties.

Accordingly, any such body that interprets a treaty to include a right to abortion acts beyond its authority and contrary to its mandate. Such ultra vires acts do not create any legal obligations for state parties to the treaty, nor should states accept them as contributing to the formation of new customary international law.

Article 7. Assertions by international agencies or non-governmental actors that abortion is a human right are false and should be rejected.

There is no international legal obligation to provide access to abortion based on any ground, including but not limited to health, privacy or sexual autonomy or non-discrimination.

Article 8. Under basic principles of treaty interpretation in international law, consistent with the obligations of good faith and pacta sunt servanda, and in the exercise of their responsibility to defend the lives of the people, states may and should invoke treaty provisions guaranteeing the right to life as encompassing a state responsibility to protect the unborn child from abortion.

Article 9. Governments and members of society should ensure that national laws and policies protect the human right to life from conception. They should also reject and condemn pressure to adopt laws that legalize or depenalize abortion.

Treaty monitoring bodies, United Nations agencies and officers, regional and national courts, and others should desist from implicit or explicit assertions of a right to abortion based on international law.

When such false assertions are made, or pressures exerted, member states should demand accountability from the United Nations system.

Providers of development aid should not promote or fund abortions. They should not make aid conditional on a recipient’s acceptance of abortion.

International maternal and child health care funding and programs should ensure a healthy outcome of pregnancy for both mother and child and should help mothers welcome new life in all circumstances.

The original drafters and signatories of these articles are the following:

1. Lord David Alton, House of Lords, Great Britain

2. Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus

3. Giuseppe Benagiano, Professor of Gynecology, Perinatology and Chidcare—Universita “la Sapienza”, Rome, former Secretary General, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)

4. Hon. Javier Borrego, former Judge, European Court of Human Rights

5. Christine Boutine, former Cabinet member, France; current President, Christian Democratic Party

6. Benjamin Bull, Chief Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund

7. Hon. Martha de Casco, Member of Parliament, Honduras

8. Hon. Tom Coburn, M.D., Member, United States Senate

9. Jakob Cornides, human rights lawyer

10. Professor John Finnis, Oxford University, University of Notre Dame

11. Professor Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; former member of the President’s Council on Bioethics

12. Professor John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy, University of St. Andrews

13. Patrick Kelly, Vice President for Public Policy, Knights of Columbus

14. Professor Elard Koch, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile

15. Professor Santiago Legarre, Professor of Law, Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

16. Leonardo Leo, Former Delegate, UN Human Rights Commission

17. Yuri Mantilla, Director, International Government Affairs, Focus on the Famil

18. Hon. Elizabeth Montfort, former Member, European Parliament

19. Cristobal Orrego, Professor of Jurisprudence, University of the Andes (Chile)

20. Gregor Puppinck, Executive Director, European Center for Law and Justice

21. Ambassador Grover Joseph Rees, former US Ambassador to East Timor, Special US Representative to the UN on social issues

22. Austin Ruse, President, C-FAM

23. William Saunders, Human Rights lawyer, Senior Vice President, Americans United for Life, former delegate to the UN General Assembly

24. Alan Sears, President, CEO and General Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund

25. Marie Smith, President, Parliamentary Netword for Critical Issues

26. Professor Carter Snead, Member, International Bioethics Committee, UNESCO and former U.S. Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Bioethics, University of Notre Dame School of Law

27. Douglas Sylva, Delegate to the UN General Assembly

28. Hon. Francisco Tatad, former Majority Leader, Philippine Senate

29. Hon. Luca Volonte, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, President of the European People’s Party (PACE)

30. Lord Nicholas Windsor, Member of the Royal Family of the United Kingdom

31. Susan Yoshihara, Director, International Organizations Research Group

32. Anna Zabroska, Member, European Parliament; fomer chair, Women’s Committee of the European Parliament

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished defenders of human life, the family and marriage, may I now seek your consent to communicate to the rest of the Christian world that we have today, 16 November 2011, at this National “Philippines for Life Congress” in Cebu City, formally launched the San Jose Articles?

Thank you all very much.