Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda rejected the comparison made by Batangas Archbishop Ramon Arguelles between the gruesome Connecticut school massacre and President Aquino eventually signing the Reproductive Health bill that had been passed on third reading by both houses of Congress. Arguelles was quoted as saying that the signing of the RH bill would be similar to the tragedy in Connecticut, where a 20-year-old gunman killed 20 children and seven adults. “Our President intends to kill 20 million children with a fountain pen [if he signs] the RH bill into law,” the bishop reportedly said. Lacierda protested, saying that the American incident was an “unfortunate tragedy and it should not be visited on any community,” and that Arguelles’ statement was “grossly malicious” and “unbefitting of a bishop.”

But the charged metaphor of the bishop was apt. Aquino himself is a rabid gun enthusiast under whose administration gun control has been stymied and loose firearms have luxuriated. He might as well have been honorary president of the National Rifle Association.

Moreover, the most fundamental right is the right to life. It does not take scholarly hermeneutics to determine that the RH law would result in the compromise, not the protection, of life from conception, in the face of constitutional enshrinement of such a protection. This is the reason why Senators Pia Cayetano and Miriam Defensor Santiago refused to accept the amendment proposed by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to strike out the declaration of the Senate version of the bill that the state would ensure everyone the “right to a safe and satisfying sex life.” We wonder what acrobatics some lawmakers do with their partners in the bedroom or what torture instruments they use to that make their rendezvous “unsafe” and needing of state-sponsored assistance and public-health amelioration? But the intent of the proviso and the discussions that went along with it were clear: “satisfying sex” is qualified by “safe”; therefore sex with the natural consequences is “unsafe.” In short, pregnancy is a risk, it’s a danger. RH is not a health law, it’s a birth-control, population-control measure. It’s a law that pours taxpayer’s money on guiltless fornication. Our lawmakers did not heed the warning of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma about countries that embraced the pill. “RH will foster the contraceptive mentality,” the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said.

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In effect, RH waters down the right to life. This is the reason why pro-RH lawmakers refused to discuss the question, “When does life begin?” And with the basic right to life compromised, downgraded would be other rights.

No wonder that on human rights, Aquino has been wishy-washy: He promoted and appointed as Armed Forces intelligence chief the former Army intelligence chief implicated in the abduction, disappearance and possibly summary execution of Jonas Burgos, the son of press-freedom icon and UST alumnus Jose Burgos Jr. Earlier, he had gone along with the Beijing-initiated boycott of the Oslo ceremonies awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiabao, a prisoner held incommunicado by the communist bosses of China, the first time that the Philippines had been absent from the ceremonies. It is noteworthy that on human rights, Aquino seems to have taken the side of China, which has implemented a one-child policy to control its population, resulting in forced abortions and what’s probably the worst genocide in history. That genocide may yet be transposed to the Philippines, care of the pro-Beijing Aquino government!

Disaster in Mindanao

If Bishop Arguelles must be taken to task, it is that he should not have searched elsewhere for analogies. As Aquino and his government were maneuvering to have the RH bill passed by hook or by crook, Mindanao was being laid waste by typhoon “Pablo,” resulting in more than 1,000 deaths, with some 800 people, as of this writing, missing and probably dead, and agriculture and industry of the Compostela Valley, which bore the brunt of the typhoon, totally wiped out. Up to now, the situation has not normalized. The shamelessly pro-RH, Aquino-friendly metropolitan media have hardly reported on the disaster, training their resources to serve the ends of RH propaganda instead; but dispatches by the off-stream, non-capitalist press showed that government rescue-and-relief are a shambles, with many people rioting in desperation or complaining of government abandonment. One news dispatch quoted Bishop Antonio Ablon of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente saying that many victims had been overlooked by government and had resorted to desperate measures. “There is a reason for this desperation,” he said. Some 300,000 people remain homeless.

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Therefore, while the story that the emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned may not be entirely historically accurate, the sight of Aquino and his minions—legislators, leftists raw, Catolicos kuno—singing the pro-death, anti-life anthem of the RH bill, insisting on their alleged right to have a safe and satisfying sex life, generally betraying their quirky bedroom habits, and having the state sanction and the taxpayers supporting their hedonism, while thousands were drowning and being killed and displaced in Mindanao, should provide an appalling portrait of the sheer insensitivity of power and officialdom toward the tragedy and travails faced by common humanity.

Worse, while government scrimped on disaster relief, with Malacanang officials suggesting that contingency funds might be running out, Aquino officials were wooing lawmakers to the RH cause with enticements and patronage, as the presence of Interior and Local Government Secretary and vice-presidential loser Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad during the crucial second reading of the bill should show. Claiming they’re proponents of new politics, Roxas and Abad are really hoary traditional politicians. Both are former congressmen and have thrived in the dynastic ambience of Philippine politics: Roxas’ clan has dominated Capiz politics since time immemorial and Abad’s spouse is also a high government official. While their boss pushed for the passage of RH bill come hell or high water even if he did not include it in his electoral platform in the 2010 campaign, and even if it goes against the law and spirit of the Constitution that protects the life of the unborn, they have not lifted one finger to press for an enabling law on the constitutional ban on political dynasties!

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Aquino had said lawmakers should vote according to their conscience and his spokesman had urged Arguelles and the bishops to stop the “name-calling” and contribute instead to “intelligent discourse” on the RH bill. They should stop believing their own fiction. The RH bill was passed not because of intelligent discourse or the practice of conscience but because of the pork barrel. Many congressmen did not vote according to their conscience: they voted with their wallets! As Palma told the Varsitarian, “We are aware of the monetary considerations that are actually the very important playing factor in the approval of the bill.”

Perhaps worse, the pro-RH propaganda, while pillorying Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo for making a connection between the typhoon and God’s alleged displeasure over the RH bill, basically blamed the victims of Pablo themselves for their ordeal. One commentator, who has unabashedly defended Aquino initiatives and has a relative in his government, said that the lesson from Pablo is the need for population control. The writer’s warped logic should take its place alongside Aquino’s disdainful attitude toward the poor—his cacique mentality—especially when he said in his last state of the nation address that the backlog in education must be checked by population control. Both remarks, evincing their writer’s, or speaker’s, superciliousness, their contempt of the masses, should at least underscore that the RH bill is intrinsically anti-poor.

Lacierda could say that the Connecticut incident should not be visited on any community; but Arguelles, Pabillo, Palma, and the Church could as well say that the tragedy of an insensitive government like Aquino’s—pressing for a measure that was severely dividing the nation and pressing for it through allurements and offers of patronage and other public troughs to lawmakers while Mindanao was drowning and dying—should not be visited on Filipinos.

But alas, the dark visitation has taken place. May God have mercy on the Philippines!

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