Press Release
December 1, 2011

Speech during the event of
Spiscopal Commission on Family and Life

Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III - Majority Leader

My heartfelt congratulations and thank you to the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life for inviting me to speak on this your 3rd National Conference.

Time and place give us messages. December in Antipolo speaks in many ways. In over a week, we shall commemorate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary - that the vessel to carry the Son of the Almighty may be pure and unblemished. In a sense, we live a parallel mystery today, as we make each conception immaculate from any chemical, physical or human intervention.

We meet in the hills of Antipolo as if to remind us that our fight against the Reproductive Health bill would be an uphill climb; but promises to bring us peace and good voyage through this earthly life.

You ask me to speak on the status of the Reproductive Health bill. As I usually say in the Senate, the parliamentary status is that it is in the period of interpellation, with Senator Pia Cayetano responding on behalf of her co-sponsor Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who delivered the sponsorship speech. Thereafter, I shall deliver an opposition speech which is called Turno In Contra. This will be followed by interpellation by my colleagues should they so desire, then by a period of committee amendments, individual amendments by Senators, and then voting on third reading. In the final analysis, it will boil down to a numbers game. Since there are 23 senators, it means that 12 votes in favor will make it pass; 12 votes against will make it fall.

A few days ago, I took exception to the insinuation by Senator Pia Cayetano that the Senate leadership was acting with intent to delay the discussion of the Reproductive Health bill. I said that is not so, evidenced by the the many times we have debated on it on the floor of the Senate. As a matter of fact, it had been proposed in past congresses, only to be aborted and unborn these many years.

The basic arguments against the passage of the RH bill are the classic arguments in debate - It is not necessary; it is not beneficial; it could not be done:

1. It is unnecessary because the Department of Health is pursuing its program on reproductive health as it is. As a matter of fact, they publicly distributed condoms a couple of years ago on Valentine's Day at the flower shops in Dangwa, Manila;

2. It is not beneficial because there are proven side effects and carcinogenic properties of the various abortifacient pills being peddled in most drugstores. Science has been a tool of these anti-life advocates. But science has also revealed to us that the fertilized egg is a human being at its tiniest. And in an unknown moment, only God knows when He implants a human soul.

3. It is contrary to the Constitution and the laws and therefore, would be impractical to pass since it would only be declared unconstitutional.

The specific provision of the Constitution is as follows:

1.1. Article II of our Constitution provides, as a policy of the state, in Section 12, that the state "shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception." It makes no fine distinction between fertilization and implantation. When the law does not distinguish, we must not distinguish, as the legal maxim says.

1.2. Certain provisions of the RH bill impliedly repeals existing penal laws. The RH bill provides: Section 3 (i) "While this Act does not amend the penal law on abortion, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner."

The argument of the Pro-Choice group runs this way: Since some women will procure abortion anyway, let us treat them kindly. On the same logic, since some people will kill others anyway, let us treat them kindly?

The family is beset by inside and outside forces seeking its disintegration. Preventing births will make the family implode while economic forces tend to dismember the family.

The family ante-dated the state. This non-human legal personality called the state should not dictate on human beings and families how many children they should have.

Then there are the supra-states known as international organizations such as the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

They worship economic growth and let life be subservient to good economic numbers. We must be on our guard lest the mistakes of the Western world come to our shores.

Seemingly innocent bills are being proposed which may open the door to the disintegration of family life, such as same sex marriage that is starting to happen in other places of the world.

We must maintain the integrity of the Filipino culture. It is pro-life that is why we call the pregnant - nagdadalang-tao - in the native tongue. Let us dare to be different, even if we are the only remaining Pro-Life country in the world.

The sanctity of life is higher than the need for a high quality of life. Higit sa lahat, buhay; hindi paghahanap-buhay.

Thank you and good day.

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