Parallaxis

Post-RH politics

People celebrate after legislators pass a landmark birth control bill in Manila on December 17, 2012. Philippine Catholic church leaders vowed Tuesday to overturn a birth control bill after lawmakers ... more 
People celebrate after legislators pass a landmark birth control bill in Manila on December 17, 2012. Philippine Catholic church leaders vowed Tuesday to overturn a birth control bill after lawmakers passed legislation to make birth control more widely available less 
1 / 11
AFP News
Tue, Dec 18, 2012 4:40 PM PHT
A reconciled version of the Reproductive Health Bill (House Bill No. 4244 and Senate Bill No. 2378) has now been ratified by the two houses of Congress, only two days after it passed third reading. It is now certain to be signed into law having been certified as urgent by the popular president, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

The RH bill achieved a landmark of sorts, comparable to the passage of the Rizal Law in 1956. Like the latter, it passed despite a bitter, all-out, and massive campaign by the conservative Roman Catholic hierarchy. Its difference is that, while the Rizal Law touched the nationalist nerve of Filipinos, the RH bill rode on human rights and women power. The latter have come of age in the Philippines, mainstreaming into the national consciousness.

Backround: RH bill awaits PNoy's signature after Congress' ratification

In both cases, the conservative Catholic hierarchy tried a wide variety of tactics, from using expert testimonies to more faith-based arguments, from appealing to lawmakers to threats of negative campaigns against pro-RH legislators in the 2013 elections. After the passage of the bills, there were still pronouncements coming from some bishops for a disobedience campaign, a case in the Supreme Court, and a partisan political campaign for anti-RH candidates. Earlier, there had been isolated calls for excommunication of the president and pro-RH proponents and comparison of the president to the Connecticut school murderer.

The behavior of the conservative Catholic hierarchy borders—if not actually crosses over—the thin constitutional line separating the church and state. There is already the historical record of revolts and revolution against friars and the Church authority on temporal matters on which people disagreed with the latter. The popularity of the Church positions on social issues, including its eventual anti-Marcos dictatorship position, relies heavily on their being aligned with the best positions already embraced by its flock. In this case, the flock leads the shepherd.

Related story: Philippine president accused of 'bribing' Congress

In resorting to extremist behavior, there is the danger that the conservative Catholic hierarchy may be perceived of overdoing its opposition to the RH bill. For some of them, it seems, the RH bill has become the be-all and end-all of its relations to the Aquino administration, to the government itself, and even to all Filipino Catholics. The latter were told off to leave the Catholic fold.

Ironically, if this extremist behavior persists, it will only provoke the latter. When ordinary people, most of whom are Catholics, cannot identify with the Church anymore, many will leave to become converts to other religions, Christian or otherwise, or become non-practicing Catholics. It is a dangerous behavior with graver consequences for the Church than to the State.

Also read: Philippine birth control fight not over: bishops

Some bishops—and the Aquino administration and most others in the pro-RH group—had already called for leaving the dispute behind, cooperate on monitoring and implementation of the RH law, and go on to more productive relations and projects.

There is sense in their arguments. The RH bill—or the RH law—is already in the throes of birthing.
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow
    Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow

    The Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will have shorter hours tomorrow for the replacement of defective railroad tracks during the Holy Week. …

  • Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers
    Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers

    President Aquino has signed a joint congressional resolution raising the daily subsistence allowance for both members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino signed last March 27 the merged Joint Resolution 2 of the Senate and Joint Resolution 26 of the House of Representatives. Speaking to reporters, Lacierda yesterday said the daily allowances of police officers and soldiers were raised from P90 …

  • Oil firms raise gas prices today
    Oil firms raise gas prices today

    This year’s Holy Week break will be accompanied by an increase in local pump prices after oil companies announced yesterday a P1.10 per liter hike for gasoline and P0.60 per liter for diesel effective today. “Phoenix Petroleum Philippines will increase the prices of gasoline by P1.10 per liter and diesel by P0.60 per liter effective 6 a.m. of March 31, 2015 to reflect the movements in the prices of refined petroleum products in the international market,” said Phoenix Petroleum, an independent …

  • DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah
    DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah

    The Philippines has never offered to drop its Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for Manila’s arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea issue, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. “In the context of our friendly bilateral relations, our two countries have been for years exchanging ways on how to address the issue of the extended continental shelf (ECS) in the South China Sea,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in explaining the DFA’s …

  • Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury
    Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury

    The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has remitted P5 billion in cash dividends to the National Treasury, fully settling all its arrears incurred in the last several years. Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said with this year’s remittance, the state-owned gaming firm has fully settled all remaining arrears in cash dividends that were incurred by the previous administration since 2005. Pagcor’s cash dividends to the National Treasury under its …

  • Maysak moves closer to Phl
    Maysak moves closer to Phl

    The typhoon with international name Maysak slightly accelerated as it moved closer to the Philippines yesterday, threatening to dump rains over eastern Luzon this weekend, the state weather bureau said. Rene Paciente, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Maysak was spotted at 2,175 kilometers east of Mindanao as of 1 p.m. yesterday. Paciente said based on their latest forecast, Maysak is likely to affect …

  • Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany
    Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany

    The Philippines is getting 41 million euros or around P2 billion from the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of Germany that will fund 10 bilateral projects to address the impact of climate change. Climate Change Commission (CCC) vice chairman Lucille Sering yesterday met with Norbert Gorissen – head of the International Climate Finance of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety – to discuss the projects, some of which will be …

  • Metro sizzles at 35º Celsius
    Metro sizzles at 35º Celsius

    While the start of the summer season has yet to be declared by the state weather bureau, Metro Manila experienced its hottest temperature so far this year at 35.1 degrees Celsius last Sunday. Rene Paciente, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), yesterday said the highest temperature was recorded around 3 p.m. at the Science Garden in Quezon City. Meanwhile, PAGASA recorded yesterday the hottest temperature in …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options