Press Release
May 17, 2011

Transcript of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago's interview

On the Catholic Church possibly using Rep. Pacquiao for their anti-RH campaign.

On that point, I have two comments to make. One is serious, the other facetious. The serious comment first. I thank the Catholic Church for not exploiting the Pacquiao visit. One priest has already said that they are not going to use him as the poster boy. I commend the Catholic Church because otherwise, it would have muddied the waters. Secondly, Pacquiao was said to be quoting the Bible saying, "Go out to the world and multiply." First may I just, since he is just a legislator, make a point of information, may I just make a point of grammar please? The Bible does not say, "Go out to the world." It sounds very much like God is encouraging us to go out and copulate in public. God said in the Bible, "Go forth and multiply." That meant that God wanted man, not necessarily to literally multiply, but to go out to work with the rest of the human beings of this planet and to apply the stewardship theory. Meaning to say, taking care of each other, who are all in the planet living together.

Now, for the facetious comment. Number one, there is an element of hypocrisy here because at first, Pacquiao's wife was quoted as saying that she uses the pill, while Pacquiao was quoted as saying that he applies discipline to space his children. In that case, apparently, Pacquiao would have to use violence on his wife because she is not living in conformity with his beliefs. The second point is this, Pacquiao is quoted as saying, "Go out to the world and multiply," apart from the grammatical point already raised, I would like to say if this is going to be a debate of biblical quotes, then I will counter with a quote: "The devil can cite scripture for its purposes." The third facetious comment is this: it is very dangerous to be a fundamentalist. That is what Pacquiao is. He reads the Bible and he interprets it literally. The Bible, as you know, was not written by God. The Bible was written at least 17 years after the death of Jesus Christ, so it was not even written by any of the eyewitnesses to Jesus. They are quoting Jesus liberally throughout the Bible because none of them were living when he was around. Plus, they are quoting God, but the Bible says that none of them has ever seen God. In fact, if you have claimed to have seen God, as I've said, you are in urgent need of psychiatric care. The Bible was written first in Aramic and then interpreted into Hebrew, and then into Latin, and from Latin, into all the Latin based languages of the Western world, including English. So it is very dangerous to quote the Bible and apply it literally as Pacquiao is doing. Bakit mo papasukan ito, e kaming mga senador hindi papasok sa pagboksing, pero kung gusto mo, eh di puwede rin.

Are you threatened that Pacquiao's popularity will sway the mindset of Filipinos who are pro-RH bill?

No, I don't think so. We know, we can see, that he knows more about boxing than possibly anybody alive particularly in the welterweight department, which is considered to be "the" boxing title. But still, we cannot be know-it-alls. It will be very misleading to use his celebrity status to enter into, what is after all, a great debate on the political economy.

What are the highlights of the bill?

What we want to do is just tell all women of childbearing age in the Philippines, what are their options for family planning. We'll teach them natural family planning as espoused by the Catholic Church, the use of condoms, the use of other contraceptives, and so on. It's just a question, really, of providing information. That's why if you're going to be asked to answer "yes" or "no" (if you are in favor of the RH bill), you must cast a conscience vote, and not what somebody dictates to you on what should be your vote. Nobody has a monopoly of the thoughts of God. Nobody is acquainted with mind of God.

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