August 13, 2012

Turno en Contra
SB 2865

Note: This is based on Senate record as delivered by Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III on August 13, 2012 during his Turno en Contra speech against Reproductive Health Bill

Mr. President. Maraming salamat po, malaking utang na loob ko po sa inyo.

To set the tone, Mr. President, of my turno en contra speech, I am presenting a less-than-a-minute short video to show the greatest gift that God has given man.

PART I (Show video)

Mr. President, my esteemed colleagues, I stand up for life. This Chamber, the Senate, is an institution that traces its lineage to the political structure of ancient Rome where matters of policy were debated and decided in a council of elders--Senatus Populus Que Romanus/ the Senate and the People of Rome. At that time, as now, issues were hotly argued, and sometimes lives and honors put at risk, and scrutiny.

Our times, our Chamber and our persons will be defined and judged, not only by the bills that become laws, but also by the bills that are lost and rejected. Past circumstances defined the Senate of their time. During the Commonwealth period, this Chamber was defined by the issue of Philippine Independence when my grandfather and namesake sat as Senator, often clashing with then President Manuel Luis Quezon; during the early years of the Republic after the Second World War, this Chamber was defined when it favored Parity Rights for Americans, then popular, but which historians later considered a sell-out; during the 1970's, this Chamber imploded with the declaration of Martial Law; and after the EDSA Revolution of 1986 and 14 thereafter, this Chamber was resurrected and was distinguished by a new-found nationalism with its rejection of American military bases in 1991 which included the present Senate President.

Today, we will define ourselves again, Mr. President, as we decide whether we shall adopt a measure that is dictated by outside cultures, forces and philosophies, or we shall be true to our Filipino reverence for human life, the solidarity of the family, and the right of parents to determine their family size without interference from the State.

We have heard these past months the sponsors of Senate Bill No. 2865, entitled "An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Population Development popularly known as the Reproductive Health or the RH Bill.

Ang sabi po nila ay ang mga sumusunod:

1. The RH Bill will save the lives of the mother and the unborn. Payag po ako riyan.

2. The RH Bill will provide Filipinos with information on reproductive health which they can use to make informed and intelligent decisions. Payag din po ako riyan.

3. The RH Bill will provide Filipinos with access to health care facilities and skilled health professionals. Ang alam ko mayroon na iyan.

4. The RH Bill does not promote or legalize abortion. I find this quite inaccurate, Mr. President. Why? I will point out later.

5. The RH Bill does not impose one mode of family planning method on every Filipino woman and that every person will be allowed to choose the method suitable to her needs and her religious belief.

6. The RH bill does not limit the size of the Filipino family.

7. The RH Bill does not promote sexual promiscuity among the Filipino youth.

Now, Mr. President, as I mentioned earlier under the Rules of the Senate, I am allowed to go on a general debate and I speak against the said bill which we commonly call it the turno en contra. In other words, kami naman po ang pakinggan ninyo.

I will now present my opposition to the RH Bill in four parts starting today, August 13, 2012. I hope to finish the first portion today and the remaining chapters in the coming days. I seek the kind indulgence of this Chamber to bear with me. I will try my best to abbreviate it and, as I have mentioned earlier, we will try to compact it more so that it will not take too much time of the Senate.

Now, Mr. President, I strongly believe that Senate Bill No. 2865 is not necessary, not beneficial, and not practical for our people. It will not serve the common good and, therefore, should be rejected. Deceptive information, as well as unreliable and distorted statistics, have been peddled by people with motives who I will unmask in the succeeding chapters. They have found their way into the arguments of the RH bill.

Now, my main objections to the Reproductive Health Bill are as follows:

1. The RH Bill violates Philippine sovereignty, the Philippine Constitution and existing penal laws;

2. The RH Bill is detrimental to the health of a pregnant mother and puts the life of the unborn on the line;

3. The RH Bill violates our financial independence and the autonomy of local governments; and

4. The RH Bill transgresses Filipino culture and family values.

Here is my main discussion, Mr. President.


Article II, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution provides: The State shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.

In the Records of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, in his sponsorship speech dated September 12, 1986 on the article mandating the State to equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from the moment of conception, stated:

"The first question that needs to be answered: Is the fertilized ovum alive? Biology categorically says yes, the fertilized ovum is alive."

Malinaw po na napag-usapan sa pagpandayng ating Konstitusyon kung kailan nagiging tao ang tao. Itong katotohanan na ito ngayon ang binubuwag at nais palitan ng mga nagtutulak ng RH bill. Sa katunayan, ang isa po sa mga nagsusulong ng RH bill, itong International Planned Parenthood Federation or IPPF ang nag-atas sa mga medical associations na i-ayon at palitan ang depinisyon ng pagbubuntis magmula sa tinatawag na conception at gawin itong implantasyo n. In the book entitled Deadly Deception by James Sedlak, it says that to avoid arguments on the issue on whether contraceptives are abortifacients or not in the late 1960's, IPPF and its affiliates got some medical associations to define a pregnancy as beginning at implantation and not conception.

Now, let me go back to the deliberations on Article II, Section 12 of our Constitution. The second question that was raised was: Is the alive fertilized ovum human? Again, the answer is categorical yes. Genetics, give us an equally strong yes. At the moment of conception, the nuclei of the ovum and the sperm rupture. As this happens, 23 chromosomes from the ovum combined with 23 chromosomes of the sperm to form a total of 46 chromosomes. A chromosome count of 46 is found only--I repeat, Mr. President, only--in a human being. Therefore, the fertilized ovum is a human being. Biology and neonatal experts have also spoken at the beginning of human life, and let me quote a few of them and place into the Records of the Senate.

"Individual human life begins at conception and is progressive, ongoing continuum until natural death. This is a fact so well established that no intellectually honest physician in full command of modern medical knowledge would dare to deny it. There is no authority in medicine or biology who can be cited to refute this concept. (Source: D.J. Moran, M.D.; J.D. Gorby, M.D.; T.W. Hilgers, M.D. Title: "Abortion in the Supreme Court: Death Becomes a Way of Life. "Abortion and Social Justice, Sheed and Ward, 1974.)

Medical textbook authors have also confirmed that the "formation, maturation, and meeting of a male and female sex cell are all preliminary to their actual union into a combined cell, or zygote, which definitely marks the beginning of a new individual." (Source: Lesley Arey, Development Anatomy 7th Edition, 1974. Philadelphia W.B. Saunders Publishers.) "Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite, a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition. (Source: E.L. Potter, M.D. and J.M. Craig, M.D. Title: Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3rd Edition. Chicago Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975.) Kasama pa nga po dito sa mga foreign authorities even ex-President Bill Clinton in a book, His Life, on page 302 admits to that fact, Mr. President, kung ayaw ninyo ng foreign authorities, punta tayo sa lokal. Dr. Oscar Tinio, President of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), has stated that "life begins at fertilization" and anything that prevents the fertilized ovum from being implanted in the uterus is already considered "abortive".

If you do not completely agree with me and these authorities, and decide to believe in foreign studies sponsored and funded by Alan Guttmacher Research Institute studies, I would advise that why do not we try asking our conscience as the unborn child speaks to us in this video.

[Video playing]

I beg the Chair's indulgence, there is something wrong with the video. It should have explained what was happening there. But, hopefully--well, probably, we can skip that and hopefully we can give the Members of the Senate a copy of that.

Now, if we think that conception starts at implantation as what the proponents of this bill want us to accept as true, and not from fertilization, then we have just deprived that baby that we saw of his right to be born.

Now that I feel that I have tried to establish when human life begins, let me now go to the question on how this contraceptives act as abortifacients. Ito po.

Ginoong Pangulo, hindi po ako nagdudunung-dunungan dito. Hindi ko po iniimbento ito ha. Itong mga kinu-quote ko po dito, mga facts na pinapatotohanan ng mga eksperto sa larangan ng agham at batas. Several studies and authorities have shown that hormonal contraceptives act as abortifacients. I firmly believe that those who denied the abortifacient properties of the pill and the IUD have unjustifiably transferred the beginning of life from fertilization to implantation.

My point is this, Mr. President. Ovulation and fertilization can still occur despite pills intake. They do not prevent ovulation 100% of the time. There are even studies that show that they fail 8 to 10% rate, and thus, fertilization can still occur. There are women with abnormal bleeding and test positive in pregnancy tests despite taking the pill.

Unfortunately, the pill, whether oral, patch or injectable, renders the uterus hostile to implantation. When the fertilized ovum is prevented from implanting in the uterus because of the effect of the pill, this ovum is expelled.

This is plain and simple abortion, Mr. President. Morning-after pills, on the other hand, when taken in large doses within 72 hours after sexual intercourse no longer prevents fertilization but implantation.

In the case of the intrauterine device, the IUD, it does not prevent ovulation and so fertilization may occur several times in the span of time the device is in the womb of the woman. However, most fetuses will not be able to implant themselves because there is an "appliance" in the womb that prevents them from doing so. Is it not that in science, we have the term "matter occupies space"? Kung may umuokupa na, papaano pa makakapasok ang fetus sa bahay niya? Kung tayo ngang malalaki at matatanda, marami na tayong naririnig na nag-aagawan ng bahay, may nakatirang informal settler o kaya mga professional squatters na tinatawag. Pero tayo, ipinaglalaban pa rin natin ang karapatan nating tumira doon. Itong mga fetus na ito, hindi sila makakalaban sa mga foreign objects na umaagaw sa lugar nila, at ang mga pills na nagre-renovate ng bahay dapat nila, ginagawa itong non-livable.

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit lubos kong tinututulan ang pagpasa ng RH Bill. Hindi ko naman yata hahayaan, G. Pangulo, na may maging batas na kikitil lamang sa mga buhay na walang kalaban-laban. Ano ang karapatan natin na isabatas ang pagdi-distribute ng abortifacient pills at IUDS na ito, Para lang sa sinasabing reproductive health? Ito ba ang nakikita na lang nilang sagot o solusyon?

Kung tutuusin hindi ito nakakatulong sa reproductive health ng mga kababaihan. Sa katunayan, nakakasira pa nga ito sa kanilang kalusugan.

There are numerous side effects of contraceptives, which, unfortunately, are not made known to the general public. Unahin natin ang side effects ng pills. There are numerous studies showing its carcinogenic properties since the development of the synthetic estrogens in 1938 by Sir Edward Charles Dodds.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on the World Health Organization announced on July 29, 2005 that after a thorough review of the published scientific literature, it has concluded that combined estrogen- progestogen oral contraceptives and combined estrogen-progestogen menopausal therapy are carcinogenic to humans. (Group 1 category. This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.) The listed major adverse effects of the pill on women are the following: breast cancer, cervical cancer, liver cancer, premature hypertension, and coronary artery disease resulting in heart attacks and strokes, thromboembolism pulmonary embolism. Other adverse effects are decreased libido, infertility, leg cramps, gallstone formation, nausea, bloatedness, etcetera. Next are the side effects of the IUD, Mr. President. Intrauterine devices have been said to have the following effects; cramps, bleeding without periods, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and tear or hole in the uterus.

Even condoms pose a serious health risk. As pointed out by Sen. "Ping" Lacson, the size of the pores in condoms is 5 microns. What is alarming is that the size of the HIV virus is 0.1 micron. There can still be transmission of the HIV virus even with the use of a condom, because 0.1 micron will definitely pass through 5 microns. Even the US government has withdrawn US$2.6 million worth of grants to study condoms, because an unacceptably high number of condom users probably would have been infected in such a study.

No one wanted to take part in the study for fear of getting infected by the HIV virus. So, the US government withdrew the grant.

Given these all harmful effects to women, are we going to allow our government to spend billions of money to purchase condoms, pills, and IUDs for the sake of what they call reproductive health? Hindi ito ang sagot sa sinasabing 11 mothers die every day, kung totoo man iyong 11 mothers die every day na iyan. Sapagkat sa susunod na chapter po, ita-take up ko po ito.

Humihingi ako ng statistics sa kanila. Hindi po ako nabigyan. Itinuro ako sa NSO, humingi ako sa NSO, hindi rin ako nabigyan. Gumawa kami ng survey na sarili namin. Nagpaikot ako sa mga regional hospital kung ilan ang namatay noong 2011. I will present it in the next chapter, Mr. President, to prove that 11 mothers do not die every day in the Philippines.

Kung maipapasa natin itong RH Bill, malamang higit pa sa 11 mothers a day ang puwedeng mamatay kapag ganito ang nangyayari sa mga kababaihan natin lalo na ang side effects nitong mga pills na ito.

Ngunit hindi ko po maintindihan kung bakit sa pamamagitan ng RH bill tayo pa ang magdadagdag ng dahilan para dumami ang sakit nila. Kung magbibigay tayo ng pondo gamit ang buwis na ibinabayad ng ating mga mamamayan sa mga contraceptives na ito, dapat maglaan na rin tayo ng pondo para sa mga sakit na puwedeng idulot ng mga ito. Actually, these contraceptives are not just detrimental to women and the unborn. They are scientifically proven to have damaging effects to children born from mothers who were using contraceptives prior to their pregnancy, too.

According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D., the use of the pill also causes severe gut dysbiosis. What is worse, drug induced gut imbalance especially intractable and resistant to treatment either with probiotics or diet change. Gut imbalance brought on through the use of the pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. As a result, even if a woman eats spectacularly well during pregnancy, if she has been taking oral contraceptives for a period of time beforehand, it is highly likely that she and her baby are not reaping the full benefits of all these healthy food as the lack of beneficial flora in her gut preclude this from occurring.

Pathogenic opportunistic flora that take hold in the gut when the pill is used constantly produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism. These toxins leak into the woman's bloodstream and they have the potential to cross the placenta. Therefore, gut dysbiosis exposes the fetus to toxins. Not well known is also the fact that the use of the pill depletes zinc in the body. Zinc is called the "intelligence mineral" as it is intimately involved in mental development.

Mr. President, many could attest to the negative effects of these contraceptives to their children. Senator Lito Lapid revealed during one of the interpellations on this measure that his wife became pregnant despite the use of contraceptives, and thus, was born their third child who turned out to be a "blue baby". He said that while they were told that the baby would live for many years if it manages to reach age 14, the baby succumbed to a heart attack at age nine. He and his wife attributed the death to the contraceptives that his wife took. Senator Lapid believes that contraceptives cause the increasing number of child abnormalities and genetic disorders such as cleft chin, multiple births, conjoined or Siamese twins disorder which were not that many before contraceptives were introduced.

During that time, Mr. President, when Senator Lito Lapid was telling a story, I was tempted to stand to share my own personal experience. But I did not, I restrained myself. I waited for this moment. You see, Mr. President, my wife, Helen, and I, nawalan po kami ng anak dahil sa contraceptives. Helen and I eloped in 1969, got married, but got publicly married in 1971.

Our first-born or our eldest daughter, Romina, was born in 1973. Most people know that we have four children. Actually, we have six, Mr. President. My eldest daughter, of course, is the wife of Senator Pangilinan that is why he was surprised the other day when I called him son-in-law, although not biological, but she is our eldest daughter even in 1969 when my wife and I got married.

In 1973, my eldest daughter was born and Helen was still doing movies and television activities. So, she decided to heed what a doctor- friend suggested that she take contraceptives. She did. After Romina was born in January of 1973, she started taking contraceptives.

Mr. President, after a few months, by 1974, Helen became pregnant even though she was taking contraceptives. She gave birth to my real first son who we named Vincent Paul in March 13, 1975 at the Makati Medical Center. He was born with a weak heart. He needed blood transfusion every now and then.

His blood was type A+, the same as mine, my father and my elder brother. That is why we had to give him blood transfusion. Bina-blood transfusion po siya everyday. He stayed in the hospital for five months since birth. Nakauwi na ho si Helen, nandoon pa rin ang baby namin na kauna-unahan kong anak na lalaki.

I visited him everyday. I went to the nursery everyday, but before that I always go to the chapel to pray, pray for him and go visit him, stay for an hour or so every now and then kasama ko po si Helen. After five months, he passed away.

Noong binanggit ni Senator Lapid na namatayan siya ng anak nine years after, nine years old namatay, si Senadora Pia namatayan din po ng anak, after nine months namatay ang anak niya, nalulungkot po akong marinig sa kanila iyon. But the truth is, parang naiinggit pa nga ako, Mr. President, dahil mabuti pa nga sila nahawakan nila ang anak nila. Iyong anak ko five months ni hindi ko nahipo. Nahawakan ko patay na. Makati Medical Center can prove to the fact na wala silang makitang dahilan kung bakit nagkaganoon iyong bata kundi dahil nag-contraceptives iyong asawa ko. Nabuntis pa rin kahit na gumagamit ng contraceptives. That is why I know. Kaya binanggit ko kanina.

Mr. President, na hindi trabaho ito sa akin, personalan ito. Ipinanganak iyong anak kong lalaki but he never left the hospital. Ang sabi ng Makati Medical Center, ang dahilan ng pagkamatay ng anak ko ay ang paggamit ng misis ko ng contraceptives. Even her doctor, Dra. Enverga Santos, admits to that fact.

He was born and died with a weak heart. Noong taong iyon...By the way, Mr. President, just for the record, he died August 13, 1975, 37 years ago today. Noong taong iyon, 1975, tinanong ko po ang Panginoong Diyos kung bakit nangyari sa akin iyon. Gustung-gusto kong magkaroon ng anak na lalaki. Bakit kinuha niya sa akin? Tinanong ko Siya ngunit wala akong nakuhang sagot. Mr. President. Thirty seven years after, ibinigay sa akin ng Panginoong Diyos ang sagot. Kasi magiging misyon ko pala ito. Ito pala ang dahilan para ipaglaban ko ang karapatang mabuhay ng maraming inosenteng bata na kikitilin ang buhay nitong bill na ito.

My son died August 13, 1975, Mr. President. Nagkataon lamang ho ito. I was scheduled to deliver my speech last August 6 ngunit nagkabagyo, at nag-uulan at nausog ng August 8. Hindi rin tayo natuloy at na-schedule ako ngayong August 13.

Mr. President, my dear colleagues, may I continue my speech on another day.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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