M. RONQUILLO: POPE FRANCIS AND PRESIDENT AQUINO...DIVERGENT;
THE CONTRAST IS VERY CLEAR

Here is the capsule of President Aquino’s standard exhortation to the nation. “Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat.” These words were also the highlights of his recent speech before the graduating class of the Philippine Military Academy. That was, by all benchmarks, his most important commencement address for this year. The clarion call to return to the basic values of honesty and integrity, in fact, draws heavily from the central theme of his government.
”Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,”remember, was also the central message of his 2010 successful campaign for the presidency. In the view of the President, battling corruption is the miracle cure to his country’s many woes, including the deeply-entrenched problem of grinding mass poverty. Pope Francis, I don’t know if this is all rooted in having a global (more than a billion) constituency, has not been too big on the themes of morality and values. Even on perceived transgressors of deeply-held Catholic values, like homosexuals, he refuses to either take a strident tone or cast the first stone. He is more forgiving of human frailties.
Instead, he is more concerned on what another global leader, President Obama, has called the”defining challenge of our time.”That issue is inequality, the dominant topic that is being debated in many parts of the developed world right now. And is now a major topic of serious scholarship and research. “Today, we also have to say, thou shall not to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,”he said. He is also concerned about the plight of the jobless. He said: “The unemployed and underemployed risk being relegated to the margins of society, becoming victims of social exclusion.” He is very specific about the constituencies that he wants to uplift: the poor, the voiceless, the powerless. He has also categorically dismissed “trickle-down economics” as nonsense. The Pope in the recent meeting with President Obama, according to most newspaper accounts, primarily focused on the growing problem of inequality and the plight of the poor. The gift Pope Francis gave to President Obama was a copy of his papal exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, “which proclaimed that the Catholic Church is poor and for the poor.” Obama said he will read it “when I am deeply frustrated.” He added: “I’m sure it will give me strength and calm me down.” President Aquino, the ideal leader of the 80s, is pursuing growth at all cost. Pope Francis rides on this surging tide of global actions to avert the rise of a new Gilded Age. The contrast is very clear.

ALSO: Will Congress correct all Bangsamoro flaws?

MOVE ON: Having gone this far in our search for peace in rebellion-racked Muslim Mindanao, we would be creating a bigger problem if we just dropped at this late date the flawed Comprehensive Agreement for the Bangsamoro then start all over again. Whatever we think of it, nandiyan na yang CAB as hammered out by Malacañang negotiating with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front and its foreign handlers. If we believe that the CAB has fatal defects – and there is consensus that it has – let us fix the document more carefully this time so we can move forward, not slip back and waste the decades of hard work that has gone before it. But how do we cure its legal infirmities and clarify the ambiguities? Who will mop up the mess left by an Executive speeding on with reckless imprudence, as if impelled by a secret personal timetable? * * * CONGRESS CLEANUP: The repair job is best performed in the deliberative body that is the Congress. The Bangsamoro Basic Law creating the ministerial-type sub-state for the secessionist MILF will be submitted to the legislature anyway. We can only block, not repair, the CAB at the Supreme Court. The tribunal will simply uphold or reject it – also possibly point out its constitutional and legal flaws – but not correct them for us. But in the Congress, the Basic Law measure can be dissected down to its minute details, and its substantial and structural flaws corrected. There in the legislature, the creation of the Bangsamoro can be validated by the people’s representatives – not by a rebel band backed by foreign pressure groups. READ MORE...

Editorial: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. new appointment as Chairman of Asian Consultative Council of Bank for International Settlements

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., recognized as one of the world’s best central bankers, assumed on April 1, 2014, as Chairman of the Asian Consultative Council (ACC) under the Bank For International Settlements (BIS) for a term of two years, succeeding Bank of Korea Governor Choong-soo Kim. As Chairman of the 12-nation ACC, Governor Tetangco facilitates communication between member-central banks (CBs) and BIS Board and Management on matters related to central banking in Asia-Pacific. He provides guidance for research and banking activities of the BIS Representative Office for Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong, which serves as ACC secretariat. Member-countries of BIS regional office are the Philippines, Australia, China, Honk Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand. Governor Tetangco, also Chairman of Monetary Board, has been BSP Governor since 2005. He was appointed to a second six-year term as Governor by President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2011. His banking acumen is widely recognized in the Philippines and internationally. In 2013, he received his fifth “A-Grade” as one of the world’s top central bankers from Global Finance Magazine, which cited him also in 2012, 2011, 2007, and 2006; accolades from Financial Times’ The Banker as 2013 Central Banker of the Year for Asia Pacific; and Emerging Market Magazine’s 2012 Central Banker of the Year for Asia. Under his leadership, the BSP was chosen as Best Macroeconomic Regulator in the Asia Pacific by Asian Banker in 2013, and its policy framework for microfinance was hailed as the best in the world by Economist Intelligence Unit in 2009.

ALSO: Will Aquino and the Supreme Court risk a Catholic revolt?

TWICE in 2012, President B. S. Aquino III used the now-outlawed Priority Development Assistance Fund and the yet-to-be outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program to coerce and corrupt the members of Congress into removing Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and railroading the widely opposed, morally abhorrent and constitutionally disputed Reproductive Health Law. No President has done anything like it before. Yet Aquino has escaped popular sanction until now. Corona has refused to fight back despite the fact that the presidential bribery that had caused his removal is now an established fact, and some legal luminaries are saying it effectively nullifies the entire impeachment process. Meanwhile, he is now being prosecuted for his alleged tax liabilities, with the usual one-sided reporting by the conscript press. For their part, opponents of the Republic Act 10354 have been waiting for the Supreme Court to declare RH Law null and void. But although the oral arguments had been terminated and the case submitted for resolution before the end of last year, the Court has taken time to rule on it because of other competing cases. One such case is the constitutionality of the PDAF which allowed legislators to fund projects of their own choice, to the tune of P200 million per senator and P70 million per congressman each year. The Court has since struck down the PDAF as unconstitutional, but the ruling focuses solely on the legislators. From the moment the General Appropriations Act becomes effective, “any provision of law that empowers Congress or any of its members to play any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law violates the principle of separation of powers and is thus unconstitutional,” the Court says. However, it says nothing about the involvement of the Executive Department in the whole mess. Having paid off the members of Congress to pass RA 10354, President B. S. Aquino now seems determined to pressure the Court into validating the diseased law with all its constitutional infirmities, and despite its having been the product of an infected process. Although it seems unthinkable that even a despot could collectively coerce or corrupt an entire Supreme Court, fear exists that some of the 15 Justices may not be able to resist the President. READ FULL STORY......


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Pope Francis and President Aquino are … divergent;
 


by MARLEN V. RONQUILLO

MANILA, APRIL 7, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) Marlen V. Ronquillo - Here is the capsule of President Aquino’s standard exhortation to the nation.

“Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat.” These words were also the highlights of his recent speech before the graduating class of the Philippine Military Academy. That was, by all benchmarks, his most important commencement address for this year.

The clarion call to return to the basic values of honesty and integrity, in fact, draws heavily from the central theme of his government.

”Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,”remember, was also the central message of his 2010 successful campaign for the presidency.

In the view of the President, battling corruption is the miracle cure to his country’s many woes, including the deeply-entrenched problem of grinding mass poverty.

Pope Francis, I don’t know if this is all rooted in having a global (more than a billion) constituency, has not been too big on the themes of morality and values. Even on perceived transgressors of deeply-held Catholic values, like homosexuals, he refuses to either take a strident tone or cast the first stone. He is more forgiving of human frailties.

Instead, he is more concerned on what another global leader, President Obama, has called the”defining challenge of our time.”That issue is inequality, the dominant topic that is being debated in many parts of the developed world right now. And is now a major topic of serious scholarship and research.

“Today, we also have to say, thou shall not to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,”he said.

He is also concerned about the plight of the jobless. He said: “The unemployed and underemployed risk being relegated to the margins of society, becoming victims of social exclusion.” He is very specific about the constituencies that he wants to uplift: the poor, the voiceless, the powerless. He has also categorically dismissed “trickle-down economics” as nonsense.

The Pope in the recent meeting with President Obama, according to most newspaper accounts, primarily focused on the growing problem of inequality and the plight of the poor. The gift Pope Francis gave to President Obama was a copy of his papal exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, “which proclaimed that the Catholic Church is poor and for the poor.”

Obama said he will read it “when I am deeply frustrated.” He added: “I’m sure it will give me strength and calm me down.”

In this part of the globe, the only Catholic nation in Asia, President Aquino would not draw strength from the papal exhortation. If we were to draw from his speeches, actual initiatives and policy preferences—and the people and institutions he prefers to associate with—The Joy of the Gospel is automatically out as a preferred reading material.

He would not jibe with the Pope in the definition of what a leader should be. In framing what leadership should place as its top policy priorities.

President Aquino, in dramatic contrast to Pope Francis, is big on morality issues. He has staked his presidency on his bedrock attribute of personal integrity. Another major priority of President Aquino is economic growth, that comes via nice graphs and charts representing surging GDP growths.

The generation gap is very apparent and you have a ready feeling on who the modern thinker is. President Aquino fits very well into the core values, policy priorities and competencies of a leader in the 80s. Pope Francis is essentially a leader of the 21st century. Proof? This requires an explanation.

If you tweak the Washington Consensus a bit, and search for the technocratic, straight leadership that would implement the sense of the Consensus, you have your ideal leader in President Aquino. The expansion of market forces in the economy, as you might have fully observed, is on the top of the “to do things” of the president.

Personal integrity is actually a complement of the program. Corruption drags down the heedless pursuit of growth as it distorts the market forces. Transparency of the bidding process is a must as the opposite would skew matters, whose net result would be lethargic growth or missed performance targets.

It all welds: personal integrity plus obsession with a market based reforms.

The human factor is not much a factor under the Washington Consensus.

That period was about the need for brutal efficiency to push market reforms to usher in growth, represented by GDP surges and fiscal and monetary reforms. If human well-being happened to be advanced, too, across the board, the better.

But marginal lives were really not really a serious consideration under the Consensus.

President Aquino is actually reliving the 80s and the technocratic leadership to pursue market-based reforms and growth. It is all about growth and economic reforms. Unfortunate human lives are an afterthought. The creation of a dark underside to this 21st century Belle Epoque, would not really bother President Aquino.

Pope Francis, in contrast, is rooting primarily for this dark underside—wasted, drifting lives amid so much growth.

The irony is this is now viewed by many as the priority concern of a 21st century leader. The Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, the global conversation about the Great Divide, the debunking of trickle-down economics and ground-breaking researches on the rise of the patrimonial wealth are slowly turning global priorities upside down.

President Aquino, the ideal leader of the 80s, is pursuing growth at all cost. Pope Francis rides on this surging tide of global actions to avert the rise of a new Gilded Age. The contrast is very clear.

FROM PHILSTAR

Will Congress correct all Bangsamoro flaws? POSTSCRIPT  By Federico D. Pascual Jr. (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 6, 2014 - 12:00am 4 9 googleplus0 0


By Federico D. Pascual Jr.

MOVE ON: Having gone this far in our search for peace in rebellion-racked Muslim Mindanao, we would be creating a bigger problem if we just dropped at this late date the flawed Comprehensive Agreement for the Bangsamoro then start all over again.

Whatever we think of it, nandiyan na yang CAB as hammered out by Malacañang negotiating with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front and its foreign handlers.

If we believe that the CAB has fatal defects – and there is consensus that it has – let us fix the document more carefully this time so we can move forward, not slip back and waste the decades of hard work that has gone before it.

But how do we cure its legal infirmities and clarify the ambiguities? Who will mop up the mess left by an Executive speeding on with reckless imprudence, as if impelled by a secret personal timetable?

* * *

CONGRESS CLEANUP: The repair job is best performed in the deliberative body that is the Congress. The Bangsamoro Basic Law creating the ministerial-type sub-state for the secessionist MILF will be submitted to the legislature anyway.

We can only block, not repair, the CAB at the Supreme Court. The tribunal will simply uphold or reject it – also possibly point out its constitutional and legal flaws – but not correct them for us.

But in the Congress, the Basic Law measure can be dissected down to its minute details, and its substantial and structural flaws corrected. There in the legislature, the creation of the Bangsamoro can be validated by the people’s representatives – not by a rebel band backed by foreign pressure groups.

* * *

CONDITIONS: But this corrective process can happen only if:

• The Executive will drop all pretensions as the sole repository of wisdom and admit that the CAB it has signed and sealed under pressure is flawed in some parts.

• The President and his majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives will not treat the Bangsamoro issue as an urgent political party matter, but a matter of conscience beyond politics.

• The President, as leader of the administration party and coalition, must not crack the whip or dangle pork-like incentives to rush and force a party vote on the amendments, debate issues and the final approval.

• Malacañang should muster enough will to reject foreign meddling in what is actually a domestic affair.

• Senators and congressmen must be studious and discerning. They must vote according to their best lights and not according to the best offer. The sight of lapdogs yelping and salivating in excitement at the smell of dog food coming is revolting.

• Research organizations, the academe, the media, civic and professional groups, ethnic and indigenous communities must engage lawmakers individually and at the committee level to make known their views and discernment – and put pressure if necessary.

* * *

ROTARIAN ROLE: When I spoke Thursday before the Rotary Club of Manila, the oldest and biggest Rotary club in the country, I appealed for civic and professional groups like the RCM to help educate the public on the Bangsamoro issue.

Rotarians and other influential entities should talk to their congressmen and senator-friends to drop partisan considerations and go into the Bangsamoro debate with nothing but the national interest in mind.

Among those in the meeting at the Manila Polo Club were RCM president Rudy Bediones, Art Lopez the emcee, Fausto Preysler who introduced me, Roy Zosa, Benny Laguesma and Jimmie Policarpio the chair of the program committee.

It is timely, btw, that US Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg will address the Rotary next Thursday. The US and the Philippines are about to conclude an agreement for the enhanced rotational presence of American troops.

US President Obama is visiting Manila late this month to cap his Asian swing that will also take him to South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia. Having lived in Jakarta from age six to 10, Obama can have on the side a reunion with Indonesian friends and relatives.

* * *

QUESTIONS: Some of the questions on the Bangsamoro that the Congress should resolve to the satisfaction of the public (for the plebiscite) and of the Supreme Court (for the constitutionality challenge) are:

• Were the two signatories to the CAB – namely, the MILF and the Executive branch – qualified to sign for and commit the parties they claim to represent?

• Can the President by himself agree to the creation of a Bangsamoro invested with governmental functions and possessing the elements of territory, population and government of a new state in the making?

• Can the ministerial-type of parliamentary setup intended for Bangsamoro fit into the presidential republican system mandated by the Constitution for the entire country?

• May the Bangsamoro organize and maintain its own police force apart from the Philippine National Police?

• Can the Bangsamoro be allowed to retain revenue shares from mineral resources greater than or different from the shares legally given to other local government units?

• Can the President’s control and general supervision over all executive departments, bureaus and offices as provided under the Constitution be diminished in the case of the Bangsamoro?

• Can the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), whose creation was mandated by the Constitution, be scrapped by the President as a “failed experiment” and replaced by a new entity with enlarged territory, population and powers?

* * *

BIG QUESTION: Assuming the Congress rises to the occasion and does correct the constitutional, legal and political flaws, that would mean a rewriting of the Basic Law measure.

Will the MILF, quiet and tempered until now, accept substantial amendments, especially on those portions that it made sure were in the document signed with the Palace panel?

Is the MILF willing to accept the amendments, if only to save their common handiwork from being thrown out again by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional?

Another question: If the Bangsamoro Basic Law is approved intact but thrown out by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, will the MILF accept that judgment? Have the rebels committed themselves in writing to honor the Constitution?

FROM MANILA BULLETIN

Editorial: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. new appointment as Chairman of Asian Consultative Council of Bank for International Settlements April 6, 2014

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., recognized as one of the world’s best central bankers, assumed on April 1, 2014, as Chairman of the Asian Consultative Council (ACC) under the Bank For International Settlements (BIS) for a term of two years, succeeding Bank of Korea Governor Choong-soo Kim.

As Chairman of the 12-nation ACC, Governor Tetangco facilitates communication between member-central banks (CBs) and BIS Board and Management on matters related to central banking in Asia-Pacific. He provides guidance for research and banking activities of the BIS Representative Office for Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong, which serves as ACC secretariat. Member-countries of BIS regional office are the Philippines, Australia, China, Honk Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand.

Governor Tetangco, also Chairman of Monetary Board, has been BSP Governor since 2005. He was appointed to a second six-year term as Governor by President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2011. His banking acumen is widely recognized in the Philippines and internationally. In 2013, he received his fifth “A-Grade” as one of the world’s top central bankers from Global Finance Magazine, which cited him also in 2012, 2011, 2007, and 2006; accolades from Financial Times’ The Banker as 2013 Central Banker of the Year for Asia Pacific; and Emerging Market Magazine’s 2012 Central Banker of the Year for Asia. Under his leadership, the BSP was chosen as Best Macroeconomic Regulator in the Asia Pacific by Asian Banker in 2013, and its policy framework for microfinance was hailed as the best in the world by Economist Intelligence Unit in 2009.

Established in 1930, the Swiss-based BIS is a global organization of 60 CBs and monetary authorities, including the BSP, that pushes for financial and monetary stability, fosters cooperation, acts as bank for CBs providing them services. It drafted the Basel Accords, a set of banking rules covering areas from bank capitalization to risk management. Basel III rules on bank capitalization took effect in the Philippines at the start of 2014, way ahead of the 2019 deadline. Basel III mandates banks to set aside more capital in relation to their assets.

The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr., Business Editor Loreto D. Cabañes, Directors, Officers and Employees, congratulate Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., on his new appointment as Chairman of Asian Consultative Council of Bank for International Settlements. We wish him the best, good health, and success in all his endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!

FROM MANILA STANDARD

Will Aquino and the Supreme Court risk a Catholic revolt?
By Francisco S. Tatad | Apr. 07, 2014 at 12:01am

TWICE in 2012, President B. S. Aquino III used the now-outlawed Priority Development Assistance Fund and the yet-to-be outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program to coerce and corrupt the members of Congress into removing Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and railroading the widely opposed, morally abhorrent and constitutionally disputed Reproductive Health Law. No President has done anything like it before. Yet Aquino has escaped popular sanction until now.

Corona has refused to fight back despite the fact that the presidential bribery that had caused his removal is now an established fact, and some legal luminaries are saying it effectively nullifies the entire impeachment process. Meanwhile, he is now being prosecuted for his alleged tax liabilities, with the usual one-sided reporting by the conscript press.

For their part, opponents of the Republic Act 10354 have been waiting for the Supreme Court to declare RH Law null and void. But although the oral arguments had been terminated and the case submitted for resolution before the end of last year, the Court has taken time to rule on it because of other competing cases. One such case is the constitutionality of the PDAF which allowed legislators to fund projects of their own choice, to the tune of P200 million per senator and P70 million per congressman each year.

The Court has since struck down the PDAF as unconstitutional, but the ruling focuses solely on the legislators. From the moment the General Appropriations Act becomes effective, “any provision of law that empowers Congress or any of its members to play any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law violates the principle of separation of powers and is thus unconstitutional,” the Court says. However, it says nothing about the involvement of the Executive Department in the whole mess.

Having paid off the members of Congress to pass RA 10354, President B. S. Aquino now seems determined to pressure the Court into validating the diseased law with all its constitutional infirmities, and despite its having been the product of an infected process. Although it seems unthinkable that even a despot could collectively coerce or corrupt an entire Supreme Court, fear exists that some of the 15 Justices may not be able to resist the President.

After Corona’s removal, the members of the Court have been put on notice that anyone could be next in line, should they ever offend or fail to please the President. Malacañang is reported to have been collecting dossiers on everyone, and some extremely partisan congressmen are on standby to threaten to impeach any Justice who proves to be particularly difficult. It is not fair to expect any of them to behave like heroes. They are merely human and may not want to exchange the peace and quiet of their everyday lives for the completely avoidable cost and consequence of standing up to the all-powerful president. At the same time Aquino has his own loyalists.

During the oral arguments on the RH law before the SC en banc, at least two Aquino-appointed justices kept harping on their doubtful competence as “unelected” magistrates to pass upon the validity of a law that has been “enacted” by Congress and approved by the President, the two “elective” branches of our tripartite system. They sounded like they had never read US Chief John Marshall’s famous dictum in Marbury v. Madison (1803): “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.”

One of the Justices took pains to point out that the House had passed the measure on third reading with an overwhelming vote of 133 to 79, with seven abstentions, after a close vote of 113 to 104 on second reading, as though that had any bearing on the core constitutional question. He tried to make a capital case of it, as though the “pork barrel bribery” which had preceded the voting never happened at all.

But even if the RH law had been passed in a free and completely honest voting, which it was not, what is at issue before the Court is whether or not the law complies with the mandate of the Constitution. Nothing more, nothing less. And what is the mandate of the Constitution?

Simply this:

Sec. 12, Article II provides: The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution.

It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.

And Article XV provides:

Section 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development.

Sec. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.

Sec. 3. The State shall defend:

(1) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood;

(2) The right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development…

RA 10354 seeks to accomplish the opposite of these provisions.

Those who support RA 10354 argue that the law is needed to eradicate poverty and maternal deaths caused by unwanted pregnancies and “overpopulation,” etc. The argument is malicious because false; it is irrelevant even if, assuming for the sake of argument, it happens to be true. The only issue before the Court is whether the Constitution allows the State to prescribe population control, and be the source and provider of contraceptives and other devices to carry out such policy of population control.

To their credit, the population control lobby has outsmarted the opposition in framing the public debate. By choosing its own set of parameters and premises, it was able to make the public believe that the real issue is whether or not one has the “right” to practice contraception, and that the legal conflict, if there is one, is between those who believe contraception is intrinsically evil and those who believe it is good for your body and soul. This was never the constitutional issue at all.

In an open and free society, one group can coexist with the other. And in our society, they have coexisted with each other for years. But in RA 10354 the real issue is whether the State has the right or the duty to impose birth control on the population. But this issue never entered the debate at all—not in the Congress, not in the media, not in the university forums, and not in court and in legal circles, until I articulated it during the Oral Arguments before the Supreme Court en banc.

State imposition of means to prevent births within a national, regional or ethnical group was condemned as a crime against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. It is condemned as genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 and the statutes of the International Criminal Court.

But it has not received any attention even among legal luminaries here.

Simply by referring to the intrinsic dignity of the human being, without referring to any international document, the Catholic Church condemns contraception as intrinsically evil. And Catholic groups and individuals have opposed RA 10354, invoking their right to believe what the Church teaches and to practice what they believe. In legislating the RH law, the State has legislated a moral evil, as far as they are concerned. The evil is doubly injurious because it uses their tax money to fund the program that attacks a teaching of their Faith.

But even without the religious dimension, state-run contraception violates their most fundamental freedom. Whether the Constitution exists or not, the State has no right to intrude into the most intimate private life of the family and the individual. But the mandate of Sec. 12, Article II is clear. And this is where those who believe in contraception and those who reject it can stand together to assert their common stand against the State invading their utmost privacy and fundamental human freedom.

For under that provision, the State cannot be the provider of contraception and be the protector of the life of the unborn from conception at the same time. As protector of the unborn, it is ipso facto the protector of the process of conception. It takes so little to understand this point, but the State seems to have the utmost difficult in understanding it. This is why this point cannot be repeated often enough.

What verbal gymnastics or sleight of hand the State will use in order to validate population control is beyond my imagining for now. A Court ruling that validates it can only result, I fear, in an unjust judicial legislation. I pray nothing like it happens. For the consequences could be incalculable.

Natural moral law, which is the basis of positive law, teaches that an unjust law is not a law but an act of violence, which the citizen has the right (even the duty) to resist. Resistance could be passive or active, depending on the gravity of the violence. Passive resistance means simple disobedience of the unjust law, active resistance means using force, if necessary, to carry out one’s objective. This means civil disobedience at the very least, actual revolt at the most extreme. In his classic work L’Homme Revolte, Albert Camus writes that there is a point beyond which even the slave must rebel.

It is to be hoped that Aquino will do what he can to prevent the nation from reaching that point. At a time when he is doing everything to forge a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which will pave the way for Shar’iah law to reign supreme over the country’s laws in the so-called Bangsamoro political entity, he should exert every effort to show some respect for the rights and religious beliefs of the Catholic majority of all Filipinos. That could mitigate the evolving turbulence.

He cannot afford to believe that Filipino Catholics, being unarmed, law-abiding and non-violent, are easily imposed upon, and will take anything from his government. He cannot afford to believe that just because he has gotten away with so much, he could get away with everything. The RH issue is not a simple constitutional issue. It does not simply involve the basic human rights. It involves the life of the soul and the salvation of faithful Filipinos.

We may not be able to do anything about losing Sabah to Malaysia, or losing Ayungin Shoal to China, or losing Oyster Bay, General Santos and Subic to the Americans, but we cannot allow to lose our souls to the devil masquerading as friend and protector of the Aquino government. Some of us will want to defy the power of the devil and die as martyrs, if need be, in the only cause that gives us a chance to fight for something much bigger than ourselves.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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