First, an unknown You Tube user uploaded a video footage of a man undergoing rectal operation to remove a canister inserted in his rectum; same footage shows doctors, other medical staff, and onlookers clapping and laughing at the patient. This controversy happened at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC). A TV network picked it up and broadcasted it; the news started to spread like wildfire all over the world. A public outcry followed to what is perceived as intrusion to privacy and violations of human rights. And now a negative statement from the church, (from the Spokesman of Cebu archdiocese) “that the homosexual victim was the one responsible for the shameful situation he is in right now.” The gay and lesbian group cried foul to said statement.
The Department of health, after some media prodding, immediately came out and denounced the incident as uncalled for and unprofessional. It simply violated medical ethics according to the Department of Health Secretary who ordered for the immediate investigation of the case.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health had already identified the five medical staff involved in the “rectal surgery scandal” (according to ABS CBN news). They were head surgeon Dr. Philips Leo Arias, assistant surgeon Dr. Angelo Linawagan, surgeon Dr. Max Joseph Montecillo, nursing attendant Rosemarie Villareal and circulating nurse Carmina Sapio.
While a civil complaint for damages has been filed against the medical staff, authorities still have to trace yet who uploaded the video on the Internet.”
A Rape Victim?
Last Friday, April 25, 2008, a gay leader expressed belief that the gay involved in the “rectal surgery scandal” may have been raped. He further said during an interview (ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda) that a “canister was inserted” into the victim’s rectum and “has been a subject of mockery through You Tube.” Danton Remoto Ladlad (gay and lesbian group) leader also scored on the negative statement from the church saying “the public and the Catholic Church should first know all the details behind the scandal before judging the victim. “
Danilo (not his real name), the victim, said that he was drunk and unconscious when the canister was inserted into his rectum. “That falls under the anti-rape law. For all we know, he could have been hurt and raped before it was done to him,” Remoto said.
Cebu Church spokeman Monsignor Achilles Dakay, in similar interview, denied having condemned the victim. Dakay clarified that he wanted only to tell the media not to focus alone on the mistakes of the medical staff of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) alone “but that of the possible mistake of the homosexual victim” too need to be brought out.
Dakay further clarified his statement during his radio interview over DZMM. “Because for all we know, if one deed was wrong, the other could be just as wrong, or even more wrong in the eyes of the public, even if done in private. That is what I said, I did not condemn anybody at all,” he said.
There are Gay Priests and Nuns in the Catholic Church?
Dakay admitted that there are homosexuals in the Catholic Church, that there is no reason that the Church does not respect gay people.
Dakay also said that gay people should always be accepted “with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” as this is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says.
He clarified however that what is not accepted by the Church are the homosexual acts. Citing on the church’s doctrine, these are “intrinsically disordered,” “contrary to the natural law,” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”
According to Catholic Church’s doctrine, gay people are called to chastity. They should concentrate on “self mastery that teaches them inner freedom” and to stand against temptation.
“Dakay said the Church will try to help its gay members evade temptation.
“Remoto, meanwhile, said Ladlad group is currently giving the homosexual victim psychological counseling and free legal assistance.”
Filipino Attitude towards Gays
Over the years, the Philippine society is still stiff on values against preferred gender. If male is born as male he is a male, and likewise to the female. There is no such thing as “gender in between.” While most gays have found their place in the society, they are still treated as second class citizen in view of their gender preference. Same sex act is still a taboo to the Filipinos no matter how gays justify their actions. This, with all probability, may have motivated why “some of the 15 people who were inside the operating room of the VSMMC could be seen shouting, laughing and taking pictures of the canister and of the patient’s X-ray” as reported. In any manner, what ever judgmental attitude and biases that one may have against those doing homosexuals acts, this is not enough reason to treat a person with gross humiliation and rip off his dignity as a person. On the other hand, what Dakay said (based on the church’s stand) could also hold water and can’t be easily reputed in as much as some gays have gone overboard defying well established moral standard of the society. While the government has spent considerable time and effort to educate the Filipinos on gender sensitivity, it seems that little has been achieved in so far as accepting and respecting people with gender problems are concerned.
Gays are still the object of ridicule in the Philippine society. Showbiz and the entertainment industry may not even be that kind at all to them, although gays thrive here and make money and fame. They are objects of humor and fun; on the other hand, over projection of gay’s hysteria and emotional outbursts while it amuses anyone it may also turn off others.
That’s how the canister rectal insertion scandal (to me personally) elicited much fanfare and amusement which triggered the desire to take pictures, video footage, and intruding to one’s privacy (at the operating room) unmindful of moral and ethical standards. Yes, let us admit there are still people who can not accept gays; and even gays make fun of their theselves. It’s sad the Philippine society (in general) may is still be captive of this awkwardness in the world; but, is it the Philippines alone?