Category Archives: Religion and sexual behavior

Condoms and the Presidential Election

This is the news, “Women activists present condoms to Philippine bishops.” What’s new? The Philippine Catholic bishops have been waging a bitter war with the government against the use of contraceptives. The Catholic church has never been weakened with its stiff stand against Family Planning and the use of artificial methods of birth control.

The Philippine Catholic Bishops have always been critical of any administration or political parties that support birth control and family planning. In fact presidential aspirants in the like of Senator Noynoy Aquino have been very careful with their stand with regards to population issues. The Bishop can always call on the Catholic faithful some 75 millions out of the 90 to 100 million Filipinos not to vote for any candidate who supports the family planning program of the government. One of the important criteria the good Bishops are looking to any politician vying for an elective position in the government is his policies and stand on the issues of family planning and birth control.

Even if President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo knows the significance of high birth rate in combating poverty problems in the Philippines, having been once a DSWD secretary, she tends to be careful with its population management program so as not to provoke the ire of the already critical Clergies to her administration. The bishops also took advantage of the government soft stand on Family Planning and birth control by calling for a ban on the advertisement of condom however the Arroyo’s administration only shrugged off their demands.

As if trying to maim the bishops stiff opposition on birth control and contraceptives, here comes Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral (former DSWD Secretary) “handing out condoms on February 13 as part of an information campaign on HIV-AIDS.” Her action may not necessarily be the collective stand of the government but nobody in the bureaucracy stood up to sanction her. She had not violated any law, she just exercised her political independence to promote actions responsive for the health and general welfare of the entire population. Yet the Bishops angrily called for her to resign.

But Health Secretary Cabral found allies on women’s health and rights advocate groups like the Party of the Workers who picketed and presented two baskest full of condoms at the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops Conference.

Judy Ann Miranda, the party’s secretary-general asked the bishops to “bless the condoms as a conciliatory gesture to unite for reproductive health and women’s rights” but unfortunately no bishop was around to receive/bless it.

As a response to the women activists action the bishops said, through spokesman Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, that they could not compromise on the church’s opposition to birth control devices. Again, a manifestation of the unwavering Catholic dogma on contraceptive devices which are perceived to tamper with the flow of nature and life. They the bishops however have no specific response on how to promote women’s reproductive health and quality of life.

“If contraceptives are immoral, nothing can change that… not even the vote of the whole country can change that,” Quitorio said. But should he not consider also immoral to see the health of women deteriorate just because couples are denied on the used of contraceptive devices. I think there is nothing more immoral than allowing spread of diseases and overpopulating the limited space we have in this country just because we can not control our rapid population growth.

And going back to politics, is the issue on contraceptives a leverage for a politician to improve his chances of winning in the presidential race? Will the good bishops support senator Manny Villar if he makes a covenant with the Catholic Church in the Philippines never to support legislative measures that advocate the use of contraceptives and other birth control devices? What will happen to the leading presidential candidate on surveys now should he decide to go against the bishops on their resistance to contraceptives and population control programs of the government?

So there we go, peace on earth and condom to all!

Leave a comment

Filed under Community life, democracy, education, Philippine government, Religion, Religion and sexual behavior, Reproductive Health, social justice, Wealth, Poverty, women

Smith is Acquitted; a Reason for Outrage?

The Supreme court has spoken, smith is not guilty. It was “a spontaneous, unplanned romantic episode with both parties carried away by their passions and stirred up by the urgency of the moment caused probably by alcoholic drinks they took…”

What does this mean? Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith can go back home a free man with his dignity restored and he has nothing to be ashame of. He can see friends, relatives, and people around head up; he could be called immaculate had not the court ruled he had a consensual sex with a drunk Filipina. A, smith is no longer a virgin, he proved himself a “fucker.” Perhaps there could have been a repeat performance had he properly parted with her with a word, Thank you.

Suddenly the moment of parting came and the Marines had to rush to the ship. In that situation, reality dawned on Nicole—what her audacity and reckless abandon, flirting with Smith and leading him on, brought upon her.

“That must have been shattering. But added to this was the mocking moment she heard from inside the van: ‘Leave that bitch!’ or words to that effect, which really broke her as she shouted back her denial: ‘I am not a bitch!’,” the court went on.

From the court’s point of view, Nicole cried rape out of shame—“dumped in a curb literally with her pants down”—upon the thought of her mother and boyfriend Brian.

“She had to hit back in the only way she could—to salvage at least a vestige of her self-esteem,” the court concluded.

So smith is the loser, he had been sentenced and jailed for sometime for an offense he did not commit at all. He has the looks every woman is looking for which they term in Filipino “makalaglag panty.” What about Smith’s compensation for a lost virginity or innocence of his manhood (if ever he had at the time he was on top of Nicole)? Maybe Nicole should even be thankful to Smith for giving her the taste of glory from a good looking guy.

But this is not so from public perception. Nicole was a victim and deserve to get justice on the shame and pain inflicted on her. It’s unfortunate, the appellate court look at it the other way around. For how could she convinced the court it was rape when it found no evidence to show “force, threat, and intimidation.” If ever Nicole was drunk, then she could not “danced non-stop to the urgent beat of rock and hip-hop music in an inebriated state for 15 minutes without stumbling clumsily on the floor.”  

She lied including the other witnesses, if I were to interpret what the court said as: 

This gap in her narration with the malingering explanation that she was dizzy and could not remember is dubiously fanciful for being what the court perceptively describes as contrary to ordinary experience of man,” the court said.

The court found the testimonies given by three persons at the Neptune Club who described Nicole’s supposed drunken state to be “rehearsed.”

The court was suspicious that the witnesses uniformly used the word “pasuray-suray” (walking unsteadily as if swaying) in describing Nicole before the court, but they never used the word when they spoke to investigators.

“The uniform description gives the impression that the testimonies were rehearsed,” the court said.

Unfortunately Nicole is no longer here and neither her mom is interested to pursue to the case to the Supreme Court. Nicole is now in the US and probably will be married soon to her boyfriend. Perhaps Smith could be invited also to the wedding and give his best wishes to the bride and groom.

But then this is not what most people think about. Not that Smith was not guilty, he may have been lucky the victim prefered to doubt if she was raped at all. Of course we respect the decision of the court. The magistrates were trained to evaluate cases based on evidences. Ours may only be a conjecture, it may not be the truth. But who has the truth, or at least closest to the truth.

To most of the Filipina women, probably Smith’s acquittal may only suggest one thing, the danger that Filipina women can be raped anywhere and may not get justice at all.

2 Comments

Filed under ethical standard, government, Justice, Philippine government, rape, Religion, Religion and sexual behavior, social justice, Wealth, Poverty

Gays in the Military, Time is Changing

Gone are the days when the military organization was a close system. Time has changed and they are adopting now to the changing landscape of the socio-political environment they operate. First they recruited women to serve in the military not only to do light duties but to become combatants as well. And now they want the gays, yes the gays to become part of the human component that comprise the military establishment. 

This is a welcome development to the socio-political and economic environment where the military exists. The constitution guarantees the right of every person including his sexual preferences. His/her right to serve his/her country as a soldier is also part of that constitutional right. It’s a long time overdue that the Philippine military has only thought of to comply  recently.

Here is a portion of that report from abs-cbnNEWS.com (03/04/2009):

Gay men can go to war with brave Filipino soldiers, a military spokesman said as he announced Wednesday that members of the third sex can apply for enlistment in the Philippine Army.

“We welcome them. We welcome everybody. We don’t discriminate [gay] people here,” Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., Army spokesman, told ABS-CBN’s morning show, “Umagang Kay Ganda.”

Brawner said as long as an applicant is physically, emotionally and mentally fit, the Army would be proud to enlist them, including gay people.

“They are allowed [and] of course they will have the same assignments. They can also go to war,” the Army spokesman added.

Brawner clarified that the Army or any other units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines does not discriminate gay people, including bisexual men.

Over the year I have seen various people who are gays serving the government and the private sectors holding sensitive positions as CEOs and lower level officials. They are doing good. Many of them are sincere, dedicated, well motivated on their jobs, and with unblemished reputation in public service. It’s a civilian job alright but can’t they do the same given the change of leadership in the military?

But in a highly masculine dominated system where the highest ranks in service are relegated only to the male servicemeni, it will take time before an enlisted personnel or a junior officer will get use to saluting and taking orders of command from a gay officer or a general.

But the way is already paved,  gay soldiers will soon be a common sight in the military. Gays the time is here.

2 Comments

Filed under education, gays as military NCOs and Officers, gays in the military, gays rights and protection, Heroism, military service, politics, Religion and sexual behavior, Sex and Politics