Looking back: That ‘commotion’ incident in Congress as a form of manipulation

by Anonymous

Manipulativeness has been the order of the day, the name of the game, in the pro-RH camp’s bid to sway public opinion to their side, and while at it, make a side trip to the Catholic Church and attack its hierarchy to bolster the effort to court public attention and eventually win the culture wars. How does one know if an incident is merely such a kind of gimmick or demolition job?

In many cases, a trained eye can spot the warning signs immediately, but there are cases wherein, if one is not careful, it is easy to be duped. As shown in the alarmingly repetitive misquotes attributed to the current pope, the deception can be subtle, especially if the misquote is made by the usual media authorities we’ve trusted. One can not help but suspect whether the deception is deliberate, if not in fact, a conspiracy, an effort to advance a hidden agenda. That’s what happened in the most recent case of restatement, in which the papal statement was reduced into a subset of the statement (a shameless act of reductionism). The focus made on just one part of what was stated resulted in a false metonymy, and was apparently intended to draw attention to that subtopic in focus and prompt the reader to draw his own conclusions from there.

To review: What media said the pope said in his address to the diplomatic corps:

‘Gay marriage is a threat to humanity.”


What the pope actually said:

“Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.”


Notice the effect of the shift. An unsuspecting reader will certainly pick up two different things reading from the original statement to the restatement.

Good thing we’ve learned our lesson well, a very important one, which is to always verify from the primary source.

In November 29, 2011, one curious incident of manipulation on the national stage occurred, which should be funny in retrospect because of the ineptness of the attempt despite the professional earnestness of the actors. The scene was at the pro-RH gallery during the debate on the RH Bill at the Philippine House of Representatives (Quezon City).

According to a congressman who relayed the report, the anti-RH group on that day moved for adjournment to stop the deliberation of the RH bill. The pro-RH camp objected, thinking the move to be an act of stalling, to delay, if not derail, legislation. There was a vote and those for adjournment, the anti-RH, won 31-17. The pro-RH group, thinking at first they had a bigger number, was stunned. But the supporting lobby group in the audience came prepared, as if to wait for just this scenario!

Here’s a Youtube video of the ensuing commotion during the aborted interpellation of Cong. Sergio Apostol.

One can tell who the members of the group were by the purple shirt and purple shawl uniform they wore. Amid the loud heckling and screaming in unison, at least one line was intelligible. It was a melodramatic line straight from a hysterical Nora Aunor opus: “Kailangang mamatay ang buntis sa panganganak bago kayo makonsiyensiya!” (Translation please!)

It was a disrespectful accusation of congressional murder by negligence, as though that was the basic intent of the anti-RH camp.

A cursory background check revealed who the players with the loudest voices were:

1. Mina Tenorio – a stage actress who belongs to the group Artists for RH Bill. I believe she was the one who shouted the melodramatic statement.

2. Magdalena ‘Lina’ Bacalando – described in likhaan:http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/articles/philippines-local-hero as “a Community Health Worker for the reproductive health charity Likhaan for 12 years. She dispenses free family planning advice and contraceptives to some of the most deprived people in Manila.” For her work, she has been called the “Gentle Warrior in the Slums.” Lina is also president of PILAKK: http://wwwkatpalasi.tumblr.com/post/10501810862/mmj-assignment-lina-gentle-warrior-in-the-slums

Of course, public reaction to the video clip flew wildly, particularly from the opposing camp.

– “Now what do the pro-RH congressmen say? I remember, when there was a loud murmur from the anti-RH side, Rep. Garin scolded us. Will she do the same with the pro-RH?”

– “There is a double standard here, even in the media coverage of this event, which was referred to as only a “commotion” when a word such as “unruly” was better suited. They clearly lacked discipline and breeding; they should have been kicked out of the Session Hall for boorish behavior.”

– “Looks scripted to me, like they planned it. Watch their body language. It’s as though some were telling their companions, ‘This is it?’ ‘Should we do it now?’ Haha!”

– “Why do the others in purple shawl show no reaction, as though embarrassed at being caught in the middle of it?”

– “This definitely looks planned and planted. They’re not random women from the street, they’re trained to speak in front of people.”

– “Sorry but I was really laughing when I watched this. I was thinking, “And the best actress award goes to…” Sigh, more practice, please!”

– “This is way too staged. Notice how the main “yellers” were already seated up front. If this were truly random, they would have come from different sections of the audience. This is really a show, though i have no idea how they thought this could help their cause. In this one, Lina Bacalando (of Likhaan) is shown first. They seem to be proud of it anyhow, that they posted the video in the Artists for RH page. Notice the tag “occupy” — probably part of their plan from day 1. https://www.facebook.com/ArtistsForRHBill/posts/250898748303245

– “I think this is meant to intimidate lawmakers. Now, next time someone interpellates, at the back of his mind, he’s going to think twice before asking hard questions, because he doesn’t want to get booed by an angry mob. Some may even withdraw their intent to interpellate. If so, their tactic will have paid off. That’s why I think if it happens again, the sergeant-at-arms should be standing by, ready to detain them for contempt, so that they can learn the lesson Mr. Tour Guide (Carlos Celdran) learned. ‘You step out of line, you pay the price.'”

Perhaps the lesson here is that manipulation is futile in the end. People are bound to smell a dead rat whenever something is off.

Pro-RH Side Desperate, Misleads Youth Via Teen Magazines

Authored by Anna Cosio. Reposting with permission.

I used to collect teen magazines when I was younger. Actually, when I started working I still bought one every so often—but no longer monthly like I used to when I was in college. I just realized that magazines of this type did me little good, especially when it came to priorities in life. Very little, if there was any, was written about the importance of one’s spirituality. The pages were mostly worldly, though that was already expected since we’re living in a “material world,” and “material girls” dig that stuff. It’s what sells. I still have my magazine collection at the bottom part of my book shelf, and when I browse them sometimes, I realize they’re all the same—three-fourths advertisements, one-fourth real content, how-to-get-the-guy articles, interviews of boys who easily got their 15 minutes of fame just by enrolling in a well-known school (the most boring part of the magazine for me), how-to-copy-this-celeb’s-look articles, and lots of pages about mixing and matching clothes and putting on makeup (my all-time favorite part). There are also sensible stories from which the reader would learn life lessons. But there are stories that simply don’t make sense at all, like the ones that mislead readers by making opinion sound like fact, just like the following articles published by Meg, Chalk, and Maven magazines.

Meg Magazine (by Mega Publishing Group) November 2010 Issue
Click HERE to read complete article.

Meg Magazine (by Mega Publishing Group) November 2010 issue, Chalk Magazine (by ABS-CBN Publishing) July 2011 issue, and Maven Magazine (also by ABS-CBN Publishing) July-August 2011 issue, all have something in common: an article about the RH Bill that urges you (the reader) to “know the facts about the Reproductive Health Bill” (Meg), “make an informed choice” (Chalk), and to “rethink your stand” (Maven), based on the information they presented—information that favored only one side.
Meg Magazines’s “Basic Right” article by Monica Guerra, labeled some statements about the RH Bill as fallacies, such as “the bill is anti-life,” “the bill legalizes abortion,” “the bill will prohibit pregnancy and will promote contraceptive mentality,” “sexuality education will give birth to a culture of promiscuity.” She claimed that these were not true and countered them with these answers: “It [the RH Bill] is actually pro-life,” “the bill still believes that abortion is a crime,” “contraceptives are used to prevent unwanted pregnancies,” and “education of sexuality will empower the youth to make wise decisions.”

Chalk Magazine (by ABS-CBN Publishing) July 2011 Issue

Darwin Chiong, who wrote the article, “Understanding the RH Bill” for Chalk Magazine, had the same claims as Guerra’s, only he added that the RH Bill prioritizes the poor by granting them “universal access” to reproductive health services, which include contraceptives.

Maven Magazine (also by ABS-CBN Publishing) July-August 2011 Issue

Lastly, Elizabeth Angsioco, a known proponent of the RH Bill, compiled statistics that were supposed to make readers “rethink [their] stand.” Obviously, she was addressing only us, pro-life (anti-RH) readers, in particular. I don’t think she would want the pro-RH to still rethink their views.
And I thought these journalists took an oath to tell only the truth and to present issues without bias. Looks like they failed at both. As if publishing unquestionably prejudiced articles in their magazines weren’t enough, one even got a die-hard pro-RH personality to fill an entire page. Survey results that show more and more Filipinos oppose the RH Bill must have gotten their knees shaking. One publishing company (ABS-CBN Publishing), two different magazines (Chalk and Maven) of the same month issue (July 2011), and one extreme RH supporter as author… hmm, sounds desperate to me.
Filipinos are wiser now; thank God we no longer believe everything we see on TV or hear on the radio or read from glossy magazines! Also, thank God there are individuals and groups who know the truth and do not keep it to themselves. The RH Bill is TRULY anti-life, as hormonal contraceptives may prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum (a new life!) into the mother’s uterus, hence depriving the embryo of the right environment to survive—clearly, an early abortion. (Read: Embryology Books Ask: Philippine Medical Association) And they say the RH Bill recognizes that abortion is illegal? Also, studies have already proven that wherever condom use is prevalent, there the higher rates of HIV/AIDS are. (Ask: Edward Green, Harvard AIDS expert; Read: Thailand) Promotion of contraception does not prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortions. 54% of those who aborted their babies were using contraceptives. (Ask: Guttmacher Institute and George Akerlof) Contraceptives fail and abortion is used as the back-up method. (Read: China) The RH Bill does not empower women; they kill our women with breast cancer, cervical cancer, venous thrombosis, and generalized infection. Zero maternal mortality is possible without contraceptives in the recipe. (Read: Gattaran, Cagayan; Ara-asan, Surigao del Sur; Isalan, Sultan Kudarat) “11 women die of childbirth everyday,” they say, while 75 Filipinos die of tuberculosis everyday, 216 Filipinos die of heart disease everyday, 2.9 million Filipinos are unemployed by April 2011, 3 million Filipino FAMILIES experienced hunger in the last three months (mostly from scarcely populated Visayas and Mindanao regions)— even a first-grader can tell which is urgent. Angsioco said 23% of the youth has engaged in premarital sex—hence the need for an RH Bill? Go to the United States where they have an RH Law and see that premarital sex is already a culture there. And yes, they have mandatory sex education, too. Epic fail.
I just gave you tidbits of the real deal about the RH Bill. You’ll find other articles on the web that elaborate on these facts. If only we had the money, we could have also published these write-ups in popular magazines. Unfortunately, we don’t get funds from Obama and the European Union. So until our pro-life advocacy gets international funding, it looks like we’ll just have to continue to Facebook, Twitter, and Hail Mary our way to spreading the truth. ;-)


War of Religions?

Authored by Resty Odon. Reposting with permission.

War of religions?

Re: http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20110502-334122/A-war-of-religions

The above article caused me to issue a major groan. I think Jesuit priest and constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas went overboard this time by wrongly framing the RH Bill debate as a war of religions. We prolife and anti-RH Bill advocates are against which religion exactly? We oppose this bill not to impose our own faith on others and with conscientious respect for religions other than ours. We’ve been opposing this bill since the start careful not to use the religious angle, using the angle only to show how the bill will be onerous to us who want to simply practice our faith. What are you up to, Fr. Bernas?!? You’re unbelievable, to put it mildly.

As far as I can see, people have been opposing the bill from the standpoints of: common sense; the law/constitutionality and long-term legal implications; media coverage, mythmaking, and PR wars; basic human rights (including female/women’s rights and more specifically, religious freedom (and not the right to religious arrogation); medicine, especially embryology, obstetrics/gynecology, and pharmacology; sociology, including the family; economics; demographic science (statistics, mathematics); ecology/environmental science; linguistics; basic education; psychology including developmental psychology and human sexuality; taxation and public spending; accounting, public administration, local politics and the culture of corruption; the workplace; Third World studies, Western hegemony and the foreign funding trail; and racism, eugenics and social engineering.

Granting we use Catholic theology and religion to back up our arguments, like I’ve said before, remove this aspect, and we will still oppose the bill because it is fundamentally flawed on ALL THE ABOVE LEVELS. How?

1 – Common sense

People have been freely contracepting themselves since the ’60s. Contraceptive mentality is already deeply embedded in the culture that there is hardly a need to reindoctrinate. Notice the vulgar ads. Just visit any health center and hospital and see how doctors and nurses conduct their affairs. Existing laws and DOH regulations already have provisions for maternal health care, so why the redundancy?

2 – The law, constitutionality, and long-term legal implications

Some, or many, contraceptives are abortifacients, making these automatically illegal because abortion still means murder of the unborn according to our constitution. Other legal loopholes have been noticed by legal experts pertaining to freedom of religion, freedom of expression/censorship, freedom of choice (ironic, since RH supporters call themselves pro-choice), etc. Additionally, the term ‘reproductive right’ sounds too uncomfortable, possibly opening the floodgates to new invented rights in the future.

3 – Media coverage, mythmaking, and PR wars

Manipulative headlines, inaccurate and out-of-context quotes to embarass or shame prolife sources, biased journalists and columnists, the possible use of spurious ‘scientific’ findings, and the questionable silence on other aspects of the Bill all point to a politicking of truth that makes one wonder what’s in the agenda other than what we read at face value. All this makes the RH Bill all the more suspect.

4 – Basic human rights (including female/women’s rights and more specifically, religious freedom (and not religious arrogation)

The effrontery of the crafters of the Bill to even attempt to infringe on basic human rights, with nary a hue and cry from the usual suspects (the hypervigilant liberal and/or leftist camp): freedom of expression, freedom of religion, right to life of the unborn, right of families to determine size, right of parents to educate children on sexual matters, the right of the individual or any group not to use contraceptives at all if it is against their belief! By fighting for religious freedom, we are, in fact, protecting all other religions. Is this a war of religions?

5 – Medicine, especially embryology, obstetrics/gynecology, pharmacology

The Bill turns a blind eye on the fact that life begins at fertilization, and certain contraceptives can kill a human being, cause breast cancer, and pose other high health risks due to other serious side effects.

5.1 Healthcare

The Bill coerces hospitals, doctors, and nurses/medical caregivers into automatically providing ‘RH services’ even when it is against their will, that is why this Bill is called fascistic (and this is just one reason why).

6 – Sociology, including the family

Supporters cite the popularity of population control/family planning through contraceptive use through survey upon survey, as though right and wrong, and human rights and human wrongs, should be determined by popularity. They confuse democracy with basic law precepts.

Meanwhile, the family, the basic unit of society, has been attempted to be redefined in terms of size, as in China’s one-child policy.

7 – Economics

The Bill presupposes in an appallingly reductionist thinking that population is a burden that must be minimized or a problem that must be eliminated to maintain a wasteful, terribly inequitable status quo. Other glaring factors are not even considered: the mismanagement of the economy, high-level corruption, etc.

8 – Demographic science (statistics/mathematics) and geography

The Bill wrongly assumes that overpopulation is an established fact rather than more of a perception, as though people have never taken an airplane ride or climbed mountains. It turns a blind eye on the sure and certain and irreversible demographic winter that is to come blighting all nations that have adopted a zero population growth policy.

9 – Ecology/Environmental science

The Bill assumes man as a disrupter of ecological balance, without considering the difference between human population and man’s environmentally abusive/destructive practices. Rabid environmentalists never consider nature’s built-in capacity to restore balance, if there is indeed a dire need, through pandemics, apocalytic natural calamities, localized famines, world wars, and the like. They turn a blind eye on the fact that technological knowhow/advances enable global food production to more than exceed human consumption, and all forms of food shortages are staged to maintain or jack up prices.

Additionally, have they heard how condoms clog canals, and how pills released into the water systems turn certain fishes into hermaphrodites?

10 – Linguistics

Especially irsksome is the use of specious wording and phrasing by lobbyists and the Bill itself, not realizing that the Bill has been framed from questionable assumptions about population, human rights, and human sexuality. The sheer amount of creative euphemisms used in the debate would have been so ridiculously laughable if it were not too heartbreaking: pregnancy as disease; contraceptives as essential medicine; sex as a danger to be protected against with condom as protection; contraception as safe motherhood, family planning, responsible parenthood, sexual health, and now reproductive health right; conception as embryonic implantation; and so on. What’s next? Abortion as fetal reduction, euthanasia/assisted suicide as advanced directive, homosexuality as sexual preference or, worse, gender identity?

11 – Basic education

The Bill proposes secular sex education on children even in their tender nonsexual stage! If you have been a child or has ever had a child, this is simply unbelievable.

12 – Psychology and human sexuality

The Bill’s presuppositions on human sexuality and management is too secular and utilitarian, reducing sex to a dangerous recreation and men and women as objects of entertainment, instead of the intention of sex (as originally interpreted by various faiths) as a sacred, intimate act between a man and a woman in marriage. Alternately, the sexual act is reduced to its procreative and economically theatening nature, entirely divorced from its other more important context (the unitive aspect). The Bill will, in fact, legalize all these aberrant views of human sexuality.

Also, have pro-RH people heard of post-abortion survivor syndrome among both the surviving mother and the child? Is there a special provision for them? How about the effect on women’s self-esteem of their objectification on a massive, legalized scale?

13 – Taxation and public spending

The Bill appropriates tax money for projects whose philosophical core is offensive to Catholic teaching and Catholic followers who are also taxpayers. If pro-RH people and their foreign sponsors are really after combating poverty, why not use the funds instead on infrastructure modernization, technology transfers, personnel training, job creation, etc.?

If all these people are really against poverty, then where are they on issues that may yet be the real causes of poverty (which ironically may be the cause of ‘overpopulation,’ which is really overcrowding in city and town centers)? Where, oh, where are their vociferous opposition and vehement manifestos (and tweets and posts) on patronage politics, culture of impunity, culture of corruption, monopolies or cartels and other unacceptable business practices, social inequity and inequitable legislations, vastly landed oligarchy, debt condonation, unfair labor laws and employment practices? Where are they in the fight against homelessness, street children, the grinding subhuman poverty among urban dwellers, other marginalized sectors of society, where? — apart from their effort at intensive condom distribution, that is?

(And where am I?, I might be asked. Well, I’m the middle of it, suffering in pain.)

14 – The workplace

The Bill requires all employers to provide ‘RH services’ to all employees regardless of the employer’s or employee’s choice. Again, fascistic, onerous, oppressive.

15 – Third World studies, Western hegemony and foreign funding trail

Supporters of the Bill refuse to see how this Bill, through subtle pressure from outside, is really a precondition for foreign aid — in aid of population control, that is.

16 – Accounting, public administration, local politics and the culture of corruption

Is there a system in place to see whether every centavo spent is spent in really advancing the supposedly good aims of the Bill? Supporters of the Bill can’t see how foreign aid could be another chance to line political pockets at the expense of the poor. Exhibit A: Maguindanao and the Ampatuans.

17 – Racism, eugenics and social engineering

Supporters of the Bill turn a blind eye on the implicit message of foreign funders who make no secret of their aim to reduce colored ‘races,’ to stop them from further burgeoning and threatening to be their competitors for the world’s finite resources. Isn’t the RH Bill based too much on fear?

Lastly, Fr. Bernas, in case you still insist despite all of the above that Catholics are indeed imposing their own religion, then what do you call the RH Bill, but an imposition of another religion, atheistic secularism?

See Willy Jose’s objections:


See also Meg Francisco’s objections to the most recent version from a legal point of view: