Why the hemming and hawing, Sen Legarda?
Dear Sen Legarda:
Since Pulse Asia’s latest survey shows that you are the solo first placer in the upcoming senatorial elections, I can’t understand why you are still hemming and hawing about the RH Bill.
Never mind that another unequivocal voice for the RH Bill might have made the difference. If there were a chance of your losing a single vote, you would hem and haw your way to kingdom come, wouldn’t you?
Just look at your track record and the advocacies you support: environment protection, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, protecting the rights of women and children (kuno); providing better opportunities for the poor (kuno); and protecting the welfare of Filipino workers.
What’s there not to like? It’s just like introducing a bill that says we should be exposed to early morning sun since it’s been proven it is good for us all. No political will is needed to pass these politically correct causes. Admittedly, there’s a certain security in not ruffling any feathers, but there is no heroism either.
If you were a movie, you would be a Disney-made one, with pretty liitle lambs with flowers in their wool, gamboling in the fields. Pia Cayetano and, I daresay, even the plagiarist Tito Sotto and the bully Juan Ponce Enrile would be Brillante-directed indie films.
Are you real?
When George W Bush was campaigning for his second term, a professor in Damascus asked his students who they preferred to be voted president in the then-coming elections. To his surprise, all his students chose Bush. Never mind that they perceived him as trying to annihilate them. What they saw in him was a clear commitment to whatever he believed. His god may have been different from theirs, but they sensed an unequivocal stand concerning his moral beliefs. And it was this fire in the belly that they respected.
You, however, are a totally different kettle of fish. Cool as a cucumber and hardly ever a hair out of place. In fact, I have witnessed you truly upset under only two circumstances: whenever you are accused of being a political butterfly; and when Ador Mawanay, a witness in a Senate hearing, claimed that you bought P9.9 million worth of smuggled Nokia phones from him.
And it makes me sad, you know, that the only times I have seen you expressing genuine emotion are when you feel your own well being is threatened. And no, crying on Sen Drilon’s shoulder during Pres Estrada’s impeachment trial doesn’t count…especially after expressing your regret for having contributed to Edsa 2.
Despite trying to come across as pro-woman every chance you get — not to mention as pro-poor, pro-OFW, pro-Indigenous people, pro-waste management and everything else that doesn’t rankle potential voters — you don’t seem that sincere.
You are, however, consistent and reverted true to form: Keep your cards close to your chest …but until when, Sen Legarda? When you know which way the wind is blowing before you fly either the anti- or pro- RH flag?
I can already picture what you might say in your defense: “I need to study the issues more.”
With the greatest of respect, Sen Legarda, how much longer do you really need to study whether the RH Bill will help us Filipinos? If you don’t get it now, you never will.
Magna Carta of Women and the RH Bill
And no, it isn’t like the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) at all. As a self-professed valedictorian from the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP --notwithstanding the NDCP’s not giving such citations -- you, of all people, should know that. Or is it that, like senators Koko Pimentel, Juan Ponce Enrile and Tito Sotto, the only other senators who questioned the duplication of the RH Bill (RHB) with the MCW, you too, are anti-RH but are merely too lily livered to show your true colors?
Surely you, as co author of the MCW, can see its difference from the RHB?
Let me name just 3, among many:
1. The MCW serves as a general guide to women's entitlements, while the RHB is a specific law responding to the specific and urgent needs of maternal mortality, unintended pregnancy and the population-poverty nexus. Thus, the purpose and scopes of the two laws are different even when they are perceived to intersect.
2. The coverage is also different. The MCW covers only women, girl children and girl infants; the RHB covers both women and men. Thus, while the MCW enumerates health services that should be provided to women across their life cycle, it does not include any services that should be provided to men. Kawawa naman sila, especially since, no matter how pro-women any of us claim to be, it is difficult to deny the man’s role when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth.
3. Furthermore, despite the services that the MCW enumerates, e.g. maternal health and family planning, the MCW does not specify what important measures must be taken to address the most urgent problems, e.g. maternal mortality, unintended pregnancy, and the poverty-population nexus. Only the RH Bill does that, through its provisions on the number of midwives, number of EmONC (Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care) facilities, maternal death review, mobile health facilities, pro bono RH services, PhilHealth support, etc. (Sources: Sen. Pia during Senate interpellations)
Another fact that boggles my mind is the following: How could you, a woman with only two children, despite all the fertility years of your two marriages, ever doubt the importance of the RH Bill?
No, I shall not question the health of your loins the same way I questioned Sen Sotto’s. After all, unlike Sen Sotto where hypocrisy seemed the only explanation for his vigorous attacks against the RH Bill, there are two plausible reasons.
One, maybe you actually did use the rhythm method. And against all odds, in your case, NFP or natural family planning actually worked. Should that indeed be the case, bow na talaga ako sa iyo…at least as far as your ability to succeed where so very few others have. No wonder you are unable to relate to so many of us. Oftentimes, when using only NFP, we still get pregnant. Notwithstanding its wry humor, many of us know only too well the heartache behind the well known Q & A:
QUESTION: What do you call people who use NFP?
A second reason could be that you were perhaps only able to make love to ex-Gov Leviste twice. And while this was way before he was found guilty of murder, many think even twice was two times too often.
So, that’s it then, is it, Sen Legarda? Political expediency above all? Aspiring for another term means you are no longer willing to voice an opinion on anything controversial despite the fact that it might help millions of people?
Or is the better question to ask: “If you are finally convinced that you won’t lose any votes, then will you make a stand?” I, personally, would prefer a pro-RH stand, but you know something, at this stage of the game, any honest stand would do. - Rappler.com