The search intensifies
In various parts of the country pro-life and pro-family groups are desperately looking for the right candidates to support. These are mostly Catholic groups looking for candidates who are outstanding in virtue, who have defended Catholic values in the past, and will continue to defend them in the future. It is a formidable task. Whether or not a clean, honest, and credible election is still attainable, this is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Were the legendary Diogenes, with his lighted lamp, to be assigned the task, he might have to cover the whole span of the earth to find some worthy candidates.
Ours is a predominantly Catholic country, but we do not have a Catholic vote. As the candidates are mostly Catholic (or at least nominally so), none of them are ever subjected to a “Catholic test.” Nobody is ever asked, “Are you, Mr. or Madame Candidate, Catholic enough?” The Church normally issues guidelines to the faithful on how to exercise their right to vote; but she respects everyone’s responsibility and freedom to choose, and does not oblige anyone to vote for or against any specific candidate. This is where the Iglesia ni Cristo enjoys a political edge.
Particular individuals or groups may campaign for or against certain candidates, based on the latter’s moral fitness for public office, but they do so on their own responsibility as laymen, rather than in the name of the Church. This is what pro-life and pro-family groups are trying to do in this campaign. But they have to contend with numerous difficulties.
First of all, as one pro-life and pro-family national campaigner has pointed out, none of the candidates and political parties seem eager to put the human life, family and related issues for debate. They did not figure in Cagayan de Oro and Cebu, and are not likely to figure in the third and last debate in Pangasinan on April 24.
Neither is any national candidate willing to risk the displeasure of the LGBT, pro-contraception, pro-abortion and pro-everything else lobby, which is bankrolled by foreign governments, multilateral institutions, private international foundations, like the Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation, and even by the national government itself.
My prolife experience
I was probably the last national candidate to win a Senate seat twice on a pro-life and pro-family agenda, but I had to fight tooth and nail for it. In 1992, I was nearly taken out of the winning slate. In the first couple of hours of the canvassing at La Salle Greenhills, I was among the first four in the winning slate. But suddenly the electricity went out, and when it returned, I was already No. 26—- two slots outside the 24-man winning slate.
Luckily a young computer friend intervened and arrested the erosion of my votes. At the end of the count, he lamented that he could not retrieve the votes I had already lost, but he consoled me by saying that he was able to save me three years. In that election, the first 12 senators won six years, the next 12, three. I landed No. 22, not bad on a P3 million budget.
The effects of Cairo
In 1995, there was a much more serious effort to junk me from the administration senatorial ticket. My pro-life and pro-family stand had gained me some notoriety at the 1994 Cairo international population conference and my friends in the Ramos administration wanted to punish me for it. But because of my support for Ramos’s legislative program on the floor of the Senate and at the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), and the support of countless pro-life and pro-family volunteers for my reelection bid, I survived the foreign-funded and foreign-directed onslaught. But everything changed after that.
In the 2010 presidential election, the Reproductive Health bill became a major contentious issue. Pro-life and pro-family campaigners wanted to make sure the next President would not push for the bill’s passage. So they approached all the presidential candidates, including then-Senator B. S. Aquino 3rd. He had suddenly become the Liberal Party candidate after his mother, the former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, died from natural causes, and Sen. Mar Roxas agreed to run for Vice President, instead of pursuing his long-declared presidential bid.
A barefaced lie
Aquino was a co-author of the RH bill in the Senate. But in his conversation with the pro-life and pro-family group, he said his name had simply been added to the list of co-authors, without his knowledge or consent. Coming from a sitting senator and addressed to a group of thinking adults, this was complete garbage. As a former Senate Majority Leader to five Senate presidents, I can say with authority that nothing like this could ever happen, even during the worst days of the Senate. But Aquino apparently expected the group, mostly women, to believe it.
They didn’t. And they were proved right when, in the first automated national election where the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) voting machine was illegally divested of all its security features and accuracy mechanisms, Aquino became the president. His first highly divisive act was to announce his unqualified support for the RH bill while visiting the United States, after receiving a $454 million-grant from President Obama’s Millennium Challenge Fund.
Meant to divide
Certain acts of government end up dividing the nation, but no President, even the most wicked, ever pushes anything to produce such division. The RH bill was unprecedented in that respect; it was clearly meant to see whether the Filipino Catholic majority would bow to Aquino’s diktat at the expense of a vital teaching of their Faith, and a clear provision of the Constitution, which makes the State the primary protector of the life of the mother and the unborn from conception, and of conception itself.
Naturally, the bill was widely and vigorously opposed. The Catholic laity, religious and clergy joined hands in lobbying Congress and holding public rallies, but the Aquino government and its foreign collaborators used everything to manipulate the debate and corrupt the process by bribing and coercing the members of Congress.
Buying the Congress
Bogus surveys and doctored press reports drowned the opposition to the bill, and on its second reading in the House of Representatives on Dec. 13, 2012, Malacañang mobilized its full financial and political resources to clinch the vote.
Aquino sent four of his top aides—-then DILG Secretary and now LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas, Budget Secretary and author of the constitutionally outlawed P150-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) Florencio “Butch” Abad, and presidential spokesmen Edwin Lacierda and Ricky Carandang—-to “work on” the congressmen until the wee hours of the morning of Dec. 14 when they finally defeated the opposition, 113 to 104 and three abstentions. Three days later on third reading, this vote swelled to 133 in favor, 79 opposed, and seven abstentions.
The Court weighs in
On April 8, 2014, the anti-life scandal became jurisprudence when the Supreme Court unanimously declared the RH Law “not unconstitutional” after striking down eight completely appalling provisions, while upholding the assailed “right” of the State to prescribe contraception to married couples, in defiance of the constitutional provision which makes the State the protector of the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.
As one of the petitioners against the RH law, we maintain that the SC ruling was a gross error; the ponencia written by Justice Jose Mendoza describes the law as a “population control measure” but sees nothing wrong in it, even though the Constitution totally abhors population control. The greater tragedy though is that not a few who fought the RH law before the Supreme Court and in the public square seem to believe they had won this particular battle.
The moral issues
It is of utmost importance that if we expect the May 9 elections to push through and come up with a new set of leaders, we should have some clear idea of where the candidates stand on human life, family, marriage and other major issues. Human society is being reshaped through judicial and parliamentary actions, outside of the Constitution and the rule of law, and even without the voters’ consent.
The voters have a right to know where the candidates stand on these issues before they enter into public office. Their past record must be reviewed, and their stand on current and future issues thoroughly vetted.
Human life, family and other issues
On what side did they stand on the RH issue? Where do they stand now on the issue of divorce, universal contraception, abortion, multi-genderization of the human species, same-sex “marriage”?
Where do they stand on Aquino’s bribery of Congress to impeach and remove Renato Corona, a sitting Chief Justice?
Where do they stand on Aquino’s usurpation of the Congress power of the purse and his illegal transfer of P150 billion or so from the General Appropriations Act into the DAP, and on the Ombudsman’s failure to prosecute those who are criminally liable for the manipulation and misuse of those funds?
Where do they stand on Aquino’s unilateral decision to strip the Senate of its constitutional right and duty to participate in the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States, and on the Supreme Court decision upholding the “constitutionality” of this patently unconstitutional position of the President? The merit or lack of merit of having an EDCA with the US, which many Filipino appear eager to support, is not the issue here; the issue is simply whether Aquino now stands above the Constitution and can vaporize the authority that irrevocably belongs to the Senate.
Money laundering and casinos
Where do they stand on the $81-million money laundering scandal that may have exposed some Philippine banks and casinos as money laundering channels for transnational thugs? Would they be willing to pursue raw reports that some of the highest Aquino officials are engaged in money laundering through business cronies who own banks, casinos and private planes which they use to transport physical assets in the guise of regular business?
Where do they stand on the phenomenal growth of casinos all over the country, from the time of Mrs. Cory Aquino to that of her son B. S. Aquino 3rd, while not a single industry has flourished? Can they confirm reports that the casinos are among the biggest contributors to the candidates, and that one Macau operator has recently forked in $50 million out of a promised $150-million donation to a “popular” candidate?
Where do they stand on all the bogus surveys, and the apparent effort of the Comelec-Smartmatic (and now Brazilian) partnership to deny the voters a clean, honest, transparent and credible election, through electronic rigging and manipulation of the Vote Counting Machine, and the transmission system?
Where do they stand on the patently unconstitutional ruling of a questionable majority of the Supreme Court stripping the Comelec of its constitutional authority to pass upon the lack of qualifications of a former American citizen of no known parentage who wants to run for President, while allowing it to declare some 130 constitutionally qualified Filipinos as “nuisance” candidates, and declaring the former American citizen of no known parentage as a natural-born Filipino citizen by statistical probability and disputable presumption, qualified to run for President?
Where do they stand on the present situation of our Supreme Court and the present state of our Constitution?
These are but some of the gravest constitutional and moral issues which our candidates should answer not only to any particular group but to the entire nation.