BY PET MELLIZA/The Beekeeper
When we were consultant of one daily in W. Visayas (defunct now) in 1996, senators Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Tito Sotto III told us in one briefing they were “verifying the groundswell” of support for their tandem, with Gloria for president and Sotto vice president in the 1998 elections.
The supposed groundswell went pfffttt. Gloria settled for vice president, Sotto reelection after stories unflattering to them spread.
Gloria got linked with a big time gambling lord, Sotto with a drug lord for benefactors.
And, a misfortune to Filipinos, both won in 1998.
Sotto is now senator after heading the Dangerous Drugs Board 2008 – 2010. He made a name for himself last August 14 when he delivered a privileged speech in “turno en contra” opposing the RH Bill.
He appeared a new man, a contrite one even, and thus, fit to run for vice president in 2016 had not for the discovery that he shed only crocodile tears for his five month-old son whose death he blamed on Diane, the pill.
His delivery befitted his name as actor-senator: he exposed himself unfit for public office much less a seat in the Senate which demanded intellectual honesty as basic virtue.
The entire country watched him delivered a speech consisting of sentences and entire paragraphs lifted en toto from the blog of Sarah Pope who called herself “healthy home economist”.
The blog “Filipino freethinkers” in the article “Bad Father or Evil Politician: Did Sotto lie about his son’s death?” wonders why Sotto speaks out only now when he has all the opportunity and resources to pin down his son’s supposed killer the past 37 years.
His son died in 1975. Sotto in his August 14 speech identified the pill as “Diane” that turned out to have been introduced in the market in 1978, three years after his son’s death.
Filipinofreethinkers.org notes that Sotto was already a TV host in 1975, he became vice mayor of Quezon City in 1988, senator in 1992 and head of the Dangerous Drugs Board in 2008. He had all the opportunity and means to slap charges against the company that produced Diane, campaign against it in the market, or restrict access to it, which he did not.
“Eat Bulaga”, a top rated show that Sotto co-hosted, could have done much to vilify Diane out of the market.
Sarah Pope, author of the piece that Sotto plagiarized, was too embarrassed that she apologized that her article was used and twisted by Sotto to suit his anti-RH Bill stand. Pope was neither against the bill nor the pill.
Sotto is entitled to grieve for his son but not to disinform us on circumstances surrounding his misfortune just as one prelate named Socrates Villegas shouldn’t expect hallelujahs from us for his midnight conversion from spiritual adviser of a thieving clique to anti-corruption, human rights activist, even.
Socrates, favorite bishop of a woman named Gloria, wife of one Mike, held his peace while their clique robbed the nation blind both in cash and human rights, 2001 – 2010.
During the anti-RH Bill rally, Socrates rallied his crowd against corruption claiming that the RH Bill would promote government shenanigans because taxes were spent for contraceptives and condoms instead of medicines and food to feed the poor.
What Sotto and Socrates fail to mention is that other countries already enacted their respective RH Bills since 2000 when 193 member states and 23 organizations under the UN signed the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) to address 10 major problems foremost among them poverty, diseases, child survival and maternal deaths.
The country, writes the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynocological Society in its blog URLhttp://www.pogsinc.org/, ranks 48th in maternal mortality (mothers dying during pregnancy or 42 days after delivery), at 230 in every 100,000 live births.
In contrast, Thailands has 110 , Malaysia 62 and Singapore 14 as the UN says. The Philippine MDG hopes to bring that down to 55-60 by 2015.
The RH Bill, intended to empower women and giving them access to information and health care, with the goal of increasing child survival and reducing maternal deaths, still hangs in limbo, and with it, the target to bring down maternal death to 55-60 three years from now.
Pass the RH Bill now!