RH Bill ‘debate’: When Tito Sotto says ‘jump’ Filipinos ask ‘How high?’

Whatever the content of Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s anti-Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill) speech broadcast via radio today was, the bottom line is quite simple: Tito Sotto is a celebrity. His impassioned speech delivered in Tagalog, the lingua franca of Philippine showbiz, will likely have resonated across the Filipino masses. Sure, he made debatable links between the death of his child with actress Helen Gamboa in 1973 and the birth control pills she was taking at the time. But a successful campaign on the basis of nebulous, flawed, or non sequitur notions or arguments is not unprecedented in the Philippines.

The current President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III who, in 2009, campaigned for and successfully won the presidency on a pedigree platform and not much else of substance is a testament to that reality that imprisons Philippine politics. The character of a country’s politicians merely reflect the character of its society — specially in a democracy, where politicians’ power is supposedly derived from that oft-bandied fuzzy notion of the “people’s will”.

So how does Sotto’s plea to the religious sensibilities of the Philippines’ Roman Catholic masses stack up against the more learned arguments of the country’s elite chattering classes? You be the judge…

Sotto believes that the RH Bill “transgresses Filipino Culture and Family”. As such the RH Bill, in Sotto’s mind is anti-Filipino. He had also experienced a personal tragedy after his son was diagnosed as having a weak heart at birth — a fatal condition which Sotto attributes to his wife’s use of contraceptives at the time of conception. On those bases, Sotto is convinced that (1) contraceptives are “not foolproof” and, when they fail, (2) result in the development of a weakened child.

Trained thinkers and scientists, of course, take for granted their ability to see the flaws in all of these notions. Trouble is, the majority of Filipino voters are none of the above. We are talking about a people who still to this day flock to cemeteries in enormous numbers to keep their buried loved ones company on an arbitrarily-set day every year. These are people who still believe bad things happen solely because of a wrathful deity’s “will” and good things happen solely because of said deity’s arbitrarily-bestowed “graces”. And these are people who still believe certain prayerful politicians arbitrarily anointed by their God are entitled to enjoy their votes.

So when Tito Sotto announces that he is on a mission from God to block the RH Bill because it represents everything that the good Roman Catholic should shun as “evil”, Filipinos will think twice — or at least their “representatives” will.

To be fair to the Roman Catholic Church, its position on the matter of birth control is quite clearly articulated in the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae of the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI

We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

Many of us probably recall, as teenagers, the very familiar admonition we get from our parents whenever we presume to do as we please as their dependents:

As long as you live under our roof, our word is the law.

Perhaps Filipinos should reflect on those words every time they step into a place of worship administered by the Roman Catholic Church to (and this, specially) receive its sacraments. Indeed, perhaps this RH Bill circus is all really about “choice” as many of its advocates say it is. Filipinos who opt to support the RH Bill do indeed have an even more fundamental and personal choice to make themselves.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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20 Comments on "RH Bill ‘debate’: When Tito Sotto says ‘jump’ Filipinos ask ‘How high?’"

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Amy Lee
Why, the “other side” (the govt, tupid!)also has the proclivity for grandstanding and doing the exact same thing Sen. Sotto did. Demagoguery is alive and well in the Philippines!!! Thanks to BS Aquino! And for those Pro-RH who twists things around and say that we Anti-Rh are claiming that we are classifying taking contraceptive pills as doing abortion, here’s my two-cents take on it: ‎”ABORTION by definition is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is… Read more »

pasimuno dyan si gloria eh, iba ka talaga dapat sa iyo weldingin yong bakal sa leeg mo.mga alipores mong obispo at de pamilyang pari hangang hanga sa drama mo. Dapat umpisahan na nating suportahan ang presidente sa pagpasa ng rh bill at pagpakulong sa mga buwaya


THIS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.You do not want to have a child? WEAR A CONDOM,problem solved/case closed.WHAT?YOU DO NOT WANT TO CATCH HIV VIRUS? WEAR A CONDOM.problem solved/case closed.
In this day and age it is ALMOST difficult to comprehend that there is a national debate on this matter.The only reason it is ALMOST difficult to comprehend is because it is being debated in the Philippines. That is what makes it ALMOST un-believable.


The major problem with the RH Bill is the budget to be used. It uses a taxpayer’s contribution for easy access contraceptives. It is like rewarding lazy people to have intercourse.

Instead of rewarding those people, why not try to use the budget for infrastructures, better salaries and benefits for low rank government employees, create jobs, schools and improve the economy. Creating jobs and equal opportunities are best ways for population control.


If the problem is unwanted pregnancy then there should be no law of this kind that could stimulate someone to commit abortion because chances are high that once it is put into law, there’s is a possible increase in cases of infant mortality because the law itself provides the reason for it to happen.

Hyden Toro

With or without the comedian Sotto’s speech. We are now multiplying like Rabbits. What is more sinful: to bring children into this world, that you cannot take care of their basic needs. Or, to prevent these children, from being born….because, for sure, you cannot take care of their needs…


Just thinking, when he said that he blames the contraceptive pills his wife took that’s why he’s son has a heart failure, is he pretty much sure that it is because of the pills? Or was it because he was taking drugs at that time? (as there were rumors of him taking drugs)


And one more thing, I am not saying that his wife lied to her. Contraceptive pills are supposedly taken daily, and if you just forgot a day of taking it, BANG! As a wife and a mother, thinking it was her fault that her son was born with a heart failure and the doctors saying that it was because of the pill, would she be honest or admit it was her fault? Everybody has their own little dark secret. Just saying.


When Tito Sotto says “jump”, the filipino people don’t say “how high”. They roll with laughter.


Just read in the news that the Senator used words in his speech from a blogger.

In short, plagiarism.


[…] multinational conglomerate headed by the modern-day Holy Roman Emperor, The Pope — is that it makes its terms of membership quite clear when it comes to human sexuality and procreation… Similarly excluded [from "lawful means of […]


[…] of the administrator of the premises and the officiator of the service. And the Catholic Church makes its terms of membership quite clear when it comes to human sexuality and […]