MALAYBALAY CITY (18 May) – Sorsogon bishop Arturo Bastes said the Catholic Church does not intend to make Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao its poster boy in the campaign against the controversial Reproductive Health Bill. But the boxing champion’s audience with the bishops suggests that they wish to capitalize on Pacquiao’s popularity. His popularity as a boxer, however, is no guarantee that the anti-RH advocates would be able to turn the tide against the Bill.
For one, Pacquiao, as Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago implied in her reaction to the congressman’s anti-RH pronouncements, faces a credibility problem. Santiago twitted Pacquiao’s position vis-à-vis reports early this year that his wife, Jinkee, had admitted using pills.
The bishops’ newest pet lawmaker has sounded inconsistent in relation to Jinkee’s usage of contraceptives. In an earlier interview, he professed that he and his wife had resorted to abstinence in spacing their children. But when Jinkee’s usage of birth control pills resurfaced he casually retorted that she has stopped doing so but did not specifically say when. Jinkee said she was taking pills after giving birth to their fourth and youngest child.
Funny that Pacquiao, fresh from a lopsided victory against Sugar Shane Mosley, got his anti-RH Bill posturing knocked down (not out yet) by a blow that came from the same media that has followed his every move. What makes it sweeter to the pro-RH camp is that Jinkee’s own words in the past, preserved in the boundless vaults of cyberspace, dealt the knockout punch. Talk about winning battles without firing a single shot. Sun Tzu lives.
Lying down on the canvass laid by Jinkee, Pacquiao could only mutter: “Iyun na nga yung ibang tao gumagamit ng contraceptives, nagpi-pills, nagku-condom, kahit wala pang RH bill so bakit pa natin ipapasa ‘yan?” (That’s it others are using contraceptives, pills, condoms, even without the RH bill so why do we have to pass it?) He got up but could only punch the dark void before him. No opponent was in sight, only the image of Jinkee openly telling a columnist the birth control methods she used.
Moreover, this statement revealed Pacquiao’s myopic view of the RH Bill. Like his fellow anti-RH advocates he thinks the Bill is simply all about distributing condoms and pills. How can such mindset contribute to an intelligent debate on the proposed law?
The media too should not trivialize the RH issue by resorting to cheap gimmickry like dragging Mrs. Dionisia Pacquiao into the fray in a manner that tends to put her up to ridicule. As a citizen she may be entitled to express her own views on the issue and the media may be entitled to air such views too. What’s disgusting is the way the media particularly national television treats her, subtly exploiting her candidness to give the audience a good laugh.
Mother Dionisia has challenged Senator Santiago to a fistfight. She should issue the dare to reporters instead who show her no respect and let her son deal with his fellow lawmakers. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at [email protected])