Tag Archive | "Jo Imbong"

How to Kill As Many Unborn As Possible

The Reproductive Health Bill is now the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. While the measure has passed all legislative hurdles, the RH Law is now facing a predictable challenge in the Supreme Court. More predictably, the challenge comes from Catholic Church associates. While the intention behind the challenge is supposedly to protect the unborn, it is clear that if the goal of Catholics is to protect as many unborn children as possible, striking down the RH Law is just about the worst thing you can possibly do.

On the first working day of the year, January 2, James and Lovely-Ann Imbong filed a petition for the Supreme Court to nullify the recently passed bill. “In behalf” of their minor children, the Imbongs also name their two offspring as petitioners. As has been pointed out, the “Imbong” name should be very familiar because the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has Jo Imbong, mother of James, as its lawyer. Also, James Imbong is the first nominee of the CBCP-backed Ang Pro-Life Party-List, which claims to represent not the Church, but OFWs. Try to stop yourself from laughing; it gets better. The CBCP has come out to state that they are in no way involved with the petition against the RH Law. Melvin Castro of the CBCP said that their counsel’s relation to the petitioners was “purely incidental.”

Pro-Life Philippines: Abortion is okay sometimes

Reason and Science of Contraception

It is typical for conservative Catholics to equivocate the RH Law with abortion. On the contrary, the availability of contraception diminishes the number of abortions. The logic is simple: people who use contraception want to prevent pregnancy resulting from particular sexual encounters. They can choose to have children from later coital acts by stopping the use of contraceptives. By reducing the number of pregnancies of people who do not want to be pregnant, the number of unwanted pregnancies decreases. Since unwanted pregnancies are the targets of chemical and surgical abortion, less unwanted pregnancies means less induced abortions. After all, why would you willfully abort a wanted pregnancy? Consistent and proper use of contraceptives therefore ensures that a pregnancy that does occur is wanted and planned instead of unwanted and by chance.

But, let’s not rely on pure reason and let some empiricism enlighten us. A four-year study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis came out last year to show that when free contraceptives were provided to a community, abortions decreased. It should be noted that from their study, most women (75%) chose to have “long-acting” contraceptives such as IUDs instead of pills, which must be taken daily. They found that abortions in St. Louis, Missouri, where the study was conducted, dropped by 20%, while the rest of Missouri’s abortion rates remained steady.

This result, however, is not enough to show that opposition to the RH Law will result in more abortions.


Intelligently Designed Abortion

Abortion is an unavoidable fact of pregnancy. Spontaneous abortions are more politely called “miscarriages,” but the essence is the same for either spontaneous or induced abortion—pregnancy ends and a fertilized embryo fails to develop into a child. Catholics would argue that the embryo is already a person and intentionally inducing abortion is murder. Miscarriages, then, would be accidental death. It turns out, however, that as much as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. This estimate includes the great number of pregnancies that were never even noticed because the embryos were spontaneously aborted so early. That means, for any sexual act that successfully results in a fertilized embryo (which Catholics believe are people), 50% of all of these “people” will die. If the Christian God is anti-abortion, it’s hard to imagine greater hypocrisy.

The main mechanism of contraceptives is to prevent the meeting of sperm and egg altogether, meaning no embryo is formed. The opposition of the Church against condoms should have been a dead giveaway that their concern is sex and not unborn children. Chemical contraceptives, like the pill, prevent the meeting of sperm and egg through various means, such as by slowing down the transport of the egg from the ovaries to the uterus. But, even if a drug were specifically designed to prevent the implantation of a fertilized embryo (which is supposedly a person), its users would not rival the number of abortive events caused by well-meaning couples wanting to get pregnant. That’s not a strong enough statement. All the induced abortions performed in the world (over 470,000 in the Philippines according to 2000 data from the Guttmacher Institute), cannot even begin to compete with spontaneous abortions.

The Department of Health reported that there were 1,700,000 live births in 2000. If that is just 50% of all successful pregnancies, then that means there were also 1,700,000 embryos naturally aborted, or over three times the number of induced abortions in the same year. Therefore, if many pregnancies are prevented altogether through contraception, there will be less abortions. Thus, the Catholic plan of “openness” to pregnancy is tantamount to “openness” to spontaneous abortion. In contrast, a couple with no plans of ever conceiving risks no abortions. Comparatively, a couple that plans each pregnancy with contraceptives, and does not haphazardly sire dozens of kids, will not abort as many embryos as the well-meaning Catholic couple.


Accessories to Murder

If you want to avoid abortion altogether, the best way is not to have kids. If you want kids, you will risk having an abortion, whether or not you know about it. That is a fact we must accept as a nation. If you want to risk the least number of abortions, then you will need to plan your pregnancies and use contraception.

If you have as many kids as you want, you will abort just as many. It’s statistics. And if you want to kill as many unborn as possible, go a step further like the Imbongs and deny Filipinos the right to access to contraceptives.

The use of the Imbongs’ children in the petition, despite their being incapable to consent, is consistent with anti-RH values, since the Imbongs (and the Church) claim to represent children and the unborn in their crusade against reproductive rights. And in this crusade, they are not shy to employ the bloody imagery associated with the Catholic Church’s own medieval Crusades. About President Aquino’s signing of the RH Bill, Batangas Archbishop Ramon Arguelles compared him to the Connecticut shooter who killed 20 schoolchildren because the RH Law would supposedly kill millions. But, we can see from the scientific evidence that it is not contraception, and not even induced abortion, that will lead to the most aborted embryos—it is the Church’s anti-contraceptive dogma. If abortion is murder, the Imbongs are accessories, and the Catholic Church is the killer.

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The Cultural Heritage of the Catholic Church

The great art critics of the CBCP are at it again! After saving the Philippines from the scourge of penes in Mideo Cruz’ work and the Reproductive Health bill, the Catholic church is now crusading to preserve its own great cultural contribution to the Philippines: hypocrisy.

At a forum about Republic Act 10066, the National Cultural Heritage Act, the CBCP dared to invoke the separation of church and state in demanding that the church be given exemptions from the law.

When it comes to the RH bill, Attorney Jo Imbong pounds away at the wall separating church and state with the force of a wrecking ball. However, she so easily turns on a dime and brandishes that very same wall of separation in defense of the Roman Catholic church:

“While the Church unites with the state in the national policy to protect, preserve and promote the nation’s cultural heritage, the law should not prohibit and penalize necessary works on churches,” said Jo Imbong, a lawyer of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

That whole colonization of the Philippines thing that the Catholic church was a part of? Where they got into the country and abused the people while they spread the good word? Yeah, that little part of Philippine history explains why the Catholic church is in possession of many cultural artifacts of the country, from religious artworks to historical landmarks such as churches.

Also, slave boys

 The National Cultural Heritage Act protects cultural property such as those churches, “against exportation, modification or demolition”. While I can understand the CBCP’s desire for exemptions to allow them to modify those old buildings to “tend to their flock” as they call it, I find it so appallingly hypocritical that they would ask for the exemptions by invoking the separation of church and state. Church-State separation: a concept that the CBCP has made abundantly clear it doesn’t give a shit about when it comes to matters like the RH bill.

But wait! Jo Imbong and the CBCP aren’t just content with this one level of hypocrisy. They’re like the Inception of hypocrisy: they’ve got to go deeper. While invoking the separation of church and state, Jo Imbong argues that the National Cultural Heritage Act should be extended to respect the Catholic religion. Never mind that the constitution, the very document that enshrines the concept that they are using (abusing?) says, “No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion”, oh no no no. Screw the constitution, respect mah authoritah!

Respect My Authoritah, Boys!

 Prohibiting religious attacks

RA 10066 identifies cultural property as “all products of human activity by which a people and a nation reveal their identity, including churches, mosques, and other places of worship, schools and natural-history specimens and sites, whether public or privately owned, movable or immovable, and tangible or intangible.”

Because of the broad coverage of the law, many groups are suggesting limitations or explications on the proposed guidelines to govern its implementation.

Because of the furor recently over the Cultural Center of the Philippines, a state agency, mounting “Polytheism,” an installation work by Mideo Cruz showing the cross with an erect phallus and Catholic images dotted with condoms, Imbong said the CBCP had proposed to include among the prohibitions “any act that defiles, mocks, corrupts, debases or destroys the integrity of intangible cultural property or heritage.”

“Intangible cultural heritage” covers “oral traditions and expressions; the performing arts; social practices, rituals, and festivities; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and traditional craftsmanship.”

Acts of disrespect toward religious expressions, which are considered intangible cultural property, should be punishable, Imbong said.

“As a people, we have received a heritage of treasure in Church history, a heritage that gives us an identity,” Imbong explained.

So Jo Imbong reasons, keeping a straight face the whole time, that because the Church took part in colonizing the Philippines, it has established itself into the cultural heritage of the country and thus, deserves much respect. It deserves so much respect as a cultural artifact that this law must defend it against desecration! How dare you defile expressions of the established relig… excuse me, culture, with more cultural expression! There should be laws against that!

Mmm, delicious tasty hypocritical irony.

Let me be clear here: the CBCP wants to turn RA 10066, a law that protects our cultural heritage, into one that stops the further development of our culture. They wish to defile and twist the spirit of a law that has good intentions, the preservation of history, into a monster straight out of the dark ages: a blasphemy law thinly veiled to disguise its horrific effects on the freedom of expression.

Come to think of it though, perhaps I am wrong in my thesis. The CBCP aren’t just trying to preserve hypocrisy as their great cultural contribution to the Philippines. Maybe I should think bigger, as befitting the majesty of the church.

Perhaps the cultural heritage that the CBCP cherishes the most and wish to preserve is from the glories of the Church’s colonial past: the culture of the Filipino people, bowing subserviently and unthinkingly before the priests and bishops of the Catholic church.

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Republic of the Philistines

This article was written prior to the forum held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) regarding the controversy over Mideo Cruz’s artwork, which was conducted last August 5, 2011. 

For a reaction to the forum by CCP’s Visual Arts Officer-in-Charge Karen Ocampo Flores, click here.


I must admit to writing this out of anger and out of fear. Just this morning, two individuals walked into the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ gallery housing the exhibit Kulo and proceeded to do the following:

The culprit/s wrote in BALLPEN on portions of the artworks, a pedestal, and walls, “EMEDEO [sic] SUMPAIN KA! BAKLA!” And then on another (unfortunate) artist’s work that had the word “MOVE,” he or she wrote, “TO HELL.” The culprit/s also hacked off the wooden penises from the cross installation.

– Tony Perez, via Facebook

This is the very same exhibit which the CBCP and its ally Pro-life Philippines’ President Eric Manalang demanded the closure of. When the CCP organized an open forum to discuss the matter with him and the museum going public, he proceeded to threaten to file a lawsuit against them the day before the forum.

I am deeply angry at the barbarians who perpetrated this shameless act of vandalism against public artworks, and I am afraid at the lengths to which people like them are willing to go for their so-called loving faith. If the CBCP or its allies fail to do anything less than totally condemn this barbaric action, then it will confirm my worst fears about how little value they put not only on freedom of expression, but on basic respect for other people’s lives, livelihood and property.

UPDATE: Ah. Color my fears confirmed, then:

Atty. Jo Imbong on CCP vandalism: “Now we see how a disordered act like an exhibit like that can fuel other disorders. Evil leads to more evils in its wake.” Imbong is from a Catholic lay group filing charges against the CCP and the artist. – Jeff Canoy over twitter (continuation)

Despite every effort made at civil accomodation, the CBCP and Pro-life Philippines have shown through their actions that they do not want discourse or discussion; they only want their demands met and their dictates obeyed.

The CCP has made a call for ‘respect and sobriety’, the full text of which can be found here (Facebook link). For this I am thankful, as it reminds me that there are still even-tempered, well-intentioned individuals who are willing to take a step back and consider the consequences of their actions and who those actions might hurt. I am thankful that through all this, there are those that still understand the value and meaning of respect.

It’s because of people like these that I can believe we do not quite yet live in an actual Philistine Republic, though it seems increasingly apparent that that is exactly the sort of country that the CBCP and its allies wish us to become. For what else would their current strategy of promoting anti-intellectualism through throttling free expression be good for, if not to bring about a society where no one may think or dare to oppose them?

(Image taken from here)

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Atty. Jo Imbong on Imperialist, Non-Filipino RH Bill

Pre-colonial Filipino couple

The RH Bill did not come from Filipino legislators but from foreign organizations, Atty. Jo Imbong of the CBCP explained in English.

“It’s really introducing a different culture and replacing our own” — a culture which has been influenced by our Spanish, American, and Japanese colonizers — “with something else,” said Imbong.

“It is a cultural intrusion [in which] you supplant a beautiful thing with something that is alien,” said Imbong, possibly alluding to how our pre-Hispanic indigenous Malayo-Polynesian culture was supplanted with Spanish Catholicism.

Imbong and the CBCP oppose the RH Bill because it violates democratic rights — which originated in Greece — and religious freedom — which originated in Europe. They believe contraceptives are not a valid solution, let alone evil, consistent with the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which was promulgated by an Italian pope from Rome.

Instead of contraceptives, Imbong and the CBCP recommend natural family planning, a birth control method discovered and developed by individuals and institutions in the Netherlands, Japan, Austria, Australia, and the United States.

“It’s quite disturbing because our culture as it is,” said Imbong, “has very wholesome ideals, built on Christian values.” Christianity, a religion that began in Palestine, was influenced by Babylonian, Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese traditions, and was institutionalized as Roman Catholicism in Italy. It has evolved significantly thanks to theologians from all over the world, except the Philippines.

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