What Kind of “Rights” and “Choice” are You Talking About, Sen. Cayetano?

NOTE: This article was first posted on my old site on June 7, 2011. 

Sen. Pia Cayetano

I’ve said many times before that one of the evils of our current Constitution is the perverted, distorted concept of  ”rights”. Today, we continue to see and hear politicians who speak about our alleged rights to almost every social welfare to be provided by the government and financed by the country’s taxpayers, namely, the right to education, the right to affordable housing, the right to a subsidized LRT/MRT ride or transportation, the right to health care, the right to reproductive health care, right to full employment, among many others.

The fundamental question that our politicians and advocates of public services and welfare statism tend to evade is, Who will pay for all these services? Instead of giving a direct answer, these advocates of welfare statism resort to equivocation and say, “Well, it is the duty of our government to take care of the poor and of those who need help.”

At whose expense?

Their most common reply is, “no man is an island”– or- “everybody uses public transport and public road, anyway, so why not create your own individualist society if you don’t want to pay your taxes?” 

Actually, their answer is “somehow.”

Somehow, the government will find a way to finance all its public and social services.

Yes, “somehow” always means “somebody.” Somebody or some group of people would be sacrificed or immolated by the government so to serve the welfare and interests of some social beneficiaries.

Consider the so mediocre a sponsorship speech delivered by Sen. Pia Cayetano in Congress in support of the controversial Reproductive Health bill.

On the separation of Church and State and the freedom of religion.

Mr. President, we, as Senators have our own personal views and relationship with God. This is a part of who we are. Thus, I do not ask that we separate our moral values from our scrutiny of the bill. I simply ask that we remember that our religious views may be different from our neighbors and we cannot use our legislative seat to deprive a fellow Filipino of his legal and constitutional rights to exercise his religion, to make choices within the legal boundaries but based on his own religion and NOT ours.

Time and again, the position of the Church has been discussed as a basis for not supporting this bill, but as Senators, we are tasked to separate our religious beliefs when they interfere with matters that belong to the State. I simply ask that we recognize the right of every citizen to make choices regarding ones reproductive health based on one’s own conscience, moral and religious views.

Just because we are a predominantly Catholic country doesn’t mean we can impose Catholic dogma on every Filipino. That is the job of the clergy and they can do as they please in the Church and its activities with their flock. But, in the halls of Congress, the Constitution is clear, – – there must be a separation of Church and State. If for the sake of argument, 99.9% of Filipinos were Catholic and every single one expressed a certain view, I would still be standing here today to fight for the rights of that 1 Filipino who is entitled to choices based on his religion and not the religion of the majority … because that is the mandate of our Constitution — that we make laws respecting the freedom of religion of all without the Church interfering with matters that should be left with the State.

Following the same argument, if 99.9 % of the population belonged to a different religion, I would still stand up for that 1 Catholic to ensure that his rights were protected and that services and facilities were available to allow him to make choices based on his beliefs. Those are the principles of separation of Church and State and the freedom of religion.

Sen. Cayetano correctly argued that religion is a private matter, but it seems that she does not know and understand that the RH bill, which she strongly supports, is violative of every religionist’s or Catholic’s freedom of conscience and freedom to believe and practice his/her religion.

Under section Section 28 of the bill, any catholic doctor or religionist health care provider who has drawn attention to potentially embryocidal and abortifacent effects of devices and drugs may be accused of providing misinformation to his/her client or patient. Also, any health care provider who would refuse to facilitate or conduct procedures to which he objects for reasons of conscience and of religion may be accused of withholding RH information. Those who refuse, for reasons of conscience and of religion, to provide artificial reproduction to single parents or contraceptives to unmarried persons may also be penalized by the bill if ever it is enacted into law. Even if exemption is limited to a “refusal” for reasons provided in Section 28(3), namely, a person’s marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, or nature of work, no exemption is given for moral objections to morally contentious services and procedures.

Ironically, Sen. Pia Cayetano seeks to brandish herself as a champion of RH rights and of secularism yet she’s miserably unaware that she supports a bill that is violative of some people’s rights and freedom of conscience and of religion. Indeed, this welfarist Senator is neither an advocate of rights and freedom nor a supporter of secularism, as she supports the sacrifice of some group of individuals in order to serve the welfare of the bill’s intended beneficiaries.

This Senator  miserably talks about her alleged strong conviction to “stand up for that 1 Catholic to ensure that his rights were protected and that services and facilities were available to allow him to make choices based on his beliefs.” But it seems that she does not understand that the bill seeks to jail a Catholic or Protestant doctor or health care provider who would refuse to abide by some of the bill’s contentious provisions for reasons of conscience and of religion. Also, it seems that she does not properly understand the concept of “freedom of choice.”

To Sen. Pia Cayetano: Is freedom of choice legally deprived in this country? If not, why support the bill?

Last time I checked, everybody has the right and freedom to buy condoms at any convenience store in the metropolis or to consult with any physician or health care provider.

Last time I checked, everybody has the right and freedom in this country to practice family planning or use any kind of contraceptives.

So what kind of “choice” are you talking about, Sen. Cayetano? Did the past Congress or administrations pass a law that legally prohibits us from making choices, or a political measure that legally negates our rights?

I hope our lawmakers in Congress had the courage to define and identify what they call “right” and “choice.” I hope they had enough courage and sanity to admit that what they want is government-funded rights and choices. Since Rep. Edcel Lagman and Sen. Cayetano argue that RH is a right, they believe that it must be funded and provided by the government at the expense of our taxpayers, of health care providers, and of the economic future of this country.

So what if another lunatic lawmaker passed a bill that seeks to allegedly solve poverty by providing affordable housing  and other services to the poor and the underprivileged simply because this is guaranteed by the Constitution?

Well, why not make our government the provider of everything we need since this is also guaranteed by our semi-socialist Constitution under the most perverted and most distorted “general welfare” clause? Let’s see if this country can survive in just a few months without sacrificing the creators and producers of wealth.

In a previous blog I stated the following, “a right refers to freedom of action in a social context. It does not impose any form of obligation on others. A right to life does not mean that the government or someone is obliged to feed you or give you the basic necessities you need to survive. It simply means you have the right to work and to sustain your life without putting any form of burden on others. If you firmly believe that others are obliged to feed you, it means that those other are condemned to slave labor. The right to liberty does not mean you are entitled to destroy the property of others with impunity and then claim you have a right to do so. In a free society with objective laws, you would be sent to jail for violating other people’s rights. The right to property does not mean others are obliged to give you land or shelter you need; it means you are free to work and earn the fruits of your labor.”

Sad to say, Sen. Cayetano’s speech is littered with lots of contradictions. This confirms my claim that even our lawmakers have a so DISTORTED a concept of rights. They claim that RH is a right so they argue that the government must provide it to them by forcing employers to comply with the provisions of a legislation. Their failure to obey the law would perhaps send them to JAIL. So in other words, the RH bill regards employers or doctors as potential CRIMINALS. Why use force and coercion against them? You, as an employee, have the right to keep your salary and invest anywhere and in any way you can, so that when time comes that you contract a disease or when you get old you’d have something to use or to spend. And since RH is a right, Filipino doctors are legally obliged to obey it.

So what would happen to a Catholic doctor (like a friend of mine) who believes that some provisions of the bill are against her conscience and religion? Does that mean that by refusing to obey the provisions of the RH bill on account of freedom conscience and freedom of religion the government could penalize him? What would happen to him if he refused to rendered the required “pro bono” services required by the bill?

Sen Cayetano and her fellow pro-RH bill solons have to understand the proper concept of rights. Does a right impose any form of obligation on others?Does a right require government funding and positive intervention? Does it mean some entity (e.g., government or a company) or someone has to provide the things you need?

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