Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sotto says fight vs RH bill very personal

source: philstar.com

Manila, Philippines - Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III admitted yesterday that his fight against the proposed Reproductive Health (RH) bill is “very personal to him and is his mission from God.”

Sotto, who has long carried a “macho” image in the Senate, broke down in tears after he delivered the first part of his speech against the RH bill during the so-called turno en contra for the measure.

Last week, Sotto said that he would reveal the significance of Aug. 13 to him and to his fight against the RH bill.

It turned out that exactly 37 years ago yesterday, Vincent Paul, the only son of Sotto, died five months after he was born in 1975.

He noted that the public knew of only four children that he and his wife, actress Helen Gamboa, sired since they got married in 1971.

He recalled that soon after Gamboa gave birth to their eldest daughter Romina in 1973, she was advised by her doctors to take contraceptives so as not to disrupt her schedule in doing movies.

However, the contraceptives did not work and Gamboa became pregnant with their first son.

According to Sotto, the weak heart of his son led to the need for regular blood transfusions, which went on until his death five months later.

Sotto said that his son never left the hospital during the entire five months of his life and he made it a point to visit him every day.

He noted that two of his colleagues, Senators Manuel Lapid and Pia Cayetano, both lost children just like he did.

During his interpellation on the RH bill, Lapid said his wife also used contraceptives but still got pregnant.

Lapid said that his baby was born with a heart defect and that he was convinced the use of contraceptives by his wife led to that condition.

He lost his child nine years later.

In the case of Cayetano, she lost her son Gabriel nine months after he was born due to a rare congenital condition.

“It is sad to hear this from them but the truth is, I even envy them because they got to hold their children,” Sotto said.

“I was not able to hold my son in those five months. I got to hold him when he was dead already,” he added.

Sotto said that he was convinced the use of contraceptives by his wife led to the death of his only son and that is why his campaign against the RH bill is very personal to him.

“At that time I asked God why this happened to me. I badly wanted a son, why did you take him away from me? Thirty-seven years later, the Lord gave me his answer, it is my mission to stop this bill (from being approved),” Sotto said.

He ended up sobbing after his speech and was comforted by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ramon Revilla.

Cayetano, one of the principal authors and sponsors of the RH bill, was also seen talking to Sotto while the session was suspended.

Sotto and Cayetano have been at odds over the RH bill, with the latter accusing him on a number of occasions of delaying the progress of the measure.

In fact, before Sotto started his presentation, he engaged Cayetano and her co-sponsor Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in a minor exchange on the procedure for the start of the turno en contra and stated clearly that they should not worry about his presentation being a source of delay again.

He cited several international and local studies, which showed that life begins at fertilization and as such the use of anything that prevents the fertilized ovum from being implanted in the uterus is already considered abortive.

He said many of the contraceptives are even harmful to those who use them because of a number of side effects and even carcinogenic properties.

For the pill, Sotto cited the following listed major adverse effects: breast cancer, cervical cancer, liver cancer, premature hypertension and coronary artery disease resulting in heart attacks and strokes, thromboembolism/pulmonary embolism.

Other adverse effects are decreased libido, infertility, leg cramps, gallstone formation, nausea and bloatedness.

In the case of IUDs, he said that side effects include cramps, bleeding between periods, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and tear or hole in the uterus.

“Given all these harmful effects to women, are we going to allow our government to spend billions of money to purchase condoms, pills and IUDs for the sake of what they call reproductive health?” Sotto said.

“This is not the solution to their claim that 11 mothers die every day, if it is true that 11 mothers die every day. If the RH bill is approved, most likely more than 11 mothers will die every day. And I thought the RH bill is for our women,” he added.

source: philstar.com

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