MARGIE HOLMES | An Open Letter to Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile - On Love And Lust And Leaps of Logic
By: Margarita Holmes
August 6, 2012 7:20 AM
Dear Senator Enrile:
I apologize in advance to you, and to anyone with the perceived notion that you did a great job at the Corona Impeachment trial and thus think me churlish for criticizing your statements concerning the Reproductive Health Bill. But this bill will be voted on on August 7 (unless you, Senator Sotto, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and her cronies manage once more to derail things) so time is of the essence.
Since the electorate chose you to represent our best interests, it is important to examine your statements to see if you are fulfilling our expectations.
1. In some recent interview, the media quotes you as saying: "Hinog na para botohan sa kanila, pero sa amin, hindi pa hinog. Hindi naman saging iyan na nahihinog o mangga na nahihinog na umaalingasaw (It may be ripe for them, but not for us. The bill is not like a banana or a mango, which emits a fragrance when it's undeniably ripe)."
Good, intelligent people live in squalor, partly because they have more children than they want. Is this not maaalingasaw enough for you, Mr. Senate President?
2. During the RH Debates on Sept 21, 2011, you said: "(The RH Bill), in promoting sex without fear of pregnancy, opens the country to sexual promiscuity… and it would remove the fear of pregnancy for married and unmarried women, which could lead to the prevalence of infidelity on the part of some married women…"
Are you seriously suggesting that it is fear of pregnancy that keeps married Filipinas, Mrs. Christina Enrile included, from a life of infidelity? Do the virtues of a Catholic education, the lessons of self-restraint and the endlessly mentioned "Filipino family values" count for nothing when such women gain access to a condom?
Should this truly be your fear, I hope you won't think me presumptuous if I recommend you to counselors who can, hopefully, show you how trust, fidelity and respect are rather more important for a meaningful relationship.
3. You also said, and I quote: "It (RH Bill) would remove the fear of pregnancy… which could lead to sexual unruliness of adolescent and teenage female children."
Do you seriously believe that it is only fear of pregnancy that keeps female Filipino adolescents, a group which included your daughter Katrina until a few years ago, from "sexual unruliness"? Did you not encourage the disciplining of her sexual desires or the necessity of (sometimes) delaying (sexual) gratification? Since your wife and you consider yourselves staunch Catholics, I presume teaching your daughter to respect her body as a "temple of the Holy Spirit" was a must. How could you think the mere availability of condoms would be enough for her to forget all you taught her - or for everybody else's children to forget what their parents taught them?
Some may accuse me to be sobra na, delving into your personal life. But what is your own refusal to allow us to have sex freely and, yes, joyfully, if not a disgraceful intrusion into our personal lives?
What about forbidding Filipinos to do all they can, not only to save the lives of their wives and daughters, but also to give themselves a life that is truly worth living with clean water, reasonable housing, good education etc?
How can we not take it personally when all it would take for you to help better our lives is to not obstruct the passage of a bill that can help us do so? I take it personally because you said you wanted me to be happy. Gusto niyo po happy ako? With all due respect, Senator Enrile, hindi ako happy pag nakikita ko na maraming gustong maghanapbuhay walang mapasukan at pag nababasa ko ang paghihirap ng mga OFW na sumusulat sa akin. It would be simplistic of me to blame all this on not having passed the RH Bill earlier, but giving people the right to choose how, and indeed if, they want to space and/or limit their families will surely help alleviate these conditions. I take it personally because, in the end, the political is personal and the personal political.
If you feel it is your right to keep people from practicing what they believe, then surely it is their right to question your arrogance and to query why they should vote for you or anybody you endorse come the next election. What is sauce for senators surely is also sauce for the rest of us.