ORMOC CITY – Garbed in a simple but classy high-collared dress with big red rose prints, Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez of the 4th district of Leyte, together with husband Richard Gomez, were loudly applauded during the Mass on Christmas Eve at the St. Peter and Paul Church here.
Parish Priest Fr. Gilbert Urbina said that no less than Palo Archbishop John Du gave him instructions to publicly acknowledge on the pulpit Lucy’s “standing up to the faith” in consistently voting “no” to the controversial Reproductive Health Bill from its 2nd reading to the 3rd reading. Fr. Urbina made the announcement twice, the first before saying his sermon and the second, before the mass ended.
It was also learned that the same announcements were being made in all the churches of Ormoc City and the 4th district of Leyte.
Ormoc Mayor Eric Codilla, who is challenging Lucy for Congress come May 2013, was also in the same mass, just across the pew where Richard and Rep. Lucy Gomez were seated with their families.
The mayor was observed to have also softly clapped his hands, but his known attack dogs in their Facebook accounts immediately criticized Lucy’s “No” vote as “disloyalty” to Pres. Benigno Aquino III and the Liberal Party.
The President certified the bill as “urgent” and usually, when a bill is tagged as such, party mates are expected to toe the line.
However, Cong. Lucy Torres-Gomez stood her ground, and did not flip-flop even if around 20 others party mates voted yes. The Church considered Lucy’s consistent “no” vote as an “act of courage”, including all the other solons who defied the President.
The posts, however, were deleted after it was noted that the propaganda even offended Codilla supporters who were anti-RH and “saradong Katoliko”.
An insider said Lucy’s opposition realized they have again put their foot in their mouth on the issue, in their eagerness to please their paymaster.
It has been noted that Codilla’s attack dogs paid to “bite” Lucy and known supporters at every turn have been fumbling recently, to the point of defending known drug personalities in the city and why they’ve remained “untouchables”.
Rep. Cari explains “No” vote
In the same vein, Cong. Jose Carlos Cari of the 5th district of Leyte who is first cousin of RH advocate Rep. Janette Loreto-Garin of Iloilo, explained his “no” vote.
Cari also got the Catholic Church’s approval, and just like Lucy, the church is helping extol his “courageous” act in standing up for the faith.
Cari said that he apologized to the President for not toeing the party line, adding he explained to him that he had never believed in “population control”.
He said that even if the RH Bill, on its final version was already “watered down”, he still viewed it as a “population control measure”.
“We have so many things to do than control our population”, he said, adding that when a country adopts such a drastic measure “it is giving up on its people, on solving its problems”.
He said government should solve first the problem of delivering quality education, providing jobs, putting up needed infrastructure than controlling population because this would just follow when people are educated and have good jobs.
Even while he was mayor, said Cari, he never spent a single centavo of LGU money to fund artificial birth control methods. “But I also did not stop NGO’s from coming into Baybay and do their thing”, he added, saying he is for responsible parenthood and that whatever family planning ways his people adopts should be done with their own free will.
Ormoc City, on the other hand, has P 500,000 a year allocation for the purchase of artificial birth control pills and methods.
Contraception is Corruption!
On the other hand, Cong. Lucy Torres-Gomez said she wanted to share with constituents portions of the pastoral letter that the powerful Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued.
Titled “Contraception is Corruption!”, the pastoral letter congratulates the congressmen and women who voted NO to the RH Bill.
“You have voted courageously, despite all pressures, to stand up for what is right and true. The Church will remember you as the heroes of our nation, those who have said no to corruption and who care for the true welfare of the people, especially the poor. May you continue to be steadfast and not waiver in your stand against moral corruption,” Villegas said, writing on behalf of CBCP President Jose Palma, who is currently out of the country.”
“Gift-wrapped to look like maternal health care”, the letter said that “It will not be so. The poor can rise from their misery through more accessible education, better hospitals and lesser government corruption. Money for contraceptives can be better used for education and authentic health care,” said Fr. Soc Villegas, vice-president of the CBCP.
In his sermon during the Christmas Eve Mass, Fr. Gilbert Urbina reiterated that it is the Church’s stand that “life begins at conception, when the egg of a woman and the sperm of a man meets”. He said that RH advocates have refused to accept this definition of life by the Church that is why the likes of Cong. Lucy Torres-Gomez and Rep. Boying Cari voted “no”.