Bishops call DOH Sec. Cabral "immoral" for distributing condoms "which do not reduce the spread of HIV-AIDS"
UPDATED (February 24, 10:25 a.m.)
Presidential candidate, Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro defended Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Esperanza Cabral from the criticisms of the Catholic bishops, reports GMA News.
In an interview on Mike Enriquez' DZBB show, Ikaw Na Ba?: The Presidential Interviews, Teodoro said that he does not agree with the bishops' call for Cabral's resignation. And even though he notably pulled his support from the Reproductive Health Bill, Teodoro still expressed his support for the DOH's program against HIV and AIDS, but repeated that the use of contraceptives should be a matter of personal and private choice.
"Secretary Cabral is one of the most persevering and transparent secretaries in the Cabinet… I am in favor of this program. It is up to Secretary Cabral to execute. When it comes to AIDS, we should be strict about physician-patient regulates. This has to remain private."
Teodoro also told Enriquez of his plans to keep Cabral in his cabinet if ever he wins the May elections. "She still has the choice on whether she would like to stay in DOH or she wants to go back to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, but I think DSWD is special to her."
As for the other possible members of his cabinet, the presidential aspirant declined to give names. "I do not want my hands to be tied on any decision that I will do in the future."
PUBLISHED (February 23, 1:40 p.m.)
Catholic Bishops are calling for the resignation of Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Esperanza Cabral, calling her "immoral" for her condom-distribution program, reports the Inquirer.
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, vice chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (CBCP-ECFL) expressed his disappointment in Cabral during a live interview with Radio Veritas. It was reported that on February 14, Valentine's Day, the DOH distributed free condoms as a part of their campaign to stop the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This, according to Archbishop Arguelles, is not only immoral, but a lie.
"Napaka-imoral para sa nanunungkulan sa gobyerno na paigtingin ang pamamahagi ng condom na alam naman natin na hindi totoong mababawasan o mapipigilan nito ang pagdami ng HIV-AIDS. Nakakatakot dahil moralidad ng lipunan lalo na ng mga kabataan ang nakataya rito. Sana po magbago na siya [Cabral] dahil ang isang paa niya ay na sa impyerno na. Baka marami pa ang madamay," quoted the Philippine Star.
["It's very immoral for someone in a government position to support the distribution of condoms which we know, do not really reduce or stop the spread of HIV-AIDS. It's scary because it's the morality of our society, especially of our youth, that is at stake. We only wish that Cabral would change because she already has one foot in hell. People might suffer the same fate."]
Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez supported Archbishop Arguelles' stand by saying that Cabral is not a good Catholic if she continues supporting the distribution of condoms and other prophylactics.
"[Cabral] does not respect the big number of Catholics in the country who oppose the distribution of condoms. Second, is she Catholic? I doubt that she is. Because if you are a Catholic and in the government, you should be living the teachings of the Church. But she is doing the opposite," quoted the Inquirer.
Bishop Gutierrez further stated that Cabral should not even wait for her term to end in June and vacate her position immediately.
Biblical Apostolate chairman and Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes repeated the sentiments of his fellow bishops, condemning the DOH program as immoral. "Dapat talaga mag-resign na kaagad siya. Napaka-imoral ng mga ganitong programa ng pamahalaan [Cabral should definitely resign right away. These kinds of government programs are very immoral]," quoted the Philippine Star.
Bishop Bastes said that instead of using contraceptives, Catholics should "follow the teachings of the Church and respect the sanctity of the human body," reports the Inquirer.