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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stupefying Hypocrisy

Grabbing the headlines lately - other than that snooze of an impeachment trial - is the tempest brewing over who is to be recognized as the rightful "heir" of Rep. Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo, who passed away in London a few days ago.

And brings forth the massive level of hypocrisy front and center.

The main characters: Aleli, the second wife of Arroyo, who married him after insisting he have a church annulment with the first wife, and both are in the process of annulment themselves when the untimely death happened; and Grace, the current partner of Arroyo.

(Photo courtesy of

Aleli's lawyer, known "celebrity" lawyer Lorna Kapunan (who represented James Yap and Hayden Kho, Jr. at different times) uses that worn out line people throw around to feel morally superior, but only given cursory acknowledgement where real-life actions are concerned - "what God has put together, let no man or woman put asunder."

Yet her very own client is undergoing the process of annulment herself - now moot with Arroyo's death - and insisted during their courtship days that Arroyo get both a civil and church annulment from his first wife, as a condition to get her acceptance to marry him.

Attorney, is it comedy hour? These revelations were given by you yourself. Using the vantage point of religion as your mantle of superiority is making me bowl over at whatever possessed you to even cite that admonition, seeing as to how your own client has been an active participant at least twice of the same thing your statement is admonishing against. Why the need to invoke some Biblical incantation, when clearly, everyone in this scandalous tale is of the fallen variety - at least by the standards of the religion you so assiduously cling to now, using its morality clauses as some kind of galvanizing weapon in order for you to induce shame in your client's opponent?

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As someone mentioned quite clearly to me, "Galit si No. 2 sa No. 3?"

It dawned on me - actually, again and again in our predominantly Catholic country - how unfazed we already are by the double standards we witness on a daily basis. It's come to a point where second wives who filed for annulment themselves see it their "right" to be called the "legal wife".

Yes, yes, I'm sure lawyers would love to pounce on me about how Aleli is legally within her rights to claim the title - one she got by inducing annulment in another marriage, lest we hide that under the rug so quickly - but seeing this sordid tale play out, hearing the impeachment trial over a couple of weeks, and recently catching a  rerun of Law Abiding Citizen starring Gerard Butler, is just driving home a most salient point - and an unwelcome one in a country like ours - that just because something is "legal" or "accepted by our religion" does not make it right or moral.

And so, it comes as no surprise that we have an abundance of  mind twisters (I had a different word in mind, self-editing in progress), from the land that cultivates hypocrisy proudly:

Anti-RH (Reproductive Health Bill) proponents practically screaming how "evil", "unlawful" and "sinful" it is because it promotes contraception - "clearly against God and our Constitution!" was how one post from cyberspace put it - but when they are reminded that natural family planning - the Catholic-approved birth control method - is also a form of contraception, with the end being the non-union of the egg and sperm, they twist themselves into monstrous pretzels just to rationalize their way out of it.

"It is open to the possibility of life!"
"There's no egg to fertilize, so it's technically not contraception!" (Which runs smack into one of their favorite religious stand-bys: every sex act is supposed to be procreative, and couples who engage in it without an egg to fertilize would be, to use their own religious standards, sinning.)
"The pope/priest said so, it's not contraception, and they are to be followed in medical matters."

And what about our opposition to divorce, on the hilarious grounds that "we are a Catholic country!!!", yet couples everywhere applying for annulments left and right, on the idiotic idea that "the marriage did not exist!" - despite the wedding gown, the expensive gifts received, the 3 children from this so-called non-existent marriage, and those darned lovely wedding photos - or accusing the other partner of being "unstable" or "incapacitated" despite having no basis in (medical) reality.

"It's Catholic-approved, so it stays!"
"Annulment is worlds apart from a divorce, it has no relation, they are completely different!"

Or telling gay people that they are "disordered" but still accepted by the predominant religion, as long as they do not "engage in acts of your sinful nature". That makes just about enough sense as telling a chef that he can proudly claim himself as one, yet barring him from ever cooking inside a kitchen ever made or ever holding any kind of utensil.

And when this stupendous level of hypocrisy is ever so slightly hinted at in the presence of overbearing religious zealots, they resort to the woe-is-me defense: "How dare you attack my religion!!! How dare you attack my constitutional right to choose my religion - and use that religion to enact secular laws that will legally compel even non-believers to comply with my freely chosen religion!!!"

Oh, look. A stack of plates. I have to go break them now.

You know, because everything's peachy.

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