Married women have a right to safe, satisfying sex, say Miriam, Pia, Loren
MANILA, Philippines – Women senators on Monday chided Sen. Tito Sotto for moving to strike out the phrase "safe and satisfying sex" in the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
During the period of amendments, Sotto said he will no longer ask that the Senate remove the entire phrase but only the words "and satisfying."
“The reason why I wanted to remove the whole phrase originally is that I believe Reproductive Health in the context of a true Filipina does not pertain to safe and satisfying sex. When a true Filipina speaks of reproductive health, she means family, marriage, responsible parenthood, nurturing and rearing her children and the mother,” he said, causing a commotion in the Senate gallery.
Sotto said there are some phrases that are just not acceptable to Filipino culture.
“For the sake of the law, dahil mas magandang pakinggan at mas katanggap-tanggap sa ating mga kababayan, alisin na antin yung satisfying, Anyway it's subjective,” he said.
"It is the right of every woman to have a safe and satisfying sex life but do you have to place that in the law? Pweede namang sex life, o. Ang ganda ring pakinggan e," he added.
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, a co-sponsor of the RH bill, said the phrase is included in the final document of a United Nations conference and may be considered as ripened into international law.
She added: “I am a Filipina by birth and by training at the UP College of Law and by inclination. I am also a married woman and I insist that whoever is married to me should give me safe and satisfying sex.”
She drew laughter from the Senate gallery after saying that she is “seriously contemplating the passage of a bill that will make it punishable under the Penal Code for a husband to give unsatisfying sex to his wife.”
Sotto then replied: “Definitely, I will not be guilty of that, Mr. President.”
Sen. Pia Cayetano, one of the authors of the bill, said the phrase simply means that a woman “has the right to be intimate and enjoy her personal relations with her husband.”
“I have the right to safe and satisfying sex. I have consulted my colleague, Sen. Loren [Legarda], and she also feels the same way. We have three Filipinas in this hall that demand the right to safe and satisfying sex and all we are asking is that every Filipina in this country be honored with that right,” she said.
“We are not asking that it be defined. Ano ho yun? But we are acknowledging the fact that that is a right we have,” she added.
She also quoted her brother, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, when the phrase became a contentious issue in the previous debate.
“I am going to quote him - are we embarrassed na tayo ay nagse-sex? Are we embarrassed na tayo ay pwedeng ma-satisfy? It is not embarrassing. That is human nature,” she said.
Legarda admitted painful and forced sex can happen even between married persons.
“Karapatan ng asawa na ipagtanggol ang kanyang sarili kaya yan ang ibig sabihin ng katagang yun,” she said.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada ruled the proposal was out of order since the proposed amendment had already been rejected in the last debate.
Sotto then proposed that he be included in the bicameral committee that would consolidate the final versions of the RH bill if passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“Kung yung sin tax bill nadali natin sa bicam, e di pwede din nating madali ito,” he said.