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Cebu priest: Real issue in video is gay sex

By Margaux Ortiz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:48:00 04/24/2008

Filed Under: Rectal surgery video, Gender Issues, Medical staff, Health treatment

MANILA, Philippines?For an official of the Roman Catholic Church, the commission of a homosexual act is the real issue behind the rectal surgery in Cebu City that exploded into a scandal on YouTube.

Msgr. Achilles Dakay, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Wednesday said the doctors and nurses who had made fun of an anesthetized male patient in the operation room of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and uploaded a video of the surgery on YouTube should not be blamed solely for the scandal.

?We are asking everyone not to forget or to bypass the main issue: The wrong act of a guy with another man,? Dakay said in an interview over the Church-run Radio Veritas. ?People are not talking about what happened before the operation?the homosexual act that was done very badly.?

But gay rights activist Danton Remoto of Ang Ladlad said the point of the issue was not the homosexual act but the unprofessional behavior of the doctors and nurses involved.

?The Catholic Church has the right to affirm its stand on homosexuality, but we will not necessarily listen to it or follow it,? he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) on the phone.

Remoto, a literature professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, said the patient was a minimum-wage earner who worked at a small flower shop and who was the subject of both sexual and social discrimination.

?If he is not gay and poor at the same time, then those doctors and nurses would not have done that ghastly thing they did,? he said.

?Very shameful?

Ang Ladlad is a group representing gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people that was refused registration as a party-list group for the May 2007 elections.

Dakay said everyone should be reminded of ?the wrong act that the guy did to the homosexual.?

?We should be ashamed. It?s not just scandalous, it?s very shameful,? he said.

When asked by radio hosts Ariel Ayala and Chona Yu of the purported degradation of values in Cebu, Dakay said homosexual acts were prevalent in the city.

?We feel sorry for what is happening here and maybe we could partly be blamed for it,? he said, adding:

?They are blaming the doctors for what they [did], but I think they should blame the guy for what [he and his partner] did.?

Dakay also said there should be a delineation between homosexuality as an orientation and homosexuality as an act.

?We should sympathize with them because they were born that way and made that way, but if they did what is prohibited, then that is another thing,? he stressed.

Breaches in protocol

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday identified five of the estimated 15 members of the surgery team that conducted the extraction of a perfume canister from the patient?s rectum.

They were head surgeon Dr. Philip Leo Arias, assistant surgeons Dr. Angelo Linawagan and Dr. Max Joseph Montecillo, nursing attendant Rosemarie Villareal and circulating nurse Carmina Sapio, who could face administrative charges ranging from simple neglect to grave misconduct.

Duque also listed the breaches in protocol in the incident:
? The use of cellular phones in the operating room.
? The use of a video camera without the patient?s consent and not for educational purposes.
? The ?shameful? behavior of the doctors and nurses involved in the surgery.

According to Duque, the five medical personnel were still on duty at the VSMMC, although they have been transferred to different stations in the absence of preventive sanctions against them.



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