Sotto finds ally in Barbers vs pending passage of RH bill
MANILA, Philippines—Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III is not alone in his misery and pain over the possible passage of the Reproductive Health bill now pending before both Houses of Congress.
Nacionalista Party spokesperson Robert Ace Barbers on Tuesday said that he, too, had lost his supposed first-born, a son like the ill-fated child of Sotto after he and his wife made the wrongful choice to resort to birth control pills.
Barbers, former governor and congressman of Surigao del Norte, said he and his wife Badette lost “Robert Lance” after the frail infant struggled through “sudden infant death syndrome” for four months at the Manila Doctors’ Hospital in 1992.
“Those were painful four months for myself, my wife, and most specially for my father (former Sen. Robert Barbers),” he said.
The younger Barbers recounted how his usually stoic and bravado-filled father, a Surigao del Norte representative then, wept after he received news that Robert Lance died.
“You know Daddy. He was the macho-type. He wanted his first grandson to live. But after four months, Robert Lance couldn’t take it,” Ace said.
Ace recounted that he and his wife, both in their early 20s then, had engaged in birth control planning but were surprised to find out that Badette became pregnant with their first-born.
“But my son turned out to be weak. He couldn’t cope anymore after he was born and we eventually lost him four months after,” Barbers.
Lance would have been 20 now. Sotto said, in his privilege speech before the Senate Monday, his son whom they named Vincent James, would have been 37.
Thus, Barbers underscored that the failings of birth control are no more evident now as the RH Bill comes near to its passage. It has actually extended through generations. Sotto lost his son in the 70s while he lost his in the 90s.
“That’s why I dare question those who push for the passage of RH Bill: ‘Do you still need to have a long list of weak babies to just get your Bill passed? How about my Lance’s life?” Barbers asked.
Learning from that tragedy, Barbers and his wife were able to move on, producing four more sons, namely: King, Jack, Joker and Spade.
“I would have had Lance at the head of my First Five. But he’s not there anymore. I am proud of my sons but I cannot but look back at how Lance could have made our lives happier,” Barbers said.
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