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Ex-Health Secretary Cabral dares Sotto to show son's death certificate
On the Senate floor on Monday, the anti-RH Sen. Tito Sotto made an emotional appeal to reject the Reproductive Health bill by invoking the 37-year-old memory of losing his infant son, Vincent Paul G. Sotto, who was born with a weak heart. Sotto blamed the death on the contraceptives that his wife, the actress Helen Gamboa, was using at the time.
However, Sotto made medical claims for which he offered little or no evidence, and cited only his painful personal experience.
GMA News Online asked the cardiologist (heart doctor) and former Health Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral to comment on Sotto's statements, which were broadcast nationwide. Cabral has also been an advocate of reproductive health.
"Since (Mrs. Sotto's obstetrician) Dr. Carmen Enverga Santos is dead, she cannot confirm or belie the allegation of Sen. Sotto that she said his son’s weak heart was caused by his wife’s having used contraceptives before her pregnancy," Cabral said in an email to GMA News. "However, an inspection of the hospital records and death certificate of Vincent Paul G. Sotto may help show the real cause of his death. I hope the good senator will make these public."
Sotto's key quotes from his extemporaneous speech are followed by Cabral's reactions below:
Sotto: My wife Helen and I, nawalan po kami ng anak dahil sa contraceptives... Wala sila [mga doktor] makita na dahilan kung bakit nagkaganun yung bata kundi dahil nagcocontraceptives yung asawa ko. Nabuntis pa rin kahit gumagamit ng contraceptives.
Cabral: Without meaning to belittle the anguish that Sen. Sotto felt and apparently still feels over the loss of his son, allow me to say that condoms, hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices etc., have not been shown by scientific methods to cause “weak hearts” in babies born following their mothers’ use of these contraceptives. Sen. Sotto seems to have fallen into the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because of this" – or... "My wife used contraceptives, then my son was born with a weak heart; therefore my son’s weak heart was caused by my wife’s use of contraceptives." Following that line of argument, if at the time of Vincent Paul’s conception, Sen. Sotto failed to brush his teeth, it could be argued that his son was born with a weak heart because he failed to brush his teeth before having sex with Mrs. Sotto.
Sotto: 'Yung anak ko, five months. Hindi ko nahipo. Hahawakan ko, patay na. Makati Medical Center can prove to the fact na wala silang makita na dahilan na nagka ganoon 'yung bata kung di dahil nagcocontraceptives 'yung asawa ko... That's why kaya binanggit ko kanina Mr. President hindi trabaho ito sa akin, personalan to. Sabi ng Makati Medical Center namatay ang dahilan paggamit ng misis ko ng contraceptives. Even her doctor admits to that fact.
Cabral: The obstetrician of Mrs. Helen Gamboa Sotto was Dr. Carmen Enverga Santos who has been dead for many years now. According to Sen. Sotto, his wife got pregnant while using contraceptives (it was not specified what contraceptive and whether she was using it correctly and under medical supervision); and that Dr. Enverga Santos and Makati Medical Center (who else aside from Dr. Enverga Santos in Makati Medical Center was not mentioned) attribute the weak heart of Vincent Paul to Mrs. Sotto’s use of contraceptives... Since Dr. Carmen Enverga Santos is dead, she cannot confirm or belie the allegation of Sen. Sotto that she said his son’s weak heart was caused by his wife’s having used contraceptives before her pregnancy . However, an inspection of the hospital records and death certificate of Vincent Paul G. Sotto may help show the real cause of his death. I hope the good senator will make these public. – HS, GMA News
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