Around 25 years ago, the homeowners association of a small subdivision called Sto. Nino Village in Banilad, Cebu would sponsor a mass every Sunday. This mass was held at the Village clubhouse, and was attended by most of the Catholic residents of the village, as calling on God had become more convenient. Several priests were invited to say mass, but the crowd had favorites even back then, as they have favorite American Idols today.

Monsignor Achilles DakayBack then the favorite priest was Achilles Dakay, then just Fr. Achilles Dakay and not yet Monsignor Achilles Dakay. Fr. Dakay was our favorite priest because his sermons always made the congregation laugh and think, and he seemed at the time a very likable person. First Sundays were reserved for Fr. Dakay, and I remember the mass goers felt a little disappointed when he could not make it to mass, and sending someone in his stead.

I stopped going to mass in 1985 (for reasons that shall be discussed elsewhere) and I left Cebu in 1999. I had not seen or heard of the Monsignor mainly because I had lost interest both in the Catholic Church and in the goings-on in Cebu City, which to me is now alien territory.

But seeing Monsignor Dakay on the news tonight, hearing him say that the medical scandal at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) is the fault of the victim and that the victim should accept some of the blame for what happened—I could not believe what I was watching and hearing. Monsignor Dakay’s popularity, or at least what I remember of it, stemmed from his open-mindedness and compassion. Or maybe I remember wrongly.

Dakay Statement

Danton Remoto of Ladlad has been quoted as saying that the Monsignor’s statement is expected because it only reflects the church’s stand on homosexuality.

The pains and travails that can happen in any person’s life seem to be magnified when the victim happens to be homosexual. This statement may be subjective, but in our hearts we know it to be true. But that is still not the issue in question in the case of the victim at the VSMMC. For me, the victim’s sexuality is incidental in this case.

Msgr. Achilles Dakay on GMA News

It is the behavior of the attending medical team that has been questioned and deemed highly irregular. The video showed not only the poor victim’s state, but also the attitude and the state of mind of some of the members of the medical team. A few doctors have been quoted as being of the opinion that only the person who uploaded the video should take the full brunt of whatever sanctions are to be imposed.

What the bright doctors and nurses at the Cebu hospital did was a violation of the patient-doctor confidentiality that is part of the Code of Ethics of a medical practitioner.

What rubs salt on the patient’s injury was the fact that the doctors and nurses were shown laughing – with the glee reserved only for the insanely happy – while the patient was sedated, helpless, and tied to the bedposts like a pig.

Why was the victim not made to read the papers he signed? Why was there a horde of kibitzers inside the operating room? Was a medical operation really going on, or were they watching a specimen under the merciless lens of a microscope, or an animal in a zoo?

Danton Remoto, The Doctors are Sick

So when Monsignor Dacay viewed the tragedy as a some sort of lesson on the evils of homosexuality, one could propose that he ought to have viewed it as a lesson on the combined dangers of literally hitting below the belt and of the dangers of drunkenness. He missed out on all the other issues the tragedy raised, and instead appeared more interested in blaming the victim and shielding those who unquestionably violated a patient’s rights. The most charitable thing to say about him is that he’s a clumsy pastor.

Manuel L. Quezon III, An intrinsically disordered response

I am of the belief that the video should be used to take note of who among those on the medical team snickered or laughed or made snide remarks. Their having done so does not prove that they are only human, but that they have failed to rise above the level of humor at another person’s expense, to the correct behavior of people in their profession.

That, I believe, is more the scandal.

(Also posted on Press this Button)

* Photo of Msgr. Dakay was taken from here
* Screencaps from GMA-7 News

At another’s expense

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3 thoughts on “At another’s expense

  1. Priests like Monsignor Dakay are supposed to be intelligent men. However, it was a serious error of judgment for him to use this particular incident to highlight the supposed sinfulness of homosexuality. Misguided statements such as his only tend to distract us from the true issue here: the unethical and unprofessional conduct of those medical “professionals” at VMMC.

    Moralizing people such as him can do us all a favor by keeping their mouth shut even for just once. Regardless of his sexual orientation and sexual practices, “Danny” remains the unfortunate victim here and deserves our sympathy.

  2. I think there are plenty of issues that surrounds the black suede scandal so i’ll just enumerate my observations.

    1) Obviously, Danny(or Jan-jan for sunstar) is abused by a partner. It’s a risk for those who just pick up anyone for temporary carnal pleasure.

    2) I heard someone comment that Danny was lucky to be given medical attention at this hospital. Many died in VSMMC while waiting for their OR schedule. One really has to quarrel hospital staff to be given immediate treatment.

    3) The medical team is obviously at fault for letting someone video the operation without the patient’s consent. And that same video captured their shameless descent from their lofty profession.

    4) The one who uploaded the video or spread the video is also liable. If he/she is a minor, he/she deserves more than just spanking.

    5) Like the politicians, Msgr Dakay also expressed his take on the matter. It just happens that his moral view is unpopular to those outside his flock.

  3. contrary to what might have been said about the video having been pulled out of YouTube, it is still there, perhaps re-uploaded by other users who have copies of it. it may be safe to assume that there was more than one unauthorized video camera in the room and more than one uploader.

    I found the video on youtube because of ceblogger’s term “Black Suede” which is actually the brand of the perfume canister. I didn’t know about this until ceblogger’s comment. I looked for the keywords “Black Suede Scandal” on google and true enough, the first result was a youtube video. At first I thought it was a news video reporting on the progress of the infamous event, but I was shocked to discover that this was actual footage of the operation, up close, to what I estimate was no more than 3 feet away from the table.

    But what shocked me was not the operation itself, but of the comments of the medical practitioners present, of their snide remarks and sniggers and actual laughter. You’d think they were watching the finale of a magic show instead of performing an emergency procedure.

    Absolutely shameful.

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