Who does Brother Armin Altamirano Luistro FSC really report to?

Organised religion has a tradition of being averse to stepping up to a serious debate on a level field when its dogma is challenged. Certainly the Roman Catholic Church is not an exception to this tradition of intolerance to free inquiry. I wrote a while back how the Roman Catholic Church is really…

[…] an institution that has historically derived its power from the notion that we are all pathetic “sinners” from the time we are conceived (try explaining that to an embryo, [Padre]) and redeemable only by the “graces” of a God who — get this — is represented within our mortal realm by officers of said institution. We are talking about people who have inherited the offices of those who wrote, continue to propagate, and are custodians of and authorities on this doctrine.

Thus, the Church at its very core is not interested in seeing its flock find the light of true enlightenment. Rather, the goal of this fine specimen of business acumen is to ensure compliance to its dogma, a dogma that has remained fundamentally unchanged for the last two millennia.

Even more disturbing and even more fundamental is this:

Catholicism basically promises nothing in life and everything in death.

[NB: The above phrase was used in an article I wrote for FilipinoVoices.com.]

A deep reflection on the above statement gives new meaning to the euphemism “pro-life”, doesn’t it?

So what then is the point of appointing a cleric of the Roman Catholic Church to head a government department upon which is entrusted a key role in shaping the lives of future generations of Filipinos who aspire to a richer life? The way Education Secretary “Brother” Armin Luistro bumbled his way through his first encounter with the Media, refusing to comment on the issue of sex education when pressed by Media personnel, reflects the primitivist stance of the anti-enlightenment institution that he really answers to.

Indeed, even when called out on this infantile outburst on his first working day as an Aquino Administration henchman, his response is still marked by a grudging air. Rather than express regret over his gaffe, he…

[…] dismissed as a case of “first-day jitters” his outburst last week against the media over the sex education potboiler in public schools […]

…and promised that…

[…] Given time, [he] will be able to bring across [his] messages more clearly.

To be fair, Luistro “immediately signed up” for a “media seminar” offered to Cabinet members of newly-minted President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.


I doubt that any “re-education” on the fine art of “managing” the Philippine Media will change the core mission of a man of the cloth. The Church’s position on matters regarding sex education and birth control are quite clear — and have been for at least 1000 years. Given the vow of obedience taken by the typical Roman Catholic cleric, Luistro does not enjoy much personal latitude in the way he will dispense his duties as Secretary of Education in our otherwise secular land.

Indeed, his presence in Government begs this question:

Who does Brother Armin Altamirano Luistro FSC really report to?

To answer that question “Brother” Luistro will first have to decide whether he is the head of the education department of a secular state, or a mere foot soldier of the modern-day Roman Empire.

[poll id=”16″]


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48 Responses to Who does Brother Armin Altamirano Luistro FSC really report to?

  1. Morga says:

    Why did Noynoy Aquino choose Luistro for the Department of Education in the first place? Surely he is not the only person qualified for the job. Did Aquino not anticipate the complications that would arise from assigning a Brother (a “male nun”, in the words of one AP reader) to this department?

    Or did Aquino appoint Luistro to the Department of Education because Luistro is a core member of the anti-Arroyo, pro-Yellow Black and White Movement who needed to be rewarded, and the education portfolio was the closest thing that would match his background?

    It is difficult to believe Brother Luistro will do anything for sex education for as long as he is a “male nun”.

    • crab says:

      Right because he is a pro-yellow which mean ” the other i” to PNoy. And because he has a track record for running ateneo well.

      I hope you get it Morga. 😉

      • crab says:

        DLS i mean 😉

      • Morga says:

        You’re missing the point, crab. I’m asking why he was the one chosen when there are probably others just as qualified who do not have the added complication of being a “male nun”. He is bound to tenets of the Church which conflict with the tasks that the State needs to fulfill.

      • BongV says:

        @crab you mean – if luistro throws a grenade, i’m supposed to pick it up, pull the pin, and throw it back to luistro? 😆

      • crab says:


        Please refer to my comment below. 😥

    • GabbyD says:

      i think he’ll support sex ed. i’d be really surprised otherwise.

  2. Markad says:

    Church has long been a shackle in the progress of our education.

    Anyone remember the RA no. 1425 otherwise known as Rizal Law by Claro M. Recto?
    He got massive opposition from the church purist that they did all sort of things to discredit his integrity like giving out condoms with “Vote for Claro M. Recto” in it.

    Now we got one man of robe in position and I only hope that he has a more progressive stand in education.

  3. Markad says:

    He is the President of De La Salle Philippines, Inc. so I think he is not as conservative as most man of robes when it comes to education… well I hope. T_T

  4. NFA rice says:

    To be fair to the Church, it set up the first educational institutions of Europe and Latin America, parts of Asia including the Philippines. These places of learning produced some of the best people in history.

    That said, I hope this “Brother” will respect the secular nature of public education.

    • BongV says:

      But, these fine people were persecuted by the very institutions that produced them. Case in point – Galileo, Copernicus.

      • NFA rice says:

        The stories of Galileo and Copernicus were complex. The Church was subjected to political upheavals in Europe. Anyway I cannot comment on the politics but on the science. It turns out in the end that both earth-centered and sun-centered systems are on an equal footing.

        While they pushed the heliocentric theory, they did not have experimental evidence to prove it. Age-old observations pointed to an earth-centered system. I can imagine myself quickly dismissing the theory as nonsense. After all, the sun can be observed as moving across the sky on a daily basis. Science is based on observations. I cannot blame anyone sticking to their observations when confronted with a new theory that is not verified by direct observation.

        The debate basically boiled down to the question on which frame of reference to use in describing the motion of the planets. We can imagine an organism on the surface of the sun enjoying the sight of the planets moving across the “sky”. The answer of modern physics is that there is no ‘correct’ frame of reference. The merit of the heliocentric system is its mathematical simplicity.

        The guilt of the Church lies not in the defense of contemporary science (earth-centered system), but in the manner of defending by silencing a competing theory. The Church is not the only guilty party in the history of science. Atheists are guilty of it as well. One need not look further in history than the tragedy of Lysenkoism in Soviet Science.

  5. ChinoF says:

    The Catholic Church (here at least) would most likely prefer a family to remain squatter with its cavemen mentality and ten delinquent children, than one who had two children only using birth control and gave them quality education. All they need do is mis-apply the Beatitudes… “blessed are the poor.” 🙄

    • palebluedot says:

      to you who volunteered for the church, we are a church for the poor. we advocate poverty. like those with whom we are serving, we should also embody poverty in our lives. therefore, please do not request any form of remunerations in your budget proposals because you are volunteering for the glory of God! (obispo’s words yesterday to my group)

      factsheet!!! 👿

  6. crab says:

    So what then is the point of appointing a cleric of the Roman Catholic Church to head a government department upon which is entrusted a key role in shaping the lives of future generations of Filipinos who aspire to a richer life? — BenigO

    Good try Dude..

    My comment is that we don’t only need education in order to have a better life or become rich but we need also moral values in order to life with dignity. By appointment of bro. Armin in Education Department our children can have both.

    • NFA rice says:

      So we only get morality from the Church? What a sorry state we are in.

    • NFA rice says:

      So atheists, agnostics, the animists, don’t live with dignity, is that what you are saying?

    • Morga says:

      Crab, it is the year 2010 and the Philippines is supposed to be a democracy, not a theocracy. The Catholic Church cannot dictate what is moral and what is not.

      • Aegis-Judex says:

        It seems my advice to the churchmen went unnoticed. Is leaving the work of Caesar to the men of Caesar so impossible to carry out?!

        On the DLSU puke’s appointment as SecEd: It’s madness. Next thing we know, the Philippines becomes a Catholic version of Shiite Iran! As a Catholic and an intellectual, I personally think that if a theocracy made Iran the demented country that it is today, how much more if our bishops play that card here?! Am I right or am I right?

    • famous wolf says:

      Values are conducive more in the family and not in an academic institution that has been on the rubble for the last twenty years. Sex Education, contrary to the misconception to zealots, advocates abstinence to prevent the following:

      1. Unwanted Pregnancies
      2. STDs

      It’s contrary to popular belief that Sex Education leaves teenagers prone to do more sex. It teaches responsibilities. Parents, no matter how much they will explain, will find it awkward to explain this to them. Euphemisms like the “The birds and the Bees” will not help, it only worsens the situation. Do you know how nightmarish it is to teach GROWN MEN AND WOMEN about sex education and teaching them the proper way to put up a condom? I’ve been a public health worker back in the Philippines for only two years and I always say TO married couples that Sex is also a responsibility that they have to deal with as it is not just for fun (Unwanted Pregnancies were the rage in our offices and clinics). The issue of morality is solely built on the family and not on the institution that gives only a structure and removes the idea of individuality.

      In my opinion, Luistro’s assignment as DepEd secretary is a bad move.

      • crab says:

        I am also advocating Sex Ed in our school. I hope Sec. bro. Armin will pursue what Sec. Cabral done.

      • crab says:

        Sorry for this.. “I hope Sec. bro. Armin will pursue what Sec. Cabral done. ” I’m just joking. 😆

    • Jon Abaca says:

      I’m sure those families with 10 kids who are mired in poverty are living dignified lives.

    • BongV says:

      Whose morality are we referring to here? Catholic? Buddhist? Islamic – Disambiguate por pabor 😆

    • BongV says:

      by whose moral values – the Caliban.. how moronic 😆

  7. Ryunken says:

    Since he’s a “Brother” their is no way for the RHB to be push since after hearing such news, its more complicating to teach grade/high school students about sex. And it pretty much makes us push to sodomy and other deadly sins that anyone can think off.

    Its better for everyone to find it out… When they find it out!

  8. t0da says:

    I’m curious with what his track record. What has he done with DLSU? If he’s taken a more liberal approach in running La Salle despite the notoriety of the Catholic Church, he might have a shot at doing well at DepEd. Otherwise, GOD SAID YOU ONLY NEED HIM, WHO NEEDS EDUCATION?

    (One a sidenote… @BongV: The grenade joke never fails to make me laugh.)

    • Aegis-Judex says:

      A La Salle brother as SecEd… Next, the president will pull out a full cleric… After that, a bishop… Then an archbishop… Next thing we know, the CBCP would make Iran’s ayatollahs look impotent by comparison! The mere thought of it just makes my skin crawl. We are screwed in every direction.

  9. ChinoF says:

    One of the contradictions of a religious representative taking a democratic government position is the conflict between public service and a partisan stance. Public service means attending to the needs of the constituency according to their view. It’s unethical to be biased or force your partisan stance on the constituency as policy. Opposition to the RH Bill or even contraception methods is a partisan stance, or a bias. Thus, when someone makes this opposition part of a public office’s stance, that’s already a violation of the public trust. My view on Luistro’s being DepEdSec.

  10. bokyo says:

    Brother Armin is the laziest answer of PNoy to RH Bill.

  11. shmoygy says:

    I think he’s a good choice. He’s turned La Salle into a progressive university, and led its greatest period of academic achievement and organizational expansion. That, and he enjoys the president’s trust, I think he is more than qualified to be DepEd secretary.

  12. Hyden Toro says:

    Appointing a Priest in the Cabinet: is like appointing an Islamic Mullah to oversee the Education. The Priest has no business on government affairs. He will become as dogmatic as the Islamic Taliban; who imposes his religion on the educational system.

    I don’t believe in Organized Religions. Because, they exclude people, who are not members of their religions. We have all the Right to be here. All the air we breath, are for all people; no matter what their religion, race and ethnic background are. The water we drink , are for all living things. God does not exclude anybody. Because, you believe in him or not.

    I go to Church to worship God. Not, to listen to those religious dogmas. The teaching of the Catholic Church, and all kinds of religions, here on Earth are out of date.

    We have an exploding population. Population is now outgrowing the production of food. Famine is the worse thing a country can face. Revolutions were brought out by famines. It is a necessity to control the population, by Birth Control. Not imposing that nonsense religious dogmas. People, especially the poor will always make a lot of babies. Hormones overpass their common sense.

  13. Joe America says:

    “Catholicism basically promises nothing in life and everything in death.”

    Brilliant statement, wise article.

    The proof will be in the pudding, indeed, as to who is deemed Master of the Philippines, superstition or reason.

  14. Dee says:

    Interesting that I just watched a couple of Al Jazeera news on Philippine baby boom. This poor girl had her first baby when she was 14. She said at the age she really didn’t know what she was doing; she didn’t know she could be pregnant. And I do believe her. More and more people become aware of sex at a younger age but at such early age, people don’t really ponder much on the consequences of such action. You just can’t expect them to, especially that many Filipino parents would find it awkward to bring up such topic. So sex education can really help students become aware of the responsibility and consequence of such action.

    There’s also this mother who only planned to have 4 kids but instead she had 7 simply because she didn’t have access to family planning. She, along with several mothers, sued Mayor Lito Atienza for denying them contraceptives. These women don’t really want to have a lot of kids but they cannot afford contraceptives and the government just makes it worse for them. And when asked by the reporter, Atienza said “well we should stop looking at children as nothing but problems but as blessings.” Whaaat? So even if you have 10 kids that you cannot feed or send to school, kids who will likely just become uneducated, illiterate beggars, scavengers or future criminals, it’s okay. We should still look at them as blessings. Wow.

    If Luistro has a liberal stand on this, then I approve of him. Family planning is more important and will be more effective than sex education, so I think the country should get on that first.

    And I’ve also learned that Arroyo didn’t spend a single dime on family planning? What the hell is up with that? I used to blame stupid poor parents who continue to have many kids when they know they could not support them. But now I know, it’s the government to blame.

  15. lee says:

    I think he is a good choice. Bro Amry is the President of the La Salle System. If anyone of you here worked in a managerial level for schools and universities you’ll realize just how hard it is to run a school. It’s more than just teachers and students. Personally, I think Bro Army should continue the initiatives set by the previous administration when it comes to teacher training. Ateneo de Manila University helped in those areas by giving classes to teachers and giving them set daily lesson plans. Of course its hard to see just how well the program worked since its too early to tell. I do believe that having DLS and ADM work together in the fields of education would be a great thing. Both organizations are focused on education as their missionary calling.

    As for those worried about sex education because Dep Ed will be headed by advocates of the Roman Catholic Church…perhaps you can rethink your priorities on what has to be done to educate our children. IMHO Sex Ed is not a priority for me compared to basic Math and Sciences. Sex Ed is a matter of damn choice in the end. It doesn’t matter how many ways you can wear a condom or to dosages of the pills that you take, when it fails no amount of sex education will help you deal with coming to terms with the knowledge of having a child. Unless you want our people to just be screwing around freely because they now know how to wear a condom rather than getting a respectable job, then let’s focus on core education.

    English is also secondary to Math and Science. Just look at the folks from India and China who have excelled in IT and other science related courses because their people have a greater inclination to Math & Science. And the BPO industry, particularly call centers are expanding to other languages such as Japanese and Mandarin considering the English speaking markets are really just the United States, UK and Australia.

    What is wrong with NoyNoy is how he justified his choice. Heck he didn’t even know that Bro Army was from De La Salle! Bro Army is more than qualified for the job for reasons that NoyNoy didn’t bother to elaborate.

    • ChinoF says:

      Given that Luistro has the credentials, his outburst about sex education as recorded in the media isn’t seen as helpful. Let’s hope he sees the RH Bill more favorably too, though it’s not in his jurisdiction.

      Sex education is still necessary, but I agree it has to be part of a comprehensive plan which includes access to contraceptive products. But why Sex Ed is important is mainly because misinformation exists in the country, especially about body parts.

  16. lee says:

    And lets go back to psychology… why do people think of sex? Hormones? Yeah that has a lot to do with it. Media? That also adds to it. But most people who get pregnant or engage in pre-marital sex are mostly bored out of their minds. Sex is great but its not something that you do because you have nothing else to do and you’re just horny for no reason because there is nothing else in your mind. I’m ok with sex education but for crying out loud give our people something else worthwhile to think about other than their dicks! Show them how education can be fun and how they can benefit from actually learning!!! The current sex education program is just that. It doesn’t really tell you that there are other things out there than sex or the responsibilities that you will incur once all the contraception in the world fails.

  17. johnB says:

    Why is the church against birth control, well, think THOMAS MALTUS AND EUGENICS THAT’S WHY!!!!!

    • NFA rice says:

      Malthus was wrong because technology and innovation increased mass-production and improved the science of health care so that they are in step with population growth.

      But for how long can technology catch up with population growth? Besides, it is not about food and health anymore. We have to take into account education. How much resources do we have to educate the tens of millions of young Filipinos? And when these students graduate, are there enough jobs available for them?

      In which part does eugenics enter into this picture?

      • killem says:

        church is not against birth control perse, but only on the method to use for birth control…

        like what i said in my previous post, are problem is not population, but the mismanagement of it coupled with corruption, incompetence and lack of foresight…

      • NFA rice says:

        Let’s imagine for a moment that corruption is non-existent. Population will still put too much pressure on the limited resources. Not everyone can be fed and employed.

        I know the Church is against overpopulation too but it should not put its own method of birth control above others. If it wants its method to be effective, it should work hard at improving the spiritual life of its members. Yes, I still think that morality and personal responsibility are the most potent tools against overpopulation. But let’s face it, the Church is failing in its role in teaching these.

      • ChinoF says:

        Try to manage the amount of 10 meals a day given to fifty people in a village. It still won’t be enough. Corruption is not the cause of that. Scarcity is a reality that is made worse by overpopulation and overconsumption.

  18. mel says:

    Oh, No! It seems to me that PNoy is proving that he is religious and he wants the whole nation to follow him in his fantasies!

    A hungry stomach cannot be filled with religious stuffs. A brain cannot function with an empty stomach.
    So, what is the use of a religious DepEd Secretary, Mr. President?

    • Aegis-Judex says:

      He intends to create the Catholic version of Iran. While I’m not against it in toto, the fact that he plans to impose the Holy Church on EVERY Filipino makes me scream “Next stop, Ayatollah Cruz! We are all screwed in every direction!” It’s fanatical madness!

    • ChinoF says:

      I hope that’s not trying to force religion on every Filipino, including athiests, through the curriculum. Even as a Christian, I won’t make my religion an official part of education. That’s imperialism. That in fact, ironically, is unChristian!

  19. Gerry J. Tingson says:

    Christian greetings!

    Does anybody knows what FSC stands for after the name of Bro. Armin A. Luistro? Thanks a lot and God bless.

  20. bianco says:

    Fratres Scholarum Christianarum or Latin for Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools or you can simply say La Sallian brother

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