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Catholic Church politicking disappoints ‘silent majority’
I join the ‘silent majority’ who resent the presence of many politicking priests and bishops in our country, meddling in state affairs after their chosen ones failed to get the nod of voters in 2016 and now fully backing their bets in May 9, even telling Church-goers to vote for the candidates they have mentioned at the end of their sermon.
During the early days of former PNP chief, now senatorial candidate Gilor Eleazar, a top official of teh Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines of CBCP went to Camp Crame to discuss an agreement with the PNP leadership to ensure an honest, orderly and peaceful conduct of the 2022 national and local elections.
The top CBCP official said they are not in the business of engaging in politics when I asked him to comment on the presence of some of his fellow Church leaders who are known for rooting for certain candidates. He also said that the Church, thru the PPCRV and their volunteers will only help guard the sanctity of the polls.
However, it seems to me that some CBCP officials are ‘eating their own words’ as they have become more vocal and explicit in supporting specific candidates. What happened to a statement from CBCP spokesperson, Fr. Jerome Secillano’s that by making public endorsements, priests ‘run the risk of being partisan.”?
Listen to these words from the CBCP official as printed by a national newspaper: “Partisanship implies division. But clerics are supposed to be sources of unity in the community.” “We force on them not the candidates but the values and platforms that are in accord with church teachings, specifically the Catholic Social Teachings and Gospel values,” he said.
Fr. Secillano likewise emphasized that the candidates being endorsed by the clerics may support or implement policies later on that defy the values that the church embodies . “What becomes now of clerics who pushed for these candidates? Will we hold them accountable for being complicit with such candidates?” he said.
However, this has not been the case lately. In a recent statement, a group of priests, nuns and missionaries declared their support for the presidential and vice presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis Pangilinan.
Incumbent CBCP president and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David has also made vocal his support for the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem claiming ‘it was a grave sin against God to remain neutral on issues about good, evil, truth and lies when the future of the country was at stake.’
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has also made a similar stand. Last week, my family and I were hearing a mass on Facebook Live when the U.P. priest declared his full support to Robredo although he admitted he is not a registered voter. The crowd which is obviously pro-Robredo clapped and cheered in unison after hearing those priestly words.
Again, what happened to the CBCP’s previous pronouncements that the role of clerics is ‘merely to guide voters by educating and forming their consciences following the teachings of the Popes and the Church.’
Known for dropping by churches every time she visits a town or province for her campaign sortie, the vice-president has rejected the notion she is using the Catholic Church for her presidential campaign and even claimed that such an idea is an insult to the Church which she said would not allow itself to be used for partisan activities. She added that she was also asking the Catholic Church to help her in fighting disinformation or ‘fake news’
However, it should also be reported that the camp of leading presidential contender, former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. has expressed its sadness over the presence of Church leaders who are using the pulpit to convince voters to hate him.
“While presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos is calling for unity, we are saddened by the men and women of the Catholic clergy who are doing the exact opposite and have abused the pulpit, allowing it to become a platform for hateful and negative campaigning,” Marcos spokesman Atty. Vic Rodriguez said in a statement.
“As men and women of the cloth, they should be more circumspect, refrain from openly meddling with politics and stop making reckless imputation or statement that only serves as a spiritual, moral, social and cultural poison,” he added in the wake of a CBCP pastoral letter which warned Filipinos against what it called “radical distortions” in the history of martial law under the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
A report from Agence France-Presse said that when asked if the letter alluded to the young Marcos, the CBCP president said “I think it is obvious from our tone we do not want the dark age of martial law repeated.” Again, those words are helping divide the country instead of uniting it.
PRAISES FOR THESE ALERT MANILA COPS
I join the entire PNP leadership headed by General Dionards Carlos and teh public in praising three alert members of the Manila Police District who arrested two armed taxi holdupmen in Tondo around 12:20 a.m. last Thursday. We should also praise the quick-thinking taxi driver who drove into the one-way street in Manila to catch the attention of the policemen.
I told MPD director, Brigadier General Leo Francisco that the two robbers identified as Glen Mark Evasco,33; and Ryan Medina,30, both residents of Caloocan City were both ‘malas and swerte’ on that morning.
‘Malas’ because cabbie Jessie Mejulio had the presence of mind to stop in front an MPD checkpoint located in a one-way street in Tondo and ‘swerte’ because they were caught alive, with the alert policemen firing not even a single shot. I could not imagine what will happen to the two armed suspects inside the taxi had they decided to shoot it out with the policemen who were armed with automatic rifles.
It turned out that Mejulio picked up the suspects in Monumento area and was asked to bring them in Pasay City. A few minutes later, the two asked the driver if he had change for P1,000 and then declared the robbery. Mejulio however drove into the one-way street to catch the attention of the Manila policemen and immediately ran out of the cab while shouting ‘holdup.’
The alert policemen, with their cocked automatic rifles immediately surrounded the taxi and dragged the robbers out of the vehicle. During questioning, the two confessed to the crime. The MPD also warned the public that it was a modus operandi of the suspects to ask their victim if he had change for a higher bill. Once the driver say yes, it means he already has money.
The two are now facing criminal charges for robbery and illegal possession of firearms and violation of the gun ban after they yielded a caliber .45 pistol and a mini-Uzi machine pistol with six bullets and two fake P1,000 bills.
Congratulations to Brig. Gen. Francisco and his men from the MPD Station 7 Tactical Motorcycle Riders’ Unit. This is the real essence of maximum police visibility and police preparedness to respond to any given situation.
May your tribe increase.