Friday, December 4, 2009

President’s men use bishops to rebut bishops

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:18:00 12/04/2009

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Churches (organisations), Eleksyon 2010

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines — The Palace is busy making it known that not all members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) are against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s congressional run.

The Office of the Press Secretary released on Wednesday “personal statements” from Bishop Emilio Marquez and Vicar Apostolic Rodolfo Beltran saying that Ms Arroyo’s constitutional right to run for office should be respected.

It also released on that day a brief transcript of GMA 7’s interview with Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

Asked by a TV reporter whether or not the public should make a big issue out of Ms Arroyo’s candidacy, Vidal said:

“Why should it be? If somebody wants to serve the people, who can stop her? Provided the Constitution allows that.”


Ms Arroyo’s decision to seek a congressional seat representing Pampanga’s second district has sparked outrage among various sectors, including bishops.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz described it as an “addiction to power.” Earlier, Jaro Archbishop and former CBCP president Angel Lagdameo called on the President “not to give in to the temptation of power.”

But Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the massive support that Ms Arroyo was getting from her province mates should not be taken for granted.

“There is a sampling of sentiments of individuals and groups who hold a contrary view to the critics’. Let us also listen to them,” Ermita said in a statement, where he also appealed to the public to respect Ms Arroyo’s decision.

‘No legal obstacles’

In his own statement, Bontoc-Lagawe Vicar Apostolic Beltran said he had been assured by legal experts that there was no constitutional obstacle to Ms Arroyo’s candidacy.

“That a President should, immediately after her term, seek a lower office is unusual ... but it is not for that reason immoral. It is possible for motives less noble and worthy to be considered, but it is also a principle of ethics that one should never presume evil or malice of others,” Beltran said.

He said critics’ warnings that Ms Arroyo was preparing to become House Speaker and prime minister were all “conjectural.”

“It is the sovereign people who, by exercising the power of the ballot, must decide whether or not to allow her to assume office. And whether or not she becomes Speaker ... is for her peers in the House of Representatives to determine by the processes that are legal and fair,” he said.

Said Bishop Marquez of the Diocese of Lucena: “I should not stifle people’s clamor for any public servant to serve and represent them in government. I leave that to the electorate to decide.”

Original Story:

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