by Aries Rufo, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak | 12/01/2009 6:53 PM
MANILA - She wants to continue serving the people, but President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in her 9 years in Malacañang, has failed the test of leadership, as far as Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales is concerned.
To the prelate, only two only two out of the 14 Philippines presidents have passed the grade of admirable leadership: Ramon Magsaysay and Corazon Aquino.
In an interview with CBCPNews, the official information service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Rosales said only Magsaysay and Aquino have the "outstanding qualities” worthy of emulation of future leaders.
“Twice upon a time, God gave us these two as examples of good leadership,” Rosales said.
Rosales did not mention Arroyo or Estrada although he obliquely described their respective administrations as those that went against morality.
The cardinal said Magsaysay and Aquino were exceptional leaders for their simplicity and humility of heart. “I challenge anyone who would say otherwise. That is my perception,” Rosales said.
Magsaysay cited Magsaysay for his charisma with the common people, while Aquino is considered an icon of Philippine democracy.
Rosales issued the statement as candidates engaged in a mad scramble to beat the deadline of the filing of certificates of candidacies (COCs) for the May 10, 2010 national and local polls.
Presdient Arroyo joined the rush, filing her COC for Pampanga’s 2nd district on Tuesday, the last day of filing.
Agenda: Fight poverty, corruption
Rosales said Filipino voters should discern and vote for the candidates who can best address the country’s pressing problems—poverty and graft and corruption.
He implied the next President should address the problem of poverty first, and ending corruption second.
Rosales said poverty of all kinds has been the constant and unchanging fixture in the Filipinos’ way of life. “Poverty is a perennial issue. There is poverty created by man, cheating, stealing…there is poverty created by nature. Earthquakes, typhoons."
He added: “We should ask ourselves: Why is there poverty? Is it because we lack technology, lack of basic services or is there poverty because of man-made reasons?”
While poverty should be tackled first, graft and corruption should be seriously addressed just the same because it “doubles” the effect of poverty, he said.
Attending Masses not a good basis
Stressing that the Church will not endorse a particular candidate, Rosales said, however, that voters are well advised to choose someone who truly fears God and practices a moral living.
“The first criterion should be, he or she should be God-fearing. Number 2, he or she should be moral. Fear of God is not enough.”
Rosales said one’s faith to God cannot be measured by pronouncements of being a devout Catholic or being seen regularly in churches attending Holy Masses.
“Katakot-takot na pampabababae, pagsusugal, pang-aagaw mo sa ibang tao, pagsisinungaling, pagpupuslit…that man or woman has no right to hold office,” he said.
In his short tenure as president, Estrada was hounded by criticisms of his coterie, lavish treatment of his women, and nocturnal gambling activities. Estrada has accused the Catholic Church of conniving with vested interest groups to oust him in January 2001.
Corrupt have no right to public office
Arroyo, on the other hand, has been accused of rigging the 2004 presidential elections and has been linked to various graft and corruption incidents.
Rosales said: “Those who are corrupt have no right to hold public office.”
Arroyo is a devout Catholic, and, at one time, invoked the Pope, Christ’s representative on earth, as urging her to seek the presidency.
But local bishops apparently see things in the different perspective.
A number of them have advised the President to drop her plans of seeking a congressional post in the 2nd district of Pampanga for propriety’s sake.
Former CBCP President Angel Lagdameo said Arroyo should “not give in to temptation” while Catarman bishop Emmanuel Trance said she should observe “political delicadeza.”
Former CBCP President Oscar Cruz said Arroyo, a cabalen, “is addicted to power,” and is targeting the post of prime minister once the form of government is changed from presidential to parliamentary.
as of 12/01/2009 6:55 PM