Just a day before Joc-joc Bolante could set foot in the Philippines; five CBCP bishops who are very vocal against the Arroyo’s administration sponsored a forum and held a press conference to denounce what they call massive top-to-bottom corruption in the government hinting they are now ready to support people’s power revolt to oust from power the Arroyo’s government. Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP president who led the other bishops in the forum (Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Bataan Bishop Socrates Villegas, Masbate Bishop Joel Baylon and Bishop Emeritus Jose Sorra), said that the “liberators” may be just around the corner and hoped these “liberators will in a courageous peaceful way effectively and uncompromisingly reform our country.”
“In response to the global economic crisis and the pitiful state of our country, the time to rebuild our country economically, socially, politically, is now. The time to start radical reforms is now. The time for moral regeneration is now. The time to conquer complacency, cynicism and apathy to prove that we have matured from our political statements is now. The time to prepare a new government is now,” Lagdameo said during the CBCP forum.
Lagdameo assured the public that there is no such thing as futility in trying to change the present system and they should not lose hope however. “In spite of the seemingly hopeless and negative prognosis, our liberation may yet serendipitously happen. We are dreaming, praying and hoping that our county may yet have the needed liberators.”
On his part, bishop Villegas urged the public “not to be passive” but engage “in active involvement” in effecting a change in governance. He believes that if we could only curb corruption by half of its present level this would immensely benefit the country. “The problem is not population, the problem is rampant corruption,” Villegas said apparently targeting government’s initiative for the passing of the Reproductive Health Bill.
Villegas said had it not been of corruption the country would have been better prepared to deal with the ongoing global financial crisis. This was further supported by Bishop’s Cruz who said that the country ‘is now in a precarious, dangerous, and critical situation’ due to massive corruption which could be blamed to the ‘incumbent occupant’ in Malacanang..
But what have the CBCP Bishops eaten to sponsor a forum a press conference to attack the Arroyo’s government of massive corruption from top to bottom and intimated to the public that now is the time to start radical reforms and that the people should stand alongside the so called “liberators” in this struggle?What are they trying to imply? Is this some kind of blackmail for the administration not to pursue with the Reproductive Health Bill? Or are they sending a strong message to the Arroyo’s administration not to undermine the impeachment complaint filed against the president? It could also be interpreted that the Bishops want to be heard and warn the Arroyo’s administration on the issues of corruption such as the latest “Euro Generals contingency fund scandal,” and the slow action/inaction of the Ombudsman in filing and prosecuting a plunder case against the so called architect of “fertilizer scam” Joc-joc Bolante.
But some groups find the action of the five bishops (there were other 7 bishops suppose to join them but could not make it for whatever reasons) untimely and uncalled for. It is bad for business and capital investment according to Makati businessmen; Justice Raul Gonzales considered their act as an act of treason and that they can be prosecuted for doing so; and Malacanang said they (the bishops) don’t represent the general sentiment of the public. Other bishops said that the statements of Lagdameo and the other bishops do not necessarily stand for the entire CBCP. On his part, General Yano beg to disagree with the bishops saying that the role of the military is to protect the people and the Constitution and should not be involved in politics.
Other people are also of the idea that the bishops are just making a noise so they could draw public support by riding again on the issue of corruption and the ousting of the Arroyo government. Many believe that the Catholic Church has already lost its grip on the religious and political will of the people as shown in the latest SWS survey (where most Catholics said they support the “Reproductive Health Bill” and the teaching of “sex education” in the public school).
Only God knows what is exactly in the hearts of the 5 bishops particularly CBCP president Jaro Bishop Lagdameo when they held a press conference. But aren’t they telling the truth when they talk of massive corruption in the government and that the Philippine government is one of the most corrupt government in the world? And is it not their social and moral obligation too to remind people of their patriotic duties and to awaken their souls when they are already callous to issues of wrong-doings in the government, and rampant corruption in the country?