On Election 2010: Choose the Way of God

In a pamphlet, Cockfight, Horserace, Boxing Match (Why Elections are Covered as Sport) published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (2004), journalist Sheila Coronel wrote:

Philippine elections have always been intense political exercises. […] No other event can mobilize so many citizens in such a concentrated period of time as election can.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) observed:

[The] Philippine politics – the way it is practised – has been most hurtful of us as a people. It is possibly the biggest bane in our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving of full human development.

(stated in 1997 Pastoral Exhortation on Politics)

The Vote God campaign launched recently by the Dilaab Foundation serve as our guide on May 10, 2010.  It calls us to take roles on the most intense political exercises we have in this country. Instead of hurting each other; instead of shaming each other; we can work together to make election the most pleasant experience for all of us.

If you have seen the video I shared in An Election without Vote Buying, you have witnessed how the people in Calidngan in Carcar City, Cebu was transformed. Why they succeed? The reason is simple. The people in Calidngan choose the way of God.

Vote God

Together, let us take roles for a clean, honest, and peaceful election. Let us choose the way of God.

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CBCP President Angel Lagdameo to GMA: No Political Ceasefire

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo is firm on his stand: Radical Change! for the Philippines. Jaro (Iloilo) Archbishop and Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Angel Lagdameo called for the people to support the “radical reforms” although he and other bishops did not specify how the change be executed.

No one except the militant groups welcome the idea of the bishops. Many even lambasted them for instead of helping, they only complicate the situation.

CBCP strikes and rock the boat when the sea is rough, wrote Jun Ledesma in his column in Sun.Star Davao.

President Arroyo

When President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called for “political ceasefire”  and set aside personal differences and focus on improving the lives of the people. Lagdameo’s answer is clear: NO, NO, NO!

I have hight respect to the leaders of the church, specially the CBCP president but it appears to me that Archbishop Lagdameo is just over-acting. It is not clear what change he is talking about.

When we talk about change, there are many change that are needed in Lagdameo’s own yard. Isn’t the Catholic church not wrapped with issues of corruption, priest molesting poor girls and boys, among others. But it is a sensitive issue that nobody would like to talk about. I hope that is one of the change Lagdameo wants to look up too.

While I agree that corruption is already drowning us, but I don’t agree with the way Lagdameo ang his mean tackle it.

I suggest to the good Archbishop to focus on his primary role – to spread the gospel and teach the people the lessons that must be learn to become moral and responsible citizen. That’s the area CBCP should focus first.

For President Arroyo, I call her to prove to the people that she is really figthing against corruption by staying away from suspecious characters and transactions. Instead of giving attention to the senseless calls, continue to discuss with country’s financial managers so that we can do well even at times of global financial crisis.

Thursday’s Bits and Bites

President Arroyo revoked yesterday EO 464 issued in September 2005. Executive Order 464 barred government officials from testifying to investigations without the President’s permission. Last week the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) asked the President to abolish the controversial order. I’m grateful but I still doubt there is a free flow of truths after this.

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Political Trauma

Former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, for the second time, called on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to resign.

Aquino was quoted by Inquirer saying, … the most noble — and least disruptive — way out of the moral crisis would be for the President to resign from office.

With due respect, I disagree with the former president. Even if President Arroyo resigns today, the moral crisis will continue and even worsen – much more the nation’s political crisis.

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What is the ‘truth’ behind ‘communal action’?

The question, “how can CBCP’s quest for truth be satiated?” [1] asked by Candido Wenceslao in his Sun Star Cebu column Candid Thoughts is worthy to ponder upon. Truth as talked about by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in its statements seemed to be very elusive.

Wenceslao added:

Is truth the one that the political opposition, militants and civil society groups believe: that everybody in Malacañang is corrupt? Or is truth the one insinuated by the Arroyo administration: that it is clean? [2]

The truth should be based on evidence. It must not lay upon mere hearsay. The testimony of Rodolfo Lozada, Jr. in the Senate may be true but he must present evidence and he must be consistent and reliable enough to qualify his statements as “truth”. In the same way, what the Malacañang men are saying as the “truth” must be substantiated.

Truth can be gauged based on facts and evidence not on how dramatic the statement is presented. When Lozada testified, he touched the nation’s sensitive emotions with his tears. He appeared to be telling the truth. He must had been. But as the Senate hearing progressed, the quest for truth shifted to quest to console the “star witness”. Console Lozada by showing to him that many support him. Supporting does not always equate to believing.

[The] ‘truth challenges us now to communal action,’ the CBCP said in a statement signed by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. ABS-CBN online reported. [3]

What is communal action? Are we going to streets to shout for “truth”? Are we going to join those groups planning to do radical actions? CBCP is not clear on what communal action means.

While CBCP “challenges us now to communal action”, I challenge every Filipino to listen to both sides and to evaluate the circumstances. Instead of being too radical, let us all calm down. Let us also remember that will happen to our nation if we keep our emotions up and ignore reasons.

Clerics must remember how the people in Jerusalem welcomed Jesus Christ. The same people condemned him. Several statements are reported hailing Lozada and even former Speaker Jose de Venecia. Some even said that de Venecia sacrificed his political ambition just to let the public would know the truth behind controversies on the aborted NBN deal. Let us remember that de Venecia even on the last minute tried to save his political prowess. De Venecia obviously said bad against the administration – after all, it ousted him.

What is the ‘truth’ behind ‘communal action’? The intention to overthrow the government. If we will, what then?

[1] [2] Sun Star Cebu, Wenceslao: Prayer power
[3] ABS-CBN News Online, Communal action needed after NBN exposé – CBCP

JGG|Mandaue City
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