Reeling from the resounding
victory of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill,
Philippine Catholic Church has decidedly jumped in the electoral fray
(despite the constitutional separation of church and state) to influence the
outcome of the country's 2013 elections. The church recently launched a
“Team Buhay/Team Patay” (Team Life/Team Death) campaign that
identifies legislators running for re-election who voted against or for the
RH Bill. Those who voted against the bill are part of Team Life, while those
who voted for the bill are part of Team Death—at least as far as the Church
Deciding they weren’t going
to take such blatant coercion from the church sitting down, supporters of
the RH Bill created a Team Tatay (Team Father) where they planned to
indentify Philippine Catholic priests who had fathered children and expose
them to the public. In a church forum in Intramuros, Manila on Tuesday,
March 12, 2013 it seemed to all come to a head when Fr. Melvin Castro, an
executive-secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
publicly admitted that, yes indeed some Filipino Catholic priests had
fathered children despite their vow of chastity. But Castro quickly added
that priests who father children are really not the issue. The real
issue—from the Philippine Catholic Church’s perspective—is the move to
defeat legislators who voted for the RH Bill in the upcoming election.
In a way we agree with Fr.
Castro. Filipino priests fathering children is not the main issue here. The
real issue for us is what the Church does after it finds out that a priest
has fathered a child. Are these erring priests reprimanded or expelled from
the priesthood? Are they shunned by fellow clergymen for violating their
holy vow of chastity? Are they seen as morally weak and thus undeserving of
the priesthood? Or are they instead tolerated and allowed to carry on as
though nothing happened? Are they allowed to continue administering the
sacraments? Do they continue to celebrate Mass, hear confessions, baptize
babies and solemnize weddings? We would like to know what fate befalls
Filipino priests who fall from grace. Does the Philippine Catholic church
keep documented histories of what actions it takes after it discovers that a
priest has fathered a child?
With the Filipino penchant
for keeping quiet, looking the other way, and sweeping things under the rug,
it is highly probable that the church does nothing to punish the erring
clergy. More likely, fathering children is even tacitly tolerated by the
Philippine Catholic hierarchy.
An American Cardinal Roger
Mahony—currently in Rome as part of the conclave of Cardinals choosing the
next Pope—recently agreed to settle out of court four child abuse cases that
will cost his diocese close to $10 million. A embarrassing revelation for
the Cardinal at the worst possible time. Though hardly in the running for
the papacy, the negative publicity Mahony is now getting has suddenly
removed even the remotest chance of his being considered to head the Holy
And although our own
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is seen as a long shot for the Papacy this time
around, at 55 years of age, he will most likely be around for the next
conclave, with a much better chance of making Pope. But that will only
happen if the Filipino Cardinal can effectively “clean house” and remove all
the skeletons his fellow clergymen have left in his closet. Like Mahoney's, a
scandal at the wrong time about Filipino priests who break their vows and
make babies, then go unpunished could ruin the good and deserving Cardinal’s
chances of ever making Pope. Published
We’ve all heard the saying “justice delayed is justice denied.” That maxim has been around since time immemorial. In fact the Pirkei Avot (Hebrew for “Ethics of the Fathers”) which dates back to the 1st century B.C. mentions an old rabbi saying that goes: “the sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied." In 1215 A.D. a clause from the Magna Carta similarly declares that “to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."
Okay so she's George Clooney's wife, she's got great looks, a law degree and ambitious enough to make a name for herself apart from that of her superstar husband. Fair enough. So Amal Alamuddin Clooney decides to take on high profile cases of injustice around the world. Even better. But filing a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? What's up with that? Better do your homework Mrs. Clooney. It won't take long for you to realize that Arroyo is getting exactly what she deserves.
Manny Pacquiao Should Not Be Given a Tax Exemption
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has proposed a bill to grant Manny Pacquiao a special tax exemption for the income he will earn from his May 2nd boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pimentel justifies his bill as a "fitting tribute" to the Filipino eight-division world champion adding that "Manny is now part of our history and of world sports history. Let’s give him this tax incentive in recognition to his invaluable efforts to promote boxing and the country around the world."
With Negotiators Like These on Our Team, Who Needs an Opposing Side?
What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project?
Why is the NBI Going After Those Who Uploaded the Sagonoy Video?
According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range.
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano
The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed.
No More Bangsamoro, Period!
With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah
Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia.
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do
We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines.