THANK God for Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. It’s enough to make you believe God may have something to do with the names of people in this magic-realist country. Remember Gen. Fabian Ver, Gen. Luther Custodio, Edna Camcam and Rolando Galman in the past? Today, we have Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Michael Defensor, Archbishop Fernando Capalla, and Angel. What can I say? Lagdameo is holier than Capalla.
I don’t know how much of the new statement of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) owes to the bitter complaints the bishops have gotten from their flock since they went astray in July with their position finding no cause to ask the person in Malacañang who called up "Garci" to resign. That July statement, read by Capalla, reminded me uncannily of the Supreme Court position ratifying the Constitution that the Constitutional Convention hastily drew up soon after Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, a monumental exercise in double talk characterized by double negatives. The Supreme Court said it did not find anything in the way the Constitution was made that would cause it not to uphold it. The CBCP statement last July was a classic in that kind of evasiveness, too.
Forthrightness is what the new CBCP calls for, and it practices what it preaches. It is explicit in its stand. It calls for “a relentless pursuit of truth,” something it criticizes Congress for thwarting when it blocked Gloria Arroyo’s impeachment, which would have provided a wide avenue for it. “What we have seen are acts of evasion and obstructions of the truth, as in the case of the wiretapping and the Garcillano tapes controversy.” The crisis today is fundamentally moral. “Because of this crisis of values in our public life, the common good and the plight of the poor are being ignored.”
But he also criticized the CBCP on it's other propositions:
But I part ways with the CBCP in some of its other propositions. Chief of them: Why do you have to restrict yourself to constitutional means to oust an unconstitutional government? As I said earlier, what has demolished this country’s natural aversion to coups is that its current government is the product of one. The Arroyo government is arguably a coup, wrought not by guns but by Garci, not by a cabal of soldiers but a gang of carpetbaggers. I myself have repeatedly called for civil disobedience, capped by not paying taxes. Why should I yield my hard-earned money to an illegitimate collector?
More importantly, I do not know why the people should present a “credible alternative” for the Catholic Church to ask a usurper to resign. At the very least, when we catch a thief who has stolen our cell phone, we get our cell phone back as a matter of course. We do not have to prove we have better uses for the cell phone than the thief before we can get it back. You catch someone stealing votes, you oust her as a matter of course. You do not have to prove another person can do a better job.
At the very most, as I’ve also kept saying, contrary to popular opinion, the question of who should replace Arroyo is not the hardest thing to answer, it is the easiest. Who should replace Arroyo is who the people want, which is expressed in the vote. What is the problem? The problem is that Arroyo stole the vote. What is the solution? The solution is to give back the vote to the voters. I do not particularly care if the voters vote for Noli de Castro or even Joseph Estrada again. I do not particularly care if the voters vote for a dog or a cat. In a democracy, the one who governs is the one the voters voted for.
The idea of the people offering an alternative, credible or not, doesn’t make things better, it makes things worse. It adds fuel to the fire. It contributes to a nasty turn in Philippine politics, which is that the vote has become irrelevant people now just think of decreeing what is good for the country, namely themselves. That was what Arroyo and her cabal did. Why should we want to do the same thing? Every time I get asked that question, “But whom do you want to replace Arroyo?” my answer has always been, “That is not for me to say, that is not for you to say, that is for the voters to say.”
But we’re getting there, with no small help from angels.
I agree. It is this attitude displayed by the arrogant arroyo admin and it's supporters na "hindi credible alternative" raw sila FPJ, Roco, Ping at Bro. Eddie, kaya okey lang raw dayain ang election.
The fact that Archbishop Lagdameo is even asking for a "credible alternative" to replace GMA is a sign na he doesn't take the concept of democratic elections very seriously.
I mean, if the real winner FPJ were still alive, would he fit the Lagdameo's criteria of a "credible alternative"? If he does not pass Lagdameo's standards, then we might as scrap the elections and do a coronation of Arroyo- and Garci-approved candidates na lang.
"THEY did not really pursue the truth” is Archbishop Angel Lagdameo’s dry assessment of the impeachment proceedings against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last year. Lagdameo, the newly elected president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), was speaking at a press conference during which he read one of two CBCP statements on the national situation.
Echoing Lagdameo’s point of view, the bishops’ statement called on President Arroyo to pursue “relentlessly” the truth behind the “Hello, Garci” tapes and the allegations of electoral fraud these gave rise to. They also firmly opposed moves to cancel the 2007 elections, which is one of the “carrots” being waved at lawmakers and local government officials to get them to join the campaign to amend the Constitution.
Though the CBCP statement falls short of calling for Arroyo’s resignation (it says the country has no real alternative to her, yet), the pastoral letter is seen as a step farther than the one the bishops issued in July last year, when oppositionists were counting on them to help speed up the momentum created by Cory Aquino, the “Hyatt 10” group of resigned Cabinet officials, the Liberal Party, and business groups.
The Daily Tribune, frontpage:
A day after issuing their strongly-worded pastoral statement on the political turmoil present today, members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) openly expressed dissatisfaction with President Arroyo, saying she still is not doing enough in having the truth surface on the massive electoral fraud committed in 2004 as well as in the Virgilio Garcillano controversy.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the CBCP admitted that even as the bishops stopped short of openly calling for the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo, it can be said the bishops are unsatisfied with the Chief Executive’s handling of the issues involving the electoral fraud and the corruption in government.
“We are weighing it and her (moves) are insufficient,” Lagdameo told reporters during an interview at the prayer rally organized by the Silent Majority movement headed by Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz.
More from Ninez Cacho Olivarez and the Tribune Editorial.
From Ellen Tordesillas: Sampal ng mga Obispo
From the Malaya Editorial:
Huli man at dumating, magaling din," the saying goes. We can say the same thing about the bishops’ call for the "relentless pursuit of the truth" about Gloria Arroyo’s cheating during the 2004 election as shown by the "Hello Garci" wiretapped conversations. But how we wish the bishops had issued the call when it could have made a difference.
The bishops said the search for truth has been blocked and evaded. True. But the pastoral statement they issued after their plenary council meeting last weekend made no mention about who did the evading or obstructing. There’s a time for diplomacy and circumspection, and a time for raining hail and brimstone on unrepentant cheaters, liars and thieves. By their timidity, the shepherds sadly let their flock down.
Read the whole thing.
From 2004 prez candidate Sen. Ping Lacson:
SEN. Panfilo Lacson yesterday said President Arroyo should heed the pastoral letter of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines instead of twisting its contents in her favor.
"If there is a shred of self-respect left in GMA, she should concede that the CBCP is trying to tell her right in her face that they knew all along that she fixed her way out of impeachment," Lacson said in a statement.
He said the only reason the CBCP was not too harsh in its letter was that the bishops were "just trying to be priestly" in their statement.
The CBCP, after a three-day plenary council over the weekend, issued a letter calling for a "relentless search for the truth" over the "Hello Garci" tapes.
It said truth has become a "victim of political partisanship as well as of transactional politics" as it assailed "acts of evasion and obstructions of the truth."
Lacson said an "armor-plated skin," and not her claimed moral armor, saved Arroyo from impeachment over charges of "lying, cheating and stealing."
He said this was evident when she tried to grab credit for the achievements of other Filipinos, including overseas whose remittances strengthened the peso last December.