Bishops call for “liberators”


Five Catholic bishops tell reporters change is needed

Five Catholic bishops tell reporters change is needed

“Who will pick up the broken, shattered pieces of our country, hurting from poverty and corruption, to make it whole again? Inspite of the seemingly hopeless and negative prognosis, our liberation may yet serendipitously happen. We are dreaming, praying and hoping that our country may yet have the needed liberators. Yes, liberators who will in a courageous peaceful way effectively and uncompromisingly reform our country.” — Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo**

**They later clarified that the liberators may either be “among us…or within us.”
notes taken during the presscon. Not complete, not for quotation, only for background information. Words in parentheses are questions.

Bishop jose sorra, bishop emeritus of legaspi
Bishop Socrates villegas, diocese of balanga
Archbishop angel lagdameo, archdiocese of jaro
Bishop joel baylon, diocese of Masbate
Archbishop oscar cruz, archdiocese of lingayen-dagupan

Lagdameo reads statement: ang aming pagpupulungan ay produkto ng circle of discernment. Matagal nang pinagpupulungan subalit hindi makakuha ng panahon at pagkakataon kung paano maibabahagi sa lipunan hanggang dumating kamaikailan lamang ang isang sulat na galing sa amrsp…ang nakatigatig sa aming damdamin ay ang sin Asabi nila sa sa huling paragraph ng sullat na sin Asabi at this time when people are losing hope and are becoming cynical and apathetic a prophetic word from you will be like a Pentecost event, a rekindling of hope and inspiration and impetus to take part in a social transformation. Bunga ng pagbabahaginan ng aming 5 Obispo.

20 m hungry Filipinos disagree with a proclaimed ramdam ang… with their own experience, ramdam ang kahirapan, ramdam ang gutom. The benefits of the much proclaimed econ growth are not felt by the people, not felt by the masses…biggest cause is graft and corruption. Graft and corruption which has invaded all public and private institutions. Corruption is abuse or misuse of public and private office to unlawfully enrich oneself or those close to him or induce others to do the same…moral issue and a moral problem. How do ordinary citizens rate corruption in our country? Hindi kasama mga madre, Obispo saka mga pari. On a scale of one to 10 with 10 as highest, how rampant is corruption today? 62 respondents…5 gave corruption rate of 10+. Nine rated with a corruption rate of 9…3 with five. 15 respondents gave descriptions of corruption. In the past few years up to today we have watched how corruption became massive, systemic, endemic…faces and symptoms of corruption…overpriced projects, multibillion scams of various kinds, election manipulation, anomalous transactions, bribery of high and low, unsolved murders, especially of media practitioners. Corruption is social and moral cancer. What are the consequences? Political eleciton – damages pol legitimacy, integrity and competence. Impedes econ devt, worsens income inequity and poverty, endangers public order and safety, bureaucratic inefficiency and demoralization. Corruption begets bad governance, bad politics and bad governance bad politics beget further corruption. Is it any wonder then that our country is tagged as the most corrupt in asia, and the 11th most corrupt…transparency intl. if we are not horrified, disguted and exasperated, not enraged by these realities, can we still say that we love our country? Where is our patriotism? In this country we identify easily with victims of pickpockets and snatchers and we easily throw them, these small time thieves to almost forever languish in prison but when it comes to big time crooks and public officials stealing billions of people’s money, it takes forever to prove their crime. There is so much embarrassing…corruption is the worst form of crime because it kills the common good, the poor and hungry, the country. It violates god’s commandment, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill. When there is corruption at time it becomes nearly impossible to eradicate corruption at lowest level of govt. there is no moral ascendancy to demand honesty…so much has been said about the roots of present pol crisis and some people say it is now the time to move past this crisis. But under these circumstances, 2010 elections, if they ever come, will only reproduce the crisis, the appearance of new faces in gov’t will lull us into thinking we have survived crisis and new era is upon us. As the worsening poverty and hunger figures in our country show, unless we institute dramatic changes in way we conduct politics, govt will sooner than we think become irrelevant to the lives of the fils. We bishops have not been lacking our own discernment and assessment of situation. Almost every year, twing 3 years nagbibigay kami ng statement…1997 – phil pols, the way it is practiced had been most hurtful of us as a people. Possibly the biggest bane in our life as nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving of full human devt. 2003: in the strongest term we condemn graft and corruption as sin against god…urge formation of citizens’ council to promote public awareness, monitor of public funds an dinitiate charges against guilty officials…2005 — moral accountability calls for radical reforms in various agencie sof govt to make them more responsive to requirements of integrity as well as t oneeds of poor. Feb — strongly condemn the continuing culture of corruption, from top to bottom of social and political order. In response to the global econ crisis that we are facing today..and in response to pitiful state of our country..time to rebuild our country econ, politically, socially, minus corruption is now. The time to start radical reform is not later, but now. The time for moral regeneration which has been long delayed is now. Time to conquer complacency, cynicism and apathy, and to prove we have matured from our pol disappointments is now. Time to prepare a new govt is now. But who will pick up the broken, shattered pieces of our country, hurting from poverty and corruption, to make our country whole again? Inspite of seemingly hopeless, negative prognosis, our liberation may yet serendipitously happen. …liberators…in a peaceful way…mabini: kailangan radikal na baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi pagiisip at pamumuhay.

Villegas: some of us are being asked…there is an impending global crisis, econ crisis…and maybe what the govt needs are support, not criticism, what the govt needs are support from church, all sectors of society coming together and being united. Yet we are making this statement.. We believe if we had been less corrupt better prepared to face impending global crisis. The problem of phils is not population, if we had been half less corrupt, more money to feed children, put up schools, bring medicines to hospitals…problem is not population, problem is corruption. Just cut corruption in half and we would have enough money to take care of poor. Making this statement not against anyone…heart goes out to poor…lagdameo led us to hope that there will be liberators but sisters and brothers I hope that you see that the liberator is not coming from outside, from heaven…could be among us, could be within us. Let us not wait, let us not wait passively by side. Let us be actively involved…offer alternatives so that the poor who suffer may be attended to, our country may recover and face impending crisis with greater hope and greater strength…

Jose sorra, from legaspi: I’m already a bishop emeritus…retired…to do witnessing to the role of every christian…no retiring from doing good…for evil to thrive, enough for good men not to do anything…we have got really to respond, too the challenges, especially moral challenges…passing by when read letter of appeal from amrsp…
We of the bishops conference have been dishing out pastoral letters one after the other…one pastoral letter every three years starting 1997 when archbishop cruz here was our pres, about phil politics…

Oscar cruz: we are in very precarious not to mention dangerous situation…not to threaten anybody but just to say the truth whether it be painful or pitiful. And the truth I would like to say is this, without any reservation, any qualification: that the corruption in such an intensive and extensive degree in phils is a crime that cries to heaven for vengeance. the way corruption in this country has become endemic, systemic, from top to bottom of gov’t is a crime that cries to heaven for vengeance. Translation: these corrupt public officials from national to local level, and corruption not only by the millions but by the billions, they’ll have to answer before god. The millions of children who have not enough to eat, who do not eat enough to grow healthy, the millions of children who do not even have the opportunity to go to school, these are millions of children, and these corrupt people in gov’t will have to answer for this. And I add, the millions of people who have leave their families and countries because there is no work here, leaving their children just to earn a living, discriminated, violated but there they go, by the millions, they love their country but they have to leave. Reason: there is no work, no employment. Cause: massive corruption. These public officials will have to answer for this. And how about the millions of elderly who do not even have medicines, cannot afford to have medicines to buy and care for themselves? These corrupt incarnate public officials will answer for this. And it is not enough for them to be penalized by the human justice system, that is the implication of crimes that cry to heaven for vengeance. Perhaps who knows they might be given the punishment they deserve but that is not enough. Someone else in higher authority will punish them as they deserve.

(advocating a revolution) lagdameo: I am advocating for a revolution that means a change of heart and living…by the citizens of our country, starting with us. In the spirittual life, when we say conversion, that in secular terms is revolution.

(advocating for change in gov’t) a revolution on our part which will start with change of heart. Katulad ng sinabi ni mabini…
(ano po mas madali, baguhin ang pagiisip o iniisip) pareho iyan
(circle of discernment…how many compose this circle..if graft and corruption culprit…can you point to pres as responsible) lagdameo: as I have read from letter of amrsp…undertaking circles of discernment among themselves. In agate joined done by priests. Among bishops there is established circles of discernment Luzon visayas Mindanao. In jaro bishops will be gathered for circles of discernment.
(resp of pres in all these) I would say that when it comes to corruption there are so many guilty people. Corruption is committed even without dictates of president
(tolerance of people doing that…level of resp of pres) we should say…command responsibility…
(you were saying about liberators among us and within us…what is your alternative, what do you want people to do) Socrates: the liberator is not coming from heaven…within us, those among you listening to us, within you…what I want to say is let us not passively wait for solution, let us take active involvement. I hope the statement of us bishops will disturb you. We are not here to bring you peace, we are here to disturb you. May the lord trouble you. The trouble that comes from the lord will make you a better person, and our country a better country. Protest is good but alternative is better.
If we will all do something positively, we will overcome power of evil. Keep on protesting against rampant graft and corruption. Use little positive energy that we have to improve the lives of people. In the provinces what we need are quality teachers, decent classrooms, new desks…simple needs. With the rate of corruption, if we can cut it in half, we would have enough medicines, enough food.
(what do you expect bishops to do now) sorra: we are doing it now. We have also been following up pastoral letter with individual initiatives in dioceses…even if we have done all these, perhaps not enough, still why is it that corruption is worsening and worsening according to the official survey…here in the phils. What is wrong? I think we have been bombarding you from the pulpit to pray and pray…first message of lord in first Christmas was peace to men of goodwill. Unless we do something with our own problem, don’t think the lord will help us because we are not ready to be helped. Are we doing something to pave the lord’s way to bring us peace? From the results, it seems nothing is happening.
(wanted to disturb the people…statement said…time is now…do you believe current gov’t capable of bringing about those changes) soc: we are not social troublemakers, we are soul troublemakers. We want to disturb consciences because when consciences are disturbed, then change we want from gov’t and society will come from within us. Present situation capable of improving it: will have to be very drastic and very dramatic. But token actions, imprisonments and prosecutions will not help. Has to be change from within and systemic change to bring about the dream phils that we want.
(change of gov’t) no please go to page2. The appearance of new faces in gov’t may lull us into thinking we have survived crisis…unless we institute dramatic changes in way we conduct politics…even if we have elections in 2010 or the impeachment process succeeds, resignation is heeded, if there is no dramatic changes in way we conduct politics, it would be tapos na kayo, sobra na kayo, kami naman. Moving from one crisis to another. That is not the country we dream of, it is moving from crisis into hope.
(support impeachment case, call on citizens to pressure congressmen to support impeachment) lagdameo: as I have answered that same question when I was asked by radio veritas, let us all be vigilant and watch how our congressmen will behave in this case that they have brought up.although we have heard negative reactions on this impeachment case bec we are running after number, if we simply count number those going for impeachment will really lose.
(sorra said bishops in past have written letters…seems nothing has changed, seems to get worse…to soc as head of catechesis, and baylon as youth, what are your commissions doing in practical steps not theoretical papers you’ve been giving out since 1950…)baylon: prepared letter as corollary to this, exhortation to the young. I think it’s about time to let our people recognize they have power to do something…they feel we are not doing enough, we are also just as limited…it is not the church’s responsibility to build a just society, it is politic’s responsibility to do that…asking our people to make certain concrete actions…can only provide moral guidance, certain actions they can do…always recognize that spirit that must guide them.
Soc: we go into formations of conscience and look forward to day parents and families will come together and say enough. Calling for end of corruption, crimes of gov’t…should not be…bishops. Hope lay people will be one to take up leadership to call for vigilance against corruption in gov’t.
(please name names and cite specific instances) cruz: I will talk. The question was asked before if we can pin the source of corruption to anyone in particular in gov’t. yes because the incumbent malacanang occupant not long ago has received the distinguished award, never given before, in phil history as the most corrupt president. More concrete than that I do not know how to say. So our country is not only in the 11th place of most corrupt from bottom, we are even a gold medalist of corruption in our national leadership. To say that the malacanang occupant is but firewall in corruption and not leader is asking too much. Perhaps if that is said it will take somebody from moon to believe that the head of corruption is down below and not above.
(naniniwala ba kayo…pwede bang mamuno ng reform si gma) hwag naman. Walang ganyayan.
(noli) walang ganyanan.
(villar) walang ganyanan.
(nograles) walang ganyanan.
(chief justice) okay yan.
(yano) okay yan. Tama na. nasa order of battle na ko, saka 80 na ang libel cases ko, dadadagan mo pa.
(for cruz: do you think there will be elections in 2010) this is not really an opinion but this is coming from very strong and vibrant grapevine. What is being said is that elections in 2010 is a big dream. In short elections in 2010 up to this time that I am talking is a moral impossibility. Reason, and I would like you to watch out if what I’m saying is going to take place: when congress opens on nov10, charter change will be an open, public and well-funded move in the lower house. Whether it will triumph in the senate that is still debatable. But again I repeat: no more camouflage, no more double talk, no more indirect insinuation but charter change will be an honest to goodness agenda for congress and it is through the constitutional assembly. Moment it passes lower house, and moment it passes senate, and there is a plebiscite, then it is done. Because the local governments are all in the command of malacanang. And definitely the charter change is not for patriotic reasons. The charter change is not really intended for national development or for common welfare, it is intended principally, basically fundamentally to extend the term of office of the incumbent. I hope to god and I prayed very dearly that I am wrong. But that is what I know.
(what does cbcp intend to do about it in case it materializes) that is for the president to answer.
Lagdameo: we will cross the bridge when we get there and we hope that we meet each other.
(bolante expected to arrive tonight. What do you think he should do when he arrives) lagdameo: my advice to him is to tell the truth. Tell the truth and nothing but the truth.
(in case humingi ng refuge sa catholic church in protection of truth) kung humingi ng…dadalhin ko siya sa kumpisalan…dun siya magtago.
(let’s be clarified…is your statement as jaro arch or cbcp pres) this statement I prepared as archbishop of jaro. In fact I used the letterhead of archbishop and in response to desire, inspiration that has been given to us by the amrsp…this is the fruit of the exchanges of the five of us. This is the fruit of communal discernment, reflection naming lima. Komentaryo ay pagpapaliwanag sa sinabi namin dito.


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