I would like to think that more than a priest and one of the pillars of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle’s criticism of government officials, particularly those trusted and voted upon to look after the welfare of the country and the interest of the Filipino people, was made as a citizen of the republic.
Exasperated, just like many of us, Tagle denounced to all and sundry, during a Good Governance Forum for Lay Leaders at the Santuario de San Vicente de Paul Shrine in Quezon , the corrupt practices done by the so-called public servants, calling them ‘thick-faced, insensitive and very brave’, for they have the gall to steal public funds. He clarified and qualified their bravery, however, as misplaced, for it had nothing to do with heroism, nor defending the interest of the people, but, rather, he hinted at the evil of their desires, the impunity of their actions and the scandalous enormity of the amount each allegedly received as kickbacks.
Obviously, Tagle was referring to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. who are charged with plunder and awaiting arrest, and 35 other people, including former members of the House of Representatives and former government officials, also indicted for plunder and graft in the Sandiganbayan over the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
What a contrasting view Cardinal Tagle has compared to the plea made by the head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, asking the faithful not to condemn those accused in the P 10 billion pork barrel scam.
Needless to say that Tagle’s thoughts and sentiments on the people implicated in the scam run parallel with many of us who had been taken for a ride by these rascals, and how irrational Villegas has been in his stupid plea.
I had been always critical at the leaders of the Catholic Church when the start meddling in the affairs of the State. But when they go down from their pedestals and be one of us, as citizens of the republic, in criticizing and repudiating the politicians who are now implicated in the evil scheme of enriching themselves at the expense of the poor Filipinos, then I welcome very much that gesture.
Thank you, Cardinal Tagle, for being brutally frank.