Philippine Bishops: "renew public life through moral values"

Harsh criticism from the Philippine Bishops Conference of ongoing corruption in politics.  Many see it as aimed at President Arroyo. "There is a need for change",  affirms Msgr Bacani.


Manila (AsiaNews) – In a document published by the Philippine Conference of Catholic Bishops on January 29th last, the bishops have strongly reprimanded the nations politicians for, citing widespread dishonesty and corruption.  The document also seems to refer to accusations against Head of State Arroyo.

According to the 120 bishops, politicians no longer behave as "public servants".  Instead , " partisan interests prevail over the demands of the common good ",  which leads to " apathy and cynicism with regard to politics have taken hold of the minds and hearts of many Filipinos ". There is an evident  " lost trust in political leaders from left, right, and center, and worse still, in the political institutions themselves which are perceived by many to be corrupted ".

The bishops also criticise economic policies, which has not benefited the nations poor, " Poverty remains the heaviest burden people bear ", many people have difficulty in earning enough to live on.

At the heart of the political chaos is "a crisis of moral values, a crisis of truth and justice, of unity and solidarity for the sake of the common good and genuine peace. ", " Truth has become a victim of political partisanship as well as of transactional politics ". The result is a general disinterest in the common good, with farmers who see the cost of living rise but the price of their products fall, the indigenous population threatened by illegal mining and illegal commercial trading and who risk losing their ancestral home.

"Pope Benedict XVI cites St. Augustine's observation that "a State which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves." (Deus Caritas Est, 28)".

The bishops continue "we also see many good and decent Filipinos, of different faith traditions, working selflessly and sincerely to build up our nation".

There is a need they say - " that the search for truth be relentlessly pursued through structures and processes mandated by law and our Constitution, " in order to restore moral values and solidarity to refuse violent actions that can only lead to greater injustices.

Many observers see this "call to the truth" a san invitation to the authority to clarify the accusations against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The political majority maintains that the President blocked all accusations of ballot fraud for procedural reasons, but a satisfactory conclusion to the case was never reached.

The search for truth in this area was stopped for technical reasons. Therefore - observed Msgr Angel Lagdameo, President of the Bishops  Conference, - it can be re-started".

"The President and other politicians made deals not to truth.  The bishops respect the President but it is our duty to inform here that a change is in need" says Msgr Teodoro Bacani.

"There was a general consensus on the need for this document – underlines Msgr Lagdameo – following a lengthy debate with more than 137 separate interventions" . (PB)

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