Monday, June 26, 2006

Has Gloria Lost The Catholic Church?

he characterization of One Voice as an "Act of Contrition" by certain people, may be a tad schadenfreudian, or even deluded, but as I look over the list of signatories again, I see why the notion resonated with some of Philippine Commentary's regulars. The One Voice movement includes that "conservative wing" of Civil Society that has actually propped up Gloria Macapagal Arroyo by not acting more resolutely against the President and her policies -- until now. This includes the hierarchy of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), led by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo (a Blogging Bishop) and counterparts of the De La Salle Brothers from the Ateneo, San Beda, Miriam, St. Scholastica's, who have not heretofore taken such an explicit stance of opposition to the president. (DLSU's Christian Brothers -- Fratres Scholarum Christianorum -- crossed over to the "Left-wing" of GMA's former supporters quite early in the Hello Garci scandal, by leading the major private religious schools in calling for the resignation of the President at the same time as the Hyatt Ten.)

Now they are all against her on at least one substantive and perhaps decisive issue: NO to CHACHA. I think it's a major shift in the stance of the Catholic Church and may have some bearing on events about to unfold. It's quite a surprising turn of events in some respects, considering how the President just fulfilled a long-standing Church campaign to abolish the Death Penalty, and has even hied herself off to the seat of the Holy Roman Empire bearing it as a gift for Pope Benedict. Perhaps the Bishops saw through the pandering involved in Gloria's somesault from lethal injector to unctuous abolitionist. This impression can only be deepened by the hypocritical alacrity with which she runs to kiss the Papal ring as if she had been earnestly working for it all along. Sure to loudly ring her own bells of self-benediction upon returning from the Vatican and Spain, she may mistake the cold welcome of surly men for envy. But it may be distrust, or even disgust, that they feel for what she has already done -- and remorseful chagrin at what they themselves have failed to do! She has certainly not heeded their advice, nor fulfilled her promises to them. I also find it touching that these Churchmen have apparently rediscovered the importance of democratic elections and respecting the people's true will. It's taken over five years since the Edsa Dos coup d'etat in which the Catholic Church was more than complicit, but it is a realization that comes better late than never. Gloria, in their estimation, has perhaps, finally exceeded Joseph Estrada in her potential for doing evil.

FR. JOAQUIN BERNAS succinctly summarizes what is really at stake with the People's Initiative of Sigaw ng Bayan, after visiting their website and discovering there a copy of the Petition to be filed with Comelec for the Supreme Court to step in ...
But if the Court should let tragedy fall upon us, surely we will debate whether we should strip the people of the right to vote for a President, whether to do away with elections in 2007, whether to let Jose de Venecia lead the formulation of the revision, whether to fuse the Senate and House into one powerful body with an indefinite life, whether to remove the power of the Supreme Court to check grave abuse of discretion on the part of government officials, whether to expand the commander-in-chief powers of the President to a level rivaling Marcos, and whether to give to the present holders of power longer, more enjoyable and more rewarding tenure.These are questions that are all preeminently worthy of debate. But, as I said, let Sigaw ng Bayan make the preparatory salvo by bringing its shout to the ears of the Comelec. What is holding Sigaw back?
Fr. Bernas notes that Sigaw ng Bayan probably won't be able to meet the Constitutional requirement that 3% of every legislative district sign the petition, reporting on at least two districts in "Lobregat country" down south that did not have any petitioners. He doesn't think they can get past Santiago vs. Comelec (1997).

The argument that the One Voice movement is an elitist movement that opposes Charter Change just coz, is advanced here by Atty. Rita Linda V. Jimeno, writing for the Standard, right underneath Bong Austero on this same topic, who can't seem decide what to think about this one.

DEATH PENALTY ABOLISHED: As I feared, that one billion peso all out war on the communist insurgency, is really a billion pesos worth of OPTICS-- nothing but a cynical moro-moro to neutralize the fall-out from the administration's peremptory abolition of the death penalty. Hounded by victims and anticrime crusaders, and not wanting to look soft on heinous criminality, President Arroyo has adopted the pretense of being a dictatorial warmonger ready to unleash a bloodbath on the Left. Of course, certain Media outlets and left-wing supporters of the CPP-NPA glady obliged by over-dramatizing and aggrandizing the President's tough posturing against the armed insurgency. Over the weekend, the Left's media and propaganda bureaus were working overtime on the fairy tale that there is an assassination plot against Jose Ma. Sison, who is basking in the sun of the liberal Dutch welfare state right into the sunset of his own sorry and murderous career. By thus portraying her as an anticommunist tyrant, the Left paints itself in holy martyrdom's habitual colors, but unwittingly puts a tough veneer on the President.

ROUND 2 of the Impeachment Battle began today with the filing by 200 citizens of an impeachment complaint, readily endorsed by Minority Leader Chiz Escudero. But it all boils down to this: do they have the required number of 79? MLQ3 tackles the absurdities of Romulo Macalintal in his PDI column today.

CARMEN GUERRERO NAKPIL proves how durable the hold of the Catholic Church truly is on the Filipino consciousness, despite being layered on a distinctly anti-Western nationalism and "Asianism" in politics and culture. Tita Chitang revels in the existence of a map purportedly by "a Chinese Admiral Zheng He" who beat Columbus to the discovery of America by 75 years. Of course, this is hardly significant in the light of quite old knowledge that America was discovered by the people who became the "American Indians" in far more ancient times. (I think they were Igorots who decided to move on from Banaue and finally arrived in Alaska.) But after summarizing some popscience on the Big Bang, she says of the creation vs. evolution debate:
The above paragraph, a condensation of a long science article, and the trouble my readers and I have assimilating it, leads me to see why most of us prefer the Biblical version of how life on earth started. The story of the 6-day Creation by God of life’s elements and everything on this earth, including the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, is somehow more understandable and easier to accept than the convolutions of molecules and amyloids locked in chemical reactions. Thank God for the Bible too.
Yet, just a few paragraphs back she was all praises for Admiral Zheng He who...
was already familiar with all the continents, including Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australia, Europe and Asia and took for granted that the earth was round as early as 1418.
Lucky Zheng He didn't read the Bible...he might have ended up in the Philippines instead of America!




This post of yours is very, very relevant in the current Philippine political setting.


I don't profess to be a good Christian and don't wish to go beyond the group's potential "act of contrition" scenario which had already crossed my mind but what you said could well sum up la raison d'être for ONE VOICE: "It's taken over five years since the Edsa Dos coup d'etat in which the Catholic Church was more than complicit, but it is a realization that comes better late than never."

Hence I bid them again and again, fair wind!

Juan said...


Anna's take on this "potential 'act of contrition' scenario which had already crossed my mind but what you said could well sum up la raison d'être for ONE VOICE"
is pretty much the tone of Christian Monsod when interviewed this a.m., with Crispin Remulla, an Erap core-grouper, reminding him of crucial EDSA2 constitutional 'twists'.

As early as Nov 2000, the mobilization for ouster was decided upon firmly by some key edsa2 movers. I had attended a forum that time, I forced my self to speak out though I am the only one not in agreement with the mobilization dictum. I questioned the "betrayal of hope in the constitutional/legal process" by this pre-emminent group,when an impeachment had barely started . The 'one voice' 'potential for act of contribution' reminded me of my pointed question in that gathering: "Who will be accountable?" But, I gleam, your question is, "is this act of contrition' enough?" Crispin Remulla said they must return what was taken as part the remedial process.

But then again, the only way one voice's call can be valid is if their call for an 'act of contrition' is an open invitation to all, mea culpa

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

Is impeachment a GAME? Congressman Nograles thinks it is. And yet according to him it is not a game of skill and ability but of numbers. Rather, it is decided by how many more people are on one side has. If this is true, then a Parliamentary System, if they are going to be the players, will also be a numbers game. That is PATHETIC.

Rizalist said...

When it comes to "acts of contrition" -- it really depends on what you do after that tells whether it was sincere or not. My question was the title: Has GMA "lost" the CC in the sense that even those who wanted Erap out may come to realize how wrong what happened at Edsa Dos really was, not just for Erap but all of us and the future of Democracy itself. I think that much of the Filipino people "gave up" on Democracy after Edsa 2, even as Civil Societies who helped oust him went on to glory and riches along with GMA, or just continued their privileged lives. But the Bishops are essentially good men, imo, and they are CORRIGIBLE, they can learn and the can change how they think about things, even God!

So One Voice is a hopeful sort of sound. It's the sound of "Uh oh we were so wrong on some things, but now let's do it right!"

It's the right wing of Civil Society regaining consciousness!

Juan said...


Thanks. "It's the right wing of Civil Society regaining consciousness!"

'right wing' or 'righteous with wings'Civil Society (whom Erap calls _vil Society)?