July 6, 2005 · Posted in: In the News

Awaiting the bishops’ move

MALACAÑANG knows only too well that the “Hello Garci” scandal is less a political and electoral issue than a moral one. That is why it apprehensively awaits the statement the 110-member Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is scheduled to issue this weekend on the controversial recording and other scandals that have rocked the Arroyo presidency.

“(The bishops) are the moral authority; they are the key. What they say will swing the public,” Ricardo Saludo, secretary to Arroyo’s Cabinet, told PCIJ in a private briefing.

Saludo described the president as a “person with high religious and moral values.” But he stopped short of saying if she would step down from office if asked to do so by the CBCP, after she herself had admitted a “lapse in judgment” in calling then Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano after the May 2004 elections.

“I think she’d take that (the CBCP position) seriously and would look at it in a moral light,” Saludo said.

The CBCP is holding its biannual plenary assembly at the Pope Pius XII Center on UN Avenue, Manila this week. After a two-day retreat today and tomorrow, the bishops will meet Friday and elect a new set of new officers on Saturday.

The bishops will issue on Saturday at the earliest a statement on the ongoing Garci recordings, the juetenggate and other controversies. Their position will be shaped largely by the new leadership that will be installed, Church insiders say.

Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla, who is seen as close to Mrs. Arroyo, is the outgoing president and has made it known that he is not seeking a second term.

Three archbishops — Gaudencio Rosales of Manila, Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, Iloilo and Paciano Aniceto of San Fernando, Pampanga — are frontrunners in this year’s elections.

A CBCP source said, however, this does not exclude other senior bishops, including the outspoken Bishop Julio Xavier Labayen, from running. Following Arroyo’s June 27 public apology for calling Garcillano, Labayen and several other bishops called for Arroyo’s resignation, saying she has lost the moral and legal authority to lead.

rosales2-a.jpgRosales, meanwhile, led bishops in Metro Manila in declaring Arroyo’s public apology as inadequate. “Genuine forgiveness demands more than an apology, and those who seek forgiveness should be ready to be called to accountability,” the metropolitan bishops said in a statement.

lagdameo2-a.jpgIn a circular last June 30, Lagdameo, currently CBCP vice president and described by followers as an “activist” priest, called for reforms in the government, praying that “President Gloria Arroyo may be open to the true solution of ‘lost credibility’ dictated by God in the light of emerged and emerging circumstances.”

Mrs. Arroyo is usually present at Aniceto’s birthday celebrations or when the prelate marks the anniversary of his priesthood.  But the Pampanga archbishop is perceived as independent and has so far not issued any statement on the Palace scandals.  Aniceto also discreetly kept a distance from the ecumenical prayer organized last month by pro-Arroyo public officials and business leaders.

aniceto2-a.jpgHis archdiocese, however, recently recirculated a six-page position paper calling for a stop to jueteng and opposing calls to legalize the illegal numbers game. The position paper was first issued last Dec. 10.

During the private briefing for PCIJ, Saludo categorically denied that Malacanang engineered the filing of the temporary restraining order against the expanded value-added tax law to draw the heat away from the Garci recordings.

“It’s too risky to engineer something like that,” he said, explaining that the government can manage the risks in the VAT and would not risk ruffling the market. “It’s a no-brainer.”

The secretary to the Cabinet emphasized the need for the government to focus on governance issues, particularly improving the economy and reaching out to marginalized sectors. “We acknowledge there are political issues, but governance should be the primary concern,” he said.

Saludo also believes investor confidence in the Arroyo administration remains, saying the president has laid strong macroeconomic fundamentals.

He acknowledged, however, that the controversies dogging the presidency cannot drag on for more than three months. “If it takes too long, they (investors) might start unloading investments they made,” Saludo said.

12 Responses to Awaiting the bishops’ move



July 6th, 2005 at 10:37 pm

“(The bishops) are the moral authority; they are the key. What they say will swing the public,” Ricardo Saludo, secretary to Arroyo’s Cabinet.

Saludo described the president as a “person with high religious and moral values.”

“I think she’d take that (the CBCP position) seriously and would look at it in a moral light,” Saludo said.


This statement really bothers me. The mind of Malacanan seems to be in place at the center of CBCP.

We all know GMA. She cheated to win. She’s afraid to lose.

Now they are declaring that if CBCP ask Arroyo to resign then she will? A very unlikely indeed.

Malacanan will try to have a privy if not influence CBCP’s stand. They will plant a number of bishop who would take their money and vision. Remember the affiliate of the CBCP proclaimed and defended Arroyo? At best, CBCP would try to calm the situation but would offer no progressive stance on the issue of Electoral Fraud and questionable leadership.

Malacanan will try to influence CBCP and calm its statement to be not in favor of Arroyo but in favor of social and economical stability, the rule of law and the Constitution.

If the CBCP takes this path then they too loose their moral mandate.

Mrs. Arroyo is not a child. Would she wait for the CBCP to judge her morals? Based on Saludo’s statement, Mrs. Arroyo is waiting… they are waiting? Malacanan is waiting?

Shouldn’t Mrs. Arroyo state it again the nth time that she did not cheat? Instead of waiting for the CBCP. This stance of Malacanan is a bit puzzling. Like they are not really waiting for the CBCP, BUT waiting for the people to hear CBCP.

Which equates to Malacanan expecting a favorable response from the Bishops.



July 7th, 2005 at 2:53 am

Masiyadong pinagugulo ang Isyu…… mas mabuti pa ang simpleng tao sa daan kung iyong tatanungin…. alam nila na ito ay patungkol sa mga hindi tamang gawain ng Nanahan sa Palasyo…
Importante ba, na kung ang mga tape o c.d.’s ay galing sa oposisyon?….
siguro..ngunit ang pagkakasala ay nakamit hindi dahil sa udyok ng oposisyon, ito ay kusang ginawa ng mga tauhan sa kanilang pansariling kagustuhan at dahil sa udyok ng kanilang pansariling interes.
Mahalaga pa ngang napunta ang mga recording’s na ito sa mga “oposisyon”, dahil sa kung hindi ay may katapat lang itong “kapangyarihan’, pang-sariling interes, o salapi …upang hindi na masikatan ng araw at hindi na magisnan o marinig ng sambayanan….(masdan si DOBLE)…
Ngayon ay parang napakabigat na bagay at ipinagpupumilit, na dahil sa kadahilanang galing sa oposisyon ang mga c.d.’s o tape, mawawalan na ito ng kredibilidad…. sa anong kadahilanan?
-na sila ang gumawa ng boses ng makapangyarihan sa Palasyo?
-na sila ang nagplano sa pandaraya upang matalo ang kanilang sarili?

Hindi ko maintindihan ang ganitong mga pasakalye… ito ba ay mga hakbang upang takpan ang mga nakakasilaw na KATOTOHANAN?…….
Na dahil sa ganitong pangyayari, ibig nilang kalimutan na lang ang mga “narinig” at ipagpalagay na “kathang-isip”?

Aking ipinagdadasal na sana’y hindi kasing-kitid ng kanilang paniniwala ang pananaw ng mga Obispo.
Na sanay silay laging nakapanalig sa “KATOTOHANAN”….



July 7th, 2005 at 3:21 am

Whatever Malacanan says, everything remains to be seen. There’s no sense second-guessing the position that the110 bishops will take on the Gloriagate scandal.think all of them will be detached from any previous dealings with or references to GMA. I have strong faith in their independence.

But I will pay hard that God will show these bishops the light to see the bare truth, no ifs and buts. For me, it is simple. Since they are prelates with a duty to teach and guide their flock, they should be able to boil down the problem to just one question: What commandment did Gloria break when she lied to the people and when she engaged in cheating. Having broken these commandments, will she still be able to command respect and obedience?

If I am one of them, my answer will be a resounding NO. Hence, GMA should give way to a new leader. Ipanalangin at abangan na lang natin ang sasabihin ng mga obispong ito.Konting hintay n alang. Hanggang Sabado na lang or Linggo.

Ibig sabihin, sa Lunes, the Philippines will be a FREE country once again. Thank you Lord!!! Wishful thinking yan pero who knows?




July 7th, 2005 at 3:22 am

correction: I will pray (not pay, bribery yon) hard to God…




July 7th, 2005 at 6:55 am




July 7th, 2005 at 10:42 am

If this recent developments be treated like a game of CHESS,

I am expecting a BISHOP’s GAMBIT to come into play on moral ground with a faint hope that this will lead to a QUEEN’s capture and subsequently towards the ultimate goal of a having CHECKMATE.

Reminds me again of accepted CHESS protocol :
Rather than be humiliated by an impending defeat,
honorable opponents choose to RESIGN.



July 7th, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Which means that Mrs. Arroyo, by hook or by crook, is expecting at least a sober response from CBCP.

110 bishops will discuss and formulate a moral justification. If GMA can have 5 very sober minded bishops at her side, it could affect the outcome to be as that — not favorable for Mrs. Arroyo’s actions but favorable for her stay in office.

This is a political crisis. So Malacanan will try to infiltrate politics into the ranks of CBCP.

Im reading the mind of a criminal here.



July 7th, 2005 at 12:50 pm

I would be very surprised if the CBCP will come up with a position different from what Cardinal Rosales and Cory Aquino have earlier stated. But if you read through the meaning of the visitation made by Cardinal Rosales and Cory Aquino to Veep de Castro, its may be an ominous sign of the bishops’ current mood. In the remote possibility that their decision is for the President to resign, they would advise everybody to observe the rule of law and contitutional law of succession which means to say that Noli de Castro may shortly be the Philippines next President. I expect the bishops also to be more forgiving to Gloria and advise her before they make public their collective statement. A Gloria resignation might come simultaneous with the bishop’s announcement. To assuage foreign investors and the business sector, Noli will announce to continue the economic policies set forth by Gloria and keep her economic team. To appease the opposition, Noli will, aside from announcing his reform package, appoint oppositionists in his Cabinet. Gloria may be allowed to go on exile in the U.S. where her family should have been by then. Now, this scenario is the only ‘change’ scenario acceptable by Glorias supporters, the middle class, the military, and the business community. I wouldn’t be surprised if efforts to improve the image of Veep de Castro as a viable President are in the works, initiated by known allies of the Palace in the media. Unlike GMA the Veep is no policy wonk and is perceived as a lightweight. Gloria’s departure of course will be heralded as a heroic Christ-like sacrifice to save the nation from the brink of collapse. Now, the question is, will this scenario happen? It depends on who blinks first. The Bishops know that to call for Gloria to resign in a confrontational manner will bring people to the streets bigtime and cause chaos to the country. They might be at this stage trying the moral suasion strategy on Gloria. But then again, the bishops might soften up on Gloria. After all, she is probably the only President who has openly courted the Church’s support. The Presidents provincial forays are always followed by a visit to the local bishops residence. Her stance on divorce, family planning, and the death penalty are virtually the Catholic Church’s position. So, what do you think?



July 7th, 2005 at 2:51 pm




July 8th, 2005 at 7:37 am

The bishops (not all of them) are partly to be blamed for the mess we are in. If I remember right, they are the first ones to claim that the elections were clean and honest despite the fact that PPCRV volunteers documented many irregularities during the polls. Those volunteers submitted proofs to their excellencies but were virtually trashed. Now, do we expect them to face up to gloria to tell her that she cheated?



July 8th, 2005 at 5:53 pm

Sana bago gamitin ang simbahan sa politika kailangan magbayad muna kayo ng tax. Kausapin nyo na lang si gma ng personal para matauhan siya. Sana gabayan nyo na yong susunod na mamumuno.



July 15th, 2005 at 3:04 am

Sa isang bahagi sa introduction ng librong “The Book of Virtues” ni William J. Benett. “moral education- the training of heart and mind toward the good- involves many things”. It involves rules and precepts- the dos and don’ts of life with others- as well as explicit instruction, exhortation, and training. And moral education must affirm the central importance of moral example. It has been said that there is nothing more influential, more determinant, in a child’s life than the moral power of quiet example. For children to take morality seriously they must be in the presence of adults who take morality seriously. And in their own eyes, they must see adults take morality seriously”.

Ang ating pagsangayon at inaasahan sa Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines o CBCP position ay magkaiba. The CBCP position is not disagreeable because it discusses generalities gaya ng moralidad. Sino ba naman ang hindi sasangayon sa moralidad? However, what it is short on is defining and identifying a moral controversy. Kapagka moral na kontrobersiya ang pinaguusapan, simple lamang naman ho ang standard o panuntunan ko diyan- explain like you were talking to a four year old child. The position paper and the CBCP is no different from “the waiter in the restaurant” situation. The waiter gives the child the menu but fails to tell him what is fatal to his health. Sa halip, ang sabi ng waiter, orderin mo yung pinakamahal na pagkain sa menu. Pagpaumanhin po ninyo, pero that is my personal assessment of a very vague general statement of the CBCP on a clear and concise credibility issue.

Sabi ng mga Obispo, hindi raw sila politiko. Basahin ninyo at namnamin ang kanilang posisyon, and you will agree with me that it is couched in the vaguest of terms, which is another definition for being politically correct. Bakit ko ho ba nasabi na merong moral na kontrobersiya na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa nasasagot ng maayos? Para ho lubusan nating maintindihan ito, dapat ay balikan natin ang puso ng kontrobersiyang ito, ang “hello Garci tapes”. Alam ho ninyo, a normal communication exchange, normal na paguusap, na nagreresulta sa isang malinaw na pagkakaintindihan ay meron tatlong bahagi: una, obtaining information. Pangalawa, verifying the information obtained. This is usually expressed in the form of a statement- tama ba ang pagkakaintindi ko sa sinabi mo? Pangatlo, transmitting the info required. Hence, you obtain, verify, and transmit. Duon sa “Garci tapes”, nang sabihin nung hindi pinangalanang commissioner, “yung ginawa na pagpapataas sa inyo”, PGMA did not verify her understanding of the statement, “pagpapataas sa inyo”. Ang ibig sabihin lamang nito ay meron na silang intindihan (si PGMA at yung COMELEC official) on the course of action na merong kaugnayan sa “pagpapataas”. Such failure to verify constitutes a fatal flaw in lapse in judgement as a defense. A prior agreement suggests premeditation. Meron na silang plano bago pa man.

At duon sa kanyang sorry statement, sabi nga ni Ginoong Conrado de Quiros, ay merong malaking contradiction, pagkakasalungat. Ano ito? Ang rason kung bakit niya tinawagan yung COMELC official is because “She was anxious to protect her votes”. At the same time, sinabi niya na wala daw namang intensiyong mandaya dahil “the election results were already in and the votes were already counted”. Ang tanong ho natin ngayon, ganun naman pala, so, what is there to protect? Ang tanong ko ho sa mga Obispo- narinig ba nila yung tape? Ikalawa, karamihan ho sa atin nakakalimutan yung mga serye ng pangyayari. A typical example of forgetful warlock is PGMA’s political spokesman Sec. Mike Defensor, na nagbansag sa grupo nina Boncodin, Soliman at Purisima, bilang mga traydor. Palagay ko hindi naman ho tama ang bansag na ito and PGMA’s boys should at least be thankful that Boncodins group just glossed over some things. Pangunahin na ho dito ay yung paglalabas ng presidential spokesman, si Sec. Bunye, ng manufactured “Gary cd” and succeeded in passing it of as evidence. Kamusta na nga kaya yung si Ginoong Edgar Ruado na ang tingin ng marami ay nagpagamit? Hindi ho ba panlilinlang yan sa tunay na nangyari at naganap? Kung hindi ninyo matatawag na obstruction and conspiratorial ang bagay na ito, hindi ko na ho alam kung ano pa ang pwede nating matawag diyan. These are the facts, ladies and gentlemen, and they are indisputable.

Sa palagay ko ho, simple lang naman ang sitwasyon. When a person is appointed secretary, dalawang bagay ang dala dala niya sa kanyang posisyon- competence and credibility. Competence is replicable, ibig sabihin, two people can have the same level of competence. Credibility however, is unique to a person. Ang dalawang bagay na ito, are in a sense, hinihiram ng isang pangulo sa mga taong kanyang itinatalaga sa posisyon. Marcos borrowed Cezar Virata’s stature. At gaya ng ginagawa ng mga banko, kapag nangutang ka sa kanila, kailangan mo ng collateral bago ka pautangin. Ang mga propesyunal, gaya ni Juan Santos na galing sa Nestle Phils, have spent a lifetime building their credibility. Ganundin si Sec. Cezar Purisima who is well considered for his brilliance in the financial field. Why would they want to lend their credibility to a person who faked his collateral? Ngayong ayaw silang pautangin dahil walang maisanlang kolateral si PGMA, tatawagin silang traydor ni Sec. Defensor? Ibang klase din naman itong mamang ito. Si Tita Cory, hiniling ang pagbibitiw ni PGMA, sabi ni Defensor, ginagalang nila ang posisyon ni Mrs Aquino. Pero nang ang grupo na nina Sec. Soliman ang humingi, traydor daw ang mga ito. Tsk tsk tsk. This guy is really something. Hindi na ho ako magugulat kung bakit nagkakaroon ng exodus among the Catholic faithfuls. At hindi na ako magugulat kung, matapos ipahayag ng mga Obispo ang kanilang posisyon, lalong mabawasan ang bilang ng mga katoliko sa bansa. Maging sa hanay ng kaparian, maraming dismayado sa posisyon ng kanilang mga pinuno. Hindi ko masisisi ang mga pari kung ganyan ang kanilang maramdaman because they probably know the difference between good and evil.

I noted that the prescription outlined in the CBCP statement calls for a lot of introspection. Dapat, maliban sa panawagan nilang pagninilay kay gma, sila din siguro ay dapat magnilay nilay. Well, introspection means a great deal of delicadeza. Ang problema, out of stock ang delicadeza sa politika sa bansa. Nothing could be truer, as inferred from the CBCP statement, more than this: lost sheep will not get anywhere with a shepherd who doesn’t know the direction. – jrz 11july2005

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