Sep 052013

The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Thursday expressed solidarity with participants to an upcoming prayer vigil against the pork barrel system at the EDSA Shrine on September 11.

CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma also called on the Catholics to make Saturday, Sept. 7, a “Day of Atonement” for letting corruption the pork system offend God.

“It’s about time that people manifest their own conviction. The people have already organized. Ours is an expression of solidarity,” he said.

Next week’s vigil is a follow-up of sorts to the anti-pork gathering at the Luneta in Manila last Aug. 26.

Participants in the Aug. 26 gathering had called for the abolition of the pork barrel system in the wake of a P10-billion scam involving ghost non-government organizations that siphoned funds from the Priority Development Assistance Fund.


In a pastoral statement Palma signed, the CBCP said “God is offended” because His commandments against stealing, coveting others’ goods and bearing false witness against neighbors are violated.

It added the faithful’s first response to the pork barrel issue must be not protest but contrition.

“We are not just victims of a corrupt system. We have all, in one way or another, contributed to this worsening social cancer—through our indifferent silence or through our cooperation when we were benefiting from the sweet cake of graft and corruption,” it said.

While Palma urged the Catholic faithful to join Pope Francis in offering prayers and sacrifices on September 7 for peace in Syria, he said Filipinos must also make September 7 a day of atonement for sins against peace.

“In union with the Pope, let us also make September 7 our day of atonement for our sins against peace in our country. Stealing destroys peace. Lying harms our peace. Government corruption is an act of terrorism against our poor and our children,” he said.

“Many have died without sufficient government health care–stealing government money has caused the death of the poor. Many remain homeless without dignified government housing aid—unabated government stealing has deprived them of dignified housing,” he added.

Palma said integrity must be restored in the conduct of public office, with every government official from the rank and file to the highest executive having to prove themselves worthy of the title “Honorable.”

He also said it is time to stop the politics of patronage.

Also, he said the wheels of law and justice must roll swiftly “so that we can immediately punish the errant, restore what has been stolen and return to moral conduct.”  — ELR, GMA News

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