GMA SETS EXAMPLE: TAKES VOW OF SILENCE ON BACANI CASE

Malacanang, June 12, 2003 By Marichu Villanueva (Star) Setting an example to the nation, President Arroyo, who appealed to the public on Tuesday to stop feasting on the sexual harassment charges against Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., yesterday said she would no longer give any statement or comment on the issue.

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye also told Palace reporters that Mrs. Arroyo has now taken a vow of silence on Bacaniís case to let the proper authorities do their investigations into the allegations.

"The President has already made her statement on the issue. She is saddened by the turn of events and continues to pray that fairness and justice will prevail in the end," Bunye said.

Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. also echoed the Presidentís appeal to the public to wait for the results of the Vaticanís investigation.

"I have the highest respect for him," Guingona said during a forum at the Ciudad Fernandina in Greenhills, San Juan yesterday. "As provided in our Constitution, any man should be presumed innocent until proven guilty."

Guingona said that Bacani was a principled man who stood by the street parliamentarians during the Marcos dictatorship. The bishop was also one of the church leaders who actively stood by Guingona when he supported protest actions against the US military action against Iraq a few months ago.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines also gave its full support to the embattled bishop until the probe is over.

"We are in support of the El Shaddai position that Bishop Bacani is considered innocent until proven guilty," ECOP president Donald Dee said

Dee added that the charges of harassment charges against Bacani should be left to the Catholic church to decide. ó With Sammy Santos, Mayen Jaymalin and Jose Rodel Clapano


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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