DE LIMA MEETS NAPOLES: PINS ENRILE, JINGGOY, BONG IN PORK SCAM

APRIL 25 --The written testimony submitted by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles has "a lot of details" and signifies her intention to spill more beans and become a state witness, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Tuesday. In a press conference, De Lima confirmed meeting with suspected "pork barrel" scam mastermind at the Ospital ng Makati before Napoles underwent a surgery for a myoma on her uterus on Monday night. "There are more details, more information from Mrs. Napoles. ... But not everything. Mrs. Napoles appears to know these things. But I cannot share with you the details," De Lima said. She also admitted that Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada are tagged in Napoles' statement. Asked if Napoles backed the Department of Justice's (DOJ) plunder charge against the three main respondents in the multi-billion peso embezzlement scheme, De Lima answered, "Yes, absolutely." De Lima similarly confirmed that some of the names Napoles disclosed are already respondents in the case submitted before the Office of the Ombudsman, which has elevated the proceedings to the Sandiganbayan. The justice secretary said that Napoles also disclosed some "documentary evidence" during their five-hour meeting. De Lima arrived at the hospital around 11 p.m. Monday and left at around 3 a.m. Tuesday. The justice secretary refused to confirm whether Napoles tagged other senators in the pork barrel fund scam. READ MORE...

ALSO: 3 senators face automatic suspension

Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. face automatic suspension from their posts once a plunder case is filed against them before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel fund scam. Senate President Franklin Drilon raised this scenario when asked if the 24-member Senate would still be complete when session resumes on May 5 after the Lenten break. “I am sure the Sandiganbayan will act or will have to act on it. That’s their job. So we will just wait for the action of the ombudsman on the motion for reconsideration filed in the first week of April,” Drilon said over radio dwIZ. “That will be up to the Sandiganbayan, which has the power to issue the warrant of arrest,” he added. Drilon, a former justice secretary, noted that plunder is a non-bailable offense, which would warrant the detention of defendants even before the Sandiganbayan starts trial. He said the issue would be out of the hands of the Senate leadership since it will be the Sandiganbayan that will issue the suspension orders. Drilon cited the case of former Zambales governor Amor Deloso, where the Supreme Court ruled that public officials should be automatically suspended upon the filing of case before the Sandiganbayan. READ MORE...

ALSO: Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness

Never trust a con artist.Levito Baligod, counsel of whistle-blowers in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam, is worried that taking in businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles as state witness will do more harm than good in the government’s plunder case against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. “Only one person will benefit from taking Napoles as state witness and that is Napoles herself because she will be gifted with a ‘get out of jail’ card for free,” Baligod said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “We must not forget that she has been a con artist even before this pork barrel scam.” Baligod pointed out that the Office of the Ombudsman had found probable cause to file plunder charges against the senators even without the cooperation of Napoles.READ MORE...

ALSO: Lacson: Napoles bared another lawmaker with bigger 'pork' cut

Former Senator Panfilo Lacson, now rehabilitation czar, said that Janet Lim Napoles' camp approached him last month and revealed a long list of lawmakers and others involved in the Priority Development Assistance Funds scam. In an interview with DWIZ on Wednesday, Lacson said he received Napoles' testimony stored in a thumb drive given to him by the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind's husband, Jimmy, and their children. Lacson also confirmed that Napoles named Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., but she also tagged another lawmaker who received a larger kickback than the three. When asked how many from the House of Representatives and Senate were allegedly mentioned, Lacson said he was not able to count but "there is a quorum." He also said that there were names that have not been mentioned in media reports and in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings the past months. Napoles similarly mentioned provisional state witnesses Ruby Tuason and Dennis Cunanan as well as Enrile's former aide Jessica "Gigi" Reyes but did not elaborate on their involvement, Lacson claimed. READ MORE...

ALSO: Doctors remove Napoles uterus, ovaries

Businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles on Wednesday morning underwent a two-hour hysterectomy at the Ospital ng Makati (Osmak) for the removal of her uterus and two ovaries. According to Dr. Efren Domingo, one of her doctors, the operation began on time at about 8 a.m. and finished at about 10 a.m. “The operation was uneventful. We performed a total hysterectomy and a bilateral salpingostomy, meaning, we removed the entire uterus and both ovaries. The indication for the operation, as you may have known before, is because of severe adenomyosis, that's her pathology,” Domingo told reporters at a briefing. Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and ovaries while in a bilaterial salpingosotomy, the fallopian tubes are surgically removed. Domingo also clarified that Napoles had suffered from a condition called adenomyosis of the uterus with multiple adenomyomata or a tumor of the utrerus with multiple myomas.

ALSO: Jinggoy, et al as Pontius Pilate

I realize that many Filipinos will readily volunteer a comparison they think more apt: Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile and others deeply implicated in the pork barrel scam are Judas. The defining act of the crimes they are charged with is the act of a traitor; that is, someone who betrayed the people’s expectations, the public’s trust.But it is also possible to argue that the senators and congressmen and their staff who allegedly looted pork barrel funds are, in fact, PontiusPilate. Allow me to make that argument, but first I must prove another point: Pilate’s liability in the judicial murder of Jesus Christ is not the learned helplessness of a pragmatic bureaucrat (“What is truth?”), but rather the sophisticated use of the political power of a ruling elite (“What I have written, I have written.”) Perhaps the most familiar image of Pilate remains that of a colonial administrator washing his hands of an impending local crisis. But we come across this image only in Matthew; in John, where we find the longest and most detailed account of Jesus’ final days, Pilate pronounces the man’s innocence several times, and yet (as in all the other Gospels) condemns him to death anyway.READ MORE...


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De Lima: Napoles tagged Enrile, Jinggoy and Bong


Businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles (center) at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the "pork barrel" scam in November 2013. PRIB Senate Tearful Napoles was surrounded by Jesus' and Virgin Mary's images during meeting

MANILA, APRIL 28, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Camille Diola - The written testimony submitted by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles has "a lot of details" and signifies her intention to spill more beans and become a state witness, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Tuesday.

In a press conference, De Lima confirmed meeting with suspected "pork barrel" scam mastermind at the Ospital ng Makati before Napoles underwent a surgery for a myoma on her uterus on Monday night.

"There are more details, more information from Mrs. Napoles. ... But not everything. Mrs. Napoles appears to know these things. But I cannot share with you the details," De Lima said.

She also admitted that Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada are tagged in Napoles' statement.

Asked if Napoles backed the Department of Justice's (DOJ) plunder charge against the three main respondents in the multi-billion peso embezzlement scheme, De Lima answered, "Yes, absolutely."

De Lima similarly confirmed that some of the names Napoles disclosed are already respondents in the case submitted before the Office of the Ombudsman, which has elevated the proceedings to the Sandiganbayan.

The justice secretary said that Napoles also disclosed some "documentary evidence" during their five-hour meeting.

De Lima arrived at the hospital around 11 p.m. Monday and left at around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

The justice secretary refused to confirm whether Napoles tagged other senators in the pork barrel fund scam.

De Lima said that she was confident that Napoles' testimony provides valuable information, but clarified that the alleged scam mastermind still has to undergo further questioning by the National Bureau of Investigation.

"There will be further sessions with her ... We need to get those additional facts and details. Ayaw namin sayangin ang pagkakataong ito," she said.

The official also recounted her conditions for agreeing to meet with Napoles, whom she said has been sending the DOJ "feelers" during the past week.

"To tell all on pork scam. Ayoko na may iba pa siyang kakusapin [and] no commitment to make her state witness," De Lima said.

De Lima said she entered the hospital room where Napoles was "tearful" and was praying the Rosary. She was also surrounded by images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus.

"Sabi niya she is now coming clean. She was tearful when she saw me," De Lima recounted.

She believes that detained businesswoman decided to divulge what she knows as she was anxious of her impending operation for myoma.

FROM PHILSTAR

Senators face automatic suspension By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 23, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. face automatic suspension from their posts once a plunder case is filed against them before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel fund scam.

Senate President Franklin Drilon raised this scenario when asked if the 24-member Senate would still be complete when session resumes on May 5 after the Lenten break.

“I am sure the Sandiganbayan will act or will have to act on it. That’s their job. So we will just wait for the action of the ombudsman on the motion for reconsideration filed in the first week of April,” Drilon said over radio dwIZ.

“That will be up to the Sandiganbayan, which has the power to issue the warrant of arrest,” he added.

Drilon, a former justice secretary, noted that plunder is a non-bailable offense, which would warrant the detention of defendants even before the Sandiganbayan starts trial.

He said the issue would be out of the hands of the Senate leadership since it will be the Sandiganbayan that will issue the suspension orders.

Drilon cited the case of former Zambales governor Amor Deloso, where the Supreme Court ruled that public officials should be automatically suspended upon the filing of case before the Sandiganbayan.

Logical move

Meanwhile, Drilon welcomed the decision of lawyer Gigi Reyes, Enrile’s former chief of staff, to return to the country to defend herself over accusations of pork barrel fund misuse.

“It’s a logical move. It is very difficult to hide overseas. You cannot hide all your life… It is good that she returned and decided to face the charges being leveled against her,” he said.

He said Reyes has to pass the requisites of the law if she wants to become a state witness.

“Under the Rules of Court and the Witness Protection Program, being a state witness has pre-requisites. First, she should be least guilty and second, her testimony can be used to convict the mastermind,” he said.

“Who is the principal mastermind? Are there enough conditions so that (the mastermind) is convicted even without her?” he said, adding that it is up to the ombudsman to determine whether Reyes can be accepted as state witness.

Senate hearing

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, vice-chairman of the Blue Ribbon committee, said committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III tried but failed to talk to Reyes on whether she would attend the Senate hearing on the pork barrel scam.

“Under our democracy, the accused also have rights and they cannot be forced to speak before the Blue Ribbon committee,” he said.

He said Reyes could be summoned to the Senate “only if additional information will be given to the committee.”

He said Reyes could qualify as a state witness, but the matter is up to the Department of Justice to decide.

On reports that Reyes was pinning the blame on her deputy chief of staff Jose Evangelista, Osmeña said every person is entitled to put up a defense.

Napoles

In a related development, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III questioned the wisdom of considering alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles as a state witness.

“How could the person who put up the infrastructure for PDAF graft be qualified as state witness? Isn’t the architect of the whole scheme the most guilty hence disqualified from being state witness?” he said. “Pwede ring ginugulo na nya ang (Maybe she’s muddling the) picture out of desperation.”

Sen. Grace Poe said it would be a significant development in the country’s quest to get to the bottom of the pork barrel scam if Napoles would tell all.

However, Poe said it is best to let the ombudsman determine Napoles’ competence to become a state witness. – With Marvin Sy

FROM THE INQUIRER

Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness By Gil C. Cabacungan, TJ Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:07 am | Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014


Janet Napoles. INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

Never trust a con artist.

Levito Baligod, counsel of whistle-blowers in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam, is worried that taking in businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles as state witness will do more harm than good in the government’s plunder case against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

“Only one person will benefit from taking Napoles as state witness and that is Napoles herself because she will be gifted with a ‘get out of jail’ card for free,” Baligod said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “We must not forget that she has been a con artist even before this pork barrel scam.”

Baligod pointed out that the Office of the Ombudsman had found probable cause to file plunder charges against the senators even without the cooperation of Napoles.

In the hearing last Nov. 7 in the Senate, Napoles denied involvement in dubious foundations that allegedly siphoned off congressional allocations in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into ghost projects and kickbacks.

“The defense can use her Senate testimony to destroy her credibility as a witness. That was her chance to come clean on the scam, and she blew it,” said Baligod.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano warned the Department of Justice (DOJ) against rushing to embrace Napoles.

“I’m 100-percent supportive of her telling all, but she should do that first without conditions,” he said. “If there’s any leniency that should be granted by the government, she should return the money and be penalized. Otherwise it will send the wrong message.”

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said in a text message: “How could the person who put up the infrastructure for the PDAF scam be qualified as state witness? Isn’t the architect of the whole scheme the most guilty, hence disqualified from being state witness? She could be muddling the whole picture out of desperation … Since she’s facing the prospect of life in prison, so why not bring as many down with her just to muddle the whole issue. We should be careful.”

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago was upbeat. “I expect that she will name more than the three senators that have already been named by the Ombudsman and the blue ribbon committee,” she said in an interview by phone. “This prospect is going to make senators quake in their shoes. She knows more, that’s why the number of senators implicated in the scam is going to increase.”

Estrada was unfazed. “I am concerned if the DOJ or the NBI would force her to mention our names. That’s my concern.

But if Secretary (Leila) de Lima will not influence Mrs. Napoles, we do not have anything to worry about,” he told reporters.

Revilla’s counsel, Joel Bodegon, said that if Napoles would implicate Revilla, contrary to her claims she had no transactions with him, that meant “she was forced to do so at the sacrifice of truth.”

Representatives Giorgidi Aggabao of Isabela and Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite said the government needed Napoles to nail down the lawmakers involved.

“The case against Napoles is ironclad. I think the outcome of the cases against her is fixed and certain. But the same cannot be said about the cases against the members of Congress. Although quite strong, the cases are still porous,” said Aggabao, the deputy House speaker.

“Napoles’ testimony is very crucial. Her full disclosure will be the final nail in the coffin of the pork barrel issue,” said Barzaga.

FROM PHILSTAR

Lacson: Napoles bared another lawmaker with bigger 'pork' cut (philstar.com) | Updated April 23, 2014 - 11:49am 31 2490 googleplus0 0


Former Senator Panfilo Lacson, now rehabilitation czar. PCOO

MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Panfilo Lacson, now rehabilitation czar, said that Janet Lim Napoles' camp approached him last month and revealed a long list of lawmakers and others involved in the Priority Development Assistance Funds scam.

In an interview with DWIZ on Wednesday, Lacson said he received Napoles' testimony stored in a thumb drive given to him by the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind's husband, Jimmy, and their children.

Lacson also confirmed that Napoles named Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., but she also tagged another lawmaker who received a larger kickback than the three.

When asked how many from the House of Representatives and Senate were allegedly mentioned, Lacson said he was not able to count but "there is a quorum."

He also said that there were names that have not been mentioned in media reports and in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings the past months.

Napoles similarly mentioned provisional state witnesses Ruby Tuason and Dennis Cunanan as well as Enrile's former aide Jessica "Gigi" Reyes but did not elaborate on their involvement, Lacson claimed.

Lacson was acknowledged not to have used his allocation in the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she met with Napoles in her room at the Ospital ng Makati where the suspected brains behind the embezzling of billions in government funds submitted her sworn affidavit after previously denying accusations.

De Lima said Napoles decided to "tell all" in a bid to become state witness in the plunder cases submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman. - Camille Diola

Doctors remove Napoles uterus, ovaries By Mike Frialde (philstar.com) | Updated April 23, 2014 - 3:06pm 16 184 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles on Wednesday morning underwent a two-hour hysterectomy at the Ospital ng Makati (Osmak) for the removal of her uterus and two ovaries.

According to Dr. Efren Domingo, one of her doctors, the operation began on time at about 8 a.m. and finished at about 10 a.m.

“The operation was uneventful. We performed a total hysterectomy and a bilateral salpingostomy, meaning, we removed the entire uterus and both ovaries. The indication for the operation, as you may have known before, is because of severe adenomyosis, that's her pathology,” Domingo told reporters at a briefing.

Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and ovaries while in a bilaterial salpingosotomy, the fallopian tubes are surgically removed.

Domingo also clarified that Napoles had suffered from a condition called adenomyosis of the uterus with multiple adenomyomata or a tumor of the utrerus with multiple myomas.

“And just to be very clear, and exact, I like that to be definite, because it has been circulated in different terminologies which were not actually correct in several months. Her disease is called, severe adenomyosis of the uterus with multiple adenomyomata. This is technical and highly medical, but it is a tumor of the uterus, whereby, the blood of the endometrial cavity enters into the myometrium and creates blood lakes in the myometrium. And in addition, the myometrium form tumors or myomas. And that caused the uterine muscle to form a mass. In Tagalog, ang kanyang matris ay nagkaroon ng bukol, ang tawag ay severe adenomyosis at mayroong mga kasamang mga myoma,” he explained.

Domingo said Napoles’ condition was the reason for her profuse bleeding and pain over the past six months. Domingo added that Napoles’ condition was also “life threatening.”

“She developed this, over several months, to almost a year. Such that, it led to profuse hemorrhage and pain over the past six months. And it became, life-threatening,” he said.

Domingo said that after the operation, Napoles was taken to a recovery room. He described his condition as “stable.”

“So, we finished the operation in 2 hours, she remains stable and the operation is uneventful. At the moment, she is now at the recovery room, she is awake, coherent with stable vital signs. So, we are happy about the outcome and we would like to share with you the good outcome and findings of the said operation,” he said.

Domingo also said that the biopsy conducted on Napoles last April 8 showed that her tumor was “pre-cancerous.”

“I say pre. It is not cancerous but is also neither benign. It is a transition from benign to malignant,” he said.

Domingo said it would take at least one week to for Napoles to recover from the surgery, like any other patient who underwent a hysterectomy without complications. She would also be required to undergo check-ups for the next three to four weeks.

“I would wish that she would wish that she would recover faster, but as to her stay in the hospital, outside of the medical aspect I would rather refer it to the authorities,” Domingo said.

Domingo said the mass or surgical specimens removed from Napoles was given to her husband, Jaime, being the nearest of kin present during the operation.

Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda earlier issued an order authorizing Napoles' own choice of doctors to participate in her treatment.

The court earlier granted Napoles' motion to undergo surgery and be confined, but not at St. Luke's Medical Center, the hospital of her choice. Instead, the court chose OsMak, a public tertiary hospital within the court's jurisdiction.

Dr. Perrty Peralta, Osmak director earlier said a team of Osmak doctors composed of a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, an anesthesiologist, a gynecologist-oncologist and a pathologist will be assisting Napoles’s personal doctors from the St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global.

Peralta added that Napoles will shoulder the fees of her private doctors as her request to have them treat her “will incur additional charges." - with interns Kim Nunez and Angelyn Mesa

FROM THE INQUIRER

Jinggoy et al as Pontius Pilate Newsstand By John Nery Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:10 am | Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014


Drilon: Enrile, Jinggoy, Bong face suspension By Christina Mendez (philstar.com) | Updated April 22, 2014 - 4:38pm READ FULL REPORT HERE


THE WRITER: John Nery, Senior Editor and Editorial Page Columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippines

I realize that many Filipinos will readily volunteer a comparison they think more apt: Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile and others deeply implicated in the pork barrel scam are Judas. The defining act of the crimes they are charged with is the act of a traitor; that is, someone who betrayed the people’s expectations, the public’s trust.

But it is also possible to argue that the senators and congressmen and their staff who allegedly looted pork barrel funds are, in fact, Pontius Pilate.

Allow me to make that argument, but first I must prove another point: Pilate’s liability in the judicial murder of Jesus Christ is not the learned helplessness of a pragmatic bureaucrat (“What is truth?”), but rather the sophisticated use of the political power of a ruling elite (“What I have written, I have written.”)

Perhaps the most familiar image of Pilate remains that of a colonial administrator washing his hands of an impending local crisis. But we come across this image only in Matthew; in John, where we find the longest and most detailed account of Jesus’ final days, Pilate pronounces the man’s innocence several times, and yet (as in all the other Gospels) condemns him to death anyway.

But as the bestselling Jesuit author James Martin reminded his 40,000 Twitter followers yesterday, it was in fact the Roman Empire that killed Jesus. That is surely right: The political machinery that led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was set in motion, however reluctantly, by the Roman governor of the time.

One of the principal legal strategies of Estrada and Revilla, and to a lesser extent of Enrile too, has been to deny any responsibility for the actual use of the pork barrel funds released in their name or through their intervention.

In his counteraffidavit, Revilla argued that he “should not be held liable as his involvement in the PDAF released [was] limited.” Estrada made the same point too, in his own counteraffidavit, but emphasized the “clearly recommendatory” role he played in the spending of pork barrel funds. The “implementation of the projects funded by the PDAF,” he said, was “best left to the motivated and the willing.”

Last year, Estrada’s defense, as relayed to reporters, was even more specific. “The buck stops at the chiefs of staff,” he said.

We can understand these protestations as Pilate-like, not in the familiar sense of a deliberate washing of hands, but in the deeper sense of an unacknowledged complicity in the political machinery that led to the plunder of the pork barrel funds in the first place.

Let’s put it this way: If alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles did not need Estrada, Revilla or Enrile to have the funds released, would she have partnered with them? (The question is not specific to Napoles, but to any scam operator.) The Ombudsman’s joint resolutions finding probable cause against the three senators and others give us a clear answer: They were needed because of the power they possessed—like Pontius Pilate.

* * *

Like many other readers, I mourn the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez; he was, simply, the greatest writer of our time. I hope to post a modest tribute soon, on my Newsstand blog.

* * *

I had the chance to attend Good Friday service last week in the parish church of Bagac, Bataan. The first five minutes of the priest’s homily made a powerful impression, despite the disorienting summer heat. Prompted by the tradition of the Siete Palabras, he began by speaking about the familiar concept of “palabra de honor,” and then deepened the discussion by dwelling on “dangal sa salita”—the dignity of words that must be protected against gossip, against hypocrisy, against the omnipresent lie.

And then he continued speaking, for 35 more minutes. A homily that started at 3:53 p.m. ended at 4:33 p.m., and by then the impact of his words had dissipated into the wavering air, and any charitable instinct he had awakened in me had gone back to sleep.

He was aware of what he was doing: Sometime around the 15th minute, he alluded to the long Gospel reading which is a highlight of Good Friday, and jokingly told the congregation that, because we had stood a long time for the reading or reenactment, he was now giving us the chance to rest, to sit in the pews, for an equally long time.

He was a good speaker, with a sonorous voice that carried to the back of the church and an effective grasp of the arts of rhetoric. In encouraging the parishioners and the visitors to join the procession after the service, for instance, he riffed on the difference between a rally and a procession. “Ang rally may kapit-bisig,” and so on (and on).

If his homily had been limited to the meaning and practice of the procession, the three or four minutes he spent on the topic would have been memorable. But with equal rhetorical attention he touched on eight or nine other topics, and by the end we (or at least I) had forgotten the other points he had made.

So all the arts of rhetoric except, alas, for the very first one: Don’t overstay your welcome.

Pope Francis devoted several pages to the ministry of the homily in his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” precisely because the homily remains a vital part of the entire evangelization enterprise.

At one point, he wrote: “A preacher may be able to hold the attention of his listeners for a whole hour, but in this case his words become more important than the celebration of faith. If the homily goes on too long, it will affect two characteristic elements of the liturgical celebration: its balance and its rhythm …. This means that the words of the preacher must be measured, so that the Lord, more than his minister, will be the centre of attention.”

Amen to that.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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