CORRUPTION IN RP: WHO IS TO BLAME? CATHOLIC CHURCH, SAYS SOLON
MANILA, DECEMBER 12, 2008 (STAR) By Delon Porcalla - The Catholic Church can blame the government for massive corruption in the country, but this in itself is a testament on how miserably it has failed to shepherd its flock, a senior lawmaker pointed out yesterday.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo “Rodito” Albano III said perceptions of the Philippines being the most corrupt in Asia and second most corrupt in the world only show that priests failed in their mission to lead people in the right direction.
“We were the only Catholic country in Asia for 400 years. Please ask the bishops why we are the most corrupt nation. That should answer everything,” he said. About 85 percent of the 85 million Filipinos are Catholics.
As far as Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante is concerned, corruption is not just limited to the government bureaucracy and some parts of the business sector because even religious entities such as the church and several other groups have the same problems.
The Baptist bishop-turned-lawmaker urged Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Angel Lagdameo, also the Archbishop of Jaro, Iloilo, to look in his own backyard first before pointing an accusing finger at anyone.
“That should be his (Lagdameo’s) first concern (address corruption and human right abuses in the Church). Anyway, the people he accuses of corruption and human rights abuses are also members of his church,” Abante pointed out.
“Every nation has its own human rights violations, our country has the history of it since time immemorial. Even the US is not spared from that. What we must do is to be vigilant and check the abuses or corruption both in the government and business sectors,” he said.
Abante is pastor and bishop of the Bible Believers League for Morality and Democracy.
Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, for his part, urged everyone to be “constructive rather than destructive in our efforts to improve our society.”
“We need to work together for economic progress to improve the plight of our poor brothers and sisters,” Daza said.
“The Philippines can shine during these times of global crisis by having more political stability and good governance to help our domestic businesses and encourage foreign companies and investors to come to the Philippines,” he said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo said the public should support Lagdameo’s position by making President Arroyo accountable on the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Archbishop Lagdameo has aptly stated the sense of shame and embarrassment that the Arroyo government must bear and which the people must denounce and call GMA to account for,” said the deputy minority leader, former spokesman for the left-wing National Democratic Front.
“Human rights is definitely an area where the country could use improvement, not only in the area of civil and political rights but also in the realm of economic and social rights,” Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara said.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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