Thoughts on the CBCP Statement

Last night Ces Drilon had me on her show to discuss the CBCP’s most recent pastoral statement. While Philippine Commentary takes a contemptuous view of the document (Banketa Republique is more positive), his entry has an illuminating extract from the writings of Pope Benedict XVI. The present pontiff presents a clear, and dare I say, exceedingly Teutonic, defense of the separation of Church and State.

My own views on the pastoral statement:

  • The most news worthy thing about it is it categorically rejects coups as a means of resolving anything. Will this set back coup plotting efforts? I think so. Particularly Right-Left alliances for this purpose.
  • The Palace has reason to be upset; as do groups opposed to the President. Truth Commission and Independent Prosecutor proposals could possibly gain new currency.
  • The pastoral statement mends fences with disgruntled clergy, religious, and the laity.
  • The call to reinvigorate the basic communities of the Church means two things: reminding the faithful they failed to listen to the bishop’s injunction to reflect on the issues; and it is a flexing of the Church’s own machinery in case of a showdown with the politicians on the issue of Charter change.
  • They insist that the public remain bound by the parameters of the Constitution, at least for now. In so doing, they define the issues as determined by people’s attitudes to the Constitution.
  • This has defined the next, major showdown: over the No Election proposal and Charter Change. With the President and the Speaker having jointly demolished Fidel V. Ramos, the direction the bishops are taking puts them headed in a direction where their positions will converge with Cory Aquino’s. While Aquino seemed diminished by the failure of her call for the President to resign, she has remained consistent; her strength is recovering while that of other leaders is waning.
  • The inability of the politicians in the opposition to sacrifice will become even more of a liability to their efforts, as the bishops hammer away at the moral dimensions of Charter Change. The much-awaited tipping point? Cha-Cha? Possibly; certainly in a manner much more conducive to People Power.
  • New basis for unity among skeptical or disgruntled groups mistrustful of politicians: the bishops’ endorsement of Comelec and electoral reform. Their opposition to a Constitutional Commission or a Constituent Assembly. Their openness to a Constitutional Convention. The politicians can be measured by their answer to a few direct questions: do you support an immediate and thorough Comelec revamp (regardless of what this means for your election prospects if the effort fails)? Will you refuse to serve in any government established as a result of the administration-led Charter Change initiative? Will you support or condemn a coup? I think these three questions will reveal which politicians can be trusted by the middle forces.

In its letter to the bishops, the Black & White Movement (of which I am a convenor) pointed to the story of Jesus asking Peter thrice if he loved him, and when Peter would say yes, Jesus would reply, “feed my sheep.” In a similar manner, the bishops have replied to that question twice. If Bishop Teodoro Bacani is any guide, we may all have to wait for a third message from the bishops. A matter of months may not be so long; it took sixteen years from the first letter of Filipino bishops asking Ferdinand Marcos to be honest, to their final decision to declare the people absolved of allegiance to his regime.

If this is so, then perhaps we are going through a protracted period of drift, precisely to encourage people to become more politically mature. Rep. Teddyboy Locsin was saying on TV that the opposition kept on trying to manufacture an “Edsa moment,” during the hearings and impeachment, instead of doing proper lawyering. I remember making the remark that this is what happens when former Marcos lackeys try to get involved in People Power: it only comes at the end of the road, after all reasonable, legal, options have been tried. You can’t rush it or simulate it in the manner the opposition thought.

Moving on:

Boying Pimentel releases part two and part three of his podcast on yours truly.

In the punditocracy, Juan Mercado has a brilliant column on the dangers of military messiahs.

And former UP President Jose Abueva takes exception to one of my columns.

Connie Veneracion renounces writing about politics -but really only wants to abandon writing about politicians. Bravo.

In the blogosphere: points to a famous bet, in which two journalists tackled the probability of blogs overtaking the New York Times as an authority on Google.

Pinoy Press seems to have the final say in the PCIJ and Bulletproof Vest copyright tussle (Torn & Frayed was un-amused by it all; Sassy Lawyer was un-amused at his being un-amused; Philippine Commentary commented, and his commenting was not found amusing, either by Sassy; check out perhaps the most star-studded thread in recent years).

Ah, comment threads: as seen in the example above, they can be such a problem! How much control is acceptable, or is commenting really necessary? Mediashift discusses the decision of the Washington Post to turn off commenting (except for the blogs it hosts); Online Journalism Review seems to think the issue concerns anonymous commenting specifically; BuzzMachine discusses the entire question of interactivity in the blogosphere. I myself am a believer in spam filters, ruthless as they can be, as essential; I tend to be permissive about comments, and have deleted only one commenter who was issuing death threats (oddly enough, not against me).

My Liberal Times takes exception to a commentary by Amando Doronila. Speaking of Liberals, To See & Log points out Ronnel Lim (who has been disgracefully absent from the blogosphere) won an essay writing contest sponsored by them.

Another Hundred Years Hence has an interesting entry on heritage housing and rent control. Adel Gabot spots a Filipina newscaster who left for America, playing a bit role on an American TV series (as a newscaster!).

Slip of the pen on commas (would it be that I could wax eloquently on semicolons!).

Batang Baler does a masterful roundup of media reports of the floods there, with commentary (this blog is rapidly developing as a model of community-oriented blogging; more towns and provinces should have similar, non-government blogs).

Technology writer Chin Wong announces he has a blog, thanks to the inspiration of Sassy Lawyer. It’s at Also, World Famous in the Philippines has spun off a new blog, Thud! Splat! Blog! And fish in a bowl is back to blogging.

The Philippines Free Press blog republishes two articles on the 36th and 35th anniversaries of their publication, respectively: That Marcos Foundation (January 31, 1970) and Malacañang vs. Meralco (January 30, 1971).

In the for adults only department, McVie (now on Season 4) on bath house dynamics.Philippines For Men thanks Basangpanaginip for putting him on his list of sexiest Filipino bloggers.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

39 thoughts on “Thoughts on the CBCP Statement

  1. This is possibly off-topic but there’s an interesting continuation to your link ” the first letter of Filipino bishops asking Ferdinand Marcos to be honest”. This Free Press article actually tackled the so-called Marcos Foundation to which Marcos had supposedly promised to transfer his “worldly assets” for the benefit of the Filipino people. All along I thought it was just some heady fiction in the minds of Marcos loyalists until I read this article. I suppose we should inquire Imelda or Virata or Enrile whatever happened to this supposed Foundation.

  2. When the church talks on church doctrine they are sure of making no mistakes.
    I think it’s prudent that the church must not “play popular politics as a means of in a way making themselves acceptable to a public hungry for a leader or direction or just a plain “kakampi”.
    It seems the church is “trying hard” to be relatevant in this modern times.
    Unfortunatly, I think they are missing the mark.
    It seems they are playing the “popular” tune of being anti no-el.
    If they really have any wisdom & are really enlightened by the strenght of their spiritual life.
    I think, the last thing anyone would do is take sides.They are just “playing” partisan politics.
    Does not prudence suggest that in any issue it is always wiser to dialogue, discuss & weight things before taking any stand?
    So why does the church take a stand immediatly?Why the hurry?
    Let’s face it.The no-el is contreversial because the 2007 elections will be used to dislouge the administration.It can & it can also not happen.
    In reality we will be walking in to a disaster.
    Not unless we are able to automize the election that we will be having a deeping contested election once again.
    I think the church is making a big mistake.
    I think God will protect the church if they talk in deffence of spiritual & religious matters.
    The things as is, sadly the church is “playing politics”
    It is only the people who think of themselves as “being good” who can make the biggest blunders!!!!!

  3. Sir Manolo, I’ve listened to the podcast (part 2 and part 3) quite intently. You two are a perfect pair. Ben asked proving questions and was quick on his follow-ups as you were focused, responsive and nippy in your answers. You do remind me (surely by the depth and breadth of your perspective) of the young and articulate senator who thought he could become the youngest president of the country. Too bad, he was too perpetually in a hurry (always trying to beat the age requirement of the office he was seeking) while you are, well, incessantly in reluctancy.

    All the best.

  4. abe, thank you kindly for that. boying is an old pro at journalism, it was certainly fun fielding his questions. by the way, i still have to get around to buying your book and reviewing it (and sir, please don’t call me sir!!)

  5. domingo, thanks for pointing that out. five-six is indeed a curse; and i recall one friend whose family refused to go into the pawnshop business (profitable as it is) because they didn’t want to traffic in human misery.

  6. MLQ3–

    I could be wrong, but I think Cardinal Sin really is dead. But if he is not dead, why don’t we hear his voice in Lagdameo, loud as it was? Why did the Pastoral Letter read like an editorial? Why are our hearts not stout with pride in our Bishops? They are “correct” in what they said, yet I’ve read what they said better done right in this Comment thread. Whilst making loud soundbites they stick their shepherd’s staff firmly in the ground of the status quo and tell the sheep it’s up to them. “We are not the Sanhedrin!” they cry, “Our Kingdom is not of this earth — its up to the politicians to deliver a just society. We just care that they do it morally.”

    It’s good Religion tho, this Benedictine Doctrine on Separation of Church and State (“Teutonic” is your characterization, not mine, just for the record!). This way the Church can survive any change. Remember that for 99% of martial law, Cardinal Sin himself waltzed with the dictator, helping Imelda cut ribbons to her Edifice Complex. Then People Power saved him from eternal damnation.

    But it’s all a good place to clarify what the Principle of Religious Freedom really means (deceptively called Separation of Church and State).

    (1) There is no prohibition in the Separation Principle against churchmen and the Church “meddling in politics” that does not also apply equally to all other citizens and institutions.

    (2) There is also no excuse in the Separation Principle for churchmen or the Church to use in shirking any moral Constitutional responsibility to discharge powers and influences for the good of God’s citizens that are incumbent upon institutions with special TAX-FREE status.

  7. PS>Even Google doesn’t seem to know the answer to this question:


    The Inquirer claims in its editorial today, entitled, “Pride” that a Filipino invented the bread toaster. But now it’s a big mystery. Does anybody here KNOW who invented the bread toaster?

  8. mlq3,

    I watched most of that ANC show you were on.

    You spoke a few times about the possibility that the CBC is trying to flex its own muscles. The professor (the other guest) countered that he didn’t think the CBC has the strength to beat the Lakas et al group.

    Surprisingly, though (unless I missed it), you two didn’t touch much on the CBC’s statements re mining. Seems to me that the CBC may well have found an issue that adds muscle to their “political” position. The admin and its allies can not afford any kind of reversal of the mining laws liberalization now in progress — that would kill their best card: an improved macro-economic situation. International entities will go nuts if the mining laws are shelved; “Another Piatco/Manila Hotel!”, “The Government’s ‘political will’ is too weak for better investment ratings!”, etc, etc. Rating upgrades would no longer be forthcoming, peso would weaken, FDI would dry up, ther stock market would sink, debt-reduction would freeze-up.

    The CBC might have found a real-world leverage point.

    Anti-mining is also one issue that many anti-GMA groups can rally around…and get the public to rally around. Thus they too can join the CBC’s calls against mining and further strengthen the leverage of this issue. The militant left, left, Drilon-LP/Hyatt 10, B&W, UP and some other prof/students groups, liberal media, Cory, “greens”…and the Church…all have pro-environment, pro-nationalist, anti-“foreign plunder” backgrounds and credibility. This is a natural position for them to use as a political weapon vs the capitalist, pro-globalization, de-nationalization admin/Lakas/LGU program.

    All that said, though, I contiue to think that the latter group still have NOEL, “cha-cha in 2006”, electoral reform and “Truth Comission”/”Impeachment Part II” cards to play. The value of the cards, perhaps, is in their value as bargaining chips. The admin/Lakas/LGU consortium may well be in a strong enough position (and a calm enough environment due to opposition failure, public apathy and the CBC’s own call for peaceful, constitutional changes) that they can “surrender” on a given issue in order to maintain their overall power, position and agenda.

    My guess is that electoral reform and NOEL will ultimately be traded-in for the cessation of anti-mining advocacy, resulting in a further entrenchment of the admin/Lakas/LGU group’s power.

    Electoral reform is not much of a bargaining chip for either side…as it will proceed forward anyway.

    Concessions in the manner of an acceptance of “Impeachment II” or a “Truth Comission” may not be that useful of a lever because the opposition is probably aware that they can’t use those to create an EDSA moment…and the admin can easily win based on the lack of solid evidence.

    I think the “Oust GMA” and “GMA Resign!” movement is officially dead. And the CBC actually just read the last rites.

    mlq3 — while you wonder if cha-cha will be the admin’s own Waterloo (due to overconfidently pushing and thus creating a “tipping point” all by itself)), I suspect that they are too crafty for that and that their increased strength gives them more power to concede non-core issues in exchange for winning the core issues.

    Core issues? The decentralization of: the centers of power; tax collection and disbursement; voting power and accountability. The globalization, de-nationalization and de-monopolization of the economy. Anti-terrorism via US cooperation and Muslim negotiations.

    NOEL and “cha-cha in 2006” are minor points in the ruling group’s overall gameplan; they can be brandished as scary weapons…and then discarded…with great ease and with no major effect on the big picture.

    If the ruling group can roughly keep it’s numbers (and key alliances) intact after the 2007 elections (which it may well do), I expect the ’07~’10 period to see the full implementation of the Lakas agenda.

    The opposition (or a large portion) better get much better at crafting an alternative program for improving the Philippines…and selling it to the people…or this game may well be over.

  9. PinoyPress provides a decent summary of the whole matter, but i disagree with the following conclusion:

    “If you value something so much, or if something’s so important to you that you wouldn’t want others to have a piece of it, don’t put it on the Internet.”

    Normally, whenever you think up something ‘original’, odds are someone somewhere else is also thinking the same thing (i.e. the whole notion of ‘zeitgeist’), so the practice has always been to try to be the first to publish. For web-based material, it would be good if Google or some other providers comes up with a fool-proof, non-intrusive ‘universal timestamp’ feature so that these kinds of disputes can be avoided. If anyone has an idea on how to make this work, or if such a thing already exists, it would be valuable to know.

    The ‘star studded’ comments themselves would provide good raw material for a case study discussion on rhetoric, intellectual property issues, conflict resolution and dynamics among Filipinos on the web in the early 21st century. Our gratitude goes to all the participants.

  10. If the CBCP thinks they will win people to their side after their “pastoral editorial” they have to think harder.
    I think they have to look deep in their heart to rediscover their real vocation in life.
    If they they think politicians are bad.What can be worst then people of religion “playing” politics!
    The church is also known to be “the universal church”.Because thje values it proposes is good for everybody.
    However, our local church people are more partisan then anything.
    I think there is no reason to take pride in our bishops when they act in a partisan popular way.
    It’s a matter of fact that the local church has many problems starting from the scarsety of vocations to the very dicipline of their own people.Their problems are growimg bigger.
    People are leaving the church for other religious groups or carismatics.
    How can they even think of “playing politics” of pretending of flexing their muscle when they are incapable of solving their own problems?
    Before the church starts projecting their “hollier then thou” filling.They better have something to show for themselves first!

  11. I read the “pastoral editorial”.Honestly,I did not find it saying anything new.
    On the issue about the gains of society not filtering down to the poor.
    I think, all the Bishops had to do is consult an economist.From what I understand.It will take 10 years of a GDP that does not go lower then 6 (i may be wrong about the number),but the bottom line is we must maintain a regular GDP.
    If only we will not have so many interruption & political wars & continuity in our leadership.we really can.
    maybe the bishops should say something & be more specific of those evil characters in the shadows who are creating so much division & confussion.
    The Bishops talk about gridlocks but what suggestion do they have.
    Personaly, I would expect more for a group of supposed to be holy men who are supposed to be by the holy spirit when they come out w/ editorials/
    I noticed the bishops talk about the low level of morality.
    Is not morality the area of their experties?
    If it’s only about morals.I think it’s the church who should do the soul searching.because it is their failure.Where not the exclusive catholic schools supposed to be the means to incalcate the right morals on people who are the very people the church is pointing finger too?

    Why does not the Church talk more of the encyclicals of the Popes.that contain the universal teachings of the church?Insted of playing partisan politics.
    I’m sure the Universal church has so much to share.Insted of listening to our bishops who are trying to reinvent the wheel.
    It seems to me.One does not need to come up w/ a “pastoral editorial” when it is enough to talk to people who are experts in the fields of the “complaining bishops” to have a lil bit more understanding.
    If it’s the gridlock the bishops complain about.Why don’t they talk to those proposing chacha & try to understand the pros & cons.
    If it’s the economy.There are economist ready to explain things.
    If it’s the morals.It’s the bishops themselves who should do serious soul searching!

  12. DJB, of course I know who invented the bread toaster! It was George Foreman. He! He!

    Re Juan Mercado’s article, it’s a great one! Here’s my addition to it:

    The loony Rex Robles adds fuel to the fire by naively suggesting that the military and the Communists share a common agenda, which is “the search for a good life”. Not that Robles is entirely wrong. The systemic corruption in the AFP is proof that soldiers are searching for a good life – even if they have to steal for it. And the Communist movement has not been spared from its own contradictions, either. While the Communist leaders live the good life in exile, cadres risk life and limb to carry out the insurgency. No wonder that the Communist movement also has its share of corruption and is involved in criminal activities like extortion, banditry, illegal logging and smuggling. These cadres also want to live the good life, as Joma and Co. do in Utrech.

    But it is more than a stretch to say that the Communist movement is in search for a good life for all Filipinos. Actions belie words and glib sloganeering. The Communist movement’s actions, ever since its inception, have been aimed at setting back all progress and development in this country. The Communists want the masses to sink further into destitution and hopelessness because this promotes their sinister aim of establishing a proletarian dictatorship. They want to fan the flames of envy and discontent in order to spur class warfare. And history has shown that, far from promoting the good life, Communism has only hindered progress and democratized poverty. Russia, China, and the Central and Eastern European countries are proof of that. That is why they all have now embraced capitalism.

    Rex Robles must have been gazing at his navel far too long and, in the process, a few screws in his head have come undone.

    But, in the final analysis, it is correct to say that the Filipino people will never buy a Communist takeover. Filipinos are only too aware that Communism is a discredited ideology and that Communism goes against long-cherished Filipino values that place self and family above the state.

    But that does not preclude a situation of civil strife and anarchy. EDSA III was a very minor preview of what can happen when the embers are fanned and order breaks down. It happenned recently in France and it happenned a few years ago in Indonesia, just before and after Suharto’s downfall. True, the conditions may not be exactly the same. But substitute class for religion, and you may still have the same combustible elements in the mixture. With the Iranian stand-off and Hamas at the helm in Palestine, oil prices are sure to be volatile this year. This will impact very stongly on our economy. If you throw in the volatile elements of terrorism and economic hardship, we have a potentially explosive situation, indeed.

    In the meantime, China has had almost 10% growth in 2005 and India is fast gaining momentum. They are presently the talk of the financial fora and the darlings of the economic world. While that may be good news for the economy at large, that will only mean greater energy and food consumption from these two giants. Since we are self-sufficient in neither capacity, this will only mean greater inflation for us and more hardship for the man in the streets. Although this also opens up windows of opportunity, are we in a position to take advantage of these opportunities? If we wanted to “search for the good life” for all our countrymen, these are the things we should be doing, instead of wasting time and saliva on motherhood statements and empty rhetoric.

  13. Sir DJB is correct, Cardinal Sin is really in the great beyond now. Then again I’m not that surprised by the CBCP’s soft statements, the new Pontiff is a known to be a conservative so naturally, it does avoid being to involved in politics.

    I hope Filipino stars and TV personalities will follow the same doctrine and spare this country some of its miseries. Especially the new generation born out of the reality-based and other similar talent search contests which overlooks true talent and skill over fan-based popularity and instant SMS cash viability.

  14. george Foreman invented the grill during his discovery of fire….. read further
    Toasting bread began as a method of prolonging the life of bread. It was very common activity in Roman times, ‘tostum’ is the latin word for scorching or burning. The first electric toaster was invented in 1893 in Great Britain by Crompton and Co (UK) and re-invented in 1909 in the United States. It only toasted one side of the bread at a time and it required a person to stand by and turn it off manually when the toast looked done. Charles Strite invented the modern timer, pop-up toaster in 1919.


    going back to topic…
    the stand of the cbcp? dejavu
    malacanang must not claim that they won the cbcp or anyone’s support…….
    That only proves that they are on a defensive mode and sort of admitting that they are on a dire situation.

  15. This general excitement over this pastoral letter thing is extraordinary – doesn’t the Philippine constitution say that there’s separation of church and state?

    Why do Filipinos allow these bishops to influence the political life of the nation or simply put, allow these men to meddle in national politics?

    That the nation, its press, its intelligentsia, etc. should encourage these bishops to ‘dictate’ what they ought to do or ought not to do with their political life is really quite baffling!

    I’m tempted to believe that religion is indeed the opium of the oppressed.

    Honestly, the manner with which these Philippine bishops (and what they utter today) are being put on a pedestal is remotely Catholic!

  16. The bishops needs to guide their flock! That’s their primary purpose in life, supposed to be. Will they be doing their roles if they kept quite? I quess not. Are they doing their job when they released the pastoral letter? Yes they were. How others view what was written is beside the point.

    The “searching for the truth” direction is as neutral as the bishops can get on directing their flock. I quite agree with them.

  17. Probably eodoro Bacani Jr. did not mean it when he quoted the Pope during last World Youth day about – not letting the untruth pioson human relationships.To my mind that is what the evil characters lurking in the shadows have done to our society by the garci tapes.They have piosoned every aspect of our lives.
    the characteristics of “untruths” leave people confussed & divided.
    Personaly, this is all the more reason why those “untruths” must never be used & exploited or given any weith at all.

  18. correct, mr. jon mariano. I agree that the bishops have moral resposibilities to guide their flock. The president, being the most photographed catholic faithful in this time, is presumably part of the flock of the chruch. that’s why the church, as a matter of responsibility, has the need to tell her where she erred in the moral department of her conduct as apublic servant.

    For those who do not believe in the chruch, you are misplaced in your criticism about them. But for the faithful, it is quite reassuring that finally the church have come up with a more categorical stand.

  19. on “usury”. While i agree that usury is evil,instead of just pointing its finger on the usurers, I think the church need to take the initiative for a definite solution to beat the greed out of these small time lenders who take advantage of the plight of the poor. Perhaps, the church can open a lending window for the poor who need to borrow a start up capital for his/her micro enterprise (kariton goods). For what bank may open a lending window for these poor without collateral? the lopezes, the conjuangcos, the sys, can borrow from the system clean and they can even dictate the rate. who or what institution would take care of the need for capital or maybe the need for personal use of an unemployed poor?

  20. Isn’t this the same Bacani who ran out of town due to sexual charges? Wasn’t his line that he had made “inappropriate affections” or something like that?

    I don’t know if he was guilty…nor exactly of what. Is that whole incident now forgotten, forgiven, dismissed? I haven’t heard any references to that episode during Bacani’s recent emergence on the public scene.

  21. if the garci tape has nothing but untruth, bakit pinatulan ni bunye? why did malacanang resort to producing the gary tape if they did not feel so insecure about the content of the garci tape? that’s why bunye need to do some explaining.

  22. geo, even if the column ‘Pursue Truth Relentlessly’ was written by Michael Jackson, it would not make what it says any less valid.

  23. cvj,

    No arguments from me. I was just surprised to see Bacani’s re-emergence without any reference to that issue. Doesn’t seem like the best of front-men and yet I haven’t heard of any attacks against him. I’m truly wondering openly: whatever became of that/Bacani’s situation? Wasn’t he a “bad guy” just a short while ago? I know women who despise him.

    Then I saw him on ANC tonight. No doubt where he stands. And yet, the news clips/summary stories flashed another Bishop who was emphasizing that GMA is the leader and that the people should respect that (parapharsing).

    Seems to be that the Bishopric elite (and/ot the entire Church) continues to be just as split as other segments of society…..and each side of the issue has its share of…ummm…questionable(?) players.

    Again, I never followed the details of the Bacani brouhaha and I also don’t know how that issue now stands. But I do know that the overall, national picture is more muddled than each player is portraying at this time…and that each player is under suspicion of being agenda-driven. Even a Bishop.

    Ultimately, though (I think), the question is: “Now what?”…and the answer to that should be much more important than: “Who’s who?”.

  24. yes geo, the same bacani that the church “protected” or “covered-up” for also!!!!
    it’s funny, to have a church who is very quick to pint fingers.
    when they too are guilty of “cover-ups”!

  25. Learning how to count

    Based on projections done by Congressman Salceda the government will have its work cut out for it to simply to erase the budget deficit by 2008-9. However not a cent of an over Php 5 trillion debt (total public sector debt) stock will have been paid. For the year 2006 the government will have to pay almost Php 700 billion for prinicpal and interest payments. They will need to borrow monies for principal payments.

    The noise you hear is simply about raising taxes simply to close a budget deficit which will is still adding and will add to the total debt stock till 2008-2009.

    To make it easier for people to grasp I found this for people who like to throw the word billions around. Please note that Kuya Mike and Ate Glo have been given an ATM card funded by the Republic. We are now using the word trillions. So far through the charity of the collective community called the Filipino, Pres.Roxas through to the present administration have withdrawn more than they have collected and have left a total debt (future tax bill) and no more than 10% is left for capital expenditures in the budget today.

    I love what Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as Stupid does.”

    We are all collectively stupid!!!!!
    If the government has a surplus of 1 billion a year it will take five thousand years to retire the total public sector debt. A wise man said that we would be all dead anyway……

    The word “billion” is thrown around an awful lot – and it is such a big
    number that it’s hard for most people to wrap their head around. Realizing
    this, our friend, Bill Murphy from posted some helpful
    statistics on his site:

    “The next time you hear a politician use the word ‘billion’ casually,
    think about whether you want the politician spending your tax money.

    “A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency
    did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of its

    “A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

    “A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

    “A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

    “A billion days ago no one walked on earth.

    “A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our
    government spends it.”

  26. Whatever was bacani’s sin that was his to make amends. But the transgression of the president is her accountability to the people. Anybody-churchmen or ordinary faithful, true believer or atheist, sinner or saint as long as you are a citizen of this country hwo is taxed to death, has every right to ask the president the corresponding restitution for the wrong the she had done.

  27. Jon Mariano,

    Then, the best way to guide their “flocks” is to distribute their pastoral letter, their lectures, their sermons direct to their congregation and from the pulpit and not through media.

    Doing it on the national front with press photographers, reporters, etc. is meddling in national politics. When they do that, they are violating the sacrosanct constitutional rule of separation of church and state.

    You must admit that the manner in which the Philippine bishops (and what they utter today) are being put on a pedestal is NOT remotely Catholic or if it is, it is Catholicism of 500 years ago, the sort of Catholicism that Rizal spurned and the kind that Catholics over here – even in Spain where Philippine Catholicism emanated – laugh or sneer at!

    The bishops would do well to guide their flocks from the grassroot level.

    Seems our bishops aren’t free of politically turbulent Sin yet!

  28. Anna,

    Sure they could do that too. But are we in the position to teach them how to do their work? Or don’t you think it’s just a matter of difference preferences? You prefer one way, and they prefer another way?

    Of course the Bishops are meddling, they want to be relevant in peoples’ lives. They crave the power to influence the government, and peoples’ lives.

    In the same way that the clergy should not influence the government, vice versa we don’t try to influence how the clergy do their stuff nor the government should try to influence the clergy.

  29. Jon,

    Who’s telling the bishops how to do their work? But they shouldn’t meddle in politics, period. (Now, I think you and I agree that they shouldn’t meddle in national politics.)

    Their reason for meddling today is irrelevant and matters not an iota to me. If they want to join the political frey, then they had better quit the clergy and become politicians.

    The Constitution is clear about separation of church and state – the situation is confusing enough and allowing these men in pompous robes tend to muddle the issues even more.

    His Political Turbulence J Cardinal Sin is dead; enough of cardinals, bishops in Philippine politics!

    They should spend their time in church and pray for the salvation of the wicked if they want to but certainly not get involved in national politics!


    I’ve just spoken on the phone to a Catholic bishop friend of mine (from Alabang) who is one of the most erudite and kindest men I know and told him what I thought of his colleagues and where they could put their pastoral letter. He laughed and said he too doesn’t understand why his colleagues are doing what they are doing.

  30. I would tend to agree with DJB when he said in a previous comment (#24 under the 13-Oct, 2005 ‘Autogolpe’ thread):

    “The separation of church and state does not forbid any individual, religious or not, from full and fervent, and even moneymaking participation in political life, as long as they don’t actually break any laws.”

    Of course, we can agree/disagree, support/criticize, accept/dismiss what the Bishops say but muzzling them would be against a person’s right to free speech.

  31. Any oragnization religious or not may use any medium of communication to bring to all concerned what they need to tell or announce. a charitable foundation for example may use tv or print ad to advertise their cause. In the same manner that there is absolutely nothing wrong with reliogious institutions or religious people, bishops or otherwise, to use all media available to announce what they need to tell the people. whether they are relevant or not to us, is a matter of perspective and preference.

    to some who recognize the churh’s moral obligation to its flock, the stand of CBCP on political issues may not be viewed as political meddling but as a guide and may even be convinced of the truth it evokes.

    but for those who prefer not to believe them, its all right. and for as long as the bishops (or the church) do not encroach on anybodys right, your criticism on their stand, to the point of telling them where their work must be confined, is a little bit misplaced. and perhaps too revealing of ones insecurity.

  32. Muzzling the bishops, you say CVJ? Who ever spoke of muzzling those guys?

    First, they can do it from the pulpit direct to their congregations; second, they can pray direct to God too…

    So where’s muzzling there?

    I personally won’t try to muzzle them but I’m sure as hell I know where they can put their pastoral thing…

  33. a de brux, now that you put it that way, it means i must have misunderstood your earlier comments…all is fair then. Although i think they are entitled to court the attention of the press just like any other individual or group.

  34. Anna,
    (my comments have been filtered by spam karma i think…)

    I definitely don’t want the bishops to influence the government may it be in the contraception issue, or any matter at all including this “search for truth”. But I am in agreement with cvj and dean, that they have the right and opportunity to air their stand thru the media.

    I also don’t believe that they are breaking the “separation of church and state” provision of the constitution by doing so. It is for the government to disregard the clergy’s stand. It is therefore the administration’s fault if they allow the pastoral letter (or any stand by the church) to affect its lawmaking and admin tasks.

    It just so happens that in the Philippine setting, the clergy’s voice carries a lot of influence.

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