I’m surprised at the carping that’s taking place in the wake of Manny Pacquiao’s victory, from people complaining about the prices of tickets (almost USD$1,000 for a ringside seat, to tickets having apparently been given away to fill up the Araneta Colliseum), to watching that old Marcos relict Ronnie Nathanielsz asking aloud on ANC this morning why Pacquiao didn’t seem all that eager to really finish off his opponent, to the extent that the promoter was ticked off. The comments I’ve been hearing are along the lines of what Iloilo City Boy has to say (amusing thing pointed to by that blog: Manila Vanilla’s entry on how not to run major sporting events).
An intriguing article is in The Daily Tribune, which features extensive quotes from the normally spectacularly silent Cardinal-Archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio Rosales. A news item overseas features what may be an emerging bandwagon among Catholic prelates to back impeachment. Columnist Jojo Robles comes up with the perfect administration party preemptive, calibrated response:
The problem with Yñiguez and other politically active Catholic clergymen is, as another recent editorial in this newspaper inferred, they never hesitate to use whatever influence they have over their flock to push their own private political agenda. “The headlines [after Yñiguez’ filing], after all, did not read “Private citizen files 3rd complaint.” They correctly said “Bishop files 3rd complaint,” that editorial said.
No matter how it is viewed, Benedict’s encyclical seems pretty straightforward and unequivocal, immune to jesuitic second-guessing. The rest is only convenient doctrinal rationalizing by the clerics—or a disingenuous attempt to obfuscate and ignore a legitimate reminder from no less than the Pope to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
Do you know what Robles means? He denies an essential dictum of Catholic dogma: the magisterium. And all this “rendering unto Caesar” claptrap only serves to incense the Neros and Caligulas of the present (to borrow the apt phrase coined by Claro M. Recto) and ignores what Christians kept willing to do under a long line of Caesars: suffer martyrdom by flouting the law.
Robles also echoes one of the most disturbing theories cooked up by the administration: that in its dirty sense, politics only applies to dissent; and that anything proposed and pushed by the administration can never, ever, be deemed politics in that sense.
A view echoed by Atty. Rita Jimeno who raises the specter of fat, ignorant friars in a country practically depopulated of them. Moral of the tale? Intervention of the Catholic clergy in political affairs, according to the present dispensation, is wrong when the clergy is critical of the administration. If, however, the clergy serve the purposes of the administration, Catholic meddling is to be welcomed and encouraged. In a newsgroup, one member reminded the other readers that when the Catholic bishops seemed inclined to let the President be, signs began to sprout throughout the metropolis: “Avoid trouble! Obey the bishops!”.
It’s true the Catholic episcopacy has had many tussles with presidents and politicians, as these articles in The Philippines Free Press blog remind us: pre-war, there was the question of religious instruction in the public schools during class time; after the war, there was the debate on the Rizal law. What people forget (read the articles to double-check this point, if you wish) is that a principal objection in those days was the large, even dominant, presence of foreign bishops in the Philippines. That is no longer the case. What’s interesting is that even in the 1930s, when the generation that lived through the twilight of the Spanish era were still alive, what was not questioned was the right of the clergy to comment: what was deemed wrong was lobbying, in effect, purely to promote Catholic interests (therefore: devoting normal class hours to catechism was wrong, from the perspective of the separation of Church and State; as were Catholic objections to Rizal’s heretical ideas being taught to the public; inviting the Papal Nuncio to witness the repeal of the Death Penalty was a violation, but that was one committed by the Speaker and magnified by the President).
A perfectly admirable TV show gets suspended by people who might die if they ever opened a copy of National Geographic Magazine.
In the punditocracy, my column for today is Church and Calabasa.
Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ on the roadblocks to impeachment (anyone notice he’s getting really sarcastic these days? I love it!).
The woes of Comelec Commissioner Rex Borra continues to be grist for the mill. The Inquirer editorial says the Ombudsman’s cooked up novel legal theories: basically saying high-level officials are beyond scrutiny. Fel Maragay has faith in the system. One thing’s clear, as someone told me yesterday: no one expected the Ombudsman to wriggle out of such a tight spot the way she did.
The blogosphere: here’s a story. I was talking to a farmer yesterday, someone involved in Agrarian Reform beneficiaries’ issues, and this was just one of the stories I heard.
Recently, a detachment of soldiers went through a community, as part of the general zona ad hamletting efforts of the AFP. The soldiers were hungry. They ordered the farmer to slaughter his one and only pig. The farmer refused -the pig was going to be earmarked to pay the tuition fees of his children. The soldiers manhandled the farmer and one of his sons, forcing them to dig their own graves.
The farmer and his son weren’t killed -but thoroughly frightened into slaughtering their pig. The NPA would never do that to a farmer and his family. Not that I endorse what Achieving Happiness desires.
Speaking of “rebels”, Peryodistang Pinay gives the background on her published interview with a rebel leader. But an altogether different kind: the ones who want statehood! A rebel against sanity (then again, The Idiot Board says Superman is an icon of imperialism).
Istambay sa Mindanao has a detailed entry on corruption among local government units in Mindanao.
Uniffors points to a snippet from the Garcillano recordings that may explain why Rex Borra’s bearing the brunt of the Ombudsman’s attentions. An OFW Living in Hong Kong, and The Bystander, as well as Stepping on Poop weigh in on the issue (but Mickety, what did you expect from the President, who appointed the Ombudsman?).
Even in other republics, as this Slate article shows, the question of Church and State is increasingly of political importance.