Thursday, December 14, 2006

Church, People, Democracy … Alive ! ! !

Marcos created his rubber stamp Parliament backed by his own version of constitutional reform through regularly promulgated Presidential Decrees, the most famous and foundational of which is PD 1081 (Martial Law). Back in 1997, President Fidel Ramos attempted another constitutional manoeuvre to extend himself in power through a people’s initiative dubbed PIRMA. If Erap was not ousted too soon, the temptation to use the constitution to preserve himself and his allies in power would also be too strong to resist. Thus, Gloria and her coterie of family, friends and defenders is showing the same colour and odour. The lame excuse given over and over again is change the constitution in order to push the country forward but make sure that provisions on terms of office, elections, re-elections are first on the list.

The recent marathon sessions in Congress that led to the decision of the majority to convene congress into a constituent assembly does not only show the colour of putrefaction. It exuded it in the most execrable way. The stench has spread and people can no longer take it. I have prayed and fasted long and hard for the church to start moving and exercising its moral ascendancy. Finally it did when Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called for a massive rally at the Quirino Grandstand on December 15, 2006. Political and moral putrefaction is something no one can really stand. It’s like allowing corpses to rot everywhere with maggots and flies freely crawling and flying in and out of the ugly and frightening vessels of decay and death.

Jesus saw, felt and smelled the same putrefaction in the temple turned into a haven of money changers. Congress, Senate, Malacanang and the other branches of Government are far from being temples. But if their raison d’etre is to uphold the highest standards of public service, they have an unmistakably sacred character which must be preserved. Integrity and a certain degree of decency if not holiness are expected of public officials. We do not demand perfection and saintliness but neither do we tolerate mediocrity and worst, irresponsibility, incompetence and even the outright betrayal of public trust.

The unbearable and intolerable state of governance in our country is implied in Archbishop Lagdameo’s call, “for the purification of reason, for the reawakening of the moral forces, for the ordering of society. (Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 13, 2006)

More than the threat of numbers is the weight of moral values and principles once more re-asserting themselves that sent wily and adamant politicos scurrying backwards and declaring the much vaunted con ass dead, buried in what the House Speaker called the catacombs of political dreams. But no sooner as con ass is declared dead that its craven twin con con is dragged out of the political closet and flaunted as a “better” alternative. Like a little boy caught stealing “hopia” from “lola’s garapon” they back off and suggest that the planned rally is no longer necessary. But like lola the people know that the little boy is a chronic “hopia thief” and that his excuses last no more than the few moments lola is looking. The little boy will be back. They will be back. More than a bad idea, we are dealing with a bad habit, better an addiction deeply ingrained not in a few but in an entire sector of persons with power and money but have little or no principles or morals whatsoever.

Con Ass or Con Con misses the point. The urgent problem in Phillippine society is not the what or the how but the who. There are politicos as there are little boys who steal hopia or candies but where are the statesmen and women who lead lives of unconditional and selfless service and graciously bow out of office when the time comes. But what do we have among our leaders? What do we see but the impatience of those who push cha cha or con con to mask their fear of losing what indeed no longer belongs to them.

Thank God, the Church, the People and Democracy are alive. We should not stop cleaning and burying the putrefaction of politicos and traditional politics. We should not stop until there are enough who… ready for the what.

Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
December 14 2006


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