[Blueboard] SLB Statement on the Current Political Crisis

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Jul 5 12:11:02 PHT 2005


Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

Statement on the Current Political Crisis

CRUX OF THE MATTER

We, the SIMBAHANG LINGKOD NG BAYAN of the Society of Jesus, would like 
to issue our own apology to the whole nation.  Much as we would like to 
accompany the President to the Promised Land or join her in her vision 
of a "great" nation for our country, we have to say that we are sorry, 
especially to the President, but we cannot just forgive, forget, and 
simply move on. We feel that to do so, the Church would be betraying the 
Filipino people and the moral principles which she teaches. We are 
saddened that her supposed apology, couched in careful and calculated 
language, rather than put an end to the scandals plaguing her 
administration, did not appease the populace and only further eroded her 
credibility. This we gather from the simple, ordinary folk in the 
parishes we work in and not from "the opposition" or any militant groups.

The people are angry. They cannot be taken as fools, they say. And we 
believe there is righteousness in their anger and this we celebrate for 
their anger reveals their respect for the sanctity of the elections and 
the sanctity of the public office. About the first, the Pastoral Letter 
of the CBCP before the 1986 snap elections reminds us: "the power to 
choose our leaders comes from God. From him all authority derives. In a 
democracy, he chooses to designate the bearers of this authority through 
the free and honest expression of the people's will. Hence, voting is a 
sacred right and duty. To exercise this right is to do God's will. To 
respect this right is to respect God himself." As for the sanctity of 
the public office, the 1986 Constitution, which is the sovereign will of 
the Filipino people, states: "Public office is a public trust. Public 
officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, 
serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and 
efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives (Art 
XI, Sec 1)." To this end, it also declares that "the state shall 
maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive 
and effective measures against graft and corruption (Art 2, Sec. 27)."

These are the two democratic institutions, we believe, that have been 
put into question by the current controversy which revolves around the 
alleged corruption in the 2004 elections by the poll body and the 
highest public office of the land. That is why beyond the person of the 
President and her personal stake in all these or that of her family, the 
very foundation of democracy in this country is being shaken. What is at 
stake is the very faith of the Filipino people in its democratic 
institutions.

We cannot therefore just forgive, forget and move on, although our 
energies are nearly spent with all the political crises that this 
country has weathered in recent decades.  We are not in anyway 
prejudging the President in as much as the verdict is still forthcoming. 
But we would like to remind the President, that more than the radical 
reforms she is now undertaking in an effort to atone for her "lapse of 
judgment," the people are demanding the truth. More than regaling them 
with rosy economic scenarios, they want their President to lead them in 
ferreting out the truth and nothing but the truth in this current 
controversy.

In this regard, the late Pope John Paul II warns us in /Veritatis 
Splendor /(The Splendor of Truth): " In the political sphere, it must be 
noted that truthfulness in the relations between those governing and 
those governed, openness in public administration....the rejection of 
equivocal or illicit means to gain, preserve or increase power at any 
cost--all these are principles which are primarily rooted in, and in 
fact derive their singular urgency from, the transcendent value of the 
person and the objective moral demands of the functioning of States. 
When these principles are not observed, the very basis of political 
existence is weakened and the life of society itself is gradually 
jeopardized, threatened and doomed to decay."

The people demand the truth and the government will be courting disaster 
if it dismisses this demand. St. Paul says, "For we cannot do anything 
against the truth but only for the truth (2 Cor 13:8)." That at this 
juncture is the people's bottom line. It appears, however, that 
government strategy would like us to look the other way, promising us 
radical reforms. What radical reforms, we ask? Clean the government of 
graft and corruption? Why not start with the current allegations 
surrounding her office? Push for radical social and economic measures 
such as the proper implementation of the country's urban and agrarian 
land reform? Can she really go against the vested interests of the 
powers-that-be whose support her weakened presidency now desperately 
needs? We doubt it. Perhaps in the short term but not in the long term. 
The book of Proverbs tells us, "truthful lips endure forever, a lying 
tongue lasts only a moment (Proverbs 12:19)." A few sectors have joined 
in asking the people to forgive the President and move on. They argue 
that the economy is already taking a beating with the current political 
crisis and only the President can lead us out of this rut. In effect, we 
are being told to sacrifice our demand for the truth.

It is precisely this delusion that St Paul speaks of: "But if God's 
truth redounds to his glory through my falsehood, why am I still being 
condemned as a sinner (Rom 3:7)?" For his part, Pope John Paul II warns 
us of "the risk of an alliance between democracy and ethical relativism, 
which would remove any sure moral reference point from political and 
social life and on a deeper level make the acknowledgement of truth 
impossible." He writes that "indeed, 'if there is no ultimate truth to 
guide and direct political activity then ideas and convictions can 
easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a 
democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised 
totalitarianism' /(Veritatis Splendor/)." 

There is therefore no skirting the people's clamor for the truth. There 
is no real forgiveness or atonement without the truth. Once again, Pope 
John Paul II tells us "Forgiveness, in its truest and highest form, is a 
free act of love; but precisely because it is an act of love, it has its 
own intrinsic demands: The first of which is respect for the truth....we 
are all called to live the truth. Forgiveness, far from precluding the 
search for truth, actually requires it. Evil that has been done must be 
acknowledged and, as far as possible, corrected (/Go in Peace: A Gift of 
Enduring Love/)." 

We can never move on without settling first the truth behind the current 
political controversy, without government responding to this clarion 
call to let the truth out. The credibility not only of the President but 
our democratic institutions as well will further be eroded if the 
question of truth surrounding her presidency is not resolved. Our 
salvation as a nation can only come from an appreciation of the truth, 
as Paul tells us: "But we ought to give thanks to God for you always, 
brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits 
for salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief in 
truth (2 Thes 2:13)."

We have been warned of possible dark scenarios ahead if we pursue this 
path. But St. Paul finally tells us not to fear but instead to "stand 
fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed in righteousness as a 
breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace 
(Eph 6:14)." And Jesus himself assures us: "...You will know the truth, 
and the truth will set you free (Jn 8:32)."

 

 

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