The CBCP January 2006 Statement seems to have incurred the anger and disgust of certain politicians when it addressed the matter of the proposed Charter Change. As expected, they forwarded the abused and overused argument that CBCP is meddling in politics. It might be of help if they consider with calm and ease the following truths.
First: The CBCP did not say that there should be no Charter Change at all. The present Philippine Charter is certainly not a perfect document whereas it was drawn and approved precisely by imperfect men and women. It can be definitely improved. No one in his or her right mind would even think that the Philippine Constitution is a document for all eternity.
Second: The CBCP simply expressed its deep concern on the matter of the “what”, “how” and “who”. For a start, what are the constitutional provisions that will be changed? Then, how will the proposed changes be made? Lastly, who will approve or reject the proposed constitutional changes?
Third: The CBCP is only too aware that the fundamental law of the land and any proposed changes therein affect every Filipino, even the unborn. It is wherefore incongruous for politicians to even think that the charter only involves themselves, that charter change is their exclusive concern, and that everybody else is irrelevant. The truth is that even nuns, priests and bishops are covered by the constitution.
Some politicians say that the CBCP is not infallible. It is not, just as they are neither. Certain politicians claim that the CBCP is irrelevant. It would be if their lying, cheating, and stealing were over and above moral norms. There are politicians who want the CBCP to keep quiet, stay still. CBCP would want that too if such would not be a betrayal of its mandate to proclaim the truth, to work for justice, to promote peace.
What a blessing for the country as a whole—and a special favor for the CBCP—if all the politicians would respect their tenure of public trust and not betray it instead in favor of their private good, if they would all work for the common welfare and not merely for their partisan interests, if they would all engage in altruistic concern and not simply engage in self-service. Then CBCP has reason to say nothing, do nothing. Otherwise, it has to speak and act—under penalty of betrayal of its own mandate in the sphere of morals.
7 February 2006