Wednesday, October 18, 2006

one bishop dead, other bishops in danger

There were three Filipino catholic priests who deliberately countered the shameful abuses of foreigners who conquered their land and trampled upon the dignity and rights their people. They spoke. They acted. They were killed. Sad but true, there is an on-going repeat of this atrocity against churchmen in this country.

There was the kind and courageous aglipayan bishop whose only desire was to help the poor, to promote human rights, to stop political killings. For his mission for justice and truth, his reward under the present administration was criminal and terminal. Stop him. Silence him. Kill him. Hopefully this gruesome action would frighten and stop all those who follow his life and example. Would it?

There are six identified catholic bishops officially named by the present administration as targets of criminal prosecution. They too have no other mission but to promote justice and truth specially in favor of the poor, the helpless and the oppressed. For reasons only known to those presently in tenure of political power and influence, there are talks to the effect that their number was recently reduced to four, and now to but two. It can be readily presumed that the mere official publication of their names would make those who believe in their cause, tremble in fear and disappear for good. Would it?

These churchmen in the distant past, in the recent time and during days respectively, all have three realities in common which constitute their built-in advantage: One, they were and are all pro-people. Two, they were and are all against socio-political abuses. Three, they were and are all confronting a government that is dishonored, disrespected, distrusted.

A national leadership that is deeply beholden to its armed forces, that openly engages in transactional politics, that pays much for the patronage of people—these factors are not what make its governance draws loyalty from the citizens, what bring about its political stability, what promote unity and harmony in the country.

This is the huge dilemma of the present administration. When it kills and persecute churchmen, in effect it undermines itself. This is true not only locally but also internationally. This is precisely the reason why human rights advocates from different countries felt they should personally come to the country to look into the hundreds of local political killings that strongly disturb even foreign human sensibilities.

+O. V. CRUZ, D.D.
16 October 2006