In the recent past, certain members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) were said to have been made target-objects of the so called “Envelopmental System”, courtesy of well identified Malacanang agents – a practice of money largesse said to be observed with some media practitioners either to buy their kindness or to pay for their precious silence. Soon thereafter, it was claimed that some Bishops were made participants of a dinner tendered in a modest restaurant by the same Malacanang minions to forge some kind of a beneficial “mutual relationship” between the said Churchmen and Malacanang. These events seemed to have taken place on the occasion of a CBCP Plenary Assembly.
It was also noted that there was a time when exactly the same Malacanang cohorts were seen giving gifts to certain Bishops, i.e., rather exquisitely made and expensive items used for Mass celebration. And sometime thereafter, it was further alleged that there were already this and that meeting held among certain Bishops and the principal Malacanang tenant for this and that cause. For one reason or another, media found such events worthy of mention for the curious general public to know.
As time passed by, it was further reported that there was a certain group of Bishops who already frequented Malacanang as a matter of course – in the same way that the said Malacanang Chief occupant usually presenced certain special occasions in the Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions of the said Bishops. People who also attended same events were described as divided in their perception of such a phenomenon, viz., some were excited while others felt discomfort. The good relational arrangement went to the extent that this and that Bishop were every now and then assigned to one temporary public office or another.
Time eventually came that a novel and quite interesting imaginary reality caught the attention of the general public, viz., the so called “Malacanang Diocese’. As usual, the Filipino spirit – creative, witty, naughty – coined the distinct vocabulary which to this writing has already become some kind of a by-word to those who despise Malacanang and /or dislike the Bishops concerned. And as enjoined by truth and promoted by reality, it is both proper and just to even but attempt to herein address this matter and thereby hopefully forward a practical approach to such an intriguing and funny item.
Briefly and candidly: One, there is no such novelty in the local Church of the Philippines. Two, the nomenclature is but a product of a fertile imagination. Three, the Malacanang potentate who can dictate on Philippine Bishops what to say/do or not do/say, is not yet born. Fourth, it is certainly not a sin if some Bishops believe in and subscribe to the governance exercised by the ruling administration. Fifth, not only the present Malacanang tenant but also all Bishops shall eventually pass away.
July 24, 2009