There is a concerted effort by the media and cyberspace kibitzers to drive a wedge between the President and the Bishops by summoning even an archaic constitutional doctrine of “separation between the church and state.” But they are bound to fail. Simeon Benigno Aquino, is a church’s poster boy who is much willing to accommodate the church and is wary of displeasing its aging prelates whom he pledge to respect out of familial breeding instilled on him by his illustrious parents.
“Ang matatanda ay dapat nirerespeto.” (The olds deserved to be respected). That’s one value I have learned from my parents, the President said.
True enough. He did not see the Bishops’ Opposition to RHB a reason to unwire himself from its coattails and despite the church’s veiled threats of excommunicating him from this pious order, PNOY would not seem to respond in acerbic tones and would always ask the church leaders to discuss their differences politely and without acrimonious mudslinging. That’s a true grit of a statesman or his parents had simply molded him as a true christian.
But another media spin was unleashed about the bishops’ alleged demand for PNOY to make an apology which the latter refused. His refusal however was simply on account of the fact that he was not responsible for the bishops being mired in scandal. It was the handiwork of his PCSO official who was excited in opening her mouth too soon without checking to find out if a multi-purpose van is similar to an expensive SUV’s normally hot-rodded down the highways by the rich and the famous in our society.
The press and the cyberspace mosquitoes who look at the present church’s leadership as identical to the friars of Rizal’s time was only too happy to join in the fray and spin the scandal out of proportion. But the church had shown its humility by having its members grilled by Congress whose people, incidentally, hold no moral ascendancy over them and yet the bishops did the most honorable thing to do: return the cheap but controversial vans and apologize for the lapses in their judgment, in accepting gifts from the government earned through its casinos and gambling.
As regards PNOY, he remains a church’s altar boy; forever docile, to a point of being servile to the church; after all, the prelate group paid homage to her mother by offering the pomp of the Archbishop Palace, a place reserved only for church dignitaries, to her mother’s wake. The religious institution had energized the “yellow crowd” once again – – and this massive outpouring of public sympathy and grief, served as barometers of the Aquino magic that impelled PNOY, from out of the blue, to run for President.
The same church by the way, during Cardinal Sin’s stewardship, led the faithful to barricade the street of EDSA so that the Marcos’s troops cannot assault Camp Crame and forced the dictator, his family and cronies to flee the country in 1986 and for Mrs. Aquino to assume the Presidency.
The vociferous voices in our midst hollered at the church to separate itself from the State, but it seems that is only when the church wants its voice in the affairs of the government heard, but not when the church places a huge stockpile of political capital in one’s stockyard.
It is however, when the government is so separated from Godliness that the church preaches that makes its bureaucrats evil and corrupt. The constitutional doctrine of separation of power between these two entities had its local origin meant to address the tyranny of the Spanish friars during the colonial period who breathed over the shoulders of the “guardia civil”, the “ “governadorcillos” and even the “governor general” in the matter of running the government and determine for themselves who should be dispossessed of farm lands and who should go to jail.
Our prelates today are Filipinos like us, who wanted to be heard in the government because the government had been so battered and bled dry by our modern day “guardia civil”, by our “gobernadorcillos” and by our “governor general.” It is the reverse of the conditions in the colonial Philippines. The doctrine of separation of power lacks the political basis for which it had been enshrined in the 1935 constitution and in the 1987 constitution but it is now being used to swat the prelates away so our corrupt politicians and their courtier of corrupt media practitioners, the cyberspace mosquitoes, the RHB lobbyists and the pharmaceutical cartels, can do about their normal business unhampered by the strictures of morality and conscience and feeling ennobled with their self-portrayal as reincarnations of Rizal and the personalities of the propaganda movement of 1895, because like them, they can also lash at the church – with the same “patriotic fervor” as their forebears!
No wonder we hail Carlos Celdran who trespassed a church house and disrupted its service dressed with the attire of the great patriot – – as the patriot himself. We keep lowering our criteria for our heroes that even a clown could qualify as a patriot ; the very reason we buried Angelo T. Reyes at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and we would want the body of the former dictator to share with him this resting place, – and we keep electing criminals to Congress.
Filipinos keep on degenerating everyday, that those who believe in Darwin should not be surprised that someday, they become monkeys again!