Bishop: We do not serve presidents

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Bishop Ramon Villena of the Diocese of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, strongly criticized President Benigno Aquino 3rd for his “reckless” accusations against the Church during Pope Francis’ courtesy call in Malacañang.

“What was supposed to have been an occasion filled with grace and truth turned out to be an embarrassing and a distressing affair, because President Aquino imprudently seized the opportunity to vent his disappointment that the Catholic hierarchy has not sided with him—in the presence of the Holy Father and of the highest ranking ecclesiastics in the country,” Villena said.

The bishop noted that he issued a public statement because Aquino’s “accusations cannot be made to pass without refutation and rebuttal.”

“He complains principally, that the clergy have been silent in the face of what he characterizes as the misdeeds, the malfeasance and the misfeasance the previous administration —referring of course to the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” Villena said.


“But that is exactly the trouble with Mr. Aquino: his lack of regard for judicial processes and his blatant disrespect of the judicial system,” he added.

“How can bishops and priests join in the condemnation of what has not been proved or established with certainty? We are not disposed to follow the lead of the President’s precipitousness in condemning his predecessor. She (Arroyo)is still being tried and, quite interestingly, so many cases against her have already been dismissed,” the bishop said.

He stressed that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) was not at all silent during the Arroyo administration.

“In the wake of different allegations, the CBCP was not remiss in its exhortations. Repeatedly, the leadership of the CBCP and the CBCP in plenum released different statements that were widely anticipated by the media,” Villena said.

“But as soon as charges were filed against Mrs. Arroyo, we deemed it proper to leave her guilt or innocence to be determined by the courts.What is wrong with that, morally and legally? Is it not that they who flaunt their disregard for the law and for the courts who should rather apologize to the nation?” the bishop asked.
He said Aquino “is apparently exasperated that we have not been on his side.”

“The CBCP will use the very same riposte of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno who answered: ‘I do not serve presidents.’ Similarly, the CBCP does not serve presidents.

We will address ourselves to moral issues and doctrinal concerns. On political, social and economic matters that raise moral questions, we will not be silent, and it will matter little to us whether we are on the side of government or not. Otherwise, we will not be Church, but an instrumentality of the present administration,” Villena explained.

“This is the reason that we have been so firm against the passage of the Reproductive Health Law that Mr. Aquino himself actively peddled–and that the Supreme Court found to transgress the Constitution in so many ways,” he said.

“We also condemned the misuse of funds by legislators through the Priority Development Assistance Fund, and the President’s own deliberate violation of the Constitution through the Disbursement Acceleration Program. So, what is Mr. Aquino whining about?” the bishop asked.

Villena reminded the President that “a mature leader welcomes criticism, and grows because of admonition and counsel.”

“lt is the worst curse ever to befall anyone in high office to trust only in the counsel of sycophants for it is these who should least be trusted,” he said.

“For our part, we shall continue preaching in season and out of season, siding not with the powerful and the mighty—even if they may have the power to send their enemies to the slammer or to visit every kind of vicissitude on them —but the poor and the lowly, the defenseless and those who are oppressed. But in all things we shall heed the admonition of Pope Francis: Mercy and compassion!”

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42 Comments

  1. PNoy wants that no one or no body is allowed to criticize him because he thinks he is in the right path for his “daang matuwid”..pseudo dictatorial who tries to invade and control all branches of the govt like the SC..he wants everything to be in harmony with his style in governance..he cant moved on and tried his best “na sisihin lahat ang past administrations”..he forgot that the church he criticized was the same church who supported him in his bid to presidency and t’was believed to be the answer of cry of the Filipino people..He was even silent during his term in congress both when he was a congressman and as a senator.

  2. Bong Macalalad on

    Stupid, stupid, simply stupid statement from a senile cleric! Cases against Arroyo were filed after her term as President, not during her nearly dictatorial reign. Aquino was referring “during” not after. Villena should follow the objective lead of Cardinal Tagle and Arch. Arguelles on the matter. Not some ascerbic remarks but humble recognition that there were indeed lapses from the some leaders of the Church.

    • Sorry I totally agree with the Monsignor. Certainly not the right venue to air these issues. My american catholic friends here in houston were totally speechless with such immature remarks. Well what do you expect from such an immature president? I am mortified.

    • layo naman ng response mo. ano naman ang separation ng church and state, separate naman di ba. Ano ba ang pakaintindi mo ng separation of Church and State? You mean may bakod di na sila maguusap at di na magkikita, e di nawalan ng follower ang gobyerno. Majority ata ng Pilipino ay member ng Church if you wish to separate the church from the state.

  3. I think Ramon Villena should be remove to be a bishop. This is not how you lead your church. Cardinal Tagle or the Vatican should fire you. You’re very harsh to the President of our country. Your’re very disrespectful!

    • Villena did not say anything bad, what he said are all true and straight forward. it’s again how Pnoy will accept it. Will he accept it mature enough that for once he’ll do something to improve? or will he again blame everyone for not being a Pnoy fan?

    • disrespectful? Maybe to the people who don’t want to hear the truth of the fact he just laid out. The quoted messages from bishop Villena was real and facts.

      Nasaan ba si ex-pres. Arroyo ngayon? Ang daming reklamo ni P-Noy pero bakit hindi makakuha ng guilty verdict ang ating mga korte? Baka naman kasi wala talaga.

    • You’re talking about respect. And what can you say about PNoy’s statement in front of Pope Francis?

    • Tagle cannot fire a Bishop. He has no authority over the Bishops. HIs dominion is the Archdiocese of Manila. Hindi nya sakop ang ibang diocese. All Bishops are answerable to the Pope only. The CBCP is only a collegial body and advisory. It cannot impose any decision on individual Bishops. That is the structure of the Church as laid out in Canon Law.

  4. i wish every clergy inside that hall took turns in slapping Pnoy on the side of his head and bring him to his senses. and as for the Pope himself, a lecture. a tongue lashing lecture. afterall, pnoy was lying to his teeth. pnoy does not discriminate. and we should be the same towards him. walang siya delicadeza. even in the company of the Pope. what a sorry ass loser.

    • Kaya lang hindi yun ang turo ng simbahang Katolika. It would be nice though to see the Pope grab the mic from P-noy and bash him administration for all their corrupt ways. LoL

  5. The good Bishop wanted the SC to rule on corruption with certainty before he can speak against it. Due process…

  6. I agree with every word Bishop Villena wrote, I only wish other Bishops and Clergy come out with both barrels blasting this incompetent spoilt imbecile president we have. Please expose him for what he is. The hypocrite was all smiles and and acting like a baboon during Pope Francis departure. His holiness definitely overshadowed him and took the limelight out of him.

  7. Political Will is needed for a leader to pinned down corruption…let’s have changed…for. President R. Duterte in 2016…he has changed Davao from killing fields to tourist spots and one of the safest City in the world..think of it….

  8. Very well said Bishop Villena! If you were to react, it is to admonish him for the rampant corruption of his government. God bless you and all those who support the truth!

    • I am not totally convince that this rebuttal of Bishop Ramon Villena of Nueva Vizcaya is one hundred percent accurate. Remember the Garci Tape conversation admitted by GMA , that she made a lapse on her judgment, the multi-million dollars Fertilizer Scam involving JocJoc Bolante, and other well -known government projects that close relatives of GMA profited.

      Bishop Villena ‘s defense of Mrs Arroyo is in order because the former president contributed to the Church in Nueva Vizcaya.

  9. Very well-said Bishop Villena. A different tenor or response done by Cardinal Tagle when he was asked by a reporter on said statement by PNoy. Indeed the church hierarchy officials should be careful in passing personal judgement on anybody given their perceived high moral ground. If Aquino is not discriminating in his public statements, he should not expect other people, much less the bishops or any member of the clergy, to follow his irresponsible and tactless behaviour. Anyway, the way Cardinal Tagle and CBCP President Villegas are obviously leaning in the administration’s way on burning issues bugging his presidency, that already is a big point for PNoy. As that adage says, “you can’t win ’em all”!

  10. Nobody can say it better. The Pres is not even Caesar(lawi).certainly not God. He is as lowly as any servant of his BOSSES. But while undiplomatic and not presidential, bewildered it would not have been so distasteful if he were just conversing with cbcp and not the Holy Father who is also a head of state.

  11. Buti nga PeNoy na pinagalitan ng obispo !!!

    – “lt is the worst curse ever to befall anyone in high office to trust only in the counsel of sycophants for it is these who should least be trusted,” – Bishop Villena.

    Ang problema kasi kay PeNoy kay Abad lang siya nakikinig at sa iba pa niyang alipores na niloloko siya. Palibhasa kasi isang tunay na “abnormal” si PeNoy.
    Si PeNoy hindi na magiging balot kasi PeNoy siya !!!

  12. “Villena reminded the President that ‘a mature leader welcomes criticism, and grows because of admonition and counsel.’ ”

    Same with priests. They should be humble enough to accept criticisms. The President simply sounded of to the Pope, he being the leader of these priests. Nothing wrong with that. Villena’s reaction shows that they are the ones too affected by the criticism. He still thinks he is beyond admonishment by the President or the people.

    • what he is pointing is the perfect timing of Pnoy. And Can you imagine what will happen to the PH if everyone will be in Pnoys side? every bad deeds will be hidden. specially now that our president does not accepts criticism.

  13. pres aquino is not yet rigid on implementing his campaign against corruption. still his government is haunded by corruptions from barangay to national level of the governmernt.mr president pls implement your plans and programs to alleviate all forms of corruption in all bureaucracy of the government. your government as i have obsrved is still not yet spared by all forms of corruptions.

    • Perhaps one of the BEST POSSIBLE SOLUTION to stop corruption is by implementing MARTIAL LAW, in which we don’t want to see.

      Controlling this “malignant” cancer in our society cannot be blame against the Administration, namely the President. Corruption is happening even in the barangay level.

      Archbishop Oscar Cruz used to be a staunch fighter of the numbers game “Jueteng “, but unfortunately, he failed miserably.

      Look what was discovered in the New Bilibid Prison? High profile inmates were allowed to live comfortably with guns, illegal drugs, etc.

      When we switch to using the new currency issued by the BSP, those with questionable wealth that doesn’t correspond to their line of work will be caught. This will be done through the cooperation with the banking institutions and money changers where most of the transaction will take place.

  14. This statement about bishop’s not serving presidents should be tangibly exercised by the church, as it is this statement does not hold water, as it is often seen on tabloids and broadsheets at the ramp up of election campaign, that people get to see published are photos of politicians of all shade and not just the president, getting their photos with the prelates. These politicians of shady characters get to sit on the front row, get to be first in line and to receive holy communion and at the end of the mass will get the blessing of the church.

    If these people in cloaks are serious about not serving any people who holds power, then they should not allow themselves to be seen in company of these characters. And these prelates should hold true to their vow of poverty, chastity and obedience.

    Filipino prelates are the worst kind of servants of God, listening to their boorish sermons, is just like listening to Aquino. While, the pope had made baby steps to reform the church of its teachings, even to recognized that there is no singularity of religion, Filipino prelates are thinking about power and how they will chart the course of history of the country.

    And, saying about ‘trust’, well it has with it an quivalent, which is ‘truth’ – for people to trust the church, they might as well begin by preaching the truth, the real truth.

  15. Perfectly said Archbishop Villena. I hope it reaches the gray matter of the one concern. What you said is the true ” Tuwid na Daan”.

  16. Fernando Modesto on

    Reading this beautiful piece makes me prouder to be a Catholic. The good Bishop mirrored the exact sentiments of many including those of us situated abroad. This President terribly lacks humility. Our hero Ninoy must be turning in his grave at the sheer immaturity of mind and arrogance of his only son. In his speech, he badmouthed a dead man and condemned a person still being tried in court. What poor judgement and bad taste. We cannot wait for this President to go home to Times Street. We are with you Bishop Villena. May God bless you as you lead us to the right path of Jesus.

  17. vagoneto rieles on

    Very well said,Monsignor..this seems like the real separation of Church from State. We applaud you.

  18. jose b. taganahan on

    Withdue respect to Bishop Ramon Villena, Pres. BS (boy sumbong/boy sisi) Aquino lll is not “a mature leader who welcomes criticism, and does not grow because of admonition and counsel.” He is a hard headed idiot!

  19. This commentary is among the best given and should trigger righteous remorse in pnoy . It comes from a bishop seldom heard so he cannot be accused of being merely a pnoy basher but one who speaks of truth and wisdom. The points raised in this article are truly valid and beyond controversion.

  20. Ano Pnot supalpal ka. Ikaw ang may corruption issue PDAF Dap
    Majority ng charges kay Gloria dismissed. Daming bilyong piso nawawala
    Mga donasyon sa victims ng Yolanda , Malampaya funds, etc
    MRT LRT fare increases para sa 2016 election?

  21. Diana Faustino on

    I want the world to know that the best leader of out times in the catholic church is Archbishop Cardinal Sin. He saw the wrong and tried to right it and saw the truth and stood by it.Hooray for all the catholic priests who are selfless and follows the teaching of Christ.

    • Ang bukas na sugat pag nilagyan ng asin lalong kumukirot…at eto ay totoo. at nararamdaman na tunay na makirot.