PRESIDENT Aquino dashed our hopes and prayers for his conversion.
We invited our readers yesterday to join us in praying that “Pope Francis’ radiation of holiness affects Mr. Aquino and converts him away from his ways–of dealing badly with fellow human beings, of neglecting to do the most urgent work that must be done, of pretending that his administration is leading our country on a Daang Matuwid (Righteous Path) when in fact he and his men have made the Philippine government wallow in worse corruption and criminality than before he became president, of making the economic inequality worse and the plight of the poor more bitter, of encouraging the destruction of our electoral democracy by not putting a stop to the tyranny of Smartmatic/PCOS-machines over our election system.”
We should have included “from his being an inveterate liar.”
The first lie he said by deed to Pope Francis was when he welcomed our Holy Father at Villamor Air Base. President Aquino and Pope Francis shook hands. Holding on to the Pope’s hand Mr. Aquino bowed and acted as if he were kissing the papal ring.
This is why we expressed the hope in yesterday’s editorial that Mr. Aquino’s act of kissing Pope Francis’ ring — an act of humility and pious reverence to God the Son, represented by the Vicar of Christ — was the beginning of the President’s conversion.
Then this morning we saw Reuters’ news video of that inspiring moment. The video shows that Mr. Aquino’s lips were at least three inches away from the Holy Father’s fingers when he released the latter’s hand. We replayed the video three times to make sure we were not making a mistake. Yes, indeed. Mr. Aquino was just the kind of trapo politician in yesterday’s editorial cartoon. The motions he made of showing humility, love and reverence were all an act–to impress our Pope and also the scores of millions of Filipinos who love him and truly believe that he is Christ on Earth.
Mr. Aquino’s speech at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall to welcome Pope Francis and the assembled diplomats was a smelly bouquet of wicked lies. It indicated that Mr. Aquino does not intend to heed the Pope’s calls for honesty, integrity, love and service for the poor and hatred for corruption. The most disheartening lie he told is the slander against the Philippine Church, its bishops, priests and lay activists for moral governance.
President Aquino attacked his predecessor and said “many members of the Church, once advocates for the poor, the marginalized, and the helpless, suddenly became silent in the face of the previous administration’s abuses, which we are still trying to rectify to this very day. In these attempts at correcting the wrongs of the past, one would think that the Church would be our natural ally. In contrast to their previous silence, some members of the clergy now seem to think that the way to be true to the faith means finding something to criticize…”
This is a slander. Many Catholic bishops and priests individually spoke out against the corrupt doings during the Arroyo administration. The entire Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines itself issued joint pastoral letters and statements. The most vocal and thorough of these prelates is Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, who thank God, is also vigilantly critical of the abuses under Mr. Aquino, which are more numerous and more expensive than those under the Arroyo regime.
Now we have prelates and priests calling on President Aquino to resign. They, together with us in The Manila Times, want to liberate our country from a President who is an inveterate liar. And one who has criminally neglected the poor, failed to perform tasks that should be performed to create more jobs, abandoned the duty to protect the powerless from human rights violators, encouraged the destruction of our electoral democracy and committed bribery to make the Congress his obedient tool.