OUR prayers have been answered. The President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, according to a CBCP Online news report published yesterday, has called on BS Aquino, the country’s “chief executive as well as his advisers” to give a “full and satisfactory accounting of their actions in respect to” the “tragic loss” that is the Mamasapano Massacre.
The CBCP News of Monday, February 16, 2015, ran the top story “CBCP chief on Mamasapano op: Full accounting needed” by Raymond Sebastian,
It reports that Archbishop Villegas had said in a social media post that Aquino and “all those responsible for the Mamasapano operation” — “must” — tell the whole truth “to enlighten the public about the events that transpired in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.”
The report says “Given that targets of the SAF operation were characterized as ‘high-value targets,’ the prelate believes that if the police went after them, it could only be because they were ordered to do so.”
“Policemen do not order themselves, not even members of the Special Action Force [SAF],” the report quotes Archbishop Villegas as saying. “The decision was made on the highest levels to go after these ‘high-value targets’. The only thing that was awaited was ‘the window of opportunity’, a judgment that is made by people on the ground,” he says.
Archbishop Villegas is reported to have said that questions asked about the tragedy require “unequivocal and truthful answers.”
Says the report: “The prelate points out the concealment of truth or the foisting of deliberate falsehood even to shield one’s superiors from embarrassment or to spare them indictment is always a moral wrong, especially in the context of legal processes and [their]being under oath.”
“He further reminds the faithful that when one swears to tell the truth and invokes the help of God, he is duty-bound morally to speak the truth.”
We have been praying for His Excellency Archbishop Villegas to come to see the wisdom of the calls made by some of his fellow prelates–among these Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, Naval Bishop Filomeno Bactol, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos–for the PCOS-produced President Aquino to resign.
We believe that Archbishop Villegas act of now urging Aquino and his advisers to tell the whole truth about the Mamasapano Massacre is an answer to our prayers. For
we think–and hope–that when his Excellency sees that Aquino and his men persist in lying and covering up, he will then realize that the prelates who are in the National Transformation Council are right.
The NTC demands that Aquino and the whole government “step down in order for the country to transform through a new and fresh start.”
The bishops and other churchmen of other faiths in the NTC see the Jan. 25 Mamasapano Massacre as the summit of PNoy’s misgovernance and reveals the “ illegal, unconstitutional and immoral foundation” of his regime.
The prelates calling for Aquino’s resignation recognize the illegitimacy of Aquino’s claim to the position of president. They also see that his continuing stay in power endangers the lives of Filipinos and adversely affects the moral landscape of the nation.
We pray that soon, in addition to urging Aquino and his advisers to tell the whole truth about Mamasapano, Archbishop Villegas decides to ask for BS Aquino’s resignation.