Palace-clergy clash worsens

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A “word war” between Malacañang and members of the National Transformation Council (NTC) worsened on Thursday as both camps directly assailed each other over the latter’s renewed call for the resignation not only of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his Cabinet but all lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives as well.

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In Malacañang, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. warned the group not to step over the boundaries of legitimate dissent as the government stands ready to have them charged for violation of the Revised Penal Code.

In a news briefing, Coloma said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s earlier warning should be enough to restrain the NTC from committing these possible violations.

“Gagawin ng pamahalaan ang nararapat para panagutin ‘yung mga lumalabag sa batas [The government will do everything in its power to make lawbreakers pay],” he added.

Coloma made the remarks after Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, a convenor of the NTC, taunted the government by saying he is not afraid to go to jail and that such would give him “great pleasure.”

The NTC also called on the entire Cabinet and all members of Congress to resign for they, too, it claimed, benefited from so-called pork barrel funds.

“It will be a great pleasure for me if I go to jail. Many of those in jail are innocent and still many of those guilty are there not because they are the only sinners but the greater sinners are free and are placed in government,” the prelate, who led the latest gathering of the council in Lipa City, Batangas, also on Thursday, said.

He insisted that their actions cannot be considered sedition or rebellion.

Earlier, de Lima blasted the NTC for “perverting the nation’s grief” over the death of 44 elite police commandos in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province on January 25, saying the group is nothing but an “aggrupation of disgruntled GMA [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a former President] allies” and “opportunists” who want to sow “discord and division” among the ranks of the country’s military and police organizations.

Coloma said those behind the NTC should heed the warning so as not to get themselves into trouble.

He added that the Department of Justice “will do what is necessary based on existing laws.”

The official described the NTC’s actions as “off key,” explaining that the group seeks to reverse economic gains the country has achieved over the years.

Meanwhile, Arguelles said if the government considers “listening to the poor” as a seditious act, then he is willing to join the poor in jail in order to listen to what they think should be done for a better society.

The prelate scored de Lima for calling them “pro-GMA,” explaining that the NTC is a multisectoral group of those with various political and religious beliefs.

When asked for his message to the Justice chief, the bishop said he has none but reiterated that de Lima is among those who should step down.

Also on Thursday, a Church-based group described President Aquino as a “fool” for lacking wisdom in dealing with the massacre of the police commandos.

According to the Religious Discernment Group (CDG), a month after the carnage, the people only heard “very little wisdom but lots of foolishness” from the President.

“We the Religious Discernment Group call on President Aquino to speak the truth and take responsibility. Only then will the trust of the people in the government be restored and peace based on justice be achieved,” the RDG said in a statement signed by convenors Fr. Quirico Pedregosa Jr. and Sr. Patricia Fox.

The CDG has joined earlier calls made by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and other Church-based and multi-ectoral groups, demanding a full and satisfactory accounting of the Mamasapano incident to Filipinos.

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39 Comments

  1. Ang “Sickretary” of Justice ay nag De Delimna na ata ang panigin.
    Sina no ba ang tinatakot niya? Ang mga “Bishops”?

    Subukan niya magkulong ng Isang (1) Bishop lang at lahat ng mga
    Bishops at bibisita sa kanya sa kulongan.

    Baka si Pope Francis ay bibisita rin sa kinolong na”Bishop”.

    Si Cardinal Sin ay nanawagan sa mga tao na protectahan si
    Enrile at Ramos sa Camp Crame ay lumabas na sila at hinarap ang
    mga Tanks at Armored cars.

    Ano pa kaya kung si Pope Francis na ang manawagan.
    Pati US siguro ay magpadala ng “Drone” para sumali sa protection ng Bishop.

    Actually Delima and Coloma are afraid of their own shadow.
    The two of them are singing in the dark. They are seeing “ghost”
    The ghost of Marcos – alis na kayo diyan at huwag manakot.

  2. Marami ng filipino ang nasisiraan ng ulo. Lalo na ang samahan ng so called NTC.Samahan ng mga grafters, corrupto, immoral ,mga inutil. Ngayon pa na nagkaroon nang matinong presidente, honesto. hindi kawatan gustong pa alisin
    para maka balik naman ang mga magnanakaw ng pera ng taong bayan. Konwari
    ka allado sila ng mga mahirap. Pero pag sila na ang naka upo umpisa na naman
    ang kawatan sa gobierno wala nang natira sa mahirap. Hoy tumigil nga kayo
    walang laman ang mga utak ninyo. Poros kayo mga inutil lalo na mga arsobispo,
    dating mga taohan ni GMA, at mga taong hindi matogonan ang mga hinihingi.
    Wala kayong silbe sa bayan kong hindi mag imbento ng kalokohan.

  3. Don’t be surprised if these groups are financed by the Binays to have a short-cut way to Malacanang. These groups actually want Binay to be the President to obtain high government positions to enrich themselves. So what happens to those corrupt politicians in jail when Binay becomes the President? Binay will all set them free and they will say ” Happy days are here again” and will continue robbing the government’s money. There will be no more end to corruption if Binay becomes their choice. Lord, God please save the Philippines from the Binays.

  4. Ronaldo Valdes on

    If the church will continue to meddle in goverment affairs they should start paying taxes to the govement since they are the richest establishment of the country.Can anybody tell us when did the church gave something to the poor people , or the poor are still giving to the church.. Don’t get me wromg , I am a devout catholic , I have a very strong faith to the almighty but not to the church. Here is US there was very big scandal and cover up made by the church to protrect thier own sinners.There in the phillipines it will never come out…You be the judge…

    • Justaskingseriously on

      I find your claim to be a devout catholic very hard to swallow. You are obviously somewhere in the U.S.A. where bibles are aplenty. I do not doubt, however, that your faith in the Almighty is strong. How familiar are you with the words of the Almighty?

      In chapter 9 of the Acts of the Apostles, you can read about Saul who persecuted the Church. He was on his way to Damascus, Syria, when the Almighty threw him to the ground and blinded him with His light. That really left him with ears wide open to hear the Almighty ask him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” The Almighty had already risen from the dead; He could no longer be hurt by anybody. And yet He said that He was the one being persecuted by Saul! That is because the Church (“people of God” according to the Second Vatican Council) is the Body of Jesus. Saul changed his name to Paul which means “little” in Latin. He thought he should discard the name Saul which is the name of the first king of Israel. His encounter with the King of Kings made him feel so little.

      If you want to have an appreciation of the present and the future, read Chapter 25 of the Gospel according to St. Matthew. At the end of the world, those who had been doing good things to the people of God will be ushered into Heaven for having done good things to the Almighty Himself. And those who were doing bad things to the people of God…well, you know what even you tell bad people, “To hell with you.” Of course, they will protest and plead ignorance. But too late already. No amount of ignorance will excuse you.

      Taxing the Church? The government already collects taxes from the people. Enough already. You want the government to tax the people twice, thrice? That is what you are advocating without realizing it. And to think that the people only give “donations” to the Church which hardly sustains the poor priests out in the boondocks of the Philippines. Being poor, poor people can only donate according to their means.

      In the U.S. of A., however, people are not so poor. There is a great temptation to make an American Diocese part with its funds by suing it in court. As people would say, there is no greater damage inflicted than the damage done by an insider.

      You are an insider, aren’t you? Do not think for a moment that you are outside the Church. That would be tantamount to saying that you have nothing to do with the Almighty who makes it crystal clear that the Church is His Body.

    • Justaskingseriously on

      And by the way, it is hardly “meddling” when people in the Church (People of God”) immerse themselves in the political situation of their time. It is their duty to participate in the political process, because they are in the thick of living out their vocation as a people of God.

      Rather, it is the government that should not be meddling in the affairs of the Church. The people made sure of that by putting it in their Constitution. In a democracy, people rule; you know that. People know that the government holds the capability to persecute and terrorize or tyrannize the people. That is why they made sure that there is a wall of separation between the State and the Church (Article II, Section 6). It is quite clear that the people of God are people or citizens. The Constitution makes sure that the citizens have the bill of rights. They can hardly be called meddling when they choose to exercise their rights (Article III, Sections 4 and 5).

  5. wilmer andrada on

    Somebody has to report to the Pope about this illigal
    activities of these Bishops.The Pope is on the side of our Government when he mentioned about responsible parenthood and not to breed like rabbits.This bishops should concentrate in helping the poor, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and all those who are marginalized in our society.Instead of finding fault and clashing with our Good President, why don’t they propose programs and partner with the government .NTC should be reminded that we are a democracy not a theocracy.Another challenge for them is to send missionaries to Mindanao and spread the Christ’s Gospel of PEACE, LOVE, and Harmony.

    • Justaskingseriously on

      There is no need to report to the Pope. He knows. His sources are reliable. Of course, you can always do the reporting instead of waiting for somebody else. That way you can be sure that you have expressed yourself.

      Responsible parenthood is what everybody wants. To breed responsibly is what all parents must observe. All adults are expected to act in a responsible manner always. You know, making a baby always involves sex. And you know what? Nobody ever died from not having sex. It is not like food. People die from not having food. So couples do not really need to breed unless they want to. And because they volunteer to breed, then that means they are open to making a baby. It is really an activity of adults who are self-less, not selfish. Those who use contraceptive ways are simply not open to the self-less endeavor of caring for a baby that may result from their activity.

      All the artificial ways to stop pregnancy from happening do not make people responsible parents. But they are responsible in a different sort of way: the intense feeling of love can actually make a woman produce an egg that is fertilized by the man’s sperm. The pills that were taken to prevent ovulation will also prevent the uterus from being prepared to allow the fertilized egg to find a home in the uterus. Conception has already taken place when the egg was penetrated by the sperm. And when an intrauterine device (IUD) is also present in the woman’s uterus, that IUD prevents the fertilized egg from finding a peaceful home in the uterus. A homeless fertilized egg dies.

      The Philippine Constitution of 1987 in Article II, Section 12 states that the government or state “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.” Prevent homeless fertilized eggs from dying. Duty of the government.

      Do you see the problem with providing pills and gadgets to citizens who should be concerned about violating life at conception? Reproductive Health sounds praiseworthy enough. But what is health if there is no life to begin with?+

  6. wilmer andrada on

    Separation of Church and State. Somebody has to report to the Pope about this
    activities of these Bishops.The Pope is on the side of our Government when he mentioned about responsible parenthood and not to breed like rabbits.This bishops should concentrate in helping the poor, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and all those who are marginalized in our society.Instead of finding fault and clashing with our Good President, why don’t they propose programs and partner with the government.NTC should be reminded that we are a democracy not a theocracy.Another challenge for them is to send missionaries to Mindanao and spread the Christ’s Gospel of PEACE, LOVE, and Harmony.

    • Justaskingseriously on

      Separation of Church and State. In a democracy, the government is for the people, of the people, and by the people. Bishops are people too.

      The Philippine Constitution (current since l987) is the highest law of the land. The people wrote the Constitution through their elected delegates to the Constitutional Assembly. People know that the government has the capacity (police and armed forces) to persecute and tyrannize the people. So the people made sure that the highest law of the country protects them. The government must not meddle with religious matters. That is the meaning of separation of Church and State (Section 5, Article III).

      The Bill of Rights (Article III) gives citizens the freedom of expression and the freedom to assemble peacefully (Section 4). Officials in the Church like Bishops remain citizens. And when they have concerns about how the government goes about the business of governance, they have the responsibility to lead the citizens in invoking their freedoms to express their concerns and assemble peacefully to air out issues and hope to resolve these issues.

      Are you aware what these issues are?

  7. The law is for the people. But if the law enforcers abuse it, they could be removed by the people including the law makers themselves and laws that no longer adoptable to the present condition. The President is the highest public servant in the country but not over and above the people. He was placed by the people where he is now and could be removed as needed anytime. Religious men should be heard and followed rather the government officials whose intelligence is valued only like toilet paper.

  8. Kick the Catholic Church out of meedling in government affairs. The church need to tend to the spiritual needs of its flock. They are the biggest stumbling block to the Philippines moving forward.

  9. This article is a waste of space because all of the NTC members had no credibility at all regardless of their previous designation including those who wrote this article. Dream on a miracle might happen

  10. First off, remember the separation of Church and State. I’m tired of all these religious zealots … Catholic, Iglesia ni Cristo or any other else acting as if they have a say in the Philippine Government. Keep it secular. Enough nonsense from these groups. The government is for all citizens not select religious groups.

    • Justaskingseriously on

      The current Philippine Constitution (1987) prohibits the government from meddling in religious matters (Section 5, Article III). That is the meaning of the wall of separation, because it is the government that has the capacity to persecute and tyrannize its citizens. The Constitution which is the highest law of the country protects all its citizens in a democracy, because the government is for the people, of the people and by the people (People Power, remember?).

      All Filipinos including religious leaders of all religions are citizens. When they exercise their rights granted by the Constitution such as the freedom to express (Section 4, Article III) their deep concerns on constitutional violations, and when they assemble peacefully (Section 4, Article III) to present peaceful solutions or resolutions concerning government affairs, it is not meddling but their responsibility as concerned citizens.

      Secular? That word is derived from saeculum which is Latin for world. Only those who are no longer in this world have no say in how their government is run. As long as you are in this world, you remain secular whether you are religious or irreligious.

  11. Wag kang talak ng talak na de lima ka,nalangisan ka ng pork ni abnoy kaya ganun na lang ang pagdepensa mo sa abnoy mong amo,Hindi mo nakikita ang papalpakan ni abnoy kasi puro langis ng pork ni abnoy ang buong katawan mo.Tingnan mo nga ang sarili sa salamin,baboy na baboy ang hitsura mo.Lamon ka kasi ng lamon ng pork ni abnoy eh.

  12. Baboy De Lima, walang laman ang utak kundi si GMA daw ang makasalanan sa kababoyan ni Traydor Aquino. Mag resign na kayo, mga mongoloid!!! Yeheyyyyy….. sasamahan ko si Archbishop Ramon Arguelles sa prisohan.

    • wilmer andrada on

      Babybobo, have you heard about the Separation of Church and State. Have you got any clue why these Bishops are playing Politics? Why do you oppose an honest President who has done a remarkable job in cleaning up corruption in our government ? Why do you favor these Bishops who have eyes but do not see and help their flock who are hungry, sick and hopeless.They oppose the government effort for family planning but they do nothing about irresponsible parenthood.

  13. The good bishop should be reminded about constitutional rules regarding separation of church and state. Let’s be clear about one thing. Arguelles’ involvement has NOTHING to do with SAF 44, but EVERYTHING to do with the reproductive health bill passed last year. SAF 44 is just a convenient front to turn back the reproductive health bill before it is institutionalized in PH society. Once Aquino is out of power, the church will try to get the bill rolled back. Mark my words. As for the rest of the NTC, they are all puppets of, and malcontents from the previous administration. Transformation, my foot!
    This is ALL politically and religiously motivated tripe.

    Are we really asking Aquino to step down due to a “lack of wisdom” regarding the aftermath of SAF 44? Really? There are so many crooks in government now who have gotten away with much worse, and they continue to enjoy immunity.

    • it doesn’t matter what reason any bishop has to demand Pnoy’s stepping down. Pnoy is the one who has stepped out of the boundaries of law. He should be the one warned by de Lima. Pnoy resign!

    • Justaskingseriously on

      What are the constitutional rules regarding “separation of church and state”? Article II, Section 6 — the separation “shall be inviolable.” That is all. However, the constitutional provisions regarding the rights of citizens are several as contained in the Bill of Rights or Article III.

      By being a bishop, does one lose his rights as a citizen? Section 4: freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully. Section 5: freedom of religion.

      Article III, Section 5 would be a rule for government to follow regarding the separation of church and state. This imaginary wall limits the government by not meddling with religious matters of all citizens of any religion. It does not limit the rights of church officials as citizens.

      Does this add to your understanding of the separation of church and state? It helps to think before taking a legal position.

    • wilmer andrada on

      I am with you 100%. These Bishops should all be summoned to go to Rome to be lectured on their responsibility in spreading the ideas of our beloved Pope Francis on responsible parenthood and to tell their followers not to breed like rabbits.They should also be reminded about our Popes message on tolerance and helping the poor, the sick, the hungry and the homeless.

  14. Just because someone is popular .. he is always right. Hitler, mossulini, hussein, and hosts of madmen in history were popular.. and look what they have done to the rest of humanity

  15. Muriel Magtanggol on

    Akala ko ba galit kayo kay Marcos, ang tyrranical dictator who abused his power? Now look who’s talking!

    • Justaskingseriously on

      Nagkaka-iba lang and style ng dalawa. Silang dalawa at lahat ng mga obispo ay lahat mga good shepherds. Para sa kabutihan ng lahat ang nasa isip . Ang kanilang paraan ay hindi kailangan pareho.

      Bilang mga citizens ng Pilipinas, sila rin ay may mga tungkulin. Ang
      kanilang priorities ay hindi kailangan pareho.

  16. Pnoy and his cohorts will do everything to cling on to their status quo. Pnoy started
    by sending Jinggoy, Bong and Enrile to jail. However, he cannot silence everyone.
    Next to go to jail will be Binay. Mar will be the next president to be elected by the
    machines like Pnoy. I don’t believe in the justice system in the Phil.
    I hope the military will not remain silent to the abusive regime of Pnoy. I hope they will
    DO THE RIGHT THING so the bleeding will stop. I hope all his allies will enjoy
    the fruits of the pork barrel. They feed and clothe their families with ill-gotten wealth.
    The government should be increasing the salaries of teachers who are the backbones of education and the future leaders of the country. Instead, Pnoy is
    spending all the money to cling on to his power by bribing his allies.

  17. Times reporters Egco Ganzon and Depasupil, you err in writing that the TNC calls for PNoy’s resignation. It has been very careful in asking only for him to “Step Down.” This is the reason why the majority of the CBCP, maybe the whole of it, is just waiting for developments to declare being with the Archbishops, bishops and laymen and women now openly with the NTC together with Protestant and Islamic clerics.

    Dear Times readers, pray for our country’s future more deeply and begin the national transformation with your lives as citizens.

    • there is a big difference between “stepping down” and “resignation” as the bishops explained. A resignation recognizes Pnoy’s legitimacy as an elected official, so if he was truly elected by the people, then the proper term is “resignation.”
      But since they do not recognize his legitimacy bec. he was elected by Smartmatic’s PCOS machines, the appropriate term is “step down,”

  18. Ruben V. Calip on

    Good enough report. The NTC has very carefully worded its demand for the PCOS-produced president “to step down” not “resign.” “Step down” means BS Aquino remains as president but signs the issuances of the council serving as PNoy’s caretaker-govrnment advisers in place of his Cabinet.

  19. When you join the army or the police or any organization that enforces the law you
    are covered to the last phrases off the national anthem…. ang mamatay ng dahil
    sayo. I dont understand why they keep blaming the president for what happend in Mamasapano? The inccident was caused by poor planning. Presidents dont plan
    tactical maneuers by the army or police. I think bishop Arguelles aside from pre-
    tending to be withe poor people has other personal moties or himsel. Cannot get anything from the goernment anymore, like asking for an SUV. He pretends to holy
    but he is evil inside. The president should be commended for doing so much for
    the country. Only in the history of filipino governments that graft and corruption
    in goverment is addressed. He was able to dress the army and police properly, he was able to give soldiers housing
    , he was able to buy ships to protect our shores, he was able to buy jets to protect our skies, he started to get rid off graft and corruption. Which president has done these things except Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    • your’s is a yellow opinion. The truth behind the death of the 44 is widely believed by people (except yellowtards) to be kept a secret by Pnoy and his cohorts. If you believe that B.S. about Pnoy being misinformed, then let me tell you something – you are the one misinformed.

  20. Just do it…sue them! Coloma talks as if suing them is enough to find them guilty and be imprisoned. Unless, they will be deprived of their basic rights as accused. For one thing, these people are also learned, perhaps more than Coloma who is, by all accounts, a “Tuta”. Like his boss, words come out of his mouth without being processed by his brain.

  21. what happened to the separation of church and state, are we going back to the
    middle ages when the church dictated that the sun revolved around the earth?

    as the church meddles in government affairs, the poor people are hungry and illiterate, and the educated people keep leaving for western countries.

    and the worst part, the pervert westerners keep moving into the Philippines.

    it’s more fun in the philippines.

    • Bishops are citizens too, therefore a political clamor or criticism of the gov’t is not covered by the principle of separation of Church and State. You have a wrong understanding of this. The separation of Church and State involves the non overlapping of functions of both institutions. ex. The Church cannot “impose” God’s laws on the people, it cannot send sinners to jail, the gov’t on the other hand cannot create its own clerical doctrines, it cannot impose when people should and should not attend holy mass, or interfere with sacramental matters.
      Therefor, a bishop calling for the stepping down of Pnoy, is ok. The separation of Church and State does not apply. – Catechetical Law Publication, 1974 edition.

    • Justaskingseriously on

      How do you understand “the separation of church and state”?

      Philippine Constitution of 1987, Article II, Section 6 — the separation shall be inviolable.

      Do you have any idea how to keep it from being violated?

      Article III contains the Bill of Rights of citizens. Section 4: freedom of expression…freedom to peacefully assemble… Section 5: all citizens have freedom of religion. This is where it gets tricky: the wall of separation applies to the state not to meddle in religious matters. The wall of separation becomes invisible when bishops and religious people assert their rights to have a good government. As citizens, they are not meddling in state affairs when they exercise their freedom of expression and peacefully assemble.

      Equal protection of the law. Does this sound familiar? Bishops as citizens are entitled to equal protection of the law too. The Department of Justice should be relied upon to enforce this instead of issuing threats.