DAYS after a bishop lambasted President Benigno Aquino 3rd for criticizing the Church in front of Pope Francis, a priest slammed the president for being rude and for lying during the pontiff’s visit.
Redemptorist ‘biking priest’ Fr. Amado Picardal said Aquino’s speech hitting Church officials for being “silent” despite the abuses committed under the Arroyo administration was the lowest and the ugliest moment of the papal visit.
“There may have been some members of the clergy, religious and faithful who were silent, but there were also many who spoke out against the abuses of the previous administration,” Picardal said as he presented clippings of news articles lambasting the previous administration.
“He [Aquino] bore false witness against the Church in front of Pope Francis, the whole nation and the whole world. He was not only rude, he was also a liar. This is what made his welcome address very offensive,” he added.
“The Church was not silent during the dark days of Martial law, the Church was not silent during the Arroyo administration, and the Church is not silent under Aquino’s administration,” the priest stressed.
Picardal said the president’s welcome address to the Pope in Malacañang was “pathetic and a monumental embarrassment to the nation.”
He said he regrets his decision supporting Aquino in the 2013 elections.
“I supported his candidacy because I thought he was a decent man who continued the legacy of his parents whom I admire so much. I was mistaken. To my regret, he has turned out to be a big disappointment,” he noted.
“It is not his hair—or lack of it—that has to be admonished. It is what is lacking below his hair. He follows the neo-malthusian solution to the problem of poverty: more free condoms and birth control pills. He continues to defend his PNP chief who has been charged with corruption,” the priest said.
He noted that while Aquino forged a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, he has not shown any interest in continuing the peace process with the NDF.
“He talks about climate change and protection of the environment while allowing mining and the construction of more coal-fired power plants.
What I find lacking is his mercy and compassion,” he added.
Fr. Jerome R. Secillano, parish priest of Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro in Sampaloc, Manila, said the president should have been more prudent.
“By speaking more about the Church and State relations then and now, how his family was aggrieved and how critical the bishops are [of]his administration, the president simply showed how petty he can be and how insensitive and myopic his view is of the current state of the nation, especially with regards to the poor,” Secillano said. His comments were carried by the CBCP News, the official publication of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
The president’s speech should have been more positive, honest, and humble in tone, approach and substance. I think it wouldn’t harm him if he speaks of how his administration is struggling to reduce poverty in spite of the poverty alleviation programs the government has,” the priest added.
Secillano, who also serves as the executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs, said Aquino should have been more “positive, honest, and humble.”
“I think it wouldn’t harm him if he speaks of how his administration is struggling to reduce poverty in spite of the poverty alleviation programs the government has,” the priest added.
Bishop Ramon Villena of the Diocese of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya earlier criticized Aquino for his “reckless” accusations against the Church during Pope Francis’ visit.
“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 Aquino’s remarks cannot be made to pass without “refutation and rebuttal.”
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.