WE in The Times have said it before in this space. Other Catholic bishops, most eloquently the bishops of the National Transformation Council, also have berated the BS Aquino administration, specifically its justice department, for practicing selective prosecution of wrongdoers. Auxiliary Bishop of Manila Broderick Pabillo, who is also the Permanent Chair of the Public Affairs committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, has in fact said it before, in private and smaller public forums.
But on Friday, at a press conference, he voiced the CBCP’s disgust over the Aquino administration’s crooked administration of justice. We pray that Bishop Pabillo’s call sways President Aquino and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima into correcting their unjust, corrupt, and condemnable practice of not going after criminals and felons who are Liberal Party leaders, and friends and allies of President Aquino.
Because of the Aquino administration’s selective rendition of justice, Bishop Pabillo expressed his doubts about the sincerity of Aquino and his people in treading the Tuwid na Daan free from corruption.
He pointed out that while members of the opposition have been charged and jailed in connection with the pork barrel scam, nobody among the administration’s allies has been prosecuted–even if it is well-known and sworn to by witnesses that scores of big shot politicians allied with and friends of Aquino and the Liberal Party leaders have amassed nearly as much money as Senators Enrile, Revilla and Estrada in the same kind of scams for which these opposition leaders have been charged and are now detained.
Bishop Pabillo said the pork barrel scandal should not be used to pin down only the members of the political opposition but also the allies of the administration.
“They should go after those involved in the pork barrel scam even if they are allies. It’s more believable if they do that. They should not use ‘Tuwid na Daan’ (straight path) to take down only their enemies,” Bishop Pabillo said at the press conference for the launching of the Serviam Foundation’s “Servant Leadership in Public Service” forum at the Archdiocese of Manila’s main office in Intramuros, Manila.
The bishop expressed his hope to see Aquino use his remaining year as president to fulfill his promise of “Tuwid na Daan.”
Perhaps pressured by incessant calls from the public for her to be fair and just in going after corrupt officials and lawmakers, Secretary De Lima at some point a few months ago promised to file charges against allies of the President about whose corruption DOJ investigators have gathered evidence and witnesses have accomplished sworn affidavits.
But these presidential cronies have not been charged until now. And recently, Secretary de Lima was quoted as saying that DOJ might no longer be able to indict these presidential allies because she and the prosecutors have more urgent and pressing matters on their plates.
Bishop Pabillo said that people have yet to see that “the path is really straight.” Adverting to President Aquino’s famous slogan “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” [There would be no poor people if there were no corrupt officials], the CBCP Public Affairs chief said something must have gone wrong with the “tuwid na daan” because many are still corrupt and many [of our fellow Filipinos]are still poor.