Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called on government leaders to clean up their ranks and step up the campaign against corruption.
Tagle said that if government leaders do nothing to stop graft and corruption, they will be sending the message that abusing one’s authority and misusing the people’s money are acceptable acts.
“This is our call to the political community: Fix and clean up your ranks because if you won’t do so, you are teaching the Filipino people that corruption is acceptable,” he said during the monthly Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (Magpas) held at the Cardinal Sin Auditorium of the Paco Catholic School.
“In the end, each Filipino will become corrupt, thinking that it is part of an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). This should not be the case,” he said.
Tagle called on government leaders to stop enriching themselves by robbing the people’s coffers and think about helping the poor instead.
The Cardinal rallied the people to unite and fight corruption.
“We individuals should strive to change this system. Let us refuse (corruption). We should not comply or agree with practices that are not in keeping with God’s will and the laws of the land,” he said.
The citizens have the choice of allowing themselves to be swallowed by the corrupt system or to “be different” by opposing it, he said.
“Even if we say that corrupt practices are widely accepted in various government offices, we all have the freedom to choose,” he said. “The political community and our personal families might have greatly influenced us, but we should always remember that we are free to make a choice.”
The Cardinal, who earlier lamented the breakdown of moral values, said he was saddened that the people continue to suffer from the cycle of corruption that has plagued the country for decades.
He described corruption as a “worsening social cancer.”
“In my lifetime, this is not the first time that we encountered (socio-political issues). As the song goes, When will we ever learn?” Tagle said.
Corruption, he said, will only be wiped out through the “moral transformation and behavioral change” of the people and this should be led by parents in every household.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said legislators should face investigation to bring back the integrity of the political system.
Palma said the country is facing a “moral crisis” and that government officials have to be transparent and accountable.