Bribery can be learned right at home from folks who think that compromise is a virtue.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle thus blamed Filipino parents for unknowingly giving their children the idea to engage in bribery early in life, citing the parents’ practice of giving rewards to their children every time a child refuses to obey their command instead of imposing discipline through serious talk with the offender.
He urged Filipino parents to rethink how they raise their children or else regret having raised potential bribe givers.
Tagle’s admonition came even as he advised the people to set the pork barrel scam in a wider context by not just focusing on the politicians who are implicated in racket but also on the whole country and the Filipino culture.
By looking at the bigger picture, according to the Manila archbishop, Filipinos would be able to know “something about ourselves.”
“[The issue is] not just about them [pork scammers], but about all of us. I am appealing to everyone especially parents to see how you raise your children, see how in your relationships with them seeds of corruption are already being sown,” Tagle said in a news conference on Tuesday.
He maintained that the act of bribery starts in the family. He noted that when a parent’s command is ignored by a child, the mother or father will give him something to make him or her obey.
“Isn’t it that you are teaching the child already bribery. And that child grows up and becomes the secretary of the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] or BIR [Bureau of Internal Revenue] commissioner. If he is asked, ‘Pwede mo ba gawin ito?
Ayoko. Bigyan kita P1 million. Sige [Can you do this. No. I will give you P1 million. Okay],’” the cardinal told reporters.
He reiterated that bribery was first taught by “Mama and Papa.”
Tagle also advised Filipinos to not just single out a small group but instead do “soul searching” on where the Filipino culture is going and what its weak points are.
“How do we purify our culture, our schools? Our systems of rewards and punishment, all of these things sana ‘di lang matuwid na pananaw [I hope it’s not just being upright].
Andiyan na yan, mag-commune na tayo . . . examination of conscience na tayo [It’s there . . . let us just examine our conscience],” he said.
Meanwhile, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo said all those implicated in the pork barrel scam should be investigated but should be given due process.
“We pray for everyone [implicated in the pork barrel scam],” Quevedo added.
He reiterated the official stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on the racket.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, last Sunday called on the faithful not to condemn those implicated in the scam.
“For those among us who are not accused, let us remember that the offenses with which those who now stand accused are charged could very well be the offense of any of us as well. Who are we to condemn? Let the one who has no sin be the first to cast a stone,” Villegas said in a statement.
Church officials issued the statement after plunder charges were filed by the Office of the Ombudsman at the Sandiganbayan against senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada as well as Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam.
Last Monday, the Ombudsman also filed multiple counts of graft charges against the three senators and Napoles.