Will Cardinal Chito and Archbishop Soc talk to Aquino?

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The “urgent call for national transformation,” unleashed from the National Transformation Council’s groundbreaking assembly in Lipa on Wednesday, has to alter first the quality and conduct of the debate on the common good before it can alter anything else. If it is able to do that, it would be a quantum leap in the effort to set the protest movement against the Aquino regime on a new course.

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In the face of the blanket official effort to dismiss as “fake reformers” all those whose idea of change does not advance President B. S. Aquino 3rd’s desire to perpetuate himself in office, there was some risk that some people would simply attack Aquino without showing why radical change was needed. No one walked into this trap.

Everything was conducted on a high plane, even when making the strongest points. Serious charges and condemnations were made, but no personal insults or attempts to ridicule the President, as we often encounter in the media and the Internet.

The proceedings were formal yet festive, interrupted a couple of times by numbers provided by a talented young tenor, which lent the event a refreshing touch of high culture in that most unlikely outdoor setting, the Saint Francis de Sales Seminary covered court.

The Council’s declared objective is system and structural change. Since that is meant to serve the common good, rather than merely some vested interest group, the Council can afford to pursue its objective with Aquino’s cooperation and collaboration if possible, and against his vehement opposition only if necessary.

The key word is peaceful change. Gathered together under the wings of the Council, the leaders of the Catholic Church, the Evangelical churches, and the Islamic community all asked, with one voice, to give revolutionary but non-violent change a chance.

Together with the host prelate, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu and former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, led the Catholic Church presence, which included Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz of Zamboanga, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of Davao, Bishop Juan Pablo de Dios of Butuan, Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez of Manila, Bishop Emeritus Salvador Quizon of Batangas, Father Romeo J. Intengan, S. J., from Ateneo, and other priests and men and women religious.

The Evangelicals were led by Protestant Bishop PioTeotica, and Pastor Arthur Corpuz of the United Church of Manila, who explained the Protestants’ position on the issue. But the Muslims contributed the biggest single delegation, 100 out of the 700 or so total participants, who came all the way from Mindanao. This was most heartening amid reports of the Islamic State threatening to infect the most vulnerable parts of our Muslim population with its lethal virus that is spreading murder and genocide within Iraq and Syria and beyond.

Dr. Kamil Unda, a Muslim scholar who spoke for his delegation, reminded his audience that secularism has become the greatest scourge of our age, but that the Lord, as the Qur’an says, will never change the conditions of his people unless they themselves change their own conditions first. How this change is to be achieved is really the “great Jihad” (struggle), not anything else, he said.

Aside from asking Aquino to “step down,” which this paper ran as its banner headline story yesterday, the assembly made several statements, which could easily acquire a life of their own. Aquino “has lost the moral right to lead the nation, and has become a danger to the Philippine democratic and republican state and to the peace, freedom, security and moral and spiritual well-being of the Filipino people,” the Declaration said.

“We have lost all trust and confidence” in the President, the Declaration stressed.

It made two important calls. First, a call on the National Transformation Council, which had until then lived a quiet and unseen existence, to “assume the urgent and necessary task of restoring our damaged political institutions to their original status and form before we begin to consider electing a new government under normal political conditions.”

The members of this Council are not publicly known. Although it has been in existence for the last three years, with senior moral and spiritual leaders from the various faith communities providing it moral and spiritual guidance, the Council has decided to shield its membership from public view until it is time to make the appropriate announcement. But any member is free to disclose his membership, but only his membership.

Having been asked to keynote the Assembly, I felt it my duty to reveal my membership in the Council in the course of my remarks. Pastor Corpuz did the same during his address.

The second call was on the Armed Forces of the Philippines, “as the constitutional ‘protector of the people and the State,’ to extend its protective shield to the Council, and not to allow itself to be used in any manner to undermine the Council’s purely transitional and non-partisan role nor to allow any armed group to sow violence, disorder or discord into its peaceful ranks.”

But in their presentations, Cardinal Vidal and Archbishop Capalla made some very important revelations, which give us reason to hope that despite PNoy’s initial resistance to our proposal, he could yet be persuaded to step down, as Marcos did in 1986, and President Erap Estrada did in 2001. In both instances, the cardinal played a pivotal role.

In 1986, as CBCP president, he issued the statement that provided the moral basis for Marcos stepping down, in the face of widespread complaints about the scandalous conduct of the snap presidential elections. In 2001, as a friend to both Estrada and Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he called on the President at the height of the crisis to advise him “to avoid bloodshed, and for the sake of the Filipino people, to leave Malacañang.”

In 2005, on the other hand, at the height of GMA’s crisis, according to Archbishop Capalla, the late former President Cory Aquino and five clerics called on the President to ask her to step down. Then Bishop now Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, and then Bishop now Archbishop Soc Villegas, president of the CBCP, were part of the group. Together with Cory, they spoke lengthily about Arroyo’s need to resign.

Arroyo listened, and, after their extended discourse, said, “Thank you, I will think about it, please pray for me.”

Arroyo did not resign. But the fact that both Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Villegas felt it their duty then to ask Arroyo to resign might encourage them to do the same to PNoy, who reportedly values very deeply what they have to say to him. Will they try talking to Aquino?

fstatad@gmail.com

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28 Comments

  1. veronica castro on

    Ang supreme court badly needs reforms. they are people and subject to errors. Maramingn horror stories diyan. FILAM talked about it a lot. PERO LAHAT NG REFORMS MAGEEFECT KUNG ANG NAMUMUNO NG BAYAN LIKE PNOY AY MALINIS, ANG INTENTIONS PARA SA TAO.

  2. veronica castro on

    salita ng salita, ng salita. Maagaw din naman ito mga councils daw, etc. etc. daw. ng mga hoodlums and plunderers because they have the monye to buy everyone else, all tne instiutions, Congress, Judiciary, AFP, Clergies, without a leader heading this group, an honest leader, with integrity clean, unblemished, pure intentions , I mean, tunay ang malasakit for the COMMON GOOD, for the poor kuno., walang mangangari. In every set up, it is very important that the one who leads, is CLEAN, WITHOUT BAGGAGE, so people will follow, walang past, reputable, credible. UNDERSTAND.

  3. veronica castro on

    Akala mo naman ang lilinis niyo. Look back, si PNOY hindi nandaya, hinidi namamatay tao, hindi nag overprice. wala excesses. Pinakulong ang plunderer, mandaraya, hoodlums. Congress is in a mess, Justice system started to work when PNOY became President, Ang PERA NG TAO NAWAWALA WALANG GUILTY DAW. AFP has not been spared from financial scandal. Even they clergies cannot claim free from political patronage.Media are all paid for. Honestly, all our democratic institutions are responsib for all this. If there is any leader who has the moral authority to reform/restructure/streamline our gov’t it is PNOY. OPEN YOUR EYEs ,and Ears.

  4. Be specific and concise with the reform and change…prepare the agenda on what economic set up be made to the country in favor for the poor and jobless citizens. We can’t initiate a total revolution between the poverty , the elites ,oligarchs and landlords because they are the engines of the economic reforms. What i want to know is rock like vision for the transformation of the system in terms of political stability , economic and culture changes. A volunteer group to troubleshoot the mesh and establish strategic and long range planning for the Philippines. A group who could a afford to receive a PESO a year compensation for the effort they have done for the country. You can count me in for this volunteer group!

  5. I am all for asking, if not making, Aquino to step down.
    BUT after he does, what then? Does this council have a flow chart on what events will take place next? This is what the people have to be informed about to get support. Make your pitch, and let the people play around with its flavor in their mouth if it is good enough to swallow.

  6. Talking to BS Aquino? What a lousy idea. BA3 refuse to kick out Abad. BSAiii is the president in power when condom was plastered on Jesus image. Only clueless will beg P.Noy to resign. The best way to talk out BSAiii is not to talk with him at all. Ignore the immoral is the way to his heart.

  7. gabriela silang on

    the armed forces is the protector of the state. not unless they move in, all talks against aquino will be just that – talk. but afp will only move in when it sees massive actions by the people. absent that, we can only wish all we want…and who leads the post aquino era? binay? give me a break! is there anybody else?

  8. council?for what?national transformation?guys before you sign up review all the members of the council…a useless politician…an evil priest and bishops who recieved mitshubishi from gma…former goverment employees who never had a proven track record of helping a community…thats why i never revealed themselves…shame on you….

  9. An inveterate habit is hard to break, it is true. PNoy’s habit of doing what he wants, being an incarnation of the NOWHERE MAN will persist to see only what he wants to see. To “listen to what his bosses have yet to say, is nothing but a ploy. He will soon leave for the US and Europe to invite investors (kuno). Who would want to invest in our country under this volatile situation? Going to the US, for what? To see his “real boss” so he could “cry on his shoulders”? Poor Uncle Sam. he is deep in trouble, his top hat ihad been blown off, not fit to pass around for a “second collection” for our the suffering brothers in Iraq, Tacloban, Zamboanga, etc. What about this trip to Europe? Spain? or wherever? If he got any good sense at all, maybe the best person to see and talk to is Pope Francis. Yes, the Pope is one person who will welcome him with open arms. I’m sure he will give him a fatherly lecture on the only “tuwtd na daan”: Obedience to the law of God, good moral life and, as a leader of the only Christian country in Southeast Asia, to always protect and work for the common good. Differently, all he is up to is just a mere ploy. Are you listening, really listening, Mr President? I humbly suggest that you take a breather in the quiet of a monastery so you could have more time to listen to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit like what your own dear Mother Cory did before. And, you may like also to get some clues from the movie “Of Gods and Men”. Mr. Paquito Ochoa can secure a good DVD copy…Oh, I caught a fish alive! In the meantime, I am all prayers for you.

  10. He must uphold the law and stop his vendetta which have no legal basis and make use of the remaining days a fruitful one and not thinking of who to replace him because there are many more promising leaders from the 100million Filipinos.

  11. What exactly is the council’s political action plan ? The reason the coups against Cory failed is because Gringo and his cohorts did not have a plan that the grassroots could sink their teeth into. I hope you are not missing out on the most essential element of your movement, if we can call it that. The masa are tired of politicians, including those dressed in robes, making vague promises. I believe the entire yellow ribbon regime must fall because merely replacing BS with another Cory and Ninoy idolater will not change anything, but what”s your action plan once you have gained power, meron ba ?

    • The reason coups against Cory failed is, social media has not taken off yet, and information was hard to come by. People were ignorant of what was really going on in the government.

      The reason the plot against GMA to step down didn’t take off, is because social media have already taken off, and more people were not as ignorant as before. old style propaganda just does not wash anymore.

  12. victor m. hernandez on

    Yes, there has to be a consensus on what are the policies and programs for the common good, for both the very poor, jobless, working & middle class, the big income earners, and the very big income earners. Inclusive growth, not exclusive growth, even as the economy is threatened by a real estate bubble that reminds us of the effects of the Asian financial crises which resulted to stagnant economy littered by joblessness and business loss, as well as banking & finance industry collapse.
    We need peaceful change, and wish to hear what the very poor and jobless, and the overtaxed working & middle classes have to say in that council. The captains of business and industry need to be included in the discussion, too.They should be included and be heard in this forum. The council discussing the state of affairs, and the affairs of the state cannot be left to the religious and spiritual leaders, as morality and decent living cannot be left among the pious, sanctimonious, and the recluse spiritual and intellectual types. I hope that the council’s discussion will include the thoughts and expriences of “shepherds who smell like their sheeps” because they have lived among them.
    The armed forces and the police as the protectors of the people and the state are being re-armed with more powerful and modernized weapons, and its budget much increase as DILG Secretary Roxas lobby for more funds in Congress, even as the police are making inventory of guns possesed by the individual citizens by requiring re-registration and renewal of licenses and authorization to use and carry those arms, the better to control and weaken opposition by the people in case of any eventually from bandits or from the state forces.
    In less than 2 years the national and presidential election will ensue. Will the move to encourage the president to resign be pursued, at this late time? Will the VP in succession to the presidency left vacant to allowe to sit and serve the unfinished the term of…

  13. Bert O. Romero on

    The Council’s goal is systemic and structural change but why the immediate focus is personal change with the demand for Pinoy’s resignation? The obvious assumption of course is Pinoy is a stumbling block to the attainment of these systemic and structural changes. Assuming Pinoy is removed, what next? Binay becomes president. Binay, who is accused of corruption, is publicly supportive of political dynasty and who, in his decades of being in government service, has not initiated any structural or systemic reforms? Giving out scandal-tainted cakes to senior citizens is systemic reform? Padding building construction costs is structural change? The Council’s essence for being is salutary and the need for it is felt keenly now more than ever. By its very nature, change especially affecting system and structure needs time and more importantly, determination. In the first place, there is a need to define what system/ structure we need to change? Political ? Economic? Socio-cultural? Or, personal? Which should be given priority? Why? Are’nt all these dimensions inter-related to each other and therefore each would impact to each other? How do we effect these changes? How do we assure ourselves the Council will not follow the same paths travelled by so many think tanks, discussion groups, organizations – both government and NGO’s – leading them to simply that: discussion groups.

  14. Mr. Tatad, what you have spilled above make sense that could enlightened your readers. But the last paragraph seems like a missing target.

    As most of the followers of your column and other columnists of other legitimate newspapers opposed to Noynoy’s wayward governance, they’re resigned to the notion that Pnoy will resign through the pressure and urging of outside forces. His brain is programmed to do only what he wanted and nothing else. Good luck.

  15. My family are with you in this transitional council. We are waiting for the next move and we will join. Hope Pnoy will listen.We thank our Muslim brothers on this important event.

  16. me thinks that nobody can persuade aquino to do things his mind does not or cannot fathom. he thinks he and his yellow cultists are God’s gift to the nation and only he and his yellow cult are the only ones who knows what is right for this forsaken nation. well sabi nga ng marami, there is nothing wrong with trying to talk to aquino. we can dream can we not. i expect the isafp and psg to do all things to identify the council and do everything to harass them.

  17. Ruben V. Calip on

    I pray Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Soc do talk to President Aquino about his resignation.

  18. Pnoy will not listen to anybody except A-BAD. Hawak ni A-BAD ang i—g ni Pnoy. You can send all the saints but it will be all futile.It’s futile to talk to an inutile.

  19. The Lipa Declaration is our much awaited light at the end of a long dark tunnel. It is about time that the country’s deliverance from an oppressive and dictatorial pseudo-leader come forthwith. The most civilized way to end this regime is for the Abnoy to resign. We can no longer take a chance on whatever further harm and destruction he can still inflict upon te country if he stays on. His trip to the US and Europe must be stopped. There is no telling what further embarrassment and shame he can still drag the country to with this trip.

    • No, the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train’s headlights. It will make the Lipa Declaration irrelevant. The name of the train is sobriety and an nformed citizenry who can see through the agenda of the extreme left, Marcos/Arroyo loyalists and clueless clergy.

  20. Good article Mr. Tatad, as usual. Actually there are whispers around the grape-vine that there are many NTC silent members who are big personalities in the country, who is not willing to reveal themselves. It is alright if they are scared that PNoy and his minions might go after these personalities. Regarding Cardinal Tagle and Arch. Villegas visiting PNoy and ask him to quit, it will be more feathers in the heads if the 2 Church officials can convince PNoy to step down. Knowing how stubborn and childish this man is, expect a big no.

  21. Asiong Ignacio on

    Mr. Tatad, looking outside the box, we encourage the National Transformation Council to continue its mission of putting back our political landscape in the Philippines to its normal democratic setup where each branch of government have equal rights and independence to run the affairs of the state. The peoples interests and public service must be protected at all times. We must never allow to have one person, such as the President, to have so much power to influence the decisions of the Legislative and the Judiciary. We hope the mission of the NTC shall not be the typical “ningas kugon” mentality where we start a movement with a loud noise and we end it with a puff…and no closure. We need the NTC to save the Philippines. More power!

  22. Roldan Guerrero on

    As some intellectual observers noted, Aquino being drunk of the DAP, he may not step down voluntarily. His Auntie not to name, even said it is useless to talk and give advise to BSA as he thinks he knows everything. Spoiled brats never perform submission on whatever mistakes they do. Thus it may be necessary to carry BSA physically and eject him out of malakanyang.

  23. and here I was thinking that as a lawyer (and a former Marcos cabinet member and staunch supporter of Macoy), you would understand and appreciate the meaning of the separation of the affairs of the church and state – pardon me for the mistaken belief …

    • Tatad is not a lawyer. And he will support the interference of church in state affairs if it suits his agenda of ousting Pnoy.