Religious group throws money into the Mitsubishop ‘issue’ in the hope of ‘resolving’ it

The Philippines is a nation of suckers. Filipinos routinely elevate rabble-rousers to “hero” status, pardon convicted plunderers, allow dictators’ family and offspring to continue living the good life, and tolerate a uniquely-Filipino brand of banal criminality that is embedded deep in the very fibres that weave the social fabric of Philippines society. This quaint aspect of the national character puts a bit of context behind the recent “apology” of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on behalf of the now infamous Mitsubishops led by Juan “The Pajero” de Dios Pueblo…

[Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)] chairwoman Margarita Juico earlier revealed that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo allegedly used PCSO funds to get support from the Church. She said Arroyo, who is now a Pampanga representative, had given 7 Mitsubishi Pajeros to bishops.

A 2009 Commission on Audit report also showed the PCSO gave P1.44 million to the Archdiocese of Cotabato for the purchase of a service vehicle, P1.5 million to the Zamboanga Archdiocesan Social Action Apostolate, P720,000 to Caritas Nueva Segovia, P1.125 million to the Roman Catholic Prelate of Isabela, Basilan and P1.7 million to the Diocese of Butuan.

Not surprisingly, the “apology” seems to be working wonders as far as what seems to be an emerging public relations campaign to repair the crumbling moral highground that the revered Catholic bishops of the Philippines once stood upon. A certain “relgious” group that goes by the presumptuous name “Coalition for Family and Life”, led by former Environment secretary and ex-Manila Mayor Lito Atienza is reportedly soliciting donations from the public to raise more than Php8 million to repay the Filipino taxpayer for the comfort of luxury sport utility with which the Mitsubishops transport themselves these days.

Apparently the esteemed ex-Mayor seems to think that throwing money into the mess will make it go away…

The figure is the estimated amount of the vehicles received by seven bishops from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) during the Arroyo administration.

“Sa ating paraan, maliit o malaki, ay magbigay tayo ng tulong maresolba lang itong isyung ito. Kung ang issue ay ang salapi, e di isoli na lang natin (sa PCSO). Ang mga lay leaders, alam ko, maraming gustong tumulong dito,” said Atienza.

[Translated: In our own small or big way, let us help resolve this issue. If the issue is about money, then it is a simple matter of returning said money [to the PCSO]. I know many lay leaders would like to help us.]

Interestingly, despite the CBCP’s official “apology” and the wave of sympathy it seems to be generating in predominantly Catholic Philippine society, a “senior prelate” seems to be implying that the mess that the Mitsubishops had caused was something “inflicted” by the Philippine Government.

A senior prelate said the fund mess at state-owned lottery maybe the “biggest wound” inflicted by the government to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

In his 45-year experience as a member of the bishops’ collegial body, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said the recent issue has dipped the image and credibility of the Church.

So on one hand, while Filipinos are made to believe that the CBCP “apology” was made in the spirit of taking accountability for the mess it finds itself in, Cruz, on the other, is busy painting the all-too-familiar image of the bleeding martyr — an image that, for centuries, has been a favourite theme in Catholic iconography.

Last I heard, sincere apologies do not involve making pathetic excuses.

This rather subtle hint of the true intent of this much-publicised “apology” begs a closer examination of the words used in said “apology.” For this we defer to the GMA News TV report that broke the news of this statement of “apology” back in the 11th July.

I highlight a few salient points:

(1) The CBCP is “sorry” for the “controversy” but makes no mention of being “wounded” by the actions per se of the Mitsubishops.

In a pastoral statement read by its outgoing president Bishop Nereo Odchimar on Monday, the CBCP said the Church “has been deeply wounded by the controversies in the PCSO.”

(2) Reference is made to Jesus Christ to sweeten the payload of said “apology.”

“As shepherds struggling to love you like Jesus the Good Shepherd, we are sorry for the pain and sadness that these events have brought upon you,” the group said after its 103rd plenary assembly held at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila.

(3) The “apology” makes use of the euphemism “inconsistency” instead of a more categorical statement of accountability for downright wrong behaviour.

“We are saddened many of you, especially the youth and the poor—our basic ecclesial communities, have been confused because of the apparent inconsistency of our actions with our pastoral preaching,” it added.

(4) The “apology” leaves the issue of legality open-ended by including a very prominent “IF” in its statement, which in effect renders said apology non-absolute.

“If it would be proven unlawful, anomalous and unconstitutional, we assure you that their action was done without malice. Out of their sincere desire to help their people, they failed to consider the pitfalls to which these grants were possibly done,” the statement read.

(5) Despite issuing a “sincere apology” supposedly aimed “especially [at] the youth and the poor — [the Church’s] basic ecclesial communities”, the CBCP declined to answer questions after reading its statement to the press

Odchimar refused to answer questions from the media after reading the statement, saying that the bishops involved in the controversy will explain their sides on the issue once they attend the Senate probe on Wednesday.

…perhaps revealing the bishops’ selective regard for the importance of requests for clarification coming from its “ecclesial communities,” the basis of this selectiveness, we might hazard a guess, having something to do with political clout maybe? Apparently, some people have gotten away with hypocrisy for so long that they now find themselves utterly incapable of uttering even one truly sincere sentence much less an entire “statement.”

And so the comedy of errors continues as the Philippines’ venerable men in robes stumble from one communication snafu to another. One begins to wonder just how “in touch” these clerics really are with the people they presume to teach “morality” to.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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56 Comments on "Religious group throws money into the Mitsubishop ‘issue’ in the hope of ‘resolving’ it"

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Pierre Fontecha
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Great read! I never knew that there were varied opinions concerning the Philippine Catholic church. Keep up the smatter, it’s good for the soul. Ay, sus!

reian
Guest

Definitely an awesome read, I doubt that there’s a puritan Catholic priest left out there let alone bishops. It’s funny that the CBCP have a Bible reference in their apology, comes to show how faithfully mindless most Filipinos are.

GabbyD
Guest

“(3) The “apology” makes use of the euphemism “inconsistency” instead of a more categorical statement of accountability for downright wrong behaviour.

holy nitpicking, batman!

both words are categorical. (i.e. without qualification)

Joe America
Guest

I am reminded that old people tend to get narrower as they get into the declining years, that life is a cycle from helplessness to helplessness and we all run about in between trying to avoid filling the gap with hopelessness. I wonder at what stage the Catholic Church thinks it is in, in its own life cycle. Seems really really old and stumbling to me. Like maybe it believes in its omnipotence, when it is just human like the rest of us.

Hyden Toro
Guest

You can apologize, and pretend to be sorry…however, deep inside…you are not sorry. If the SUV controversy would had not be blown, out of proportion. These Bishops would still be driving the SUVS…
Why did they not return the SUVS ealier? Why did they asked for SUVs? The Vatican is very rich…it can easily buy them, hundreds of SUVs, for charity work…there is too much hypocrisy in our midst already…we are tired of them…politicians…now Bishops…

Joe America
Guest

I watched the interview with the Bishops before the Senate Blue Ribbon Panel. I think they were sincerely appreciative of the utility of the autos provided, and they were indeed used to help people. Only one of the Bishops seemed “political”. The real culprit here is PCSO, a government “Special Ops” program. Senator Santiago started the session with one of her classic rants. Better TV than those sappy soaps, for sure.

GabbyD
Guest
looks like randy david’s new column gets the analysis right… check it out B0! http://opinion.inquirer.net/7604/when-bishops-apologize — By taking up the cudgels for the individual bishops and apologizing as a collective body, the CBCP achieves three things. First, it affirms its integrity as a community that is conscious of its responsibilities. Second, it signals to the larger society its determination to review and define its role and its entanglement with society in the face of the challenges of growing complexity. And lastly, it draws the line between moral responsibility, which it accepts and applies to itself, and legal accountability, to which… Read more »
Trosp
Guest
This is what in your latest blog – “[Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)] chairwoman Margarita Juico earlier revealed that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo allegedly used PCSO funds to get support from the Church. She said Arroyo, who is now a Pampanga representative, had given 7 Mitsubishi Pajeros to bishops. A 2009 Commission on Audit report also showed the PCSO gave P1.44 million to the Archdiocese of Cotabato for the purchase of a service vehicle, P1.5 million to the Zamboanga Archdiocesan Social Action Apostolate, P720,000 to Caritas Nueva Segovia, P1.125 million to the Roman Catholic Prelate of Isabela, Basilan and… Read more »
Trosp
Guest
I won’t mind being called a Catholic fanatic if for others it would look that way. I also have criticized the Catholic clergies including nuns for things that seems to be uncatholic. http://casaveneracion.com/sometimes-tv-doesnt-suck/ “Those in the church particularly the nuns. Just because they don’t like the present administration, they will offer their protection to Jun Lozada, a confessed corrupt, just to show that they have the self-righteousness. They thought that it would be a repeat of EDSA I or EDSA II. Duh! (Hindi sumali ang APO at si Ka Freddie! He he he he…) Or maybe even Bishop Bacani (or… Read more »
Trosp
Guest
As you have commented: “(1) Story of Butuan Bishop asking President Arroyo for a Pajero for his “birthday” breaks the news.” (True. But it was not asked for his personal use. He apologized that he timed his request on his birthday.) “(2) CBCP issues a statement claiming that their conscience is “clear.” (True. What is the infraction or whatever? Is it the first time they have done that? It has already become a tradition since time immemorial because no law is being violated. In yesterday’s senate hearing, it was proven again that they did nothing unconstitutional. It will be immoral… Read more »
Trosp
Guest
This is what is in your post – “So on one hand, while Filipinos are made to believe that the CBCP “apology” was made in the spirit of taking accountability for the mess it finds itself in…” And now this is what you’re claiming now – “Well you’re quite spot on highlighting that because in it is the precise point I make. The CBCP apologised for the outcome of the issue but not the cause of said issue and certainly not for the WRONGNESS of said cause. Do they mean the same? Definitely, the wrongness is in your perception and… Read more »
Dr. Noh
Guest
FOR PETE’S SAKE, what is your obsession with the specific brand of the SUV they got? Even if they got bicycles, IT STILL WOULDNT BE RIGHT. If they gave stuff only to a certain religion, it wouldnt be fair to other religious orgs WHO ALSO DO CHARITY WORK WITHOUT GETTING GOVT FREEBIES because such favoritism goes against secular laws. what part of the separation between church and state don’t you get? Government funds are SUPPOSED to go to government social services, not to private NGO’s, for whatever purpose. Even if those vehicles were used by the Catholic Church purely for… Read more »
Trosp
Guest

“Mitsubishops: the CBCP conveniently absolves its own and remains above the Law”

It’s not on the above article but it’s the title of your other post. Just like I said, prove it.

Can I ask you something?

Which is worse: purveying misinformation out of ignorance or incompetence, or deliberately and maliciously twisting the facts just to satisfy an agenda?

WHERE IS THE PAJERO?

ici
Guest

hay naku…all things being equal, “at the end of the day”(ugh!)…i would rather the bishops be given grants than the congressmen who already have pork barrels but still request for ambulances.

Trosp
Guest
Bloggers like you are considered writers. They write to express and to impress. Free to express one’s self – no holds barred. For others, it is immaterial whether it is factual or misinformation. Bias or unbiased. Being bias is to the eyes of the beholder anyway according to some. Examples of biased media personalities – Conservatives: Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilley, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham. Liberals: Bill Maher, Chris Mathews, Rachel Maddow, Katie Couric. Media establishments/blog sites – Foxnews vs the alphabet cables, Newsbusters and American Thinker vs. Daily Kos and Huffington Post. (Read or listen to them and decide who… Read more »