Seeing through the smokescreen

Seeing through the smokescreen

IN the last couple of weeks, Duterte was relentless in his tirades against the Church and against religion. All of them unprovoked! He shamelessly and unjustly accused Bishop Ambo David of corruption by taking fruit offerings to his family and insinuating that he is involved in drugs because he follows up and cares for the orphaned victims of the war on drugs. He urged that bishops be killed because they do nothing but criticize him. He irresponsibly accuse 90% of the priests to be gay. He blatantly claim that the Bible is irrelevant because it was written thousands of years ago. He even accused Pope Leo XIV as having sired a son who also later became pope. How irresponsible this last statement is, that it shows his great ignorance of Church history. There is no Pope Leo XIV! The last pope who took the name of Leo was Leo the XIII!

While he was making these crazy statements, which were pronounced in speeches he was supposed to make on occasions which had nothing to do with his accusations, ignominious developments happened in the government. He signed 29 agreements with Chinese President XI without much public scrutiny. Are these advantageous to the Filipinos or are they a sell out to a foreign power? The Lower House surreptitiously passed the adoption of the resolution of Both Houses No 15 on federalism and charter change on second reading. In the resolution political dynasty remains, and term limits for congress and the senate have been eliminated. Bong Revilla was acquitted by the Sandiganbayan of the crime of plunder, and yet he was asked to return the 124.5 million pesos that he was involved in! Senator Trillanes is accused in a Davao court for libel. We have seen all of these before: corrupt people are being acquitted; critics are accused and threatened; unpopular laws that are self-serving are silently passed!

Duterte is either gravely sick or his attacks against religion are precisely timed and calculated to hide the machinations his minions are doing in the government. The media and the people are to talk about the tirades and not notice the mal-governance that is happening. The timing is so that one cannot avoid connecting the two. Are the unprovoked tirades calculated to be smokescreens to the nefarious government actions to hide them from public attention?

So what can we do? We should not lose focus of the two. We address both—the attacks and the manipulations in the government. Both are serious. The attacks on the religious beliefs of the people should be countered, not so much to prove Duterte wrong, but to help educate the people in their faith. The Chinese connection has to be exposed. We should demand the government to bare the agreements done with the Chinese because in the long run it is the people who will pay. The issue of federalism and charter change have to be continually denounced because it is getting clearer by the day that the purpose is self-serving to the present political powers. We have to protest against the Duterte administration’s prosecution and persecution of its critics. If we keep silent dictatorship and tyranny will overtake us before we know it. Let us see through the smokescreen! 

(Guest editorial by Bishop Broderick Pabillo)