CBCP refutes claims it is meddling in state affairs
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan. CBCPNEWS
Catholic bishops on Monday refuted claims of meddling in state affairs or pressuring the high court to rule against the controversial anti-terrorism law.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, the acting president of the bishops’ hierarchy, said the church doesn’t meddle in politics, but speak out when the common good is being threatened.
“We do not have political influence over the country’s judiciary, nor do we interfere in the operations of government,” David said.
“Our only influence is on conscience, because it is our duty to form consciences, and we are accountable to God for this,” he said.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Sunday accused the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines of pressuring the Supreme Court to vote against the anti-terror law.
He was reacting to a CBCP pastoral letter issued over the weekend that condemned the Duterte administration’s “pattern of intimidation”.
Panelo said the CBCP letter “appears to have violated” the constitutional provision on the separation of the Church and State.
Bishop David stressed that the CBCP respects the SC, which is supposed to function independently of the other branches of government, “if we are to continue to function as a democracy”.
“What we hope and pray for is that both our legislature and judiciary remain truly independent, and continue to function as designed by our Constitution,” he said.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the administrator of the Manila archdiocese, dared Malacañang to charge them if they indeed violated the law.
“I challenge them! They can sue us if we really violated (the Constitution),” he said in an online press conference.
He denied the bishops are meddling in political affairs, but speak out in support of social justice which is the teaching of the Church.
“Precisely, we are doing that in order to awaken the consciousness of the people,” Bishop Pabillo said.