Villegas on martial law anniversary: ‘We can demand true change’

Villegas on martial law anniversary: ‘We can demand true change’
Archbishop Socrates Villegas during the closing Mass of the Second Synod of Lingayen – Dagupan on Sept. 9 at the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag. PHOTO COURTESY OF SABINS STUDIO

DAGUPAN City– Marking the declaration of Martial law in the country 45 years ago, Lingayen – Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas rallied the faithful to stay vigilant and to “keep on demanding” change.

“We have a right as people to demand change. We voted for change and we want to see it. Keep on demanding for it. Do not relent. Do not tolerate excuses and jokes. Demand for the change promised,” said the prelate during a noon Mass at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in this city.

According to the prelate, the country needs change for the better, “not the change from life to death … not the change of darkness into deeper darkness.”

“Wrong is wrong and right is right. When they confuse one for the other, stand up and correct the wrong with courage but with love. Stand up. To keep quiet in the face of evil is a sin,” said Villegas.

Killing the poor

Calling citizens to a renewed sense of nationalism, the prelate drew comparisons with the dark period of the Marcos dictatorship and the present socio-political issues facing the country.

“We have only martial law in Mindanao but the murders are all over more than 13,000 now since last year. Killing the poor and the poorest is the only solution they know to stop crime. Fake news abound and liars succeed to mislead and confuse,” said Villegas.

During the homily, the outgoing president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference also made thinly-veiled references to recent political developments like Congress’ voting to slash the Commission on Human Rights’ budget to Php 1,000.

“Decency has given way to cuss words. The respectful and the polite are ridiculed and the rude and ill-mannered are the new saints. Human rights and the indigenous peoples are worth one thousand pesos,” he noted.

Who is the Filipino?

Appealing to Filipinos’ sense of identity, the prelate called on the faithful to “do more” to respond to what many are calling a national crisis.

“We must stand up for the real Filipino. We are honorable. We are respectful. We are pro-life. We are honest. We are brave. We are losing our national soul to the Father of Lies and Prince of Darkness,” said Villegas in English and Filipino.

In closing, the archbishop stressed the need to “do more” aside from praying and helping “the orphans of the killings.”

The Archdiocese of Lingayen – Dagupan concluded on Sept. 9 its second synod, which focused on several key issues like social engagement, divine worship, and faith formation, among other. CBCPNews