A statement on the quo warranto issue
BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2018 - 12:00am

Brother Jose Mari Jimenez, FSC is the auxiliary visitor to the Philippines, a title which makes him the de facto head of the Congregation of La Salle Brothers in the Philippines and all the Lasallian institutions in the Philippines which include DLSU-Manila, De La Salle College of St. Benilde,  DLSU- Lipa, DLSU-Dasmariñas, DLSU-Araneta (Caloocan), USLS -Bacolod, La Salle-Ozamis, La Salle-Greenhills, La Salle-Antipolo, La Salle-Zobel, St. Joseph’s-Bacolod, Br Hilario-Bataan.

He recently issued a pastoral letter to the Lasallian which reflects the opinion of the entire Congregation of La Salle Brothers. This is not the first time, nor I expect that it will be the last time, that the La Salle Brothers have issued formal statements on a pressing social issue of the time. While the statement is formally addressed to the Lasallian community, its message is actually  addressed to the Filipino people and to the world.  Here is the full text of the letter:

Pastoral letter on the Supreme Court decision on the Quo Warranto petition

 Dear Lasallians, 

 We mourn today. The decision of the Supreme Court on the quo warranto case against Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno is in the words of a dissenting justice, a “legal abomination.” The decision is spawned by the petition of a political appointee of the president. The majority of the justices who swore to defend our Constitution instead, have chosen to give assent to the presidential appointee’s plea.   

 We mourn today and we grieve. The decision is a death sentence for our continually beleaguered political institutions. The Executive who promised change has failed us for under his watch, the mechanisms that would have ensured accountability have been crushed.  The only change that has transpired is our downward regression into political disorder.  In the Upper House, the President has incarcerated his fiercest critic. In the Lower House, the President using spoils, has created a subservient supermajority.  As the Chief Justice echoed the need to subscribe to the law and respect the fundamental rights of citizens, the President publicly declared her his enemy.   In response to this unequivocal expression of the President’s desire, his subordinates have taken all steps necessary and in all forums available to ensure that the Chief Justice is eased out of her position.    

We mourn today but let our grieving be brave.  Some of our justices may shun from their responsibility to protect our democracy – but we will not. Ours is not a battle for or against the President for the matter at hand is far greater than him.  We take up this battle for the young people whom we hoped would never have to witness the dark days of authoritarianism.  We who have witnessed how past presidents manipulated the law to serve their interests; we who have witnessed how past governments have turned public institutions away from their mandate to protect the people; we will not be so easily silenced and we refuse to give up.   

We mourn but not alone. May our mourning give way to solidarity and our solidarity give birth to hope.  Let us work tirelessly to raise up men and women who can be principled and virtuous in their service of others. Let us march arm-in-arm for our children so they can live in a society where their fundamentals rights are respected.  Let us fight to expose all attempts at concentrating power and in muting legitimate opposition. And even if others will not, let us take this opportunity to stand by the side of every Filipino who cherishes democracy.  May our choices show forth the proud Filipinos that we are – excellent and noble and honorable and brave.

Fraternally,

Br. Jose Mari Jimenez FSC

Auxiliary Visitor for Philippines, Lasallian East Asia District (LEAD)

Patron Saint of Teachers

The Holy See has just declared the coming year 2019 as Jubilee Year to honor the 300th anniversary of the death of St. John Baptist de La Salle. On May 15, 1950, the Catholic Church proclaimed St. La Salle as the Patron Saint of Teachers.

He was born to a wealthy family in Rheims, France on April 30, 1651 and died on April 7, 1719. He became a priest, an educational reformer and founder of the first La Salle schools and the Institute of Brothers of the Christian Schools or, in Latin Fratres Scholarum Christianarum (FSC). The De La Salle Brothers was the first Catholic teaching institute that did not include any priest because its founder wanted  its members to dedicate their life to teaching. 

At the beginning, the educational establishment resented his methods then considered revolutionary but now considered normal.   These included instruction in the vernacular, students grouped according to ability and achievement, integration of religious instruction with secular instruction, well prepared teachers with a sense of vocation and mission and the involvement of parents. Here are some of my favorite quotes on teaching from St. La Salle:.

“ To be entrusted with the teaching of the young is a great gift and grace of God...To touch the hearts of your students is the greatest miracle you can perform...Know your students individually and be able to understand them...Take even more care of the education of young people entrusted to you than if they were children of a king....You can perform miracles by touching the hearts of those entrusted to your care.” 

 For first time teachers, St. La Salle had this advice: “...should enter the classroom with a deliberate and grave air, head held high and looking at all the students in a bold manner, as if they had 30years’ experience.”

Summer creative writing classes for kids and teens

Young Writers’ Hangout on May 19, 26 and June 2 (1:30pm-3pm; independent sessions) at Fully Booked BGC.  For details and registration contact 0945-2273216 or writethingsph@gmail.com.

Email:elfrencruz@gmail.com

MARIA LOURDES SERENO QUO WARRANTO PETITION SUPREME COURT
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