PNoy urged to quit
Jessa Agua (The Freeman) - February 14, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Along with other bishops, the influential Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in Cebu yesterday called for President Benig-no Aquino III to step down so that the  Philippines may have a fresh start.

“Various assemblies convened by the National Transformation Council (NTC) have strongly articulated that the president should step down. We, bishops of the Catholic and other Christian Churches, have often been asked if there is moral basis to this growing demand. Recent developments have made this call even more urgent and imperative,” Vidal declared, reading the opening line of his three-page statement as he sat in front of his office table.

The statement was made amid coup rumors in Manila.

Vidal has also called on fellow bishops and religious leaders to “join us in praying to God for His guidance for the renewal of the nation that is deeply rooted in faith, values, love of country, and respect for human life and environment.”

The retired prelate, in his retirement residence in Sto. Niño Village in Cebu City, yesterday read the statement surrounded by Catholic and protestant bishops who showed support.

The clerics who joined Vidal were Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo dela Cruz, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, Bayombong (Nueva Vizcaya) Archbishop Ramon Villena, Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, Naval (Biliran) Bishop Felomino Bactol.

Non-Catholic bishops who were also present included Christian Bishops and Ministers Association of the Philippines adviser Bishop Butch Belgica, CBMAP secretary general Dr. Jose Socito, United Church of Christ of the Philippines Manila pastor Reverend Art Corpuz and Evangelical Bishop Pio Tica.

The political renewal, NTC pointed out, can be achieved through strong public uproar similar to People Power in 1986.

“The Church and her pastors must never abandon their duty to denounce evil and to guide men, women and children in their active search for the truth and the good. Moral evil must be removed from the political and social system. This task, the church and the political community cannot just leave in the hands of politicians, no matter how virtuous they might be,” Vidal’s statement continued.

While the NTC members and supporters called for political cleansing, the group stressed that they are not backing violent actions in clearing the presidential post such as a coup de e’tat. Arguelles argued  that the church has never favored such an act.

Notable members of NTC include former senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad and Norberto Gonzalez.

Caretaker government

Tatad proposed that as soon as the president and those “who claim succession to the presidency” step down from office and submit themselves to investigation and prosecution, a “caretaker government” will take over to implement the changes that the group has aspired.

When asked who will compose the council, Tatad said they will make necessary announcement in “due time.”

“We are not looking at a particular guy, but genuine leaders,” Tatad said.

Tatad served as Minister of Public Information under President Ferdinand Marcos (1969 to 1980) and senator from 1992 to 2001 while Gonzalez served as National Security Adviser during the administration of former president and now congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Before the declaration, a Mass was led by at the chapel inside Vidal’s home. The Mass was offered to the 44 Special Action Force troopers who were killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25.

Palma immediately left after Vidal read his three-page statement and reasoned he has a meeting to attend without expressing direct support to the call of NTC for the president to step down.

Members of local media clarified more than once to Vidal if he is personally calling for the president to step down, and the retired prelate referred to the opening line of his statement.  —/BRP (FREEMAN)

 

 

ARCHBISHOP RAMON VILLENA BISHOP BUTCH BELGICA BISHOP FELOMINO BACTOL CEBU ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS RICARDO CARDINAL VIDAL CEBU ARCHBISHOP JOSE PALMA CEBU CITY CHRISTIAN BISHOPS AND MINISTERS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES CHRISTIAN CHURCHES TATAD VIDAL
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