Let us not drag God into our political foolishness
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - August 9, 2019 - 12:00am

There is a prayer that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is asking Filipino Catholics to storm the heavens with. It is a prayer on behalf of four bishops and three priests charged with sedition along with vice president Leni Robredo and several political opposition figures. The charges stem from a supposed plot to oust President Duterte by linking him and his family to illegal drugs.

I beg the indulgence of my friends and relatives in the Catholic Church but I just cannot be a party to nonsense. More importantly, I am such a sinner already that I do not want to offend God any further. But let me say this to my fellow Catholics: If you want to take your chances by casting your lot with the accused, go ahead. It is your call. But do not say I didn't warn you.

First of all, the sedition charges won't stick. None of the accused committed any seditious act for anyone to worry and try involving God in their foolishness. For if there is anything the accused are guilty of, it is foolishness. It is a foolishness that has been underscored and validated when the Filipino electorate delivered a big fat egg at the political opposition's doorstep.

The most prominent among the men of the cloth charged, also foolishly I must say, has already been unmasked in 2016 as an irrepressible politician masquerading as a prelate. Socrates Villegas, a close adviser to Cory Aquino, unabashedly campaigned against Duterte on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.

That his unabashed anti-Duterte campaign was soundly repudiated at the polls would have sent better-thinking men into reconsidering their tactics against an immensely popular president who counts among his most ardent supporters the vast majority of Catholics in the country. But because Villegas has more politics in his veins than holiness, he just has to keep up with his tirades.

Unfortunately for them, they do not have a monopoly on foolishness. Duterte has his own share of foolish chuwariwaps who, eager to please the president, initiated the charges. Instead of praying, and risk courting the ire of God, what I would do in this case is just to let the case run its course. The accused are sure of getting an acquittal.

What the case will do at most is give the accused a taste of their own medicine. Now they will know how it is to be on the receiving end. It is a small price to pay for never giving a president elected freely by the vast majority of the people a chance. It is what sometimes happens when selfish political interests are made to prevail over the majority will.

I have never been for the sedition charges. If it had been all up to me, I would let the emaciated opposition be. The recent electoral numbers couldn't have been more telling. Save for the noise, they have shoved the opposition to virtual irrelevance. As to the priests and bishops, a call by Duterte to stop giving to church collections would have resulted in a more direct and effective message. But that is just me talking.


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