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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Opinions on JC, Ang Kapatiran and CBCP

Did CBCP intend to rebuke Ang Kapatiran?
By Rene Q. Bas - Manila Times

MOST Catholics who try to live their faith—and respect their bishops—are hoping the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) did not deliberately mean to tell the Philippine electorate that Ang Kapatiran’s people and efforts are worthless.

That, sadly, the latest pastoral letter signed on July 12 by CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo does. The absence in the pastoral letter of even a passing oblique reference to that zealously Catholic-doctrine-guided political party made up of laypersons is an insult to the founders, officers and candidates of Ang Kapatiran. It implies that the Philippine bishops do not acknowledge its existence.

Worse, it also could be a rebuke. For it can be read to mean that the bishops do not think the Kapatiran people are “those who are competent, persons of integrity, and committed to change” whom the CBCP are calling on “to get involved directly in principled partisan politics, and become candidates for political election, aware that the common good is above the good of vested interests.”

Act of injustice

That the pastoral letter did not advert to AK, even without mentioning it’s name, is an act of injustice to Ang Kapitiran’s candidate for president, John Carlos Gordon de los Reyes.

JC is the son of the late Sonny de los Reyes, who was president of the Catholic National Council for the Laity and became a good example of a layman who struggled to be a good Catholic. His mother is Barbara Gordon de los Reyes, who, to many touched by her apostolic labors and personal kindness is an example of how to be a Marylike person.

An accomplished man, JC is the nephew of Sen. Dick Gordon. I’m almost sure Dick is not too pleased with his nephew’s presidential run considering that he himself has his eyes on the presidency.

JC de los Reyes is Kapatiran’s candidate because he is convinced it is his moral duty. He considers it his response to the CBCP’s repeated calls for men and women who “are competent, persons of integrity, and committed to change to get involved directly in principled partisan politics, and become candidates for political election, aware that the common good is above the good of vested interests.”

JC is the only Ang Kapatiran candidate who won in the 2007 elections when he ran for councilor in Olongapo. Without a doubt he won not because of his party but because the people of Olongapo love the Gordons—especially his Auntie Kate and Grandma Amelia.

He is giving the kind of speeches the Kapatiran people give: Bring the Christian virtues to politics and governance.

That is exactly what the CBCP has been saying in its pastoral letters about Philippine democracy, even in the post-WW II elections. The message has just been more pointedly made these past nine years of the Arroyo dispensation.

Original, stricter message

The Kapatiran message, is the original and a stricter version of the Kaya Natin! message. Have good men and women who live their Catholic faith run against the political lords—even if they are not sure of winning. Running against the undesirable politicians is a moral duty. Giving speeches against the bad governance and fraudulent ways of the trapos is a moral duty, like doing what John the Baptist did when he spoke out against the corruption of King Herod.

I understand the CBCP’s reluctance to acknowledge the existence of Kaya Natin! In the first place, Gov. Among Ed Panlilio, who is personally convinced that running for president and abandoning the priesthood, came to him after deep prayer and meditation, is violating canon law. That could be seen as a demerit that makes him a person of doubtful integrity­—even if he looks angelically pure beside his enemies in Pampanga.

But the bishops should have given a thought to the heroic stand of Ang Kapatiran.

Its founder Nandy Pacheco is so zealously pro-Life (he founded the Gunless Society too) that he could not bring himself and his Ang Kapatiran to cooperate with another moral-politics movement because the latter is not willing to adopt the Catholic Church’s pro-Life doctrine. In fact, one of Ang Kapatiran’s requirements for anyone who wants to be a member or be adopted as its candidate for any position is to accept the moral and social teachings of the Church. And Nandy does not even want to whine about it and say anything against the bishops.

Did Archbishop Lagdameo and whoever else helped draft this CBCP apostolic letter simply not even know of Ang Kapatiran’s existence and that it has been pushing the CBCP values to the Filipino electorate?

‘Be not afraid’

Did they simply not know that JC de los Reyes believes that going into politics, combating the wicked and corrupt politicians, are serious moral duties for a Catholic? And that (as the Inquirer quoted him as saying) “We should not be afraid of battling trapos (traditional politicians) even if they can count on money, their machinery, or their popularity”?

Apart from the unfortunate slight on or unjust rebuke of Ang Kapatiran, however, the CBCP’s pastoral letter does a perfect job of calling on the laity to do its duty in the realm of politics and governance.

rqb@manilatimes.net rq_bas@yahoo.com

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Making a joke of the polls

Emil Jurado - To the point - Manila Standard Today

In the past, there were perennial nuisance candidates, among them the late Racuyal who was best known for filing his candidacy for president every time there was an election. Come to think of it, we at the 365 Club at the Hotel Intercon also had the late Lucio de Gala, who would challenge every presidential candidate.

For the forthcoming 2010 polls, we also have coming out of the woodwork candidates who believe they could be president. They are the ones who almost always get 1-to-2-percent ratings in Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia surveys. Yet they continue to make noise about their aspirations. Are they running for the funds of it?Justify Full

Now comes the biggest joke of all—the candidacy of Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio, a priest on leave, who invokes the name of God in his discernment to run for the highest seat in the land. Some gall, indeed, for somebody whose election as governor of Pampanga is now being questioned, who believes that good intentions and idealism are enough to govern well, and who thinks he is the only honest official in Pampanga.

Not to be outdone, my good friend Nandy Pacheco of Ang Kapatiran is fielding an unknown Olongapo councilor, whose name escapes me, to be presidential candidate. This makes the 2010 presidential polls a circus. Send in the clowns, as the song goes!

Panlilio should face reality and refrain from making a joke out of himself. But then, in our kind of democracy, everybody—retired priests included—is free to make a fool of himself.

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Political party tells CBCP: Don’t ignore ‘JC’

By Christian V. Esguerra - Philippine Daily Inquirer

If Nandy Pacheco is scratching his head these days, it’s not because he needs a shampoo.

It’s rather that, much to his chagrin, it hasn’t apparently washed over the Catholic Church hierarchy that the political party he had organized based on Christian precepts has become real with a true-blue presidential candidate.

The founder of Ang Kapatiran party Sunday was incensed upon reading on the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that the prelates saw “no qualified ‘presidentiables’ so far.”

“The bishops know that we have a candidate, so I don’t know why this came out,” Pacheco said. “How can they say that when our party was founded precisely on the social teachings of the Church?”

In its latest pastoral statement released this month, the CBCP said “our present situation poses a great and urgent challenge for active lay participation in principled partisan politics.”

“Many even believe that politics as practiced in our country is a structure of evil. It is alarming that crippling apathy and cynicism has crept in even among our young,” the bishops said.

Pacheco, an advocate of nonviolence who also founded the “Gunless Society,” maintains that Kapatiran has been responding to such a call since 2004 when the party was established.

JC is the name

In May, the party announced that it would field a presidential candidate in the 2010 elections—John Carlos “JC” delos Reyes, a low-key councilor and a member of the Gordon clan in Olongapo City.

Delos Reyes was the lone winner from among Kapatiran candidates in the 2007 elections.

Pacheco also rued that the party has yet to be invited to any of the forums gathering prospective presidential candidates.

“We’re the only party with an official presidential candidate so far yet we’ve not been invited to these forums,” he told the Inquirer.

Asked if organizers were probably not taking the party and its candidate seriously, he said: “That’s how it appears.”

“This is our passion and our crucifixion,” Pacheco said. “What we’re doing is difficult because we are swimming against the current. But it’s faith that keeps us going.”

He said he was “hurt” with the CBCP story, but clarified that he was not blaming the bishops. He said some of the prelates had been accommodating the party’s request for visits in their dioceses.

‘Man of pure heart’

Pacheco described Kapatiran’s candidate as “a man of pure heart fighting big-money politics.”

“With JC at the wheel, I can sleep because I know where we are going,” he said.

On Sunday, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to stop the forums and debates for the presidential aspirants, saying they were “premature and inappropriate.”

“Right now, we still don’t have a single presidential candidate. What we have now are individuals supposedly aspiring or planning to be presidential candidates. So it is not correct to be staging so-called ‘presidential’ forums this early,” TUCP secretary-general Ernesto Herrera said in a statement.

According to Herrera, an individual’s “self-proclamation” that he or she is interested in running for president does not make him or her a legitimate presidential candidate.

‘This is silly’

“Right now, just about anyone dreaming to run for president can join the so-called ‘presidential’ forums. This is silly,” Herrera said.

The TUCP, a registered party-list group, did not say if it would file a formal petition in the Comelec to ban such forums.

“What is happening now is that a number of individuals are merely using the untimely forums as platforms to project themselves as possible presidential candidates, and collect political contributions, or to promote their secondary political plans to run for vice president or senator,” Herrera said.

He suggested that sponsors call their forums anything they like, except describing them as “presidential.”

Real presidential forums or debates may only be held after the Nov. 30 deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy set by the Comelec, the former senator added.

Might that be a reason why Kapatiran’s official candidate has not been invited to these talk shows? Or why the bishops have not taken notice of JC? With a report from Jerome Aning

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