The devil’s pulpit
Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales would be better situated as a member of Gloria Arroyo’s Cabinet than in the local Catholic Church as the prime “moral teacher” since he appears not only to echo the Malacañang line, but also comes to Gloria and her administration’s defense, while keeping silent over issues such as hunger, poverty and corruption, not to mention the sins of lying, cheating and stealing. Even on the matter of elections, Rosales pushes “clean” but by way of environmental cleanliness.
Earlier, he turned off a lot of the Filipino faithful when he doused their indignation over the congressional railroading of Charter change through the one-House Constituent Assembly and announced that instead of a protest prayer-rally on Cha-cha, the rally would instead be a “Thanksgiving Mass” as Gloria had already stepped back and placed the Cha-cha in the back burner.
This time around, with the local and international community outraged at the unabated extra-judicial executions, the cardinal tells reporters in a chance interview Monday that the political murders and other human rights abuses that have occurred during Gloria’s term are but a mere speck of blood, compared to the human rights abuses committed under the rule of the late strongman, Ferdinand Marcos.
He then tells the reporters that they are too young to remember the human rights abuses committed during the Marcos years, insinuating that it is this inability to remember the Marcos past that makes the media today see these abuses under the Gloria regime as worse than the past regimes.
He stressed that the killings have been going on for decades. “We went through this during the time of Marcos, and even after Marcos,” he said. “What is happening today by way of human rights abuses is nothing compared to what we have experienced. What is happening under the Arroyo regime today is so tiny that it is a mere speck” of the human rights abuses committed then under Marcos, he said.
He adds it is also the rebels who kill, not just the military.
As he said: “Sorry for saying this, but our (rebel) brothers are involved in the killings. But I think what we should do now is to do away with the sin and killings and that all will commit to stop the killings and I think we would all be at peace.”
Not once did he speak of the responsibility of the Arroyo government to protect its citizens from these political murders. Not once did he call on Gloria to show political will and order the military to stop these killings. Not once did he hold her, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, responsible and accountable for the spate of political murders in the country. Instead, he says these extra-judicial killings happening under the Gloria regime, are just a tiny blood speck and that we have been through this before.
Does the good cardinal then intimate that these killings, being merely a speck in the bloody horizon, should be ignored, as they are not as bad as the killings under the Marcos regime?
Should men of the cloth even take this stand, considering the fact that not only criminality, but also immorality, is at play?
Did not Rosales’ God punish and banish the biblical Cain to Nod, after he slew his brother Abel?
But apparently, Rosales does not even want these political killings investigated by international bodies.
Also echoing the Gloria allies’ spiel, Rosales scored the US Senate panel that held a hearing on the human rights situation in the country, saying the Americans have no right to look into our affairs since they also commit human rights abuses.
Yet he says nothing about the fact that it has become impossible for the local bodies such as the Senate to look into these political murders, because Rosales’ anointed, Gloria Arroyo, has ordered the gagging of all officers and personnel of the executive department — which includes the military and police, from appearing and testifying before congressional bodies.
Rosales is a total disappointment, and like his patroness Gloria, he too, is in denial, for him to come up with such a position absolving the administration.
The international bodies, such as the United Nations, through its special rapporteur, the US, through its Senate and now its State Department, and even the European Union, along with the Methodist bishops, have expressed alarm and concern over these unabated political murders of journalists, activists, leftists, church workers, lawyers, peasants and even priests and bishops. And the Philippine cardinal says these killings are but a speck of what went on before.
Rosales is in the wrong place. He should join the Intengan-Bert Gonzales-Esperon Club. There he really will feel at home.