Nix politics, bishops tell bishops

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — BISHOPS have no business meddling in politics.

This was emphasized yesterday by Bayombong Bishop Ramon Villena as did Vatican Undersecretary of State for General Affairs Fernando Filoni.

“Bishops should not deal with politics because this is not our field and it is anathema to the instructions of the Church,” Villena said as he lambasted Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo’s unwarranted call for radical political reforms.

“As bishops, we do not have any prerogative to call for a new government. We cannot come up and crush the present government and put up a new government. This is a political action that is not our prerogative,” Villena said.

The Bayombong bishop added that individuals, whether Church leaders like Lagdameo or not, cannot just accuse a person of corruption without any investigation.

“We are always against corruption. But this must be proven,” Villena said.

Filoni, who served as Papal Nuncio in the Philippines for almost two years, said prelates should keep their hands off political issues, especially change in government, as it is not their area of expertise.

Several bishops have expressed displeasure with Lagdameo for openly expressing in the media his personal opinion against alleged corruption in government and making it appear that this is the overall sentiment of the CBCP.

“We in the CBCP base our action on facts and evidence. Investigation has to be made in the proper fora to prove corruption,” Villena said.

While admitting that there is corruption in government, Villena stressed that hard evidence should accompany any accusation.

Bishops Jose Oliveros of Bulacan and Jose Colin Bagaforo of Cotabato echoed Villena’s statement, saying Lagdameo should not be reckless in issuing accusations of corruption against the government without solid evidence to back up his allegations.

According to Dee, Lagdameo was simply calling on the people to prepare for the 2010 elections, and not to overthrow the government.