Nobody will listen to bishops — Zubiri

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — ADMINISTRATION Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri believes that the bishops’ call for the people to effect “a radical change” in government will not prosper since a lot of politicians aiming for the Palace want the presidential polls to push through in 2010.

“Ayaw na ayaw ng mga presidentiables niyan. Dito sa Senado maraming presidentiables din,” said Zubiri even as Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez threatened to file sedition charges against the bishops who called for a change in national leadership.

“Ayaw na ayaw ni Senate President (Manuel) Villar (Jr.) iyan, ni Sen. Mar Roxas, ni Sen. Loren Legarda, ni Sen. (Francis) Chiz (Escudero) dahil ang papalit kay Presidente siyempre si Vice President Noli de Castro who is a frontrunner now in the presidential race. They would be fighting an incumbent in the 2010 elections,” he added.

Asked to comment on Gonzalez’s threat, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., in a text message, said:”Justice Secretary Gonzalez can no longer distinguish between sedition and calls for reforms.”

In another text message, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said:”Nakagawian na ng administrasyon na manakot tuwing may uungkat ng mga katiwalian nila kaya hindi na nakakagulat ang pahayag ni Secretary Gonzalez.”

Escudero said the bishops “just exercised their right to freely express their opinion.”

“Thus threatening them with charges of sedition and challenging them to run in the election by no less than the justice secretary is yet again a show of arrogance from this administration,” he said.

“I return the challenge to Secretary Gonzalez to automatically file proper charges against these bishops if he finds their act illegal. Verbal threats are no act of a self-respecting and thinking individual or agency,” Escudero added.

“This government has time and again stuck to its true color of wantonly chasing individuals it deems critical to them. Threats of charges and charges per se are immediately filed left and right against their critics,” he said.

He noted that former President Joseph Estrada, who is an Arroyo critic, had already been tried, convicted and pardoned “but we have yet to see them touch the cases of former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez and now the infamous (former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn) Joc-joc Bolante.”

“This is a challenge that Raul Gonzalez and Ombudsman Merceditas Guitterez should take up because they owe it to the Filipino people. Kung nakakalimutan nilang dalawa, ipapaalala ko uli na ang simbolo ng hustisya ay babaeng nakapiring, walang dapat kinikilalang sinuman,” Escudero said.