The priest who will not be president

Call this prophecy, heresy if you will.

Or goes the line from Fr. Panlilio – “After a period of discernment, I said God is calling me to run for the presidency” – but what does that whole statement really imply?

Today, Inquirer gave it the hype in bold headline – “Politics over priesthood” and some one million readers will be reading the piece in subtle free publicity. But does God really call on him to be the president? At the very least, the same could have been said of PGMA, or why not?

Let us echo other statements said. One – “When I decided to offer myself, I felt at peace. I’m doing this not for me, not for myself. I felt God wanted me to go on a higher service”. And let it not be untold that he too said in part – “… because what we are doing is for you”. All but make good copy, doesn’t it? Two – “I don’t expect the Catholic Bishops to campaign for me because they will not do that”. It remains valid to look into this paradox further.

Add few more dosages of things said by the good priest. One – “What’s important is this priesthood that I love so much. I’ m willing to give up for a greater love – that’s love for country”. Two – “For me, the heart of priesthood is accepting the love of good, in working for other people, especially the poor”. Three – “Technically, I could get married”.

The official announcement is deemed to have been said such that it is all over the tri-media environment that Fr. Panlilio is climbing the Church wall to go to the other border. And just as quickly, he gets every kind of reaction. From his former supporter-businessman Renato Romero – “drunk with power” while from Fr. Raul delos Santos – “quixotic”.

Funny enough how he expressed this – “If they would accept me back, yes” – in case indeed he can get back to priesthood, if he loses. That said, it means, Fr. Panlilio wants to have his cake and eat it too. Archbishop Oscar Cruz has to warn him to seek dispensation so as not to spare the Catholic voters and priests from getting divided.

So how do we connect the dots?

It is cheap justification for anyone to invoke God as having asked him to run for president. Under no circumstances should an intelligent mind say this by way of bait. And voters would not be that foolish to vote for Fr. Panlilio just because his statements are woven that way and that he carries the Cross right around his neck.

Good for the man if his Kilos Na Movement is already receiving pledges and campaign contributions in support of his expressed desire to be the next president. Or how indeed can he address corruption as the single most important social problem to solve?

The CBCP will later regret it if they don’t support one of their kind in the person of Fr. Panlilio in case by a miracle – the priest wins. It bears watching who will his Cabinet men be and how good he can really clean the whole bureaucracy of stinking corruption.