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Asia

2003-09-02

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - WHILE THERE IS FEAR OF ANOTHER COUP THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS CALL FOR MORAL INTEGRITY AND SOCIAL HARMONY, AN END TO POLITICAL BICKERING, CORRUPTION AND ABUSE OF POWER

Davao (Fides Service) – Stop political bickering, power games; stop infighting among politicians and accusations which upset the whole country; stop sensationalism in the media. This was said in a pastoral statement issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines addressed to the leaders of the country who, the Bishops say, are undermining political and social harmony, demoralising the entire nation and rendering a bad service to the Philippines.
The Bishops meeting in Davao on Mindanao Island express concern for the events which for over a month have created division and general confusion in the political life of the country. The attempted mutiny of 300 military 27 July who occupied a hotel in central Manila taking number hostages, unleashed a wave of reciprocal accusations of corruption between politicians and military and the scandal extended to include President Gloria Arroyo’s husband. Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao says the Church in the Philippines is alarmed at the increasing signals and rumours of the threat of another coup. “We do not know what the generals think but the rumours and the state of political confusion in Manila are concerning” he told Fides Service.
In the statement signed by Archbishop Orlando Quevedo outgoing President of the Bishops’ Conference, and the other members of the standing council, the Bishops call on the President to put an end to the state of chaos on the political scene while not overlooking the charges of corruption. Congress should expose publicly and duly act on the result of investigations initiated against its own members and members of the armed forces accused of corruption. The CBCP statement said the political infighting among politicians deeply disturbs us and the situation seems to ignore the common goof of all an indicate a fatal loss of perspective. The Bishops also noted suspicions and speculation were often irresponsibly disseminated by media.
“We are especially concerned about the impression that our political leaders are out to destroy one another and in the process to bring down the entire Filipino family, while the people have many valid issues to complain about especially about the economy and too much politics”.
“Our current economic and political situation calls for harmony and unity, for total commitment to the task of economic recovery and political renewal” the Bishops say and they add that they will strongly support all government initiatives to seriously combat everything that ails the political system, taints political behaviour and misuses political power and in a campaign for moral integrity especially in those committed to serving the common good. PA (Fides Service 2/9/2003 EM lines 38 Words: 478)

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