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Ang madalas na impresyon ng mga tao ay malakas at marami ang masasama at kakaunti lang ang mabubuti. Napapatibay ang imresyon na ito dahil din sa mga balita. Kapag nagbukas tayo ng radyo, ng TV o ng newspapers, ang mga headlines ng mga balita ay tungkol sa kasamaan. May pinatay, may scam na nangyari, may barilan at marami pang iba. Pati na nga sa kalikasan, ang nababalita ay bagyo, landslides, tag-tuyo o baha. Hindi naman nababalita ang magagandang isda sa karagatan, ang mga bulaklak sa parang o ang mga prutas na masasarap.

Ang sabi ko nga, yan ay impresyon kasi sa totoo lang marami ring kabutihan ang nasa mundo at nasa tao. Pinasasalamat natin ang mga ito tuwing tayo ay nagsisimba kaya nga ang tawag natin sa ating pagdiriwang ay Eukaristiya na ang ibig sabihin ay pasasalamat. Kaya kapag naiimbitihan na magsimba tayo, ang talagang sinasabi natin ay pagpasalamat tayo.


Pero kahit na totoo pa na kakaunti lang ang mgabubuti, hindi dapat yan dahilan upang mag-give up na tayo. In fact, good things start small. We all start as tiny babies and the big Mango tree started as a small seed, the size of our palm.

The Jesuit Society started from one man, St. Ignatius of Loyola. Christianity started with Jesus and His twelve disciples. This is why Jesus compares the kingdom of God which is the work of salvation that is meant for all to small things – yeast, seed, salt, light. These are small but they have big effects.

Ang kaunting lebadura ay nakakapaalsa ng ilang takal na harina. Ang maliit na binhi ay nagiging mayabong na tanim na pinipugaran ng mga ibon. Ang ilang butil na asin ay nagbibigay ng lasa sa buong ulam. Pero ang mga ito, para magkaroon ng epekto ay kailangang sumisiksik at mawala. Ang ilaw ay dapat nasa gitna ng dilim at hindi nakatago. Sa pagbibigay ng ilaw, ang kandila, ito ay nauubos. Ang asin ay dapat matunaw upang makapagbigay ng lasa. Ang binhi ay dapat mabulok sa lupa upang maging malaking puno. Ang lebadura ay manoot sa harina para makapang alsa.

Ganun din ang kabutihan at ang mga taong pinaghaharian ng Diyos. Kahit na kakaunti lang sila, magkakaroon sila, magkakaroon tayo ng effect kung tayo ay nakasiksik sa takbo ng kasaysayan at kumikilos ayon sa makakayanan natin – magsalita kaya, magpost sa Facebook, manghikayat ng iba, mag-ingay sa kalye tulad ng noise barrage natin o magsindi ng kandila. Maliliit na bagay ngunit may malaking effect. Ang importante ay hindi tayo tatabi-tabi lang at hayaan natin na dumaloy ang kasaysayan ng bayan na hindi tayo nababasa kasi hindi tayo nakikialam, kasi hindi tayo nakikiisa.

Pero bakit ba hinahayaan ng Diyos ang masasama sa mundo o sa bayan o sa simbahan man kaya? Tulad ba tayo ng mga alipin sa ebanghelyo na nagtatanong, “Hindi po ba mabuting binhi ang inihasik ninyo sa inyong bukid? Bakit po may mga damo ngayon? Hindi ba mabuti ang Diyos? Bakit mayroong masasama sa mundo?”

First, let us not suppose that these evil people come from God. The Book of Wisdom tells us, “For God warned us to be imperishable. The image of His own nature He made us but by the envy of the devil, death entered the world and they who are feel allied with Him experienced Him. Ito ay galing sa kaaway. Ang kasamaan ay galing sa masasasma.

Secondly, when the slave suggested to pull out the weeds, He did not allow them. Hayaan ninyong sabay sabay silang lumaki. Kaya sa mundo, at kahit na simbahan, sama sama ang mabuti at ang masama. Pero darating din ang paghihiwalay. Hindi pa nga ngayon pero dadating din yan. Hindi pabaya ang Diyos, may parusang dadating sa mga damo, sa mga masasama at may gantimpala sa mga nabibilang sa pinghaharian ng Diyos. Sigurado yan kaya yung gumagawa ng masama, yung makasarili, yung mga traydor sa bayan, mag-isip isip habang may panahon pa.

St. Peter wrote, “The Lord does not delay His promise as some regard delay but He is patient with you. That we shame that any should perish but all should come to repentance. Therefore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.”

Mapagpasensiya ang Diyos pero masyado naman yatang mapagpasensiya ang Diyos. Maaaring magreklamo tayo, hindi ba niya nakikita na bugbog na kami sa coronavirus? Patuloy na tumataas ang mga na-i-infect at namamatay. Puno na ang mga ospital namin, hindi ba niya nakikita na bugbog na kami sa kawalang trabaho kaya marami na ang nagugutom at mga bata na hindi na makapag-aaral? Hindi ba nakikita ng Diyos na bugbog na rin kami sa mga manhid na mga kongresista na ang priority ay patayin ang ABS CBN at dagdagan pa ang unemployment na ang priority ay ipasa ang Terror Law para madaling hatulan na destabilizers at terorista ang mga magbabatikos sa kanilang kapalkapan?

Bakit ba masyadong mapagpasensiya ang Diyos? Gusto natin ng Diyos na mag-react agad at magalit. Gusto natin tauhan siya pero hindi siya matatauhan, hindi naman siya tao, siya’y Diyos na makapangyarihan sa lahat.

Our First Reading from the Book of Wisdom tells us, “O, God your might is the source of righteousness. Your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all. Though you are master of might, you judge with clemency. With much lenience, you govern us for power whenever you will…you.

Hindi natin ito nakikilala. Akala natin ang makapangyarihan ay yung madaling magalit, yung mabigat ang kamay, yung ayaw sa mga kumokontra sa kanya. Hindi yan ang kalakasan. Yan ay kahinaan. Yan ay insecurity. So, those who cannot take any opposition and any ideas contrary to their own, these are very insecure people. They are gasping in weakness so they silence or eliminate those who are against them. They make us believe that the critics are against the people when in fact these brave independent souls are just against their ineptitude.

So, they will call them terrorists, sooner or later and sooner or later, they will find an iota of law to pull them down to give their actions a semblance of legality, they weaponize the law. Ito ang pananaw na namamayani sa may kapangyarihan ngayon dito sa ating bayan.

Pero hindi ito ang pananaw at paraan ng Diyos. Para sa Diyos ang kapangyarihan ay naipapakita sa pag-uunawa at sa pagbibigay ng habag. Ang Diyos ay makapangyarihan sa lahat kaya siya ay mahabagin sa lahat. Pinakita ni Hesus ang kanyang kapangyarihan sa kanyang pag-aalay ng sarili sa krus. In-absorb niya ang lahat ng puwersa ng kasamaan – ang pagsisinungaling, pagtratraydor, ang lakas, ang kasakiman ang kamatayan at hindi siya natumba. Tumayo ulit siya muling nabuhay. Wala nang magagawa ang kasamaan sa kanya. Wala na itong ilalaban pa sa kanya. Naghahanap ang mga tao ng kapangyarihan at ng karunungan.

Sinabi ni San Pablo, “Ang pinapahayag natin ay si Hesus na nasa krus. Ang kapangyarihan at ang karuningan ng Diyos para sa lahat na nasa landas na kaligtasan.”

Sa pagpapasensiya mo, O Diyos, itinuturo mo sa mga taong makatarungan na dapat din silang maging maawain. At binigyan mo naman ng pag-asa ang iyong bayan na pagkalooban sa kanila ang pagkakataong makapagsisi.

Nananawagan kami sa inyong mga nasa kapangyarihan, magsisi na kayo habang may pagkakataon pa. Dadating ang parusa hindi ninyo matatakasan ang Diyos. Sa mga pagsisinungaling, sa mga pagsasamantala, sa kasamaan na ginagawa nyo, dadating ang parusa. Maaaring hindi pa sisiklab ang galit ng Diyos pero maaaring sumiklab na ang galit ng taong bayan. (Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)


Nasaan ka, O Diyos? Naririnig mo ba ako? Magsalita ka.

We may have expressed these similar words one time or another in our life especially when things get desperate. We feel the absence and the silence of God. Jesus also felt this kind of desperation when He cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Nananahimik ba ang Diyos? Pinababayaan ba niya tayo?

One of the names of God is the Word. So, we hear at the beginning of the Gospel of John, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

The first action of God in the Bible is, God created. And the second is, God spoke. Binigyan ng Diyos ng porma ang kanyang nilikha sa pamamagitan ng kanyang salita. Nagsalita siya at nagkaroon. Sabi niya, “Magkaroon ng liwanag.” At nagkaroon nga ng liwanag. “Magkaroon ng halaman.” At nagkaroon nga ng mga halaman. Kaya masasabi ba natin na nananahimik ang Diyos?


Ang salita ay hindi nananahimik kaya naniniwala tayong mga Kristiyano that our God is a revealing God. He continues to reveal. He continues to speak. Siya ay Diyos na nagpapahayag palaging nagsasalita. Ganito siya sapagkat ang Diyos ay pag-ibig. Walang pag-ibig kung walang komunikasyon. Ang opposite ng pagmamahalan ay hindi pag-aaway. Ang opposite ay ang pag-de-deadma. Mabuti pa ang nag-aaway, nagco-communicate pa sila pasigaw lang nga. Pero kapag hindi mo na pinansin, dineadma mo na, hiwalay na kayo. Sira na ang relasyon.

Because God is Word, He constantly communicates with us. He speaks to us in various ways, iba’t ibang paraan. He speaks to us through creation. Our Second Reading speaks of creation, how it is growling for salvation. So many people for centuries and even up to now know God through creation.

Kaya sinabi ni San Pablo, “Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived by what He has made.”

Kaya pinaaalalahanan tayo ni Pope Francis sa kanyang liham na Laudato Si na pakinggan natin ang iyak, ang hibik ng kalikasan na binabale wala at sinisira na natin. Ang iyak ng kalikasan, iyan ay panawagan ng Diyos.

Ang Diyos ay nagsasalita rin sa pamamagitan ng mga pangyayari sa ating personal na buhay at sa kasaysayan. May sinasabi ang Diyos sa nangyayari sa atin ngayon sa pandemyang ito, sa ating pagkasakit, sa ating pagtratrabaho, sa usapin ng ABS CBN, sa madaliang pagpasa ng Terror Law, sa pagkasunog ng simbahan ng Sto. Niño sa Pandacan. Ano kaya ang mga sinasabi ng Diyos sa mga pangyayaring ito? Ano ang ipinagagawa niya sa atin?

God is the Lord of history. And through happenings in time, He is telling us something.

Nagsasalita ang Diyos sa ating konsensiya. Ito ng tinig ng Diyos na nakatanimsa kalooban ng bawat isa sa atin. Nakikinig ba tayo sa ating konsensiya? Pinapansin ba natin ito? Ang pagbibingi bingihan sa konsensiya natin ay ang pagbibingi bingihan sa Diyos.

Nagsasalita ang Diyos sa mga taong kanyang pinapadala. Noon nagpadala siya ng mga propeta, ng mga apostol. Ngayon ay nagpapadala siya ng mga taong banal na mga taong sinusugo niya sa simbahan lalo’t higit nagsalita siya sa salita ng Diyos na naging tao – si Hesukirsto. He is the definitive word of the Father.

Ang lahat ng gustong sabihin sa atin ng Ama ay sinabi niya na sa pamamagitan ng Kanyang anak na si Hesus. Ang ginagawa ng simbahan ay walang iba ay walang iba kundi intindihin at ipalaganap ang mensahe ni Hesus.

Ang Diyos ay nagsasalita din sa atin sa pamamagitan ng Banal na Kasulatan. He puts Himself on record in the Bible which is the written word of God. Dahil sa ito’y written, ito’y mababalik balikan natin at masasaliksik natin ang Salita ng Diyos sa Bible. Kaya po nakikita natin na ang Diyos ay hindi nananahimik. Palagi siyang nag-re-reach out sa atin at pinaaabot niya ang Kanyang salita sa pamamagitan ng kalikasan, ng mga pangyayari sa ating buhay, sa pamamagitan ng ating konsensiya, sa pamamagitan ng mga taong pinapadala niya lalo na si Hesus na tagapagdala ng buong katotohanan tungkol sa Diyos at sa kaligtasan, sa mga aral ng simbahan at sa mga nakasulat sa Bibliya.

Nagsasalita nga ang Diyos at ang salita niya ay mabisa. Inihambing ito sa bulag ni propeta Isaias, “Kapag pumapatak ang ulan sa lupa, parang walang nangyari.” The earth of absorbs the rain. The water sips into the ground. But soon the earth becomes green with grass. The plants grow and the flowers bloom.

Ganyan po ang Salita ng Diyos. Ito ay mabisa. Ginagawa nito ang balak ng Diyos. Ang Salita niya ay hind lang nagbibigay sa atin ng impormasyon o kaalaman. The Word of God is not only informative but it is performative. It brings about the effects that God wants that it should have.

Kaya nga sinabi ni Propeta Isaias, “The Word shall not be turned to me empty but shall do what pleases me achieving the end for which I sent you,” sabi ng Panginoon.

Itong pagkamabunga ng Salita ng Diyos ay inilarawan din sa atin sa talinhaga ni Hesus. Inihambing niya ang salita sa binhi na masaganang inihahasik ng magsasaka na walang iba kundi si Hesus. Kapag ito ay napapunta sa matabang lupa, bumubunga ito ng thirtyfold, sixtyfold and a hundredfold. Wala pa tayong alam na binhi na amumuna ng tatlongpung ibayo.

Yes, the seed has the power of abundant life in it. But it has to fall on good ground. Huwag natin sisishin ang Diyos na hindi siya nagsasalita. Kung ang salita niya na walang bias baka ang tignan natin ay ang ating sarili. Do we see? Do we hear the Word of God? Or do we have ears but do not hear? Do we have eyes but do not see?

Tinatanggap ba natin ang Salita ng Diyos? Baka tulad tayo ng daanan ng mga tao o ng semento kahit na gaano karaming tubig na ibuhos doon hindi ito makakaag-penetrate sa lupa. Kahit gaano pa karaming binhi ang mahulog sa daanan, hindi naman ito makapupunta sa ilalaim ng lupa. Aapak apakan lang ito o tutukain ng mga ibon.

O kaya baka matigas ang ating puso. Natatanggap na ba natin ang Salita ng Diyos? Pero kung ang sinasabi nito ay salungat sa ating paniniwala. Hindi ito nakakaugat sa atin. Sinasala natin ang Salita ng Diyos ayon sa ating paniniwala o kaalaman. Hindi. Dapat nating baguhin ang ating paniniwala o kaalamanan ayon sa sinasabi ng Diyos.

Hindi ba Salita ng Diyos na huwag tayong papatay? Na huwag tayong magsisinungaling? Na igalang natin ang ating kapwa? Pero kapag ito’y ginagawa ng ilang politiko, nagsisinungaling, nagmumura, sumasang-ayon naman tayo sa kanila, pinapalakpakan pa kahit na ito ay taliwas sa Salita ng Diyos.

O baka naman marami tayong pinagkakaabalahan na madaling masakal ang Salita ng Diyos. Masyadong busy kaya walang panahon na magbasa ng Bible. Nakababad sa video games kaya hindi nakakapag dasal. Busy sa hanap buhay na nakakalimutan nang hanapin si Hesus ang tunay na buhay na nagbibigay ng buhay na walang hanggan.

Those are the different kinds of soil that would not allow the Word of God to grow within us and bear fruit. The pathway, the rocky ground and the one fully of thorns. But when the seed falls on fertile ground, it bears fruit extraordinarily.

Anong klaseng lupa ba ang puso at isip ko upang malaman ko. Tignan natin, ano ba ang bunga ng Salita ng Diyos sa buhay ko? Ano nga ba ang dapat bunga? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Dahil ba sa pakikinig ko sa Salita ng Diyos o sa pagnanamnam sa Diyos na nagsasalita, lumalago ba ang pag-ibig, ang kapayapaan, ang katapatan, ang…sa buhay ko?

May isang taong nangumpisal sa isang pari. Napakaganda ng kumpisal niya – buong katapatan at pagsisisi. Pagkatapos ng kumpisal tinanong siya ng pari, “Napakaganda ng kumpisal mo, pero sinabi mo na ang huling kumpisal mo ay twenty years ago. Ano ba ang naging dahilan na nangumpisal ka ngayon?” At ang sabi ng matandang lalaki, “Ang isang sermon na nanrinig ko twenty years ago.” It took twenty years for that homily, that Word of God to bear fruit. Pero namunga nga.

So, let us expose ourselves to the God who speaks. Magdasal. Magbasa ng Bible. Pagmasdan ang kapaligiran. Suriin ang mga pangyayari sa buhay natin. Gawin ang udyok ng ating budhi. Makinig sa mabubuting aral. Huwag lang isawsaw kundi ibabad natin ang ating sarili sa Salita ng Diyos. Hindi kalaunan, makukuha natin ang lasa ng Diyos.

Sinulat po ni Pope Benedict XVI, “The disciples in a certain sense become drawn into intimacy with God by being emerge in the Word of God.”

Pero ang Salita ng Diyos ay hindi lang po pakinggan. Yan ay dapat gagagawin kaya hinahamon tayo lalung lalo na po sa ating panahon ngayon. Ang daming paghamon sa atin. Hindi lang po paghamon ng coronavirus, corona COVID-19. Baka din ang hamon sa atin na pangyayari sa ating pamahalaan. Hindi po sana natin pagbubulag bulagan ito. Itong madaliang pagpasa ng Terror Bill upang takutin ang mga opposition, ang mga aktibista at bansagan na sila ay mga terorista. Yung pagtanggal ng franchise sa ABS CBN na walang pakundangan sa maraming taong mawawalan ng trabaho, na walang pakundangan sa milyun milyon na umaasa sa mga balita at mga entertainment na binibigay nito. Talagang nakakalungkot ang marami pong mga leaders natin ay hindi na tumitingin sa kapakanan at kabutihan ng karamihan ng mga tao. Nagpapadala na lang sa political agenda at kung hindi po tayo mag-iingat, kung hindi tayo kikilos, babalik po tayo sa atas military.

Kaya ano kaya ang sinasabi ng Diyos sa pangyayaring ito? Hindi lang ano ang sinasabi niya. Paano ba tayo kikilos? Paano ba tayo tutugon sa mga hamon ng panahon kasi ito rin ay ang Diyos na humahamon sa atin. (Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)


Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo released a statement to the clergy of Manila about his situation of being COVID-19 positive. The letter was released and made public on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

“It is in this spirit that I announce that I am tested positive with Covid-19 with the RT-PCR test. Although I do not feel anything, I follow the protocol that is set.”


After his appointment as Apostolic Administrator of Manila, following the appointment of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to the Vatican, Bishop Pabillo continued to be actively involved in the pastoral works in the archdiocese.

Aside from his regular online masses as well as online lectures, Bishop was engaged in many other activities especially in taking care of the poor and those badly affected by the pandemic.

The Bishop took care of families who were found in the streets amidst the virus outbreak and provided assistance and support through the different services of the Archdiocese of Manila, particularly through Caritas Manila, the social service arm of the archdiocese with which relief efforts are made. He also opened Catholic School for the homeless and street dwellers to provide them with food and shelter.

During the quarantine period, Bishop Pabillo continued to be in touch with the faithful with the celebration of online Masses in various parishes for the fiesta and pastoral visitations.

He also visited the families that were victims of the fire that broke out in Happyland in Tondo in May 2020. And just recently, he was quick to visit the Santo Niño de Pandacan parish after hearing that the church was engulfed with fire.

According to a recent study released by the World Health Organization (WHO), most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Bishop Pabillo is currently in quarantine and is not experiencing any symptoms.

“I am now in a designated area for quarantine observing strict protocol as required. My condition is being monitored and I take healthy foods and vitamins and do physical exercise,” Bishop Pabillo said.

His staff as well as the people he interacted were tested and were negative of the virus but were also advised to place themselves in quarantine.

Even in quarantine, Bishop Pabillo continues to do his work by holding meetings via zoom and gives instructions to his priests and faithful for information and guidance.

 “I know this virus will pass, so please do not worry about me, although prayers would be very much appreciated. Since I am in my normal self, thank God, the scheduled online meetings that we have set will continue. Life must go on,” he said.

The bishop ended his statement with a quote from St. Paul to Timothy: “Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching (2 Tim 4:2)." (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)


The Archdiocese of Manila will celebrate Mass for Peace and Justice at the Manila Cathedral on July 27, 2020, at 12:15 p.m.

According to Veritas News, this was announced by Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila as the Archdiocese’s contribution in line with the 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) by Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte also on July 27.


“Magkaroon po tayo ng sama-samang pagdadasal kung pwede kayo ng alas-dose kinse ng tanghali sa July 27, yan po ang misa ay gaganapin sa Manila Cathedral na doon sama-sama tayong magdasal, mas maganda not only during the day but at the same time we pray together for the sake of the country and reflect about the state of the country asking the wisdom coming from the Lord Jesus,” Bishop Pabillo said.

The Bishop said that prayer is one of the most important things that the Church can offer especially during these times when the country is facing a lot of hardships.

“Kami po sa Simbahan ay mag-aambag sa araw ng SONA. Ang aming maibibigay at ang pag-ambag ay ang aming panalangin, mahalaga din ang espiritwal na component ng ating bansa. Kaya dito po sa Archdiocese of Manila lahat ng mga misa sa araw na ito sa umaga, sa tanghali, sa hapon, iyan po ay misa upang ipagdasal ang bayan,” the prelate said.

Following the Holy Mass, there will also be an Inter-confessional Ecumenical Inter-religious Prayer in which various religious denominations will offer prayers for the common good and welfare of the country and the people. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)


In an official statement released by the Archdiocese of Davao, Rev. Msgr. Paul Cuison, vicar general of the archdiocese, said that Archbishop Romulo Valles is recuperating at the Bishop’s Residence after he suffered from a stroke on May 23. He said that the archbishop was released from the hospital last July 6.

Archbishop Romulo Valles | File Photo: RCAM-AOC

“As a close aide to the archbishop, I am happy to let you know that he is getting back to normal self again in an almost miraculous way, with only a slight problem of his physical movement which is also showing great improvement,” he said.

“For clarification, he was admitted in the hospital on the evening of May 23 and was discharged last July 6. The prolonged days in the hospital was due to some complications like the hospital acquired pneumonia. But he has long time been declared by his physician as stable," he added.

The Archbishop has already celebrated Mass, according to Msgr. Cuison, on the occasion of his 69th birthday.

“I am optimistic that it would just be a matter of days and he will be back to celebrate public masses for the faithful,” said Msgr. Cuison.

As Archbishop Valles is recuperating from stoke, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David was appointed acting President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC) 


Retired Bishop Manuel Sobreviñas of the Diocese of Imus passed away on Saturday, July 18, 2020. He was 96.

According to CBCPNews, the bishop died at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City at 12:45 p.m.

Retired Bishop Manuel Sobreviñas of the Diocese of Imus | Photo Credit: Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews


Bishop Sobreviñas was born in Dinalupihan town in Bataan province and was ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Manila in 1951.

He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Manila in 1979 and chaired the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education from 1991 to 1993.

In 1993, he was appointed as the third bishop of Imus and retired in October 2001 at the age of 77.

With the prelate’s death, retired Bishop Jose Sorra of Legazpi, age 91, is now the oldest living Filipino bishop, according to the website Catholic Hierarchy. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC) 


Sow for yourselves justice, reap in mercy.  Break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the Lord, till he comes and rains justice upon you. 
Hosea 10:12


Dear Fellow Filipinos,

A few days ago, we received a letter from His Eminence, Charles Cardinal Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar and President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. It was an ardent request for prayers for Hongkong, on account of the signing into law of a new National Security Act.  He explained in his letter how this new law poses a threat to the basic freedoms and human rights of the people of Hongkong, and how it potentially undermines especially their freedom of expression.


Apparently, the Chinese government assures the people of Hongkong that they have nothing to be afraid of, as long as “they don’t get involved in any activity that threatens national security.”   Why does this sound eerily familiar to us Filipinos? Because we are in a similar situation. And so, while we responded with an assurance to  His Eminence, Cardinal Bo, that we would join him in praying for the people of Hongkong, we also asked him to pray for the Philippines and explained why we are as seriously in need of prayers as the people of Hongkong.  Like them, we are also alarmed about the recent signing into law of the Anti-Terror Act of 2020.

We are still in disbelief about the manner in which the contentious Anti-Terror Bill was fast-tracked and approved in both Houses of Congress while the whole country’s attention was focused on the Covid-19 pandemic. They did not even seem to care that many of the people they represent were against it—lawyers’ associations, the academe, the business sector, labor groups, youth organizations, NGO’s, political movements, faith-based communities, and even the Bangsamoro government.

The dissenting voices were strong but they remained unheeded. None of the serious concerns that they expressed about this legislative measure seemed to be of any consequence to them. Alas, the political pressure from above seemed to weigh more heavily on our legislators than the voices from below. It only made more evident the blurring of lines between legislative and the executive branches of our government.

In particular, the legal experts and constitutionalists in our country are seriously concerned that this newly signed law has many elements that are “oppressive and inconsistent with our Constitution.” They have pointed out convincingly how this new law poses a “serious threat to the fundamental freedoms of all peaceful Filipinos.”

And yet, the people in government and their allies have dismissed these fears as unfounded.  The assurance that they give sounds strangely parallel to that which the Chinese government gave to the people of Hongkong: “Activism is not terrorism. You have no reason to be afraid if you are not terrorists.” We know full well that it is one thing to be actually involved in a crime and another thing to be merely suspected or accused of committing a crime.

Have we not heard of people active in social advocacies who are accused of being communists?  Have we forgotten the bishops, priests and religious who were included among those falsely charged by the Philippine National Police with crimes of sedition and inciting to sedition?  Are we not aware of the thousands of people who have been killed in police operations on the basis of mere suspicion of involvement in criminality and illegal drugs?  Have we not followed the news about Senator Leila de Lima who continues to languish in jail, also on the basis of mere allegations?  Have we not heard of media personalities being harassed by a multitude of criminal charges?  Have we not felt the chilling effect of the closure of the country’s biggest broadcast network, the ABS-CBN, after being denied renewal of its franchise?  Is it not evident to us how this pattern of intimidation creates an atmosphere detrimental to the freedom of expression in our country?

In the midst of this bleak political landscape, we draw consolation from the groups of lawyers and ordinary citizens that have filed petitions before the Supreme Court, questioning the constitutionality of the newly signed law.  Will the highest level of our Judiciary assert its independence, or will they, too, succumb to political pressure?

The return of “warrantless detentions” through this new law cannot but remind us of the initial moves in 1972 that eventually led to the fall of democracy and the rise of a dictatorial regime that terrorized the country for fourteen years.   It all began when an elected president also legalized the  “ASSOs” (arrest, search and seizure orders).  It was from there that we gradually sank into the mire of authoritarian rule.  Knowing how, in just the recent past, the law has been used too many times as a weapon to suppress legitimate dissent and opposition, we cannot but share in the apprehensions expressed by the lawyers and ordinary citizens that filed the petition against the said infamous law before the Supreme Court.

While a semblance of democracy is still in place and our democratic institutions somehow continue to function, we are already like the proverbial frog swimming in a pot of slowly boiling water.  We draw encouragement from the belief that in various government agencies we still have many people of good will whose hearts are in the right places, and who remain objective and independent minded.  We have nothing but admiration for these public servants in all branches of government who do only as conscience dictates and do not allow themselves to be intimidated or prevented by political pressure from performing their constitutionally mandated duties.  We can only wish that there would be more of them.  They are an important element to the strengthening of our government institutions, and are an essential key to a stable and functional democratic system.

 

Allow us then to end this letter by inviting you to pray with us,

 

“Be with us O Lord our God, as we continue to face the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the recent political developments that have deeply divided our country.  You know how desperately we need to be united in order to fight a common unseen enemy that has caused a lot of sufferings and uncertainties, widespread infections, an overwhelmed health care system, loss of jobs, hunger immense losses in business, and loss of lives.

We pray for our public servants, our people in government, especially those among them who remain upright and continue to be motivated by a genuine sense of duty and love for country.  Protect them, Lord, and give them the courage to stand their ground on the side of truth and justice.

May the crisis brought about by the pandemic bring about conversion and a change of heart in all of us.  May it teach us to rise above personal and political loyalties and make us redirect all our efforts towards the common good.  May we be guided by your Spirit to respond with mercy and compassion for the poor, the disadvantaged and the most vulnerable sectors of our society. For we know that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do for you. AMEN.”

 


For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio S. David, D.D.
Bishop of Kalookan
Acting President, CBCP
16 July 2020, Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel


Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio David, Bishop of Caloocan, will temporarily be acting president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

According to Bishop David, who is next in line as vice president of CBCP,  the transition is due to health reason of Archbishop Romullo Valles, president of CBCP and Archbishop of Davao. The Archbishop needs to rest after experiencing a mild stroke.

File Photo: RCAM-AOC

 

“Well actually, more than a month already, dahil nagka-stroke ang ating presidente sa Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. And while he was recovering, ay nagkaroon sya ng hospital-acquired pneumonia. So yung pneumonia had to be treated bago sya nakapagrehab bago doon sa kanyang stroke,” said the Bishop during the radio program Barangay Simbayanan at Radio Veritas.

He also assured that Archbishop Valles has already been discharged from the hospital but still needs to rest. Hence, the helm of CBCP is temporarily entrusted to Bishop David.

“He wrote a letter appointing me as the acting president in his absence habang nagre-recuperate siya sa kanyang kalagayan o health condition ngayon. Kasi ako iyong vice president, kaya ako ang acting dahil ako ang vice president. So temporary lang naman ito. Si Archbishop is recuperating very well,”  the bishop added.

The CBCP has also opted to cancel their scheduled plenary assembly this July due to the high risk caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Bishop David stated that the CBCP Permanent Council has already conducted two meetings online to discuss important topics regarding the Church and the nation. Among the topics discussed was the response of the Church to the needs brought about by the pandemic. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC)


Bishop Charlie Inzon has been installed as the sixth apostolic vicar of the southern Philippine vicariate of Jolo on Thursday.

The ceremony took place during a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel during her feast day in Sulu province’s Jolo town.

Photo Courtesy: CBCPNews


“I rejoice in the mercy of God and trust in his assurance of strength and consolation as I take up this ministry of service in the Church in the Vicariate of Jolo,” Inzon said.

The prelate succeeds Archbishop Lampon, who was transferred to the Cotabato archdiocese in 2018.

The apostolic vicariate covers the southernmost islands of Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

Also in attendance were priests from Jolo and Cotabato and some lay people.

Thursday also marked the first year anniversary of the rededication and reopening of the Jolo cathedral after its closure due to the January 2019 bombing.

The installation took place nearly two months after his episcopal ordination at the Cotabato cathedral.

Originally scheduled on May 28, a week after his ordination, the installation was delayed due to quarantine measures during these times of the coronavirus pandemic. (CBCPNews) 

By Jerome R. Secillano, MPA

 

I am hardly surprised at the non-renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN for the simple reason that President Duterte repeatedly promised in the past not to grant it.

I have compelling reasons to believe that members of the House of Representatives did not act in good faith in denying the network’s bid for continued operation.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) belied the allegations hurled against the network but the House panel practically ruled them out and decided instead to focus on the network’s perceived biases and the Lopez family as an oligarch that is bad for the country.

Rev. Fr. Jerome Secillano, MPA   

ABS-CBN is no saint. Officials of the network admitted the company’s flaws, apologized and then promised rectification.  While the gesture may not be enough to soothe a hurting ego, the arbitrariness for which the law was applied to them was too much and gravely appalling.

I heard rants, imbecile remarks, irrelevant questions, grandstanding comments and sarcastic guffaws, but the thirteen (13) hearings failed to give me the crucial information related to the guidelines for franchise renewal.

Members of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises decided the fate of the embattled network based on the nationality of the network’s chairman Eugenio Lopez III, tax avoidance, non-regularization of employees as well as supposed foreign ownership through the selling of Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs) to foreign firms.

While tax avoidance is not illegal(as opposed to tax evasion), it was hypocritical for  members of Congress to appeal to the immoral nature of the practice. Many of the bills deliberated in Congress hardly dwell on their moral implications even if some of them are obviously moral in nature.

Divorce Bill, same-sex union, death penalty, and the reproductive health law are just some of the measures that morality was sidetracked as guiding principle in their formulation. I know where I speak of because I was there in the many deliberations concerning these measures. Legislators would merely utter ‘’noted’’ once moral issues would be raised.   

In a Court of Appeals (CA) ruling on July 26, 2018 with regards to Rapplers’ issuance of PDR to a foreign firm called Omidyar, the court noted that it is  unconstitutional but said Rappler ought to be given reasonable time to correct the deal, “In cases where the articles of incorporation of any amendment thereto is found by the SEC to be non-compliant with the requirements of the Corporation Code, under Section 17 of the Corporation Code, the SEC is mandated to give incorporators a reasonable time within which to correct or modify the objectionable portions of their articles of incorporation or amended thereof.”

The CA further opined that the SEC even allowed other entities such as GMA, Globe and ABS-CBN to issue PDRs.

Instead of allowing the facts of the case and the law to weigh heavily on the matter, the House panel members forced their whimsical and twisted opinion to not give ABS-CBN a chance to rectify itself.

The House panel would also like the public to believe that they are pro-labor and sided with disgruntled employees who were either terminated or not regularized by the network. But by closing ABS-CBN and the fate of its eleven thousand (11,000) employees, Congress merely showed its true motive. It is not about the rights of workers that they are after but the closure of the network itself.

The hundreds or maybe the thousands of labor cases should have been remanded to DOLE or to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for proper disposition and if found guilty, ABS-CBN should be made to pay these employees or regularize them.

Congress tried to play a hero’s role to a hundred but then insensitively doused the hopes and future of the eleven thousand including their families not to mention the millions of Filipinos who benefitted from the network’s many charitable works.

The administration’s repeated use of the word ‘’oligarch’’ put on the spot the role played by a small group of elite, powerful and moneyed individuals in running our country. They are often seen as wielding power and influence to the detriment of national interests.

More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle used the term ‘’oligarchy’’ when he discussed the different forms of state governance. He said simply that “It is a rule by a few in contrast with democracy, which is rule by the people’’.

For Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Oligarchs are those who use their proximity to the authorities to receive super profits’’.

The Lopez family maybe an oligarch but I do not know where to put them in the context of what were said above.

The closest to the network’s wielding political power was when ABS-CBN helped Companero Renato Cayetano, the father of the current House Speaker, secure a seat in the Senate as well as helping Loren Legarda and Noli De Castro grabbed the number one spot in their respective senate races with De Castro ultimately clinching the Vice Presidency during the incumbency of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Ted Failon, Sol Aragones, Mon Ilagan and Angelo Palmones were the others who may have benefitted from their association with the network as they went on to embark in their political careers.

Whether the network influenced public policies or the manner of running the affairs of the state from the time of Pres. Corazon Aquino to Pnoy Aquino III is debatable. But one thing is clear, the network can sway public opinion and it can demand accountability from public officials in their shows and programs. This is what makes ABS-CBN ‘’dangerous’’ and the Lopezes’ independence and non-proximity to the current administration makes them a thorn in the government.

The media conglomerate must go if this administration plans on nationalizing a wholesale propaganda. Fake news, false accusations and controlled media are part of a planned scheme to advance the administration’s agenda.

The Nazi regime, with Joseph Goebbels at the helm of its propaganda strategies, told lies repeatedly until all lies appeared to have the semblance of truth in the eyes of the people. The Germans believed in the nobility of Hitler’s plans that they denied the regime’s atrocities committed against the Jews even when Gen. Dwight Eisenhower already brought them to different concentration camps around Germany to see rotten dead bodies piled up one after the other.

The sordid experience of some critics who either ended up in jail or rendered jobless by being ousted from government service is just one of the many indications of a creeping authoritarianism unravelling in our country. This is not to mention the dead bodies sprawled everywhere as a result of  the dreaded drug war waged earlier by this administration.

The public is still not convinced that something wrong is happening because the government makes it appear that it is doing what is best for the country.

By appealing to law, the government creates the impression that it is reasonably putting order and discipline above all else. In truth though, the government is bastardizing the law with its whimsical interpretations and is applying it unfairly and unjustly.

On Sept. 2, 2000, Republic Act (RA) No.8954 lapsed into law after not having the signature of Pres. Joseph Estrada and it paved way for another 25 years of IBC 13 operation.  In the same manner, RA 11320 also lapsed into law on April 22, 2019 as it was not signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and it gave TV 5 another 25 years to operate. On April 21, 2017, RA 10925 was passed by Congress renewing the franchise of GMA 7 for another 25 years.

On May 5, 2020, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) immediately ordered the shutdown of ABS-CBN as its franchise expired the day before. On July 10, Congress killed whatever hope ABS-CBN had for its franchise renewal.

Either the three aforementioned networks, whose franchises were renewed, were perfectly compliant to government regulations or ABS-CBN must have really done all the wrong things to deserve such swift congressional punishment.

In the eyes of the government, the continued operation of ABS-CBN is bad for the country. So, it dismantled a media empire and have yet to put the finishing touches to completely destroy an oligarch. What a perfect way for Duterte to establish his own brand of oligarchy and groom his own set of cronies.

ABS-CBN is not perfect. It hurt a lot of public officials by exposing their shenanigans. Too bad for the network, it can’t appease their hurting egos.

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