February 18, 2008—The Catholic Church is calling for another people
power to end alleged rampant corruption in the national leadership, but
a different ‘brand’ this time.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines head, said it has to be a move far from the previous one
that installed a “more corrupt” leader.
Lagdameo, in a post in his weblog (www.abplagdameo.blogspot.com
), said people should take bolder actions and more effective than what the street protests could take.
“If, according to collective discernment which can occur in
unpredictable ways, the communal action is People Power, it will have
to be with a different brand,” he said.
Lagdameo said it’s high time for the people to do something that
express the highest sense of national interests and should certainly
not be “a repeat of the past.”
He said high-level and high-stakes corruption is still rocking the
country today, drawing cynicism and anger from people who say they are
tired of it.
“Came People Power II in 2001: we thought that history would automatically repeat itself. It did not,” he said.
Sadly, he said, the uprising installed a leader who lately only has
been branded as the “most corrupt” and our government is rated “among
the most corrupt governments.”
“Is this the reason why many in civil society regard another People Power with cynicism and indifference?” he asked.
The CBCP head claimed many people fear that another people power
might only bring the country from “one frying pan to a worse frying
The bishops earlier called for a “communal action” amid the
unfolding scandal triggered by the Senate inquiry into the government’s
aborted $329-million national broadband network deal with China’s ZTE
The CBCP did not specify what type of communal action the people should take which brought disappointment to some.
Lagdameo said it would depend on what the people want and the people read from the current political crisis.
But the bishops did suggest: “pray together, reflect together, decide together and act together.”
“The call to communal action is a challenge to political conscience
which would admit creative, imaginative and democratic response to
political problems,” said Lagdameo.
The Church official said fighting government corruption needs something that cannot be done by mass protests alone.
The new brand of people power, he said, is the strength of a few who
are willing to sacrifice for the country—inspired by “political
A senior bishop and leader of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) on Tuesday expressed disappointment over the results
of the People Power II, saying the church-endorsed revolution installed
a President who is now being judged by local surveys as the country’s
“most corrupt" leader.
CBCP President and Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo described the
assessment of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo – which was propelled
to power by the popular 2001 revolt – as the country’s most corrupt
president as “embarrassing."
The Catholic Church, through the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal
Sin, was instrumental in both the 1986 and 2001 People Power revolts
that toppled two presidents.
“In People Power I, we were very satisfied with the result. The second
one, we were somehow disappointed because People Power II, with the
help of the church, installed a president who later on was judged by
surveys as most corrupt president. That is embarrassing," Lagdameo
“We went from one frying pan to a worse frying pan, but what can we do?" he asked.
Lagdameo made this comment Tuesday after meeting about 50 groups
composed of civil society, students, inter-faith and businessmen and
after calling for a “brand new people power" to address the current
Lagdameo, however, clarified that he attended the meeting, held at the
CBCP headquarters in Intramuros, as archbishop of Iloilo and not as
president of the CBCP. Others present during the dialogue were Lingayen
Archbishop Oscar Cruz and Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez.
Among those who attended the dialogue were members of the Black and
White Movement, Makati Business Club, Association of Major Religious
Superiors of the Philippines, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.
Also in attendace were other non-Catholic groups such as Bangon
Pilipinas, Muslim Legal Assistance Foundation, United Church of Christ
in the Philippines, and the National Council of Churches in the
The La Salle brothers, who are currently providing sanctuary for ZTE
witness Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr and his family, also attended the
In the interview, Lagdameo added that surveys showing the extent of
corruption in government are an indication of how deep the practice is
in public service.
“Many in government from top to bottom are sinning against the nation.
This humiliates us in front of the whole world considering that we are
also known as a Christian nation," Lagdameo said in Filipino.
Cruz, who organized the three-hour meeting, said a series of
discussions with these groups will continue until they could come up
with “what is to be done" with the present political crisis.
Iñiguez said some groups suggested holding civil disobedience and not
paying taxes in response to the call of the CBCP for communal action
and in protest of President Arroyo’ s resistance to heed calls for her
“I think there’s always a point where she’ll realize that either she has to go out on her own or be forced out," Iñiguez added.
The CBCP had earlier called for “communal action" and a “brand new
People Power" in response to the testimony of Senate star witness
Rodolfo Lozada alleging government kickbacks in the multi-million
dollar national broadband network project. - GMANews.TV