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Ronald Roy – August 8, 2012

It is clear that the doctrine of Separation of the State and Church does not bar the Philippine Catholic Church from exercising not only its authority but also its duty to shepherd its flock on moral issues, such as that on LIFE, as raised by the highly controversial and complicated Reproductive Health bill (RH bill).

Irrespective of the final legislative vote which, as of this writing, has yet to be taken, I cannot help but pitifully note what did not have to be a painstakingly massive rally at the EDSA Shrine in Cubao to convince Congress not to enact the RH bill.

I rue that the Church I love has not yet fully recovered from its tarnished standing since the downfall of its reviled benefactress, former de facto Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

I sometimes wince at the thought that some Catholic clergymen abetted the imp’s despotic reign for close to ten agonizing years, in exchange for regular payolas in stuffed brown paper bags, ambulances, Pajeros and other perks, while fully knowing that she likewise wantonly lavished public funds on legislators, magistrates, local government officials and the military’s top brass— all in aid of her clinging on to the power she had purloined from Pres. Erap Estrada and presidential candidate Ronnie Poe.

At last August 4’s anti-RH bill rally, the effort to refurbish priestly credibility was there, as the inclement weather was braved by droves of thousands that came from nearby provinces, cities and towns. I regret though the organizers’ poor choice of some speakers, particularly a controversial Catholic prelate who was absent but whose message was read, Bishop Socrates Villegas.

Bishop Villegas, regarded by many as a “clone” of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin who had openly announced that God had instructed him to demonize Ferdinand E. Marcos into political oblivion, has a history of confusing and dividing the flock, and appears to enjoy the limelight every time he does it.

Millions of Ilocano Marcos loyalists consider Bishop Villegas to be an obnoxiously judgmental turn-off, whose every notion of their favorite son hatefully seethes with truth-scalding bias, rather than with the fire that is needed to thaw the ice of irreconcilliation.

Because of Bishop Villegas, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant has remained mothballed to the monumental prejudice to our blighted country. As a living witness, I stand ready to certify at any public forum arranged for the purpose, that, contrary to his unfounded allegations, the business commission derived by reason of the plant’s installation did not go to the strongman’s personal kitty, but to a bank account that he had instructed to be created to fund certain public development projects.

And now His irrepressible Grace is back with the same limelight-grabbing gumption, but with the new twist of P-Noy and legislators being at the receiving end of the prelate’s rhetorical bombast: “Kung walang anak, walang mahirap”. “Contraception is corruption”, ad nauseum!

It is pathetic that His irrepressible Grace probably believes that bad logic is a formidable tool of his political homilies that borders on the profane. May the good Lord forgive him for his error, intended or not, in weakening the public opposition to the RH bill.

Hopefully some of the Church’s upper echelons have now wisened to the dangers in dealing with trapos who are naturally in eternal pursuit of electoral support from their flock, and some of the lower echelons, in particular the grass-roots confessors, are imbued with the highest dictates of propriety in the conduct of their personal lives with parishioners.

If they had only observed rectitude a long time ago, they certainly would not be struggling so badly against the RH bill. For, how can corruption be stamped out in this country, if no less than some of our spiritual leaders allow themselves to be corrupted? Clearly, they have only themselves to blame for their diminished credibility before their flock.

But then, all is not lost, even if men in cassocks now confront the carrot-dangling United Nations endorsing the RH bill to P-Noy’s government; for, prayer is their mighty weapon when everything else fails, especially if the citizenry joins in that prayer.

All is not lost, truly, if one: P-Noy and all legislators remember that it is not to the U.N. but to the Filipino electorate that they owe their offices, two: P-Noy and all legislators will not allow Goliath— which is the international agency— to dictate to Filipinos the solutions to Filipino problems, and three: P-Noy and all legislators will now “act and think David” in the current and all future moral crises, to win it all for God and country!

Seemingly, thumbing down the RH bill would be like relocating Smokey Mountain overnight; but, with FAITH, all is not lost, certainly not to St. Augustine who said: “Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe”, nor to Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American philosopher, poet and father of transcendentalism, who said: “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”

During a caucus held in the morning of last August 6th, P-Noy reportedly advised his legislative allies to vote on the pesky bill in accordance with their conscience. For me, this development did not depict him in his characteristic role of a combatant going for the jugular, or for the unexpected, even if rude and unstately— which only means he lacks the faith of the diminutive David.

All I can say about P-Noy’s lukewarm and wishy-washy position on the moral issue of LIFE which the controversial bill posits is: sayang, he is missing a golden opportunity for greatness, not only as a Christian, but also as the President of close to a hundred million Filipinos.

And how tragically ironic, indeed, if P-Noy once so much as thought that his “daan na matuwid” was: to eliminate poverty by enacting the RH bill into law, through a corrupt distribution of pork barrel allocations!

Hmmm… I can almost hear my dear friend Oca Orbos intoning: “Let all those who tinker with life be forewarned that the Author of Life is watching their every move!”

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