CBCP head gives Roxas ‘benefit of the doubt’

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MANILA, August 31, 2012— Newly appointed Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas will have “big shoes to fill” but the head of the Catholic bishops’ leadership is giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo left an exemplary record but Roxas’ performance should not be prejudged.

He said they also want to give Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Transport Secretary Joseph Abaya similar chance to prove their worth, but will closely monitor their performance.

“We don’t know their plans. For the meantime, we put our trust that they would try to give their best and somehow approximate them the performance of a great man like Robredo,” Palma said.

Palma made the statement on the sidelines of the 2012 Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Annual Convention at the SMX Center in Pasay City on Friday.

In his homily during a Mass to end the convention, Palma praised Robredo for being a “good public servant.”

Palma then urged the new appointees to lead with integrity and advocate good governance in their new positions of power.

The archbishop added that he is praying that Roxas will continue the work done by Robredo, a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee who was an advocate of good governance and accountability in government.

“We just pray once more that knowing the task ahead he would give his best to continue the work done by Sec. Robredo and prove that like the secretary, his basic interest is for the benefit of the people and not for any alternative motive,” said Palma.

“I am not so familiar with the various work of the DILG but we know what it means to truly reach out to the needs of the community, of course the barangay people which were in a sense a priority of Sec. Robredo, and giving special barangay great role in trying to implement straight path,” he said.

Robredo died in a plane crash off Masbate province last Aug. 18  and his body was recovered three days after.

As for Sereno, Palma also said he expects the Chief Justice to judge with fairness and integrity and true to the spirit of the law.

“We don’t want to judge anybody until proven otherwise,” Palma said. “Let us give those appointed a chance to prove that they are true to their task and that is our prayer for the nation.”

Sereno will be deciding on cases that can affect the Church’s social concerns including mining laws, the reproductive health (RH) bill, and the Hacienda Luisita case. [RL/CBCPNews]


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