MANILA, Nov. 17, 2013—The Church’s active intervention to the political affairs of the state must not be misconstrued by Filipinos as a form of nosy intrusion, rather it must be perceived as moral guidance done by the church as part of its evangelizing mission, a Catholic priest said on Saturday.
Fr. Nonong Fajardo, vice-convenor of the advocacy group October Movement (OM) calling for the abolition of the graft-tainted pork-barrel scheme through a people’s initiative, said that the church has the responsibility to speak out whenever societal issues affect, in one way or another, the morality of the people.
“(The issue of the pork barrel) is a moral problem that whoever believes in the existence of both good and evil must speak,” Fajardo said in a chance interview during the Unity Forum against the Pork Barrel held at the Adamson University.
“It just so happened that the church, which represents that moral sector, has become convinced on how extreme this issue has become, resulting to the active participation it has shown,” he said.
But regardless of one’s religious affiliations, Fajardo said that being a Filipino entitles priests, bishops, and all ordained members of the church to speak out and criticize the mistakes committed by country officials.
“Let us just put the context to our being Filipino. We are speaking as Filipinos and you should not categorize us for we have the same rights as anybody,” he said. “We want to speak for our country. If you remove that basic right from us then that would be a problem.”
The priest noted that concerned citizens must actively voice their opinion for those in authority to realize their mistakes that caused injustice to the country and its people.
“Even if you are not an ordained minister, you have to speak whenever you notice wrongdoings being committed by those in position. If you won’t speak, then I already do not know what kind of apathy has struck you,” he added.
Fajardo, who is also a housing consultant for Caritas Manila and director of the Adamson University Integrated Community Extension Services (ICES), criticized the government for the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam involving lawmakers who allegedly channel their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus organizations and foundations in exchange of hefty kickbacks.
“We would like to change the system for we have seen that it is where graft, corruption, and greed root from…The principle behind a victorious advocacy must not only be by yourself but through fostering cooperation among the confederation of the willing,” he said. (Jennifer Orillaza)