MANILA, Feb. 9, 2015—For a Catholic prelate, political survival is the least President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy) should be concerned about at the moment, advising him to focus instead on things of national import, especially poverty alleviation.
In a recent interview with Church-run Radyo Veritas, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo said PNoy should consider stepping down from his post “for the good of the people” if he thinks he no longer has the competence to lead the nation.
Poverty, transportation, election issues
“Mamasapano Massacre” apart, the prelate, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA), stressed there are other more equally important problems the country’s Chief Executive has to look solutions for like those involving the Department of Health (DOH), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Elections (Comelec), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).
Pabillo also slammed Aquino for allegedly being soft on cabinet secretaries Jun Abaya of DOTC and Dinky Soliman of DWSD whom he believes are “not doing their jobs.”
The bishop asked rhetorically of PNoy, “Can he still govern this country?”
Meanwhile, CBCP as an institutional body has yet to make a collective stance with regard to a possible call for presidential resignation.
In a letter issued Feb. 4, CBCP head Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan states that whether or not Aquino should resign and “yield the powers of his high office to a lawful successor is a judgment that he must make, after prayerful discernment, and in all humility and judiciousness.”
The CBCP chief, however, endorses the creation of a credible Truth Commission or a fact-finding body, believing any inquiry by a police body like a Board of Inquiry, “no matter how veridical its findings,” will compromise the objectivity of the investigation.
“Before we have all the facts, however, the CBCP cannot morally join in the calls for his resignation, leaving this decision to his humble and prayerful discernment of his capacity to lead and the support his has not only from officials of government but from members of Philippine society,” Villegas adds. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)