Priest slams senator over deceptive speech to graduates

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MANILA, May 9, 2013—A Catholic priest chided an outgoing senator, calling him a fraud and a hypocrite for a speech he delivered before graduates of a state university in Quezon City. 

CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action executive secretary Fr. Edu Gariguez said that Senator Edgardo Angara’s speech delivered before graduates of the University of the Philippines batch 2013 was the height of hypocrisy and only proved his double-sided character. 

“He is a fraud and pretends to be the champion of the Filipino middle class when in fact, his actions say otherwise. We wonder how he can say one thing and then do something else,” Gariguez said, rebuking Angara for his call on the new Iskolar ng Bayan graduates to build and expand the middle class. 

On the contrary, Gariguez stressed, the senator played active roles to weaken the middle and the lower classes. 

“Look at the profile of the clients of his law firm, look at how he had protected the interest of wealthy owners of pre-need companies and other firms, and look at what he did with the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco),” the priest pointed out. 

He also noted on how the indigenous peoples particularly the Agtas and Dumagats of Casiguran in Aurora have been vehemently opposing the continued operation of the Apeco, which they insist was created without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), a requirement for project that would affect the ancestral rights of indigenous groups. 

“The way Angara has turned a deaf ear on the pleas of the affected Agtas and Dumagats, how he has been blind to their opposition, how stony and insensitive he has been to the injustices done to the people of Casiguran; these are not how you show your sincere care for the middle class and the poor,” Gariguez emphasized. 

He pointed out that the actions of the senator only prove that he and his family are anti-poor. 

“He can never be a champion of the middle class because he does not listen to his constituents, because he is unsympathetic to their plights. He is very adamant about pursuing APECO despite the fact that the lives of the Agtas and Dumagats of Casiguran have become miserable since the ecozone started,” Gariguez furthered. 

The contested Apeco is a 12,923-hectare special economic zone and free port currently being built in the municipality of Casiguran in Aurora.  It was created in 2007 as the Aurora Special Economic Zone (ASEZA) through Republic Act (RA) 9490 and was amended and expanded through RA 10083 in 2010. (Jandel Posion)

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