Philippine Commentaries

Read Malaya's daily commentaries on economic and political developments that shape Philippine society. Veteran Filipino journalist Joy C. de los Reyes is the paper's editor-in-chief of Malaya, an independent daily newspaper in the Philippines. To visit Malaya's website, just click the Malaya link below.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gloria’s ‘pasalubong’

We were against the re-imposition of the death penalty. The law repealing that barbarity is much welcome. But its signing on the eve of Gloria Arroyo’s trip to Vatican for a meeting with Pope Benedict smacks of hypocrisy.

Gloria’s propagandists want us to believe her action sprung from a deeply held moral position. They say she is a devout Catholic and was following the Church’s teaching against the taking of life. If so, how come she stood prominently among those calling for the execution of the sentence on Leo Echegaray, the first to be put to sleep after the restoration of the death penalty?

For moral compass, Gloria apparently has a weather vane.

There’s a joke going around. Gloria junked judicially imposed death penalty. In its stead she has substituted extra-judicial killing of suspected rebels, their sympathizers and critics of her bankrupt regime.

Well, if nothing else Gloria is a master of the game. Give her two shells and a pea and she’ll make the bean appear inside one or the other faster than one can say "Hello Garci."

Fortunately, people have wised up to her con trick. Her outward pietism cannot hide her amorality. She is obsessed with power. How to retain it is ruling principle of her administration. She would lie and cheat without regard to the law, morality, custom or tradition.

Did we say she is amoral? Amorality, by most ethical codes, is the same as outright immorality.
Gloria wanted to make the repeal of the death penalty as some form of "pasalubong" to Pope Benedict. It’s her calculus for gains and losses that is again at work. The bishops are again restive. Her studied act of being the Church’s obedient daughter is meant to temper the growing opposition among the bishops to her viciously manipulative government.

Benedict, as a sovereign in his own right, will no doubt welcome her and her oversized traveling circus with utmost courtesy. But the Pope is no fool. His personal envoy, papal nuncio Fernando Filoni, recently defended the bishops from accusations of meddling in temporal concerns hurled by Gloria’s lapdogs.

Cheating in the 2004 election. Stealing of taxpayers’ money. Repression of dissent. Killing of critics. Manipulation of the people in order to amend the charter. These are moral concerns that bishops cannot be silent about. The Pope is not about to tell the bishops to do otherwise.

"Pasalubong" or not.

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