MANILA, March 5, 2013— The Catholic bishops have been against President Benigno Aquino III on certain issues, particularly his approval of the controversial “Reproductive Health” law.
But the nation’s top Church leaders, shared at least few moments of camaraderie with the chief executive, despite their differences.
Aquino invited the officials of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to a dinner in Malacañang Tuesday as more prelates vowed to campaign against pro-RH candidates.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, said they received the invitation for dinner from Aquino himself.
Asked for reasons of the invitation, he hinted it might be about their recent statement, containing a barrage of criticisms against Aquino for supposed failure to address various problems besetting the country.
“He read it so maybe he wants to explain his side not only to me but to us,” Palma said after a meeting with members of the CBCP Permanent Council at their office in Manila’s Intramuros district.
Titled “CBCP Pastoral Statement on Certain Social Issues of Today”, the bishops on Jan. 29 warned the Filipinos of “social and political storms” ahead.
They also denounced the existence of political dynasties, the “deepening” culture of impunity, the unabated extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, and worsening poverty.
The bishops further scored Aquino for supposedly betraying its campaign against corruption for lack of effort to push for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill.
Palma, however, stressed this is not the first time that they’ve met with the President.
“There have been other occasions…I could not recall anymore but I think it was last year,” he said.
Whatever issues Aquino discussed with Palma and 10 other bishops during the dinner, one thing is for sure: the church’s position against the RH law will remain.
“That will never change,” Palma said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)