MANILA, April 11, 2016— The Philippines’ next leaders should take a cue from Pope Francis’ leadership by taking a “merciful” approach to good governance, a church official said.
Redemptorist Fr. Amado Picardal, executive secretary of the bishops’ Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities, said what the country needs is governance enriched by mercy.
“Since this year has been declare by Pope Francis as the Year of Mercy, it would be appropriate to emphasize ‘mercy’ as one of the chief qualities that we have to expect from the politicians we should vote for,” he said.
What does it mean for leaders to be merciful?
The missionary, known for his peace advocacies in Mindanao, said merciful leaders are concerned about criminality and do their best to make sure that justice prevails.
He asserted, however, due process of the law and respecting the rights of individuals is still a must — even those accused of crimes.
“They avoid shortcuts and do not promote extra-judicial killings. They believe that even if people make mistakes, commit sin, or do terrible thing no one is totally evil and beyond redemption,” said Picardal.
“Tough and ruthless leaders have emerged at various times in the past with disastrous results. We have to say: Never again! No to ruthless leaders. Yes to merciful and compassionate leaders,” he stressed.
The priest warned that when elected leaders lack mercy, the people will end up in a society where “terror reigns” and human rights are violated, where due process and the rule of law are ignored.
“It will be a repressive society – without freedom and where people are afraid to criticize the powers that be – otherwise they too could be assassinated,” said Picardal.
The priest also said compassionate leaders are aware of and concerned about the situation of the people, especially the poor and the marginalized.
“They make sure that economy excludes no one and benefits the majority instead of just enriching the big capitalists and foreign corporations,” he added.
He also said merciful leaders will fight environmental destruction and are committed to end ongoing civil conflicts by pursuing the peace process with communist insurgents and the Moro rebels.
In a government plagued by irregularities, he said merciful leaders are not corrupt and will not tolerate corruption.
“They will do everything to stamp out corruption at all levels in government and hold accountable those guilty of corruption,” Picardal said. (R. Lagarde / CBCPNews)