MANILA, Sept. 8, 2013—Following the recent developments in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scandal, a high-ranking official of the Catholic Church on Saturday called on government leaders to clean up their ranks and rally against the perennial problem of corruption in the country.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that doing nothing to stop the preponderance of corruption might lead to the perception that it is an acceptable act, deemed usual and normal as far as the Philippine political landscape is concerned.
“This is our call to the political community: fix and clean up your ranks because if you won’t do so, you are teaching the Filipino people that corruption is acceptable,” he said in his talk during the monthly Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (MAGPAS) held at the Cardinal Sin Auditorium of the Paco Catholic School.
“In the end, each Filipino will become corrupt, thinking that it is part of an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). This should not be the case,” he added.
Tagle also called on government leaders to think about the plight of the entire nation, not just enriching themselves at the expense of robbing the country’s coffers.
He urged the public to express love and loyalty to the country by acting against corruption and striving to restore the integrity of the Filipino people.
“We, individuals, should strive to change this system. Let us refuse. We should not comply or agree with practices that are not keeping God’s will and the laws of the land,” Tagle said, noting that the public must act and not just depend on government leaders.
Human development is greatly interconnected with nationalism and patriotism. The public should not just improve their lives for their own good, but for improving the plight of the entire nation as well, Tagle noted.
Despite the negative influences of corruption in government, the prelate said the faithful have the choice whether to join those who perpetrate corrupt acts or be different by expressing opposition against it.
“Even if we say that corrupt practices are widely accepted in various government offices, we all have the freedom to choose,” he said.
“The political community and our personal families might have greatly influenced us, but we should always remember that we are free to make a choice,” Tagle added. (Jennifer Orillaza)