MANILA, April 12, 2016 – In response to their unique role in the Church and in society, a group of lay Filipino Catholics have expressed solidarity with local prelates on the issue of money laundering and government-sanctioned casinos in the face of recent controversies involving several high-profile individuals.
“We resonate with our Bishops when they deplore the continuous existence of casinos because they are sanctioned by the government … We feel with our Bishops in their apprehension that the high stakes and high-risk gambling, receives a tepid treatment and concern from the government, hence perpetuating its evil effects in our countrymen, especially the young and the poor,” said Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas national president Zenaida F. Capistrano in a statement Monday, April 11.
According to her, SLP believes that the sudden change of fortune from gambling, whether from winning or from losing, has ruined lives and resulted in the breakdown of families.
On behalf of the organization, Capistrano pointed out that SLP members—nationallLay organizations, the archdiocesan/diocesan Councils of the Laity—Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), and Parish Pastoral Councils (PPCs) vow to actively promote advocacies against gambling of all sorts
“We commit ourselves through our schools and through various ways of social outreach to instill in Filipinos the value of the joy of earning a living through dedicated work. We commit ourselves to organize prayer brigades in the different realities we find ourselves, for the specific intention of eradicating gambling and lessening its evil effects in our families and in our citizenry,” she added.
In spite of everything, Capistrano assured the public that SLP believes the Philippine government will effectively put an end to the proliferation of casinos in the country and work for the enactment of a more thorough and binding “Anti-Money Laundering Law”.
“The Bishops have spoken. Organizations have spoken. Recent happenings have shocked us and caused shame to our country. Let us be united in putting an end to this malaise,” she said.
In a recent statement, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reiterates the moral teaching that gambling’s malice consists in the “desire of the gambler to profit” at the expense of others.
“Gambling also runs counter to the providence by which every person ought to provide diligently and prudently for himself and for his family, for it leaves to the flipping of dice, the spinning of wheels or the fortuity of cards what can and must be earned through diligence, creativity, application, and toil,” explains CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas.
He noted that criminals often use casinos to make the money acquired through foul means appear legitimate.
According to Villegas, money-laundering allows criminal syndicates to thrive and to perpetrate their criminality.
“Money-laundering keeps the life-blood of terrorist groups, domestic and international, flowing, and it bears the detestable fruit of murder, brigandage, pillage and wantonness,” he added. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)