Napoles needs compassion, but justice should take its course—priest

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MANILA, August 19, 2013—Compassion can be effective only with reparation, a priest said, specifically commenting on how the now infamous Janet Lim-Napoles should be treated when apprehended and if eventually found guilty. 

“[I’m] seeing her also as a person, an individual who is also need of pastoring, meaning she is in need of guidance and of direction, of forgiveness. But this will not mean that we will simply let go of the offenses,” Episcopal Commission on Youth executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta in a recent interview.  

The standard of law 

Napoles should be treated in the same way regular offenders are treated, Garganta noted, while finding ways to make restitution for the offenses committed, once proven in a court of law. 

“So reparation for what has happened will be made, using the standards set by law for what kind of just sentence needs to be served. There, we will be able to show true understanding, there will be forgiveness, there will be love,” he explained further. 

Garganta, who also heads the National Secretariat for Youth Apostolate, first talked about active compassion towards Napoles in a homily to Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines employees last week, making reference to St. Maximilian Kolbe, a priest who took the place of a stranger sentenced to die in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in 1941. 

Justice without hatred 

Wishing to temper the brutal backlash directed against Napoles, highly visible now on social media, Garganta said justice needs to be served, but without hatred. 

Quoting St. Maximilian, who prayed even for the Nazi camp guards, Garganta said “Hatred is not a creative force, it is only love that is a creative force.” 

‘Those who have known and served the Lord have this to offer, to be able to look at an enemy eye to eye — a look that communicates understanding, forgiveness and love,” he added. 

Lim-Napoles, who was implicated in a P10 billion pork barrel scam and currently being investigated by the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation is on the run from the law. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]

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