Pork issue shows unhealthy focus on family—priest

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ANTIPOLO City, Sept. 26, 2013—Love for family is natural and quite good, but when taken to the extreme, it can turn into a justification for corruption, a priest said. 

“The big scandal of the pork barrel is an indicator of what’s wrong when one is just mindful of his or her family,” said Fr. Percy Juan Bacani, MJ in a mass celebrated for the Pious Disciple of Divine Master (PDDM) congregation Tuesday morning. 

Excessive focus 

He explained that an underlying problem in the country is an excessive focus and instinct of self-preservation for one’s own families – but not for one’s neighbor. 

“If we look at our country, many times, our interest, all our resources are wholly meant for our families. I’m sure Napoles did that for her family, Jinggoy Estrada, Enrile, Revilla…All that they did was for their family,” Bacani said. 

It can be remembered how social media rage extended to Napoles’ daughter, Jeane, after photos and blogs of her lavish lifestyle — a $2 million apartment unit at the Ritz Carlton, Los Angeles; shopping sprees for designer brands like Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Christian Louboutin; trips to Paris, Tokyo and London — went viral. 

According to Bacani, Jesus came to change the problematic human tendency to make biological relatedness the basis for mutual love and support. 

Community based on faith, not blood 

“Jesus is founding a new community, not based on blood, not based on biological ties, but based on faith,” he explained. 

Bacani explained even a mindset motivated by a certain family “feeling” is opposed to the idea of community-building. 

“What Jesus is saying is our community is not based on families because if that were the case, if my community is my family, then we know we cannot build a community like that…Then we would be choosing [someone] who acts like your sister, [someone] who acts like your mother,” he explained. 

Basing his reflection on the Gospel passage where Jesus says, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it”, Bacani said, the Christian faith proposes treating others with compassion, not because of a personal preference or consanguinity, but because of a connection to Jesus. 

A broadened understanding of family 

“We are not here because we want you, or we like you… but because we are deeply connected to Jesus alone,” he said, noting how even members of religious congregations cannot serve or relate with others based on favorites. 

In general, there is a need for Filipino society, Bacani added, to broaden its “understanding of family”. 

Senate President Franklin Drilon is the latest to be charged with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman, together with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and Janet Lim-Napoles. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]

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