MANILA, July 20, 2011â€” Television personality Willie Revillame has emerged as one of the generous philanthropists to a fund raising campaign for the purchase of vehicles for some Catholic dioceses.
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Revillame donated P100, 000 turning the total donations to P1.5 million as of Wednesday or eight days after they started the fund drive.
Macalintal and former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza are leading the fund raising drive in support of seven bishops who bought utility vehicles from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office donations in 2009.
The bishops, however, surrendered the vehicles to the government last week amid allegations that the vehicles were given to them by former President Gloria Arroyo for political allegiance.
Macalintal said they are looking at seeking donations from Catholic parishioners to raise P8.2 million, the amount that the prelates received from the state-run lottery.
On Saturday, he said, they will bring the fund raising campaign to Cebu City to gather more funds, despite some negative reactions by some Catholic priests.
Macalintal was referring to statements made by Fr. Robert Reyes and Fr. Edu Gariguez against former presidential son Rep. Mikey Arroyo who also donated P50, 000.
â€œIâ€™m so sad and disheartened to read negative reactions by some Catholic priests on donations made by Cong. Mikey Arroyo and other people identified with former President Arroyo to the fund raising for our bishops,â€ he said.
â€œIn my 27 years service in the ministry of the liturgy in the Catholic Church, I have been taught by our priests and the Bible not to be judgmental which obviously is expected of a priest,â€ said Macalintal.
Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conference of the Philippinesâ€™ National Secretariat for Social Action, yesterday said that prelates should refuse the financial aid partially funded by younger Arroyo.
â€œThis is more embarrassing for the Catholic Church that there would be money coming from the Arroyos. This is why in this early stage, we are already saying that we are against it,â€ he said.
â€œIf you will ask me, it would be better if I would ride a bicycle,â€ Gariguez added.
Reyes, an activist priest, also said that instead of accepting donation from Arroyo, they should look for other sources to meet their financial needs.
He added that church leaders should not choose convenience over propriety and morality because it would make them weak and vulnerable.
Others who donated were Sen. Vicente Sotto (P200,000), Sen. Francis Escudero (P100,000), Radyo Veritas (P100,000) and Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing (P100,000), former Senator Ernie Maceda (10,000), and Jojo Mitra, eldest son of former speaker and the late Ramon Mitra (50,000).
Senator Bong Revilla and his wife Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado also reportedly pledged to give P200,000. [CBCPNews]