Amid Bishops’ involvement in the scandalous Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and money released by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), a group of women advocates working in grassroots communities urged the government to pursue investigation and penalize those who will be proven guilty.
“There should be no sacred cows, even members of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) are subject to our laws,” said Elizabeth Angsioco, National Chairperson of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP), staunch supporter of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill and advocate of women’s rights. “The guilty must be punished,” she stressed.
DSWP, a national organization of more than forty thousand members, underscores the hypocrisy behind the issue. Angsioco said that it is lamentable that those who position themselves as vanguards of morality are the ones involved in this immoral issue. “They wrongly allege that the RH bill will make people immoral and yet they are involved in accepting money and expensive vehicles from gambling. What is moral about this?”
She explains, “receiving luxury vehicles and money from government violates the Constitutional provision stating that no public money may be used for any religious group as part of the Constitution’s provisions on the separation of church and State.”
“Moreover, it robbed poor people of possible assistance they needed that instead went to the bishops. It is common knowledge that ordinary people in dire need, often with family members in life or death situations literally beg when they approach PCSO for assistance. Often, they receive a pittance. And yet, millions of public money that could have saved lives were used for luxury vehicles for bishops. Nasaan ang konsyensya ng mga bishops na ito? What these Pajero bishops did was both immoral and illegal.”
“These kadiri bishops need to be investigated and if proven guilty, suffer appropriate penalties together with involved government officials, past and present,” stressed Angsioco. “Ito ang kadiri.” -30- Rhoda V. Avila, DSWP