Chito ParazoPresident Noynoy is known to be vindictive and unforgiving not only to his political enemies but as well as to people or organizations that criticizes his policies and procedures in running the affairs of the government.

From time to time, local church leaders have been calling out the attention of President Noynoy to put more emphasis on how to uplift the lives of the poor and to stop the unabated operations of  “jueteng” in the country, causing some friction between the church and the President.

The apparent friction between the church and President Noynoy even got worse particularly during the deliberations on the then proposed Reproductive Health Bill (RH) in Congress.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CDCP) has openly opposed President Noynoy’s RH bill and stood firm against him. Although the bill ultimately passed in Congress, courtesy of the President, the Supreme Court struck down all the provisions that will compel Filipinos to support with penalties.

So it did not surprise me when President Noynoy , in his welcome speech on Pope Francis courtesy call in Malacanang, castigated local church leaders for turning a “blind eye” during the incumbency of former President Gloria Arroyo. He saw an opportunity on how to get back at the  bishops and he took advantage of it. All he probably was thinking about was his revenge against the bishops that stood against his RH bill.

President Benigno S. Aquino III signs into law Republic Act No. 10349 or the New AFP Modernization Act at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (December 11). The Revised AFP Modernization Act provides Php75-billion for the first five years to boost the AFP’s capability upgrade program as it shifts from internal to external defense capability and institutionalizes the Defense System of Management (DSOM). (MNS Photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III signs into law Republic Act No. 10349 or the New AFP Modernization Act at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (December 11). The Revised AFP Modernization Act provides Php75-billion for the first five years to boost the AFP’s capability upgrade program as it shifts from internal to external defense capability and institutionalizes the Defense System of Management (DSOM). (MNS Photo)

President Noynoy’s snide remarks against local church leaders did not go unnoticed. It prompted a Bishop from Northern Luzon to remind the Chief Executive that “a mature leader welcomes criticism and grows because of admonition and counsel.”

Bishop Ramon Villena of the Diocese of Bayongbong, Nueva Vizcaya, chided President Noynoy for his reckless accusations against the church. Bishop Villena told the media he was prompted to issue a public statement because President Noynoy’s accusations cannot be made to pass without rebuttal.

In his public statement, Bishop Villena said “what was supposed to have been an occassion filled with grace and truth turned out to be an embarrassing  and distressing affair, because President Aquino imprudently seized the opportunity  to vent his disappointment  that the catholic hierarchy
has not always sided with him.”

The Bishop also said in his statement that the President “complains  that the clergy has been silent in the face of what he characterizes as the misdeeds, malfeasance and misfeasance during the reign of former President Arroyo.

Bishop Villena also stated in his statement that the problem with President Noynoy is his lack of regard for judicial processes and blatant disregard of the judicial system.

He added in his statement that the CBCP was  not at all silent during Arroyo’s term. “in the wake of different allegations against the Arroyos, the CBCP was not remiss in its exhortations and released different statements to the media and the people,” the statement said.

Bishop Villena also reminded the Aquino that “CBCP does not serve presidents.” The statement also said that the CBCP will address themselves to moral issues and doctrinal concerns. On political, social and economic matters that raise moral questions, he said the church will not be silent and it will matter little to them whether they are on the side of the government or not.

Otherwise, the Bishop said, they will not be able to represent church but the instrumentality of the administration of President Noynoy.

I am sure President Noynoy will issue a statement in response to the public statement made by Bishop Villena.