(CBCP PERMANENT COUNCIL)

1. Greetings of peace to all our countrymen and women particularly to all political leaders! As religious leaders we are concerned with justice, truth, peace, and love-values of the Kingdom of God.  For this reason the present political turmoil in Manila deeply disturbs us. Political bickering, stubborn and self-serving divisiveness along the lines of political allegiances, endless suspicions and speculations liberally and sometimes perhaps irresponsibly disseminated by media, political intrigues and military plots, endless investigations, charges and countercharges of graft and corruption, attempts by doomsday soothsayers to exaggerate the actual situation by projecting what is happening in Manila to the entire country, calls for resignation or snap election-all these demoralize us especially as they seem to ignore the common good of all and indicate a fatal loss of perspective. We are especially concerned about the impression that our political leaders are out to destroy one another and in the process bring down the entire Filipino family. All these must stop, for certainly the Lord is not pleased.

2. Indeed, we are suffering politically and economically.  Our people have many valid issues to complain about, especially about the economy and “too much politics.”  Each sector of society has surely a share of the blame by commission or omission. Therefore, our current economic and political situation calls for harmony and unity, for total commitment to the task of economic recovery and political renewal.

3. In our pastoral statement of July 8, 2003 we denounced graft and corruption for the umpteenth time.  Even as we acknowledged our own failures in the Church, we also set up short-term and long-term measures to renew ourselves as leaders. By the same token we will strongly support all initiatives by the government that will seriously combat everything that ails our political system, taints our political behavior, and misuses political power.  In this struggle for integrity, it is sin itself, both personal and social-the lack of morality in politics-that we must combat.

4. Therefore, we urge all our political leaders, particularly our President, to respond positively and effectively to the valid issues regarding graft and corruption that various groups both in government and also in civil society have brought to public attention.  We urge that the result of investigations done by Congress on various charges made against its own members or against other parties be made known and duly implemented. We also urge that our leaders desist from political grandstanding and seemingly endless power games and political jockeying that, among other factors, make politics no longer an instrument for the common good.

5. We wish to help our people and our political leaders toward that vision of society that the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines articulated: “a free nation… where moral principles prevail in socio-economic life and structures; where justice, love and solidarity are the driving forces of development….. a sovereign nation where membership is a call to participation and involvement and leadership a summons to generous service.” The truth, the pursuit of peace and justice, the common good must be supreme, and not ulterior political and personal motives.  Let us not, therefore, destroy one another, let us build up one another as befits members of the Filipino family under God.

6. We pray and hope that the proposed political summit would contribute significantly to the renewal of politics, to harmony and to our economic recovery.

The CBCP Permanent Council Members:

(Sgd) +ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO, O.M.I., D.D.
President
Archbishop of Cotabato

(Sgd) +LEONARDO Z. LEGASPI, O.P., D.D.
Vice President
Archbishop of Caceres

(Sgd) +DIOSDADO A. TALAMAYAN D.D.
Member
Archbishop of Tuguegarao

(Sgd) +PEDRO R. DEAN, D.D.
Member
Archbishop of Palo

(Sgd) +FLORENTINO F. CINENSE, D.D.
Member
Bishop of Tarlac

(Sgd) +JOEL Z. BAYLON, D.D.
Member
Bishop of Masbate

(Sgd) +EMILIO Z. MARQUEZ, D.D.
Member
Bishop of Lucena

(Sgd) +FRANSCISCO C. SAN DIEGO, D.D.
Member
Bishop of Pasig

(Sgd) +HONESTO F. ONGTIOCO,D.D.
Member
Bishop of Cubao

(Sgd) +ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J., D.D.
Member
Bishop Prelate of Ipil

September 1, 2003

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