MANILA, 4 December 2007— A Catholic bishop says President Gloria Arroyo should take a cue from the never-ending political saga and restore credibility to her administration.
Novaliches Bishop-Emeritus Teodoro Bacani said the standoff in Makati City recently only showed that the country is sinking to a deepening political crisis.
He said Mrs Arroyo is failing to read the signs that many people may have grown tired of her rule.
“I propose that the President and her administration take this most recent event as an opportunity to look into themselves,” said Bacani.
He said authorities might have foiled the supposed plan to overthrow the Arroyo administration, but warned that people's outcry is far from over until real issues are properly addressed.
“The victors of last Thursday’s affair may indeed be eating and drinking today, or going shopping or visiting other countries, not knowing what is in store for them,” he said. “Rather than gloat over their victory, those in power should examine their consciences."
The bishop also said he is hoping the government would be like that in Singapore where “center of truth” is present among their officials.
In Singapore, he also said, not one of the ministers has been charged or at least suspected of wrongdoing.
“This center of truth is so called because it is characterized by transparency, honesty and integrity,” he said.
Bishop Bacani, however, stressed that said facet of a better government is "precisely what we lack."
In the Philippines, he said, Mrs. Arroyo and her husband and other ranking government leaders have been accused, weighed and found wanting by the people, if not by the courts as yet.
“We, in fact, have a government we do not trust, because there is a lack of transparency, honesty, and adherence to the rule of law by those who are supposed to implement them,” he said.
The prelate cited the arrest and alleged harassments of journalists by the authorities at the Manila Peninsula siege last week as a case of breaking the law by the law enforcers themselves.
Contrary to what has been reported, Bishop Bacani also clarified that he was not at the Manila Peninsula during the standoff.
The bishop said he was in Batam, Indonesia attending the 3rd Asian Convention on the Divine Mercy when the foiled coup broke out.
Earlier reports revealed that Bacani also went to the hotel but reportedly left before the government assault.