Being Prepared for the Harder and Heavier Yoke?

A Priest In Politics
By Randy David
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:59:00 04/01/2007

...“Among Ed,” as he is fondly called, is noted for his eloquence as a preacher. But the poor of Pampanga know him better as the tireless director of the Social Action Center of Pampanga (Sacop) who put a face to the Church’s presence among the communities displaced by lahar in the 1990s. Today he is recognized as the visionary behind the province’s most successful micro-lending program for the poor.

Father Panlilio defends his controversial decision to pursue a political role as a logical continuation of his ministry for the poor, whom he sees as having been exploited and neglected for too long by successive administrations of corrupt and uncaring politicians. This is a necessary move, he says, taken at an extraordinary moment in the life of the province.

What that means exactly is clear to everyone who has observed Pampanga politics. Two well-funded politicians are contesting the governorship—the incumbent 29-year-old Mark Lapid, who inherited the position from his father Sen. Lito Lapid; and provincial board member and former Lubao Mayor Lilia “Baby” Pineda, the gracious spouse of alleged jueteng lord Bong Pineda. Both are staunch supporters of President Macapagal-Arroyo who traces her roots to Lubao. Lapid is running under Lakas-NUCD, and Pineda under Kampi.

Despite repeated official declarations against this illegal numbers game, jueteng continues to flourish in almost every region of the country. The Central Luzon jueteng network, which Bong Pineda allegedly controls, is also reputed to be the biggest and richest. The Catholic Church has long been waging a vigorous campaign against jueteng because it regards this game as aggravating the condition of the poor and promoting corruption. Jueteng often supplies the crucial funds that decide the outcome of closely contested local elections...

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Read also, "What Among Ed's Victory Means".
And also, "Cruz, Lozada, Panlilio".