Absolution In Public?

Archbishop says Lacson's flight justifiable

By Roy Lagarde

MANILA, February 5, 2010—The authorities will surely disagree but for a Catholic bishop, Senator Panfilo Lacson’s decision to leave the country is ‘justifiable’.

Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz on Friday admitted he knew that Lacson was fleeing not due to his double murder charges but to avoid being a victim of evil conspiracy.

“I knew Lacson was leaving. We met two or three days before he left (the country) but I don’t know where he was going,” said Cruz.

But the prelate believes the senator has nothing to do with the twin killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.

Cruz said Lacson left the country because the Arroyo administration has not stopped harassing him.

“He is not a coward. He just does not stand a chance, and would have difficulty in getting a just trial,” the archbishop said.

“I was listening to him. His decision to leave the country is justifiable,” he added.

Initial reports said Lacson flew to Hong Kong on Jan. 5, and then went to Australia.

The filing of double murder charges against Lacson, authorities said is the result of an investigation wherein he was given ample time to answer the allegations against him.

Government authorities also called on the senator to return to the country to face charges against him.

Cruz said he had already lost communication with Lacson ever since the latter flee. “He would only contact me when there is a major issue,” he said.

“He is not a coward. He just does not stand a chance, and would have difficulty in getting a just trial.”

Isn't that statement no different than Senator Manuel Villar's excuse? It seems this lame cowardly excuse has started to become a standard among high profile probable cases in our country especially now that a man of the cloth seem to support it.

If Archbishop Oscar Cruz believes that his friend is truly innocent, then he should have tried harder to compel the Senator to fight his battle by facing the "false" accusation in the proper forum instead of seemingly showing support for the wrong move the senator is making.

"Sa mata ng mga bata, ang isang pagkakamali ay nagiging tama kapag ito ay ginagawa ng mga mas nakatatanda." So goes one television infomercial some time ago.

If we want to help restore the credibility of our nation's institutions, excuses like those made by Seneators Manny Villar and Panfilo Lacson (and especially if the move is publicly acknowledged by people of high moral authority) only add more insult to the already badly injured and ruined institutions of our land.

If a person accused is truly innocent of the charges, facing the charges even if it may be unfairly conducted is in itself already a great victory before the eyes of God -- this is how the Lord was treated while on earth, and who can fathom the wisdom behind such an act of submission to the authorities of an unfair worldly justice system?

As one dares to face an unfair trial (unfair if the accused is truly innocent and still get convicted), the person may experience undeserved suffering in the process, yet the ramifications of the action of a truly innocent sacrifice extends far beyond the realm of the present moment, for such an act is like those seeds that heroes plant. Though it takes some considerable length of time, yet there is hope of a new tree to grow than if there's no seed planted at all (or worse, bad seeds are planted).

People of authority, what kind of seeds are you planting?

On the other hand, submission to a fair trial (fair in the sense that the accused is truly guilty) is an act of admission to one's wrongdoing, and is in itself one's victory over his/her inner weakness - the fear of a just punishment. When the guilty submits himself to fair trial and eventually is justly accorded the right punishment, the nation's justice institution is strengthened and slowly regains back some credibility.

If Senator Lacson believes and still has respect for the institution that molded his class of discipline, he knows that overcoming his inner weakness and fear is the wisest thing for him
to do. If he wins his inner battle and finally submits to the nation's [in]justice system, his act of submission will in effect judge and condemn before the justice of heaven the culture of impunity that is prevailing in high places of our society. (Read Luke 11:32 and take a glimpse of the justice of the Lord)