This is a reaction to Antonio J. Montalvan II’s column titled “Is the Church a hypocrite?” (Opinion, 2/13/17).
To answer the question I say, “Yes.” And this answer finds support right in Montalvan’s own column when he said that “[e]veryone is a hypocrite.”
Certainly, even he himself is a hypocrite. Case in point: his false, malicious and public accusation against Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, made in that Feb. 13 column.
Montalvan claimed that “Alvarez is currently embroiled in a plunder case now up for review in the Supreme Court.” This is an outright lie, seemingly made (to borrow Montalvan’s own phrase) “[w]ithout glancing” on the facts of the case.
The truth is there is no “plunder case” pending before the Supreme Court. In fact, the Second Division, Sandiganbayan, on Nov. 2, 2010, in People of the Philippines vs Alvarez, et al.” (Criminal Case No. 28089), granted Speaker Alvarez’s demurrer to evidence, thereby dismissing the case for insufficiency of evidence. An Entry of Judgment has been made, indicating that the decision has become final and executory.
The decision bore two consequences. First, Speaker Alvarez was acquitted of all the alleged irregularities. Second, it showed that the case filed against him was baseless. That said, Montalvan’s column deserves a rebuttal as well.
Our country’s political history would prove that Catholic Church leaders have consistently dipped their hands into political waters (read: issues), openly criticizing government and politicians, even threatening the Church’s faithful with excommunication. In its pastoral letter, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) offered a
diagnosis of Philippine society and prescribed cure for its ills. Among other things, it lashed out at the police, elected officials and judiciary.
The CBCP, however, said nothing concrete about how to solve these problems, much less criminality and illegal drug trade and abuse. The CBCP did not call on drug lords and addicts to abandon their errant ways or turn themselves in. The drug problem has been festering right under the clergy’s very noses for a long time. They should have started its program of “healing” a long time ago, way before President Duterte was elected.
To conclude, let us all do our part to uplift the Filipino citizenry, and do so in tandem with the Philippine government. Should we fall short, let us expect—yet be open—to constructive criticisms. And should we criticize others, let’s do some fact-checking as warranted, lest a civil or criminal suit be filed—to expose the true hypocrites in our society.
DARREN M. DE JESUS, head executive assistant, Office of the Speaker, House of Representatives
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