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An act of compassion not proof of guilt

02:11 PM October 22, 2016

In recent columns in the Inquirer (“Palace dignifies Digong bashers,” Metro, 10/11/16) and Bandera (“Bashers ni Digong di dapat pinapansin,” Page A4, Bandera), Ramon Tulfo unfairly misrepresented Sharon Cuneta, casually dropping her name between “drugs and booze” and “prostitutes.” I write to correct any misjudgments resulting from such careless commentaries.

On the same day (Sept. 20, 2016) that Cuneta’s name was mentioned in the House hearing on drug trafficking from inside the New Bilibid Prison, my principal, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, confirmed that his wife did go to the national penitentiary on July 10, 2012, for the taping of an episode of her former talk show, “Kasama mo Kapatid.”

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That particular episode, featuring the life of inmates, was an expression of support for the prisoner outreach of Rock Ed Philippines, a volunteer group.

Cuneta’s intention was to use her program to give hope to the hopeless and reinforce the positive values of compassion and forgiveness. In a conversation with some inmates, she asked how they were coping with life behind bars, away from their families. She also met some who found God during this dark moment in their lives.

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Even Pope Francis spends time visiting inmates to try to change public perception about convicts, one of society’s outcasts. In His Holiness’ own words: “Each one of us is

capable of doing the same thing done by that man or woman in jail. All of us are capable of sinning and making the same mistake in life. They are not worse than you and I!”

Showing goodwill to people who have made grave mistakes in their lives and who are paying for it in jail time is an act of caring and loving in an inclusive society. Such acts deserve our support, they should not be made as basis to infer guilt by association. Let us not discourage the likes of Cuneta and Rock Ed from providing inmates the care and support they badly need.

HERMINIO C. BAGRO III, chief of staff,Office of Sen. Francis Pangilinan

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