My disappointment knows no bounds.
Earlier, the Bantay Bishop movement was jumpstarted with a march to the Senate. Our main objective was to push for fairness in the Senate’s treatment of the bishops, particularly in response to certain senators’ assurance that these men of the cloth would be coddled like scared little children.
Despite all of the effort put into getting our message across, it seems that our wishes fell on deaf ears.
First and foremost, our protest met a sour greeting by Sen. Miriam Santiago with a hostility based on pure speculation. A word of advice to Sen. Santiago: I would be more careful to spout accusations about other people until I had significant evidence of the motives and/or funding behind their actions. Let me just say that this protest was the result of the concerted effort of many involved organizations, and not something simply pushed forward by lump funding from any single private institution. If Sen. Santiago, however, would be willing to disclose the name of the suspect she speaks of, then we would be glad to assist in calling for justice should subsequent investigations reveal them to be guilty of gross misconduct.
Second, the blatant double-standard that the Senate has displayed defies any sincere attempt at delivering swift justice. What I take from their way of handling the situtation is as follows: If a common thief seeks forgiveness by issuing a non-apology and returning the ill-gotten wares, he is sent to prison. If a bishop seeks forgiveness by issuing a non-apology and returning the ill-gotten wares, he is pardoned unquestioningly.
And last, I was expecting at the very least that Pueblos would have been prosecuted for a clear breach of the law. There is no room for twisting interpretations and the law about this is crystal clear. Pueblos had no excuse whatsoever to ask for favors from none other than then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In the end, however, it would seem that even my lowest hopes were still much too high. Instead, all of the bishops were allowed to go scot-free. And all this, after a constant display of hypocrisy on their part.
I, for one, have long been disillusioned by the spiteful actions of clergy. Getting the majority of the Filipino people to share in this realization of mine, though, is still a distant dream. The struggle to emancipate others from the blindfolds of religious high-horseback riding is arduous indeed. The apparent failure of our recent appeal to the Senate shows this. True, others may not take us seriously at the moment, but I cannot help but feel that those whom we do not take seriously are more deserving of this treatment.
I do not take seriously anyone who condemns gambling while at the same time accepting considerable donations from a government institution whose main source of revenue is (surprise, surprise!) gambling.
I do not take seriously anyone purporting to be pro-poor and otherworldly while in the same breath hoarding financial assets and countless possessions.
And it would seem that even our senators are so blind and/or ignorant to still take these men seriously due to an unfounded reverence. This display of grand incompetence from our statesmen is both frustrating and alarming, for if we can no longer trust our own senators with upholding the rule of law, then I’ll be damned if I can trust anyone else to do the same.
Meanwhile, life goes on, and I can only wonder when we will ever learn.