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PIA Press Release

3 Bishops call for a peaceful communal action on the way of peace

Manila (14 February) -- Three Catholic bishops in Northern Luzon have called on all Filipinos to seek communal action not for confrontation nor revolution nor violence but "for deep reflection, discernment, sobriety and for the way of peace."

In their statement dated Feb. 13 and entitled "To Guide Our Feet Into The Way of Peace," Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan of Tuguegarao (Cagayan), together with Bishop Ramon Villena of the Diocese of Bayombong (Nueva Vizcaya), and Fr. Rodolfo Beltran, Apostolic Vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe (Mountain Province), stressed, thus:

"In solidarity with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), we raise our voices in a call to communal action (but) above all, the action to which we invite all our people must be on the way of peace!"

Archbishop Talamayan, Villena and Beltran called on the people to prayer, to self-examination and to earnestly seek out the truth and to "distinguish between the truth and insinuation and suspicion."

"It is important to remember that it is easy to accuse, but it is competent proof that establishes truth.

"The truth must be relentlessly sought, and no attempt should be made to suppress it (and) one way the truth is suppressed is when inquiries and investigations become instruments of propagandizing and vendetta," the three bishops pointed out.

The three bishops also stressed that "to be credible, investigations must be conducted by persons who are honestly in search of the truth, for the welfare of the nation, and not in furtherance of their own political ambitions."

"We also exhort all to make the crucial distinction between opinion and certainty (as) it is a fundamental moral precept that resolute action is justified only when one is sure."

The three bishops led by Archbishop Talamayan also had something to say for politicians and the media:

"We call on politicians to serve in the likeness of HIM who came among us as one who serves -- seeking neither self-aggrandizement nor privilege but the welfare of those they swore to serve."

"We call on media to be fair. In many respects, media reportage only fuel(s) the flames of discontent, often by unwanted and unwarranted commentary and innuendo. We must all be instruments of justice its fundamental demand being fairness!" the Northern Luzon bishops stated.

As to their call to prayer, Talamayan et al explained that "no matter how deep the wounds may be that afflict our nation now, there is nothing that the Lord cannot make well."

And as to their call to self-examination: "We are quick to condemn corruption when perpetrated by others it is more difficult to acknowledge that the seeds of corruption lie in all our hearts."

Believing that to be credible and fruitful, any investigation must be carried out before forums tasked by law to investigate and to prosecute, the three Catholic bishops then called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman to already "commence the investigations that may lead to the truth."

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier directed the DOJ last Feb. 7 to pinpoint the people who may have violated procurement and anti-graft laws in the ZTE national broadband network (NBN) deal that she herself had earlier scrapped.

However, the palace stopped the DOJ probe yesterday (Feb. 13) after the Ombudsman, an independent investigating body, had created its own panel to investigate the cases filed concerning the cancelled ZTE contract. (OPS) [top]

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