Palace to RH critics: No name-calling

Published by rudy Date posted on May 17, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – No name-calling please.

Malacañang yesterday appealed to Catholic bishops to be more circumspect in expressing their opposition to the reproductive health (RH) bill and avoid offending remarks and rude name-calling.

“It’s just sad that people you respect, people who are men of faith, who are men of the cloth will be issuing statements which are highly inflammatory,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

“It’s not so much that we are sick and tired (of arguments on this issue), but it’s just that we do not expect these statements from bishops,” he said, citing the circulation of text messages describing President Aquino and his officials as “modern-day Herods” and “mass murderers” for supporting the RH bill.

“We have not said anything against the bishops personally or accused them or called them names. We do not intend to start. I hope they go easy and be more prudent with their statements,” Lacierda said.

“Apparently, they dismissed the whole idea of a dialogue as inutile. Now, how do you expect the Palace, which has gone the extra mile to meet with them, to react to such things? We can only hold our tongue and just move on and discuss and we’re still open to a dialogue,” he said.

Lacierda said it was “unfortunate” that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had pulled out of the dialogue on the RH bill even as he gave assurance that Malacañang is still open to talk with any of the bishops.

He also raised doubts if the prelates who have been voicing their stand against the RH bill are really authorized to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church.

Despite the criticisms, Lacierda said the President made it clear that they did not have to resort to throwing mud at each other.

“The President said let’s not throw stones. Let’s give them bread. That’s the attitude the President has taken with respect to the bishops. That is why we will continue with our cooperation with them in areas where we can share agreements with,” he said.

“We will respect them. We will not throw stones. We will continue to throw bread at them. But what can we do if we are ready and they are not?” he added.

Pacquiao meets Catholic bishops

Filipino boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to meet with Catholic bishops over lunch today to express solidarity with the Church’s opposition to the RH bill.

CBCP secretary-general Monsignor Juanito Figura confirmed the meeting, adding that it was Pacquiao who expressed his interest to meet them.

“There would be some kind of conversation but it is not a well-planned meeting,” Figura said.

“Pacquiao is openly expressing his support and solidarity with the Church in its fight against the RH bill… It is his personal initiative to be with the Catholic Church and his advocacy against the RH and this is because of his religious conviction,” he said.

Figura said they hope to better disseminate to the people the bad effects of the RH bill with Pacquiao’s help.

While Catholic bishops are happy that Pacquiao is against the RH bill, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes meanwhile said he is sad that some celebrities are promoting the use of condoms.

“They do not know what they are talking about. People are easily fooled by these actors and actresses. I wish many of them are not Catholics,” he said.

Bastes also took exception to the statement of Sen. Panfilo Lacson that priests should not use the pulpit to voice their opposition to the RH bill, saying the senator has no right to dictate to them what to do about the issue.

“We are the preachers of God’s words. We are the preachers of the truth and no politician has the authority to feed us what to do. This is a free country and not only that, there’s freedom of religion and morality is the number one concern of religion today,” Bastes said. With Evelyn Macairan –Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star)

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