MANILA, Sept. 14, 2010(CBCPNews.com)—Not just government officials but even some Catholic bishops are receiving payola from the illegal numbers game called jueteng.
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz admitted he is saddened with what is happening but these church officials are getting jueteng money as donations from the illegal gambling operators. [It's been going on for quite some time.]
“There are about 12 dioceses that we are looking into but we are most certain of the eight (dioceses that are getting jueteng money),” he said. [I wanted to name them here but I would not want to take it away from the archbishop.]
Cruz revealed there certain changes in the payola system for Church officials because of the new government.
In the past administration, he said, they know very well who these prelates are that also receive, not just jueteng money, but also from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), a state-run agency which is in charge of casinos around the country. [Oooh! I named the bishops here! Mostly from the provinces of Mindanao and Pampanga!]
“These people (jueteng lords) would like to earn or have goodwill of Church people and they would like to save their souls so they are willing to pay for it,” he said. [Hah! Sounds like indulgence for sale! Martin Luther, time to throw a nutty!]
“Of course if you are a big fellow you have to pay more. It you are a smalltime operator you have to pay less. That is buying your salvation through jueteng payola.”
When he was still archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, he admitted he himself was offered by a jueteng lord of a hefty financial aid for the repair of their seminary which was heavily damaged by a storm.
Cruz said he immediately rejected the offer which was amounting to P3 million.
“My point exactly is that we don’t need money from jueteng for our projects… that you don’t need these people to be able to build Churches, [sic] etc,” he said. [I think the archbishop meant 'churches' not with a big 'C'. There is a huge difference between the two and I am thinking that the journalists of CBCP News are not well informed of the differences between the two Cs. I hope this is just a typo.]
Asked whether he would bring the issue to the leadership of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Cruz said it never crossed his mind as yet.
“Frankly, I can’t say that because I’m no longer active (member of the CBCP). That is there command and responsibility,” he said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews) [Ho-hum. If the archbishop continues to do this, then what is the use of crying "wolf"?]
The silence of the bishops was caused by "donations from charity" during the Arroyo administration. I have mentioned the dioceses here before. A former CBCP president was sooo supportive of the Arroyo administration, that his silence was deafening amidst calls for the former president to resign stemming from allegations of electoral fraud and massive graft and corruption.
If the previous administration was guilty of stealing money from the people, does it justify the ends then that stolen money is given to the bishops to support charitable causes and projects?
Would this then all the more give illegal gamblers, crooks in government to go on their merry way of lying, cheating and stealing all for, excuse the term, the glory of God?
Situational ethics, don't you think? Lots of gray areas, but it doesn't make things right. Stealing is stealing is stealing. Nobody knows where donated money in collection trays on Sundays come from. BUT...
If it were gambling money, or money suspected to be the fruit of graft and corruption, why would our priests and bishops not have second thoughts of receiving the money?
I know of one bishop in Mindanao, who received huge amounts of money from politicians of his diocese who are known illegal loggers and illegal miners. He knows about this according to a priest of his diocese who I know personally. Yet, the bishop does not care.
But, it was worth the sacrifice on one's soul if the cathedral is beautiful, but it was not. It is hideous.
Will this erode the moral authority of the bishops' in the issue of gambling?
I guess in this case, the teacher should show the example to his student. Well, I would not go down into the pool if my swimming instructor would not dare go in first.