Romualdez: Don’t politicize Pope’s visit
• December 4, 2014
• Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco with Lee Ann P. Ducusin
• Published in Top Stories
Martin G. Romualdez
THE House independent bloc yesterday strongly backed the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) appeal to public officials and those running in the 2016 polls not to politicize Pope Francis’ visit in January next year.
Bloc leader and Leyte (1st District) Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, and Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz said that the call of Manila Archbishop Antonio Luis Cardinal Tagle should be respected as they stressed that the Pope will be here to condole and inspire Yolanda survivors.
“I agree wholeheartedly with the Cardinal’s call. He (Tagle) was right. He’s (Pope) here for the faith,” stressed Romualdez. “Nobody should take advantage of it (papal visit). The public officials and public officers should be there in a supportive capacity. Public officers and politicians should stay as much as possible in the back and be in a very strong supportive capacity to the Church and the organizers.”
Atienza, a senior member of the House independent bloc, said that politicians should also heed the call of Tagle not to use the papal images for any political gimmick, since the main purpose of Pope Francis’ visit is spiritual and pastoral.
“Let’s not use the papal visit for whatever (other) purpose other than the genuine, personal, spiritual purpose of the Pope to come to the Philippines, and he wants to go to Tacloban City. Let him go there and let’s support him,” Atienza explained.
De la Cruz, another senior member of the House independent bloc, said, “Politicians should start praying and request for the absolution of their sins.”
Romualdez also said that Pope Francis wanted to visit Tacloban City as early as December 2013. “You have to remember, what caught the attention of the Holy Father was Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) and the devastation it brought. He saw the destruction. We saw the international response. Gusto niyang makiramay din. He wanted to come earlier,” said Romualdez.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines denied that Malacañang is compelling the Church to cancel Pope Francis’ visit to Leyte.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, said that the Church hierarchy was never under pressure to change the Pope’s itinerary, assuring that the Pope will visit Leyte. “There was no such pressure,” he said in a text message to reporters.