File photo by EPA/Dennis Sabangan
MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Tuesday, September 3, requested help in scrutinizing Church donations amid an exposé on the alleged misuse of government funds for development projects.
"The Church is one community that thrives on volunteerism and charity. Many of our programs are supported and sustained by charity. Very often we don't have the mechanism to check where [these] are coming from. Maybe you can alert us," Tagle said in a speech before the Makati Business Club.
Tagle also said the Church is split on abolishing the pork barrel, or government funds for development projects that have turned into a source of corruption.
He said some bishops want the controversial funds abolished, saying, “If something attracts further corruption and if it required removing it, let it be removed.”
Other bishops, he added, suggest assigning to other agencies the job of selecting projects that will benefit from the pork barrel. Legislators hold this function at present.
The cardinal, however, said: “But who will monitor? What system will be in place?”
Tagle added that if churchmen get implicated, he will support an investigation because the Church needs a “search [for] integrity within our ranks.”
For the poor
The Manila archbishop is the most prominent Catholic leader who has spoken out on the pork barrel scam.
In a thundering voice, Tagle said in his homily on Saturday, August 31: “Tingnan ninyo ang krisis na ating pinagdadaanan ngayon. Kahindik-hindik ang kayabangan ng mga umaangkin ng hindi naman kanila! Yabang 'yan, yabang! Y-a-b-a-n-g. Yabang!”
(Look at the crisis we’re undergoing now. It’s horrible to see the pride of those who claim what isn’t even theirs. That’s pride, pride!)
In his speech at the Million People March last Monday, August 26, he emphasized love for the poor amid the alleged misuse of multibillion-peso development funds.
Breaking into tears, Tagle earlier challenged those involved in the “heartbreaking” scam to visit the homes of the poor.
“Mahawakan lang ninyo ang kamay ng mga mahihirap. Siguro naman maaantig ang inyong puso, sana,” Tagle said in his first statement on the pork barrel scam last August 13. (Hold their hands. I hope it will move your hearts – hopefully.) – Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com