Bishop Cruz bares Palace attempt to silence himBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A retired Catholic archbishop and critic of the administration on Wednesday claimed a supposed right-hand man of President Benigno Aquino’s adviser on political affairs had made inquiries on how to “keep him quiet.”
Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz told reporters that a staffer of Ronald Llamas, presidential adviser on political affairs, had approached former jueteng whistle-blower Sandra Cam sometime in March or April and asked her how he could be “silenced” for criticizing the present administration.
Cruz identified the man who came to Cam as a certain “Zuñiga,” and described him as “some sort of right-hand man” or staff member” of Llamas.
“This man approached Cam with a question: How Oscar Cruz can be quieted,” related the 77-year-old archbishop, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and head of the Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng.
“But Sandra Cam told him that [he] cannot quiet Archbishop Cruz because he will always say what he wants,” the prelate continued, adding that the man did not return to Cam following that encounter.
Cruz said he understood Malacañang’s feelings toward him. “I know that Malacañang hates my guts because I do not flatter it, I don’t scratch its back and I don’t ask favors so when I am interviewed about my perceptions, I say what I think although I may be wrong.”
When asked why he was disclosing the incident only now, Cruz explained that he decided not to speak about it earlier because he felt “it was not yet the time.”
“I don’t think it was time for it. But now that it was openly said that the President doesn’t mind me at all and I understand that…that’s why this intervention of Llamas is not only credible but also true,” said the archbishop.
Cruz said the alleged attempt to stop him from critiquing the current administration showed that President Aquino was “really suffering from his handlers.”
“The handlers are the ones making him look ridiculous,” he said. “I think the President is more of a victim than a culprit.”
Cruz has repeatedly expressed his dismay over the Aquino administration for its failure to put a lid on the rise of “jueteng,” an illegal number racket, and its backing of population control programs, which the Catholic Church is against.
Cruz said he had also been incensed when his anti-jueteng group disclosed in 2010—three months after Mr. Aquino assumed office—that high-level Aquino officials were supposedly getting jueteng payoffs but the President had declared that the issue was not among his top priorities.
Originally posted at 08:23 pm | Wednesday, June 06, 2012