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‘Time to call it a day’

(Here’s the full transcript of Manuel V. Pangilinan’s letter, which was  posted online by Denis Lucindo, Philex vice president for business development)


I note your email of 21st September.

I read last night the Jesuit Paper which Fr Jojo handed to me last Sunday, and have come to the conclusion that this document, as drafted, is irreconcilable with our corporate position on mining and for me, more importantly, my conviction as a Filipino.

Let me just highlight a few of my major concerns – by all means not complete or exhaustive:

1. I do not agree with some of the CBCP’s pronouncements, including its recent stance on the RH Bill. At times, I believe the CBCP has taken positions contrary to the interest of our country. It should earn its rightful place in the national debating table by showing tangibly and significantly its concern for the poor and the corrupt, and sharing the burden with business and government the enormous task of nation-building – including the appropriate moral formation of our people and our leaders.

2. The importance of mining – expressed in the development of natural wealth and national patrimony – is enshrined in our Constitution. That value as a tool for national progress is expressed in the Mining Act. For the Church to say otherwise contradicts a very basic document of our people and frustrates the people’s constitutional will, values, and preference – plus the right to improve economic welfare – ‘to use these talents and multiply them, not bury them’ – to use your own words.

3. Correlatively, I’ve always firmly believed precisely in that Biblical dictum on talents – be they tangible or intangible – to improve lives. Failure to manage one’s affairs – such as weak institutions, failed regulatory agencies, corrupt enforcements – do not mean a particular business is per se evil, as suggested about mining in that Jesuit Paper. It is man’s frailty – Filipino frailty to be exact – that should be blamed, not the business. I’ve already pointed out the examples of good mining practices elsewhere. Indeed, the Filipino’s failure to manage well is shown in almost all facets of our lives – poor airports, poor sewerage, unclean air, mediocre economic growth. The list is long. Our preponderant task as a people is simply to do better – to strive for excellence. Isn’t that the Ateneo motto?

4. As to the Church’s duty towards creation and human ecology, I submit that it is our first duty to understand its origins and workings truly. This means subscribing to, and encouraging, relentless scientific study of the universe and planet Earth – hardly a matter which the Church persecutors of Galileo can be proud of. Every human attempt at progress I dare say will have some impact ‘at the expense of the environment’ – even the building and maintenance of places of worship and of education. There should be no debate here, correct?

5. The Jesuit Paper reflects in parts, ignorance of the terms of EO79 and the Implementing Rules and Regulations. We should leave that to another paper to dissect. The ultimate questions for me are:

(i) Do the EO/IRR violate existing laws and the Constitution?

(ii) Do they violate the call for preferential use of land and resources for mining, for purposes of agriculture, tourism, or what have you – preferential rights articulated and protected by our Constitution?

In any event, to the extent that the terms of the Paper are non-negotiable, and do run contrary to what our laws and Constitution say and to what I believe in – that any business, even mining, can be made to serve man and God provided it is managed well and responsibly - this makes it difficult for my conscience to accept the Paper as currently drafted.

I must say that I am extremely distressed and saddened by this recent event. And in the context of two other gruesome incidents (i.e., plagiarism and the first mining blow-up) in the recent past, I believe we have come to the irretrievable point where it is best and appropriate to draw the line in the sand, to conclude that we have little or no common interest, and to say that I’d look like a fool helping an institution which opposes my conviction diametrically and unequivocally (“non-negotiable”). The logical consequences of this are: (i) each of us can pursue our advocacies freely without having to be sensitive with regard each other’s feelings; (ii) my complete and total disengagement from the Ateneo – something which, after reflection, I must confess I welcome with some relief at this stage.

Time to call it a day.


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Tags: Ateneo , Manuel V. Pangilinan , Mining , News , Reproductive Health Bill

  • sepultorero

    It’s a day.

  • aristotleplatosocrates

    Hurray for MVP!

    He’s got all the good reasons for taking a stand against the church and, most of all, he’s got the balls to say so. I wish Noynoy has the balls to do the same. It’s about time we stop our blind obedience to these fools and start taxing them just like our inept government is doing to all of us especially the poor. Or, at least, if we cannot tax the church, do the same to the poor people! 

    I also wish we have more of MVP in Congress and the Senate, less of Tongressmen and Senatong!

    MVP, please divert some of your resources to the poor. You know how! Not P50.00 for every Filipino but in terms of education, housing, telecommunications, etc. Not to Ateneo or other tax-free religious enterprises that tighten more the grip on the neck of the poor Filipinos.

    You’re already doing good deeds to a lot of people and doing more won’t hurt you but you’ll be remembered with esteem more than these fools in white garbs!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y6LZ6K2WGJFBDVHQNYGAOXJX5U Lambert

       I think that to stand up for the Catholic Church is to have real ‘balls’. Very few, especially in these comment sections, do it.

  • j1u2a3n

    relentless scientific study of the universe and planet Earth – hardly a matter which the Church persecutors of Galileo can be proud of.” Such an ignorant remark. It’s really time for MVP to call it a day. 

    • Pedro

      it’s a fact that the inquisitive Catholic Church imprisoned Galileo in his home because they cant accept that the earth is not the center of the solar system. 

      I think you should reach Rizal’s diaries and literary works. Would you call Rizal ignorant, too?

      • j1u2a3n

        Galileo is just an ugly episode in the Church’s history for which they have apologized. MVP talked about Galileo as if it’s the Church’s only contribution to science. I call that ignorance. Would I call Rizal ignorant? Well, are all his writings the gospel truth?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NV25ZPWMBDYFXEYR3AWQ43ZS5E Hein S

        FYI, the church has made many U-TURNS in history.

        Earth Centered Universe, Cremation, Indulgences, Fatwa against Enemies, Evolution, Burning of Joan of Arc, Inquisition, many more.

      • j1u2a3n

        By the way, you’re wrong about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The Church did not have a definite stance on the issue. So, technically, no U-turn happened. Fatwa? Indulgences? Cremation? We’re talking about the Church’s contribution to science. You’re obviously just seizing this opportunity to bash the Catholic Church.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VUFRGRCCA5JXOLKEVCJQ3FBW3Y Concerned Citizen

    It’s hard to be optimistic in this environment.  There’s always a breaking point in everyone. 

  • isidro c. valencia

    Frailty thy name is Pangilinan, a businessman. Man basically is good, but Pangilinan is basically a businessman, not human.  He expects returns from his investment in the guise of financial and material assistance. 

    And he expects the Church, Ateneo and other people to follow his dictum denominated by his material and financial supports.

    It appeared that his help has no social responsibility except to earn returns. His father has given him financial assistance to study but did not expect payback. That is a true Christian act. 

    His true color appeared, it is money, money, money for Manny. 

    He is even threatening our government that he will get back his capital in the Philippines and invest somewhere else because of unruly behavior of our people. Capital plight ba ang tawag dian?  So, go ahead Mr. Pangilinan. We still have businessmen-philanthropists in the Philippines less Pangilinan. Lumalabas ang “pangil” mo.

    The Anti Trust Act (similar to Sherman’s Anti Trust Act) should be passed. Naipasa na ba o di pa?   

    As a citizen, I demand that Congress should investigate financial history of Pangilinan’s businesses. Are there possibilities that funds came from Marcos and Suharto thru Salim?

  • Bengatibo

    MVP  was made to choose between the church and business. He chose business. Hindi lang politika ang pinakikialaman ni Padre Damaso. Pati na rin pala ang negosyo. Kulang ang abuloy niyo kay Padre Damaso kaya maingay siya!!!

  • agaylaya

    “It (the CBCP) should earn its rightful place in the national debating table by showing tangibly and significantly its concern for the poor and the corrupt, and sharing the burden with business and government the enormous task of nation-building – including the appropriate moral formation of our people and our leaders.” This statement shows how ignorant MVP is about what the CBCP is all about and what the Catholic Church and its instrumentalities have been doing to alleviate poverty, promote social and moral development in this country even as it gives primary importance to spiritual formation of the people. He can visit any parish, diocese or confer with any of the religious congregations and he can readily see “tangibly and significantly”  but silently, how the Church works. Given his stature as a successful businessman and entrepreneur, I  am surprised and appalled of his ignorance.
    The entire tone of his letter exudes an arrogant stance typical of the elite “burgis”  who believe they have the superior right to dictate the way government and social institutions should be managed. I can’t help picturing him  as the proud pharisee at the synagogue exalting himself before God and comparing himself as a better man than the poor publican at the synagogue’s doorstep. 

    No matter how powerful or how rich he may be, his castle is just made of sand.

  • lemon88


    • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y6LZ6K2WGJFBDVHQNYGAOXJX5U Lambert

       Papaano ang mga payo ng pastora namin sa aming church. Susundin ba namin lahat ang mga ito?

      • lemon88


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