It seems that Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes is a “sacred cow” in the Aquino administration, an official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Tuesday.
Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa), said the bishops were wondering how De los Reyes got to be “untouchable” despite his supposed failure to fully implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
“Why can’t the President drop him? It’s clear the Department of Agrarian Reform’s performance has been dismal. That’s why it’s puzzling why De los Reyes can’t be dropped. What kind of sacred cow is this?” said Gariguez in a Church-organized forum in Intramuros, Manila.
“If he remains deaf, that’s his big mistake. It only means the President himself has denied justice to the farmers. The President himself is the reason behind the (impending) failure of CARP,” Gariguez added.
Seventy-eight Catholic bishops, including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, appealed in a letter to President Aquino for De los Reyes’ removal for his supposed mismanagement of CARP. The Palace, however, has chosen to defend De los Reyes.
“Almost all of our bishops are for an effective implementation of agrarian reform but it seems we’re facing a huge hurdle,” Gariguez said.