Archbishop Tagle says Mass at high court | Inquirer News

Archbishop Tagle says Mass at high court

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 02:46 AM December 17, 2011

MASS APPEAL. Newly installed Archbishop of Manila Luis Tagle says Mass at the Supreme Court in Manila on Friday. At the background is a huge picture of Chief Justice Renato Corona on a tarpaulin. Spokespersons from the Manila archdiocese and the high court immediately denied reports that this was the Church’s expression of support for the impeached Chief Justice. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Newly installed Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle celebrated Mass at the Supreme Court Centennial Building courtyard Friday morning, but both his office and the tribunal’s spokesperson said the activity was not intended as an expression of support for impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Tagle’s celebration of the Mass was scheduled “long ago,” Peachy Yamsuan, the archdiocese’s social communications director, told reporters. “He could not just tell the people to whom he confirmed [attendance] that he’s canceling. That wouldn’t be nice. The people might think he canceled because he’s siding with President Aquino. Of course, you have to honor your commitment…”


Yamsuan was alluding to the conflict between the President and the Chief Justice, which came to a boil after Corona’s impeachment on Dec. 12 and his combative speech against Mr. Aquino, as well as a “court holiday,” two days later.


But even Malacañang, when asked for comment, saw nothing to be concerned about.

No political meaning

“We are not putting any political meaning to the celebration of the Mass by Archbishop Tagle at the Supreme Court,” said the President’s spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda. “He’s the archbishop of Manila and he celebrated Mass in a place where he was invited to.”

Yamsuan said that certain Supreme Court employees had invited Tagle, and that the Mass was an annual tradition at the high court. She recalled that Tagle’s predecessor, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, was also extended such an invitation two years ago.

“There were some people who invited him. I don’t know who, but it’s not Chief Justice Corona,” she said. “[Tagle] knows this will be open to interpretation, but there’s nothing he can do. … If people want to have bad thoughts, they can have bad thoughts. He is just honoring his commitment … so I don’t think there should be any interpretation about it.”

Tagle’s presence was also downplayed by Jose Midas Marquez, the high court’s spokesperson, who said: “We invited him before the impeachment proceeding began. His [coming] here had nothing to do with the impeachment case. It is purely in celebration of Christmas, so I ask everyone, do not impute any politics to the celebration of the archbishop of Manila of the Mass here in the Supreme Court.”


15-minute meeting

Tagle spoke only of religious themes in his homily at the 8 a.m. Mass, according to witnesses.

Corona, his wife Cristina, and their children Francis and Carla were present, as were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Arturo Brion, Jose Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes, Jose Perez, Mariano del Castillo and Estela Perlas Bernabe.

The archbishop later met with Corona privately in a holding room for about 15 minutes. When he emerged, the Chief Justice said nothing about the meeting and instead extended holiday greetings to everyone, including reporters.

Asked about the continuing attacks on him by administration officials and other critics, Corona said they were “just politicking.” He also said his lawyers had barred him from speaking about his impeachment.

In brief remarks later, Corona thanked court employees for supporting him, and said members of the judiciary “can only consider ourselves worthy of the sacred gift only if we can love, care and show compassion for others.”

“As head of the Supreme Court family, I draw strength and inspiration from your trust and support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said, adding:

“You, together with my family, have served as my anchor. It is my fervent hope that you shall remain steadfast and continue helping the court to bring our people specially those who have less in life to a better and more dignified place in society,” he added.

The employees present, mostly dressed in red, applauded and chanted, “CJ! CJ! CJ!”

People’s holiday

To protest the “court holiday” declared on Wednesday by judges and court employees in support of Corona, activist groups yon Friday picketed the Supreme Court compound and declared what they called a “people’s holiday from injustice and impunity.”

Padre Faura Street from Maria Orosa Street to Taft Avenue in Manila was filled with protesters from the Bantay Gloria Network (BGN) calling for Corona’s resignation and for Filipinos to “reclaim” the Supreme Court from a “midnight Chief Justice.”

Organizers said about 3,000 people took part in the activity.

BGN co-convener and Akbayan Party spokesperson Risa Hontiveros said Corona’s removal from public office was necessary to “restore integrity” to the high court and remove Arroyo’s last “defenses.”

“The people are calling for Corona’s removal from the Supreme Court. We have waited for Corona to prove his independence, to no avail. He has consistently toed the line and given in to every whim of Arroyo. He should be removed to allow the Supreme Court to reclaim its integrity and independence,” Hontiveros said.

Black and White Movement convener Leah Navarro also called on Corona “to spare the judiciary from being dragged down by his impeachment by resigning, or at least taking a leave while the impeachment trial is ongoing.”

Muslim Filipinos under the All Moro Alliance for Reforms, Reform ARMM Now, and Bangsamoro Solidarity Movement (Bangsa) also joined the protest action.

The other groups represented were the Flight Attendants Association of the Philippines, Association of Law Students in the Philippines, People Power Volunteers for Reforms, Kilusan para sa Makabansang Ekonomiya, Liberal Party, Repormar, Alab Katipunan, Anak Mindanao, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Pinoy Power, Yellow Ribbon Movement, Filipinos for Justice and Peace Movement and the Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa (RAM-Guardians).

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Similar activities were conducted in the Bicol region, the provinces of Cebu, Zambales, Davao and Zamboanga, and the cities of Cagayan de Oro, and General Santos, organizers said. With reports from Norman Bordadora and Erwin Aguilon, Radyo Inquirer

TAGS: Manila, mass, Supreme Court

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