‘Sue us’: Bishop defends pastoral letter assailing anti-terror law
MANILA, Philippines — A Catholic bishop on Monday challenged Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo to file a case over the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) pastoral letter raising concerns over the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
Panelo earlier claimed the CBCP’s pastoral letter “appears to have violated” the constitutional provision on the separation of the Church and the State. He further accused the CBCP of pressuring the Supreme Court in calling for prayers amid the recent signing of the highly controversial measure.
But at a press conference, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that if government thought that the Church had committed a violation on that account, then he would challenged it to file a case.
“Alam niyo, kung it violates, sila na ngayon ang magkaso sa amin. Hinahamon ko na kung talagang nagva-violate yun,” Pabillo said during a virtual press conference on Monday.
(If it really is violative, they should file a case against us. We are challenging them if our letter really violates that.)
“Don’t we have a right to speak sa mga kakulangan ng pamahalaan? Dahil ba kami ay Simbahan hindi kami pwedeng magsalita? We are also citizens,” he added.
(Don’t we have the right to speak about the government’s shortcomings because we are the church we cannot speak out?)
According to Pabillo, the CBCP does not intend to influence the decision of the SC on petitions filed before the high court questioning the constitutionality of the anti-terror law.
“We are doing that (call to prayer) in order na mamulat ang kamalayan ng mga tao. Sa halip na magsalita ng ganun, kasuhan nila. Tignan natin at hahamunin natin sila,” he said.
(We are doing that in order to raise awareness among Filipinos. Instead of saying things like that, file a case.)
“Yung aming call maliwanag na sa text is calling to prayer. Sila yung magbibigay ng intensyon na gusto naming baguhin ang desisyon ng iba,” he added.
(Our call, it’s clear from the text, that we are calling to prayer. They are the ones who are saying that our intention is to influence the decision of others.)
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