Team Patay

Posted 541 days ago

28 February 2013
Opinion, Business Miror

 

Far from squandering and trivializing the Church’s moral authority the Bacolod diocese raised the standard of morality and accountability far higher than its critics would have them.

 

AMID a proliferation of trees desecrated as unofficial Commission on Elections (Comelec) poster areas, roadside boulders, riverside riffraff, electric posts and bridge railings that violate campaigning rules, the Comelec decided to weigh in on the Diocese of Bacolod controversy involving the latter’s list of “Team Patay” senatorial wannabes.

 

What debate the list evokes falls under the “Conscience Vote” theme and those who supported government funding for population control fall under “Team Patay.”

 

Unlike those on church walls, similar election-related posters pinned on trees do not provoke as much violent commentaries as those assailed against an institution already decaying from insidious cancers ranging from pedophilia to closet homosexuality and struggling for relevance in a society increasingly turning amoral.

 

Typical of Comelec’s impotence in enforcing campaigning regulations, as it weighed in, its reaction was as lightweight as expected. Ordering the diocese to tear down the controversial tarpaulin, the agency simply cited rules on campaign-poster size. Never mind that the tarpaulin could arguably be considered critical commentary invariably protected by the sacred freedom of speech statutes as opposed to a politician’s “epal” posters on Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas that the Comelec ignores.  The poster is on private property owned by the diocese. It could have been on a wailing wall. On a private medium, its authors are among the sovereign electorate. As such, it is debatable whether it can be considered campaign propaganda, more so given regulatory misfeasance on clearer violations ignored by the Comelec.

 

Rather than campaign propaganda, we find it a legitimate form of commentary.

 

For one, it contained a specific issue ingeniously employed as criteria. Thus, the debate-provoking poster makes no other comment on the unfitness of candidates other than against the issue invoked. The electorate must recognize this singular focus and from there compute weighted averages.

 

For instance, the net upsides a candidate like Rep. Teddy Casiño brings to the Senate far outweigh his vote on population control. That he shares poster space with Team Patay does not mean he compromised morals as might have others in the lobbying that reportedly involved an obscene amount of money.

 

Moreover, because some in Team Patay are now compelled to justify their positions, the population-control debate continues as it rightfully should, aberrant decisions are clarified, and, at least in one arena, platforms dominate over personality politics.

 

 

Unlike other campaign materials that debase issues by focusing on vicarious family names, promises and publicist-contrived imagery, transcending party lines and political accommodations, the admonition of the Bacolod diocese is undeniably issue-based and completely within the realm of Catholic morality.

 

More important, the poster’s message, in capturing and eloquently applying colloquialism appropriate within its confined poster area, was bold and definitive. Not wishy-washy, not non-committal and not spineless and irresolute as candidates and beholden sycophants tend to be at election time.

 

While the Comelec’s stance is understandable, the quality of intellect and condemnation applied by other critics of the diocese is unfortunate. Of note are attacks by those who would first interpret from ghosts they conjure up, and thereafter criticize on the basis of their self-interpreted divination.

 

For instance, one critic saw in the poster’s use of the color black an inference to “black sheep,” and, in red, an inference to “hellfire.” Criticizing from pure inference reeks of intellectual paranoia verging on disingenuity. While priests wear black and bishops wear red, nothing in those imply darkness or where they might spend their afterlife. So why conjure up demons where none exist?

 

Critics, likewise, label the poster not only “arrogant” but, in enumerating candidates and appending checks and crosses, they claim it “squanders and trivializes” the Church’s moral authority as semblances of neutrality are shorn off.

 

We disagree. Alluding to theological bullying and citing that the laity should be at the forefront of secular affairs and not prelates, such myopia degrades population control as a secular affair and denies that Philippine politics remains fixated on personalities.

 

When state resources and statutes are marshaled against morals, then it is a question of morality fully within the province of the Church. Contrary to critic’s inferences, moral commentary even on amoral politics does not turn the Church into a “political party.” Rather, it makes the Church responsive and relevant.

 

How is a list based on records and what these critics describe as “browbeating the faithful into submission by heavy-handed tactics like the Bacolod tarpaulin” a question of theological bullying when there is no Catholic vote? It is to the credit of the Bacolod diocese that it recognizes what critics deny and then correctly raises morality issues and subsequently links those to its advocates so issues can be actionable and advocates held accountable.

 

Far from squandering and trivializing the Church’s moral authority the Bacolod diocese raised the standard of morality and accountability far higher than its critics would have them.

 

 

 

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