keeping up with the joneses

July 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm 8 comments

His Excellency
Most Rev. Juan De Dios Pueblos, D.D.

several catholic bishops in the philippines had received money from the philippine charity sweepstakes office (pcso) for the purchase of sports utility vehicles (suv) during the term of former president gloria macapagal-arroyo.

boy, it was like winning in the lottery. but like winning in the lottery, not every bishop was so fortunate. it had been reserved only to those who were close to the former president.

when the particulars of the grant were revealed during last week’s senate hearing, they were met with disgust. the public outcry was so earthshaking that even the hearing-impaired could hear it loud and clear. it was because the money came from public funds generated from the state-run lottery.

it put the bishops in a bad light. first, as members of a religious group, the current constitution prohibits the allotment of public funds for the said purpose. second, as anti-gambling advocates, it made them look like hypocrites.

one of the recipients, bishop juan de dios pueblos of butuan, couldn’t be faulted for lack of propriety when he made his request to the former president. to his credit, he made sure that it was aboveboard. he put it in writing using the archdiocese stationery. in his letter, he didn’t mince words, either. he was direct and to the point. he wrote:

I will be celebrating my 66th birthday on March 8, 2009. I know this will be a precious day and timely occasion to thank the Lord for giving me another year … After a prayerful discernment and due considerations to the existing crisis phenomenon today, I have decided not to hold a birthday party. Instead, I prefer to make use of my birthday as a day with and for myself, and with God.

Having (been) declared, awarded and honored from your good office as ‘Peace Champion of Caraga,’ I am grateful to God that He has made me an instrument of His peace, especially here in Mindanao. I know I can do more to promote and work for peace.

It is in this view that I am asking a favor from your Excellency. At present, I really need a brand-new car, possibly a 4 x 4, which I can use to reach the far-flung areas of Caraga. I hope you will never fail to give a brand new car which would serve as your birthday gift to me. For your information, I have with me a 7-year-old car which is not anymore in good running condition. Therefore, this needs to be replaced very soon.

I am anticipating your favorable response on this regard. Thank you very much. Be assured of my constant support and sincerest prayers to your Excellency.

bishop pueblos was and still is one of the most ardent supporters of former president gloria macapagal-arroyo who made sure that she remained in office despite her shortcomings. these were the people who stood behind her when she was embroiled in controversies such as cheating in the 2004 and 2007 elections, nbn-zte scandal, fertilizer scam, etc. when calls for her impeachment became widespread, bishop pueblos and the others looked the other way giving reasons like “everybody cheats, anyway” or “she’s the lesser evil and there’s no viable alternative.”

small wonder that the former president found it fit and proper to generously reward them for their loyalty and “constant support” using public funds at her disposal.

the philippine senate will invite the pajero bishops, as they’re now affectionally known, to address the issue soon. it’s expected that they will justify their “birthday gift” and whatnot as benefiting the poor. past and present politicians have lived off the backs of the poor to absolve themselves when their hands are caught in the cookie jar. it’s only fair that the bishops do the same.

Entry filed under: Blogroll, commentary, filipino, philippines. Tags: , , , , , , , .

This Lady Is One Of A Kind To Walk or Not to Walk

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. emilayskie  |  July 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Oh wow! This is another eye opener for me. I have not been hearing news from the Philippines for a month already and this is a total embarrassment.

    • 2. plaridel  |  July 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm


      i wish i can provide you with better news on the philippines. but for now there’s no better news than you. 🙂

      • 3. emilayskie  |  July 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm

        Aaww.. Katuwa naman yun! Haha.. Uu nga po eh. I really pray for our country. I never meant to leave. Talagang kailangan lang because of my husband’s wishes.

        Visit ako lagi dito para maging updated sa news. Haha..

  • 4. Pointless Paranoia  |  July 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    A clear picture of a modern-time avant-garde Damaso.

    • 5. plaridel  |  July 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      pointless paranoia:

      right on the money! opps! 😦

  • 6. plaridel  |  July 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    the catholic bishop conference of the philippines (cbcp) has finally issued a formal apology without admitting guilt for several bishops being implicated in the pcso fund mess and added that the controversy has damaged the church’s long-standing partnership with the government in providing assistance to the poor and underprivileged.

    at today’s hearing, the senate has given the said bishops the benefit of the doubt and cleared them from any wrongdoing for each receiving funds intended for the purchase of a standard utility vehicle (suv). truth to be told, some chose to buy a much less expensive vehicle with the rest of the money either given to the poor or pocketed for safekeeping. well, that’ll depend on the status of their conscience.

    bishop juan de dios pueblos has also admitted the impropriety of asking for a sports utility vehicle (suv) as a birthday gift. he said it was a ‘lapse of judgment’ on his part. he further acknowledged that it was registered in his name. at the same breath, he claimed that he doesn’t own it and that it’s used for the benefit of the poor in his diocese. i think if it used occasionally for that purpose, we can’t accuse the good bishop of lying.

  • 7. coolwaterworks  |  July 16, 2011 at 5:26 am

    This is another polarizing issue particularly within the Catholic Church… Some analysts say that a twisted PR genius was behind this, and Sen. Miriam Santiago concurred. For one, it took some time to clear the fact that the bishops were never given Pajeros.

    Add to it the way major media outifts are sensationalizing the news here. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between news and soap operas…

    And if my former history teacher be heard, she wanted PNOY to point his accusing finger to his own mother, who started this gift-giving spree to the clergy…

    • 8. plairdel  |  July 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm


      i don’t think it matters whether they are pajeros or not. the real issue is that they were given vehicles from gambling proceeds. as we know it, the bishops are very much against gambling in any form.

      the requests for the vehicles were made in aid of the poor. for one, bishop pueblos asked for a P1.7 million suv as a birthday gift “with the intention of furthering the common good” in the far flung places of the caraga region. he may really need a 4×4 to do so because of the road conditions there. but i’d like to ask the good bishop how many times have he done it since he got his brand new suv. i’d bet my bottom dollar that the suv is utilized more for his personal use than for anything else.

      to criticize bishop pueblos and others like him shouldn’t be considered an attack on the catholic church as their apologists would like us to believe. these bishops should be disciplined by the church. i don’t think it will happen, though. the catholic clergy is a fraternity and very protective of its members. it’ll give them support and protection like they do to priests who molest children.

      did cory use public funds to buy sports utility vehicles for her favorite bishops? if she did, she was guilty as well.


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