27 February 2008


Msgr. Ramon C. Tronqued, Vicar General of Legazpi, reading the Pastoral Letter on Communal Action for Truth and Accountability at the Misa para sa Katotoohan asin Paninimbagan, 27 February 2008, Ligao City, Albay


P.O. Box 38
, Legazpi City 4500, Philippines

PASTORAL BULLETIN NO. 2, Series of 2008

To: People of God in Legazpi, All Men and Women of Good Will and Faith

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” (Rom 12,9)

The recent allegation of new cases of corruption committed by high government officials and influential personalities, notably in the ZTE-NBN deal, has once again put our country at a moral and political crossroad.

One of the more crucial testimonies comes from whistleblower, Mr. Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada, a technical consultant in several government projects who hails from Ligao City in our diocese.

The great majority of our people clamors for a peaceful and meaningful resolution to this latest scandal. For that to happen, truth has to be revealed and justice, particularly accountability, has to hold sway.

Unfortunately, there is so much distrust in the present leadership of our country. Democratic institutions that are duty-bound to promote truth and accountability are seen by many to function mainly as instruments to maintain the hold of those in power.

In the face of this recent turn of events, what should we, as People of God, do?

The bishops of the Philippines, after our recent Plenary Assembly this January, released the Pastoral Statement: “Reform yourselves and believe in the Gospel (Mk 1,15)”. In it we expressed our conviction that the patent subordination of the common good to the good of the few – the dark stain of our social and political life – may yet be conquered by a burning desire for genuine conversion first as individuals, then as communities of faith.

We need first to recognize and beg forgiveness for our sinfulness and our complicity, in one way or another, to the tangled web of corruption that afflicts our nation. And then rise to commit ourselves to make our “love genuine; hate what is evil; and hold fast to what is good” (Rom 12,9).

We support Mr. Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada for his decision to find redemption by embracing the truth. We encourage others who are also privy to such acts of corruption to also come out and speak up in order to set things right for themselves and for our country.

We appeal especially to our public officials, from lowly government functionaries to the President and her Cabinet, to heed the call of genuine social transformation by truth-telling and accepting accountability, even if it may come to making the painful sacrifice of stepping down from power if the interest of the common good demands it.

We exhort our parishes, schools, religious organizations, basic ecclesial communities (BECs), various groups and, especially, families to form ourselves into circles of prayer, discernment and action. We echo the words we used in 1986 after the Snap Election: we need to “pray together, reason together, decide together, act together”.

By our communal prayer, discernment and action let us find effective ways to let the truth be revealed, let those in power be held accountable, let social responsibility be the mark of our citizenry and let immoderate greed and corruption be a thing of the past.

This may not be the shortcut to another attempt at regime change that some sectors would like to happen, but this painstaking process is precisely what we need. Trust God to let our steadfast commitment to communal prayer and action, done in “Spirit and truth” (Jn 4,24), bear the fruit of meaningful change that we all long for.

To help our discernment, we propose that we read, reflect on and discuss the CBCP Pastoral Statement “Reform yourselves and believe in the Gospel (Mk 1,15)” and the short monograph “Corruption and Communion: Struggling for Integrity in Philippine Church and Society” by Rev. Fr. Albert Alejo, S.J., convenor of the Ehem! Anti-Corruption Movement.

We are also distributing to our parishes and religious communities, a special Prayers of the Faithful, in English and Bikol, composed specifically to respond to our present situation. The theme of our traditional Siete Palabras reflections this Good Friday will be our “Reverence to Human Life and Nature”.

May this season of Lent and these turbulent times be a graced moment of genuine conversion and pave the way for a new Easter for each of us and for our country.

Sincerely in His service,

Bishop Administrator of Legazpi

27 February 2008

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