Archbishop Villegas to Marcoses: Ask forgiveness

Paterno Esmaquel II
Archbishop Villegas to Marcoses: Ask forgiveness
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas says in his message, 'Return stolen inheritance. Correct mistakes. The mercy of God awaits all those who are humble and repentant.'

MANILA, Philippines – Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates urged the Marcoses to ask forgiveness for the sins of their patriarch, the late Ferdinand Marcos, as the nation is ready to forgive the dictator. 

Para sa mga pamilyang naiwanan, ang dapat gawin ay ihingi ng tawad ang kasalanan ng yumao. Lahat naman ng yumao ay nangangailangan ng kapatawaran,” Villegas said in a statement on Wednesday, November 23, during a prayer rally in Dagupan City. 

(For the families left behind, what they should do is to ask forgiveness for the sins of the dead. All of the dead need forgiveness.)

Villegas, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), added in his message: “Ibalik ang ninakaw na mana. Iwasto ang pagkakamali. Ang awa ng Diyos ay naghihintay sa lahat ng taong mababang loob at nagsisisi.”

(Return stolen inheritance. Correct mistakes. The mercy of God awaits all those who are humble and repentant.)

Marcos, his wife Imelda, and their cronies plundered up to $10 billion from state coffers and plunged the Philippines into crippling debt during his rule, according to government investigators and historians.

The dictator also oversaw widespread human rights abuses to maintain his control of the country and enable his plundering, with thousands of people killed and tortured, previous Philippine governments said.

Marcos was ousted through the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, a rebellion backed by then Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

Nation ready to forgive, but…

Villegas, who was Sin’s 25-year-old private secretary when the EDSA Revolution happened, issued his statement as protests mount against the hero’s burial for Marcos.

Protesters staged nationwide rallies on Friday, November 25, a week after the late dictator was buried during what critics called a surreptitious ceremony. (READ: Luneta protesters to Duterte: End alliance with Marcos family

In the Dagupan prayer rally on Wednesday, Villegas added, “Ang bayang nagra-rally ay handa namang magpatawad, bakit hindi?” (The nation staging rallies is ready to forgive, why not?)

The archbishop, however, said this forgiveness cannot mean indulging evil. Neither can it mean embracing injury and plunder. 

Ang pagbabayad-pinsala sa masama; ang kabayaran sa pinsala; ang paghingi ng tawad sa kasalanan – ang mga ito ay kailangan upang mapatawad, wika ni San Juan Pablo II,” Villegas said.

(Reparation for evil; compensation for injury; and seeking forgiveness for sins – these are all needed to be forgiven, says Saint John Paul II.)

At the same time, Villegas called on the Marcoses: “Huwag sanang gamitin ng mga buhay ang bangkay ng yumao para sa kani-kanilang pangarap at ambisyon.” (May the living not use a corpse for their own dreams and ambitions.)

Villegas continued: “Sa katayuan ng yumaong Ferdinand Marcos, hindi na niya kailangan ang parangal sa libingan. Ang kailangan niya ay dasal. Hindi madaragdagan ang kanyang kapayapaan sa kabilang buhay sa pamamagitan ng puntod sa Libingan ng mga Bayani.”

(In the case of the late Ferdinand Marcos, he no longer needs honors at the cemetery. What he needs is prayer. A tomb in the Heroes’ Cemetery will not add to his peace in the afterlife.) – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.