MANILA, Philippines – Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas reminded anti-Marcos protesters at the nationwide anti-Marcos rally on Wednesday, November 30, to air their grievances out of compassion and not revenge.
"Sa anumang rally o symposium o protestang gagawin, palaging tandaan na ang paninindigan ay dapat na mula sa pagmamalasakit at hindi paghihiganti," Villegas said in a statement primarily addressed to his flock in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.
(In whatever rally or symposium or protest that will be done, always remember that your convictions should be out of compassion and not revenge.)
Villegas was referring to the protests on Wednesday against President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to allow a hero's burial for dictator Ferdinand Marcos. (READ: November 30 rallies: What protesters demand of Duterte)
Villegas, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, explained in his message, "Ang pagmamahal sa bayan ay isang mukha ng pananampalataya sa Diyos." (Love for country is a face of faith in God.)
He said: "Kung sa inyong paninindigan, ang makisali sa mga rally ay kinakailangan at sa tingin ninyo ay bahagi ng ating tungkuling Kristiyano, kayo ay malugod kong hinihimok na dumalo dala ang aking basbas."
(If in your convictions, joining rallies is needed and is part of our Christian duty, I am pleased to invite you to join these with my blessings.)
'Huwag tayong magsiraan'
The archbishop then urged his flock to discuss issues and principles, and to avoid cursing and insulting people who espouse different views.
"Ang hinahanap ay katotohanan – katotohanang may pagmamahal. Huwag tayong magsiraan," Villegas said. (What we're looking for is truth – truth with love. Let us not destroy each other.)
In his statement, Villegas also requested parents to tell their children about the Marcos dictatorship, and not to sanitize its evils.
He appealed for prayers as well to solve the country's problems soon in a peaceful way.
The archbishop said: "Huwag lumimot. Manindigan. Makisangkot. Huwag pabayaang mawalang muli ang kalayaan." (Do not forget. Take a stand. Participate. Do not allow freedom to be lost again.)
Villegas was the former private secretary of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, who helped oust Marcos through the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986.
One of the leading voices against the hero's burial for Marcos, Villegas earlier appealed to the Marcoses, "Huwag sanang gamitin ng mga buhay ang bangkay ng yumao para sa kani-kanilang pangarap at ambisyon." (I am calling on the family of the late Ferdinand Marcos. May the living not use a corpse for their own dreams and ambitions.)
He also urged the Marcos family to ask forgiveness for their father's sins, as the nation is ready to forgive him. (READ: Kailangan ni Marcos ng dasal, hindi parangal – Archbishop Villegas) – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.