2022 Philippine Elections

Marcos Jr. poses threat to Philippines, says protégé of Cardinal Sin

Paterno R. Esmaquel II
Marcos Jr. poses threat to Philippines, says protégé of Cardinal Sin

MARCOS AGAIN? Protesters gather at the EDSA People Power Monument on February 20, 2022, to mark the 36th anniversary of the People Power revolt that ousted Ferdinand Marcos, whose son is now leading the presidential race.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

‘Ang sinungaling ay sinungaling,’ says Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Rappler Talk

MANILA, Philippines – The son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos poses a threat to the Philippines as he leads the 2022 presidential race, said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, a protégé of the late Manila archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

In a Rappler Talk interview on Monday, February 21, Villegas said he and other stalwarts of People Power never imagined that Ferdinand Marcos Jr. would top presidential surveys 36 years after his father was ousted. During the 1986 People Power revolt that toppled the elder Marcos, Villegas was the 25-year-old private secretary of Sin, who called Filipinos to EDSA and helped mount the peaceful uprising.

Hindi namin inisip na in the year 2022 ay ganito ang banta para sa ating panahon. And I say it: banta (We didn’t imagine that in the year 2022, this would be the threat of our times. And I say it: threat),” the 61-year-old Villegas said. 

(Watch the full Rappler Talk interview below.)

Marcos Jr. poses threat to Philippines, says protégé of Cardinal Sin

Villegas cited the lies that the Marcos camp has spread about the Martial Law years, claiming that there were no killings, no plunder, and no abuses under the Marcos dictatorship.

‘Pag tiningnan mo ang kanyang narrative, sa halip na mag-sorry ay binabago nila ‘yung kuwento. Pero alam na ng buong mundo ang kuwento. Alam na ng buong mundo – very simply, mag-Google ka na lang,” he said. (If you look at their narrative, instead of saying sorry, they are changing the story. But the whole world knows the story. The whole world knows – very simply, just search it on Google.)

Ang sinungaling ay sinungaling (A liar is a liar),” added Villegas, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). 

When asked if this means Filipinos should not vote for Marcos, however, Villegas did not give a categorical answer. Instead he stressed the need to shape the minds of people, as “the real empowerment is formation.”

Church’s pivotal role

Is it time for the Catholic hierarchy to explicitly endorse or reject candidates?

Villegas said this is not prohibited but much discernment is needed. He said the Church should also be mindful of the bigger picture, including the need to “train in maturity our Catholic faithful in making the appropriate moral judgment.”

Hindi dapat masanay ang Catholic faithful na obispo ang nagdedesisyon para sa kanila. Ang duty ng Church leaders ay formation of conscience, but we cannot substitute for the conscience of our Catholic faithful,” Villegas told Rappler. (The Catholic faithful should not be used to relying on bishops to decide for them. The duty of Church leaders is formation of conscience, but we cannot substitute for the conscience of our Catholic faithful.)

The Catholic Church is expected to play a pivotal role in the 2022 elections, given that the same institution took a solid stance against the Marcos patriarch 36 years ago. The CBCP statement denouncing fraud in the February 1986 snap elections, declaring that the Marcos regime “has no moral basis,” was one of the bedrocks of the People Power revolt. 

For this year’s elections, many Catholic groups have broken their traditional silence on politics, and voiced support for Marcos’ closest opponent, Vice President Leni Robredo. These groups include religious communities such as the De La Salle Brothers of Taft, the charismatic group Ligaya ng Panginoon, and more than 500 priests and nuns who signed a February 12 statement of support for her.

Bishops have been cautious not to explicitly endorse Robredo – but have either supported lay efforts to back her campaign, or dropped hints by allowing themselves to be photographed with Robredo or posting her campaign color, pink, on Facebook. Without spelling out his personal stance, Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, for one, “blessed” the Robredo endorsement by a local lay group.

Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, who also worked closely with Sin during the Marcos years, earlier categorically rejected Marcos after El Shaddai preacher Mike Velarde endorsed him for president. “Kung merong hindi dapat iboto para presidente, ito ay si Bongbong Marcos (If there’s anyone who should not be voted for president, it is Bongbong Marcos),” Bacani said. – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering 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 pat.esmaquel@rappler.com