Ex-judge to clergy: Focus on fixing church scandals, not politics

Ex-judge to clergy: Focus on fixing church scandals, not politics

MANILA – Former Sandiganbayan justice and Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson Harriet Demetriou on Tuesday called out religious leaders for engaging in politics and urged them to focus instead on reforming the Catholic Church which has been plagued by scandals.

“Instead of your non-stop politicizing, criticizing and demeaning the System which includes the judicial power of the Philippines, you wait for the decision of the Supreme Court on some issues you rally behind together with some politicians and “prostitute” the dignity of your being ministers of God for self-seeking objectives,” Demetriou said in a Facebook post particularly directed to Manila Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Demetriou called on the prelates to refrain from “tarnishing the system” through self-interest and hypocrisy as she questioned their knowledge and understanding of governance policies.

“Do you have the previous experience in judicial, technical and administrative fields on how to run the government of the Philippines? Do you have the competence and the prescribe qualifications on how issues/cases are remedied/resolved in our judicial system? You take the State for granted with the arrogance of your own excitement and assume that the State is not efficient in determining the proper balance and ready to point out its apparent current inadequacies,” she added.

Stressing that they are not politicians but ministers of God, Demetriou said religious leaders should focus on how they run the Catholic Church and redefining and rehabilitating their priests and bishops.

“The Philippine Catholic Church has been smeared by terrible sexual scandals, corruption, and abuses of priests and Bishops as confirmed by Archbishop Oscar Cruz. Bishops and priests impregnating women and engaging in pedophilia and homosexual anomalies inconsistent with the life they have to live is abominably phenomenal,” she added.

Last week, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo accused the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) of using its religious influence to pressure the Supreme Court to decide against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

This came after the CBCP, in a letter, expressed support for petitions questioning the controversial law, especially the manner by which it was “fast-tracked” in Congress while Filipinos were grappling with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Demetriou, a former Pasig City Regional Trial Court judge, convicted former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez and six others in 1995 for the rape-slay of 21-year-old University of the Philippines Los Baños student Mary Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of 19-year-old Allan Gomez in June 1993.

She was appointed by former president Joseph Estrada as Comelec’s first female chairperson in 1998. (PNA)

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