The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has strongly urged President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to scrap Executive Order 464, or else it will be forced to declare to the people that the present administration is tolerating the incidence of rampant graft and corruption in the government.
In a statement issued by the CBCP, it insisted that the present administration's unclear stance on the issuance of Executive Order No. 464, which bars government officials, including military and police officers, from testifying before public hearings called by Congress, could be misconstrued by the people as another way of protecting rampant illegal transactions involving top government officials.
The civil society groups have shared the view of the CBCP that the continuous reluctance of President Arroyo to cancel EO 464 is meant to mussle the mouths of public officials who may have been privy or knowledgeable to some of graft and corrupt practices under the present administration.
They strongly believed that scrapping of EO 464 will eventually allow more whistle-blowers to come out in the open to expose unwanted corruption in government.
Perhaps, it is the best move that the present administration can do if only to show the people that top government officials also observe the sanctity of the forthcoming Lenten Observance.
As CBCP president archbishop Angel Lagdameo said in his recent pastoral statement: "Lent will soon be upon us, a time of penance, of sorrow for sin, of self-reform. Soon we shall hear again the clarion call of the Lord Jesus: “Reform your lives and believe in the Gospel!” (Mk 1: 15). This season is the appropriate beginning for profound reform and conversion. It is the time for a spiritual combat against the enemy within, our pride and greed, our lust for power and wealth."
"And so we exhort you, our beloved people: As a special project for this year’s Lenten observance and in the spirit of penance, let us come together in little groups of reflection and discernment. In these groups we look seriously at our part in the many evils of our day—as individuals, as families, as communities—and discern what action we can do together," he added.
Corrupt government officials must have heard or heeded the CBCP's call for these people to atone their sins to be one in the great sufferings of Christ on the cross.