Bishops wary of alleged Arroyo-Villar alliance
Senior Catholic leaders on Sunday voiced concern over rumors that Nacionalista Party standard bearer Senator Manuel Villar Jr. is President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s secret candidate in the May 10 elections.
“If it were true, it could be a sinister plot to ensure [President Arroyo’s] perpetuity in power. So it is an evil deal,” Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes told Catholic Radio Veritas.
“Maraming mahiwaga sa politics natin (Filipino politics has many mysteries), which shows what kind of officials we have and why we are like this,” added Caloocon Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez.
“As I envisioned a month ago, [Mrs. Arroyo] is scared of lawsuits. She wants to stay in power. Let us pray for her,” said Koronadal City Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez.
Last week, Liberal Party standard bearer Senator Benigno Aquino III alleged that Mrs. Arroyo and Villar — his fiercest rival in the presidential race — had entered into an “unholy alliance” to ensure the latter’s victory in the upcoming polls.
Aquino said the Palace could not restrain itself from thanking Villar for keeping quiet on issues confronting the administration.
Villar has allegedly agreed to help Mrs. Arroyo, who is running for representative in the second district of Pampanga, become House Speaker and protect her from suits once he becomes President.
Villar’s camp has denied Aquino’s accusations. NP spokesman and senatorial bet Gilbert Remulla said an alliance with Mrs. Arroyo would be a “kiss of death.” Malacañang also belittled the allegations
But other Catholic bishops said the public should not be easily deceived by such claims and should try to become educated voters instead.
“Let the people discern and pass judgment,” said Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, former president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
“Know your candidates on three issues — track record, capability to govern and integrity,” Cotabato auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said. — Sophia Regina Dedace/NPA, GMANews.TV