It pains me when I see some of our Catholic bishops acting as politicians — and as amateurish politicians at that. Instead of a prayerful or discerning response to questions about the next step after impeachment, the "activist" bishops who filed the impeachment complaints vowed, like defeated ward leaders, to take the battle to the ballot box. An Inquirer story on Page 1 starts off this way:
EXPECT Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez to again file an impeachment complaint against President Macapagal-Arroyo next year, and to campaign against the lawmakers who voted in her favor.
“If she’s still the President,” Iñiguez said yesterday when asked whether he would make another stab at impeaching Ms Arroyo when the one-year ban against such proceedings expires late in July 2007.
“Who knows, she might fall from power soon,” said the prelate who was among the private complainants in the citizen-backed impeachment complaint thrown out by a vote of 173-32.
Bishop Antonio Tobias struck an even harsher tone.
Asked whether he would campaign against the congressmen who had voted to kill the case, Tobias said: “Oh, yes. I will campaign against them.
“Here in Novaliches, I will definitely campaign. That Anna Rosa Susano I will make sure that she does not win again.”
Susano, representative of Quezon City’s second district and an administration ally, expectedly voted against the case.
To be sure, both bishops are perfectly within their rights, as citizens, to file another impeachment case and to campaign against certain candidates. But just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. Oh, of course they can go ahead and file another complaint — especially if the May elections turn into a virtual referendum on the President’s crisis of legitimacy. But their fellow bishops have always taken great pains not to be seen as campaigning, either for or against any candidate. Does Friday’s defeat at the House make that act of prudence obsolete?