Cebu Arch­bishop Jose Palma sup­ports the move of the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec) and the po­lice to de­clare the cities of Cebu, Man­daue and Lapu-Lapu un­der the elec­tion watch­list ar­eas (Ewas).

The pos­si­bil­ity, though, that there will be vi­o­lence in the three cities in the lead-up to the elec­tion or on Elec­tion Day it­self is “mild,” un­like in Bo­hol and Ne­gros, where the sit­u­a­tion is “in­tense.”

Palma be­lieves the Com­elec and the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice were just after clean and peace­ful mid-term elec­tions in May when they de­cided to put these cities un­der Ewas for the first time.

An area is placed un­der the watch­list if it has a his­tory of in­tense po­lit­i­cal ri­valry or vi­o­lence.

“So if there’s con­cep­tion, feel­ing or sus­pi­cion that the elec­tion in these ar­eas may not be peace­ful, as de­signed, let them be de­clared as hotspots or what­ever. That closer, stricter or tighter way (be im­ple­mented). Let the of­fi­cers do it be­cause our wish is that the elec­tion will be clean, hon­est and peace­ful,” Palma said in Ce­buano.

But while he takes Cebu’s safety dur­ing elec­tions se­ri­ously, he just laughed off Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s re­cent re­marks against bish­ops.

‘Tong mga obispo ninyo, patayin ninyo. Walang silbi iyang mga gagong ‘yan. (These bish­ops of yours, kill them. Those fools don’t have a real pur­pose.). All they do is crit­i­cize. PRES­I­DENT RO­DRIGO DUTERTE

“‘Tong mga obispo ninyo, patayin ninyo. Walang silbi iyang mga gagong iyan (These bish­ops of yours, kill them. Those fools don’t have a real pur­pose). All they do is crit­i­cize,” said Duterte dur­ing the award­ing cer­e­mony of the 2017 Pres­i­den­tial Award for Child-Friendly Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and Cities at the Mala­cañang Palace last Dec. 5.

The 68-year-old prelate merely de­scribed Duterte’s state­ment as a “bad joke.”

“We just laugh at that. Be­cause for us, nor­mally, peo­ple who are nor­mal would not say some­thing like that... And just like what Pres­i­den­tial Chief Le­gal Coun­sel Sal­vador Panelo said, the Pres­i­dent was just jok­ing,” Palma said in Ce­buano.

“Who in his right mind would say out­right kill this group... What I mean, maybe it was a bad joke,” Palma said in Ce­buano.

The arch­bishop said he is not wor­ried about the Pres­i­dent’s state­ments be­cause there is no valid rea­son why bish­ops should be killed.

“There is noth­ing to be afraid of. What have we done to de­serve to be killed?” laughed Palma dur­ing an in­ter­view with re­porters after he cel­e­brated a mass for the feast of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion at the Cebu Metropoli­tan Cathe­dral on Satur­day, Dec. 8.

Palma said the feast is a re­minder of how peo­ple came into the world. It is also a re­minder of how much God loves the peo­ple.

“Even if peo­ple sin, God’s love is al­ways greater and more pow­er­ful,” Palma said dur­ing his homily.


FEAST OF THE VIR­GIN MARY. Mar­ian devo­tees flock to take a photo of the im­age of the Vir­gin Mary inside the Cebu Metropoli­tan Cathe­dral. Satur­day, Dec. 8, marks the feast of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion.

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