PALMA SUPPORTS PEACEFUL ELECTIONS
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.