Prelate calls for political action; urges local Church to witness OPM

By Julma M. Narvadez

In yet another moving statement, Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona OCD, DD, calls on his flock to commit to political education and engagement.


“Now, more than ever, is the time to show our conviction and inner strength to fight the evil designs of political crooks,” he says in his letter issued on May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, in time for the May 9 national and local elections.


Tria Tirona did not mince words as he denounces the “massive systemic propagation of fake news, highly organized and well-paid trolls whose job is to propagate lies and historical distortions. These people are truly agents of Satan because biblically, Satan is called the father of all lies.” He laments that “many of the victims of these lies and black propaganda are our poor kababayans who are often manipulated and led to falsehood.”


For the Archbishop, Filipinos “must muster our courage and harness our talent and spirit to join political forces that fight for and promote the best interests of our nation, and of our people.” He says the coming elections will determine “whether we rise and restore our dignity as a nation, or we sink deeper into the quagmire of a failed nation.”


The prelate cites “widespread poverty, trillion of pesos in debt, unabated corruption, unequal justice, underpaid workers and laborers, non-payment of taxes of high-profile politicians, uncontrolled spread of illegal drugs and gambling, weakened educational system,” as among the scourges that country faces today.


“The transformation of our nation can only happen when moral and ethical values are at the center of the candidates’ political platforms,” he adds. He asks the faithful to scrutinize the motives of the candidates running for public office and to “join with those who truly stand for the common good of our people and the redemption of our nation.”


He reveals that he will join the inter-faith invocation during the One Pink March (OPM) on May 6, at Naga City, hometown of presidential candidate Leni Robredo. He enjoins the faithful, the clergy and religious to “witness and join the massive gathering… to stand together and fight for the common good of our people and the transformation of our nation.”


“Before us is the opportunity to show our solidarity with those candidates who understand the plight of the poor, who stand side-by-side with the poor and who can deliver what is best for the poor,” the Archbishop says. (For the full text of the pastoral letter, please turn to page…)


Tria Tirona has staunchly preached about the duty of Catholics to engage in the public square. On Christ the King Sunday in November 2021, he launched the Catholic Citizenship Education and Engagement Program in a pastoral letter where he reminded the faithful that “Christ is our one and only true King… gifted by God with dignity, we must not allow human leaders to trample upon His Kingship.”


He also said that “like the Apostles, we are all sent by our King to bring His Gospel to every corner of our society, especially to the oppressed and the marginalized. When the people are cowered by unjust structures, we are called to dedicate our lives to the Gospel so God’s Kingdom of love, justice and peace will reign. We respond to Christ’s invitation to holiness by living out the Gospel and proclaiming His Kingship”


In January, he echoed the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Philippines for a “decisive action for a just and green recovery from the climate crisis.” (CBCP Pastoral Statement on Ecology, January 2022)


He asked the local Church to “reject donation from quarry operators,” as he asserted the “non-acceptance policy” of donations and favors of whatever kind from undertakings that destroy nature. “Quarrying is a destructive act. We condemn that. What we encourage are constructive acts for the environment,” he said in a radio interview.