3 Bishops Call for Arroyo's Resignation

Philippine Leader Embroiled in Corruption Allegations

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MANILA, Philippines, OCT. 21, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Three Catholic bishops in the Philippines called for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who they say has brought shame to the nation amid a string of corruption allegations.

Bishop Antonio Tobias of Novaliches, Deogracias Iñiguez of Kalookan and retired Bishop Julio Labayen of Infanta said in a joint statement Friday that Arroyo has shown culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

"It is time for the sovereign Filipino people whom she has betrayed to now speak up as one voice and resoundingly ask her to step down," the statement read.

They said Arroyo must be held liable for her crimes, "Her acts, or omissions, of bribery, graft and corrupt practices are punishable by law." The government has been beset by the controversy of the alleged distribution of hefty cash gifts to congressmen and local public officials.

The bishops said that if a regime is "morally bankrupt," then there is "no other alternative for the people but to demand that the leader, the chief executive, commander in chief, the president, steps down and resigns."

The prelates also called on the people to join the bishops' conference of the Philippines in the call it made Tuesday for transparency and honesty in the government.

In the text signed by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, the president of the country's episcopal conference, the bishops said, "Our country is not only suffering from economic bankruptcy but also moral bankruptcy, disappointingly being shown by our leaders."

Meanwhile, Archbishop Lagdameo denounced the explosion at the Glorietta Mall in Makati that claimed at least 8 lives Friday: "That explosion diverts our concentration and adds to our common national problems that are crying for a satisfactory solution.

"We invite everybody to join us in praying for the solution of the many crises that our country is facing today."