My Report on the Senate Investigation on the Pajero Bishops


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday criticized the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee for dragging Catholic bishops into the investigation on misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.

Yes, the same Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago who is the author of the Senate version of the Reproductive Health Bill.

Was it Unconstitutional?

According to the Senator, there is nothing unconstitutional with the Bishops receiving donations from government funds. The senator went as far as saying that just because you’re literate enough to read the constitution doesn’t mean that you can correctly interpret it and that it is the Supreme Court who is the only authority.

So what did the only authorize constitution interpreter said about the issue? Well, according to Senator Santiago (and also by Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, JSD), there was a supreme court ruling back in 1937 in a case filed by the Supreme Head of the Philippine Independent Church (that is a bad ass title, IMO) Mons. Gregorio Aglipay against the Director of Posts who ordered creation of stamps to commemorate the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress, organized by the Roman Catholic Church. Click here for the document.

What did the Supreme Court ruled? Well, it was legal because the stamps were not issued and sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church, nor were money derived from the sale of the stamps given to that church.

How were the “Luxury” Vehicles Used?

Now, were the “luxury” vehicles given to the Bishops for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church? According to Senator Santiago, no, and asked the people if they have even checked where these Bishops are located. The dioceses are located in some of the poorest mountainous areas in the Philippines where non-4×4 will have a hard time traversing.

Listening to Ex-Vice President Noli de Castro this morning, all he reported about the senate hearing from yesterday was that there was no Pajero and that the bishops are returning the vehicles. Ka Noli even reiterated that be that as it may, the question remains about how they are using these vehicles ignoring the fact that it was already stated from yesterday’s Senate Hearing that the 4x4s were used for charitable purposes and was particularly useful during the typhoon Pepeng.

Were they really Luxury Vehicles?

So do they really need luxury vehicles like a Pajero and all to do that? First of all, define Luxury Vehicle. I’m not very knowledgeable with cars since I do not own one and is certainly not in a financial position in buying one so I’m inept in identifying what is a luxury vehicle and what is not. Is a ten year old, second hand utility vehicle bought for an amount of Php 280,000 considered a luxury vehicle?

Oh you didn’t know that it was actually a ten year old Pathfinder? Well, blame the media for that. I checked the website of Inquirer, GMA news, and ABS-CBN news, and there wasn’t any mention that a second hand utility vehicle was purchased. It was stated by both Senator Santiago and the Bishop of Bontoc-Lagawe during the senate hearing that they purchased a second hand vehicle for less than 300 thousand but was conveniently omitted in any of the article made by these websites.

 Was it unethical?

For non-Catholics, maybe.

But for Catholics, here is what St. John Bosco has to say: “If Satan would appear to me and give me money. I will accept the money and spend it all for the poor. The devil remains to be my enemy but I will use his resources to feed the poor.”

Does anyone remember who Mother Theresa was? Well, here is what she has to say when asked if she accepts donation from the Mafia, “It is not the practice of the church to ask donors where their donations come from. Our duty is to make sure all donations go the poorest of the poor.”

These two statements was the answer of Cardinal Sin when asked why the church was accepting donations from PAGCOR.

Receiving is different from asking.

It was said that the Bishops actually asked for the vehicles, and not offered. The bishops stated that they were informed that it is possible to ask PCSO for funds if the purpose is for social services. Of course, the Bishops applied for it as they really do need the 4x4s to reach the people they are trying to help.

If it was not for Personal Use, why were the Cars Registered Under the Bishop’s Names?

Here is another one that was explained but the media conveniently forgot to include in their news. They were the ones who reported about the cars being registered under the Bishop’s name but when Senator Vicente Sotto said that LTO does not accept registration of vehicles under any name besides a person’s name, no news article was written about it.

My apologies for not providing links on some of the statements written here. The media sources opted to omit some information that would have put the bishops on a better light.

It is a good thing that I am now finally working from home. Now I can monitor the news and actually listen live to senate and house investigations and not depend on what the media writes. Remember the Pacquiao vs Lagman?

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About Squared
House of Squared is written by that guy who knows more than the average Duterte supporter, which isn't saying much given that most of them are morons.

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