His Excellency Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla, D.D.
President, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
Dear Archbishop Capalla,
With a deep sense of appreciation of their profound concern for the
country and our people, I read the Bishops' RESTORING TRUST: A PLEA
FOR MORAL VALUES IN PHILIPPINE POLITICS. I read it both as President
and as a simple individual, one of the flock whom the Lord has called
upon the Bishops to shepherd and provide moral and religious guidance
As a part of our political system, I am greatly saddened to realize
that our people now so mistrust that same political system. As
President, I am greatly humbled to realize that I now owe the Filipino
people a huge debt of service, a debt that to the best of the
abilities that God has given me, I must now try to repay.
In all humility, I took to heart the admonition that I should not
simply dismiss calls for my resignation from office, and that through
prayer, we can arrive at decisions for the common good that are based
on moral precepts.
On the matter of moral accountability and the need to restore trust, I
have initiated the creation of a commission or similar body to look
into the truth behind issues recently raised against me. While
accepting the principle of accountability, it may be noted that such
issues were raised at a time and in a manner that seems to give
credence to the observation that various groups may be manipulating
situations for their own agenda, perhaps with the aim of grabbing
power. I am hopeful that the process of searching for the truth will
shed light on these disturbing matters as well.
On the matter of effective governance, I took to heart the admonition
to discern deeply as to whether the erosion of trust is so severe as
to be irreversible. I believe that subsequent events and revelations
may have given a more balanced view to this question, and that my
decision to stay in my office is the correct one.
If we allow our country's President to be pressured to resign under
these circumstances, when the issues raised might have speculative or
controvertible basis, then we expose our already weakened political
system—a system that needs fundamental reform—to the possibility of
never ending political crises of a similar nature in the future.
With my decision comes the responsibility to sincerely strive to be,
like the men and women that the Bishops have committed to form, a
leaven of social transformation for our country. I pray that God will
give me the strength and wisdom to do so.
Having made my decision, I have tried to make my peace with God as
well. I trust in His infinite mercy and capacity to forgive all of us
who are sinners. I am hopeful that others, being human and so perhaps
less compassionate than the Lord, may still find their way to setting
aside a space in their hearts for me.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Bishops for their
guidance these trying times. I wish to let them know that trusting
completely in the Lord, I have surrendered myself to His will.