POLITICIANS mentioned God in two side questions as they recently tackled in separate forums the issues of capital punishment and President Duterte’s successor:
 Was God wrongfully meted the death penalty?
 Does God choose the next President of the Philippines?
At the start of Senate debate on the proposed revival of the death penalty, Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon Wednesday (Aug. 7) said judges and justices who will impose the capital punishment can commit mistakes. Only one in man’s history can claim infallibility, Drilon said, and yet “Jesus was a victim of wrongful execution.” Pacquiao disagreed, saying Jesus sacrificed himself at the cross to save the lives of people.
Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, founder and leader of the “Kingdom of Jesus Christ” religious group based in Davao City, said Friday (Aug. 2) Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio “has been chosen by God” to be the next President of the country. The presidency is “a gift from God. It is God who determines it,” Quiboloy said. The President’s daughter replied: “Before I think about that, I should ask God first if this is for me.” She will seek wisdom to make the right decision, she said.
Dragging God into the political arena, or, to be precise, using Him to argue for a position or reinforce a politician’s stand on a public issue, is old strategy.
God’s name is a convenient tool, a favorite of nobles and scoundrels alike. But in the two incidents last week, which raised the concerns of senator-boxer Pacquiao and Mayor Sara, invoking the deity was irresistible because of the subject involved.
No death-penalty debate at a beer pub or on the Senate floor can erupt without citing God’s injunction against the taking of human life (“Thou shalt not kill”).
And the highest office of the land is filled not by the electorate but by God: a mantra in this Catholic country, which past aspirants used in rationalizing their loss: “God didn’t mean me to be President.”
Quiboloy said the same thing when asked in his streaming video program “Give Us This Day”: “It is God who determines it, you don’t aspire for it... Those who aspired for it, where are they now?”
What Quiboloy sees
Mayor Sara set herself a deadline to announce her decision about seeking the office: January 2021. Quiboloy though claimed God had already shown him a glimpse of what was to come: “drastic changes” in her life.
Quiboloy predicted Rodrigo Duterte’s victory in 2016, echoing late pre-election surveys. But in 2010, when the pastor was emphatic that Gilbert Teodoro, despite poor poll ratings, would be the next President, “God’s-choice” Gibo finished fourth in the race.
This time, Mayor Sara is being more prudent by opting to get the word directly from God, not just from the supposed “appointed son of God.”
Flawed justice system
Whether judges or justices cannot err in imposing the death penalty, the fact is the justice system is flawed. Not debatable; what remains arguable is the wisdom of meting out death in such a seriously defective structure.
Drilon, Pacquiao or any other legislator knows the rich and powerful can get away with a heinous crime, but the poor gets to hang. Inevitably, those who will be judicially killed are mostly those who cannot hire good lawyers or buy the court fixers.
Drilon didn’t have to cite Jesus’s crucifixion. Apparently, he just couldn’t resist throwing in God for his argument against Pacquiao, who himself spews out the holy name every chance he gets.