FORMER Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Socrates Villegas slammed on Saturday, October 23, the alleged corruption and misuse of Covid-19 pandemic funds.
In a "Pastoral Admonition," Villegas said reports of dishonesty, graft, and malfeasance in "scandalous proportions" are appalling, especially since it took advantage of the global health crisis.
"We cannot but be appalled by credible reports about dishonesty, graft, and malfeasance in scandalous proportions, particularly because these despicable acts exploited the fears of our people occasioned by the Covid pandemic," he said.
"Held in the grip of dread for the disease that has claimed so many lives, our people, already laid low by the economic privation brought about by the pandemic, were hoodwinked by those who exploited the situation for their profit," he added.
In particular, the prelate scored those behind the supposed misuse of government funds meant to help the people face the pandemic.
"In the name of God, I admonish all, who have profited from these scandalous deals and iniquitous transactions to return to the Lord, who is rich in mercy and abounding in forgiveness," said the archbishop.
He then asked authorities to hold accountable those behind the said corrupt practices to prevent repeat of such acts.
"I admonish all who serve in the prosecution service to see to the prosecution of those, who are liable for these egregious offenses against our people, who have enriched themselves at a time of want and of suffering," said Villegas.
The prelate also urged Catholics to vehemently protest such acts of perfidy "as vocally and persistently as possible."
"There can be no room for neutrality. Between good and evil, there is no middle ground. Whoever is unwilling to condemn blatant injustice becomes its enabler," said Villegas.
Earlier, the preliminary findings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigation on the alleged overpriced Covid-19 supplies pointed that the government awarded questionable contracts to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.
The alleged irregularities supposedly involved former Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management head Lloyd Christopher Lao, Presidential Management Staff Undersecretary Anderson Lo, and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)