As of the last count, there are 12 localities in the Philippines that have declared Pura Luka Vega a “persona non grata.”

Some lawyers have commented that these resolutions or declarations have political rather than legal implications. This makes us ask: What will it gain for the people by having this drag declared “not pleasing” or “unwelcome” in a locality?

Most of the resolutions highlight the importance of social and cultural values as well as the religious beliefs of Filipinos.

Unfortunately, we have not read any thorough explanation why the need for politicians to take a deep dive into the issue. One’s guess is as good as another – that she has offended “religious” feelings or sensitivities.

But this issue of “offending” religious sensitivities is the very opening that leads us to more contentious themes for discussion.

In a country long labelled the “cradle” of Christianity in the Orient, believers themselves have been offending one another’s religious sensitivities. Just months ago, we witnessed a showdown between a Dominican exorcist and a former public official who’s a diehard Marian devotee. So, what’s new?

In fact, anyone who wants to hear more offensive statements against a certain religion or denomination may just attend a debate between a Catholic Faith Defender and Christians of other denominations. Ironically, most politicians would solicit support from both if not all Churches and religious sects during elections.

I do understand that condemnations are normal. Afterall, they are but human reactions caused by disgust or anger. What is not normal is the use of condemnation as a political statement. Virtue signaling in the form of condemnation is hypocrisy.

I cannot imagine that even Dinagat Surigao has joined the trend. Did not the island produce that political clan whose “claims of divinity” are as objectionable as Luka Vega’s rendition of the Lord’s Prayer?

Each of us has had our versions of condemnations against our enemies, detractors, and all those we consider lesser in “holiness.”

At some point in our lives, we have made it appear that we are cleaner and better than others. Just look around and see these hundreds of homilists and preachers who have bashed adulterers, gamblers, and non-churchgoers.

My point is this: what’s going on among cities reflects that human propensity to pretend. That nerve in us to think that we are “immaculate.”

I would have appreciated it if these declarations of persona non grata were given to “drug lords,” “warlords,” and “land grabbers.” Apparently, it is difficult to do this, especially against the chief patrons and donors of our fiestas.

The series of condemnations against Pura Luka is becoming an overkill. The impact is becoming “negentropic.” The rejection is getting weaker. It is becoming more meaningless one day after another. Hopefully, it won’t become politically self-serving.

I do not see any achievement in local councils taking an effort to declare this “enemy” a persona non grata.

Spending time to craft a statement of rejection is such a “low-hanging fruit” to be considered a political achievement. In the context of a secular and democratic system, the more pressing need is for politicians to use their time to find serious ways to address problems in livelihood, healthcare, and disaster resilience.

Alas, local government units are deploying a battalion of soldiers to kill a chicken.*