Fr. Soc’s thoughts

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


THE country just observed the Holy Week but I’d like to give way to Archbishop Soc Villegas’ thoughts last week about observance of Holy Week.

In case you missed it, his thoughts are relevant and useful to the older generation that clings to traditional ways of observance, and to the young set that thinks nothing of it but a time to getaway for the holiday.  Read on for a refreshing, progressive view of how we should observe annual Holy Week from hereon.

“Should you blindly follow those Holy Week traditions?”

By: Archbishop Socrates Villegas

Holy Week is about what Christ has done for humanity. Let the memory of God’s mercy sink in without any compulsion to do something. Just relish His mercy and bask in the radiance of His love. During Holy Week, tell God “Thank you.”

Holy Week is not what men and women do to make these days holy. It is not about what Catholics must do, nor is it about religious traditions and pious practices done to “feel good” after.

Fasting is good, but without malasakit (concern) for others, it is nothing. Prayer is good, but without remembering others and laying aside personal comfort, it is just an ego trip. Helping the poor and giving alms are good, but if you do it for show or to get a “feel good” reward later, it is just a noisy bell.

Can we go to the beach during Holy Week?

If it will help you love like Jesus, yes, you can. But if it will distract you from the story of His love, please don’t. The highest law is not silence but love. Silence speaks only if that silence is loving.

Do we need to visit churches during Holy Week?

That is good practice, but you might want to visit seven patients in the charity ward of a hospital instead and bring them some food. Choose to love.

Do we need to scourge our backs until they bleed to show atonement for our sins?
Instead of spilling your blood on the streets, why not walk into a Red Cross office and donate blood? Choose to share life. Share your blood.

Do we need to walk barefoot till our soles get blisters as a form of penance for our sins? Why don’t you buy a pair of slippers and give it to a child who goes to school dragging his torn footwear?

Do we need to sing the “Pasyong Mahal” as an act of devotion to the story of Christ’s sufferings and death? Why don’t you buy a Bible instead and read one chapter a day with your family for the rest of the year?

Do you need to get the flowers from the Holy Week carrosas to bring home and adorn your family altar? Why don’t you bring flowers instead to a home for abandoned seniors and brighten the faces of lonely grandparents with the love you bring?

Must the face look sour and gloomy during Holy Week? Love begins with a smile. Make someone happy this Holy Week. Make someone feel loved. With your smile, show that God is love.

Holy Week traditions vary from country to country. Holy Week practices evolve with time. For 2,000 years now, only one tradition has remained—the Christian tradition of Love.  It is really not just a tradition. The first Christians were known to be the most loving of all. Love is our identity. This week is holy because of love. Love alone can make us holy.”

Happy Easter to all!

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MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS. The events that followed the sudden and immediate relief of P/Supt. Neil Miro as Dagupan’s chief of police are disturbing to say the least, and beg more questions than answers.


  1. The unbecoming conduct of Mr. Miro was totally unexpected, having reported him in our pages as someone efficient and dedicated to his work as a police officer.  He was the first I’ve known to talk ill about a  mayor after his relief or reassignment. As a member of the uniform sector, he is well aware of the dictum: “Ours is not to question why, but ours is just to do and die.” Why the bitterness? What really was the bad blood all about? Was his conduct acceptable to the regional office?


  1. When Mr. Miro declared that it was Bonuan Binloc Kap Pedro Gonzalez who broached the idea of setting up a police outpost by the beach area, that made the whole scheme completely suspect. Kap Gonzales has been reported and investigated for issuing waivers to land-grabbers. Was Mr. Miro talked into a similar deal in exchange for declaring his barangay, a notorious hotbed for illegal drugs, as “drug-cleared”?  Was it the Kap’s  ‘sales-talk’ – that all the land-grabbing in his barangay sailed through without legal complications – that convinced Mr. Miro to seal the deal? 


  1. A grand police substation will not require more than 50 sq. meters. A police detachment will not need more than 25 sq. meters. Why was 600 sq. meters fenced off for a planned police outpost? Between the two, a senior ranking police officer and a barangay kapitan, they were either stupid or simply arrogant to think that their ‘noble’ alibi will fly.  


  1. Mr. Miro had it coming to him when he arrogated unto himself the power and the authority to grab a land area from the government no matter how valid his alibi was and could be. What was he thinking?  Did he actually think that he, as police chief, can get away with it, and even better than the businessmen who dealt with Kap Gonzalez? Did Kap Gonzales issue a waiver in his favor? What was the deal all about?


  1. The almost 600sq. meter area had cement posts as initial barriers for the fence. Those cost thousands of pesos. Surely, a chief of police’s salary cannot cover them. So, pray tell Mr. Miro, who paid for these?


  1. Bonuan Binloc is known to be the worst drug-affected barangay in the region for almost a decade, so how was it possible that Mr. Miro declared it ‘drug-clear’ even ahead of other barangays not in the watch list of PDEA? Was it made to appear that Kap Gonzales was not (and is not) a protector of the illegal drug trade? Why wasn’t Kap Gonzalez made the subject of Tokhang when his barangay was the lair of drug pushers?


  1. The land-grabbing scandal in Bonuan Binloc surfaced during the time of then Mayor Benjie Lim. I recall reporting that even then Councilor Brian Lim attempted to stonewall the investigation at the city council, consequently, Kap Gonzalez was never called to be questioned at the city council. Will the city council today finally consider reopening that investigation, with Kap Gonzales, in the center, even if the presiding officer is Brian Lim? What is Mayor Belen Fernandez prepared to do to finally stop all the rampant land-grabbing in Bonuan? Or will she turn a blind eye? Will City Legal Officer Vicky Cabrera take this on? How many more waivers did Kap Gonzalez issue before Mr. Miro? What was the involvement of the City Assessor in this tax declaration racket?


  1. The city has a new police chief, Superintendent Franklin Ortiz. Does he have the zeal and dedication to service to reassess the declaration of Bonuan Binloc as drug-clear? Will he submit Kap Gonzales’ name as a suspected protector of illegal drugs in the city? Obviously, Mr. Miro didn’t.


  1. The installed cement posts are clear evidence of violations of law. Will the city legal officer and the city engineer file charges against Kap Gonzalez and whoever allowed Mr. Miro to install the concrete posts on the government property?


Now, let’s have the answers.

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