Saturday, November 19, 2005


Married priests Hector Canto and Jess Siva hold a mass at the Jaro plaza shortly after the Synod mass led by Archbishop Lagdameo.


By Francis Allan L. Angelo

MARRIED Catholic priests in Iloilo also joined the opening of the 3rd Diocesan Synod of Jaro yesterday as they called for the acceptance of optional celibacy within the Catholic Church hierarchy.
Fathers Hector Canto and Jess Siva held a mass in the middle of the Jaro plaza right after the concelebrated mass at the Jaro Cathedral for the formal opening of the synod.
Canto and Siva are the prime movers behind Kapilya Kita, a gathering of priests and children. The group has been calling reforms in the Catholic Church by way of adopting optional celibacy for priests.
Under the vow of celibacy, Catholic priests are strictly not allowed to marry or bear children in order to give undivided attention to their vocation.
But Siva and Canto said the Vatican must give priests between having a wife and family or living a celibate life.
The two priests added allowing priests to marry is “a gain for the Catholic Church rather than a loss.”
“It will give our priests a more holistic view of their selves and vocation and it will also help stem cases of sexual abuses within the church,” Siva said.
Last year, Kapilya Kita hogged the headlines when it revealed a purported “haven for priests’ children” in Molo, Iloilo City.
A couple also claimed acting as surrogate parents to priests’ children including that of a ranking official in the Archdiocese of Jaro.
Siva and Canto made news with their marriage to two women in the 90s. While they are still considered priests, the Catholic Church bars them from holding mass and administering communion.
Open to change
In his homily, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said the purpose of the synod is “renewal of revitalization.”
Lagdameo said the Catholic Church is open to any changes to suit the needs and demans of present times.
“In order to be renewed as a Church, we must leave behind many ways of thinking, speaking and acting which no longer effectively serve and perhaps even obstruct our evangelizing mission. This mean an unsettling pain, a disengagement from what is cherished but is now obsolete or obstructive, a dying to what is sinful, that we may come to newness of life,” Lagdameo said.
Lagdameo said the synod “is an act of looking together in the same direction even if standing in different situations.
“It is an act of journeying towards the same direction, even if coming from different points of departure, like the twelve wise men looking for Jesus,” said the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
The synod is composed of 129 participants including Lagdameo, 63 diocesan priests, 51 laity members, nine nuns, and five men religious.
Three non-Catholic representatives responded to attend the proceedings from the Baptist Church, from the United Christian Churches of the Philippines and from the Aglipayan Church.
The 3rd Synod of Jaro will discuss three important concerns – the life and ministry of priests; the life and ministry of women religious; and vocations and mission.
The synod will discuss results of the pre-synod consultations held in parishes and institutions, religious organizations, and religious congregations which are embodied in a paper called Instrumentum Laboris.
The approved proposals will be submitted to the archbishop on Saturday who will turn the same into decrees. Synod decrees will guide the implementation of the pastoral program of the archdiocese. (Published in The Guardian, November 18, 2005 issue)

Syjucos afraid of what I know

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ILOILO Provincial Administrator Manuel Mejorada has earned the ire of the Syjuco couple at the second district whom he plans to challenge in the next congressional race.
Mejorada yesterday revealed how Rep. Judy Syjuco, wife of former Rep. Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco, has successfully barred him from attending two important activities at the second district.
A day before the opening of the 2nd Congressional District Sports Association (CDSA) meet last Saturday, host Mayor Rigor Brazas of Zarraga went to Mejorada to convince the latter not to show up at the opening salvo.
Brazas said he received pressures from Rep. Syjuco not to invite Mejorada to the sports event.
“I was ready to go to Zarraga since the province gave a hefty P150,000 financial aid to the CDSA meet aside from the P50,000 contribution of 2nd district Board Member Cecilia Capadosa. From what I heard, for the first time in the history of the Syjuco congressional reign at the second district, the couple also doled out P50,000,” Mejorada said.
Mejorada said he agreed not to attend the opening rites “as Mayor Brazas might find himself between two clashing rocks.”
“But in the evening during the fellowship night, I went to Zarraga since Rep. Judy already went home after the opening,” Mejorada added.
Yesterday morning, Mejorada received a call from Sta. Barbara Mayor Isabelo Maquino who also asked the latter not to show up at the opening of the 107th anniversary of the Cry of Sta. Barbara and Kahilawayan Festival today.
“I told Mayor Maquino that I will be at the sidelines only. I will be there but I won’t share the stage with Rep. Syjuco. Again, I don’t want Mayor Maquino to get caught in the middle,” Mejorada said.
Mejorada added he will accompany Gov. Niel Tupas today to the airport site in Cabatua-Sta. Barbara area after the Kahilwayan opening.
“But what do all of these actuations of Rep. Syjuco mean? Is she afraid to share the stage with me because the people will recall the questions I have raised against them as regards various funds that did not reach their constituents at the second district?” he said.
Earlier, Mejorada alleged that the P47-million pork barrel fund for the town of Alimodian was reverted to Syjuco’s Tagipusu-on Foundation. He also made the same claim in the P10-million skills development fund released to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) regional office.
Recently, Mejorada also divulged Rep. Syjuco’s alleged receipt of the controversial fertilizer fund worth P3.25million and the purported irregularities in the P4.2-million kabir chicken dispersal project granted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to the Tagipusuon Foundation.
Mejorada alleged that more than 2,000 kabir breeder stocks were “illegally and improperly” turned over to a commercial breeder.
The provincial administrator said he already called the attention of the DA and the Commission on Audit to the alleged irregular transactions.
Mejorada also hit Rep. Syjuco for trying to drag Senate President Franklin Drilon into their fray.
“Apparently, instead of answering my questions, Rep. Syjuco wrote Senator Drilon asking him to bar me from making offensives against her and her husband. Unfortunately for her, the good senator deferred from directly involving himself in the issue,” Mejorada said.
In his letter-reply to Syjuco dated November 9, 2005, Drilon said “(Boy) Mejorada is acting on his own and I have nothing to do whatsoever with his attacks against you or (Boboy).”
“I certainly value our friendship, and as you have put it, would want to ‘keep peace in the family.’ I will talk to Boy Mejorada, but please understand that, at the end of the day, I cannot control or dictate what he will do,” Drilon replied to Syjuco.
Mejorada said with the way Rep. Syjuco is acting, “I consider my presence a threat against her and his husband. Any maybe they are afraid of the truth.” (Published in The Guardian, November 17, 2005 issue)


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