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National Newsbits for August 30, 2014


In solidarity with the other Christian churches in the world, the Archdiocese of Manila will observe the Season of Creation for the second year on Monday, September 1, until October 4, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron of animals and the environment. The Ecology Ministry of the archdiocese will spearhead the activities for the observance which will also be commemorated in several dioceses within the Ecclesiastical Province of Manila. Opening rites will be held on Sept. 1 at the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Baclaran Church) in Parañaque City. In a circular, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged the clergy and the religious in the archdiocese to be part of this event. “Through our observance of the Season of Creation, let us preserve the beauty of our land and the sacredness of God’s creation, a mirror of God’s goodness and love for us,” he said. (Christina I. Hermoso)


Vice President Jejomar C. Binay is “glad” that President Aquino has already cleared the air about the issue on term extension. Binay on Friday said the President’s pronouncements that he is not keen on extending his six-year term should “end all divisive efforts to amend the political provisions of the Constitution.” In a statement, Binay said, “I am glad to know that we can now all focus on the pressing needs of our people and ensuring the institutionalization of government reforms.” The Vice President said he hopes that Aquino’s pronouncements would serve as a cue “for those who are goading him to violate the Constitution” to stop their efforts. “I hope we can use the remaining time in the President’s term to unite our people and address our country’s problems,” he said. (JC Bello Ruiz)


Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said they face difficulty in hiring at least 360 more lawyers to complement the current 363 crop of anti-graft prosecutors because of “integrity” issues. Morales said they have received many applicants to fill the vacancies because the pay is highly competitive. “There are many applicants but we have to be very strict. You have to first pass competence and second integrity (tests). If you don’t pass both, I’m sorry, it’s better to have none than to have plenty who are not competent to discharge the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman,” she said. Morales appeared before the House Committee on Appropriations to defend her agency’s P1.731-billion 2015 budget. (Ben R. Rosario)


Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said some of the bishops support the call for President Aquino to resign from his post. He refused to give their names, but hinted that some of them are from the Visayas and Mindanao. “I cannot say who. They would not say it aloud,” Arguelles said. “They are fed up with the present regime. Most Mindanao and Visayan bishops are not happy,” he said. The Lipa prelate cited the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health bill as one of the reasons why some church leaders think that the present Malacañang occupant must go. “Most bishops are totally against RH law. That is one major reason why this government must go according to people like me,” Arguelles said. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)