CFC FFL attended the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing today where the so-called “Pajero Bishops” were asked to explain their use of funds from the PCSO. The session started with Senator Miriam Defensor – Santiago defending the Bishops – proclaiming that there were no Pajeros purchased, the vehicles were all used for humanitarian and social projects, and that some were even more than ten years old when purchased. Senator Santiago then put into the spotlight PCSO and the irregularities with their budget and reporting of their budgets.
The 7 Bishops then spoke and gave their views on the issue. Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Valles, Bishops Rodolfo Beltran of Bontoc-Lagawe, Leopoldo Jaucian of Abra, Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan, and Martin Jumoad of Basilan. Nueva Segovia Archbishop Ernesto Salgado who is currently out of the country was represented by his auxiliary bishop David William Antonio. They spoke of the projects that were being done, and how the vehicles had helped them. But in spite of that, apologized over the whole issue, and decided to return the vehicles to the PCSO.
It was found out during the proceedings, though, that none of the Bishops purchased Pajeros. And most bought second-hand vehicles, some as old as ten years old. Margie Juico of PCSO said that the “Pajero” accusation may have come from her office, but she could not pinpoint exactly who said it.
The so-called “Pajero”
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Tito Sotto and Jinggoy Estrada urged the prelates to keep the vehicles for the work in the Dioceses. The Bishops refused, saying this is part of their prophetic role to the nation.
We, in CFC FFL, are very proud to stand with our shepherds. And show them our support and love by being there for them at this hour of great suffering. Though we know, that suffering brings about joy and peace. Let us continue to pray for our Church and our leaders.