Published in Manila Standard Today
By Elizabeth Angsioco
Shock and outrage are all over because millions of pesos in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds meant to help poor Filipinos were instead used to purchase vehicles for certain members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
What these men in robes did was very wrong on several counts.
The 2005 CBCP Statement on Gambling said that based on MORAL teachings, “…the CBCP has made it a collective policy:.. to refrain from soliciting or receiving funds from illegal and legal gambling so as not to promote a culture of gambling; and to encourage church personnel and church institutions to refrain from doing the same, even when the objective may be that of helping the poor.”
The PCSO is mandated to manage legal numbers games. Even if proceeds go to charity, the money is still from gambling, legal as it may be. Clearly, therefore, these bishops violated their own policy and did something immoral. “Helping the poor” cannot be a justification here.
I wonder if the CBCP will discipline these bishops.
Art. VI, Sec. 29(2) of the Philippine Constitution states, “No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, other religious teacher, or dignitary as such, except when the priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium.”
Even for a non-lawyer like me, this provision is self-explanatory. As plain as day, what then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, PCSO officials, and the bishops did was not only morally BUT legally wrong.
Even if those vehicles are used for social work, they still are used by, benefit, and support, directly and indirectly, the Roman Catholic Church and the bishops. It is this simple.
I wonder if cases will be filed against those involved.
Last May 28, I wrote “The church of the poor” (http://bit.ly/jnvdow) which specified the stock holdings of various Catholic entities in the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) and Philex Mining Corporation. Then, their total assets in stocks totalled P17.5 billion.
Three months later, stock prices rose. Based on Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) 7 July 2011 records, their holdings in these corporations are now worth a whooping P18,040,238,371.80.
These Catholic entities earned P567 million doing nothing!
This is not all. The lists of their top 100 stockholders corporations submit quarterly to the PSE, Catholic entities have the following holdings in these corporations:
1. San Miguel Corporation (SMC) as of 31 June 2011 (the number to the right indicates ranking in list of stockholders)
• (31) El Superior De La Corporacion Filipina de Padres Agustinos Recoletos, Inc. with 7,370,000 shares;
• (75) Superior De La Corporacion Archicofradia De N.P.J.N.
De Recoletos with 1,234,603 shares;
• (79) Carmel of the Divine Infant Jesus of Prague Inc. A/C No. 2 with 957,516 shares;
• (81) The Roman Catholic Bishop of Tuguegarao with 856,639 shares;
• (83) Real Monasterio De La Purisima Concepcion De Nuestra
Madre Santa Clara De Manila with 809,834 shares;
• (91) Superior De La Corporacion De Padres Recoletos Por
Becas Y Vocaciones with 621,702 shares;
• (93) Carmel of St. Therese of the Child Jesus with 592,956 shares;
• (97) The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Cebu with 451,864 shares; and
• (100) The Roman Catholic Bishop of Nueva Segovia De Vigan with 428,067 shares.
In SMC alone, RCC groups own a total of 13,323,181 shares worth P1,698,705,577.50 (at P127.50/share) as of 7 July PSE Market Information.
2. Ayala Group as of 31 March disclosure
• (64) Roman Catholic Bishop of Tagbilaran with 10,000 preferred B shares worth P1,015,000.00 (P100.10/share);
• (73) The Roman Catholic Bishop of Tuguegarao with 24,015 Ayala Corp. shares worth P7,828,890.00 at P326.00/share; and
• (100) The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila with 373,740 Ayala Land shares worth P5,890,142.40 at P15.76/share.
Total share value of RCC entities in Ayala Group is PhP14,734,032.40 as of 7 July.
3. PHINMA Corporation as of 30 June 2011
• (20) Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul with 159,575 shares;
• (21) The Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Juan De Dios with 153,880 shares; and
• (52) Religious of the Virgin Mary 58,975 shares.
In PHINMA, they own 372,430 shares valued (as of 5 July) at P12.30/share or a total of P4,580,889.00.
4. Concrete Aggregates Corporation (CA) as of 31 March 2011
• (9) The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila with 78,486 shares;
• (18) The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila – Real Casa De
Misericordia with 13,067 shares;
• (24) The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila – Hospital De San Juan De Dios with 8,317 shares;
• (66) The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila – Hospicio De San Jose with 1,898 shares; and
• (97) The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila Mayoromia Dela
Catedral with 841 shares.
In CA, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila’s various arms own a total of 102,609 shares worth P4,514,796 as of 7 July at P44.00/share.
5. PAL Holdings, Inc. as of March 31
• (22) Roman Catholic Bishop of Cebu with 215,250 shares; and
• (98) Congregacion De La Mision De San Vicente De Paul with 42,059 shares.
Here, they own 257,309 shares valued at P1,240,229.38 (P4.82/share as of 7 July.)
There are a few more minor holdings that are not included here and many more corporations can be examined. Even without touching the RCC’s real estate properties (which are surely worth many billions), and its highly profitable businesses like schools and hospitals, it is quite clear that the RCC as a church, as well as its various entities are FILTHY RICH.
Catholic stock holdings alone in identified corporations already total to almost 20 billion pesos! Not bad for a Church, really.
What gets my goat is the fact that despite their untouched billions, the good bishops have the gall to compete against poor Filipinos for meager government funds. And for what? Vehicles that they can very well afford to buy.
Bishops, this is very, very wrong. This is kadiri!