THE issue of good and evil in governance starts with responsible and irresponsible citizenship. Leadership in governance starts with leaders as citizens. Responsible citizens produce good leaders, good leaders produce good citizens. Leaders and citizens are linked to each other; they influence each other for good or evil, for better or for worse.
Leaders and citizens must work jointly for the common good. Sadly, however, the common good is very often being subordinated to private good, to the good of one’s own self, party or family.
While it is true that we cannot be blind to the evil or wrong around us, we must have the wisdom and fortitude to correct it.
We need to exercise our social conscience by owning our social evils and wrongs and by owning as well the tasks of fighting these, and of pursuing the common good, individually or collectively. Before condemning others, let us first look at ourselves, because we may be guilty of the same or similar. No person is completely evil that there is nothing we can do to correct him or her.
Corruption, we have said many times before, is the greatest shame and problem of our country. Our government has not eradicated it, because it is involved in corruption itself. Corruption is what keeps our country from the evils of graft and corruption.
To help pursue the good and fight evil, the CBCP has recommended and undertaken “communal actions,” we “pray together, reason together, decide together, act together towards a more vigorous work for good governance and a more active promotion of responsible citizenship in our society.” May I repeat here that in view of the national elections next year, “we call upon those who are competent, persons of integrity and committed to change to get involved directly in partisan politics and become candidates for political election, aware that the common good is above the good of vested interests. We remind the laity that it is within their right as their duty to campaign for candidates they believe to be competent, honest and public-service minded in order to reform our country.”
Our question that needs to be posed to all those aspiring for the presidency and other government elective positions is: how are you going to eradicate graft and corruption in your level of governance? We, citizens, are urged to examine their plans, and in conscience choose and support those who will lead us to the good, onward to the better.
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD
Archbishop of Jaro
September 16, 2009