The news seems like positive news on the whole, but many disasters have begun on a positive note. Taking back the province's governorship from what are perceived to be malfactors is certainly a laudable thing, but the manner in which this is to be achieved, Fr. Panlilio's candidacy, is so reminiscent of the repeated failures of God's people throughout the pages of the Bible, and strangely, of the Fall and the Temptation in the desert. This might be an over-analysis of the issue, but the echoes are hard to ignore: expediency over sacrifice, a birthright for pot of porridge, temptation to rule than to serve...
I greet his efforts towards getting himself elected to the governorship of Pampanga with pessimism for I see in it a sign of successive failures and tragedies and an omen for more. First, and certainly the most striking, is his failure to treasure the priesthood of Christ of which he is a part-taker. If this man certainly had faith, faith that he, a worthless lump of ash and dirt, indeed calls the creator and redeemer of the world upon the altar and feeds his flocks with his Redeemer's body and blood, I doubt he would be moved to trade such the gift of the ordained ministry, of which he is not worthy to bear anyway for no man is, for a 3-year term that would only temporarily halt the political ambitions of the malfactors he hopes to defeat. A man who trades pearls for dirt must be scrutinized regarding his priorities.
But the argument that he, like Christ who offered his very own divinity and life for the good of all men, is merely offering his priesthood to save the people of Pampanga from jueteng lords is, for me, wanting. For unlike Christ whose atonement for the sins of mankind is an absolute necessity for none other than He had the power to do such redeeming work, Fr. Panlilio's direct partipation in the political process is not an absolute necessity for there are others who can occupy this post with more competence than he. This is where he, and other leaders of the Church in Pampanga, have utterly failed, for they have squandered many opportunities to properly form the laity to take the responsibility of civil leadership with much seriousness. And now this failure to properly form the laity will be aggravated by having the same failed leadership take the rein of public office.
Of course, one cannot lay the full burden of failures in Pamanga at the feet of Panlilio. But one cannot but see a disturbing image of a man of God active in social work who suddenly finds himself thrust into politics by his followers who want to rid the province of potentially corrupt leadership. The Bibilical parallels are too striking to be credible and yet here we see them right before our eyes. Christ responded by letting himself sent to the cross by the Roman governor. Panlilio, supposed servant of this same Christ, responds by racing to become the governor.