A former ranking official of the Catholic Church has cautioned Justice Secretary Leila de Lima against threatening groups calling for President Benigno Aquino III to step down with criminal charges, saying it might provoke further unrest.
Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said there is nothing wrong if people who want Aquino to resign rally in the streets to air their sentiments since they are unarmed.
He appealed to De Lima not to threaten members of the National Transformation Council (NTC) with sedition, rebellion and coup d’etat should they proceed with their planned rally on Feb. 25.
The Justice Secretary on Sunday threatened to file charges against the NTC, a group calling for Aquino to step down, for provoking an uprising backed by the military against the government.
“Sana wala ng threats na ganoon. Baka mas madagdagan pa ang mga taong galit na. Sana maalala rin niya na hindi siya habang buhay makapangyarihan [I hope that there should be no threats like those.
They could make more people angry. I also hope that she realizes that she will not be in power forever],” he said.
In contrast, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, a member of the NTC, said he has no qualms about De Lima filing charges against the group even as he insisted its members are only “patriots defending the country, the Constitution and the people.”
“If they are truly following the law, then they apply the law,” Arguelles said.