Photo by Reuters

“Heartbreaking” was how Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle described the controversy accusing lawmakers of illicit use of their pork barrel funds.
The head of the Catholic Church in the Philippines broke into tears as he urged a probe on the alleged P10-billion scam, which implicated five senators and 23 lawmakers.

“Who will not be shocked with these reports and with the magnitude of money involved?” Tagle said Tuesday, adding that it’s as if his “heart is broken into pieces.”
“Can one really do this to one’s neighbor? Can one really stomach causing this kind of damage on the country?” Tagle said in a media briefing.
This, as he urged a thorough investigation on the scandal as well as past allegations of corruption which he said “are in danger of being forgotten.”
The prelate also challenged politicians whose names have been dragged into the scandal to immerse themselves with the poor through visits to slum areas.
“My only appeal, not only to the politicians but to anyone involved in the controversy, is for them to visit the communities of informal settlers,” Tagle said.
The archbishop nonetheless noted that he still believes “that there is goodness in  every person” and that those involved in the scam can still be reformed.
“[O]nce they see them (the poor) and even feel their suffering, maybe, they will at least be disheartened and moved by it,” Tagle noted.
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