THE corruption scandal rocking PhilHealth is just the latest of many such misadventures in the country. But this one is more despicable because PhilHealth is for Filipinos who cannot afford private medical care, yet financially stable and highly placed Filipinos are bleeding it dry of funds.
The trouble with treating corruption as a political issue, as we have always done before, is it serves only the political agenda of the opposition which is to win the next election. Should critics from the opposition win, roles will simply be reversed but corruption remains. The outgoing administration will morph into the opposition that will now accuse the new administration of corruption. It is a vicious cycle that solves nothing.
It is time to treat corruption as a moral issue and make society’s moral guardian, the Philippine Catholic Church, accountable for society’s moral lapses. About 85 percent of officials and medical professionals involved in the plunder of PhilHealth can be presumed baptized Catholics. Something, therefore, has to be terribly amiss when presumably Catholic individuals are most corrupt.
If I may hazard an explanation, the Catholic Church in this country has been promoting “Christianisms” and not Christianity. Wikepedia defines “Christianism” (singular) as the use of certain Christian practices and doctrines to attain dominance over people. It is analogous to Islamism.
But I am using “Christianisms” (plural) here to refer to such practices as Sunday Mass, ritual devotions, Church laws and doctrines, stuff that pile over and bury under the simple original message of Jesus Christ “to love your neighbor as yourself.” The result: we are devoutly religious yet shamelessly corrupt as the PhilHealth scandal evinces.
That brings up again the question, how to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in 2021? What is there to celebrate about mostly Catholic officials plundering PhilHealth, a service agency for the poor?
It’s time the Catholic Church accepts responsibility for its failure to secure Philippine society on robust moral moorings. Thus, instead of celebration, contrition might be more in order for its failure to promote among Filipinos the fundamentally human values of honesty and integrity in both their personal and public life.
But as contrition is never sincere without atonement, the Catholic Church should consider from 2021 onwards evangelizing Filipino Catholics on genuine Christian values instead of the “Christianisms” Magellan brought ashore in 1521.
Otherwise, poverty will continue to be the lot of Filipinos in the wake of the anachronism of religious but corrupt government officials and professionals most of whom are products of Catholic homes, schools and Churches.