Seek Enlightenment, Bishop Urges President

Manila, Philippines - President Benigno S. Aquino III has been advised by an official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to go on retreat this coming Holy Week for him to be "enlightened."

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, member of the CBCP Permanent Council, advised the Chief Executive, following a report that Aquino and his Cabinet's annual Lenten retreat has been scrapped due to their busy working schedules.

Catholics will mark the start of the observance of Holy Week on April 1, Palm Sunday.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President and Cabinet members are likely to hold separately their Lenten recollections this year since the Chief Executive is set to travel to Cambodia for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit early this month.

"He should take time to be with the Lord especially this Holy Week so that he will get more enlightenment," said Bastes over Church-run Radyo Veritas yesterday.

"They should not only rely on their intelligence or prudence, but as leaders of the nation, they have to ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit to enlighten their minds because it is not easy to govern the Philippines," he added.

Bastes said there is no reason for the President and his Cabinet not to go on retreat since they can do it even after the Holy Week.

"If he can't do it during Holy Week, he can do it after Easter, because Easter is also a time for rejoicing as Our Lord has risen. It is also a symbol that our people will be raised from the dead through our leaders who must understand the meaning of the resurrection," he said.