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Church leaders urge backing for 'truth-tellers'

Moral support offered to Philippine official who revealed graft in military

Church leaders urge backing for 'truth-tellers'
Heidi Mendoza (left) and George Rabusa face a congressional inquiry on alleged military corruption
Rick R. Flores and reporter, Cebu City

February 9, 2011

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Philippine Church leaders have called on the faithful to support "inside sources" whose consciences compel them to reveal suspect government practices. They were offering support to and reacting to earlier comments by Heidi Mendoza the government auditor who testified about alleged graft in the military. She revealed recently she would not be giving further testimony in the inquiry. “Yes, we encourage people to come out and speak the truth if they believe this is for the good of the country,” Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu said. However, the “truth” should be “community building,” the prelate warned. “The discernment is if the truth is community building and community developing, then the truth shall serve the community,” Bishop Palma said. Cardinal Ricardo Vidal bishop emeritus of Cebu, said, should be given the freedom to choose to continue her testimony. “We cannot force her. Let her decide,” Cardinal Vidal said. “In cases like that, we do not intervene ourselves. That is not our area of concern,” he added. Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, meanwhile, said whistleblowers may help deter corruption in government. “We encourage the truth to come out,” he said, adding that “to stop corruption... guilty persons should be prosecuted.” Bishop Odchimar said the Church can offer moral support to whistleblowers, but “we are not in the proper position to protect [them]. We do not have police powers. We do not have safe houses.” A Church-based anti-corruption activist also expressed support for Mendoza. “[She] is not a whistleblower but a truth-teller,” said Father Carmelo Diola of Dilaab Foundation Inc. He asked for daily prayers for Mendoza and other “truth-tellers and public servants.” He said “it was the fire of the Spirit that transformed fearful and apathetic people into effective witnesses.” Related reports Arroyo not blameless over military graft Filipino bishops support whistleblowers PV13202.1640
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