The Archbishop of Manila on Wednesday, April 10, expressed disappointment at how easy it has been to manipulate truths and criticized those who lie “for political expediency or out of fear.”

“Test of that freedom in truth is when you are persecuted. How easy it is to change truths. So, now everyone is entitled to create his or her own truth for political expediency or out of fear,” said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle in a homily at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila for Radio Veritas’ thanksgiving mass.

The statement was spurned after Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte and Davao City mayor, said honesty should not be an electoral issue when she endorsed Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos as senatorial candidate under her political party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, despite allegations of Marcos falsifying her foreign university documents.

Duterte-Carpio also insisted being honest, truthful, and having good moral character are not legal requirements for aspiring senators under the Constitution.

Tagle shared the story of four Jews named Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego who refused to abandon their faith despite death threats from Nebuchadnezzar II, conqueror from the Babylonian empire from 605 or 604-562 BCE (Before the Common Era).

“He thought that by threatening them with death, they would abandon the truth about true God or discipleship. They refused to be enslaved by idolatry, to change allegiance from the personal God of their history to statue the false god that is being proposed to them look at the level of freedom coming truth. There is no need for us to defend ourselves to you in this matter, they said. The truth will set us free,” he said.

Tagle also underscored the the importance of “serving” the truth, saying it should not be kept but shared, so “that the darkness of ignorance or illiteracy may be wiped out and the values may be shared by Christians all over Asia” so they may be set free.

According to him, the truth “defines the whole of human existence” and that slavery to untruth is a sin, as taught by Jesus Christ.

“And what is the opposite of truth, what is enslavement, it is not just ignorance, for Jesus it is sin. It is when our relationship with God is not right then miss out on the truth, we fail,” he said.

“Jesus leads us to that liberation if only his word coming from the father could be accepted, could be loved then we are set free,” he added.

The thanksgiving mass was held to commemorate 50 years of Radio Veritas. It was attended by prelates from the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Filipino priests, and UST students and faculty members, and was celebrated by the Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the apostolic nuncio to the Philippines.

Tagle noted that the auditorium where the mass was held was the same one where Southeast Asian bishops in Manila decided to establish a radio station for Asia and Oceania “to spread the truth and drive away ignorance and illiteracy and to direct the minds of Asians to the true values and meanings of life” back in December 1958.

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