Press Release
August 29, 2007


He was no politician. Yet, in his prime as the archbishop of Manila, he shook up the political firmament in the country in a manner that no politician has done before or since.

This was how Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) described the late Jaime Cardinal Sin whom he extolled in a privilege speech in the Senate two days before the 79th birth anniversary of the influential leader of the Catholic Church.

Pimentel said that more than any other person - politician or religious - in the country, it was Sin who mobilized the people in February, 1986 to protect civilian and military leaders holed up in Camp Crame who had withdrawn their support from then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who had assumed dictatorial powers since 1972.

He said he remembered Cardinal Sin as the archbishop of Manila, who made no bones about his support for the presidential candidacy of the widow of the martyred Sen. Ninoy Aquino, Corazon Aquino, who risked life and limb, fortune and family to help restore the democratic space in the country.

Pimentel said the Filipinos, as a grateful nation, know how to pay due honor and proper respect to the man who stood by the people in the hour of their need.

"For it was he who had successfully pushed the people to take the calculated risks that toppled the authoritarian regime of Marcos and restored the values of freedom, justice and peace to our land in the aftermath of what is now the world-renowned People Power Revolution of 1986," he said.

The minority leader said Sin was a contradiction in terms as his name alone contrasted with the rank of the Cardinal that he held as a churchman already posed problems of comedic proportions.

"Early on his cardinalate, he'd shock visiting innocent nuns with his tongue-in-cheek announcement that they were welcome to 'the House of Sin!'" Pimentel said.

"Indeed, his name Sin was actually a man of the cloth, an ordained priest in the order of Mechizedich, to borrow the words of the Good Book."

Pimentel said Sin was a far cry from Cardinal Richelieu, who became French King Louis XIV's prime minister or even from Cardinal Fleury, who was Louis XV's chief adviser in the 17th century.

He said the two French cardinals were first and foremost political - not spiritual - advisers to their respective sovereigns. He said that in the case of Sin, he never occupied any political position - not during the Marcos years or the years after.

"And his political thinking was apparently more focused on the need to protect the right to life of the people - really a religious principle - than on what Richelieu and Fleury believed to be the divine right of kings or sovereigns to rule over others or to insist that the ends of the rulers justified the means that they resorted to," Pimentel said.

As a sign of the Filipino people's appreciation for what Sin had done specially in restoring their fundamental freedoms, Pimentel has proposed that the Shaw Boulevard, that starts from Kalentong Street in Mandaluyong City to Barangay Bagong Ilog in Pasig City, be renamed Jaime Cardinal Sin Avenue.

"It is really only a symbolic honor that we now seek to bestow belatedly on the man who did not allow his high religious office to deter him from getting his feet wet in the murky waters of political dispute in the country in defense of the fundamental and human rights of the people," he said.

Cardinal Sin died on June 21, 2005, on his 76th birthday.

Pimentel said it is up to the future generations to conceive of more appropriate ways to give Cardinal Sin the honor that is due him. He said the passage of a suitable number of years could give them a better perspective about the proper place in the story of the nation that the late prince of the Catholic Church should occupy.

"I suggest that our people owe more to Sin than many of our domestic political observers, including a number of our politicians have been willing to concede even if today they, along with us, enjoy some of the basic freedoms that were denied us during the martial law years." -o0o-

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