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A Declaration
By the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines
On the Agrava Board Reports

We, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, address ourselves, first of all, to officialdom tasked with the pursuit of civil justice in connection with the recently released reports of the Agrava Board.

The Agrava Board was not a private instrument of any one person, entity, or administration.  It was a servant of the nation specifically mandated to provide the government the information needed to bring to justice all those who conspired and participated in the Aquino assassination.

The nation, for more than a year, eagerly expected the Agrava Board to help restore our faith in the government's capacity to render justice.  The Agrava Board has released its findings.  It points an accusing finger at those it has found culpable.  It names names, some of them highly placed, although its members disagree as to the total number of names.

Whether or not the Agrava Board has named all the names that deserved to be named, our people do not see the job as completely done.  The Board has no power to visit punishment upon those it has found culpable.  Government does.  And our people are watching to see whether our government has the required moral power to pursue its decisive action to its fruitful conclusion.

We call on the President, therefore, the convenor of the Agrava Board, to carry on with unrelenting determination his directive to the Minister of Justice to take "all appropriate action on the Board's findings and to be impartial no matter who should be found guilty.  For the sake of  restoring our respectability as a people, for the sake of preserving the life of the nation, and even for the sake of restoring honor to the military, no stone would be left unturned until justice shall have triumphed.

And to our people, we say:  For a long while now, we have talked of unity and reconciliation, of the healing process that leads to these much hoped-for ends.  As we allow the wheels of justice to take their course, we must now act with calm and sobriety, avoiding acts of violence that could destroy us as a people.

We need hope in these desperately hard times.  We need to regain confidence in ourselves as a people.  We need courage to move ahead in the direction that our renewed hope and confidence point us to.

May the God of justice and peace grace us all with the strength to ever walk, come what may, the way of His justice and peace.

For the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines:

(Sgd.)+ANTONIO Ll. MABUTAS, D.D.
Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines

1984

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