Former Congressman and former Naval Mayor Gerry Espina Sr. attacked the parish priest of Almeria for allegedly “engaging in politics” during his noontime program over Radyo Natin last March 9. He premised his broadsides against the priest, who he did not name, and also the church on the feedback he allegedly received from two teachers who heard the priest’s Sunday sermon the day before.
Espina never mentioned the priest’s statements that he labeled as “engaging in politics,” which he qualified to have included attacks against his family. He never gave the public the opportunity to judge for themselves the convenient label he had used. He just wanted his listeners to agree with him – hook, line and sinker. Sadly, he has lost the power of persuasion that once also allowed his family to steal their way around key political offices they had held in the province.
For the uninformed, the parish priest of Almeria is Fr. Bing Colasito, who also serves as Director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Naval. His latest act that bordered on politics was the organization of the Biliran Advocates for Good Governance and Transparency (BAGGAT), an NGO which shall engage in anti-corruption activities in the province.
After establishing his premise, Espina uttered broadsides against the church for its failure to curb social problems within its sphere of influence. He particularly mentioned the problems of abortion and unwed mothers in the province.
The basic irony in pointing an accusatory finger at somebody else lies in the fact that four other fingers are also pointed at the accuser.
Espina did not define the gravity of the abortion problem in the province; he just mentioned it is there. In this sense, nobody will probably contradict him. But if he would insist that the local clergy has not at least commented on this issue, he would certainly be wrong. Obviously, he has not reckoned that the clergy has taken a position against the reproductive health (RH) bill now being deliberated in Congress.
About unwed mothers, Espina need not have to look beyond his nuclear family for actual contributors to this social problem. He could deny this till his face turns blue, but some in the general public has direct knowledge that some of his grandchildren were borne out of wedlock by at least one of his sons. He is also known to be cohabiting with an unwed woman.
It is actually about time that Espina stops imputing on others (on radio at that!) the social ills that he and his family have inflicted on the Biliran public. As a figurative pot, he should not have dared to call the kettle black, especially if that object is a self-image in his mirror.