MANILA — Cardinal Jaime Sin, in his first criticism of the 6-month-old government of Corazon Aquino, said today the gains of the revolution that ousted the Marcos regime are "little by little being lost."
Sin, 57, who played a key role in the "people-power" military revolt that toppled the 20-year rule of Ferdinand E. Marcos last Feb. 25, warned of "losing the hard-earned freedom and of the return of the worst kind of evil."
"The new situation has given us hope, and yet we discover that great efforts must be applied in order to realize the object of our hope," said Sin, the powerful archbishop of Manila.
Sin made his comments at a Mass launching 100 days of prayer and fasting called by the influential Catholic Bishops Conference to preserve peace and freedom in the largely Roman Catholic nation.
No Aquino Comment
Aquino, 53, attended the Mass at the Manila Cathedral but did not respond in her remarks to the first broadside leveled at her government by Sin since she assumed the presidency.
A source close to Sin said the prelate is disenchanted by the apparent discord in Aquino's Cabinet and intended his homily to serve as a warning to the "macho ministers" that the church is closely watching.
"We witness the manipulation of the truth for the sake of selfish profit," Sin said. "We did not fight hard to regain press freedom only to have our minds misled by those who deliberately misinform us."
Sin urged his flock "not to allow themselves to be misled nor manipulated by groups who aim to reestablish an authoritarian regime or to introduce any other kind of dictatorship by a few."
In another development today, it was reported that rebel emissaries have submitted an agenda for cease-fire talks with a government panel seeking to end the 17-year communist insurgency.
The state-run Philippine News Agency quoted a member of the government panel, Agriculture Minister Ramon Mitra, as saying Aquino had instructed him on what to do after receiving the proposed agenda.