Philippine Archbishop Picked for Reconciliation Plan

MANILA, Philippines, NOV. 16, 2003 (ZENIT.orgMisna).- President Gloria Arroyo launched a national plan of reconciliation with the extremist and opposition forces, and designated as a negotiator Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao.

Arroyo announced the intention Thursday to mend relations with the family of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, as well as with ousted President Joseph Estrada, businessman Eduard Cojuangco Jr., the Philippine Communist Party, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the soldiers responsible for a recent mutiny, and the political opposition.

The ambitious plan also foresees the establishment of a “truth commission” to shed light on cases of human rights violations and embezzlement during the Marcos dictatorship.

Archbishop Capalla will be the chairman of the Catholic bishops’ conference starting Dec. 1.

Arroyo spokesman Ignacio Bunye defined the initiative of national reconciliation as “genuine and sincere.”

He denied that the statement was a strategy in view of the May 2004 presidential elections, and underlined the importance of the nomination of Archbishop of Davao, stating: “I believe that the facilitator must be a figure that has the esteem and confidence of all the parts involved.”