1. The Gimong Mission Continued.
· Thus the Gimong Mission continued in Tagudin, following the same framework, principles and processes. The Priest who was perceived to be easy to manipulate, continued the Mission in the same manner as it has been in the previous years. As a matter of fact, principles and systems were followed in more stern terms. This marked the failure of the enemies of the mission, desirous to shift the tide on their favor.
2. The Radical Gimong Mission Unsettled the Political Power.
· As the radical Gimong way of mission continued its course, the political lord became more unsettled. While the liberating way of mission sustained its principles and stance, the political lord became more infuriated, and it was spyng on the activities of the Gimong. The political lord was looking for the entry point and the perfect time to launch its attack.
3. Betrayal from Inside of the Circle.
· The Gimong mission did not only unsettle the extreme political sphere. It likewise disturbed some of those who were involved in the mission. Persons with personal grudge to the Parish Priest, persons with dislike to the mission principles and who were secretly having connections with the political power, were also having discontent to the Mission. Since they cannot pursue their own personal motives, they hatched up a demolition plan to topple the Parish Priest.
· The persons connived with the political lord. They concocted wild stories to poison people around the town. They fabricated accusations to justify their own personal dislike. Hypocrisy and self-righteousness prevailed upon them and their civility was over powered. These persons having made their un-holy alliance with their political master were waiting for just a little issue to crop up, and magnify it against the Parish Priest.
4. Magnify the Issue to Justify the Attack.
· Sometime in the middle of 2010, borne out of the objective to finance an infrastructure project of the parish, the Parish Priest had the honest intention of exploring “a treasure” perceived to be hidden underneath the church edifice. He consulted some of the MaPPa team about the plan, and the plan was agreed upon.
· However, the plan was discovered by some disgruntled parish staff, who eventually leaked the information to the outside. Upon knowing this, enemies of the mission exploited the “event” and fabricated wild stories. They concocted the stories as if there was really a major excavation and that the parish church was “desecrated”…and that a huge treasure has been retrieved and was divided among the diggers…so on and on and on…the story was magnified into “out of proportion”.
· This allegation reached the minds of the enemies of the mission who have been waiting for just a little mistake to pin down the Parish Priest and advance their ill motives of toppling the Parish Priest.
· This issue was tackled in one of the MaPPa meetings in the Parish, wherein the
“opponents” assailed the said act. Realizing his misdeed, the Parish Priest admitted his error and even endorsed a formal letter to the Mappa, expressing his sincere apology. Said letter likewise contained the Priest’s explanation about the circumstances of the “act”. More importantly, the letter also assured that the “plan of digging the treasure” is already aborted. Copies of the letter of apology were circulated to the BECs. A separate copy was also given to the Archbishop. This could have settled the issue, if it was only about the halting of the alleged digging of treasure. But it was not, because the issue was just a “front” of a hidden agenda by the opponents.
· It can be understood that the aim of the “opponents”, was not merely to “stop the digging of treasure”, but to depose the Parish Priest. From this ill intention, a manifesto letter protesting the alleged digging of treasure was drafted and was endorsed to the Archbishop.
5. The Bishop Dismissed the Accusation.
· The 13-signatories brought up their issue to the attention of the Archbishop. With display of arrogance, they were trying to convince the Archbishop firmly said to the “opponents”: “Your Parish Priest did not have any violation. His only mistake is that he did not consult me about the plan”.
· A group of supporters of the Tagudin mission likewise sought dialogue with the Archbishop, explaining their version about the “issue”. And when the Archbishop heard the other side of the issue, he was clarified and went on to say, “ I believe more this group.” (referring to the group who supports the mission)
6. The Mission Must Continue.
· Having been clarified and to abort the plan of detractors to oust the Parish Priest, the Archbishop personally declared to the Parish Priest: “ You must continue your assignment in Tagudin.”
· Again, these developments could have resolved the “issue”. But the detractors were unsatisfied and they refused to adhere to the decision of the Archbishop. Their ill intent to oust the Parish Priest was more intensified. This sparked more tension.
7. Detractors Launched the Attacked to the Mission.
· Although the plan of digging the treasure has already been cancelled, the Parish Priest has apologized and the Archbishop already declared his decision for the Parish Priest to continue the Tagudin mission, the detractors resisted all these and they converted themselves into hardline enemies of the Mission. Their hidden connection with the political power was unearthed and both camps conspired to launch the attack to unseat the Parish Priest.
· Refusing to heed the decision of the Archbishop, the detractors of the mission having established an unholy alliance with the political power and some few elitist groups, provoked the situations like, “the Parish Priest has offended many parishioners by his strict implementation of principles and rules”, “that the Parish Priest has divided the Parishioners”, “that the Parish Priest has caused the decline of Mass attendance”. These are among other things, the accusations of the detractors.
· The detractors gathered signatures mostly from those who have dislike with the mission principles and activities in Tagudin. Obviously, most of the signatories were barangay officials and civic organizations which have direct alliance with the town’s political power. This can lead to the suspicion that the intention to oust the Parish Priest was more of a political design.
· The manifesto to oust the Parish Priest bearing the collected signatures was endorsed to the Archbishop. The move being carried out by detractors was rumored to have been funded and supported by the town’s political power.
· Aside from the manifesto being submitted to the Archbishop, the “self-appointed spokesman” of the group continuously circulating “lies” to poison people, using local radio stations. Those who do not seem to favor the radical mission apparently signaled their support to the detractors of the mission. This emboldened the detractors.
8. The Side of the Truth.
· While the detractors of the mission were orchestrating their attack, the supporters of the mission also did a signature campaign as a move to register their support to the continuity of the mission and to disclaim the accusations being hurled to the mission by the detractors. As expected, signatures gathered proved that there is a great number of those who wanted the mission to be continued by the Parish Priest, at least till his term expire in the next couple of years.
· The “position letter” bearing the collected signatures was also endorsed to the Archbishop and it was a basis of dialogue, from which the Archbishop maintained his earlier decision that the Parish Priest in Tagudin will continue his task. The supporters of the mission were thankful and delighted by such development, still unmindful that such decision shall be reversed in the succeeding events.
Reflections from the Tagudin Mission Struggle:
a. Learning from San Vicente experience, Gimong as BEC implemented in Tagudin Parish was anchored on in depth analysis of the social situation as basis of transforming consciousness and shifting the paradigm of the Families.
b. Having more ample time to implement Gimong as BEC, tedious and liberating processes were followed, focusing on identifying the indigenous natural cluster of Families as locus of the Gimong.
c. Forming, training and empowering of Couple Facilitators (Langen-Agassawa), was an important investment for the liberating activities of the Gimong.
d. Consistently and regularity of Gimong liberating activities facilitated by the Couple Facilitators (Langen-Agassawa) sustained and deepened the consciousness of the Families in the Gimong.
e. Clarity of the radical Mission principles, orientation and focus was fundamental and instrumental to BEC as concretization of the Kingdom Mission.
f. Collective mobilization of Families in the Gimong has defined and actualized the Kingdom Mission.
g. Strong character, liberating principles, simplicity of lifestyle and animating/empowering leadership of the Parish Priest were necessary elements for BEC to sustain and deepen.
h. Massion stance unsettled political dynasty penetrated the ranks of the Mission. Subservient character was the entry point of political dynasty to launch its attack to the Mission.
i. Religious leadership succumbed to the sheer pressure of political power. This proved that religious leaderships as hierarchized, is likewise susceptible to political influences, as its preserves its comfortable connections and its power hold.
j. Conflict and persecution are essentials to the Kingdom Mission. The untimely removal of the parish priest in Tagudin eloquently describes what could possibly happen to the Mission if it stands on the radical Gospel.