In one of his strongest public attacks on the government, Philippine Cardinal Jaime L. Sin today intensified his condemnation of a national film festival promoted by first lady Imelda Marcos and charged that a "climate of fear" in the country has stifled dissent.
"To suit its own ends, the government will not hesitate to use power in a capricious and arrogant manner, to treat the people like idiots and expect to get away with it," the cardinal said in criticizing the festival, which includes sexually explicit films that normally do not appear here.
"We have arrived at a situation where the voice of dissent has been completely--or almost completely--stifled," Sin said. "There is a climate of fear pervading our country. It is clear that because of this climate, the people now prefer to think no evil, see no evil and hear no evil."
The cardinal attributed this "terrible climate" to a "combination of factors" including a government crackdown on the press, a "systematic campaign to discredit the church over the issue of rebel priests," and an "all-embracing definition of subversion."
Sin strongly criticized Mrs. Marcos' recent statement that "pornography is in the mind and in the heart" and that "if we are affected by seeing garbage, then there must be something wrong with us as people." The cardinal responded, "If our sensibilities are not offended by filth and if its stench does not sicken us, then there is definitely something wrong with us."