A photo of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle kissing Comelec chairman Andres Bautista’s feet has gone viral, prompting some critics of Bautista to throw shade at both men, given the corruption allegations that Bautista is now facing.
The photo has been shared and reacted to over a thousand times on Facebook.
One asked, “Traitor Andres Bautista how much money did you pay Tagle to kiss your dirty feet????”
A certain Facebook user also shared the photo to the Facebook group BongBong Marcos United and gained a thousand reactions and hundreds of comments.
“The Filipino people are asking. What is he trying to prove by requesting Cardinal Tagle to kiss his feet?” he said.
Another simply captioned the photo, “Cardinal Tagle kissing Andy Bautista’s feet.”
The said post was then shared by pro-Duterte Darwin Cañete, a prosecutor in Caloocan City, who posted: “To be fair… that’s $10 million per foot. That’s a lot of girls a monsignor can pay for to confess at Victoria Court.”
Facebook page Marcos Corner also shared the photo, along with a caption: “Ahem.. Anong kadramahan naman ito ni Andres… Takot ba maimpeach..??
We also spotted some comments from Facebook users that showed them assuming that the photo was taken recently.
When one Facebook user tried to bring up the fact that the washing and kissing of the feet is usual during the Holy Week and included a photo and headline showing Pope Francis washing and kissing the feet of refugees for Easter Week.
“Hindi kayo nagsisimba ano? Pag Holy Thursday gawa yan sa lahat ng simbahan. Maski si Pope gawa yan,” she said.
To this, two Facebook users replied, with one saying that it is “very unlikely” that the kissing of the feet happened recently amid Bautista’s controversy.
Another wondered why the kissing of the feet is happening when it is not even the Lenten Season yet.
In a Facebook post, the page We Are Duterte asked whether the photo is recent and if it is, the page admins wondered why Bautista is using religion to show people he is innocent instead of disproving his estranged wife’s accusations.
“Is this photo recent? If it is, or if Bautista did ask Tagle’s help, this is so nauseating? Instead of defending himself – like proving the Luzon Bank accounts were not his – why is Bautista exploiting people’s religiosity to make them believe he is innocent?” the page wrote.
It seemed like the photo resurfaced because it was used by ourdailyrevelationsph.com in a story about Bautista asking Cardinal Tagle for help. The blog noted the circumstances surrounding the photo when it said that Bautista that Cardinal Tagle did wash and kiss the feet of Comelec officials, representatives of women, youth, religious sisters, and people with disabilities (PWDs) before the May 2016 elections. This was something that was no longer included in the posts about the photo, leading to some netizens getting confused about the timing of the event given the controversies surrounding Bautista recently.
To clarify things, Bautista actually sought guidance from Cardinal Tagle for discernment after his estranged wife Patricia accused him of having unexplained wealth that he did not declare in his SALN.
“Ako’y humingi din ng tulong para tama yung aking magiging discernment kung ano ang dapat gawin. Kasi maraming interes na andito eh, yung kapakanan ng aking pamilya at siyempre yung interes ng Comelec,” Bautista said during the August 14 morning flag ceremony at the Comelec central office in Manila.
“Hindi naman mahirap na ibigay yung position o bumaba sa position eh. Hindi naman problema yun eh. Ang problema ko talaga na mawala ay ang Comelec family mula sa aking buhay,” he added.
The Manila Bulletin also noted how Bautista was among the faithful Catholic members whose feet were washed by Cardinal Tagle on Maundy Thursday in 2016.
True enough, we found an article about Cardinal Tagle washing and kissing the feet of Bautista, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) Coordinator Jun Ochiangco, representatives of religious sisters, women, youth and PWDs on Maundy Thursday, March 24, 2016.
Tagle performed the religious rite to imitate Jesus washing the feet of his 12 disciples in the Book of John.
Tagle released a statement about the ceremony and said that it was aimed to show the importance of the May 2016 elections and to highlight the religious sisters, PWDs, women, and other people who serve others.
The same photo used by ourdailyrevelationsph.com was also found on the GMA News article.
So, Cardinal Tagle did wash and kiss Bautista’s feet but he did the same for several other Catholic members on Maundy Thursday in 2016, not recently. It’s true, though, that Bautista sought Tagle for guidance amid the controversies he is dealing with, but there was no feet-kissing involved this time.
Here is a News5 report of the ceremony, where Bautista said that participating in the ceremony was appropriate for what the Comelec ought to do during the national elections, which was to serve the people.