Part 1. Opus Dei qui tollis pecuniam mundi



     Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi ... Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, dona nobis pacem, grant us peace, as the Latin Vulgate says. But according to Father Ben Carreon, Monsignor Nico Bautista, Benedictines, Jesuits and Maryknollers, there is this version:
     Opus Dei qui tollis pecuniam mundi ... Opus Dei which takest the wealth of the world, dona nobis partem, give us a share.
     The youngest of religious orders and the most unique, the Spanish Opus Dei is also the richest. It is against Liberation Theology and Basic Christian Communities (BCC), limits its apostolate among the rich and powerful, keeps its finances secret and its membership list closely guarded.
     Only 2 percent of its members are priests, the rest are businessmen, professionals, military officers, government officials, mostly those in positions of power. In Spain and Chile, Opus Dei members are the economic elite.
     In the Philippines they manage financial institutions: Tony Ozaeta at PCIBank; Jess Estanislao at DBP; Placido Mapa erstwhile at PNB; Enteng Puyat at Manila Bank; Jovencio Cinco erstwhile at Interbank; Vaughn Montes at Citibank. They have their own newspaper, the Manila Journal.
     They were the custodians of Kokoy Romualdez’s empire, and with Jimmy Ongpin’s help, kept their firms from the Cory Boycott and PCGG sequestration: Mario Camacho at Meralco, Rex Drilon at Philtranco; Joselito Sandejas at Mantrade; Tony Ozaeta at PCIBank. Kokoy's wife Juliet and Lirio Ongpin Mapa were their links to Marcos; also Dodo Manganas, assistant of Imelda.
     Bernardo Villegas of CRC, Jose Romero of the Makati Business Club (who is now being groomed as chairman of the Philippine Coconut Authority), columnist Kit Tatad of Business Day, editor Benjie Defensor of Manila Journal, president Raoul Inocentes of the ECOP are Opus Dei.
     Other members are: Javier Calero of J. Walter Thompson; realtors Ramon Cuervo and Nimfa Deslate; architects Bolet Gomez and Francis Arcenas; insurance execs George Winternitz and Victor Rodriguez; playwright Paul Dumol; Enrique Esteban, erstwhile of Warner Barnes; Ed Mari of Island Cement and Marinduque Mining; Robert Schewani of Walter Briefs; Reyes brothers of Universal Foods; aviation engineer Bingo Nespral; Carmeling Salgado of Chemphil.
     They have schools only for the very very rich: Marywood and South Ridge which charge P10,500 per semester, almost twice that of Ateneo. They operate Youth and Executive Centers, all airconditioned, with such names as Maynilad, Kalayaan, Banahaw. Mayana on Leon Guinto caters to rich Spanish-speaking young women who are forbidden to wear sleeveless dresses, open shoes, short skirts, or have boyfriends of the lower class.
     Their Makiling Retreat Center is the most opulent in the world, located on a hilltop, with carved woods, plush seats, solid gold sacred vessels. Here the very rich get air-conditioned rooms with bath; the not so rich are given rooms without aircon or bath. The servants are put in their place; after everyone leaves for the chapel, the doors are locked and the servants clean the rooms.
     The Opus Dei operates a school for maids in San Juan called Punlaan where maids are trained how to serve their masters and behave properly as a servant class, oh my God!
     A university president’s wife tells of when she and her husband (Editor’s Note: he is UE president Jovino Lorenzo) went abroad and left their house in the care of the Opus Dei. Day after day, these people used up her precious imported anchovies, caviar, the canned goods she was saving up for special occasions. “Hindi ito kinakain araw araw,” said the servants, but to no avail.
     Every day they used the best table cloths, the best china and silverware, even on picnics. “Hindi ito ginagamit araw araw, po. Ang ginagamit sa picnic mga plastic lang,” protested the maids.
     They drank up all the best wines, champagne, brandy, all hoarded for special occasions. “Hindi ito ini-inum araw araw. Naku wala ng matitira para sa Pasko at Bagong Taon!” shouted the maids.
     The maids never had a rest. No sooner did they cook, then they served, then washed dishes; and then cooked again ... 5 continuous meals (breakfast, segundo almuerzo, lunch, merienda, dinner) every day. “Hindi kami ina-abuso ng aming amo na ganito. Para kaming alipin. Dasal ng dasal, pero walang awa sa kapwa tao.
     When the university president and his wife came back, the servants said that if ever the Opus Dei were given the house again, they would quit.
     The wife quit as an applicant for the Opus Dei. She cried for weeks over her stained tablecloths, lost silverware, broken china and glassware, plundered pantry and wine closet, and abused servants, “There was something that kept me from joining the Opus Dei. Now I know. Despite their outward show of piety, there is no charity in their hearts.”