May 20, 2011
Dear Bishop Goodpaster,
... I received your letter of questions (See attached copy) thru email last May 10, 2011 and letter of illegal suspension (See attached copy) dated May 17, 2011, again with sadness, dismay and long contemplation. I'm very sorry for not being able to reply immediately to your letter of questions due to my awaiting expectation of hopefully receiving a hard copy of your letter.
I am sad that you concluded that I am "unwilling to come to St. Simons Island to sit down with me and other officers to find a solution" to the controversy surrounding my illegal suspension. I appreciate what you've said in your letter and it's nice to read that line, to wit: "I am deeply committed to finding solutions, and to the need to sit and talk and pray together." But pertinent questions came into the open realm such as: 1) Is it necessary or is that the utmost Christian way or Methodist way to handle the situation that you need to file first a complaint against me before we sit and talk and pray together? 2) Is it proper, fair and disciplinary that the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops of which you are the President is the one who will conduct the supervisory process? 3) Where can we find in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church about the absolute power, authority and jurisdiction of the Council of Bishops or its Executive Committee over processing a complaint against a fellow bishop including affirmation or approval/issuance of suspension? 4) Is it because that the PCC College of Bishops requested the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops to illegally suspend me for another 60 days that you illegally suspended me? I would like to tell you again, I am sorry to say that I cannot find any single provision from The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church from page one to the last page that you have that absolute power, authority and jurisdiction to do that. 5) Do you think the unstoppable filling of complaints against me and the unending issuance of illegal suspensions are the right solutions to the problems?
My refusal to accept your invitation is not a show of willful defiance or disrespect. I am not only innocent of the charges levelled against me but I am, in fact, a victim of grave injustice and grave abuse of power. It is simply unfair and truly unjust that you and the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops are asking me to explain my position on this controversy since I am the victim and not the culprit. It is the people who were behind the smear campaign against me whom you should invite to sit down with you and the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops to explain why they issued the unending illegal suspension orders and to explain why some funds of our Church Related Institutions are missing.
I am dismayed by the manner this controversy has been addressed by you and the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops. This feeling is shared by many of our brothers and sisters, particularly by the meeting held last May 7, 2011 at the Carmen UMC, Carmen, Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija who invited me to show their sympathy and support for my stand on this controversy.
The peremptory and cavalier manner you and the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops handled this controversy has spawned deep disappointment among our members. Some other Local Churches/Districts/Annual Conferences of the Church might also considering launching an independent and autonomous Philippine Methodist Church.
I am still confident that you and the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops will eventually and seriously address these pressing issues and concerns without prejudicial and partial conditions and biases. And therefore, I reiterate my invitation for you and some members of the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops to visit the Philippines and sit down with us especially with those who are being too much affected. I beseech you to please hear also our lingering cries and sentiments.
Being the legitimate elected bishop of The United Methodist Church, I pray to our Almighty God in Jesus Christ, the Bishop of bishops and the Over-All Head of our Church for His continuing intervention, guidance, provision and direction for The United Methodist Church in the whole connection especially in the Philippines.
LITO CABACUNGAN TANGONAN
Resident Bishop Manila Episcopal Area
CC: All Members of the UMC Council of Bishops
All Concerned United Methodists